Talk:what if?

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 23:58, 11 September 2017 by Dontknow (talk | contribs) (No more what ifs)
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Jump to: navigation, search 21:11, 16 April 2013 (UTC)so is anybody weirded out by last week's post on the worst thing pressure cookers can do, followed by yesterday's terror attacks using pressure cookers? 21:11, 16 April 2013 (UTC) Do you want me to remove the articles not in the book, or label the ones IN the book? Completely sane (And not Anglo-Saxon) (talk) 11:34, 5 August 2015 (UTC) Do we want to add some references to the different What-If articles? Obviously putting up an explanation would be a bit of a waste since Randall goes into a lot of detail himself on any given subject. Some good things to mention might be the title-text on each image, mentions of recurring themes, and maybe some thought about the original subject mentioned (such as the "Space Oddity" music video that was the subject of a recent article). 17:11, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

"What if" is not Creative Commons related, so respect Randall's copyright. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:05, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry. Didn't realize that reviewing a creative work fell into copyright issues. No disrespect intended, only ignorance. 19:16, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree that "what if?" is not clearly under CC-BY-NC-2.5, but the link next to the Copyright goes to xkcd itself, which clearly does say it is. Mark Hurd (talk) 13:40, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. What-if appears to fall under the general xkcd copyright- it says "Copyright ©2012-13 xkcd." with the link pointing to general xkcd copyright info. "" also says that "you are free to copy and reuse any of my drawings (noncommercially) as long as you tell people where they're from." which includes what-if drawings, and I'm not sure if just part of a work could be copyrighted without Randall explicitly saying so. I also think it would be a good idea to have articles on the what-ifs for more information not stated in the what-if itself. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
IANAL, so I will leave the copyright issues unaddressed as I respond to the original question in the affirmative: yes, we should have a page for each What-if article. 15:54, 14 April 2014 (UTC)


I'm convinced there is some sort of specific joke in the "What If" logo, but I'm failing to grasp it. Knowing Randall, there has to be something funny about using a crane to lower a T-rex into the Sarlacc. 11:53, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Nerdist Review says "Remove the jacket, and you can see how that particular experiment worked out in Munroe’s mind" (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Discussion regarding What-if 91[edit]

I believe that Randall missed an opportunity to discuss means of harnessing thermal energy. See, original question specified HOT water!

He has to pay the electric bill. He couldn't make back the energy spent to heat the water due to entropy. 05:51, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Shall we forgive him this oversight and carry out some analysis to determine the harness-able energy content of hot water from the bathtub faucet in an average American apartment building?

TODO: discuss Sterling engines or other strategies here. (That means you! :) )
I believe that even when you "run out of hot water", the incoming water will still have energy added since the gas or electric water heater will be running non-stop, turning cold water into slightly-less-cold water. Since slightly-less-cold water is still colder than the ambient temperature in the apartment, I'm not sure how to harness the energy added by the water heater... But neither am I sure that "you can't". TODO: Can someone confirm that you can't?

Shall we then turn the dial up a notch, What-if 35 style, and imagine how the scenario changes if the apartment building has a water heater that is perfectly capable of keeping the hot faucet piping hot, even if you run it 24/7?

Suppose the super water heater turns 15C input water (cold) into 50C output water (hot). I think that means that the water heater adds 35 calories (not kilocalories) of energy per milliliter. I played with this expression in Google Calculator "(35/1000) calories per ml * 1 liter / 1 second" and determined that 1. Google uses kilocalories for "calories", thus the /1000 part... and 2. it takes ~150 watts to turn a liter of cold water into a liter of hot water in *one second*.
Let's stop this for now and see if anyone is interested in participating. 16:28, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Go here: What If? discussion. That's a BIG forum to discuss your items. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:16, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Discussion area[edit]

Is there a discussion area for each of the "what-if?" pages? - Eg I'd like to point out that in #111 "All the money", the mouse-over text in the tombstone graphic says "Cash Ruled Everything Around Me" - or C.R.E.A.M. - coincidence? ;) Also, there have been past pages in which there have been items which I would contest some facts/statements, or seek further explanation. Jarod997 (talk) 13:06, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

I would love to see an analysis of the most recent "what-if" - What-if #120 as I'm sure each excerpt from an alternate-universe "What-if" column has an interesting background. Surely even if the article isn't Creative Commons some discussion of it is legal. Yes, I see that there is a thread on the forum for discussing this what-if but it is not succinct. Momerath (talk) 05:56, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Is there a way this could auto-update like the regular part of the Wiki does? (I assume it auto-updates). This entry will never close if we don't do that and other than listing them and linking to them, there is nothing to say. 4jonah (talk) 19:29, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

As Randal stated, He will return posting his "What If?" on Tuesday, July 14th 2015, at 07:49:59 EDT. I have attached countdown below, to verify it. Mori.G. What if? Returning! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

List of articles[edit]

I don't have time to do much editing right now, so could someone else go and put the list of articles into a table to make more use of the page's width? Perhaps split it into groups of 20-40 entries in a cell, aligned left-right in chronological order and prefix each entry with the article number. Just an idea. Pixali (talk|contribs) 00:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Why isn't there an explanation page for each what if?[edit]

I love the What If? series, and consider it to be a similar, yet separate, version of the normal comics. There are many things that, while reading the What If?, I was confused, interested, or amused by, and I wanted to read about it on this wiki. Randall puts much effort into these, as well as the normal series, so they deserve some explaining. I have no idea how I'd go about this on my own, and I don't have the time right now to spare. I merely want to (hopefully) get the ball rolling on this, if it isn't already. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The UK Version of the book.[edit]

I've edited in the UK version's summary, as I own the book. I will write about the date of the UK book's release too and the foreword. Is there anything else about it that other users think should be added?

Can we explain this?[edit]

Can we explain the questions there, or not? 23:09, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

No more what ifs[edit]

Should we include a note that Randall seems to have stopped creating What Ifs? The last one was over a month ago Mikemk (talk) 07:55, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

He might be working on his book Thing Explainer. Xkcd last posted 2 days ago. 22:49, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

I think that we should conclude that this site is over if there isn't another post by New Years. Bbruzzo (talk) 19:23, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

I think we should just say it's over now. There hasn't been a post in months and Thing Explainer has been out for quite a while now. 19:10, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

Nope! There is a NEW xkcd what-if today, Sunbeam! All may rejoice! AJMansfield (talk) 16:23, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Sporadic at best. He seems to have stalled again at 150. 10:12, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Any explanation on the disappearance of the what if #153 "Peptides"? 12:48, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

No clue. It can still be seen on the news app but when I click the link it goes to Hide the Atmosphere.

They seem on getting more irregular and less frequently, if you can, PLEASE say why, we are all being kept on pins and needles here.Dontknow (talk) 05:06, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

So i guess we are past the previous 16.6 weeks record now? 16:14, 8 July 2017 (UTC)