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From the No. 1 bestselling author of What If? – the man who created xkcd and explained the laws of science with cartoons – comes a series of brilliantly simple diagrams (‘blueprints’ if you want to be complicated about it) that show how important things work: from the nuclear bomb to the biro. It’s good to know what the parts of a thing are called, but it’s much more interesting to know what they do. Richard Feynman once said that if you can’t explain something to a first-year student, you don’t really get it. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe takes a quantum leap past this: he explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words. Many of the things we use every day – like our food-heating radio boxes (‘microwaves’), our very tall roads (‘bridges’), and our computer rooms (‘datacentres’) – are strange to us. So are the other worlds around our sun (the solar system), the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), and even the stuff inside us (cells). Where do these things come from? How do they work? What do they look like if you open them up? And what would happen if we heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and many, many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone — age 5 to 105 — who has ever wondered how things work, and why.
If you’ve ever spent hours renaming files or updating hundreds of spreadsheet cells, you know how tedious tasks like these can be. But what if you could have your computer do them for you? In Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, you’ll learn how to use Python to write programs that do in minutes what would take you hours to do by hand-no prior programming experience required. Once you’ve mastered the basics of programming, you’ll create Python programs that effortlessly perform useful and impressive feats of automation to: Search for text in a file or across multiple files Create, update, move, and rename files and folders Search the Web and download online content Update and format data in Excel spreadsheets of any size Split, merge, watermark, and encrypt PDFs Send reminder emails and text notifications Fill out online forms Step-by-step instructions walk you through each program, and practice projects at the end of each chapter challenge you to improve those programs and use your newfound skills to automate similar tasks. Don’t spend your time doing work a well-trained monkey could do. Even if you’ve never written a line of code, you can make your computer do the grunt work. Learn how in Automate the Boring Stuff with Python.