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review 2018-04-07 18:26
Furry Logic by Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Matin Durrani,Liz Kalaugher

TITLE:  Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

 

AUTHOR:  Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  978-1-4729-1411-8

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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!

 

 

Furry Logic Website

 

Internet Review and Excerpts

 

 

OTHER BOOKS

 

-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

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review 2018-03-26 10:23
GRAPHENE by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany
Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World - Les Johnson,Joseph E. Meany

TITLE:  Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World

 

AUTHOR:  Les Johnson  & Joseph E. Meany 

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2018

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9781633883253

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Graphene by Johnson and Meany provides an extensive, and interesting, overview of a potential new material that could revolutionise daily life. This substance is graphene: a flat, two-dimensional, carbon-based molecule with a single sheet measuring only one atom thick.

This book is divided into sections that cover the history of graphene discovery/ development; its unique physical and electrical properties; the problems in large-scale manufacture of the substance for commerical use; its variety of potential uses that would transform everyday life; and the unknown potential health risks of graphene. The potential uses of graphene include enhancing and increasing the efficiency of solar panels, batteries, electrical conduction, computers, medical equipment and other electronic items; additions to paint and concrete to provide additional strength and waterproofing; its uses in "smart" clothing etc.

This book is particularly dense in science, with a bit of history, economics and humour thrown in. The science however is nothing more complicated than what one would come across in a highschool science class i.e. electrons and atoms are mentioned. The book is written in an accessible style that was a joy to read.

 

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review 2018-03-02 07:01
The Science of Everyday Life by Marty Jopson
The Science of Everyday Life - Marty Jopson

TITLE: The Science of Everyday Life:  Why Teapots Dribble, Toast Burns and Light Bulbs Shine

 

AUTHOR:  Marty Jopson

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2015

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13: 9781782434184

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In this book, Marty Jopson explores the science behind everyday life in conversational terms that the interested non-scientist (or even teenager) can understand.  There are chapters on food & drink; kitchen science; house science; the science of humans; world occurrences; and garden science.  Each chapter covers a large variety of topics in easily digestible, easy to understand chunks of information, with the addition of relevant diagrams.  Topics covered include: why some spices burn; why sweets taste sweet; why onions make you cry; how candles burn; how refrigerators, light bulbs, smartphones, smoke alarms, clocks, batteries, 2-1 shampoo and conditioner work; regeneration of body parts; electricity; greenhouses; boomerangs; composting; spider silk; lawn vs weeds; thunder; rainbows; and more.  The explanations are a bit simplistic (for me anyway) and most of the topics in this book are familiar as they have been covered in other books, however, this book was still entertaining and informative.  The separation of each topic into chunks also makes this an ideal book for reading in bites as opposed to all at once.

 

OTHER SIMILAR BOOKS

 

- How Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott

- Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski

- Atoms Under the Floorboards by Chris Woodford

- Science and the City by Laurie Winkless

-The Science of Everyday Life by Len Fisher

 

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review 2018-03-01 06:42
The Science of Food by Marty Jopson
The Science of Food: An Exploration of What We Eat and How We Cook - Marty Jopson

TITLE:  The Science of Food:  An Exploration of What We Eat and How We Cook

 

AUTHOR:  Marty Jopson

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781782438380

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Marty Jopson has written a short, easily digestible book on the science behind cooking food and kitchen gadgets - everything from the physics and materials science of the knife and chopping board you use; the perfect frying pan; the invention of pressure cookers; to industrial processes required to make puffed cereals, dried mashed potatoes and refrigeration; to the denaturing of proteins when you cook a steak or boil an egg; why emulsions like mayonnaise work; and other vaguely food related stuff like sell-by dates, artificial sweeteners, making chocolate and aeroponics (the process of growing plants in an air/mist environment instead of soil or water). 

 

This book seems especially written for the non-scientifically inclined reader with interesting examples, "digestible" language, minimal scientific jargon and numerous illustrations.  I found the book to be an informative, interesting and easy read, with minimal social chit-chat, but I do wish the author had gone into more detail!

 

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review 2018-02-06 06:10
Geography for Dummies by Charles Heatwole
Geography for Dummies. - Charles Heatwole

TITLE:  Geography for Dummies

 

AUTHOR:  Charles Heatwole

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2002

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780764516221

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Geography for Dummies provides a brief overview of the geography you should have learned in middle-school.  Topics covered in the book include Mapwork; Physical Geography  (e.g. volcanoes, earthquakes, climate, etc); Population Geography (movement and distribution of people); and Economic Geography (resources, economic activities, urban geography, environmental issues, etc).  The book also provides many diagrams and lists of organizations for geographic information (useless unless you live in the USA), geographical occupations, geographical websites, and a chapter on oddball topics like the Bermuda Triangle or how "Democratic Republics" are usually anything but democratic.

This book provides a basic, superficial outline of the listed topics, using simple words, a chatty writing style and many examples (most of them from the USA) - I suppose this is what one should expect from a book subtitled "for Dummies".  Personally I found the chattiness rather long-winded and the simplistic explanations annoying (I wanted more information!).

In short, an informative, albeit basic, book if you know nothing about geography, rather superficial if you want something more detailed.

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