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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common…

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems (edition 2019)

by Randall Munroe (Author)

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227679,648 (4.26)11
The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the #1 New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole. Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a 90's kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun. By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.… (more)
Title:How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
Authors:Randall Munroe (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2019), 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe (Author)



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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This claims to be the world's least helpful self-help book. More specifically, it looks at everyday questions like "how do I get to my meeting in time?" and investigates possible solutions like calling the Department of Transportation and asking them to change the time zone, or slowing down Universal Coordinated Time by smuggling in large lead balls to relativistically slow down time around the atomic clocks it's based on.

Munroe, of course, is the author of the xkcd webcomic, and the book is richly illustrated with stick figure drawings in the style of the comic. It's good fun, and it may even teach you a few useful things. It'll definitely teach you a few interesting ones.
1 vote AndreasJ | Oct 19, 2019 |
Witty scientific explorations of how to do silly things like filling a swimming pool with bottled water. It was as well-done as previous volumes, but it was hard not to read an undercurrent of doubt about whether we as a species/planet will survive the next few hundred years in anything like our current state of capability. ( )
  rivkat | Oct 11, 2019 |
Funny as always with lots of interesting scientific insight! ( )
  Guide2 | Oct 11, 2019 |
Randall Munroe’s book contains wildly impractical but scientifically rooted advice on how to jump really high, move house, cross a river, or take the best selfie. Some chapters feature advice from experts such as Serena Williams (who illustrated how to take down a drone with a tennis ball) and Chris Hadfield (who gamely answered questions about all sorts of emergency landings). All of the advice is illustrated with Munroe’s traditional stick-figure drawings that make the book even funnier (the “Nutrition facts” for lava nearly made me choke on my lunch). And best of all, every chapter contains references that you can follow for more information about the equations and research that were used to put the book together. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with the chapter on emergency landings being my favourite. And I admired how much fun this book makes physics—plugging variables into an equation allows us to ask, for example, how thick a pool made of Gruyère cheese would need to be in order to hold all the water in.

Highly recommended if you like xkcd and/or weird science. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Sep 29, 2019 |
The latest work of scientific insanity by xkcd cartoonist Randall Munroe purports to offer up "absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems." Some chapters do precisely that, such as the one that suggests filling a swimming pool by purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bottled water and then opening the bottles using a nuclear weapon. Some -- OK, a very few -- might actually be kind of handy, such as the chapter that offers up a fairly simple formula for estimating how far anyone can throw any object. (You can play around with that one a bit here.) Others -- lots of others -- illustrate interesting scientific principles by contemplating ridiculous extreme possibilities. Pretty much all of them are very much Do Not Try This at Home. Seriously, please do not destroy any moons of Mars in an attempt to power your house. Thank you.

As always with Randall Munroe, it's a lot of whimsical, deeply nerdy, and occasionally slightly alarming fun. ( )
  bragan | Sep 8, 2019 |
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Do not try any of this at home. The author of this book is an internet cartoonist, not a health or safety expert.
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