Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical QuestionsBook - 2014
Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have an enormous, dedicated following, as do his deeply researched answers to his fans' strangest questions.
The queries he receives range from merely odd to downright diabolical:
• What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool?
• Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?
• What if a Richter 15 earthquake hit New York City?
• Are fire tornadoes possible?
His responses are masterpieces of clarity and wit, gleefully and accurately explaining everything from the relativistic effects of a baseball pitched at near the speed of light to the many horrible ways you could die while building a periodic table out of all the actual elements.
The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? is an informative feast for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.
From Library Staff
sit_walk Nov 16, 2017
You don't really need another opinion on this book, but here's one anyway: this book is witty, informative, and supremely readable. Just a blast! And you'll learn something too. :)
From the creator of the webcomic xkcd comes this collection of well-thought out responses to weird hypothetical science questions like whether it's possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns or if fire tornadoes are possible. Smart and funny, these responses are entertaining a... Read More »
aperl May 04, 2015
Have you ever thought What If? Filled with answers to questions when Google and Wikipedia fail you.
From the critics
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Ethan_4518 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 17
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And the author's math checked out unlike Lee Child's Jack Reacher books:
We’ll imagine our storm measures 100 kilometers on each side and has a high TPW (total precipitable water) content of 6 centimeters. This means the water in our rainstorm would have a volume of:
100km x 100km x 6cm = 0.6km^3
That water would weigh 600 million tons (which happens to be about the current weight of our species).
As comedian Ron White said about hurricanes, “It’s not that the wind is blowing, it’s what the wind is blowing.”
Search YouTube for “gallium infiltration” to see how strange this is.
apricity - This is my single favorite word in the English language. It means the warmth of sunlight in winter.
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