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review 2018-01-10 07:25
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski

2018:  I re-read this book as part of the Flat Book Society's group read.  I don't want to review it twice, so I'm re-posting my original review.  My feelings about this book stand, and moreover, it holds up on re-reading very well.  

 

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2017:  A pretty excellent book for anyone who gets a bit giddy about science and the everyday ways that science is part of everyone's life.

 

Czerski has a very accessible voice and a very clear way of explaining what are at times complex topics, and she covers the gamut:  electromagnetism, water tension, viscosity, plate tectonics, and Newton's laws of motion (I'm old-school) among them.  I learned so much about so many things and those that I had a basic understanding of, she elucidated in ways that really brought the concepts to life in better detail.  I had no idea that an electromagnet was what held down the tray in my toaster - did y'all know that?  That's why the tray doesn't stay down when the toaster is unplugged.  

 

So much of this book got read out loud to MT, who is not a lover of science, but even he found the bits I shared fascinating (he was equally surprised about the toaster), and there were so many suggestions throughout the book that can easily be done at home; I plan to do several of them with my nieces when next they are here - including building our own trebuchet.  

 

Honestly, anyone interested in science but might feel intimidated by the often tedious or complex explanations, or anyone who just thinks the science involved in the every day fascinating will get a lot out of this book.  Czerski often gets auto-biographical with her narrative, but she is a physicist, so why wouldn't she use her own experiences to illustrate her points?  (For the record, MT and I both think she and her friends got totally screwed on the whole trebuchet debacle.)

 

Overall, a lot of fun.

 

PS:  oh, yes, the trebuchet will happen!

Source: www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/mini-trebuchet-science
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text 2018-01-09 23:25
Reading progress update: I've read 301 out of 301 pages.
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski

Oh, I really liked this book.

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text 2018-01-09 21:40
Storm in a Teacup - Reading Update: Chapter 7
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski

This chapter was all about spinning. I liked it - not only because it again featured a lot of tea (she seems to drink and stare at tea A LOT!) but it also had action and suspense (literally if you read about the trebuchet experiments). 

 

While I can't see myself building a trebuchet myself (I'll wait for Murder by Death's detailed report on that particular experiment), I really enjoyed reading about it. It does illustrate her points rather well. I might, however, be observing the toast rotation experiment with less frustration going forward. 

 

I again had to smile because I was reminded of the Humboldt biography (The Invention of Nature) when she mentioned Mount Chimborazo.

 

 

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text 2018-01-08 22:52
Storm in a Teacup - Reading Update: Chapter 6
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski

Well, the story about ducks and how they regulate the temperature in their feet was fab. So were the parts about the Arctic Ocean, the Fram, the molecular structures of sugar and salt, and Brownian motion.

 

It is just me or are her choice of anecdotes getting a little less focused? I mean, I don't mind that much, but some of the trains of thought seem a little forced.

 

Still, this was a hugely enjoyable chapter just for the ducks alone.

 

(The image is not from the book, I found it here.)

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text 2018-01-08 19:15
Storm in a Teacup - Reading Update: Chapter 5
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski

Waves are cool. But no matter how many cool things are because of waves, there is only so much interest I can muster for looking at different kinds of waves. Maybe it was my waning interest, but there were a few parts in this Chapter (Making Waves) that I found were not written very clearly - like the parts about who messaged what during the sinking of the Titanic, and the explanation of mobile phone networks. Still, even the parts that were a bit "unclear" to me in this book were still a good side clearer than some previous Flat Books. 

 

Waves out of the way, the next chapter is the one that had my anticipation since day one of this buddy read:

 

"Why don't ducks get cold feet?"

 

I hope my anticipation is rewarded.

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