1469: UV

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Hey, why stop at our house? We could burn down ALL these houses for the insurance money.
Title text: Hey, why stop at our house? We could burn down ALL these houses for the insurance money.


Ultraviolet light (abbreviated UV light, as in the title of the comic) is a kind of light that is slightly more energetic than the light in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Ultraviolet light is normally by itself invisible to human eye, but can induce fluorescence (glowing) of certain organic molecules. A UV flashlight can thus be a means to detect small amounts of blood, semen, and urine on surfaces.

The first part of this comic focuses on Megan showing off her new UV flashlight to Cueball by revealing how disgusting their bathroom appears in UV light despite how clean it appears normally. She manages this due to UV light's special property of causing chemicals in urine to glow. Both Cueball and Megan are horrified by their discovery. This is a common reaction in the face of more sensitive diagnostic tests. Cueball's comment is a reference to the 1979 sci-fi film Alien.

In the second part of the comic they realize that their house will never be clean enough. So Megan resolves to burn down the house for the insurance money (i.e. insurance fraud). Cueball is in doubt, but Megan apparently has no morality left. She even proclaims this while pouring some dangerous liquid, probably gasoline, on to the floor of their apartment.

The last panel of the comic implies that the two hadn't purchased fire insurance beforehand, and plan on purchasing it now, only to make a claim immediately afterwards. At this point Cueball has been won over by Megan's plan and tries to help by searching for insurance companies using Google. They wish to find the company that pays out the most. This plan will almost certainly not work since insurance typically only covers events that begin after purchasing the insurance, and does not cover anything that happens before purchasing the insurance, or that is intentionally caused.

The title text shows just how distorted Megan's and Cueball's thinking has become, as one of them suggests burning down all the houses in order to claim the insurance money for them. This plan will also not work. Even if insurance has been purchased for these other homes, the insurance companies will pay the owners of those homes, not Cueball and Megan. Instead, Cueball and Megan would likely be arrested for multiple charges of arson and end up in prison for a very long time.

The take home message of this comic must be: Never use a UV light in your bathroom. Maybe Randall did this by mistake causing the creation of this comic. (Randall has previously warned people about similar diagnostics in 860: Never Do This.)


[Megan holding a flashlight and standing behind Cueball, who is sitting at a computer.]
Megan: Our bathroom looks pretty clean, right?
Cueball: I think so. Why?
Megan: I got a UV flashlight. Come look.
[Cueball leaves the computer; they walk.]
[Megan and Cueball are off-screen.]
Cueball: Looks fine.
UV flashlight: *Click*
Cueball: ...Oh my God.
[Megan and Cueball walking in the opposite direction; Cueball is looking back behind him.]
Cueball: The toilet looked like the guy's chest after the alien burst out.
Megan: What do we do?
[Megan and Cueball standing.]
Cueball: We clean. Clean and clean and never stop.
Megan: It won't be enough. We should just burn the place down for the insurance money.
[Cueball standing behind Megan. Megan is pouring a liquid onto the floor out of a red-colored canister labled "Danger".]
Cueball: Isn't that wrong?
Megan: My morality has evaporated under the harsh UV light.
[Megan and Cueball standing outside the burning building.]
[Megan and Cueball standing, Cueball looking at his phone.]
Cueball: OK, I'm Googling insurance companies. Which one do you think pays the most?
Megan: Let's just try calling around.

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Weird turn of event. Going from a comic about how disgusting your bathroom is, to how stupid the two characters are concerning insurance. Maybe this is just to show what happens to your brain once you realize how much dirt etc. are on your bathroom surfaces. And also to warn you not to look into it with a UV light/black light. I think Randall did this and regretted it - although it did give him "easy" inspiration for this comic :-) --Kynde (talk) 15:16, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Is it just me, or this strip is kinda similiar to #860? 19:42, 5 January 2015 (UTC) -It is, at least the first bit.

IMHO, this would have been better without the second half. It's reminding me a bit of 78. Here's hoping Randall throws off his Dadaist mood... 01:50, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I was expecting this would be a reference to some movie. Isn't there any movie quote on the lines of "we <action> and <action> and never stop!"? 13:28, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I think the two halves are tied together by a failure to think through the consequences, first not thinking through the UV light, and second not thinking through the claiming the insurance far enough to even have insurance. So the second half is a kind of commentary on how bad an idea the UV light was, and the title text is a commentary on how bad an idea the second half is. --DanR (talk) 15:55, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Just to mention, this was actually covered in a mythbusters episode ~ http://mythbustersresults.com/hidden-nasties -- 15:34, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

I thought the title text was a reference to credit default swaps. See especially paragraph 5: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis#Credit_default_swaps 20:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Indeed. This also seems related: http://web.archive.org/web/20140701064837/http://abstrusegoose.com/460 (using an archived copy because abstrusegoose.com seems to be down as of this comment). 06:44, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

I've brought a UV light into my bathroom and it really wasn't that bad. Kinda gross behind the toilet, but what did you expect? The worst thing I've found is looking at my bare feet under UV light. HisHighestMinion (talk) 11:53, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Haha, thats also what we learned at the hygiene drill at work. A video showed a kitchen. “Everything fine!” Then employees entered the kitchen. “Here the problems come. Uh-oh!” Just remove the people from the bathroom. ;) -- 15:26, 22 December 2023 (UTC)