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Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?: And 114 Other Questions (New Scientist Last Word #4)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,086 ratings  ·  83 reviews
• What time is it at the North Pole?

• What's the chemical formula for a human being?

• Why do boomerangs come back?

• Why do flying fish fly?

• Do the living really outnumber the dead?

• Why does lightning fork?

• Why does the end of a whip crack?

Everyone has at one time or another thought up odd questions like these, questions that are strange, intriguing, maybe
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,136)
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Petra X
I've finished the book and have discovered one gem above all others, but it's too late for me :-( Conkers. If you are British you would almost certainly have played conkers when you were in primary school. Every Autumn term you would pick up the fallen horse chestnuts and applied your chosen treatment to harden it, threaded it up and hoped you'd got the hardest one, a real champion, a ten-er maybe. I never got more than a six-er, but I pickled mine and as it turns out this was not the best treat ...more
Pretty much like any of the other New Scientist books: full of information, some of it more interesting to me, some of it less. Some of the chosen answers are quite funny, and quite a few of the questions are quite weird. Some of the answers are very similar to principles in the other books, but for the most part there's a good spread of different information here. Well categorised, too: a section on human bodies, on food, on domestic science...

Also noticed that it works as a flipbook with a fis
Karen Heart
A good book for anyone would like to hear possible explanations to those things that we ponder in our everyday lives. I say "possible" because the answers come from those who have written in with their own views and studies on it, some having several possible (or conflicting) answers.

I think it was put together very well and very amusing but someone looking for solid facts or not interested in hearing from random individuals could possibly find it disappointing. Otherwise, fun for all ages.
This book puts me to sleep, hahaha but seriously this is informative and well informative haha!
The book answered many questions across the science fields. Overall, it was very quick, interesting read. The questions and answers come from a column in the magazine New Scientist. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that the qualifications of those answering are seldom listed. Once in a while, someone lists that they are a professor at such-and-such university, or work at a company that directly relates to the question, so they can give a unique insight into the product/process being asked ab ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Shriya rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No-one
Recommended to Shriya by: 3 books for 99p offer at charity shop
Questions sent in by readers of New Scientist are answered.
Personally only few questions where in there for me.
Some rather humorous.

Andy Phillips
This book is a collection of questions asked, and answered, by readers of 'New Scientist' magazine. If you've never read the magazine, the questions are fairly light-hearted and vary a lot in content. Paraphrasing, examples are 'Why are windows in ships round?', 'What is the diameter of a lightning bolt?', 'Do the living outnumber the dead?' and 'Would polar bears and penguins survived if they swapped poles?'.

The answers are often quite detailed in their replies, or require some level of scienti

Segunda parte del grandísimo libro ¿Hay algo que coma avispas?, que recientemente comentamos en CPI. Son preguntas y respuestas que hacen y dan los lectores de la sección “La última palabra” (The last word) de la revista New Scientist .

Y, de nuevo, la lectura es absolutamente adictiva. ¿Por qué salen las canas? ¿Por qué lloramos al pelar cebollas? ¿Por qué la mayoría de los perros tienen la nariz negra? ¿El efecto placebo siempre es bueno o hay efecto placebo negativo? ¿Por qué hacen tanto ruid

This wasn't what I expected - I thought it has something to do with humor, but actually this was a scientific book. I learned many new things, although some topics were interesting, some weren't. Loved to read some parts aloud to my family members :)
It was a delight to read those questions we've maybe had on the back of your heads but have never quite gotten to formulate, as well as those varied, detailed answers. I didn't read them all but the ones I did were certainly thorough.
Elias Jabbour
Despite its ridiculous title this book has actually answered most of my childhood wonderings. What kept me from giving this book a 5 stars-rating is its multiple presented analysis and perspectives on questions where one answer would've been more than enough. Some of the asked questions left me dubious about the limits a person's curiosity can reach, for some people are pathetic enough to linger on meaningless ponderings such as " why is snot green? ".
Its interesting. If you are a science person or liked the previous books it could be a good coffee table book.

This book is full of questions with answers from a variety of folks. Most questions are answered by multiple people.
I'm not a scientist at all. The only reason I liked science at school was because it occasionally gave me the chance to spell long and unpronouncable words. Like its predecessor, Does Anything Eat Wasps, I found this to be really interesting and enjoyable. The format of the book works especially well for somebody like me who has minimal knowledge of most areas of science; it's in the form of questions and answers posted by members of the public, so the answers range from impenetrable professoria ...more
I love random books about random scientific ponderings. In this one you'll discover 115 bits and pieces (with several theories of why or how stuff works) e.g. why bird poop isn't white, why hot water supposedly freezes faster than cold water, the time zone of the North Pole, why ants are unharmed in the microwave etc.
Random bits of science for an any time enjoyment: while reading other books that get too boring, between books, bathroom reads, traveling or waiting for your turn in some office et
Richard Martin
The third entry in the New Scientist series. See "Why Are Orangutans Orange?" for complete list. Note: Flip the pages to watch the penguin catch and eat a fish!
April Brown
What ages would I recommend it too? – Eight and up.

Length? – Most of a day’s read.

Characters? – No.

Setting? – Real World.

Written approximately? – 2006.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: A mixture of odd science questions and answers.

Notes for the reader: There is sometimes a question about the reliability of some of the answers. Sometimes, they are conflicting. Then again,
Jun 01, 2007 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science geeks and curious children of all ages.
Shelves: non-fiction
Science strives ever onwards in search of the answers to the big questions. Is there a grand unifying theory (GUT) of everything, is the Higgs Boson the key to this theory etc.

But day to day the questions that people want to know the answers to are things like 'why is the sky blue?' and 'does hot water freeze more quickly than cold water?'.

And this is the book to find answers to lots of questions that you really want to know.

The questions and answers all come from a column called 'The last word
Noel G
A real time-thief. Something that you can easily dip into; and yet not so easily put down. Loved it.
An interesting book full of answers to questions you didn't know you wanted to ask. It is comprised of letters and answers from New Scientist magazine. The answers range from anecdotal evidence from people's experiences to full explanations from actual scientists. You don't have to be a genius to understand most of the content of the book but some of the more in depth answers do take a lot of concentration to follow.

A good factual book which I feel is at its best when you dip in and out of it w
Didn't hold my attention. Found myself skipping answers just to read the next question.
This is an absolutely fab book for dipping in and out off when you just have a few moments to spare. It is based on the famous column in the New Scientist magazine, where readers try to answer weird and wonderful posers set by other readers. I've always been a fan, so just loved having them in such a concentrated form. From questions like - why do I stumble more to the left than the right when I'm walking back from the pub? to Why is nasal mucus green? - you will learn things from reading this b ...more
Saint No Stopping Us

Five out of ten.

Interesting scientific questions answered.

This book and it's companion DOES ANYTHING EAT WASPS? is an on-going read which I keep in the wicker magazine rack in the smallest room of my house. It is full of answers to odd questions about life posed in the Last Word column of the New Scientist. In short, witty, and scientifically based 1 - 2 page answers, you can learn about why eggs are shaped the way they are, how an anti-dandruff shampoo works and why helium makes you speak funny! Just the right length for loo loafers!
A wonderful book for anyone into science and facts but even if you are not its still a fascinating read. Very interesting and actually inspired me to buy the others in the series.
Every question was split into sections so that made it easy for readers who skip sections to find their favourite area of interest, as it was, i'm not a skipper and thoroughly enjoyed every question posed.
Well worth reading whatever your age or ability and knowledge of science in general.
I did not like the use of long, over-complicated scientific jargon throughout this book which leaves the reader without clear, straight-forward explanations, let alone answers that can be digested, remembered and passed on in turn. Also the fact that there are several responses at a time to a particular question, sometimes even contradictory, makes it clear the purpose of this book is not so much answering questions than provoking thoughts (and for this at least has merits).
This turned out to be not what I expected. There were genuine scientific answers to the questions, but there were also educated guesses from people I would describe as laypersons, and even humorous answers not to be taken seriously. It was a fun and interesting read, and even educational. Mostly it was unpredictable. I had rather hoped to use it with kids, but I wouldn't recommend it for that purpose. Worth reading for adults with an interest in science, though.
This book is a series of questions that have been answered by readers of the New Scientist magazine. Most of the questions were interesting but others I did not care about at all. The questions are grouped under themes that makes up the chapters of this book. I feel that some of the answers can be further filtered so you do not end up with questions with 3 or 4 different answers. This is one of those books that you pick up and read a question from time to time.
Mark Edon
Another eclectic mix of questions with their equally odd mix of answers.

My favourite and a good illustration of what the book does is a question in a letter to New Scientist some years ago about hot water freezing quicker than cold water. This is now understood (isn) and it the way the world actually works. We see the full range of responses to the issue being raised and a little bit of history about how it was investigated. Fascinating stuff.
a very good book in the same vein of does anything east wasps that I read last year (or maybe in 2006)
Well put together from the last word column in New Scientist. Unfortunately I'd just read the 99 experiments to do at home also from the new scientist and some of the things were the same so I nearly skipped a whole chapter by reading the problem and then realising I'd just read this in the other book, next problem...
well worth reading!
Christina Pretis
very intersting questions with surprisingly good answeres
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