In his comic “Up Goer Five,” Randall Munroe labels a blueprint of NASA’s Saturn V Rocket using only the 1,000 most common English words. Today, Munroe announced he’s giving the Up-Goer-Five treatment to a range of interesting objects—like the Mars Curiosity Rover—in a new book called Thing Explainer.
To be fair, though, physics has had this coming for years.
Today, we celebrated a monumental achievement in human history: For the first time, we landed an object on a comet. And xkcd creator Randall Munroe celebrated by creating this cartoon flipbook starting three hours before Philae's separation from Rosetta and ending with the landing.
...then we really would be screwed.
This is essential information we never realized we needed to know. Which Wikipedia article titles have the proper syllable count and stress pattern to sing to the tune of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? xkcd has the answer.
XKCD's Randall Munroe is publishing a book of science explainers! What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is due out September 2. To celebrate its imminent arrival, here's the first chapter from the book – an explainer about global devastation. Fun!
Via XKCD comes this awesome map of of the solar system's terrestrial surfaces pieced together as if it were a massive jigsaw puzzle. The illustration reveals the surprising scarcity of solid land in the solar system.
There's a common trope in vampire stories where a vampire gets drunk by drinking the blood of someone who is wasted. But could a real human being get drunk in the same way?
While some webcomics deliver a quick joke or the latest installment in a long-form story, many comics floating around the Internet have something to teach us about the world. Here are some of our favorite comics that delve into science, history, philosophy, and more.
XKCD's Randall Munroe is turning What If? – his fantastic series of "serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions" –into a book, to be published this September by Houghton Mifflin.
Here's a mesmerizing piece of data porn that is sure to keep you staring at your screen. Randall Munroe of xkcd uses a series of GIFs to compare the frequencies of events from births, deaths, and heartbeats to the eruption of Old Faithful to someone in Denver ordering a pizza.
Well this is convenient. The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit has made its global temperature data available for Google Maps. Dubbed "CRUTEM4," the data allows Google Maps users to monitor how surface temperatures have changed over time, both globally and locally.
Last week, the International Astronomical Union – the sanctioning body that oversees the naming of planets, among other things – reversed its official stance on 1) whether to bother naming extrasolar planets and 2) whether the public should be included in the naming process. XKCD's take on the announcement is easily…
Here with your daily dose of infrastructure porn is XKCD's Randall Munroe, who's gone and rounded up all of North America's various subway systems and combined them into one big interconnected map.
If you're looking to trasnfer hundreds of gigabytes of data, it's still—weirdly—faster to ship hard drives via FedEx than it is to transfer the files over the internet. But why is that, and when will it change?