What If?

What If?

Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Downloadable Audiobook - 2014
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"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. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
ISBN: 9781483030159
Branch Call Number: eAUDIO OVERDRI
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
audio file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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JCLCharlesH May 27, 2020

Wil Wheaton does a great job narrating this wonderful book of fun and nerdy hypothetical situations. The deadpan delivery of the Munroe's wry wit while explaining nuclear physics is quite amusing. If you have ever wanted inspiration to learn more about the world around you, this is a place to begin.

Mar 12, 2017

The book is full of interesting scientific what ifs. And there was humor in it, and Wil Wheaton read the book. In retrospect, I think reading this book in small doses is the best way to appreciate the book. There are a lot of facts in this book I'll forget a week from now. It's a good bathroom read!

kirstd31 May 16, 2016

I loved this book. Its funny and educational. One day we will all be New Yorkers.

Apr 29, 2016

Absolutely amazing premise: apply detailed scientific analysis to random/absurd/impossible scenarios and see what happens.

Have you ever wanted to know what would happen if the entire population of the earth all jumped at exactly the same time... or what would happen if a baseball pitcher threw a ball towards the catcher at the speed of light? The best bits were when Munroe goes beyond the original scenario and describes unintentional consequences that would result in the wake of the experiment... oftentimes these would be detrimental to the Earth... or the Universe... Go with the audiobook on this one: Wil Wheaton nails it.

ellie_o Apr 04, 2016

It's basically a geeky kid's dream: a book of absurd questions, researched and answered seriously by the creator of XKCD and narrated by Wil Wheaton. I love the pop culture (or is it geek culture?) references, and the answers are so serious it's both fascinating and comical all at once. The only pitfall is that it's a long audiobook... I wound up taking a couple of months to finish it because I need strong characters to keep me engaged in a book, and this one just doesn't have any. I would probably recommend reading the physical book since it has comic illustrations, although any true geek should at least listen to a few of the best chapters read by Wheaton :)

natalie_g Apr 03, 2016

This book had me in a crazy state of thinking almost throughout the entirety! It's a great platform for higher thinking and conversation starters
Some of the 'what-ifs' ended up a little boring and seemed sort of inconsequential. Plenty of them were crazy-in a great way (what would a literal physical periodic table look like????). I would recommend this audio over and over.

ElizF Mar 30, 2016

Humorous anecdotes are used to answer scientific questions, making possibly boring topics extremely interesting and easy to understand. Wil Wheaton as the narrator just makes everything better!


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