This book opens with the best disclaimer I have ever seen:
"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."
That disclaimer really sets the tone for this fun book about science: Dangerous ideas ahead, folks! Don't get too close -- these things could kill ya!
Randall Munroe used to work at NASA, and now he creates the webcomic XKCD (which sounds less stressful than the NASA gig). On his website, he takes "absurd hypothetical questions" from readers and tries to answer some of them. Here are some of my favorite questions in this book:
What would happen if everyone on Earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?
If every human somehow simply disappeared from the face of the Earth, how long would it be before the last artificial light source would go out?
How long could a nuclear submarine last in orbit?
From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?
If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn't the common cold be wiped out?
Which US state is actually flown over the most?
Is there enough energy to move the entire current human population off-planet?
How high can a human throw something?
How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?
When, if ever, will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?
How quickly would the oceans drain if a circular portal 10 meters in radius leading into space were created at the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the ocean? How would the Earth change as the water was being drained?
How many Lego bricks would it take to build a bridge capable of carrying traffic from London to New York? Have that many Lego bricks been manufactured?
What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?
If you are interested to know any of the answers to those questions, this book is for you! What made this so much fun, aside from the ridiculous questions, is Munroe's sense of humor. Several times I laughed out loud at his drawings and his answers, which is not something that usually happens when I'm reading about science. Oh, and be sure to read his footnotes, which have even more jokes.
I think this book would be a great gift for kids who love to ask crazy questions about how the world works. I think I would have loved it when I was 10.
It is a book for all age, no doubt. It is absolutely good and fun to read and presented in such a simple language that any one with basic grasp of english can also understand it. It is a series of hypothetical science questions answered in a simple way with illustrations here and there to explain the point. Not a book to read at one go but take in bits and pieces....
It is an absolutely great book to gift to teenagers and kids (older than 9 yrs).
I Loved this book!.This book is literally for everyone,it has answers to so many weird questions we have but do not ask,the best part are the goofy drawings that explains the answer and lets you understand the answer in the simplest way!. This book sure is a treasure for all Nerds!.It would make a perfect gift for a Nerd. A Recommend book for everyone.
A perfect book for geeks. We only have conversations with friends about this kind of material and often times are not accurate in our discussions, but now you can impress your friends by using Science to argue and answer amazing questions like my personal favorite- can guns be used as a rocket.
If you are not aware of XKCD, you may find it somewhat arbitrary. Nonetheless, the book opens with interesting questions and answers them in a very meaningful way. Great narration for structured thinking. However, it was probably the compulsion to find 'n' number of problems to fill up so many pages that after a while, they become either repetitive or boring (or forcibly created) puzzles.
I recommended this book to anyone who are curious to *scientific* answers to absurd question like 'what if all people jump together'?. The author explains all this question in an extremely simple words with scientific facts.
Its interesting and most of all, exciting as when continued to read. This book answers the random questions in a simple language to understand. Recommended for the people having a basic knowledge about science. All rounds its a interesting book, includes so many random question as-what if " we all pointed laser at the moon, will it disappear" . A good book
It is dangerously addictive and leaves the reader to question their own sanity or burst out laughing or enjoy a dark moment. The quirky, stick-figures add a beautiful touch to it. All-in-all, an irresistible read.