How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems (Hardcover)
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The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the #1 New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer
For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.
Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a 90's kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun.
By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.
About the Author
Randall Munroe is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer, the science question-and-answer blog What If, and the popular webcomic xkcd. A former NASA roboticist, he left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full-time. He lives in Massachusetts.
Praise for How To:
“A witty, educational examination of ‘unusual approaches to common tasks’ . . . generously laced with dry humor . . . Munroe’s comic stick-figure art is an added bonus. . . . Apart from generating laughter, the book also manages to achieve his serious objective: to get his audience thinking.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An enjoyable treat for fans of logic puzzles, brain hacking, kaizen, mad science, and other forms of mental stimulation.” --Kirkus Reviews
“Munroe (creator of the webcomic xkcd; What If?; Thing Explainer) creates another fun series of questions and answers that explore forces, properties, and natural phenomena through pop-culture scenarios . . . With illustrated formulas that humorously explain the science behind Munroe’s conjectures, this book is sure to entertain and educate thinkers from high school on up.” --Library Journal
Praise for What If?:
“To reinvigorate your sense of cosmic wonder...breeze through former NASA scientist Munroe's lively answers--peppered with line drawings--to some pretty bizarre questions about life, the universe, and everything else...Extreme astrophysics and indecipherable chemistry have rarely been this clearly explained or this consistently hilarious.” --Entertainment Weekly "10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year"
“Consistently fascinating and entertaining...Munroe leavens the hard science with whimsical touches... An illuminating handbook of methods of reasoning.” --Wall Street Journal
“It's fun to watch as Munroe tackles each question and examines every possible complication with nerdy and methodical aplomb.... The delightfully demented What If? is the most fun you can have with math and science, short of becoming your own evil genius.” --Boston Globe
Praise for Thing Explainer:
“Brilliant...a wonderful guide for curious minds.” --Bill Gates
“Required reading for the curious.” --Popular Science
“This book is a feast for the eyes and a party for your brain. I cannot more highly recommend that you get this for yourself, your favorite nerd, or someone who just loves beautiful drawings.” --Scientific American