Title text: Later: 'Why is there a book hovering over the trash can?'
The joke here is that the "How to Juggle" book assumes that there is gravity and momentum in the place where you are juggling. It seems like there is no gravity or momentum because when Cueball throws the juggling balls up in the air, they don't come down, and also don't continue the trajectory that they had when they left his hands.
Or, it could be that in the third panel, it looks like he's juggling, but the next ones show that they're just floating.
The title text draws on the fact the book being thrown into the trash can can also be interpreted as a hovering book, while in a still image form, such as shown in this comic.
While it is possible to reach zero gravity (or at least microgravity), there is no place in our universe where objects with mass have no momentum. Some possible explanations might be that Cueball is outside of our universe, he has just discovered something that's theoretically impossible, or he is just dreaming, or Randall has taken comedic license on the "momentum" part for the sake of the joke. Or he could be in a place where the surrounding fluid, instead of having the normal properties of earth's atmosphere, is a very thick or viscous fluid in which things simply become stuck.
Also, because Cueball jumps and returns to the ground (panels 6 & 7), it would appear that the effect is limited to the balls and the book, and does not extend to Cueball himself. However, his return could be caused by magnetism, rather than gravity. (In science fiction, boots containing magnets are used to hold astronauts "down" when gravity is not adequate.)
- [The panel shows a close up of Cueball reading a book. The book is called "How To Juggle" and has a picture of a person juggling on the cover.]
- [The view now shows the entirety of Cueball. A book is splayed on the floor behind them, and he is holding some juggling balls.]
- [Cueball throws the juggling balls in the air.]
- [He lowers his arms to prepare to catch the balls. The balls are still hovering in mid-air.]
- [Cueball now stands with his arms by his sides. The balls have not moved and are still suspended in mid-air.]
- [Cueball jumps, trying to grab the lowest ball. He can't reach.]
- [Cueball scratches his head and stares at the still floating juggling balls.]
- [Cueball throws the book into a trash can.]
- This comic actually appeared previously in 940: Oversight, due to a bug in the xkcd Android app where instead of the correct comic, an unpublished 'Five Minute Comics' was shown.
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