Why Can't Elephants Jump?: and 113 more science questions answered (New Scientist) Paperback – 7 Oct 2010
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What's the storage capacity of the human brain in gigabytes? What's the farthest point on land from the sea? Why is frozen milk yellow? And why do flamingos stand on one leg?
About the Author
New Scientist is the best selling and fastest growing science magazine in the world. Why Can't Elephants Jump? is again compiled and edited by Mick O'Hare, production editor of New Scientist, who is frequently interviewed on TV and radio.
Top customer reviews
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?
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!
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!
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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Worth the money.