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

by Randall Munroe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: What if? (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,7902181,413 (4.17)1 / 86
"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)
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» See also 86 mentions

English (213)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (218)
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
I am just not smart enough to retain the smartness in this book and I am not afraid to admit it, lol!

I am sure it was super well-researched and many people would be fascinated by the questions and answers, but it’s probably already all fallen out of my head since I listened to it. ( )
  snewell2 | Jun 24, 2024 |
1st read: May 2022
2nd read: February 2024

Original review:
I absolutely loved this book. The author did a great job writing things so that I could understand the science and enjoy the sheer ridiculousness described in this book. I'm so excited for the sequel, which is expected in September. (Yay!) ( )
  zeronetwo | May 14, 2024 |
Fun. Wish there were more biology scenarios, but very funny ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Fascinating science and hilarious. ( )
  wsampson13 | Mar 2, 2024 |
Classic Munroe. Nothing more needs saying. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Munroe, Randallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barry, PatrickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gleason, ChristinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kankaanpää, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwauka, SabineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pannowitsch, RalfÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Setterborg, GabrielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenn, GöstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svenn, Helena SjöstrandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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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
This book is a collection of answers to hypothetical questions. -Introduction
Global Windstorm
What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning but the atmosphere retained its velocity?
Quotations
They say there are no stupid questions. That's obviously wrong. [...] But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
"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. "--

No library descriptions found.

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

Posed as a simple question

Worst that could happen
(johnxlibris)

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Average: (4.17)
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1 4
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