Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mick O’Hare. Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? (2006)

     Mick O’Hare. Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? (2006) New Scientist’s “Last Word” collects questions and answer about whatever triggers the questioner’s curiosity. This book collects 142 questions from the early 2000s, organised by topic. The section on food and drink is the largest. Does this mean that food os the prime concern, or merely that eating takes so little brain power that there’s plenty left over for idle curiosity about the food?
     It’s a potato-chip book, compulsively readable, highly entertaining, with serious and tongue-in-cheek answers. All kinds of oddities, some of which a moderately well-read geek knows about, and some of which are news to just about everybody. The collection also illustrates the inevitable downside of increasing knowledge: the more we know collectively, the less we know individually. And as the area of knowledge expands, the boundary between the known and the unknown lengthens. This means that the more we know, the more there is to be found out. And that’s a Good Thing.
     Highly recommended. ***

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