510: Egg Drop Failure

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 01:12, 30 November 2016 by (talk) (Explanation)
Jump to: navigation, search
Egg Drop Failure
I hear my brother Ricky won his school's egg drop by leaving the egg inside the hen.
Title text: I hear my brother Ricky won his school's egg drop by leaving the egg inside the hen.


A common competition for school-age children (e.g. in science fairs or summer camps) is the 'egg drop': each team is given an uncooked egg and an assortment of materials, e.g. newspaper, Popsicle sticks, string, tape, etc.. The challenge is to use the provided materials to build a contraption that will allow the egg to be dropped from some specified height onto a hard floor without breaking. Scoring varies wildly - common elements are speed of assembly, an accurately targetable landing, and mass of the contraption - but one near-universal requirement is that you are disqualified if the egg is broken.

In the comic, the student pictured fails, not because of any flaw in his design, but because the egg he was given hatches during the fall! (Of course, this is exaggerated to ludicrous extents; the hatching process takes longer than the few seconds the fall would last, and the newborn chick cannot fly immediately.)

The title text suggests an alternate strategy, one Randall hears was successful in real life: select for your egg one that has not yet been laid. The hen provides both active lift with her wings and significant padding, thus nearly guaranteeing that the egg will survive the fall. Of course, this would not be permitted in most contests, as a chicken is not one of the provided materials. And even if it were allowed, a chicken is much heavier than the usual contraptions of newspaper and string.


[Boy tosses contraption off of building with egg in it.]
[Egg cracks and little chick flies out while people look quizzically at the hatched egg.]
Chirp, chirp
[Device with cracked egg lands on ground.]

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


Newborn birds can't fly. I call shenanigans on this comic. Davidy22(talk) 11:08, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

The contraption was so well built that it took several months for it to land; hence the hatching and ability to fly. flewk (talk) 00:42, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Oh, so that's where the soup comes from! 09:29, 26 August 2015 (UTC)