308: Interesting Life

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Interesting Life
Quick, fashion a climbing harness out of a cat-6 cable and follow me down.
Title text: Quick, fashion a climbing harness out of a cat-6 cable and follow me down.

[edit] Explanation

'May you live in interesting times' is supposedly a Chinese curse, and depending on which 'interesting' period of Chinese history you were thinking about, one supposes that it could indeed be quite threatening, even if the attribution is apocryphal. The quote also provides the title of the Terry Pratchett novel Interesting Times, which takes place in a fictional counterpart of China.

Cueball is shown here as an office worker, a job which to most people is the opposite of interesting. This is contrasted with Megan who is rappelling down the outside of his office building, for no apparent reason other than because she can, and inviting him on an adventure. Things are bound to get at least one kind of "interesting" very fast.

The title text refers to Cat6 cable, which is more commonly known as Ethernet cable. It would be easily found in an office building, since it is used to connect computers to a network. Its usefulness as climbing rope is indeterminate.[citation needed]

[edit] Transcript

[On the left hand side of the panel is a cutaway of several floors of an office, in gray. On the right side a blue sky with clouds, and green hills. Hanging from a cable is Megan, clearly having rappelled down the side of the building.]
Megan: You know how some people consider "May you have an interesting life" to be a curse?
Cueball at the office: Yeah...
Megan: Fuck those people. Wanna have an adventure?
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Discussion

The "interesting life" is a reference to a purported Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." There is no such curse recorded in Chinese -- it's apocryphal.

The adventure is being contrasted with working a 9-5 job in a cubicle farm, considered a boring and safe occupation. 66.202.132.250 18:36, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

This makes me think of the early scene in the Matrix, where Morpheus tries to convince Mr. Anderson (Neo) to escape his office through the window. 173.245.52.204 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Someone should actually perform the tensile test on the cat6 cables. Does anyone have access to such equipment? It is very likely that it varies highly across different brands. If anyone does have access, I can provide samples of different brands for testing. BK201 (talk) 17:15, 12 December 2013 (UTC)BK201

Check the box of cable next time you get a shipment. The tensile strength is shown as a "do not exceed" weight. The one in our data closet says "Do not exceed 30lb/13.6kg pull". Beyond that, the cable will be damaged. Assume the company is cutting the tensile strength in half to avoid lawsuits, the tensile strength would be 60lb - less than an average adult. Further, if you are just holding onto the cable and you didn't fashion a harness, the insulation around the outside of the cable has a far lower tensile strength than the metal wiring. It is designed to easily separate when pulled. So, you'd quickly end up holding a strip of insulation as it slides off the internal wires. 108.162.237.161 15:11, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

A minor point, but Megan appears to have come to the end of her rope, could this be another hidden metaphor? 141.101.98.194 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Cat-5/6 cable can be damaged at a tension much lower than its tensile strength. Most ethernet cable is twisted-pair, that is two wires that are literally twisted around each other. Given the high frequencies used in networking, this twisting has to be extremely precise; any stretching or extreme bending will create noise (EMI) problems which will destroy the cable's ability to carry digital packets. Cat-5 is never used where its tensile strength is an issue. Going from specs, Cat-5 usually uses 24AWG copper which, according to spec, has a minimum tensile strengh of 10lbs. Given 8 wires, the minimum strength would be 80 lbs due to copper alone. The sheath and insulation provide additional strength. So long as the office guy is in the 150lb range using Cat-5 would likely work. However, that cable would likely never carry another packet. 70.167.40.88 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
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