2325: Endorheic Basin

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Revision as of 00:41, 27 June 2020 by (talk) (Transcript: There's a large variety of designs for 'wet rooms', but I don't think we can say that anything but a showerhead lies behind that curtain (which has no use in a showerless bath))
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Endorheic Basin
My biggest fear is that colonial engineers will try to flood me to generate electricity. My biggest hope is that I'll develop sailing stones.
Title text: My biggest fear is that colonial engineers will try to flood me to generate electricity. My biggest hope is that I'll develop sailing stones.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by an ENDORHEIC BASIN. Does colonial engineers refer to something in mine craft? More on that part of the title text. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Yet another comic with one of Beret Guy's strange powers. This time he attracts water so it flows to him rather than running out towards the nearby oceans. He thus claims he is like an endorheic basin, hence the title.

An endorheic basin is a limited drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes or swamps, permanent or seasonal, that equilibrate through evaporation. The Caspian Sea in Europe is the largest such basins. It is debated if it is a lake or a sea (it is salty, but not connected to the oceans). If a lake it is the world largest lake.

An endorheic basin does though not suck water away from the sea. Rather rivers nearby flow to this low lying area inland, from where the water level will never rise enough for the water to continue to flow out into an ocean. Evaporation or drainage into the ground keeps the water level from reaching a height that can connect the water surface to a channel to any ocean.

So in this way Beret Guy's effect on water has nothing to do with the reason an endorheic basin is created.

In the comic Megan asks why he has water over his feet, and he thus explains the endorheic basin story. He even demonstrates by putting his hand close to a glass of water Megan is holding, showing her how he attracts some of the water out of the glass, and on to his arm.

He also shows how water will stay on him after a shower. This looks similar to what could happen in a space station if you have liquid water in zero gravity. The water sticks to any surface it encounters. See from instance the start of this video Water in zero gravity and this one Wringing out Water on the ISS - for Science! to see how water reacts to human skin in zero gravity. It is thus almost impossible from him to dry off after a shower.

It seems like the water stays away from his upper face, leaving his nose free to breathe. Else it would also be a very dangerous thing from him to take a shower.

In fact he needs someone to come with a siphon to get rid of the water. Here most likely in the form off a u-shaped pipe, that can be put into his water blob and then by sucking on the other end, keeping the bottom of that end below the blob, the water can be drained away. Given the fact that he attracts the water more than gravity, this method should not work at all.

But he really needs to get the water away from him. If he just leaves it there it will eventually evaporate. Water from rivers carry salt, and if they end up in a closed lake and that lake then evaporates, it can create salt flats (or salt pans), like those near Salt Lake City in Utah, e.g. the Bonneville Salt Flats. There may be a pun here, in that "flats" is a description of various types of footwear (among them: women's shoes that are not high-heeled and ballet shoes not specifically reinforced for advanced 'pointe' dancing), and the water would clearly leave the 'flats' on his feet.

If Beret Guy just leaves the water on him to dry out, he will get these salt flats, which is probably bad for his skin. But he has developed some previously and then harvested the minerals (because he asks Megan to let him know if she needs any minerals, implying he has plenty to give away due to those salt flats he has developed earlier).

In the title text, Beret Guy mentions his "biggest fear" due to his his water attracting abilities is being flooded to by "colonial engineers" in order from then to use him and the water to generate electricity, most likely hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity is generated by the energy of falling or fast-moving water.

He then mentions that his "biggest hope", due to his ability, is that he will generate sailing stones. Sailing stones (also known as sliding rocks, walking rocks, rolling stones, and moving rocks), are a geological phenomenon where rocks move and inscribe long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. The movement of the rocks occurs when large ice sheets a few millimeters thick and floating in an ephemeral winter pond start to break up during sunny days. Frozen during cold winter nights, these thin floating ice panels are driven by wind and shove rocks at speeds up to 5 meters per minute. It does not sound like something attracting water (even if creating salt flats) can accomplish.

This comic came out just a bit more than a month after the previous comic with one of Beret Guy's strange powers, 2310: Great Attractor, in which strange forces exerted a pull on Beret Guy. It does not appear that he himself is drawn to water, and we cannot determine if the Great Attractor is drawn to him, so Newton's Third Law may be constantly being broken, along with the more obvious scientific impossibilities that surround Beret Guy.


[Megan, holding a glass of water up in one hand is talking to Beret Guy, who has water surrounding his feet, with small droplets falling off the two small water triangles that cover his feet.]
Megan: Why are your feet wet?
Beret Guy: I'm an endorheic basin!
[Megan looks down at her glass as the water in it is flying out towards Beret Guy's arm, which he has stretched out towards the glass.]
Megan: Huh?
Beret Guy: Nearby water flows toward me, not the ocean.
Beret Guy: See?
Megan: Oh, cool.
[At the top of this panel is a box with text being said by Beret Guy to Megan. Beneath it is a depiction of what he is explaining to Megan. Beret Guy is shown standing in a bathroom, with a towel around his waist. Almost his entire body is covered completely in water, except most of his head above mouth level, and both his feet are beneath the water bubble. He yells to someone outside the bathroom. A shower-tray or partially sunken bathtub can be seen to the left with a closed shower curtain across it. To the right of him is the sink with mirror above it. Further right is the door. The floor is tiled.]
Beret Guy - narrating: The most annoying part is drying off after a shower.
Beret Guy: Can someone bring me the siphon?
[Back to the situation from the first panel, although Megan has lowered her glass a bit. The glass seems to be as full as in the first panel though, even though Beret Guy now also has water on his arm where it was pulled out off Megan's glass in panel 2.]
Beret Guy: But I have to get rid of it or I'll develop salt flats.
Beret Guy: Anyway, let me know if you need any minerals!

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I think it is a funny comic, but the way water acts towards Beret Guy has nothing to do with what happens in an Endorheic basin. And also if he attracts water more than gravity, then a siphon is no help at all to get rid of the water. A pump would be needed that could make a larger pull then gravity. But the name is just something Beret Guy gives it. And since he is the only hydrophilic person in the world it is hard to say how it will work for him. But given that Randall named the comic it seems to me that either he did not care about this, did not think about it correctly, or else, also a possibility, I do not understand these concepts well enough --Kynde (talk) 22:49, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

I sort of disagree with Kynde. I think the idea here is that Beret Guy is a local low point where water flows toward. It's not that he's "more attractive that gravity" but that from the perspective of the water he's now the lowest point around and thus it flows toward him. Like a Endorheic basin it can't flow out to somewhere else. This makes the siphon comment funnier in my opinion as they're suggesting that if then found an even lower point than Beret Guy they could siphons water off of him and to that lower point. Something that the water wouldn't do on its own because of "walls" in his water potential function. 23:23, 26 June 2020 (UTC)Max

Do we have a category for comics where Randal is suspected of trolling the explainxkcd community? 00:32, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

"All Comics"? 00:43, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

"Generating Electricity" is most likely a reference to the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qattara_Depression_Project

Qatarra makes sense; my first thought was the Salton Sea. It's certainly not a Minecraft reference, since rivers in Minecraft are flat (same altitude as the oceans) & hydroelectric dams do not exist in the game. 17:25, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

(Prior item is unsigned.) Worth a link to https://what-if.xkcd.com/143/ aroujd the subject of siphons? If nothing else, it shows that Randall knows how they work (even if there's confusion over whether BG does, or just has the laws of nature do what he thinks they should do, as per Vacuum Energy). 10:57, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

That would be relevant yes. Looking into this I found that the page on what if what if? do no longer work here on explain xkcd...? The link is active but only displays a white page with "No input file specified." --Kynde (talk) 09:56, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

Ordinary siphoning wouldn't work unless MOND or modified inertia dark matter theories are true. 18:25, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

No, an ordinary siphon will work fine - it just has to feed past the local maximum & then it'll drain to the sea, just as it would if you put a siphon in a reservoir and fed the siphon's output to a point past the dam. It's pretty clear that BeretGuy's local minimum is not all that deep. Cellocgw (talk) 12:31, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

So, does anyone know what a Colonial Engineer is? I'm unfamiliar with the term. A quick google search just turns up a plastic parts company and a minecraft mod and that's it. 21:13, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Isn't it simply engineer from British colony? You know, from the time of British Empire, when that included Egypt, India and lot more ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:42, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Taking a poo must be awful. All that toilet water getting attracted to his butt... DrPumpkinz (talk) 00:07, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

Peeing would be worse... 20:33, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

They could also dress him in a molybdenum disulfide membrane to generate electricity. Electricity generated with water, salt and a three-atoms-thick membrane

I just changed the explanation slightly as gravity and personal attraction explains the foot-pooling of water and the not-yet-face-covering for the shower scene (plus hanging off his hand, at least until he raises his arm or brings it to his side to let it flow to is feet as well). Wanted to add in high surface tension (to explain how his feet are sticking outbl of his accumulation of shower-water), but - as you can see - this gets far too wordy. (Surface tension and core-attraction alone would not explain his feet or hand, of course.) 10:58, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

Everybody here has been nerd sniped so hard. Unrelated, but has anyone created an SCP page for Beret Guy yet? I think he's earned it Stardragon (talk) 16:41, 7 March 2022 (UTC)