Friday, September 26, 2014

What If, by Randall Munroe

What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe, is pretty much the most awesome book I've ever encountered.

Know this about me: Mythbusters is my favorite show, which, I suppose, makes me a nerd/geek/dork of the highest degree...but a sort of hip nerd/geek/dork, since the Mythbusters show still has a certain amount of cool associated with it (but for how long since Kari, Grant, and Tory are no longer going to be a part of the show?). This book is Mythbusters--and then some. In fact, What If attempts to use science (hypothetical, of course) to answer all the questions and quandaries the Mythbusters crew couldn't tackle because nearly all actual experiences would result in global annihilation...or, at the very least, certain and painful death.

So... what would happen if you sealed a running hair dryer up in an airtight box?

Or created an actual periodic table where each block was actually made out of the element it represented?

Or placed a nuclear bomb into the heart of a volcano in attempt to stop it from erupting? 

Or strapped C4 (see any Mythbusters episode) to a boomerang?

Or attempted to change the color of the moon's surface with 5 billion of the most powerful lasers in existence?

Of course these are just a select few of the things to ponder in this nearly 300 page book. There are, of course, silly questions as well. My favorite having to do with the actual energy output of Yoda's Force (I told you I was a nerd). And ones that would have far less devastating results (but still, you probably shouldn't try this at home).

Enhancing most Q & As are stick figure illustrations. Simplistic, but funny...and just graphic/accurate enough to drive the point home. 

So if you've ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook account after you die...or if it's possible to create a tornado by swinging a heavy object in a circle really fast (think the Thor movie)... or what would happen if all your DNA suddenly disappeared...

If you've ever wondered any of that, this book is for you.

Or if you've ever pondered the mysteries of the universe, this book is for you.

Heck, this book is probably for you anyway. Just check it out. --AJB

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