Randall Munroe on Answering the Unanswerable
Thursday November 6 2014 | Union Chapel
So I got to meet one of my hero’s last night.This man:
You know when your about 16, and trying to define yourself and you find some rock-star or model and worship? Well I found Randall Munroe. xkcd was maybe not in its infancy, but certainly a toddler. I saw xkcd 152 As my first ever comic, and then read backwards like a maniac, and then waited every Monday Wednesday and Friday for updates.
I always enjoyed xkcd because it is whats it says on the tin “A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.” If you stop and think and realize that one hell of a range of subjects. I love that there was no line between those subjects either, it was saying you can be nerdy and in love, and you can be nerdy about love, and mathematical about love, and even sometimes you need to put down and math and just love.
Sometimes he just connected to me as one of the few people who seemed to think like me.
This was a very potent mix of subjects for me to hear about. It also taught me a told, as anyone who knows me will know I am fascinated by learning. Some of the best XKCD comics are ones I did’nt understand because they introduced me to new and interesting bits of maths and physics.
I sort of miss some of the older comics, they where really a sort of diary in someways and held a more personal note that the comics he publishes now. I’m not complaining everything grows and changes, this is how we get amazing new ideas like What-if
What-if is the highlight of my week when it comes out. Its humorous and exciting and educational all at once.
I’ve grown up now, and dont quite worship Randall anymore, he is a human afterall, and I from what I know of him, I think he would disapprove of worship, or anything other than a polite thank you, and a “that comic was awesome”. Still everything xkcd holds a special place in my heart, and if I was to pick a top 10 people to be stuck on a desert island with I can tell you he would make the cut.
Anyway getting less emotional!
His talk was amazing, He did a more details breakdown of his “Table of elements” What-if which was very fun to hear especially when he got distracted and rambled. Mostly about fluorine and how evil it is.
Then did a Q&A with Simon Singh ( Of Fermat Last Theorem Fame ) Taking questions from the audience 😀 including one of mine !
Q: I know you love the wacky science the US did during the cold war, what is your favorite paper that you have found.
A: An analysis of the forces required to drag sheep
He was then kind enough to sigh both my posters, and my copy of What-if ( I could’nt find my xkcd Volume 0, I suspect Cat has it ). He was very kind and polite despite having had to sigh books for the last hour, and make the same small talk over and over again.
It was amazing, and unique opportunity, I am very glad I got the chance to go and meet him.