The "What-If?" Book

What if there was a forum for discussing these?

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Re: The "What-If?" Book

Postby persephone977 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:30 pm UTC

My sweetheart and I have received this book as a Christmas present and are enjoying it immensely. Thank you for the section on self-fertilization. It helped clarify for me why scientists have been having so much trouble with viable and healthy cloned animals. I knew intuitively that it made sense that this would be hard, now I understand the science and math behind why this is so, which is much more thorough than intuition. Thanks again for a great and enjoyable book! :)

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Randall's book, "What If", is the BEST thing I've ever read

Postby LolaLynnRN » Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:50 am UTC

I don't usually go around spouting praise about things I enjoy on public forums...however, after reading his book "What If?", I felt compelled to share my feelings. I can positively say that I have never enjoyed reading anything more than I enjoyed reading this book. I am a total nerd and love to read and research. Randall's combination o the evidence-based information (to ridiculous questions I never would have thought to entertain!), comics, and footnote comments hooked me from the start. I love research and understanding things I don't know about, but also have a very sarcastic (some say adolescent) sense of humor and viewing things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not actually an adolescent, I have a master's degree from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; apparently my proclivity towards sarcastic humor; I laughed for hours and hours. I think many of the same things, and truly enjoyed reading this. In my opinion, Randall is a rare combination of high intelligence and knowledge, as well as one who has the ability to add to scientific knowledge with satire and witticism. He has a great talent for comprehending actual science, while spicing it up with humorous notes on the absurdities of some of the concepts!! FANTASTIC BOOK AND AUTHOR.

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Re: Randall's book, "What If", is the BEST thing I've ever r

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:06 pm UTC

Welcome to the forums. In the Science subforums some other weird questions are worked out (for example this topic). I hope you'll enjoy it here.

Oh and: there are both general forum rules and specific ones for each subforum.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

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flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!


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What if? Book limited Extended Edition?

Postby Gefrierbrand » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:15 pm UTC

Hi everyone.

I noticed that now offeres a link in the headbanner to an extended (an limited) version of the What If? book: Image
However, it only seems to advertise the German Version, and I coudn't find the original, english one.

So here are a few questions:
Is there an english version, and where can I get it?
Are the extra chapters completely new or just WhatIfs from the webside not published in the book yet?

Any help is really appreciated and thanks in advance.
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Re: What if? Book limited Extended Edition?

Postby Raidri » Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:54 am UTC

I also would be interested in an english limited edition but have only seen the german one.

By comparing the content tables we find five new question at the end of the limited editon, (probably) all previous questions from the website:

Spinnen vs die Sonne (
Schwimmen auf dem Mond (
Ballonauto (
Weltraumbestattung (
Haufenweise Geld verdienen (probably

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Re: What if? Book limited Extended Edition?

Postby Gefrierbrand » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:08 pm UTC

I now have bought the special Edition and can compare it to my existing (UK) book:

As you can see, the most prominent difference beside the language is the size and the coloring scheme:

Also, it does indeed contain the five additional chapters as mentioned above by Raidri.
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Re: The "What-If?" Book

Postby PTGFlyer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:11 pm UTC

Does anybody know the Finnish in the Supersonic Windstorm?

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Re: ᗒ Rules for 'What-if' threads ᗕ

Postby ooker » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:54 pm UTC

What if I have a question about an article that only appears in the What If? book and not the site? I have asked it here, but it is poor-received: Where is the number 130 archers per meter in attempt 2, in the "Sparta" article in the "What If?" book?

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Re: The "What-If?" Book

Postby Felstaff » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:57 pm UTC

Moved your post to The "What-If?" Book thread.
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

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Something Noticed in 'What If?'

Postby qwebb911 » Sun May 07, 2017 4:17 am UTC

I don't know if this has been said before, I'm sure I can't be the only one to see it, but Munroe seems to have confused the death of Georgi Markov for the death of Alexander Litvinenko, mentioned in the footnotes on page 40 of 'What If?'. Markov received a fatal dose of poison through an umbrella tip, whereas Litvinenko received a poisioning of Polonium-210 via a tea kettle.

Thought it would be worth mentioning.

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