Review: “What If?” by Randall Munroe

Thumbs up for What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Humor/science.

I love Randall Munroe’s webcomic xkcd so very much. If you are even slightly nerdy and have not read it I am going to gently shoo you in that direction. Okay? We good? Well, his book—which is, exactly as billed, serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions—had me in stitches. I’m not sure which section was my favorite: possibly the “Periodic Wall of the Elements” (examining what would happen if you tried to build a wall in the form of the periodic table with each block actually made from its element). Spoiler: you would destroy a large chunk of the world. Bigger spoiler: the world gets destroyed a lot in this book. You need this for your coffee table. If you don’t have a coffee table, just place the book gently in the center of your floor.

There’s no material safety data sheet for astatine. If there were, it would just be the word “NO” scrawled over and over in charred blood.

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