857: Archimedes

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Give a man a fish, or he will destroy the only existing vial of antidote.
Title text: Give a man a fish, or he will destroy the only existing vial of antidote.


This comic references a famous quote made by Archimedes: "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth". Here, Cueball starts off the quote, but then he turns this into a hostage situation, announcing to kill a hostage every hour until he got the equipment to move the Earth. His hostages are the entire population of the Earth.

The title text references a famous proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." But also here we have a hostage situation; if you do not give a fish to the man, he will destroy the only existing vial of antidote, which could stop Cueball's actions.


Cueball: In the words of Archimedes,
Cueball: Give me a long enough lever and a place to rest it,
[Cueball pulls out a gun.]
Cueball: Or I will kill one hostage every hour.

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What's Cueball trying to lift here that he needs a massive lever and fulcrum? Davidy²²[talk] 07:05, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I think Cueball is just trying to gain leverage. -Justin- 20:39, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Cueball wants to move the earth with a lever. But how this should work in space? The hostage is the entire population of the earth. I will add an incomplete tag.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:34, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
He is not saying he wants to move the Earth with a lever. He's either demanding the lever and a place to stand, threatening to kill hostages, or he's using a gun as a prop in a joke. Either way, the explanation is perfectly fine as it is, no "incomplete" needed. 02:44, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey, the title text was wrong, the Archimedes cite was wrong, it was just INCOMPLETE. I did not undo your edit but I did some enhancements, hoping this is more correct now.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:43, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

How do you know his hostages are the entire population of earth? ~JFreund

Hey, I'm new here. I was thinking it would be more helpful if someone could give an example of a thriller movie with that quote. Thanks! 22:58, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

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