Uff, Americans really say "carbon-neutral". Taking this literally and there is no greenhouse problem, only some black dirt... Nevertheless bismuth is an important element in electronics, not only IBM.--Dgbrt (talk) 08:43, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
- Given that this is Beret Guy, it doesn't have to mean solder. It's entirely possible one of his mysterious shops has sold him a generator that burns bismuth powder or something; in which case "produces bismuth" would really mean releasing it into the atmosphere in the same was most power plants release carbon. Or some kind of nuclear process that does actually produce bismuth. Or maybe someone's told him to use a server once then recycle it, and due to not knowing what they're doing the recycling team has ended up with a massive surplus of one metal. All crazy options, but this is a guy who's plumbed soup into the electrical system, so… who knows? -- 18.104.22.168 13:42, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Considering Beret Guy has shown that he was able to get soup from an electric outlet, maybe those all-digital restrooms are actually able to digitize bodily waste to dispose of it easily.--22.214.171.124 08:52, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Digital Restrooms - no pipes. You have to move the wase by hand, and a hand has fingers == digits? 126.96.36.199 10:09, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
- Is it just me? Digital restrooms with no pipes together with the mention of cursed WiFi did remind me of those tubes the internet is made of ... ;-) --Felis Catus (talk) 11:04, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
- Yes, that was my reaction also. 188.8.131.52 11:38, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Lin-Manuel Miranda did some skits on PBS's The Electric Company. I suspect that is the reference to the mistake. 00:53, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Might this be over complicating things a bit? Carbon is an element. Bismuth is another element, albeit a more improbable one.
That may be the only joke: they have no carbon footprint but instead spew massive amounts of bismuth, which what?
To suggest this is a joke about nuclear reactor technology or (very old) mainframe assembly technology seems to be a stretch. 14:20, 17 March 2017 (UTC) Skeptic
I'm inclined to agree with Skeptic; I actually think the sole point of using bismuth might have been to make the horrible pun in the alt-text. 15:09, 17 March 2017 (UTC) CGH
Antimony is used as a replacement for lead in common solder. Bismuth is used in low temperature solder. I have some coils of it somewhere on the desk here. (It's tough soldering to LEDs on star boards!) ExternalMonolog (talk) 14:35, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
TBH I was wondering if the bismuth/business joke was also a slight reference to Steven Universe, since the comic Hoverboard would indicate Randall is familiar with the show. 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I read bismuth as a pun on bi-monthly (or bi-month) for short. Most teams within a business will have a regular meeting every week or fortnight - the latter happening (typically) twice a month. 'Business' sounds closer, but doesn't fit so well logically for me. -- Ray
I don't think the SU connection is very likely because there's no real connection made to the show. I think that the first mention is just for the surrealism of it producing something unrelated to (and much less common than) carbon, and the second just for the pun (which, if I'm honest, probably made me laugh harder than all the actual good jokes on xkcd over the years). 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I actually mentioned the SU thing because that specific pun (bismuth/business) is used several times by the character Bismuth. 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
There are in fact two possibilities for the source of bismuth:
- Since 2006 in the European Union the usage of lead is restricted (see: RoHS). Like many other manufacturers IBM adopts this regulations on its Baseline Environmental Requirements For Supplier Deliverables to IBM for "Lead in solders for servers, storage and storage array systems." A common replacement is bismuth. Furthermore tin-bismuth has the advantage of its low melting point when used as solder.
- The smallest lead-bismuth cooled reactor Gen4 Energy would not fit into a server room. But a coal plant doesn't either so the statement needs some rework.
I'd agree with those above to remove reference to bismuth coming from mainframe solder - that would be 'extracting,' not producing. Whatever the mechanism, IMO the reasons are for the pun and ... because bismuth is stunningly beautiful! Miamiclay (talk) 18:59, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm amazed how far discussions can go to find the hidden meaning of a nonsensical sentence. Shirluban 22.214.171.124 12:27, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Shirluban, LOL! Remember, this is Beret Guy. He often mentions impossible things. I understand this to mean that something about how the server works makes it literally magically eject pieces of bismuth. And so does (presumably) Ponytail, as she predicts that metal piles up in the server room, which Beret Guy confirms. It seems pointless to try to figure out how this could realistically happen, Beret Guy is by nature unrealistic. :)
As for "carbon-neutral", it's my understanding that this is a widely accepted shortcut for the term "carbon-dioxide-neutral", just that this shortcut has the unintended side effect of leaving less intelligent people unaware that the "dioxide" is implied, and therefore thinking there's something wrong with carbon itself. I'm certain that this comic by no means is referencing carbon - the solid metal - itself. - NiceGuy1 126.96.36.199 04:38, 22 March 2017 (UTC)