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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
 
  
We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font><br>
<!-- Note: the -10 in the calculation above is to discount subcategories (there are 8 of them as of 2013-02-27),
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
     as well as [[List of all comics]] and [[List of unexplained comics]], which is obviously not a comic page. -->
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and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-10)}}
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     as well as [[List of all comics]] and the pages it has been split across, which are obviously not comic pages.
({{#expr: ({{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-10)) / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%)
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    The extra one difference corresponds to 404, which is not really a comic, even though we've categorised it so.
remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
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-->
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and only {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete explanations|R}}
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({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete explanations|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete explanations|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|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 [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
 
<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|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 [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
  
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.
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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.
  
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
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*If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
  
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
+
*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the [[explain xkcd:Community portal|Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The missing explanations are listed [[List of unexplained comics|here]]. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
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*[[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 [[:Category:Incomplete explanations|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
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*We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go [[explain xkcd:Advertise Here|here]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
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.
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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 [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
 
If you need assistance from an [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
  
 
[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1421 xkcd comics, and only 38 (3%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

My Phone is Dying
When it explodes, it will cast off its outer layers, leaving behind nothing but a slowly fading PalmPilot, calculator, or two-way pager.
Title text: When it explodes, it will cast off its outer layers, leaving behind nothing but a slowly fading PalmPilot, calculator, or two-way pager.

Explanation

Beret Guy's phone is about to "die". Cueball assumes this just means that the battery is running out and it needs to be recharged, but the phone in question appears to "die" in a way analogous to the life and death of a star: expending its fuel while heating up and expanding before ultimately losing its outer layers and becoming a white dwarf or similar "lesser" star. However, this is something phones usually don't do.[citation needed] The analogy suggests that Beret Guy's life revolves around his phone, just as a planet orbits its star...a relationship that has become all too common in recent years.

Stars constantly undergo fusion reactions. The pressure generated by these reactions counteracts gravity, preventing it from collapsing the star during its main lifespan. As the hydrogen mostly fuses into helium in the core, the core gradually becomes more dense and the region of fusion gradually moves away from the center. Then, the star grows in size, reaching the stage of a red giant. When most of the "fuel" for fusion has been consumed, gravity will collapse the star into a white dwarf while the outer layers are shed. For stars much more massive than the Sun, there will be a supernova explosion caused by a violent collapse, which is very powerful (and leaves behind a neutron star or a black hole, depending on how much mass is left after the supernova). Stars with more hydrogen fuel tend to burn brighter and faster. Beret Guy's refusal of a charger is probably a reference to this.

Both a supernova explosion and the collapse of red giants into white dwarfs shed their outer layers, which is referenced in the title text. Once extra mass is added to the dying star, analogous to "charging", the process only accelerates. The phone seems to have a certain mass because Beret Guy expects it to go (super)nova. Charging the phone may lead to a type 1a nova.

The comic also plays on the release of two new iPhone models with bigger screens, planned for 2 days after the release of the comic.

The comic could be also explained by the characteristics of Li-ion batteries, which are used in most cellphones. At the end of their useful life, these batteries grow a bit [citation needed]. In case of severe physical or thermal damage or multiple electrical failures, this type of battery can indeed overheat, leading to a run-away thermal reaction inside. That would result in the battery growing [citation needed] and eventually exploding. Connecting a charger to a battery failing in this manner would probably make the process faster [1].

The title text implies that after Beret Guy's iPhone goes (super)nova, it will become the cellphone equivalent of a white dwarf (evidenced by the faint and slowly fading glow). Additionally, some particles and atoms decay by breaking into smaller, more elementary particles. It is humorously implied that a PalmPilot (an early personal data assistant and precursor to the smartphone), a calculator (a very simple electronic device), and two-way pager (a device for sending and receiving short text messages) are the more elementary components that make up an iPhone.

Transcript

[Beret Guy walks on-panel, carrying a smartphone.]

Beret Guy: My phone's about to die.

[The phone is now subtly larger.]

Cueball: Where'd you get a big iPhone? I didn't think they were out yet.
Beret Guy: It's my regular one. It's just dying.

[The phone increases in size again. Beret Guy now holds it in both hands.]

Beret Guy: As it consumes its battery, it heats up and expands. Soon it will swell to enormous size, engulfing us both.

[The phone is now the size of Beret Guy's torso; he is clutching it to himself. Cueball is pointing off-panel]

Beret Guy: Then it will collapse in a violent explosion!
Cueball: ...do you want to borrow my charger?
Beret Guy: That would only make it run out faster!


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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.

  • Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the Community portal. Share your 2¢!
  • 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!
  • 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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