What a delight it is to find that David Jones has compiled another compendium of the plausible schemes of Daedalus. Anyone with the slightest interest in science will find hours of pleasure randomly dipping into this collection of Daedalus's musings culled from New Scientist, The Guardian and Nature over the last 30 years.
The breadth of David Jones's learning is astonishing - no scientific discipline is immune from the attentions of Daedalus and his team of DREADCO scientists. Reading this book constantly left me veering between wondering whether Daedalus really was revealing a glimpse of future technology and hugging myself with glee and shaking with laughter at some of the possible consequences foretold.
Jones reminds us that Daedalus is not to be mocked unthinkingly - his prediction of the existence of Buckminsterfullerene is a debt acknowledged by the Nobel laureates themselves. In this book you can read more about Daedalus's predictions of carbon nanotubes and their desirable properties.
The book follows a format where, typically, a plausible scheme is sketched out. Jones then provides us with an extract from Daedalus's notebook that gives the back-of-a-beermat calculations on which the scheme is based. He concludes with a Daedalus retrospective comment on the scheme.
Daedalus clearly has a life of his own and his schemes attract serious scientific critique - indeed, we are told how assessment of the feasibility of proposed schemes has been built into at least one university course. He is happy to point out to us when he has fallen into serious error - as, for example, he did when proposing generation of Gigawatt scale electrical energy by piezoelectric effects in the earth's crust caused by tidal distortion.
The book holds far too many surprises to mention - indeed, to do so is to spoil the reader's pleasure. My personal favorite is his prediction of the potential fire hazard lurking in the depths of the ocean below 1500 meters. It's a really great read - and one you will return to again and again.