The thing is, Perl treats the result of a false logical test as the empty string (in scalar context)
It's actually a dual (triple) var:
$ perl -MDevel::Peek -wE '$x = 1 < 0; Dump $x'
SV = PVNV(0x97f45a8) at 0x9805ad0
REFCNT = 1
FLAGS = (IOK,NOK,POK,pIOK,pNOK,pPOK)
IV = 0
NV = 0
PV = 0x9801438 ""\0
CUR = 0
LEN = 4
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