Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book review: Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day by Peter J. Bentley

: Why Sh*t Happens: The Science of a Really Bad Day by Peter J. Bentley

About: Bentley goes through a hypothetical very bad day in which the science behind 34 mishaps is explained. Oversleeping, shaving cuts, bad milk, bird poop, skipping CDs, skin burns and hard drive crashes are examples of what's covered (good thing this bad day is hypothetical!)

Some Interesting Things I Learned:

  • To remove chewing gum, try peanut butter or mayonnaise (the oils in them help the molecules in the gum slide off whatever they are stuck too). You can also try icing the gum to freeze it, and then break the frozen mass.

  • NASA didn't spend millions of dollars to develop a "Space Pen," They bought them from Fisher. Most normal ballpoint pens will work in zero gravity anyway.

  • If you eat something very spicy and want to cool down your mouth, drink milk. It's thought that the mix of casein and fat will wash away the capsaicin molecules that give chilies their spice. Milk chocolate and several types of beans and nuts are thought to have a similar effect.

  • Cut yourself shaving? Don't dab the cut with a tissue, you'll just keep disrupting your platelets that are trying to heal the area. Instead, apply steady pressure.

  • Anti-lock brakes leave dotted skids that look like ======= . Non-anti-lock brakes leave solid line skids.

Pros: Well-written with very interesting and varied topics. Short chapters make for easy pick-up reading.

Cons: No cites, no full bibliography provided. No real sum up, book just sort of ends.

Grade: B

1 comment:

Wings said...

Huh. Very interesting. I may just go and look for this! Thanks for the review!

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