43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful for anybody that wants to know the answers to life's sometimes baffling questions (especially if you have children that want the answers to questions that sometimes you even have doubts about). This book is almost certainly for you (look really clever in front of the childern, no more ask the teacher the answer to that one). Boys will love the question on snot, and for you older one's (the answer to why hair goes grey might be of some help, no it is not too much perming or colouring, buy and book and read it to find out.
I originally bought the book for our daughter who is aged 15 but couldn't resist a look at it myself, had to read it though as it is just so gripping, once looking at one question and answer, then it snowballs. (At least if I get caught short on the conversation front, now I can think of different questions and see how people answer), or they will just look and think what the heck am I on.
A must book for summer holidays, long car journeys, you could ask one question and get everyone to give their answer to it, enjoyable fun and could put the end to are we there yet?
Bought my copy from Amazon on offer, so got a really good deal, but even at full price less than £8.00 still a good buy.
66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2006
This book, the follow up to 'Does Anything Eat Wasps?', of trivial, is a wonderful compilation of trivial, unimportant questions that you might wonder about but never really knew the answer to, or who to ask, or where to look.
Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze? compiles a list of these questions, all categorised into their own section, all come with a variety of responses (scientific, factual and sometimes funny and bizarre) for you to enjoy.
You don't have to be an expert in science to appreciate and enjoy this book (such as me). Embrace it and learn something new everyday. Definitely worth checking out.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
There are now quite a few of these type of books around, but this volume and its partner (the one about Does Anything Eat Wasps?) are the originals. And they are very entertaining!
The information is taken from New Scientist magazine, however, so very often it is quite complex and detailed. The questions are very varied, and range across natural history, biology, chemistry, physics, astrophysics -- you name it. Sometimes the questions are very basic; sometimes they are complicated -- and sometimes the answers can be half a dozen lines or several pages long.
These trivia snippets are a bit like grown-up factoids: interesting to read and file away, and maybe useful once in a blue moon, but mainly worth reading to satisfy some curiosity.
Because the book is divided into sections, and each question forms a different topic, it is very easy to dip in and out of this book. It's much harder to read it all in great long sessions, as you would a novel.
So this is maybe a book to keep in the small room and flick through when the mood takes you!
Although it is non-fiction, Penguin's Feet isn't a reference book as such. Because the topics are so different, and the replies vary in depth and detail, this really isn't a serious science guide.
Instead it's a jolly compilation which lets you surf through some science -- and it's no problem if you skip the bits you don't understand!
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2006
I picked this up cos i liked Lynne Truss's book - eats shoots and leaves. Rarely do i follow publishers, but the people behind Lynne's book put this out, so I bought it. And loved it. The balance of bizarre factoids and science behind them is spot on. There's a lot of question and answer books out at the moment but this ranks as one of the best. Interestingly, the other one i'd recommend is also by the same publishers and is called the end of the question mark. They seem to be on a roll!
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I cannot fault this book. I to was a fan of the first one (which if you read the intro to this book was actually the third book based on the last word). A great book for enquiring minds, pub bores and anybody else who wants to know if a fly can stop a train, why the sky is blue and what time it is at the North Pole.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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. In 2005, a selection of the questions asked and answered were gathered together for "Does Anything Eat Wasps ?" - a book that elbowed its way to the upper ends of the UK's bestseller's list. Unsurprisingly, with a great deal of material still available, New Scientist decided to follow it up with "Why Don't Penguin's Feet Freeze ?".
The book is divided into chapters, depending on the focus of the questions selected - our bodies, plants and animals, and weird 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 : "Why do birds never fall off their perches when sleeping ?", "Fish don't fart, why is this ?", "Why doesn't superglue stick to the inside of the tube ?", "What time is it at the North Pole ?" and - from a nine year old boy - "Is it a coincidence that a human finger fits exactly into a human nostril ?"
An enjoyable and informative book - it's one I tend to dip into once in a while, rather than reading it from cover to cover.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2006
I enjoyed both books equally; the questions were simple enough the answers even simpler in some instances. Now I know why the penguin's feet don't stick and who or not eats wasps, couldn't get through the day without the answers. Enjoyable read
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Great Wall of China commonly thought to be the only non-natural object visible from space, but the claim is incorrect. It's an urban legend comparable to the one about mass suicide by lemmings. Some of these questions, all sent in by ordinary people interested in science and sometimes other matters, which I will come to, and answered by other ordinary people with an insight in their field. I have often wondered why the sky is blue, and the answer is set out by Rick Eraho of Cleckheaton. Apparently it's all down to something called Rayleigh scattering. Blue light, which has a high frequency is scattered ten times more than red light and this same process also explains the red colours we see when the sun is low on the horizon. All light has to travel huge distances to reach us and during the trip the blue light is scattered away, but red light, which is less susceptible to scattering can continue on a direct path to our eyes.
This book also answered another question I'd often wondered about. Why is it that excited soldiers in Iraq and other war sites shoot their guns up into the air without being injured when the bullets return to earth. The answer is, they don't always escape their foolish actions at all and the practice causes injuries with disproportionate fatalities.
On a more prosaic note, what should one do when out shopping with someone else in a large supermarket and they've disappeared on a forage of their own? Is it best to stay still and hope they'll find you, or go on your own search for them? The best strategy may be to wait at the exit of the store on the grounds that the other person may eventually conclude you've gone home and do likewise. The maximum waiting time could extend to be from the time you lost each other until the store closes. A strategy of staying still only works if just one person stays still, then the waiting time is either infinite, if you get locked in, or again, until the store closes. The waiting time, in my experience, is lessened if you have some idea of which aisles will most attract your companion. Easier, I tend to feel, with teenagers, who will gravitate to films, fizzy drinks, or clothes. First, use your intuition.
This is an entertaining and enlightening little book, well worth a look through.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In 1994, the New Scientist started a column, The last word, devoted to everyday science questions asked by readers, with answers also provided by readers. Originally expected to survive for between one and five years, the column survived way beyond that and as far as I know, it is still going strong. Two books compiled from these columns didn't do much business but a third (Does anything eat wasps?) was a huge success. Its success prompted a subsequent volume (this one), that selects questions and answers from those two unsuccessful volumes and adds questions of more recent origin. A further volume, Do polar bears get lonely?, has also proved hugely successful.
This book consists of nine chapters covering our bodies, feeling OK, plants and animals, food and drink, domestic science, our planet and universe, weird weather, troublesome transport and, for questions that don't fit easily into any of those categories, best of the rest. Note that these chapter headings are slightly different from the previous volume. Two new ones (feeling OK, food and drink) have been added while our planet and universe are combined in one chapter here.
The question that gives the book its title provoked some very good answers explaining how penguins cope with life in the Antarctic, but there`s a more interesting (at least to me) penguin question elsewhere in the book. If polar bears and penguins swapped places, could they survive. The answer seems to be that polar bears would survive in the Antarctic but they would devastate the eco-system and penguins would be particularly vulnerable. Penguins might be capable of surviving in those parts of the Arctic where there are no polar bears, but there's another species that would make their life difficult - us. Attempts to establish northern penguin colonies have failed because people couldn't co-exist with them.
Another question that particularly grabbed my attention was what the time is at the North pole. It sounds easy but of course it isn't, since the pole is on Earth's axis and therefore not in any particular time zone. A variety of answers are supplied, some serious, some not. One of the serious answers explains how it would be possible, using astronomy, to set up some kind of clock, summing that you didn't take a clock or watch with you. One of the less serious answers points out that Father Christmas lives there and, it being in no particular time zone, explains how he is able to deliver all his presents so quickly. Another answer suggests that the North Pole is the true spiritual home of all politicians, because the time can be whatever you want.
The variety of the questions asked and the answers provided is incredible, although I confess that I wouldn't have actually considered asking most of these questions. While this book provides very informative answers, I suspect that you'll have most fun with it if you share it with family and friends.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2006
This book has carried on the great tradition of the New Scientist's Last Word Column in answering some (115) of those questions that you just don't know the answer to.
Questions like: Why does grilled cheese go stringy; What causes the noise when you crack your knuckles? and How does a (gun) silencer work?
If you liked Does Anything East Wasps? you'll love this. This is a brilliant book for people who want to know how things work and why things happen.