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Risk Return (Return on Investment Book 2)
Aleksandr Voinov
Paul Markun
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Jane Austen
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Patrizia Collard

perfect for nerdy stoners

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions - Randall Munroe

Recommended for mental math and http://xkcd.com/ fans.  The questions raised are downright silly, and you can just picture a dorm room party where they are conceived.   Even so, the author demonstrates some solid problem solving skills to give an approximation or simulation of a likely scenario.  There is nothing like hypothetical problem solving to under stand the difference between really big numbers and really big compounded numbers.   


Question - if all the humans on earth could gather in one spot, what US state could they all fit in?

a) Rhode Island

b) Indiana

c) Oregon

d) Texas


The answer is

a) Rhode Island

(show spoiler)

While that may seem surprising at first, it's a pretty simple problem to figure.    


World population ~ 7 billion

Assume 1 person takes 1 square foot (sorry, I am American and my mental math works best in imperial units)

7 billion square feet ~ 251 square miles

Consult Wikipedia for the areal size of the US states http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_area

Viola, question answered

(show spoiler)


Silliness aside, it is important to be able to puzzle through these things and understand what the magnitude of a number means.   Ignorance is not bliss, but advertisers and politicians are hoping you remain in the dark.   Along those lines, the author indirectly teaches healthy skepticism of facts and figures found on the internet.[citation needed]