1405: Meteor

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 15:34, 8 August 2014 by 173.245.50.85 (talk) (Transcript looks complete so removing the incomplete template.)
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Meteor
No, only LAVA is called 'magma' while underground. Any other object underground is called 'lava'.
Title text: No, only LAVA is called 'magma' while underground. Any other object underground is called 'lava'.

Explanation

Cueball A tells Cueball B that he found a piece of a meteor. Cueball B pretends to correct Cueball A by telling him it that what he found is actually called magma, because that's how one refers to a meteor once it hits the ground. In reality, however, the correct term would be meteorite. Cueball B is purposely mixing another pair of words that define a substance before and after it reaches the surface of the Earth, namely lava and magma (lava is the expression for magma that has reached the surface), in order to confuse Cueball A.

This is one of Randall's comics on the topic of My Hobby. The author makes these semantically incorrect statements to frustrate nerds who know the correct word, and confuse people who don't know the precise word so they can go on to frustrate more nerds.

The word pedantic means correcting one's speech even when the more ambiguous or slightly incorrect term would suffice for informal communication. It is usually a pejorative term used to refer to someone who is overly fussy. For example, if one were to say "The sky is blue" and someone were to correct them saying that it is actually every color but its apparent blueness is a mere illusion, because of light scattering, while true, that would be pedantic. (Of course, in science and other formal areas, pedantry is important so statements may be unambiguously interpreted.)

The title text expands on the trolling, as if the conversation had continued with an (unseen) response from Cueball A. Cueball B again makes a deliberately muddled statement. Indeed lava is called magma while it is underground, but it's ridiculous to suggest all other things are called lava when underground.

Transcript

First Cueball: Check it out -- I got a piece of a meteor!

Second Cueball: Actually, it's only called that while falling. Once it lands, it's called Magma

My Hobby: Mixing Pedantic Terms


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Discussion

If meteors fall, then what is a meteoric rise? Rfvtg (talk) 04:54, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Fast. 103.22.201.120 08:12, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
See 1115 for explanation Spongebog (talk) 11:19, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

The legend of this comic might refer to pedology, the study of soil. 173.245.53.87 06:56, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

But the sky is blue. It is a desaturated blue with a center wavelength of 474 to 476 nm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffuse_sky_radiation The statement that the sky is "anything but blue" is wrong.ExternalMonolog (talk) 08:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)ExternalMonolog

does anyone else find the capitalization variation of LAVA vs lava funny? In all seriousness that would make them two different programming variables... However it is hard to notice and isn't clear on what the difference in meaning should be. This is one of the reason for using Object mObject instead of Object object in java. Mr.Smiley (talk) 10:28, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

I think it might just be for emphasis. The pedantic Cueball is becoming exasperated with the person who's getting it 'wrong'. 173.245.54.205 11:30, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

And to everybody who is't a pedantic nerd, it's a rock.Seebert (talk) 13:37, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Is my transcription incomplete? I feel like it is because I published it really early and I have not done many transcriptions here. InAndOutLand (talk) 15:02, 8 August 2014 (UTC)


JOKE
What has more nutritional value, a small rock in space or a small rock falling from space onto the Earth?
A small rock falling from space onto the Earth because it is a little meatier(meteor) 108.162.246.220 06:24, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

A meteor (follow the link!) is not an intermediate stage in the lifespan of a chunk of rock between a meteoroid and a meteorite; it is the streak of light produced by a meteoroid during its descent through the atmosphere. It spoils the joke if we're not pedantic about the pedantry! —TobyBartels (talk) 08:35, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Nice. A lot of meteorites on the earths surface today come from broken apart, differentiated asteroidal parent bodies so they were magma once. The rocky planets have grown through accretion of meteorites so all of the earths magma used to be elsewhere in the solarsystem at the very start. Plus, with temps so high under the crust, anything found down there would be molten and dissolved in the magma anyway and called such. Mark.Squirreltape (talk) 15:49, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Mnemonic: In the void, meteoroid. On the site, meteorite. Neither/Nor: meteor. -- CoderLass (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Great. I didn't know this maybe because I'm German. But this is worth for the explain section so I will add this. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:04, 5 November 2014 (UTC)


There is a community portal discussion of what to call Cueball and what to do in case with more than one Cueball. I have added this comic to the new Category:Multiple Cueballs. Since Randall is the one with the hobby and also the one that Cueball represents I have changed the reference to Cueball in this explanation and transcript to represent this fact. I have also made a note of this fact and the fact that the friend looks like Cueball.--Kynde (talk) 14:55, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

It's not rocket surgery. 172.69.62.82 17:34, 11 July 2018 (UTC)