Sunday, April 26, 2015

What If?

by Randall Munroe

I love science. Not enough to actually become a scientist, mind you. That would involve work and I found out years ago that doing the work involved in science takes all the fun out of it. No, I much prefer to read about science--to let other people tell me what they've found out. In one sense, that describes this book. Mr. Munroe responds to a variety of questions with answers just dripping in science. Unfortunately, the questions are so absurd that it makes the book of little practical use. I mean, sure you can use the book to jack up a card table or something, but that has nothing to do with science. I mean, a book of poetry would work just as well. Anyway, nobody asks about making card tables level or any such practical matter. Instead they ask questions like if one could safely swim in a spent nuclear fuel pool or how quickly you could drain the oceans with a 10-meter hole. Of course, once I read these questions, I then must know the answers. Mr. Munroe kindly supplies them. In fact, if the answer is a bit boring, he takes it upon himself to run with the original concept to make the results more interesting. Actually, it does get a bit disturbing, because one way or another, the scenarios postulated often end up in a great deal of death and/or mayhem. I don't know what that says about Mr. Munroe or the company he keeps. But it does make me grateful that this book is so very impractical.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link


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