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What If You Tried to Swallow a Whole Cloud?

Wired: Ask an absurd question, and xkcd’s Randall Munroe will give you a (somewhat) serious answer. An exclusive excerpt from his upcoming What If? 2. – “What does a star smell like? What’s the tensile strength of snow? How much actual dinosaur does a toy dinosaur contain? If you drove a car to the edge of the universe, how much gas would you use? What’s the market value of a shoebox full of LSD? Are all the churches in the world big enough to hold all the bananas? “I like ridiculous questions, because nobody is expected to know the answer,” Randall Munroe writes in the introduction to What If? 2, his second book of serious answers to hypothetical questions sent in by fans. You may know Munroe as the creator of the web comic xkcd, which offers wry commentary (usually involving stick figures wearing various hats) on science, technology, history, politics, and the daily micro- and macro-­follies of human life. There’s a sincerity about his projects, a nerdy excitement that reminds you of talking to a 10-year-old—assuming you know a 10-year-old who can explain what a naked singularity is and why theoretical physicists hate them. Nerdy-kid excitement is what WIRED is all about. The following pages contain Munroe’s answers to two questions: What if some of outer space turned to soup? And what if you tried to swallow a cloud?…”

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