Randall Munroe is a cartoonist who looks at the physical world with a sarcastic eye. His website, www.xkcd.com, features a “What If?” section where he collects questions from readers and answers them. Now, these aren’t just any old questions, but thoughtful, sometimes slightly bat-shit-crazy questions. He answers them with a combination of imagination, drawings, physics, and math.
Some of the more recent questions include:
Could you get drunk from drinking a drunk person’s blood? Randall’s answer
What took more energy, the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Apollo Mission? If we could convert the energy to build the Great Pyramid, would it be enough to send a rocket to the Moon and back? Randall’s answer
At what speed would you have to drive for rain to shatter your windshield? Randall’s answer
I recently “found” Randall Munroe’s work while browsing the TED.com site. This is his entertaining talk from Vancouver 2014:
What I like most about his site and talk is that he is unabashedly curious and — in how how he communicates through research, answers, and cartoons — he encourages curiosity in others. Some of the questions posed in his What If section are are darn right imaginative but who hasn’t spent at least some time asking crazy questions of themselves? The difference here is that Randall Munroe encourages people to ask them out loud and then he dares to take a stab at answering them. Love it.