From Publishers Weekly
A sequel of sorts to the bestselling Does Anything Eat Wasps?, this compilation of readers' questions and answers published in "The Last Word" column of New Scientist Magazine prove there really is no such thing as a stupid question: reader questions "Why is nasal mucus often green?"; "Why doesn't superglue stick to the inside of its tube?"; "Why is red meat red and white meat white?"; and "What time is it at the North Pole?" all draw serious consideration from their fellow readers, as well as personal stories, myths, jokes and even a poem (on why the sea is salty). Readers will learn that helium atoms are small enough to diffuse through the elastic material of a balloon, which is why balloons deflate; they'll also learn how to hypnotize a mynah bird and why "fish don't fart"; the conflagration of trivia, knowledge, anecdote and humor should entertain just about anyone.
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The latest collection of "Last Words" columns from New Scientist
magazine, in which experts in various fields responds to readers' questions, is entertaining and enlightening. Sorted into several categories--"Our Bodies," "Weird Weather," etc.--the questions deal mainly with everyday matters. Why do we sneeze when we emerge from the shade into the light? (Theories vary.) Why do our knuckles make that sound when we crack them? (Bubbles of nitrogen gas popping in the joints.) Why do we cry when we slice an onion? (Amino acids are released into the air, acting as an irritant.) We learn a lot of interesting stuff, and it's surprising how many common questions have no definitive answer: for example, hot water either does or does not freeze faster than cold water, depending on whom you listen to. Trivia nuts, especially fans of the earlier book Does Anything Eat Wasps?
not to mention David Feldman's long-running Imponderables series, will eat this one up. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved