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News, Leaving Today, Etc.

Hey, remember when the news broke, ’bout four months back, that Randall Munroe would be doing a book about how to do stuff?

For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try it. How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s the world’s least useful self-help book.

So Zach Weinersmith’s BAH!Fest if it were run by experimenters instead of theorists¹, then. Very, very insane experimenters. How To releases on 3 September, and the same day, Munroe starts his book tour at the Harvard Science Center. The following two weeks will find him in Washington, DC, New York City, Ann Arbor, Portland (OR)², Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Louisville (KY), and Raleigh (NC). Venues and associates include the likes of Sidwell Friends School, Politic ‘n’ Prose, Cooper Union, The Strand, Powell’s, University of Utah, NC State University, a couple of churches, a library, and a fraternity³.

There will be one more stop on the book tour, and to get Munroe to your town (United States only), you’re going to have to gather some friends, some books, and some creativity:

Arrange the titles of your favorite books into sentences that tell a story, assemble a single continuous line of people holding up the covers, and take a photo or video documenting your feat. You can make the story as long as you want, but each book needs to be held by a different human.

Creative grammar is fine, and you’ll get extra credit for including as many books and people as possible.

Now, write the best story you can within those limits, and either post it to the sosh-meeds under the hashtag #howtoxkcd or email it to howtoxkcd — which can be found at Google’s e-mail, dot-com (say that last bit in a Homestar Runner voice for bonus points from me … I’m not sure Munroe will hear you) — between 10 June and 31 July. The additional tour stop will be announced in August.

As we all know, give Munroe’s readers a challenge, and they exceed all expectations. Best be creative as all get-out, and get to work.

Spam of the day:

One thing I am tired of is high power bills. I want to share with you a way to never for power again.

I used to dream about the day I would never for power again. Alas, big power again will require me to always for, never to never.

¹ I am reminded of that time when Richard Feynman was given a tour of CERN and shown to a massive block of science (you now the ones, they’re all over CERN) that his tour guide was busy explaining when he realized Oh! This will test your hypothesis about charge change in particles, Professor Feynman.

Feynman looked up and down over the looming, cavernous pile of technology and asked how much it cost. The guide said 37 million dollars or whatever the figure was, and Feynman asked You don’t trust me? You can find it in here.

² Event info coming soon; click here to pre-order the book for the event.

³ That is, a nerd frat; my father was a member alongside Robert Lucky, a situation that I believe I have mentioned with some slight bitterness. Also, if you follow that link, bear in mind it was from before we knew Doug TenNapel was a jerk about and to transfolk.

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