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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

I would probably never have heard of Randall Munroe if Professor Puzzler were not such a fan of the xkcd comic strip. Munroe is a former NASA scientist, and apparently after writing the strip for a while he began serving as a "Dear Abby for mad scientists," as he puts it. So What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is a collection of some of the most interesting (as well as bizarre) questions he has received, and his scientific answers to them, complete with his trademark stick-figure comics here and there to throw in some snappy comments.

I enjoyed reading it, despite not being really all that mathematically inclined. There are a few questions that got a bit over my head, but the majority of it should be fairly accessible to those who paid attention in high school science classes. His dry sense of humor really adds to the explanations, and many of the questions are so over-the-top that it's fun to see how he lays out his answers. 

One example of the ridiculous questions is: "How quickly would the oceans drain if a circular portal 10 meters in radius leading into space were created at the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the ocean? How would the Earth change as the water was being drained?"

Which leads to not only an answer, but a full illustration of an altered map of the world on the inside of the book's dust jacket, complete with new names for the resulting new land masses and bodies of water. Another question/answer involves the logistics of building a bridge across the Atlantic Ocean made entirely out of Legos.

Even if you're usually an ebook or audiobook person, this is one case where you really can't beat the real thing. 

Scrounged From: Amazon

Format: Hardcover
Author: Randall Munroe
Pages: 303
Content Advisory: Some questions involve things like explosions and death, but it's all treated very hypothetically and impersonally. At least one question deals with blood, which might make some readers queasy.

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