Part of what I’m doing is selectively looking for questions that I already know something interesting about. Or I’ve stumbled across a paper recently that was really cool, and now I’ll keep an eye out for a question that will let me bring it up — something I can use as a springboard.
What I like doing is finding the places in those questions where normal people — or, people who have less spare time than I do — think, “This is stupid,” and stop. I think the really cool and compelling thing about math and physics is that it opens up entry to all these hypotheticals — or at least, it gives you the language to talk about them. But at the same time, if a scenario is completely disconnected from reality, it’s not all that interesting. So I like the questions that come back around to something in real life.
And the great thing with this is that once someone asks me something good, I can’t not figure out the answer, you know? I get really serious, and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing and work on that."Fantastic interview with xkcd creator Randall Munroe, who is changing the way we relate to science through comics. (via explore-blog)
Answered by Randall Munroe, creator of the XKCD webcomic.
Before I answer this question, let me give you a little background on where I’m coming from.
I’m by no means an expert, but I have some experience with robotics. My first job out of college was working on robots at NASA, and my undergraduate degree project was on robotic navigation. I spent my teenage years participating in FIRST Robotics, programming software bots to fight in virtual tournaments, and working on homemade underwater ROVs. And I’ve watched plenty of Robot Wars, BattleBots, and Killer Robots Robogames.
If all that experience has taught me anything, it’s that the robot revolution would end quickly, because the robots would all break down or get stuck against walls. Robots never, ever work right.
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