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Cold Fusion (The Haggis-On-Whey World of Unbelievable Brilliance) Hardcover – January 27, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Toph Eggers is a screenwriter and is working on a movie for paramount based on the Haggis-on-Whey characters. Dave Eggers is the bestselling author of many books and is the editor of McSweeney's.
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"The History of Cold Fusion" is presented as a colorful timeline on pp. 10-11, and is a good starting point for understanding this book, superimposed as it is over a timeline of Eddie Money's career (note the proximity of the release of Money's monster hits "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise" to Dr. Mizuno's observation of charged particles from palladium deuterides, which he attributed to instrumentation error). Other vital areas of exploration include a handy table explaining why Tim Conway, Helen Hunt, and General Pervez Musharraf will never be good at cold fusion, a poem in epic verse about cold fusion by Lord Byron, the Russian invention of fruit fusion, and a thorough analysis of why birds are bad at building superconductors.
For anyone who enjoys satire, humor, or science, the Haggis-On-Whey series can expand your world view in many new and unexpected ways, and for that reason alone I recommend it. Besides, without Dr. Doris and Benny to help me I would still be attempting to confirm a tritium sample with a mass spectrometer, and we wouldn't want that now, would we?
There are moments when the brilliance of the first and third books shine through, but, for the most part, the laughs are fewer and farther between. Overall, a rather disappointing entry into the increasingly uneven Haggis-On-Whey series.
Enlightened readers who are familiar with Dr. Haggis-on-Whey's work will enjoy the nonsensical, random, and beautifully illustrated content. She reveals the fates of "people who scoffed at cold fusion." She warns of the "possible side effects of room-temperature nuclear reactions," including frogmen and Kevin Spacey movies set in Nova Scotia. And, of course, "why birds are bad at building superconductors" and how noble gases became noble.
Cold Fusion contains plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. But the ratio of laugh-out-loud moments per page seemed noticeably lower than previous H-O-W books. You'll have to take my word for it. By the way, some of the funniest parts are the captions and footnotes. Don't skip the small print.
If you have an odd sense of humor, this is a great addition to your library. My teens love it and so do I.