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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Has Already Become a Best-Seller 129

destinyland writes "Wednesday the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD announced that he'd publish a new book answering hypothetical science questions in September. And within 24 hours, his as-yet-unpublished work had become Amazon's #2 best-selling book. 'Ironically, this book is titled What If?,' jokes one blogger, noting it resembles an XKCD comic where 'In our yet-to-happen future, this book decides to travel backwards through time, stopping off in March of 2014 to inform Amazon's best-seller list that yes, in our coming timeline this book will be widely read...' Randall Munroe's new book will be collecting his favorite 'What If...' questions, but will also contain his never-before published answers to some questions that he'd found 'particularly neat.'"
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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Has Already Become a Best-Seller

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  • by BisuDagger ( 3458447 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:09AM (#46481379)
  • Two historical tomes by Rush Limbaugh are in the Top 6, and none of these are in the Kindle top 100.

    How many dead tree books does Amazon sell now?

    • I'm more gobsmacked that people would spend money on any kind of vile utterance by that revolting pile of shit Rush Limbaugh. At least Rob Ford isn't published and his nation is limited to a bunch of suburban rubes.

  • I'm sorry to say... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:16AM (#46481413) Journal

    I'm not smart enough for some of the XKCD strips...

  • More questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:17AM (#46481419)

    I wished he scientifically answered the following hypothetical questions:

    1. What if patents were abolished.
    2. What if copyright were abolished.
    3. What if programmers ran Congress.

    • Re:More questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:23AM (#46481467)

      Those aren't changes for which practical data or experimental models exist, so he's unlikely to ever cover them.

      • Those aren't changes for which practical data or experimental models exist, so he's unlikely to ever cover them.

        On the third point, you are correct, perhaps. But the first two were the natural state before the invention of those legal fictions. There is certainly material to work from.

        • Re:More questions (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:17AM (#46482345)

          That's not science: it's uncontrolled historical data. Not xkcd's thing.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          But the first two were the natural state before the invention of those legal fictions. There is certainly material to work from.

          True, but it wasn't generally a very pretty state. For #1,well, look at all the Da Vinci drawings. They all had mistakes in them because he knew people would steal it and try to build it.

          For #2, what happened was the US was the biggest pirate around because copyrights were enforced on a country level. Prior to that, well, books were only for the wealthy and scholars - most people d

      • Are you saying he is not constructing any models in this book, and is merely filling in numbers?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. Economic and political upheavals, from vast and dangerous to slightly annoying. Some few posisitve things, too.
      2. As previous, though running from worrying to delighted consumer response. Many more positive results than above.

      (Better to ask what the results would be if they were overhauled, made saner and brought back closer to their original intent rather than being designed for keeping certain business models afloat).

      3. Proufound disruption and even worse performance due to ignorance of practical polit

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      If programmers ran Congress the country would go under as no one would ever agree on minute details on a bill. You thought the current 2 parties never agreeing was bad. Now imagine every individuals never agreeing with each other...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Foolish American, legislatures are supposed to debate every minute detail of every bill. The process exists to discourage them from agreeing to pass laws that ruin our lives. If the voters elected a bunch of photogenic celebrities who all agree with each other, the country would go under.

    • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:13AM (#46481775) Homepage

      3. What if programmers ran Congress.

      holy shit [xkcd.com]

      guys [xkcd.com]

      government is complicated. [xkcd.com]

    • What if deals with hypothetical physics questions.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This one doesn't even try to hide it. It's a literal freaking advertisement.
  • Wednesday the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD

    I thought his name was Randall.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wednesday Randall Munroe is ashamed of his girly first name.

    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      Hopefully the lack of any sensible editorial control on this site won't be duplicated on http://soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org]

      • ahh memories of the old slashdot where you lost your place on a page when trying to post a comment or read a post that was displayed as just a subject line.

        • Javascript posting/expanding is coming, apparently. Personally I wouldn't have gone live without it in place (with fallbacks, obviously). It's not like it's hard to implement.

  • Proving once again that "best" does not exist.

  • Currently at #1: Rush Limbaugh's self-insert U.S. history fanfic.

    I swear to you I am not making this up. [amazon.com]

    Perhaps Randall should pass on publicizing this particular honor.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's like "Wishbone" with American historical mythology instead of "the classics"

      That's actually pretty clever.

  • Shep did this even one better back in the 50s.

  • There sure are a lot of jealous people on /. these days :(
  • "What If" and "Frozen (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)". Makes sense. I guess. They are both.... I mean the connection is..... Nope. I got nothing.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Dunno about you but when I go shopping I might well buy, say, a bag of potatoes as well as a DVD. It doesn't mean they are linked at all. I just needed potatoes and saw a DVD I wanted.

      There's an inherent problem that if you cater for a wide enough range of products, most correlations between them will be essentially random. Sure, you can spot trends, but the problem is finding the threshold where a trend is genuinely a trend and not just, say, two new products that people buy because they were both in th

      • That temporal-proximity / best-seller relationship suggestion used to happen all the time with DVD Barn, way back in the days when there was actually competition to Netflix. For a while, if Netflix noticed that you liked a TV show, it would suggest to you any random TV show, rather than the next season of the show you just finished.
    • I enjoy both XKCD and Frozen. so... maybe there's something there that we just don't understand. Of course, my wife and I use the same Amazon account, so if you ever get a Debbie Macomber book suggested to you next time your order a 12V power supply, you'll know why.

      A bit off topic, but Netflix used to be good at that: suggesting things that you didn't know you would like. Too bad all they suggest these days are TV shows.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein