1469: UV

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 08:50, 5 January 2015 by (talk) (Explanation)
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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.


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Ultraviolet (or UV, the title of the comic) light is a kind of light that is slightly more energetic than the visible light spectrum. Ultraviolet light is normally by itself invisible, but can induce fluorescing (glowing) of certain organic molecules. This is a means to detect small amounts of blood (as most television watchers know) and also urine. The first part of this comic focuses on Megan showing off her new UV flashlight to Cueball, who in this scenario lives with Megan, by revealing how disgusting their bathroom really is despite how clean it appears. 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. A common meme with UV lights or other cleanliness tests resulting in over reaction to the normal state that didn't previously require extreme responses, but some how does when revealed. Feeling that their house will never be clean, Cueball and Megan resolve to burn it down for the insurance money (insurance fraud). The last panel of the comic reveals that the two hadn't purchased fire insurance beforehand, and plan on purchasing it now, only to make a claim immediately afterwards. This plan will not work, because insurance only covers fires that begin after purchasing the insurance, and does not cover anything that happens before purchasing the insurance or intentionally caused situations.

The title text shows just how morally bankrupt the UV flashlight made Megan and Cueball, as one of them suggests burning down many houses in order to claim the insurance money. This plan also will not work. Even if insurance has been purchased for the other homes, the insurance companies will pay the owners of those homes, not Cueball and Megan (And Cueball and Megan would be arrested).


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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)