A cosmologist is someone who studies the universe; cosmology is a branch of astronomy. When describing the composition of stars in astronomical terms, metals are all the elements heavier than helium. This definition of metal is significantly broader than the one used outside astronomy. Likewise, this chart of musical genres describes everything "heavier" than pop as metal. The standard conception of elemental metals is a subset of the astronomical conception of metals; likewise, here the musical genre metal is presented as a subset of the genres cosmologists consider metal.
Randall may have decided to portray pop music in a similar way to the elements helium and hydrogen as a reference to the "pop test", the test for hydrogen as a product of a chemical reaction. Possibly simultaneously, he may be thinking of how one might "pop" a helium balloon, thus the "pop" analogy pulls double duty as a reference for both elements.
Cosmologists also study the history and future of the universe, and the title text refers to the Big Bang. At roughly 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang, the inflationary epoch ended, causing a large number of quarks, anti-quarks, and gluons to come into existence. In inflationary cosmology, this point is considered to be the end of the Big Bang. Randall jokingly refers to it as "post-" because nearly the entire history of the universe is after this instant. This is a reference to types of music with "post-" in their names, e.g. post-rock, post-punk, post-metal.
Music genres according to...
| Hip hop
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!
An ultra-early comic, after the prior quite-early one. Is Randall (suddenly now) getting enough sleep? 126.96.36.199 08:31, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
- Perhaps his sleep schedule has become completely hopeless instead. 188.8.131.52 11:08, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
- what do you mean ultra early?
- (Remember to sign...) As a metric, look at the page-creation times of the last few comic pages (i.e. View History). The times, at least for me as an anon-IP with no settings changed, are that of the server's home, not Randall's, but consistent tor all that.
- Quite often, the comic page is created shortly after midnight and the auto-filled date has to be corrected to the assumption it was published on the Mon/Wed/Fri by Randall, not the Tue/Thu/Sat of the server (which seems to check/listen for a new comic periodically, ready to create and pre-populate the page ASAP after it is commentable-about).
- Wednesday (prior comic) was very much still within Wednesday, and this one was about twenty hours ahead of normal (4am, server's Friday, rather than midnight+ on server's Saturday). No sign yet of Monday, when I checked just now, so perhaps ⅔rds of last week was just a transient anomaly. 184.108.40.206 13:27, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
- Can we find a match between publication times and the 28-hour-week? 220.127.116.11 10:09, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Is the 'pop' not considered a metal possibly referring to the 'pop test' for Hydrogen gas that I had to do hundreds of times in high school? 18.104.22.168 10:13, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Is "Lite" a play on "Light" - i.e. photons during the big bang?22.214.171.124 17:39, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
- Nope. (Probably not, anyway.)126.96.36.199 18:31, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Why 'pop' is 'lite'?
188.8.131.52 19:29, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
I'd say it's because pop is the most commonly played music genre, just as hydrogen and helium are the most common elements. 184.108.40.206 20:35, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Surely Pop is 'Lite' because it refers to the Big Bang - or 'Big Pop' in this case. And it was all Hydrogen or helium at that moment therefore 'lite' not 'metal'.
- I get why pop is lite, but why "Lite". Is that a collective term in cosmology for Hydrogen and Helium? Kapten-N (talk) 07:21, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that astronomers don't always refer to non-H/He stuff as "metal". When you start talking about exoplanets, asteroids and meteoroids, there's a different classification (albeit nearly as reductive):
- Gas: H2 and He
- Ice: anything made out of CHON
- Rock: basically the ordinary meaning - mostly metal silicates and sulfides
- Metal: native metals
Each of these has much less variation in density and volatility than the variation between categories (I listed them in ascending order of density and descending order of volatility), so these tend to stick together both in terms of what stays on a planet and in terms of forming layers on a planet (e.g. Earth has no Gas, a light dusting of Ice in the form of the biosphere and oceans, Rock crust and mantle, and a Metal core; Neptune's outer layers are Gas, most of the planet is Ice, and the core is Rock and Metal). Magic9mushroom (talk) 05:57, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
- That calls for a sequel involving both drugs and music. I don't see how to make sex fit. --220.127.116.11 08:47, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
I assumed pop->bang->big bang->(let there be) lite
Ysth (talk) 08:03, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
This is most likely in reference of https://xkcd.com/2205 where approximation in cosmology is usually in orders of magnitude instead of precise value. In this case only "pop" music is lite and everything else is "metal" with nothing in between. 18.104.22.168 15:57, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Fun fact (feel free to delete if not allowed): you can take any of the genres on the left and combine it with "metal" to get a subgenre of metal that actually exists!
- "Metal Metal"??? (And remember to Sign, just for courtesy...). 22.214.171.124 19:21, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
- Not exactly, but quite close: https://nanowarofsteel.bandcamp.com/track/true-metal-of-steel Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:52, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
- Wait, are there subgenres called "Latin Metal" and "Folk Metal"?126.96.36.199 18:56, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
- Why, sure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_metal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_metal Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:58, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
I'm trying to figure out why cosmologists don't consider "Dance/Electronic" to be "Plasma" 188.8.131.52