Difference between revisions of "1378: Turbine"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
(fix wikipedia link)
Line 33: Line 33:
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]
[[Category:Comics featuring Megan]]

Revision as of 19:58, 7 June 2014

Ok, plan B: Fly a kite into the blades, with a rock in a sling dangling below it, and create the world's largest trebuchet.
Title text: Ok, plan B: Fly a kite into the blades, with a rock in a sling dangling below it, and create the world's largest trebuchet.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: The title text is not clearly explained. How will it become a trebuchet by flying a kite into the wings? Where does the traction trebuchet come into the picture? The link to youtube seems to be wrong. It is a centrifuge not a trebuchet - although there are links to other videos about those from that youtube film?
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

In this comic, Megan is speaking to a wind turbine having an unrealistic ability to respond to her. (Megan is using a literary device known as apostrophe - ie. the personification of an inanimate object - and when this object actually responds it is called anthropomorphism - again a type of personification).

A wind turbine is a mechnanical device that generates power via the mechanical work produced from the turning of its blades by the wind, and converts it into electricity. A wind turbine is visually very similar to a fan, whose fan blades spin via electrical (or other) power in order to move air (i.e. create wind) to provide a cooling effect. In this way, a fan is essentially the opposite of a wind turbine.

The punchline of this comic is a pun which plays on a second meaning of the word "fan" as a colloquial short form for "fanatic" - someone who is a supporter of something (e.g. a football team, a band, an idea etc.).

Megan suggests that the wind turbine blow air at her so that she can use a kite to lift off the ground. When Megan asks what the turbine thinks of the idea, the turbine's response is both literal (it is a turbine, not a fan and therefore can't blow air) and colloquial (saying "I'm not a fan" of an idea means that one does not like or support the idea).

Wind turbines have been used in earlier comics: In 556: Alternative Energy Revolution the wind turbines are also alive, but somewhat more dangerous than just being ironic. In 1119: Undoing, Cueball highlights the differences between a wind turbine and a fan.

The title text contains an alternative suggestion to build a makeshift trebuchet, a type of catapult. The setup described would not resemble the widely known counterweight trebuchet, as the energy rotating the arm and flinging the rock would not be from a raised counterweight. It would rather be more similar to a traction trebuchet.

Trebuchets has been the subject of the comics 382: Trebuchet and 1160: Drop Those Pounds, and they were also part of the story in 1190: Time.


[Megan is talking to a giant wind turbine.]
Megan: I'll hold up a big kite, and you blow air at me until I lift off!
Megan: What do you think of that idea?
Wind turbine: I'm not a huge fan.

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


Why is it "horrible, horrible"? Do you really, really not like it? It's not like it's a shaggy dog cartoon which you wasted several minutes on... Oh, wait... 05:51, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

For me, it just sucks that Randall chose to end the week on a lame pun. On Mondays/Wednesdays, the "suckiness" of something like this would be offset by a good "what-if?" on Tuesday. 06:00, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

From what I've seen, Friday comics tend to be more "wacky" than the rest. 23:22, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

While I agree it isn't the best xkcd could be, let's try and keep these pages objective, and leave the opinions in the comments. Mrmakeit (talk) 06:22, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

"I'm not a huge fan" is a catchphrase of Elon Musk, his opinion on patents, which was in the news a couple of days ago. Lift-off alludes to Musk's SpaceX. Wind turbine alludes to Musk's renewable energy company Solarcity. Tww (talk) 07:36, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

What's funny to me is that a turbine really is a giant fan. You'd just have to pump a whole ton of power (at the right voltage and sync rate) into it and possibly give it a kickstart of some kind to get it to turn. You could say the same about pretty much anything that generates power from rotational motion; it's a generator, but in the opposite direction, it's also a motor. 11:25, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I laughed at this comic, I thought it was great. As for the explanation, though, should it really be marked "complete" already? It reads like a first draft to me, and the comic is about a wind turbine, not a windmill. I'm gonna go fix that now. Enchantedsleeper (talk) 11:28, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I also liked this one. Great pun. As Enchantedsleeper may have found out windmill is the old mills for grain. But in some languages a wind turbine is called the same as a windmill! Kynde (talk) 17:57, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

'apostrophe' is more of an oratorical device, for the benefit of an audience. In this case Megan is treating the turbine as if it were human - anthropomorphism - but this isn't really a central part of the comic, and doesn't need much explanation - Seanybabes (talk) 08:59, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

I just got the punchline today. My punnery organs evidently need a workout. --Okofish (talk) 22:01, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????????????? SilverMagpie (talk) 21:52, 13 June 2017 (UTC)