How To

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by Randall Munroe

The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer.

For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a 90's kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and fun illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

My thoughts on How To

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It turns out that if you accelerate at 1 G for several years, you can reach almost any destination in the universe. After a few years have passed [traveling at that rate], the effects of relativity really start to add up. When 3 years have passed for you ... you'll have traveled nearly 10 light-years - far enough to reach many nearby stars. If you continue accelerating, it would take you less than 20 years of your time to reach a neighboring galaxy. If you keep pressing the accelerator for a little over two decades, you'll find your vehicle traveling billions of light-years per subjective "year", carrying you across a substantial fraction of the observable universe.

— Randall Munroe, How To