Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?

Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?

And 114 Other Questions


Edited by Mick O’Hare

First published in Great Britain in 2006 by Profile Books Ltd.


This book is a compilation of questions and answers that have been sent to New Scientist’s Last Column.

There is no narrative, it’s just questions and answers. Some of the questions are quite interesting, some are quite strange, others are just stupid.

For example. Why doesn’t superglue stick to the inside of its tube? Interesting. I never even thought to pose that question.

Why do fish jump out of small aquariums? A bit odd, but ok…

Why is it that, whatever they contain, dustbins always smell the same? The question this person should be asking themselves is, ‘why am I sniffing dustbins?’

The questions aren’t the problem, though. Most of the questions are not things that you would generally ask, and they are mostly trivia. It’s the answers that I have a problem with… if you can call them answers. Each question has at least three different ‘answers’. Why? Some of the answers aren’t even valid. They were inserted to provide humour… most of which were just dry jokes. Some of the answers even contradicted themselves. There are a number of questions that were also answered in purely mathematical and scientific terminology… I’m not an idiot, but I also don’t have a major in chemistry… so, no. I did not understand your attempt to answer that question, J. O. Naim from New York.

I started to read this book on a flight out of boredom. Initially I was interested, but after getting through half the book the monotony of constant questions, some which really didn’t interest me at all, didn’t help. This book is also really outdated. Nowadays if you have any questions you simply type it into a search engine and you have an instantaneous answer. It was a hand-me-down from a friend, and as I’ve never read a book of this sort I’d thought I’d give it a go… I think I’ll stick to fantasy genres for a while.

I honestly don’t know why someone would want to read this book nowadays… maybe it made sense in 2006, when the internet wasn’t such a big part of our lives, but now it’s just impractical.



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