Cover image for What if? : serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions
Title:
What if? : serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions
Author:
Munroe, Randall, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2014]
Physical Description:
xii, 303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
"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 a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical. "--
Language:
English
Contents:
Global windstorm -- Relativistic baseball -- Spent fuel pool -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #1 -- New York-style time machine -- Soul mates -- Laser pointer -- Periodical wall of the elements -- Everybody jump -- A mole of moles -- Hair dryer -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #2 -- The last human light -- Machine-gun jetpack -- Rising steadily -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #3 -- Orbital submarine -- Short-answer section -- Lightning -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #4 -- Human computer -- Little planet -- Steak drop -- Hockey puck -- Common cold -- Glass half empty -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #5 -- Alien astronomers -- No more DNA -- Interplanetary Cessna -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #6 -- Yoda -- Flyover states -- Falling with helium -- Everybody out -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #7 -- Self-fertilization -- High throw -- Lethal neutrinos -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #8 -- Speed bump -- Lost immortals -- Orbital speed -- FedEx bandwidth -- Free fall -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #9 -- Sparta -- Drain the oceans -- Drain the oceans : part II -- Twitter -- Lego bridge -- Longest sunset -- Random sneeze call -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #10 -- Expanding Earth -- Weightless arrow -- Sunless Earth -- Updating a printed Wikipedia -- Facebook of the dead -- Sunset on the British Empire -- Stirring tea -- All the lightning -- Loneliest human -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #11 -- Raindrop -- SAT guessing -- Neutron bullet -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #12 -- Richter 15.
ISBN:
9780544272996
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask

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.


Author Notes

Randall Munroe was born in Easton, Pennsylvania on October 17, 1984. He received a degree in physics from Christopher Newport University. He got a job building robots at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2006, he left NASA to draw comics on the internet full-time. He is the author of the popular webcomic xkcd, the science question-and-answer blog What If, and the New York Times bestseller What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Have you ever wondered at what point in history there were too many English-language books to read in one lifetime? Or what would happen to the Earth if the Sun didn't exist? Munroe has your answers. A former NASA roboticist, the author launched the weblog xkcd.com, which purposely has no phonetic pronunciation, in 2005. The blog's blend of math and science, sarcasm, and stick-figure drawings has gained a loyal following. (His etching of someone who reads a book on juggling, tries to juggle, fails, and immediately trashes the book is especially poignant.) In 2012, Munroe started answering reader-submitted hypotheticals using Internet research along with his own knowledge. That series, "What If," is the focus of this witty nonfiction debut, which features a plethora of new black-and-white cartoons. VERDICT Those who enjoyed the irreverent style of Allie Brosh's best-selling memoir, Hyperbole and a Half, will enjoy Munroe's serious and silly musings on everything from science to romance. One question submitted to his blog: "If all digital data were stored on punch cards, how big would Google's data warehouse be?" was even answered by the search-engine behemoth. The response, "No comment."-Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.