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Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Questions (New Scientist) [Kindle Edition]

New Scientist , Mick O'Hare
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Every year, readers send in thousands of questions to New Scientist, the world's best-selling science weekly, in the hope that the answers to them will be given in the 'Last Word' column - regularly voted the most popular section of the magazine.

Does Anything Eat Wasps? is a collection of the best that have appeared, including: Why can't we eat green potatoes? Why do airliners suddenly plummet? Does a compass work in space? Why do all the local dogs howl at emergency sirens? How can a tree grow out of a chimney stack? Why do bruises go through a range of colours? Why is the sea blue inside caves? Many seemingly simple questions are actually very complex to answer. And some that seem difficult have a very simple explanation. New Scientist's 'Last Word' celebrates all questions - the trivial, the idiosyncratic, the baffling and the strange. This selection of the best is popular science at its most entertaining and enlightening.

Product Description


Fascinating (Daily Mail)

It's good bog reading. (Irish Independent)

Endlessly fascinating and an absolute treat. (Scotland on Sunday)

Witty, unexpected and imaginative. (Daily Express)

Fascinating things you never knew you wanted to know. (Daily Mirror)

Titillating (Observer)

The must have book for Christmas ... a world stranger than fiction. (Independent)

Book Description

How long can I live on beer alone? Why do people have eyebrows? Has nature invented any wheels? Plus ninety-nine other questions answered.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1935 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (1 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042FZVEE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
399 of 408 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, great fun 14 Nov. 2005
Every year, around Christmas, some book gets a reputation as a popular stocking filler, and I'm rather hoping it will be this one. Readers of 'New Scientist' will be familiar with the last page, 'Last Word' column which offers answers to readers' questions. "Does Anything Eat Wasps?" offers a collection of some of the best of these questions of science and technology.
It's a fascinating and amusing little read. It might equip you with convincing answers to obscure pub quiz questions. It will capture your imagination and stimulate your need to enquire, explore, and understand. What is offered here is a series of intelligent, articulate explanations of a range of phenomena. You look at each question and wonder, "why is that?" Then you read the explanation. It's rational, in retrospect maybe even obvious, but it is a page turner of a read.
This is a wonderful little volume for anyone interested in general knowledge, anyone who watches quiz programmes on the television, or anyone who has a broad interest in science and enquiry. Entertaining, amusing, instructive, and excellent value. And does anything eat wasps? Well, apart from advising you to always check the fruit you're eating … I'll leave that answer to the book.
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199 of 204 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I’ve never read New Scientist and I’m not particularly scientific, but I do have a natural curiosity about things and I loved this book.
Apart from the fascinating quirkyness of the questions, what charmed and amused me were the responses. They’re submitted from around the world by all manner of subject matter experts. I was amazed at how people know stuff like the chemical composition of spinach and how willing many of them were to test and experiment on behalf of helping someone else out.
It conjured up visions of eccentric ‘boffins’ doing all sorts of mad things. For example, in response to a question about why frozen gnocchi (Italian dumplings) sink when they should float, one response included, “…as I had some frozen ones at home, I decided to do some rudimentary measurements in my kitchen. Firstly, my frozen gnocchi had a density of 1.1grams/millimetre….” And when considering why Guinness, a black drink, produces a white froth, someone got to work: “I poured myself a Guinness and put a little of the froth in a dish and examined it through a low-powered microscope.”
Given very few of the responses are from professional writers, they are usually very well written, and very amusing. I loved the description of how the best place to fossilize yourself would be in volcanic rock: “You need a rapid burial. I don’t mean a speedy funeral service….but something natural and dramatic – the sort of thing that is preceded by a distant volcanic rumble and an unfinished query along the lines of ‘What was…?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Hungry Birds (and More !) 26 May 2007
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
The 'New Scientist' is a weekly magazine, first published in 1956, that covers the recent happenings in the scientific world. In 1994, the magazine launched a new column called "The Last Word" in which its driven by its readers - not all of whom are geeks in white coats. Here, they could not only pose a science-related question, but also provide the answers. "Does Anything Eat Wasps" is a selection of the questions asked and answered over the column's first eleven years, and proved to be one of the UK's surprise hit of the year.

The book is divided into chapters, depending on the focus of the questions selected - our bodies, our planet and 'wierd' weather for example. While the book is informative, it is equally as likely to raise a smile - the overall tone is not that of a difficult, highbrow scientific paper. Some of the questions that are dealt with include : how long can a human being live if their sole source of food or drink is beer ? (One respondant includes in his answer it would be unethical to conduct such an experiment - though I suspect he would have plenty of volunteers). What causes the changes, in terms of colour and consistency, in earwax ? Can it be scientifically proven that your arse looks smaller in black trousers ? And just how far above the Earth's surface would you have to be before a compass stops pointing north ?

An enjoyable and informative book - though it's one I tend to dip into once in a while, rather than reading it from cover to cover.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all enquiring minds 31 Dec. 2005
By A Customer
A definite must for all students!
I have to admit that when I got two of this book for christmas I figured that my friends really thought I should read it. As a science teacher this is probably one of the best scientific/factual books I have read in a long time. It isn't just for science nuts out there, it's not a heavy read that switches your brain off and can at times be very amusing. I would recommend this to every parent (or teacher) with children that ask the question "why" alot. There is bound to be a question in there that you have pondered yourself and there are loads of little facts that if nothing else will be useful when doing pub quizzes.
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