TITLE: Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life
AUTHOR: Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher
DATE PUBLISHED: 2017
Furry Logic is an interesting book that takes a look at the physics concepts used by a large variety of animal life for survival. The writing style is informal, chatty and whitty. Some of the puns and jokes were just awful, but most led to snickers or laughs, so I can't complain about them too much. While the authors do not go into a great deal of depth with their scientific explanations, the explanations are comprehensive enough to understand the concept. This is a fun, fast paced, fascinating and informative book, especially for the non-physicist and non-biologist. This book is divided into 6 chapters that show how animals make use of physics in terms of heat, forces, fluids, sound, electricity, magnetis and light.
The book covers such topics as flight, how cats drink, heat detection in snakes, the Komodo Dragon's bite, the electric field of flowers and how they attract bees, the sounds of peacocks and how elephants detect sound through the ground, how some animals use polarized light or magnetic fields to determine direction, how electric eels produce their electricity, how pondskaters skate on water, how geckos walk on ceilings, how the Harlequin Mantis Shrimp punches through crap shells (and aquarium tanks), how well mosquitos fly in the rain, why dogs shake themselves dry, why giant squid have such large eyes, and many more.
The book includes a section of colour photographs and has a few illustrations to explain concepts spread throughout the book. Unfortunately, the book did not contain a list of references or a bibliography, which is a bit strange for a science book!
-Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski
-Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements by Matt Wilkinson
-The Gecko’s Foot: How Scientists are Taking a Leaf from Nature's Book by Peter Forbes
-What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
"We’re off on a trip of our own to the Furry Logic summer picnic. Choosing a shady spot on the lawns overlooking the historic hall, we lay down a blanket, get out the cheese sandwiches, open a huge bag of crisps (we’re so classy), pour some tea and unpack our pièce de résistance – home-made scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Perfect.
Unfortunately, we’re not alone. Wasps have arrived. First one, then another, then a third, darting madly around us in search of a sugary treat. We try to shoo off the beasts but it’s no use. More wasps turn up. One’s crawling over the jam. Another’s landed in the cream. The wasps are a complete (insert your own expletive) nuisance. Leaping up we tread backwards into a sandwich, knock over the tea and flail furiously about. With more wasps buzzing round our heads, it’s time for plan B: shove everything back into the picnic hamper and dash for the car.
Wasps are one of the most unpopular animals on the planet. They have few fans and many enemies, but it turns out wasps (or at least some of them) are masters of electricity and expert at quantum mechanics. Before we explain how, let’s make a case for their defence. First, without these yellow-and-black striped creatures, we’d be knee-deep in aphids and black fly. If you’re a keen gardener, you can thank your local wasps for devouring these insects and keeping your cabbages in good nick. Second, many species are social creatures that live in giant colonies and have just one aim: to bring food back to their nests. They’ll attack only if provoked or if they see a sudden movement, which is why swiping at one with a rolled-up newspaper is a bad idea. And here’s a tip: if you’re near a wasp’s nest, stay still. Creating a disturbance encourages the wasps to rush out to see what’s going on. If anything, wasps are more concerned about intruder wasps entering their colony. Should that happen, the inmates circle the outsider, before leaping on the enemy, chewing its wings off and stinging it to death. So it’s not about you, it’s them."
"The good news regarding Oriental hornets is that they won’t nest in your house. Nor will you find them living in trees or shrubs. Instead, these wasps hang out in intricate underground burrows, which armies of workers hollow out by digging with their mandibles. Carrying the soil in their mouths, the workers head to the nest exit before flying out about 10m (about 30ft) from home. After dumping the soil in mid-air (the naughty litter bugs) they return home for more digging."