812: Glass

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I read in this one article that the breaking of electroweak symmetry is the reason we have SOULS. This guy with a degree said so!
Title text: I read in this one article that the breaking of electroweak symmetry is the reason we have SOULS. This guy with a degree said so!


In the beginning of the comic, Megan is trying to break a wine glass like an opera singer. This is a rather famous trick where the vocalist sings at the resonant frequency (or natural frequency) of the glass and cause it to resonate more and more until it can no longer handle the stress and breaks (for more info, watch the Mythbusters episode about the Earthquake Machine). If the resonant frequency of the glass is outside of the singer's range, then putting some water in the glass will lower its resonant frequency. (This effect can be used to play different notes on the rim of a glass by varying the amount of water in it. For example, see this video)

The term "God Particle" was coined by 1993 by physicist Leon Lederman to describe the Higgs boson because it is "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive." Many people misinterpret the name to be some kind of link between physics and religion, so physics is getting back at them by playing pranks that resemble famous miracles from Christian mythology:

  • Jesus turned water into wine at the marriage in Cana.
  • At the last supper, Jesus turned wine into his blood. †

The title text references to the fact that people would believe anything that comes from someone with a college degree, since the degree implies that he was highly educated, thus very knowledgeable.


[Megan is singing, Cueball is staring at a glass of water on a table.]
Cueball: No, but the water in the glass turned to wine.
[Cueball picks up glass]
Megan: Weird.
Cueball: No, wait. This is blood.
Megan: Okay, Physics, quit fucking with us.
Physics: You stop looking for the higgs boson and we'll talk.

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Hi, everyone!

I just added a link to a youtube-video and wanted to give a little disclaimer:

I'm in no way affiliated with that person, this is not intended to be advertisement or anything, just a random video I found that illustrates the effect that water in a glass changes it's resonance frequency. If that's not allowed, please remove the link.

Laden (talk) 18:30, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

See below the comments section for what that's about. Always did like how if it's literal then Catholics are canibals... Anonymous 0733, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

We catholics believe we are literally eating the body of Jesus. If that makes us cannibals, then we are cannibals! 02:41, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

It's only cannibalsim if we're right, and if we're right, then God told us so! Either way, we can't be doing anything wrong, because it's either bread or we must due to a divine imperative. Obviously, as a Catholic, I believe I am acting in accordance with truth in recieving the Eucharist, but sometimes it helps those who don't fully understand to have a two-sided hypothetical. 03:35, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

What about the electroweak symmetry=souls thing? Can someone explain that please? 01:49, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

So at the point of the creation of matter there's supposed to be this balance between matter (oversimplified: positively charged protons, negative electrons, the stuff we're made of and used to) and antimatter (The opposing charge stuff). That balance is great, but it pretty much implies that the process of matter formation and matter reexplosion (what hapens when antimatter and matter meet) would be this continuous loop. Fact is, we're here, looking at these reactions (or trying to). Therefore, we are the result of an assymetry, perhaps one in every billion particles created is without a partner (visible to us anyway, perhaps it escaped to some negative matter space that's a safe distance away). What caused this apparent imbalance is presently unknown. (Don't, whatever you do, call it a mystery. Not because it's not, but because of the reaction you'll get from all the wrong folks.)Bralbovsky (talk) 00:14, 15 May 2015 (UTC)