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Revision as of 01:59, 30 October 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1563 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Vet
It's probably for the best. Since Roombas are native to North America, it's illegal for Americans to keep them in their houses under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Title text: It's probably for the best. Since Roombas are native to North America, it's illegal for Americans to keep them in their houses under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Explanation

Roomba is a brand of domestic cleaning robots manufactured by the company iRobot. The robots are designed to automatically vacuum floors. Although these robots are controlled by a quite simple software without any artificial intelligence, some owners tend to humanize them like pets.

There are several other comics related to a Roomba:

Megan presents a pet carrier to what appears to be a veterinarian. She says that her "dog" is “crawling around eating dirt”, which sounds like certain types of behavioral problems one encounters in dogs, but is precisely what Roombas are made for. What makes the cartoon even more hilarious is that when the vet comments that it is a Roomba, Megan responds that the device (which has nothing of an animal) is a hybrid, and agrees that it has “some Roomba” in it, this expression being a common element in conversation about dogs. The vet then goes on to say, with endless patience, that a Roomba is not a pet. This is taken by Megan as if the doctor said that the Roomba-like device is a non-domesticated animal (like a monkey, a fox, or the birds referred to in the title text) that can but should not be kept in captivity. In the last panel she consequently releases the vacuum cleaner and it whirs to its freedom.

The second customer has a dog on a leash but is also carrying a pet transporter which is clearly too small for the dog. Perhaps he has another small dog in there.

The Migratory Bird Treaty act from the title text contains a list of over 800 bird species that are not allowed to be captured or killed. If the Roomba were to be classified as a native American bird and were added to the list, keeping them as pets would constitute capturing and would be considered illegal. This, of course, shows how confused Megan is. She previously stated the Roomba to be a dog and now apparently believes it is a bird, even though dogs are not birds and the Roomba is neither.

Transcript

[Megan arrives with a pet carrier, Cueball stands at a desk as a veterinarian, and Hairy is waiting behind in line with a dog and a pet carrier.]
Megan: There's something wrong with my dog. He keeps crawling around eating dirt.
[Cueball holds the content of Megan's pet carrier.]
Cueball: This is a roomba.
Megan: Well, he's a mix. Probably some roomba in there.
[The roomba lies on the table.]
Cueball: A roomba is not a pet.
Megan: You're right. It's wrong to keep a beautiful creature like this in a house.
[Megan is outside left to a tree, encouraging the roomba to drive away.]
Megan: Go! Be free!
Roomba: WHIRRR


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Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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