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  • Results 1 to 2 of 2
    1. #1
      Senior Member
      Akira's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2011

      Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe

      Thing Explainer is a book written by Randall Munroe, who also created xkcd.

      It's a fun little book that explains certain machines and scientific topics with some comic relief too. The catch is that the author restricts their vocabulary to just 1000 common words of the English language for the whole book. Not counting grammar changes and synonyms, just the words themselves or root words. So things like the sun, or our internal organ systems, helicopters, microwaves, and even a pencil are explained this way. It's quite entertaining, but also somewhat confusing since I found that you sometimes needed to already be familiar with certain concepts to understand the explanation fully. So I think it's a better read for nerdy people such as myself, but I think anyone can appreciate it.

      I particularly like their explanations of a helicopter (sky boat with turning wings), microwave (food-heating radio box), and dishwasher (box that cleans food holders). It's mostly entertaining just because of how the author has to work around certain terms. The author has a list of the 1000 root words he uses. Here's an excerpt from dishwashers;

      Box that cleans food holders
      This box is a machine that cleans plate and cups by throwing water at them. The water is full of cleaning stuff which helps the water stick to the food and pull it off. If you fill a cleaning box the wrong way, it may not clean well. After people see this happen a few times, they can get strong ideas about the right way to fill a plate cleaner. When people with different ideas about these machines start living together this can even lead to fights. Some ideas are clear to everyone - like that you should always point cups down, so they don't end up full of food water. There's more but you don't need to fight over it! There's a book that goes with your plate cleaner, and it shows how you should fill it. (...)
      He goes on to explain other parts and their functions. A white after reading this I got bored so I gave it a try myself. Here's my attempt ;

      Why ice stays on top of water
      When water becomes ice it becomes hard, but it stays on top of water instead of going to the bottom. Why? This is because the many small bits that water is made out of are bent. This bent shape forces those small bits to take on a more open form when they become cold and hard, rather than a more closer form. This more open hard form makes ice rise and stay on top of water, rather than fall to the bottom of the water. This is special for water because most wet things create a closer-small-bit form when they become cold and hard, making their hard forms fall to the bottom of their wet forms.
      It was kinda fun, but also a little annoying, haha xD You can use their list of 1000 words to create your own explanations here if you want to! I'd like to see more things explained this way! Or you can use just the most common 1000 words here. Honestly, it makes a big difference for which one you use.

      Have any of you read the book? What was your interpretation? I think it was worth it's price since it's not that expensive, and if another comes out I would definitely buy it 'cause I'm a huge nerd
      If you haven't read it, would you be interested? If you want to take a crack at the 1000 word restricted explanation, go ahead and post something if you like. I'll definitely enjoy it
      Love and tolerate, everypony. Love and Tolerate.

    2. #2
      Senior Member
      'Ewwo! <3
      Akemi Homura!'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2012
      The Interwebs
      Items Muffin
      Awards White KnightBest of '14 - Most Helpful Member, Kindest MemberTime Lord
      Ohmigod, yes. Thing Explainer is pretty great.
      If anything I say seems offensive in any way, be sure to say so!

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