Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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|My Phone is Dying|
Title text: When it explodes, it will cast off its outer layers, leaving behind nothing but a slowly fading PalmPilot, calculator, or two-way pager.
Beret Guy's phone is about to "die". Cueball assumes this just means that the battery is running out and it needs to be recharged, but the phone in question appears to "die" in a way analogous to the life and death of a star: expending its fuel while heating up and expanding before ultimately losing its outer layers and becoming a white dwarf or similar "lesser" star.
Stars constantly undergo fusion reactions. The pressure generated by these reactions counteracts gravity, preventing it from collapsing the star during its main lifespan. As the hydrogen mostly fuses into helium in the core, the core gradually becomes more dense and the region of fusion gradually moves away from the center. Then, the star grows in size, reaching the stage of a Red Giant. When most of the "fuel" for fusion has been consumed, gravity will collapse the star into a white dwarf while the outer layers are shed. For stars much more massive than the Sun, there will be a supernova explosion caused by a violent collapse, which is very powerful. Heavier stars have shorter lifespans while producing more energy; Beret Guy probably references this when he refuses the charger.
Both a supernova explosion and the collapse of red giants into white dwarfs shed their outer layers, which is referenced in the title text. Once extra mass is added to the dying star, analogous to "charging", the process only accelerates. The phone seems to have a certain mass because Beret Guy expects it to go (super)nova. Charging the phone may lead to a type 1a nova.
The comic also plays on the release of two new iPhone models with bigger screens, planned for 2 days after the release of the comic.
The comic could be also explained by characteristics of Li-ion batteries, battery type used in 99.9% of cellphones. At the end of their useful life, battery grows a bit. In case of severe physical or thermal damage or multiple electrical failures, battery can indeed overheat, leading to run-away thermal reaction inside. That would result in battery growing and eventually exploding. Connecting charger to battery failing this way would probably make the process faster. (http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion).
[Beret Guy walks on-panel, carrying a smartphone]
- Beret Guy: My phone's about to die.
[The phone is now slightly larger, about the length of Beret Guy's arm]
- Cueball: Where'd you get a big iPhone? I didn't think they were out yet.
- Beret Guy: It's my regular one. It's just dying.
[The phone increases in size again. Beret Guy now holds it in both hands]
- Beret Guy: As it consumes its battery, it heats up and expands. Soon it will swell to enormous size, engulfing us both.
[The phone is now the size of Beret Guy's torso. Cueball is pointing off-panel]
- Beret Guy: Then it will collapse in a violent explosion!
- Cueball: …do you want to borrow my charger?
- Beret Guy: That would only make it run out faster!
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