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The Speed of Nearly Everything: From Tobogganing Penguins to Spinning Neutron Stars Paperback – November 1, 2008

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Macinnis trained as a biologist, and has worked as a science teacher and museum educator. He has written social histories of sugar (Bittersweet), rockets (Rockets) and poisons (The Killer Bean of Calabar) and, for younger readers, Kokoda Track: 101 Days. He has recently completed a detailed look at the science and technology of 1859. His other titles for Murdoch Books include 100 Discoveries: The Greatest Breakthroughs in History and The Lawn: A Social History (both 2009).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Pier 9 (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174196136X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741961362
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,204,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I live in Australia, but I travel a lot, mainly gathering ideas for new books. I also spend a lot of time in libraries, and sometimes in the field, because my two main areas are history and science.

I have learned the hard way to choose my locations: a recent book needed some stuff on tardigrades ("water bears") and one easy way to catch them is to use a small hand-held vacuum cleaner to grab them from trees--these are very tiny, about 0.4mm long if they are big, so effectively invisible.

I live on a main road, and without thinking, I wandered out and started vacuuming a tree. It worked, but I'm afraid I got some odd looks, some of them from drivers who should have been watching the road better.

I write for both adults and children, though I seem to get more awards for the stuff I write for children.

Current interests: Australia 1850-1867, gold, fences, bushrangers, odd inventions and quack cures.

I have two blogs, neither of them an RSS feed. I'm a bit too busy writing to stay up to speed.

Writing: http://oldblockwriter.blogspot.com/

Travel: http://mcmanly.livejournal.com/

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Format: Paperback
Review of `The speed of nearly everything from tobogganing penguins to spinning neutron stars' by Peter Macinnis published by Pier 9 (undated).

Reviewer: Dr William P. Palmer

This book has 247 pages; it is nicely printed and has a square format. The front and back covers fold inwards. One question on this cover is "Is the deer botfly really the fastest creature of all, credited with an amazing 1287 kilometres per hour?"

The answer does not appear in the book or index but Wikipedia concludes after a full explanation that deer botfly `The latest edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica cites a speed of 80 km (50 mi) per hour for this fly. Time magazine published an article in 1938 "debunking" Townsend's calculations. But the New York Times, which ran a story in 1937 on the fastest creature that lives has not yet published a correction.'

I wondered why the author mentioned the deer botfly's incredible speed without some further explanation later in the book.

The book is packed with huge amounts of information contained in ten chapters and an index. In the first chapter `Why speed facts & stats?' the author describes how he became fascinated with the speed of things when working in the South Australian bush at Woomera with a project trialing a scramjet project. The book is replete with diagrams and tables of data. The next chapter provides information about animal bird and insect speeds followed by information about human speed records in the third chapter. Speeds are usually given in a variety of different units which makes reading the book seem a little clumsy.
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