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4.5 out of 5 stars45
4.5 out of 5 stars
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New Scientist has a reader's Q&A section, where readers submit questions and others answer them. The questions are sometimes obvious but without a simple answer, or perhaps abstruse but with a surprisingly elegant answer - if one has the right mindset.

As an engineer and scientist I found this amusing and interesting. So will those with younger and/or enquiring minds. It is NOT dumbed down and the answers are all intended to be relevant and accurate. Best of all, many have a light touch and offer us a new way of looking at life around us.

It is a super book for dipping into, and if you share a house it is quite likely that you'll suddenly be tempted to also share what you are reading with someone sat next to you, as in "Listen to this for a moment: 'Why don't bats get dizzy when they hang upside down? Or do they?' It says here..." and you go on for the next two intelligent and fascinating pages while your companion quietly nods off with a polite half smile. But an hour later you come back after having made a couple of cups of tea, and find they are now reading your book and won't relinquish it.

If you are not interested in the quirky nature of the world around you then don't buy it, the jokes are few and far between, and mostly in-jokes at that. But if for you our world is an exciting place, you'll find this is a nice relaxed way to get a grip on some more of it.

Also from the New Scientist and well worth looking at are:
Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?
Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?
Does Anything Eat Wasps?
Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?
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on 16 October 2010
I enjoyed this - lots of facts I have always wondered about, though I have only looked at some - and some I find the explanations a bit challenging.

A really good pair of books if you are wanting to buy someone a present would be this with Peter Cave's Do Llamas Fall in Love?: 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles

That gets you thinking for yourself more as well as being lots of fun. Facts with this - and not fiction with Llamas, but thoughts with Llamas to discuss. I'm still unsure about the right answer to the llama question and not always all that clear about some of the scientific facts. Good features of both.

Excellent buys together for your student offspring - solves my problem for some presents anyway!
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on 3 May 2011
This book is fascinating. As a long-time devotee of New Scientist, I knew I'd love it, but I didn't realise how addictive it would be, and now I find myself reading "Just another one..." for hours once in bed. But it's worth it :) Great book.
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on 15 December 2010
Why can't elephants jump? is the follow up to last years excellent Do polar bears get lonely. The books follow the same basic premise; questions sent in to the New Scientist ( A scientific magazine) are answered by fellow readers and the best answer(s) got published.

I think the editor of the book has once again done a sterling job in only picking those questions which a) The average joe can understand (including me!) and b) are both interesting and sometimes perplexing before you read the answer. The answers, on a whole, are also highly informative and you really get the feeling that they are not holding back on the science, providing an accurate, and often lucid, response.

However, while a solid 4/5 book, I have two main criticisms. The first one is that often, more than one explanation is given to a question. This would not bother me usually, as it means that the question was probably so difficult and/or interesting, that the editors had to pick out more than one decent answer. BUT, sometimes these answers seem rather different from each other, and apart from the rare exception, no editor comment etc is given to say which is the correct, or more accurate one. The second minor criticism is that while it's great that the answerers can use complex language, often the average reader can get bogged down in scientific process names without consulting a dictionary or just skipping the word. Most people would be able to understand the majority of the book, just a word of warning if you have an inquisitive youngster who wants this book, or others in the series, the language and general prose *WILL* quite often be complex enough for most adults to scratch their heads!

However, for most readers this really is a small issue, and with an amazing breadth of questions, as well as some great answers, I still highly recommend this book as well as well as all its siblings. (There are four books in the series, and judging by the high positions each of them as held on the booksellers list and the endless amount of questions possible for this crazy world, I suspect there will be a few more in the future!)

I have the kindle edition, and for those looking for a cheap book to buy for your kindle, I would recommend it. The paragraphs are very well laid out and the overall structure is perfect, no poor formatting here!
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on 14 January 2011
Bought this book as a stocking filler for my grown up son. He was pleased to receive an easy-read book (usually reading for study puposes)and will now be boring us with his new knowledge of fascinating facts. Suitable for wide age range.
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on 18 January 2011
I've read all these books from New Scientist and adore them. They could be so dull and boring, full of sciency stuff that bores the bottom off us all, but instead, with good editing there's some sciency stuff but there's humour too.

They are very interesting too, I've certainly learned a lot by reading them, mainly from Jon Richfield who seems to know the answer to everything...until this edition.

They are not books I would read cover to cover in one or two goes, I tend to dip into them and they make, sorry to say, excellent material for reading in the inner sanctum if you know what I mean.

Hope they produce some more, excellent stuff NS.
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on 14 February 2011
This is a lovely little book, full of the kind of popular question that we all ponder from time to time, straight from 'New Scientist'. There are even good questions from children. What I like about the format, is that answers have been contributed by readers of the journal, mostly clearly knowledgeable; sometimes a number of explanations provide additional insights or perspectives. An excellent book for dipping into for short reads.
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on 14 January 2011
If you have not bought one of these New Scientist paperbacks before then you should. 99% of the questions are interesting and most of the answers are well written and keep you reading. The editors are not afraid to include a good deal of humour so that you tend to read even the most erudite of answers and no one is allowed to ramble on.
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on 31 March 2011
I bought the whole series of these for my husband for his birthday. He has been reading them on the train to work and comes home each night with some very funny, sometimes useful facts. Good light reading and you will also learn something new!
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on 7 May 2011
As good as ever. A great book with fun for everyone. The new scientist never fails to add humour to everyday questions and experiments. Best in the series so far and as always the flick page cartoon will bring a smile to your face.
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