2060: Hygrometer

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 2060)
Jump to: navigation, search
I'm working on assembling a combination declinometer, sclerometer, viscometer, aleurometer, stalagmometer, and hypsometer. I'm making good progress according to my ometerometer, a device which shows the rate at which I'm acquiring measurement devices.
Title text: I'm working on assembling a combination declinometer, sclerometer, viscometer, aleurometer, stalagmometer, and hypsometer. I'm making good progress according to my ometerometer, a device which shows the rate at which I'm acquiring measurement devices.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please edit the explanation below and only mention here why it isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Here, Megan is talking to Cueball about hygrometers. But before she can even finish explaining what it does, Cueball has looked up, found, and purchased the product. A hygrometer is an instrument for measuring the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, or the amount of water in solids such as soil or wood.

It seems Randall (or Cueball) loves being able to measure things and therefore finds instruments or measurement tools that end in -ometer very interesting, and wishes to own all of them. Many measuring instruments use the suffix -meter which is derived from the Greek noun μέτρον for "measure". The character "o" always belongs to the first term, but it also belongs to old Greek words like thermo-meter, micro-meter, or even hygro-meter. Other measurement devices such as speedometer use an English word with an "o" appended to mimic the Greek derived terms, purportedly for easier marketing. Because themes in science often based on Greek terminology that ending at the first part appears often. Nonetheless Randall believes that this "o" belongs to the general term for measuring devices.

In the title text, Randall states he is working on assembling a combination of usually unrelated measuring instruments, for a purpose which is neither stated in the comic nor easy to guess. The list consists of:

  • A viscometer is an instrument to test the viscosity (difficulty of pouring) of a liquid. For example, honey has higher viscosity than water.
  • An aleurometer is an instrument to evaluate the quality of flour for baking by measuring how much a wet mass of wheat can expand when heated, while keeping its adhesivity.[1]
  • A stalagmometer is an instrument to measure surface tension of fluids by producing a drop and weighing it - the bigger the drop is, the larger surface tension the fluid has.
  • The word hypsometer could refer to either of two unrelated instruments to measure height. One measures heights of a building or a tree by triangulation. The other measures altitude by measuring air pressure through its effect on the boiling temperature of water. It should not be confused with the altimeter which measures altitude by mechanically measuring air pressure (and which also does not follow the -ometer rule and might therefore be of less interest to Cueball? Is that the reason why Cueball appears in a diagram at the Wikipedia page for hypsometer but not for altimeter?).

Finally he mentions an ometerometer, a concatenation of -ometer with itself, which would be a device for measuring measuring devices. It has been included in a humorous list of Other Types of Ometers from 2007, where it was described as measuring the measuring capacities of other measuring devices.


[Megan and Cueball are walking and talking. Cueball is holding his phone with one hand, looking at it.]
Megan: ...A hygrometer is a device for measuring—
Cueball: I want one! Ooh, found one for $7.99 with free shipping! I'm buying it.
Megan: —Humidity.
Cueball: Oh, cool!
[Caption below the frame:]
For some reason, I feel a powerful compulsion to own any device whose name ends in "-ometer."

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Interestingly, Google search for ometerometer returns porn results. If there is an xkcd comic about rule 34 (if it exists, there is porn about it), it could be linked here.--Pere prlpz (talk) 15:48, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, and now xkcd is prominently displayed. Good for you! - Who? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Should have taken a screenshot: The link provided under Trivia returns no porn results whatsoever now (yes I have SafeSearch turned off). I'm pretty sure almost any search for a seldom used word or phrase returns a high number of porn results, but I seriously doubt any of the porn was actually about ometerometers, or even featured that word on the page. I think you just got unrelated results. I'm gonna have to say "citation needed" on that one, because the citation given yields no such results. ProphetZarquon (talk) 17:19, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Here's your citation. Needless to say, the term doesn't appear anywhere on those pages outside the search box, but something must've put it in that box in the first place—"ameterometer" and "emeterometer" and various other misspellings don't return any search results like this. Trambelus (talk) 21:57, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
We can just do a search for '"ometerometer" -xkcd' (without single quotes). This search yields 13 results, 4 of which are not porn, and 3 of which genuinely contain "ometerometer" in their content and not as part of SEO. 12:40, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I've changed my Google preferences to English and US; still not that much porn. Unless this is obvious to everyone your findings are not relevant here. Google shows links also based on former searches, just saying... --Dgbrt (talk) 16:46, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
I looked up "shearing bit" the other day (a lathe tool) and misspelled it as "shearing bi" and got porn results. I don't think I would want to see any porn related to shearing. 22:54, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Which meters do you enjoy? I'm a particular fan of the Crookes radiometer 16:33, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Based almost solely on the exotic name, I'm a particular fan of the sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff), and I'm disappointed that Randall didn't take the opportunity to mention it anywhere. 16:44, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
My laser power meter is pretty bad-assed - but the measurement tool I'm most impressed by isn't a "ometer", it's a "mechanics level" - which is basically just an incredibly accurate spirit level - it can measure a tilt angle equal to the thickness of a single sheet of paper over a distance of two meters - which is pretty astounding considering how crude it is. You can tell that you have a cool -ometer if it comes in a nice wooden box - and a seriously cool one if the box has brass hinges and is lined with velvet...it's kindof a rule for us ometerometrists. 18:27, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
I remember in 7th grade learning how to use a sling psychrometer to measure relative humidity. It involved two thermometers at the end of a string that you swung around (watch out!) to cool the wet bulb thermometer and then measuring the difference. --Gkhanna9 (talk) 02:12, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Here's the Rule 34 comic: https://xkcd.com/305/ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Thank you. I added it to the description.--Pere prlpz (talk) 16:52, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

But no mention of an alethiometer. 16:59, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Let's all remember that there are some measurement devices that do not end in -ometer but rather simply in -meter, for example "multimeter", "ohmmeter", "ammeter", etc. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

So does a micrometer end in ometer? Tough call! 18:29, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Micro-meter, not micr-ometer. 20:05, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
You're absolutely right, the O always belongs to the first term. I will change the explanation accordingly. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:49, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh - so Cueball wants an o-metero-meter? OK now I'm confused! 21:59, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

I'm certainly not an expert on Google and how search results are generated, but I think it's at least highly likely that search results can be impacted by a user's previous searches and/or clicked results. While it might be interesting or even amusing, I don't think it's appropriate to include anything in the explanation of this comic about Rule 34 because it has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the comic itself! Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 18:12, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

There's also metrometer (measures the size of the womb), and a kilometerometer (this is what some Americans call odometers in foreign cars). -- 22:19, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

I prefer ohmmeter since I am in an electronics course in my local college and I use it quite often. (^o^)Boeing-787lover 09:13, 18 October 2018 (UTC) -- Xkcdreader52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I still think the title text means that he's trying to make something out of all those measurement devices for a cohesive purpose. The only thing I could think of was a device that monitored the baking of bread at all stages, using the various devices to determine how "ready" it is. Any other ideas? 00:37, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Agreed, I've modified the title text description with your suggestion. 16:58, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't agree until all devices are mapped to a "baking of bread" process. And if this really matches please write that as a possible explanation, out of probably much more... (Making steel,...). AND please take care of the layout. --Dgbrt (talk) 17:23, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't think it actually was relating to the baking of bread, that was just what I came up with for that combination of meters. But I was hoping to spark ideas/discussion that might lead to someone coming up with an actually feasible idea. 00:30, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
If the layout is so important, then the "ometerometer" should *not* be included in the itemized list, since it's not part of Cueball's combination of meters. 14:06, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
It's part of the title text, but I've changed the layout. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:51, 22 October 2018 (UTC)

"... old Greek words like thermo-meter". Old Greek is the version of Greek used between about 500 and 1500 CE. I'm pretty sure thermometer is not old Greek since old Greek was a dead language before thermometers were invented. The author probably didn't mean "old Greek" in that sense, but as written it grates and should be recast. 01:51, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

Trivia was nonsense

At this link Google search for ometerometer I can't see any porn. AND only 9 results at Google! The Rule 34 doesn't apply right now and so I've removed it completely. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:17, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

If the ometerometer search term is in double-quotes, you'll get the porn. (Apologies if I did something wrong with this comment... Is my first here.) -- 04:47, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
The interest of the fact in relation to the comic may be debatable, but even now four out of the first ten Google results linked to pornhub, and yesterday when the comic appeared and it still didn't show on Google, pornhub results made the whole first page.--Pere prlpz (talk) 19:47, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

This comic came out on Randall's birthday 11:28, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

How does Randall get his ometerometer to show him the rate at which he's getting more ometers? I can only get my ometerometer to show me how many ometers I have, but I think that only works by integration. 21:40, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Well, yes - and there is always the off-by-one error on the cheaper models that fail to add themselves into the count. SteveBaker (talk) 16:31, 19 October 2018 (UTC)


Absolute novice, not sure which part is wrong, but: "A viscometer is an instrument to test the viscosity (ease of pouring) of a liquid. For example, honey has higher viscosity than water" seems wrong. Honey is harder to pour than water, so if it has a higher viscosity, doesn't that mean viscosity is the difficulty of pouring, not ease? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)