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Awesome Hypotheticals

Laser Beam Umbrella

Laser Beam Umbrella

Some people have tried to make unconventional umbrellas, but for the most part, a traditional design is the most efficient way to keep raindrops from falling on your head. In this clip from Randall Munroe and Henry Reich’s What If? series, they explore a hypothetical and impractical invention – a powerful laser that vaporizes raindrops out of the sky as they fall.

If You Could Throw a Baseball Near Light Speed

If You Could Throw a Baseball Near Light Speed

Imagine, for a moment, that it was possible to pitch a baseball at 90% of the speed of light. Not only would you easily eliminate the batter, but there would be other major consequences according to this hypothetical physics exploration by the mighty Randall Munroe of xkcd. Weapons makers, don’t get any funny ideas.

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What If the Earth Suddenly Stopped Spinning?

What If the Earth Suddenly Stopped Spinning?

You might not feel it, but the Earth is spinning quite quickly. Depending on your latitude, you could be going more than 1000 MPH. xkcd’s What If? explores what might happen if, all of a sudden, the planet stopped spinning and the atmosphere kept going. Things wouldn’t bode well for living creatures or structures, thanks to the extreme wind and waves.

If a Magnitude 15 Earthquake Hit Earth

If a Magnitude 15 Earthquake Hit Earth

Any earthquake above a magnitude 5 can do damage, and levels higher than that can turn serious or deadly. xkcd’s What If? ponders the question of what sort of horrible things would happen if something much more intense hit our planet, say a magnitude 15 or higher. Who knew that there were negative magnitude quakes?

Will Aliens Visit Earth Soon?

Will Aliens Visit Earth Soon?

Given the vastness of the universe, it’s almost impossible to fathom that there aren’t other life forms out there. In this video from Kurzgesagt, they explore the hypothetical idea that aliens are just a few steps behind us, and will soon catch up with technology that allows them to explore space and visit other planets.

If You Dug a Hole Through the Earth

If You Dug a Hole Through the Earth

Most humans won’t venture deeper than a basement or tunnel, but you could dig 7917.5 miles before you came out on the other side of Earth. On your way, you’ll visit the crust, lithosphere, asthenosphere, mantle, and outer and inner cores. This pixel art video from Posit explores what you might see on your journey.

If You Got Swallowed by a Whale

If You Got Swallowed by a Whale

The biblical story of Jonah includes a part where the prophet is swallowed by a whale and survives inside its belly for three days and nights. But what would happen if you really got gulped up by one of these giant sea mammals? House of the Future explores the practical realities of this folktale.

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The Last Human

The Last Human

There’s a lot of crazy and negative stuff going on in the world these days, but is it really the end times? Kurzgesagt asks the hypothetical question of when the last human might be born by examining population growth, birth rates, and animal extinction rates. But human ingenuity, technology, and space travel are serious wildcards.

What If Oxygen Doubled

What If Oxygen Doubled

Our bodies, brains, and blood cells thrive on oxygen, and inhaling a little extra is good for an energy boost. But is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? What If explores the hypothetical of what might happen if the Earth’s atmosphere had twice as much o2.

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