Read three potential excerpts from forthcoming books based on the popular subreddit, Explain Like I’m Five. 

Users of Reddit plan to self-publish two educational e-books based on one of the social news site’s most popular sections.

The ideas come from the r/ExplainLikeImFive subreddit, where redditors explain complex political, scientific, and cultural issues as if, well, talking to a five-year old.

The first book, tentatively titled “A Five Year-old’s Guide to the Galaxy,” was spawned by a thread a few months ago that collected the best responses from r/ExplainLikeImFive. That book will likely be released this spring and will, oddly enough, target adults (i.e., Reddit users), rather than children.

On Monday, redditors in the section launched a second book idea, this one aimed at actual toddlers. There’s no word yet on when this book will be published; it’s still very much in the planning stages.

The Daily Dot first reported on r/ExplainLikeImFive when it launched this summer and became the fastest growing section in the site’s history. The subreddit’s founder, Brandon Elliott , a special education teacher from San Deigo, wanted to create “a friendly place to ask questions without fear of judgement.”

The section now boasts a subscriber base of 66,000 childishly curious redditors.

What are some explanations you can expect to see in the books? Here are some abridged explanations taken from the site’s own best-of list. You can click on the username to read the explanations in their entirety.

Could someone please explain WikiLeaks?

Imagine you are a student in a 5th grade class. One day you stumble across the journal sitting open on the floor of another student named Johnny. In this journal you read that Johnny admits to stealing small amounts of everyone’s lunch money while everyone is out during recess.

You remember one student came up with an anonymous way to tattle. Little

Assange in the other class came up with a way where you would bundle up all the information you have, and toss it in a secret dropbox for him to collect later. Assange never knows who dropped the info in his dropbox, so your identity is safe. (Devistator)

Why can’t we ride zebras like we ride horses?

We know that parents pass their features on to their children. This is why you look kind of like your parents. This also means mean animals tend to have mean babies and calm gentle animals usually have calm gentle babies. For a long long time, people only let the nice gentle horses have babies and the mean horses went away. This is called domestication. Zebras are wild so there are still many mean ones and it is hard to find nice ones. Nice horses are easy to find because of domestication. (josh6499)

The difference between JPEG and PNG.

Ok, pretend that you have a book, and you want to make it smaller. The JPEG way to do it is to read the book and summarise it … Then on the other end, someone reads the summary and tries to re-write the book from the description of it. It’s not perfect, but the general story will be correct.

The PNG way is to look at each word, and then write the word and the number of times it occurs. (asokoloski)


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