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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems

September 16, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A Rainy Day Books Author Event co-sponsored by the Linda Hall Library.

The event will be held at Unity Temple on The Plaza, 707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

The book

For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole. Randall Munroe, aestselling author & cartoonist, explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a 90s kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

The author

Randall Munroe is the author of the New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer, the science question-and-answer blog What If, and the popular web comic xkcd.  A former NASA roboticist, he left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full-time. He lives in Massachusetts.


This event will be held at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Missouri 64112.


Admission package for one or two people is $28.00, plus Kansas sales tax. It includes one hardcover copy of How To, one stamped author autographing admission ticket, and one guest admission ticket (if needed). Please register at the Rainy Day Books website. Admission packages can also be purchased in-store at Rainy Day Books or by calling 913.384.3126.

Book Signing

A booksigning will follow the presentation.


September 16, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Linda Hall Library
View Organizer Website


Unity Temple on the Plaza
707 W 47th St.
Kansas City, MO 64112 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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