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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to…
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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Randall Munroe (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0421532,100 (4.19)1 / 74
"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. "--… (more)
Member:DeclanM
Title:What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Authors:Randall Munroe (Author)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2014), Edition: First Edition, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (2014)

  1. 10
    13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks (Othemts)
  2. 01
    Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Rigorous scientific descriptions of ridiculous things
  3. 01
    Au fond du labo à gauche: De la vraie science pour rire by Edouard Launet (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: Discussions amusantes sur la science. Des questions hypothétiques, des expérimentations qui n’auraient jamais eu lieu d’être, et surtout l’envie de partager.
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» See also 74 mentions

English (149)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
Fantastic book. HIGHlarious. The only thing that's keeping me from giving it 5/5 is that I listened to it instead of reading it, and the narrator had some odd habits such as speaking very low at certain times. Yes, I did just criticize Wil Wheaton, which is a nerd sin punishable by death in some locales. I'm lucky I don't live in one of those places. ( )
  Jessica_Olin | Sep 17, 2020 |
Rating: 4.999999999999................ ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Very enjoyable, fun, and quick read. I like Randall Munroe's quirky humor, love his xkcd comic strip, and this book like his other one, is just as quirky, funny, interesting, and fun to read.

In this, he took 'what if' questions from his blog, and made a book of them. Crazy hypothetical questions that could never happen in real life. Example: "What if all of the lightening in the world hit one exact spot?" or "What if during a rainstorm it was just one giant raindrop?" He then breaks down the physics and what would actually happen if these events happened and its fascinating.

These preposterous scenarios are fun and a great way to learn more about how physics in the real world work. ( )
  BenKline | Sep 12, 2020 |
8/10: This is an enjoyable, and seemingly well-researched book, that does exactly what it says on the tin. You learn a little that's useful, and a lot of fascinating trivia. The humour is well-directed, and each chapter is exactly the right length. Recommended to armchair scientists everywhere. ( )
  mark_read | Aug 13, 2020 |
A fun, absurd, and informative book that I couldn't out down!

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe is a fun book! Crazy questions are answered but answered scientifically! He also puts in a section called Weird and Worrisome Questions which have some really strange questions and then shows a cartoon of him as if he was first reading it! Hilarious! Lots of his cartoons are sprinkled throughout the book! This book is funny but informative too. I had fun reading this and learned a few things besides the fact that some of my fellow earthlings are very strange indeed! 😁 ( )
  MontzaleeW | Aug 12, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Munroe, Randallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barry, PatrickCover designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gleason, ChristinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kankaanpää, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Setterborg, GabrielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenn, GöstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenn, Helena SjöstrandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
DISCLAIMER
Do not try any of this at home. The author of this book is an Internet cartoonist, not a health or safety expert. He likes it when things catch fire or explode, which means he does not have your best interests in mind. The publisher and the author disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting, directly or indirectly, from information contained in this book.
Dedication
First words
I was born in the United States, which means that as a child, I learned to think in feet, pounds, (US) gallons, and degrees Fahrenheit.

Preface to the UK edition : a note on units in the United Kingdom.
This book is a collection of answers to hypothetical questions.

Introduction.
Q. What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?

A. Nearly everyone would die. Then things would get interesting.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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. "--

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Book description
Haiku summary
Science is a tool
That can be used to answer
folks' freaky questions.
(lturpin42)

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