Why don't penguins' feet freeze? And 114 other questions

Why don’t penguins’ feet freeze? And 114 other questions

Mick O’Hare (ed) 

London, UK: Profile Books  | 2006 | 256pp | ?7.99 (SB) | ISBN 1861978766 

Reviewed by Michele Zgraggen

Ever wondered what the time was at the North Pole? Or why dog’s noses are black? Well maybe it’s not something that you’ve ever thought about before but somewhere, someone did.  

Why don’t penguins’ feet freeze?  is a sequel to the best selling book Does anything eat wasps?  and offers a new assortment of strange and baffling questions to keep you entertained. The book is based on the ’Last Word’ column in New Scientist  where every week hundreds of questions are sent in by readers, in the hope that other readers may know the answer. The result is a weird mix of trivial and bizarre questions with answers provided in a (mostly) serious and scientific manner; well maybe some of it is a bit tongue in cheek. 

Discussions do develop; there is one particularly long discussion on how to make conkers hard, another odd exchange considers whether it is coincidental that the human finger exactly fits into the human nostril.  

The book is full of strange little facts but also answers some of the more well known questions like how the bumblebee apparently defies the laws of physics. 

Divided into sections including ’feeling OK?’, ’weird weather’, and ’troublesome transport’, the book offers answers to questions that you probably never thought of. The questions range from the seemingly unimportant to the downright weird but somehow all are fascinating. 

An entertaining book ideal for trivia nuts or for getting kids engaged in science.