Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book: THING EXPLAINER


I love Munroe, mostly, but these things are just so annoying.

I agree. The up goer five comic was funny as a once off but I can’t imagine reading a whole book of them.


I disagree with the above two. This looks brilliant. But November 24? c’mon.

I looked at the “Mars Rover” “Space Car for the Red World” diagram, and was delighted to find an explanation of the Radiation Assessment Detector “Human Sickness Checker”, but Basic English just rubs me the wrong way. I suppose I might give it to my niece, who’s about five or six.

After reading the book, I suspect that my joy at learning new things will be accompanied by shame at not having learned those things thirty-five years ago… But, then, again, I don’t have kids. Maybe this feeling is normal among parents.

Come to think of it, is that all radiation is? A cause of human sickness? Even on a world without humans? Couldn’t it be, I dunno, Invisible Energy Checker?

The conceit of upgoer five is that the vocabulary is limited to one thousand words. Perhaps “energy” isn’t one of them-- though it probably depends on the corpus.

Project Gutenberg: 1778

Contemporary Fiction: 1495

Simpsons episodes: 1539

TV Scripts: 1957

But if your corpus is the Journal of Physics G, it will probably be a bit more common.

Invisible? Not a chance.

I like his stuff, but I often feel a tiny bit patronized.

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