XKCD creator Randall Munroe has announced that Houghton Mifflin will collect his amazing What If? science columns into a book called What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, to be published in September 2014. It will include in-depth answers to questions that he hasn't yet answered online, as well as expanded and updated versions of his previous columns.
What If? is one of my Internet must-reads, and I look forward to each new installment, and always read it with delight.
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Carol writes, "After a much-needed break, this week Phil & Kaja Foglio started up a new story arc on their multiple-Hugo-award-winning 'Girl Genius' comic series.
This new story arc is a good place for new readers to jump in, as Agatha Heterodyne sets out on a new adventure.
'Girl Genius' is a long-form series, with three new full-color comic pages posted on the site each week. Updates appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 'Girl Genius' has been running since 2001, following the gaslamp fantasy adventures of Agatha, the titular girl genius mad scientist."
I love this stuff. Here's my review of the novel version of the story.
Here we are, back with the second act of the Girl Genius story!
In Now, the latest XKCD cartoon, Randall Munroe provides a handy, continuously updated way to visualize the current time all over the world. I happen to know that Munroe is an inveterate long-distance driver who likes to pass the hours on the road by calling friends; I imagine that a wheel like this would be handy for helping him figure out which continent he should be searching for in his address-book in order to find conversational partners at any hour of day.
Hugh sez, "What's wrong with Oakland's proposed Domain Awareness Center? This new comic by Susie Cagle lays out the issues."
The Testing Ground for the New Surveillance
The latest installment in Randall Munroe's XKCD "What If?" series is called Paint the Earth and it is amazing. One of Munroe's readers wanted to know "Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth?" and Munroe uses this as a springboard for explaining Fermi estimation, a powerful, counter-intuitive tool that has applications in many fields.
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In Frequency, the latest XKCD cartoon, Randall Munroe has assembled a grid of animated GIFs representing various events in the universe, each keyed to blink in the frequency in which they occur in reality. As with the best of Munroe's work, it's a mix of the trenchant and the silly, and the juxtapositions are smart and provocative. There's real genius in putting "50,000 plastic bottles are produced" and "50,000 plastic bottles are recycled" next to each other, the former blinking much more often than the latter -- but the best part is "A Sagittarius named Amelia drinks a soda," just above them, mixing up the alarming and the humorous.
The other juxtapositions are just as delicious -- one birth/one death; China builds a car/Japan builds a car/Germany builds a car/US builds a car/someone else builds a car; someone buys "To Kill a Mockingbird"/someone's cat kills a mockingbird -- and so on. This being XKCD, you can be sure that Munroe has an absurdly well-thought-through process for establishing and documenting his numbers, too.
The tool-tip notes that he wanted to include pitch-drops in the chart, but "it turns out the gif format has some issues with decade-long loops."
In today's Diesel Sweeties strip, R. Stevens nails the social role of Google Glass in the 21st century.
Wearable computing is the new Bluetooth headset
Back in October, I predicted that I would love the long-awaited Hyperbole and a Half book, adapted from Allie Brosh's absolute treasure of a webcomic. One of the highlights of my winter holiday so far has been gobbling up this book as quick as I could cram it into my eyeballs, a task complicated by being frequently convulsed with laughter -- at least when my heart wasn't being torn out.
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Britons, take note: Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives has a timely reminder about the London Police's new powers. The new biting powers will be useful alongside the ASBO, detention without charge, the right to seize domain names, illegal harvesting of innocent peoples' DNA, the right to arrest you for reading things that might help terrorists, the right to kettle legal demonstrations, the right to shoot people in the street, the right to beat people standing near demonstrations to death, the right to arrest you for taking pictures that might help terrorists, and all the other legal doctrines that are so consistent with all the invisible words in our "unwritten constitution."
New Police Powers
(via Boing Boing Flickr Pool)
Zack sez, "Jeff Smith of BONE and RASL fame takes to the web with this new webseries about a prehistoric man who becomes the first human to leave Africa. It's colorful and inventive, and very different from his past work -- but with plenty of its charm and suspense."
Adam "Ape Lad" Koford's published a new collection of his wonderful Laugh-Out-Loud Cats comics, Down with the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats. The collection is pure, distilled charm.
The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats are the lineal descendants of strips like Peanuts, which mixed extremely contemporary references (in this case, references to Internet slang) with a timeless, childlike humor, and great character design. Pip and Kitteh are eternal hobos on the backroads of the Internet age, shamelessly mixing puns and sight gags in a way that is purely sweet.
As a bonus, this volume is interspersed with the hobo illustrations Ape Lad did for Hodgman's Areas of My Expertise. If you love cute animals, hobos, and Internet humor, you will love The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats.
See also: Gweek 121: The Return of Ape Lad
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, creator of Modern Tales
, online comics trail-blazer, podcaster and author, died last week at 48
. Many tributes are being posted to his Facebook page
; Kevin Melrose published an obituary
at Comic Book Resources.
He “was a true pioneer of webcomics,” retailer and convention organizer Chris Butcher wrote last night on Twitter. Cartoonist T Campbell went more in-depth about Manley’s contributions on his blog, writing, “There was a brief moment, hard to remember now, when webcomics and the Web in general seemed to be unsustainable through advertising. Ad rates were in freefall, panicking artists who, a few years prior, had thought they were more or less set for life. Joey knew how to talk to people, how to bring talent together, and he was the one willing to address the elephant in the room: maybe we needed to change the business model.”
Today's XKCD webcomic, Substitutions, proposes a set of word-substitutions to "make reading the news more fun." Naturally, it's already a Chrome extension.
xkcd substitutions extension
(via Hacker News)
Diesel Sweeties creator R. Stevens has some advice for Millennials who are having a hard time finding work in the modern economy. It's so simple!
Six Totally Easy Tips For Millennials To Get Ahead In Today’s Economy
(via Wil Wheaton)
XKCD's Headlines presents a timeline of the 20th century with the major milestones summarized in A/B tested, linkbaity, listicle headlines.
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