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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Randall Munroe
Format
Book
Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2014]
Language
English
ISBN
0544272994, 9780544272996, 0544456866, 9780544456860
Summary
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.
Contents
  • Global windstorm
  • Relativistic baseball
  • Spent fuel pool
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #1
  • New York-style time machine
  • Soul mates
  • Laser pointer
  • Periodical wall of the elements
  • Everybody jump
  • A mole of moles
  • Hair dryer
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #2
  • The last human light
  • Machine-gun jetpack
  • Rising steadily
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #3
  • Orbital submarine
  • Short-answer section
  • Lightning
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #4
  • Human computer
  • Little planet
  • Steak drop
  • Hockey puck
  • Common cold
  • Glass half empty
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #5
  • Alien astronomers
  • No more DNA
  • Interplanetary Cessna
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #6
  • Yoda
  • Flyover states
  • Falling with helium
  • Everybody out
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #7
  • Self-fertilization
  • High throw
  • Lethal neutrinos
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #8
  • Speed bump
  • Lost immortals
  • Orbital speed
  • FedEx bandwidth
  • Free fall
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #9
  • Sparta
  • Drain the oceans
  • Drain the oceans : part II
  • Twitter
  • Lego bridge
  • Longest sunset
  • Random sneeze call
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #10
  • Expanding Earth
  • Weightless arrow
  • Sunless Earth
  • Updating a printed Wikipedia
  • Facebook of the dead
  • Sunset on the British Empire
  • Stirring tea
  • All the lightning
  • Loneliest human
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #11
  • Raindrop
  • SAT guessing
  • Neutron bullet
  • Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #12
  • Richter 15.
Description
xii, 303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages [299]-303).
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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    a| Global windstorm -- Relativistic baseball -- Spent fuel pool -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #1 -- New York-style time machine -- Soul mates -- Laser pointer -- Periodical wall of the elements -- Everybody jump -- A mole of moles -- Hair dryer -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #2 -- The last human light -- Machine-gun jetpack -- Rising steadily -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #3 -- Orbital submarine -- Short-answer section -- Lightning -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #4 -- Human computer -- Little planet -- Steak drop -- Hockey puck -- Common cold -- Glass half empty -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #5 -- Alien astronomers -- No more DNA -- Interplanetary Cessna -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #6 -- Yoda -- Flyover states -- Falling with helium -- Everybody out -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #7 -- Self-fertilization -- High throw -- Lethal neutrinos -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #8 -- Speed bump -- Lost immortals -- Orbital speed -- FedEx bandwidth -- Free fall -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #9 -- Sparta -- Drain the oceans -- Drain the oceans : part II -- Twitter -- Lego bridge -- Longest sunset -- Random sneeze call -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #10 -- Expanding Earth -- Weightless arrow -- Sunless Earth -- Updating a printed Wikipedia -- Facebook of the dead -- Sunset on the British Empire -- Stirring tea -- All the lightning -- Loneliest human -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #11 -- Raindrop -- SAT guessing -- Neutron bullet -- Weird (and worrying) questions from the What if? inbox, #12 -- Richter 15.
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    a| 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.
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