Thursday, March 26, 2015

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by Randall Munroe [500 Mun]

I've been a fan of Randall Munroe's online webcomic XKCD for many years -- he mixes heavy doses of sarcasm with a great deal of intelligence. His simple stick figure illustrations belie a very active mind behind the simplistic imagery. Some time ago, Munroe started a sideline to the XKCD strip, in which his readers and fans submit bizarre yet intriguing "What If" questions to him, which despite their patently absurd nature, he still attempts to answer. His answers combine his trademark humorous cartoons with rigorous scientific research, often with the assistance of experts in a variety of scientific fields. In this new hardback book (also available as an audiobook, narrated by actor and geek icon Wil Wheaton), Munroe gathers over 50 of these "serious scientific answers to absurb hypothetical questions", along with some lists of some of his favorite "Weird (and Worrying) Questions From the What If Inbox". Are you curious what the answers would be to the following questions -- "Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?", "What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% of the speed of light?", "How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?", "What if a rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?", or goofy questions like "How much Force power can Yoda output?" - look no further than this'll find your answers. Personally, my favorite parts of the book were the "rejected" questions that cause Munroe to worry abou the states of mind of his many readers. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the scientific research process, anyone who has a sarcastic sense of humor, or anyone who just likes pondering the unponderables! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ official What If page on the site of Randall Munroe's online XKCD webcomic ]

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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