Cetaceans have lungs, meaning they breathe air. An individual can last without a breath from a few minutes to over two hours depending on the species. Cetacea are deliberate breathers who must be awake to inhale and exhale. When stale air, warmed from the lungs, is exhaled, it condenses as it meets colder external air. As with a terrestrial mammal breathing out on a cold day, a small cloud of 'steam' appears. This is called the 'spout' and varies across species in shape, angle and height. Species can be identified at a distance using this characteristic.
What's happening here is that timeout will run the subcommand and kill it if it doesn't exit within the specified timeout (1 second in the above example). In this case bash is the subcommand and uses its special /dev/tcp handling to try and open a connection to the server and port specified. If bash can open the connection within the timeout, cat will just close it immediately (since it's reading from /dev/null ) and exit with a status code of 0 which will propagate through bash and then timeout . If bash gets a connection failure prior to the specified timeout, then bash will exit with an exit code of 1 which timeout will also return. And if bash isn't able to establish a connection and the specified timeout expires, then timeout will kill bash and exit with a status of 124.