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

by Randall Munroe

Other authors: Patrick Barry (Cover designer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0691801,703 (4.18)1 / 77
"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)
  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 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 77 mentions

English (175)  German (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
Informative book, American tilt - unsurprising. Good read. ( )
  BookLeafs | May 26, 2022 |
Skemmtileg úttekt á útúrfurðulegum pælingum varðandi ólíklegustu hluti. Munroe er grínmyndateiknari sem ég hef haft gaman af að lesa enda fínn húmoristi. Hann starfaði hjá NASA og myndasögur hans endurspegla tækniþekkingu hans. Þegar hann var farinn að fá mikinn fjölda spurninga um hin ólíklegustu atriði tók hann sig til og gaf út þessa bók þar sem hann gefur svör við flestum spurninganna en með skemmtilegum útúrsnúningum og einstaka grínmyndum.
Fínasta lesning en verður fljótt þreytandi enda tók ég mér gott hlé á henni þótt mér tækist að klára hana á endanum. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
I was so excited when this arrived at last. Love, love, love it. :) ( )
  Malaraa | Apr 26, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this as a book to dip into when I needed a quick read. Funny, interesting and the science was comprehensible to a layman like me. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Hardcover – by Randall Munroe

Why I picked this book up: I recently purchased thee “If” books by 2 different authors, by ‪ Evelyn McFarlane (random questions I use at the dinner table) and Mark Batterson (Christian based questions). I like science and am interested in hearing well reasoned, mathematical answers to the questions like these sorts of things so I picked it up ‬

Thoughts: Randall Munroe's has a webcomic, XKCD.com , and wrote this good bathroom book (IMO) this is a fun compilation from his blog- What if? Readers present him with absurd questions. He started asking his mom questions as a kid, learned math, studied engineering and wrote these answers that I enjoy which stimulate my brain. Many of these answers hypothetically went pretty deep. I found the book pretty fun to read and consider.

Why I finished this read: I finished because, even though some were not that interesting (IMO but it was not that it was poorly examined but I was not that into them no offense intended but maybe too much sometimes) and there were many chapters, I finished so I wouldn’t miss any interesting questions and answers. I like that he consults with friends and computer sites too.

Overall this book was a winner and I rated it at a 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  DrT | Mar 8, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Munroe, Randallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barry, PatrickCover designersecondary authorall 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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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.
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.)
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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. "--

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: (4.18)
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