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The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Here are twenty-one unexpected and fascinating tales of science's stranger facts and episodes-from why we laugh, to why moths fly to the light, to how slinging drinks affects both memory and perception in a barmaid's brain (for the better!).

Best-selling author and media personality Jay Ingram offers investigations from the very edges of science that evoke the impressive br
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by W. H. Freeman (first published January 1st 1992)
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Pat Cummings
Jun 29, 2015 Pat Cummings rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Jay Ingram has collected in The Barmaid’s Brain 21 essays concerning human behavior, curiosities of life, science and history, natural battles and how things work. Each of them approaches a topic with the same left-field perspective.

For example, the barmaid of the title is able to remember 95% to 100% of a 15-drink order given to her out of sequence in the noisy environment of a busy bar. The essay The Barmaid’s Brain explores not only that we evidence these feats of memory, but why and how.

The book is a compilation of various science essays by the author Jay Ingram. It is arranged in five sections, starting out with Human Behavior and ending with How Things Work. Both of those sections I didn't enjoy as much as the Science and History and Natural Battles which were in the middle going towards the end. This leaves the second section being Curiosities of Life, which was mixed. For me the book started off slow, picked up in the middle, then crashed at the end, well sort of....the end ...more
Steve Wiggins
Jun 13, 2015 Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of interesting bits in this little volume. Some of the stories are a bit technical, though. I find science writing, particularly about animals, to be endlessly fascinating. Worth the time to look this up and read it. See further comments about it on my blog: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Jun 14, 2015 Grond rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Jay Ingram's 'The Barmaid's Brain' might suffer in comparison to other science curiosity books it is still full of interesting looks at some lesser known nooks and crannies of the science world. The writing can be a bit clunky at times but Ingram comes through as someone genuinely curious and inspired by Science and the natural world. OK.
A nice little compendium of interesting scientific stories written for the layperson. No jargon, but not a great deal of depth either. Great for light reading or something to challenge yourself if you're not a regular non-fiction reader.
Amanda BeReckonedwith
The first few chapters/stories of this collection were not very interesting or written in a style that I found appealing, but after a little time and a few more pages I started really enjoying the factoids and humor of the author. The first story is about laughter and it is one of the least funny things in the book. I suggest skipping it. Move on to the more chuckle-worthy subjects like gluing moths to styrofoam boats, flies that fly so fast they would embed themselves into a bystander's flesh, ...more
Philip Demare
A collection of stories about science. Some of my favorites were the chapters about birds (tits) that learned to steal cream from bottles of milk, monks in the eleventh century who may have witnessed an asteroid hitting the moon, and a chapter on St. Joan of Arc and the possibility of a tuberculoma in her brain.
While I found the subjects of some chapters much more interesting than others, there was enough of interest in the book to hold interest in finishing it, and it is a quick read.
Anne Tinklenberg
I had hoped that this book would be a fastpaced, witty glimpse into science. Instead, what I found was a series of intriguing possibilities for science fiction or some other type of fiction. It was hard to read through the book; the density of detail of some of it was tiring. But I'd love to get a copy as a reference to go back and explore some of the ideas in fiction.
Aug 07, 2011 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Uneven, outdated and surprisingly bland and boring considering it was written by an author who popularizes science for a Canadian based TV show for the Discovery Channel.
Sep 12, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the alternative side of science
Shelves: greatreads
Did you know that scientists are trying to create a space elevator? Neither did I. This book is nerdy, but cool. Hard to explain - you just have to give it a look. Good stuff.
B.  Barron
Jul 21, 2011 B. Barron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Lots and lots of fun and cool stuff. The writing style is a little less than engaging however. So a 4 on content, a 3 on composition – making an overall 3.
Aug 11, 2012 Adrienne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. Not sure the watered-down science is always accurate as presented, but in small bits, it is a decent book.
Jul 14, 2010 Alyssa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always nice to see a wide-ranging science book with humor and brevity. I happily read through it in one day.
Nov 16, 2011 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
short chapters on all kinds of strange scientific studies...laughter, mirages, spilling beer...entertaining!
Jul 22, 2012 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is interesting, but I ended up giving up on it...I didn't want to think that much! :)
Doug Reith
Mar 20, 2011 Doug Reith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
One of my favorite books.
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Jay Ingram CM is a Canadian author and broadcaster.
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