Thursday, December 13, 2012

5 strangely named science books

"Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember how in yesterday's post I said that strange and unusual titles manage to find me without my even trying? Today's post is proof positive, yet again, that I meant it. I came across the book A neutron walks into a bar: Random facts and big ideas about our universe and everything in it and, before I knew it, had this list below. It's a gift. A gift that I can't return and/or get a refund on and so I've learned to live with it and revel in it. And so I give you: 5 strangely named science books.

Today is the first day in our (now 3rd) annual 12 Posts of Christmas series, people! We're blogging every day up to Christmas Day with recommendations that will make you laugh, geek out, make grabby hands in trying to get your hands on them and, hopefully, make you want to share them with everyone including strange people you meet on your morning bus rides to work (Please tell me it's NOT just me who does that). Roll on the madness!

Curious and curiouser : burping cows, bending spoons, beer goggles & other scintiallating scientific stories / Karl Kruszelnicki
Did you know that the vast majority of our universe is missing? Or that Santa would spontaneously combust if he tried to deliver presents to all the children of the world? Is a hand dryer more hygienic than a paper towel? When will we be able to cryogenically freeze ourselves? And can we win at the pokies? Does Coca-Cola really dissolve teeth? Why do we have more accidents on a full moon? And why is the sky blue? All these questions and much much more are answered in the dazzling new book of fun science stories by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

This is improbable : cheese string theory, magnetic chickens, and other WTF research / Marc Abrahams
Marc Abrahams, the founder of the famous Ig Nobel Prize, offers an addictive, wryly funny expose of the oddest, most imaginative, and just plain improbable research from around the world. He looks into why books on ethics are more likely to get stolen and how promoting people randomly improves their work, to what time of month generates higher tips for Vegas lap dancers and how mice were outfitted with parachutes to find a better way to murder tree snakes in Guam. Abrahams' tour through these unlikeliest investigations of animals, plants, and minerals, including humans, will first make you laugh, then make you think about the globe in a new way.

I'm guessing 'cheese string theory' isn't to do with macaroni cheese, huh. Also, MAGNETIC CHICKENS? What even?

Zombie tits and astronaut fish : and other weird animals / Becky Crew
The peacock mantis shrimp has the most powerful punch on Earth; vampire spiders are attracted to smelly socks; and the lesser water boatman is the loudest animal in the world--its instrument is its own penis. From the mother-eating black-lace weaver spiders to the Texas horned lizards that shoot jets of poisonous blood from their eyes, this fascinating book introduces a menagerie of the world's weirdest, and most fascinating, animals.

This is me. Sitting here. Saying nothing. Thinking ALL THE THOUGHTS about that title.

Will we ever speak dolphin? : and 130 more science questions answered : more questions and answers for the popular 'Last word' column / edited by Mick O'Hare
Why do birds sing at dawn? What's the slowest a plane can fly without stalling and falling out of the sky? And how long can you keep a tiger cub as a pet? Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?, the eagerly-awaited new 'Last Word' collection, has the answers to these questions and many more. Seven years on from Does Anything Eat Wasps?, the New Scientist series still rides high in the bestseller lists, with well over two million copies sold. Popular science has never been more stimulating or more enjoyable. Like Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?, Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?, and Why Can't Elephants Jump?, this collection of wry and well-informed answers to a remarkable range of baffling questions is guaranteed to delight.

Because we've all sat round on a Saturday night and wondered whether or not we would ever speak dolphinese, right? Totally.

How to snog a hagfish! : disgusting things in the sea / Jonathan Eyers
How to Snog a Hagfish! explores the most bizarre, the most disgusting and the most fascinating creatures that inhabit the oceans.When attacked, the hagfish (also known as the slime eel) ties itself in a knot that travels the length of its body, squeezing out mucus by the bucketful and making it impossible for a predator to keep hold. To eat, a starfish regurgitates its stomach, digests its food then swallows its stomach back down again. Pearlfish stick close to sea cucumbers, whose bowels they swim into when danger's near. And with shark attacks and jellyfish encounters, the oceans take on another level of repulsiveness when man dips his toes in the water.We know more about the surface of the moon than we do the underwater world, but some of the species covered in this book are beyond even the imagination of science fiction writers. Entertaining yet informative, the idea of this book is not to wallow in grossness with the intention of putting people off their dinner, but to explore just how fascinating and 'alien' our own planet can be.Highly illustrated, and with stories and anecdotes that help bring a human perspective, this book demystifies the natural world beneath the waves, and shows how it's not quite so shocking when you understand why these creatures have developed the way they have.

The minute I saw this book title I immediately thought of that line from the film The truth about cats and dogs where veterinarian Dr. Abby Barnes (played by Garofalo) says to a caller, "We can love our pets, we just can't LOVE our pets."

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