Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries (FT Press Science) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137057382
ISBN-10: 0137057385
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the vein of David Feldman’s Imponderables books, here’s an interesting collection of questions and answers based on Seethaler’s column in the San Diego Union Tribune. The format is straightforward: first the question, then the answer. The questions are grouped into categories—ingenious inventions, body parts, pesky pathogens, health nuts, and so on—and the answers range in length from slightly more than a page to a few sentences. It’s the kind of book you read a bit at a time, and it’s just the thing for anyone who has been wondering why some people blink more than others, why California requires the use of snow tires in winter, why you don’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze, or what eyelashes are for. Not as lively or as entertaining as the Imponderables books, probably because the questions are generally a bit duller, the book is still informative and reasonably entertaining. Trivia fans will find much to amuse themselves with here. --David Pitt

Review

As seen on WebMD, Woman's Day Radio, The ManCow Show, and KPFA's Exploration radio show.

Product Details

  • File Size: 559 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2009)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002ZM6KDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,675 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By RNS VINE VOICE on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Open the book to any page and you're bound to find a captivating question with a well-written and interesting answer. It's perfect for teachers wanting to add some spice to their lectures...and makes for an excellent gift for the budding genius of the family.

Here's a sampling of the questions:

Is a lightsaber (yes, the Star Wars sword) possible?

Why does my radio crackle with static or some other interference?

Since contact lenses move with your eyes as they move, how are bifocal contact lenses possible?

Why is it so difficult to make a hearing aid that works?

Why do certain electrical cords (those used by fans, in particular) curl over time? Certain others do not.

Why is the adhesiveness of white glues, such as Elmer's, stronger than that of glue sticks?

How come I can use cold water in my washing machine but I have to use hot water in my dishwasher?

Fun stuff!

Seethaler is a Science Writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry (University of Toronto), a M.S. in Biology (Yale) and the Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education (Univ. of California-Berkeley), thus, readers can be confident that her answers are based upon good data and reliable information sources.

Highly recommended for school, public and college library collections and consideration for gifts to bright, curious and inquisitive individuals of all ages.

R. Neil Scott
Middle Tennessee State University
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the movie Dragnet, Officer Friday's partner asked him a question, and after a very long-winded answer he quipped, "Well, I know one thing for sure." "What's that?" "I'll never ask that question again." That's how I felt sometimes with this book. Quality of the questions aside, I wish they took the advice given to Jimmy Carter after his first debate: Answer the question first, then explain. The answers too often start out with a complete history of the subject before they ever get to an answer. This type of book, I believe, needs to be quicker to the point.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sherry Seethaler is a science educator for a university and a science columnist for a newspaper. With "Curious Folks Ask" she has presented the world with a well-researched, science-based book of trivia to answer various questions you have always wondered as well as questions you never thought to ask.

This book covers the following topics:
Chapter 1 - Ingenious inventions
Chapter 2 - Chemical concoctions
Chapter 3 - Body parts
Chapter 4 - Bodily functions
Chapter 5 - Pesky pathogens
Chapter 6 - Assorted ailments
Chapter 7 - Uniquely human
Chapter 8 - Health nuts

Chapters 1 & 2 discuss inventions and scientific explanations of how things work. Chapters 3 through 8 are all about the human body including diseases, evolution, and nutrition. I personally would have preferred much more of the first two chapters about inventions, mechanics, and physics and much less of the later chapters on health and diseases. In the first chapter Seethaler attempts to answer the question of whether a light saber is possible, and she briefly summarizes that topic as written by Michio Kaku in "Physics of the Impossible", a book which I have read and enjoyed. If you are interested in futuristic technology from a physics perspective, I recommend you read that book instead.

"Curious Folks Ask" seems to be very well-researched, but unfortunately Sherry Seethaler provides us with very few of her sources. The book has no footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography. Occasionally she will mention a specific book. Sometimes she provides the reader with a link to a website such as NASA's page with the current count of known exoplanets or the World Health Organization's page about a certain medical condition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found that the topics covered here were only mildly interesting and by the end I was reading the questions, but only skimming the answers. I wasn't interested enough in the answers to spend my time reading them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the most part the writing in this book was okay. The author is obviously well versed in science and fact and it is plain that she is highly educated. Most of my problems with this title were formatting. There is a never-ending index that makes up the last 25 percent or so of this book and the beginning is a hugely long introduction. When I read a book I always hope to get to the meat of the subject right away. Otherwise I am simply getting carpal tunnel in my thumb for nothing by turning pointless pages. I felt like there were too many layers of wrapping at the beginning of this book. It almost read like a warning label: this book is about...this book contains...this book will be divided into the following sections...enter at your own risk. Some of the subjects the book covered were interesting and the matter was well covered. There were other parts where I felt the answers were so lengthy that my mind went to sleep reading them. There were also some subjects in the book that made me wonder: People actually care about this???? Hmmmm. Overall it was not a terrible book, but not the most interesting book either. I suppose if you are truly the curious type and wish to have random facts thrown at you, this might be an okay addition to the library you have. Just not my type of thing I guess.
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