2163: "Chernobyl"

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cheweytoo
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2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby cheweytoo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:03 pm UTC

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Title text: "You know when you can't hear your speakers, and you keep turning various volume controls up higher and higher in confusion, and then someone hits the mute button and there's a deafening blast of sound? That's basically what happened at Chernobyl."


That's… a surprisingly good analogy: Create all preconditions for a loud blast by exceeding limits on lots of settings, achieving just a very, very quiet hum – and then trigger the blast when things get inexplicably loud, by pressing what you think is the "always mute everything" button.

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irino
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby irino » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:09 pm UTC

Coincidentally, Hank Green just posted (about an hour before the comic) an explanation of the Chernobyl disaster on YouTube.

It's likely that both of these are motivated by the HBO series of the same name. Hank's definitely was as he says so in the description. I haven't watched it (the HBO one) but it seems quite internet popular at the moment.

Also, if you're looking for another explanation, check out the Wikipedia page.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Sableagle » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:40 pm UTC

irino wrote:Coincidentally, Hank Green just posted (about an hour before the comic) an explanation of the Chernobyl disaster on YouTube.
So did Scott Manley
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Flumble » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:42 pm UTC

The answer to "Did you like Chernobyl?" should not be "Yeah!". :roll:

irino wrote:it seems quite internet popular at the moment.

The marketing has worked superbly, because I have no idea how multiple people suddenly told be about its existence last week (just when the ...last episode was it(?), was released). Was it a trailer that trended on youtube in multiple countries? Did people feel the urge to watch anything HBO to fill the void left by game of thrones and the only good series they found was chernobyl? Did HBO advertise the series everywhere?

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby speising » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:00 pm UTC

That put me off as well for a moment, until I noticed the italics. But those are a bit hard to pronounce.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby somitomi » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:03 pm UTC

cheweytoo wrote:That's… a surprisingly good analogy: Create all preconditions for a loud blast by exceeding limits on lots of settings, achieving just a very, very quiet hum – and then trigger the blast when things get inexplicably loud, by pressing what you think is the "always mute everything" button.

As much as I like the analogy, it doesn't mention the effect that slowly decreases volume if you have it turned down for a long time or the design flaw that makes the mute button work the other way around.
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Reka
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Reka » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:59 pm UTC

One of my coworkers recommended Chernobyl to another coworker. He did his best to watch it, but kept falling asleep. I keep telling him, there's no law that requires you to finish watching a series just because you started watching it.

Personally, I have absolutely no interest in watching this documentary. Of course, unlike both coworkers mentioned, I'm old enough to remember Chernobyl when it happened. (The one who recommended it was alive when it happened, but was all of 4 or 5 years old - so [morbid thought alert!] if she gets cancer later in life, she can probably blame the disaster[/morbid]. The other coworker is a snot-nosed brat, ahem, sorry, is under 30.)

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:20 am UTC

There are some real top-notch galleries on Imgur that probably did a lot to keep interest percolating to the point that a series seemed like a great idea. This one is from 2015: https://imgur.com/a/TwY6q .

Pumps driving the flow of water rely on electricity generated by the plant’s own turbines, but in the event of a blackout the electrical supply can be switched to the national grid. If that fails, diesel generators on site will automatically start up to power the water pumps, but these take about 50 seconds to gather enough energy to operate the massive pumps. [...]

In the early morning of April 26th 1986, a team of men at the power station were testing a safety feature of the RBMK design that allowed the system to power the pumps by itself for that vital minute before the diesel engines took over. If a power failure occurred, the fission reaction would still be producing heat, while the remaining water in the pipes would continue its momentum for a short time and therefore steam would still be produced. In turn, the turbines would still rotate and generate electricity, albeit at an exponentially falling capacity. This residual electricity could be used to drive the water pumps for a few vital moments, giving the diesel generators sufficient time to get up to speed and take over, and it’s the hardware behind this that was being tested.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby xtifr » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:26 am UTC

Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby somitomi » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:12 am UTC

Reka wrote:Personally, I have absolutely no interest in watching this documentary. Of course, unlike both coworkers mentioned, I'm old enough to remember Chernobyl when it happened. (The one who recommended it was alive when it happened, but was all of 4 or 5 years old - so [morbid thought alert!] if she gets cancer later in life, she can probably blame the disaster[/morbid]. The other coworker is a snot-nosed brat, ahem, sorry, is under 30.)

It's more of a dramatization than a documentary, but I can understand that. A similar conversation took place between my father and my older sister.
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Mabuse7
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Mabuse7 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:32 pm UTC

Reka wrote:[morbid thought alert!] if she gets cancer later in life, she can probably blame the disaster[/morbid]


Unless she lived in the Ukraine/Belarus/Western Russia area at the time of the disaster and that cancer is thyroid cancer then no, she probably can't.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby SpitValve » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:14 am UTC

Flumble wrote:The marketing has worked superbly, because I have no idea how multiple people suddenly told be about its existence last week (just when the ...last episode was it(?), was released). Was it a trailer that trended on youtube in multiple countries? Did people feel the urge to watch anything HBO to fill the void left by game of thrones and the only good series they found was chernobyl? Did HBO advertise the series everywhere?


They released it when Game of Thrones was airing but winding down, when they probably had the peak number of HBO subscribers. In the UK, we get these shows through Now TV and/or Sky Atlantic, and Now TV was doing big pushes to promote Chernobyl on the main screen of the app. It was also a mini-series that was released entirely in one dump, and it's all a continuous story that's very marathonable. I guess the idea is that lots of people (including me) unsubscribed as soon as Game of Thrones finished, and they're using that window to try to convince everyone that they have other quality stuff to watch.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby gressc1 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:19 pm UTC

I'm looking forward to Randall's next book Disaster Explainer.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:30 pm UTC

xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Old Bruce
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Old Bruce » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:33 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:47 pm UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:59 pm UTC

By the way, for those who enjoyed Gorky Park and subsequent novels,
Arkady Renko spends a lot of time around Priyapat in "Wolves Eat Dogs."
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Moose Anus » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:09 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"
Touch your thumb tip to your pointer and middle finger tips on both hands, hold up the hands, and say-a the word-as like-a this-a. "Oh, you mean-a Chernobyl-a, not Chernobyl!"
Lemonade? ...Aww, ok.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:26 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"
There's several things you can do. You can change the pitch or volume of your voice, the speed you say something, and the length of your pauses between words. People will listen for those linguistic queue even if they're not aware that they are doing it.

For this situation, I'd probably pronounce Chernobyl in a sightly higher pitch with slightly elongated pauses before and after.
For bold I'd higher volume and slower.
For a subordinate clause (like something in parenthesis), I'd use a slightly lower pitch for the duration.
Who don't know that question marks are a higher pitch at the end?
Using colons: lower pitch immediately before punctuation and elongated pause.
I use semicolons; with a higher pitch immediately after and a shortened pause.
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Aubri » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:57 am UTC

I'm actually kind of angry about how accurate the alt text is.

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Old Bruce
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Old Bruce » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:53 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"

Writing came after speech so I guess you mean emphasis? It is noticed in speech. Hard to put down on paper, so underlining was invented.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:15 pm UTC

Old Bruce wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
xtifr wrote:Since I had no idea there was a show named Chernobyl, I figured that the two had just visited the actual Chernobyl, which seemed like an odd holiday destination...
At first I thought that was going to be the joke. One character talking about the show, the other talking about the actual event.

I think we have all had conversations like that.

Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"

Writing came after speech so I guess you mean emphasis? It is noticed in speech. Hard to put down on paper, so underlining was invented.

I think what he means is a spoken equivalent of the convention of italicizing titles of things in writing to indicate that they are titles rather than words being used in their normal way, a kind of use-mention distinction. You could use spoken emphasis to convey the italics, just like italics are used to transcribe emphasis, but I at least don't read italicized titles with emphasis in my mental voice, so it would seem weird to speak them aloud that way.
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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby AndrewGPaul » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:38 pm UTC

I'd just say "that Chernobyl series", then it won't sound like a small rodent has nibbled on my undercarriage mid-sentence. :)

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Mikeski » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:04 pm UTC

AndrewGPaul wrote:I'd just say "that Chernobyl series", then it won't sound like a small rodent has nibbled on my undercarriage mid-sentence. :)

Exactly. Keep up with this "making spoken language match the text form" and we'll all have to turn our heads sideways to smile.

Er, wait, we have emoji now. Japan saves us from widespread chiropractic issues!

But we'll still need different emphases for italics and underlines, so you know if it's a magazine article or a book title that's being spoken of. And more for bold and ALL CAPS, I suppose. You can't just use volume for all four.

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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby colonel_hack » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:15 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:But we'll still need different emphases for italics and underlines, so you know if it's a magazine article or a book title that's being spoken of. And more for bold and ALL CAPS, I suppose. You can't just use volume for all four.

I've seen (and used) air underline (draw a line with your finger), air italics (hands flat & tilted, kind of like ascii /italics/). Also, air period though it is usually pronounces and given a sound effect (I said don't do that. Period. P[fast raspberry]t.) or air exclamation point though mostly I've only heard air quotes said.


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Re: 2163: "Chernobyl"

Postby Solra Bizna » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:20 am UTC

Moose Anus wrote:
orthogon wrote:Is there a way of indicating italics in speech? Some kind of gesture, like air quotes? "Oh, you mean Chernobyl, not Chernobyl!"
Touch your thumb tip to your pointer and middle finger tips on both hands, hold up the hands, and say-a the word-as like-a this-a. "Oh, you mean-a Chernobyl-a, not Chernobyl!"

It took me a few moments, but then I laughed hard enough that my roommate got concerned.

I showed him your post, and when he was done laughing, he explained that to do the gesture properly, you also have to clasp your hands tightly and wiggle them up and down. (He's Italic Italian.)


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