2049: Unfulfilling Toys

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 03:37, 22 September 2018 by (talk) (No-strings-attached Yo-yo)
Jump to: navigation, search
Unfulfilling Toys
We were going to do a falling-apart Rubik's cube that was just 27 independent blocks stuck together with magnets, but then we realized it was actually really cool and even kind of worked, so we cut that one.
Title text: We were going to do a falling-apart Rubik's cube that was just 27 independent blocks stuck together with magnets, but then we realized it was actually really cool and even kind of worked, so we cut that one.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please edit the explanation below and only mention here why it isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic lists and illustrates a number of classic toys that are missing a key piece or attribute that makes them work and/or that makes them unique. As such, they are not much fun[citation needed].

Rigid Slap Bracelet

Slap bracelets are flexible curved strips of spring steel that roll up and become a bracelet when you slap them against your wrist (This function operates on the same principle & basic design as the rolled band of metal inside a tape-measure). A rigid one would not twist and would be deeply frustrating and potentially painful.

Sealed Stomp Rocket

A stomp rocket has a rubber pouch full of air, connected via a hose to a vertical cylinder contained snugly within the base of an air propelled rocket. By stomping on the pouch, the air is forced out the top end of the cylinder, launching the rocket into the air. By sealing the air channel, the rocket would stay on the cylinder and the person would just be bounced into the air by the pouch -- acting like the world's smallest bouncy house -- or the pouch will burst rendering the toy even more useless.

Pump-only Supersoaker

A Super Soaker™ is a brand of water gun that works by first pumping air into the gun, thereby introducing pressurized air above the water, then releasing the water using the gun's trigger -- the extra pressure from the pumped air makes the water go much further than a traditional water gun which relies upon the pressure generated from a single pump of the trigger itself. In Randall's version, the water cannot be released, so the fun part of the water gun -- getting to spray your friends -- isn't available.

Glass Glow Stick

In a classic glow-stick, made of flexible plastic, one must first bend it enough to break the glass cylinder inside. This allows the chemicals inside to mix and begin glowing within the plastic tube. If the entire tube were made of actual glass, however, it would not only shatter into many sharp glass pieces, but would also cover the hands of the unfortunate user with a mixture of mild but not harmless chemicals.

Wingless Sky Dancer

In the original toy, a doll or figure with folded-up wings sits on top of a hand-held device with a wrapped string or other mechanism that lets it spin the doll very fast. As the doll spins, centrifugal force causes the wings to unfold and provide lift, and the doll rises up in the air and flies, spinning, sometimes going quite high. Without the wings, the doll will spin but otherwise remain flightless.

No-strings-attached Yo-yo

In a traditional yo-yo, one attaches a string to their finger and the other end of the string is looped around the shaft of the yo-yo, in such a way that it will hold the yo-yo but the yo-yo can still spin. In this case, the string is included but not attached to the yo-yo, so when the yo-yo reaches the end of its string it will fall off, instead of coming back to the person or spinning at the end of the string.

XKCD probably did not know this, but this is called off string yo-yoing and has been a division of the World yo-yo contest since 2003. It was popularized by yo-yo player Job Gates. It differs from the juggling you called a Diablo because the string is tied to a finger on one end and not tied to the yoyo at all. The return is accomplished with a twist of the string called a bind. A good example is here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tVpuh5aMhTQ

Title-text: Falling-Apart Rubik's cube

In order to build the magnetic Rubik's cube, you would need to embed magnets (like the little hockey-puck shaped ones for magnetic bulletin boards) in the the uncolored (inward-facing) sides of each cube. You would need to take care to have the correct pole of each magnet facing outward in order for it to work, but you can achieve that by having the corners and the central outside cubes use one pole (say north) facing outward and have the edge and center (hidden) cubes use the other pole (say south) facing outward. In that way each piece would be attracted to its correct neighboring piece and if you rotated a side, it would resist turning until you got half way around, then it would be drawn into the correct new position.

This also exists, is rather functional, and is the only way to make fun Rubik's cube shapes such as 1x5x5. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb8ENlS-5Go


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


The no string attached yo-yo exists and works rather well for those who know how to yo-yo (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Blinking heck, my Lord. I thought you meant one of those yo-yos with a loop at the end, but I've now seen people yo-ing into the air with detached strings and catching them again by whipping the spinning beast. 16:55, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

Pondy contributed a video for: "This also exists, is rather functional, and is the only way to make fun Rubik's cube shapes such as 1x5x5. See this video for a good example of this."

But this doesn't appear to be a good example at all. Those cubes are most definitely attached and you can see the presenter has to use quite a bit of force at some points to rotate. Can someone find a better example if it exists? -boB (talk) 16:51, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

The cubes are only attached magnetically. It takes a lot of force to break a lot of magnetic connections at once. Some of the cubes they actually take apart and you can see it’s just magnets. The video might be longer than ideal, but it does demonstrate the concept. 11:17, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
It is theoretically possible to build a cube with arbitrary dimensions without using magnets, though the mechanism required for certain shapes is much more complicated than a standard cube. Probably not Douglas Hofstadter (talk) 04:40, 23 September 2018 (UTC)

Isn't a wingless sky dancer just an upside down beyblade? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Broken toys

Toys often don't have a long lifetime, in particular children tend to act not much carefully and sometimes they even destroy them deliberately as a part of their playing. Parents know what I'm talking about. It can be annoying how fast kids are able to destruct things. So literally Randall just sells toys in a state in which they always end up anyway. Worth for the explanation? --Dgbrt (talk) 13:59, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

I'm sure I still have working toys somewhere that have survived my childhood. :) I think Randall just aims to deprive of the satisfaction of playing with them for children, thus the comic name "Unfulfilling Toys". -Asdf (talk) 14:47, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
"toys ... have survived my childhood" emphases exactly that what I'm saying. Most of them didn't survive... And try to remember your own annoyance about all those broken ones, there's probably not much in your memory, you just threw them away. But your parents were annoyed about all that waste. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:33, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
"Broken" != "Unfulfilling". Over this weekend, my son and I blitzed his dump, sorry, room. There were a large number of broken toys (especially those "Hero Mashers" action figures - lifetime measured in hours...) that I was not allowed to get rid of because he still plays with them. He has some perfectly intact items that are much more unfulfilling - racetracks where the track pieces don't quite match up leading to stuck cars (when new out of the box) being the one most guaranteed to create the disappointed face. 14:01, 24 September 2018 (UTC)

Wanna nerd-snipe the next commenters? 20:41, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

Glass glow-sticks? Isn't that the principle behind Mike Thompson's blood lamp. His design, in my opinion, is less fun than the design suggested in the current explanation. 23:41, 27 September 2018 (UTC)