Headline Jan 03, 2015/

''' GO EAT PAPER! -WHAT IF?! '''

IF HUMANS could eat paper. What if?

Mariam, Rabo, Dee, Haleema, Hyder, Saima, Shahzaib, Paras, Salar, Sorat What If   we are to push the boundaries of the society and knowledge and digital storytelling?

What if you took a dip in a Nuclear reactor's storage pool, where discarded fuel is kept for years until it's not so radioactive anymore? Could you survive?

This is the kind of random question  Randall Munroe, 29, creator of the massively popular web comic, xkcd, answers every week for What If?, his spin-off project that poses oddball science questions.

It's not easy for him: tackling these outrageously hypotheticals is like facing off against a Hydra of nerdy curiosity   -when one question is answered, three more pop up in its place.

In the question above, one might want to know: When do the fuel rods in the pool become dangerous?  (When you are close enough to touch them.)  Wouldn't the heat kill you first? (No, the pool's not even as warm as a hot tub.)

How long can decent swimmers tread water, anyway?  (From 10- to 40 hours). After figuring all that out, Munroe called a friend who worked at an actual reactor to fact-check. 

''He said I'd die before I reached the water,'' Munroe explains, '' From getting shot.''

On Sept.2, the former NASA roboticist answers another question: 

What happens after you spend two years investigating ridiculous things like a robot apocalypses and solar-powered cows? Answer: You graduate to a book.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions includes old favorites, new inquiries and the mix of expert research and accessible wit that made Munroe a favorite among both geeks and laymen.

''People often say, 'I like your comics. even though I don't know enough  math to get all of them'  -as if it's some kind of club where they don't belong.'' Munroe explains over an email:

''There's no club. There's just lots of people who are excited about thinking, learning, joking, and some times overanalyzing things. 

No two people have exactly the same interests, and that's fine. We can still be friends. Maybe we'll learn things from each other.'' 

The web comic began in 2005 after Munroe, then a physics student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va, scanned and uploaded his doodles. 

After a stint at  NASA, he devoted himself full time to the comic and its fans in 2006. 

A year later, the sites sarcastic take on Math and Internet culture was drawing nearly 70 million hits a month. He started   What If?  in 2012, inspired by an experience teaching high schoolers.

Munroe's physics lecture didn't  !WOW!  the kids at first, but once they tried more colorful applications   -like calculating the energy expended in movie scenes  -enthusiasm spiked.

''What I took from it was that people would get excited about applying these analytical tools to questions if the questions were interesting,''  he says.

One xkcd  comic from 2013 slowly turned into a 3,099 - frame animation over several months; another from  2012  allowed fans to explore a massive click-drag world that would be:

An 46ft wide if printed out.

Munroe gets it right : '' A fun story, is a fun story, whether it's on a Kindle, or a hardback or a web page or an audio recording or in snippets on your iPhone.''

With respectful and loving  dedication to all the great students and heroes, who stepped forward and contributed to building a world of solidarity, and harmony and dignity.

See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' ! WHEEEEEE ! '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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