"What If?" by Randall "xkcd" Munroe is available on Kindle Unlimited

I'm a paying subscriber to Amazon Kindle Unlimited program. For $10 a month I can read as many books as I want from a huge list of excellent books.

One that I just got is Randall Monroe's What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. The book answers questions like "If every person on earth aimed a laser pointer at the moon at the same time, will it change color?" and "What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?" and "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 you don't yet have Kindle Unlimited and would like to check it out, you can try it for free for a month. Read the rest

Randall "XKCD" Munroe has a New York Times column where he answers weird science questions

Randall Munroe's "Good Question" column in the New York Times is in the vein of his How To and What If books, in which he answers weird science questions with equally weird thoroughness. Read the rest

HOW TO: XKCD's Randall Munroe finds the humor in taking silly questions very, very seriously

One of my favorite genres of book is the popular engineering book, a rare breed that combines physics and engineering to establish the full range of ways to address a problem (for example, if you want to talk about whether solar can ever replace fossil fuels, it's useful to know how many photons penetrate the Earth's atmosphere every day); no one does this genre better (or funnier) than Randall Munroe, the creator of the wonderful XKCD webcomic, whose 2014 book, What If? combines Dear Abby with extreme physics ("How fast would a human have to run in order to be cut in half at the bellybutton by a cheese-cutting wire?"); now there's a companion volume, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, which picks up where What If? left off. Read the rest

A free/open tool for making XKCD-style "hand-drawn" charts

Tim Qian, a "full stack developer and open source activist," has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, "hand-drawn" charts in the style of XKCD comics. It's pretty fabulous! (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Announcing: the tour for "How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems," Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book

[Randall Munroe traces the phenomenal success of his webcomic XKCD with this Boing Boing post; and I've avidly followed his career ever since (he's returned the favor), so I was delighted to learn in February that he had a new book coming out and I'm more delighted still to host the official announcement of his tour, which you can book extra dates for (see below) -Cory] Read the rest

HOW TO: Randall "XKCD" Munroe's forthcoming book of "absurd scientific advice"

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book has been announced: How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, a sequel of sorts to his 2014 book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, spun out of his wonderful XKCD spinout site. It's out on Sept 3, and the publisher's description makes it (as Kottke says) an instant pre-order: "For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad 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." Read the rest

XKCD on the dishonesty implicit in the sharing options in social media

The latest XKCD strip, "Sharing Options/#2016" is a brilliant and trenchant surfacing of the hidden rhetoric of social media, where your options are "permanently share with billions of people, including internet scammers, random predatory companies, and hostile foreign governments" or "a small set of 300 or so approved friends," and when this is questioned, the social media companies profess an inability to understand what other options could exist. Read the rest

12 ways to curve fit a bunch of random points

This xkcd comic reminds me of the way I make up my mind about things, and also how easy it is for other people to convince me to change my mind based on their curve-fitting biases. Read the rest

XKCD's security meltdowns for the coming year

Over at XKCD, Randall Munroe's predicted the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures for 2018, with some pretty solid predictions (especially under the tooltip, which finally reveals a secret that many of us have kept mum about for literal decades -- damn you, Munroe!). Read the rest

Cartoonist XKCD creates the ultimate lost phone security system

When you lose a phone you have limited options, like disabline it or taking remote photos. Cartoonist XKCD created a lost phone security system that I would love to have. Read the rest

Houseguests, technological literacy, and the goddamned wifi: a single chart

Randal Munroe nails it again in an XKCD installment that expresses the likelihood that your houseguests will be able to connect to your wifi (I confess to having been the "firmware" guide -- but also, having been reminded to do something about my own firmware when other difficult houseguests came to stay). Read the rest

XKCD's massive, vertical climate change infographic

Randall Munroe once again shows that he's one of the web's most talented storytellers, inventing ways of conveying information that use the web's affordances to novel and sharp effect (there's a reason he won a Hugo award). Read the rest

Garden: XKCD's latest maddening, relaxing webtoy

The latest XKCD is Garden, a webtoy that invites you to position lamps, adjust their spectrum and focus, and wait while your garden grows. Read the rest

XKCD is coming to America's science textbooks

Textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Randall Munroe's amazing Thing Explainer, and a lucky accident happened when someone in the textbook division noticed Munroe's amazing explanatory graphics, annotated with simple language (the book restricts itself to the thousand most common English words) and decided to include some of them in the next editions of its high-school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks. Read the rest

Size of pipelines needed to carry liquids consumed in the U.S.

xkcd's infographic show the "size of the U.S.'s pipelines if each fluid produced or consumed in the U.S. had to be carried by a single pipe." Read the rest

Hoverboard: massive, mysterious XKCD game (with a hidden story?)

Sgt Crispy writes, "XKCD creator Randall Munroe, has made a spiffy little hoverboard game. Looks to be small, however, when you realize that boundaries are made to be broken, A massive world opens up to be explored." Read the rest

Randall Munroe does a Q&A with stick-figure comics

Munroe's upcoming book, Thing Explainer, occasioned an interview in Time; in characteristically wonderful style, he answered all the questions with one-panel cartoons. (via /.) Read the rest

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