What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

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9781848549562: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

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

Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2014: What if everyone on earth aimed a laser pointer at the moon at the same time? What if you could drain all the water from the oceans? What if all the lightning in the world struck the same place? What if there were a book that considered weird, sometimes ridiculous questions, and it was so compelling that you found yourself skimming its pages to find out what would happen if you threw a baseball at light speed? With What If, Randall Munroe has written such a book. As he does in his extraordinarily popular xkcd webcomic, Munroe applies reason and research to hypothetical conundrums ranging from the philosophical to the scientific (often absurd, but never pseudo) that probably seemed awesome in your elementary school days—but were never sufficiently answered. It’s the rare combination of edifying and fun. —Jon Foro

About the Author:

Randall Munroe is the author of the popular webcomic xkcd and the science questionandanswer blog What If? Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond. After graduating with a degree in physics from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, he got a job building robots at NASA's Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the Internet full time, supporting himself through the sale of xkcd tshirts, prints, posters, and books. He likes candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach very long walks. Lots of people say they like long walks on the beach, but then they get out on the beach, and after just an hour or two, they say they're getting tired. Bring a tent. He lives in Massachusetts.

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