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Publisher's Summary

A gleefully gruesome look at the actual science behind the most outlandish, cartoonish, and impossible deaths you can imagine.

What would happen if you took a swim outside a deep-sea submarine wearing only a swimsuit? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? How far could you actually get in digging a hole to China? Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco's famed Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy explore the real science behind these and other fantastical scenarios, offering insights into physics, astronomy, anatomy, and more along the way.

Is slipping on a banana peel really as hazardous to your health as the cartoons imply? Answer: yes. Banana peels ooze a gel that turns out to be extremely slippery. Your foot and body weight provide the pressure. The gel provides the humor (and resulting head trauma).

Can you die by shaking someone's hand? Answer: yes. That's because, due to atomic repulsion, you've never actually touched another person's hand. If you could, the results would be as disastrous as a medium-sized hydrogen bomb.

If you were Cookie Monster, just how many cookies could you actually eat in one sitting? Answer: Most stomachs can hold up to 60 cookies, or around four liters. If you eat or drink more than that, you're approaching the point at which the cookies would break through the lesser curvature of your stomach, and then you'd better call an ambulance to Sesame Street.

©2017 Cody Cassidy (P)2017 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

perfect for a precocious 9 year old boy

Road trip entertainment. It was captivating and fascinating. Who knew your eyeballs would boil on the moon?

It was a bit eerie that I felt haunted by American Gods while listening to this book. Couldn't put my finger on it. Then I checked: Dennis Boutsikaris: same narrator.

I think I would enjoy listening to him read a phone book.

Overall, an excellent listening experience.

9 year-old boy and 40-something Mom approved! 12 year-old daughter Meh.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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So Great!

After reading "What If?" I saw this in my list of suggestions on Audible. I am so glad I read it. I wish the book was longer because it is so entertaining and informative, and I want more. Great writing style, wonderful reading, just perfect. ✨👍🏻

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very Interesting .

For the curious & inquisitive, a scientific breakdown of some very interesting "what ifs".
there were questions answered,that i had never thought of before and some i had.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I loved it. Absolutely loved it

There are so many things we can do that would result in death, but what, in detail would actually kill you? This is an awesome look into things we don't normally think about. I think it's well done and I was sorry to hear it end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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lots of chuckles along with the facts

Dennis Boutsikaris does an amazing job of narrating this conversationless series of little essays. He breezes through the scientific explanations allowing you to think you understood them, and delivers the dry, wry humor, so often lacking in brainy treatises, with just the right inflection. You might have wondered about some of these scenarios, but others are so wacky and out there that you will wonder what is wrong with these authors, or if they have 7-yo Calvin-type kids doing the wondering. The essays are full of real science, Guinness records, real Darwin-Award events, and subtle mad-scientist jokes. They are best enjoyed in small sips so you can savor the full bouquet.

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Fun book!

The book answers many questions my crazy middle school students ask. I learned some science to boot!

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I could not stop listening

The narrator was the perfect choice. I just was sorry that it ended so soon. The explanations of what exactly happens in each case make us understand the physics at play. Relating the various environments to the human body and its needs made them more understandable for me.

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Awesome Book

This is the best book I've listen to regarding random facts. I loved it.. I would highly recommend it.