What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
$14.40 at Amazon ($9.12 Kindle)
“It makes me happy that an arm of the US government has, in some official capacity, issued an opinion on the subject of firing nuclear missiles at hurricanes.”
Until recently, Randall Munroe was known as the creator of xkcd, the comic with the best disclaimer ever written. (Seriously, if you haven’t read it, go find the comic and look for the warning.) A few years ago, he started taking absurd questions (What if you had a mole of moles? What if everybody pointed a laser pointer at the moon at the same time?) and figuring out scientific answers to them. Half of this book is questions and answers collected from the website; the other half is new questions researched just for the book.
Most sections of the book are pretty short; it could easily be bathroom reading. But it’s just as easy to find a comfortable spot and immerse yourself in the book for a few hours, which is what I’ve been doing since I got it. Each section generally has a bit of research, a bit of science and math, and a bit of humor, and every one is very readable. There are comics scattered throughout the book as well.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys science.