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Fact or Fiction: Science Tackles 58 Popular Myths by [Scientific American Editors]
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Fact or Fiction: Science Tackles 58 Popular Myths Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 29 Jul 2013
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Length: 215 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 805 KB
  • Print Length: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Scientific American (29 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DTDFOPG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,312 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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I do think there is a little bias in here somewhere. I should explain: as one would expect from such a well-respected publication as Scientific American the facts and figures are laid bare for all to see so I am not suggesting any dishonesty or lack of thorough study. However, for example, on subjects like circumcision it appears that the authors are in the "pro" camp by the questions they don't ask. The data they give seem reliable and informative but they only concentrate on the central myth and nothing else is mentioned -- it seems that circumcision can be somewhat protective against HIV infection, that being the truth they are proving, and that is all well and good but to not even look whether circumcision has any negative impact seems a little odd. This is one example but there are others in there.
Possibly it's me who has a bias, and I wouldn't discourage anybody from reading this excellent compilation, but I felt the need to mention this.
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This is a good book to dip into. Fifty eight myths are objectively examined to determine whether they carry some truth, starting with the toxic effects of chocolate on dogs (it is, depending on the weight of the dog and the amount and the type of the chocolate) and finishing with whether a spoon can keep champagne bubbly (it's not necessary - just keep it cold). The myths are a mixture of the trivial and the serious and whilst it refers to them as "popular myths" there are some I'd never heard of, such as that males can lactate (it can happen under some exceptional circumstances, such as if there is a pituitary tumour produces prolactin).

All of the information in the book has been previously published in Scientific American, in many cases in 2007 or 2008, but, whilst it doesn't say so, in at least one instance the information has been updated because an article on the necessity or otherwise for a big toe, originally published in 2007, makes reference to Oscar Pistorius competing in the 2012 Olympics.

Overall, this is an entertaining collection of articles which lays some ghosts to rest.
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I expected more from this book, I guess I wanted it to give me more "WOW!!" moments and surprise me a bit more. However, where it lacks in shock and awe value, it makes up for it with very accessible writing, straight forward explanations and some cute asides and stories.
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I liked it. Nothing spectacular but interesting. A light read and if that is what you want then this is the book for you.
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Very clearly explained also for non-scientists. The chosen subjects are familiar to everyone. This should be mandatory reading also outside the scientific community.
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As a subscriber and reader of Scientific American, I'm really enjoying reading this on my Kindle. It is enlightening to learn what are myths and waht is true. Well written and entertaining.
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An easy read but not all the myths are mythical -- no one really believes Mozart improves cognitive function. Some are rather obscure as well but on the whole edifying and amusing.
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This book of bite-size entries is perfect 'dip-in' material, examining and dealing with scientific myths in a very accessible way.
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