A playful and diverting, yet always scientifically rigorous look at those simple mysteries that are yet to be solvedWhy are so many giraffes gay? Has human evolution stopped? Where did our alphabet come from? Can robots become self-aware? Can lobsters recognize other lobsters by sight? What goes on inside a black hole? Are cell phones bad for us? Why can't we remember anything from our earliest years? Full of the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything, this is a fascinating and unputdownable exploration of the limits of human knowledge of our planet, its history and culture, and the universe beyond.
Author: Philip C. Plait
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2002-10-08
Advance praise for Philip Plait s Bad Astronomy "Bad Astronomy is just plain good! Philip Plait clears up every misconception on astronomy and space you never knew you suffered from." --Stephen Maran, Author of Astronomy for Dummies and editor of The Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia "Thank the cosmos for the bundle of star stuff named Philip Plait, who is the world s leading consumer advocate for quality science in space and on Earth. This important contribution to science will rest firmly on my reference library shelf, ready for easy access the next time an astrologer calls." --Dr. Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of The Borderlands of Science "Philip Plait has given us a readable, erudite, informative, useful, and entertaining book. Bad Astronomy is Good Science. Very good science..." --James "The Amazing" Randi, President, James Randi Educational Foundation, and author of An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural "Bad Astronomy is a fun read. Plait is wonderfully witty and educational as he debunks the myths, legends, and 'conspiracies that abound in our society. 'The Truth Is Out There' and it's in this book. I loved it!" --Mike Mullane, Space Shuttle astronaut and author of Do Your Ears Pop in Space?
Revised and Expanded Edition. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science. Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.
Author: Garson O'Toole
Publisher: Little a
Release Date: 2017-04-01
Everywhere you look, you'll find viral quotable wisdom attributed to icons ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Mark Twain, from Cicero to Woody Allen. But more often than not, these attributions are false. Garson O'Toole--the Internet's foremost investigator into the dubious origins of our most repeated quotations, aphorisms, and everyday sayings--collects his efforts into a first-ever encyclopedia of corrective popular history. Containing an enormous amount of original research, this delightful compendium presents information previously unavailable to readers, writers, and scholars. It also serves as the first careful examination of what causes misquotations and how they spread across the globe. Using the massive expansion in online databases as well as old-fashioned gumshoe archival digging, O'Toole provides a fascinating study of our modern abilities to find and correct misinformation. As Carl Sagan did not say, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
Author: Cary Mcneal
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-03-18
Fact: Chocolate contains the alkaloid theobromine, which in high doses can be toxic to humans, and in even small amounts can kill dogs, parrots, horses, and cats. This means that despite its name, the Kit-Kat candy bar is not a recommended snack for your kitty-cat. I wonder how many cats have died because of this confusion. Fact: The most germ-laden place on your toilet isn't the seat or even the bowl--it's the handle. The solution: Don't flush. Let the next guy worry about it. There are "just the facts"--and then there are just the facts that will frighten the bejeezus out of you. And thanks to this little gem of a bathroom book, you'll never look at the world the same way again, without, er, dry heaving a little bit. From the sneaky fish that can swim up our genitals to the E. coli bacteria lurking in the very water we drink, disturbing phenomena are everywhere we turn. Educational, entertaining, and undeniably horrifying, this book isn't guaranteed to help you, um, go to the bathroom, but it's certain to make your time there more...informed.
Author: H. Norman Wright
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Release Date: 2004-06-01
The Perfect Remedy for Cold Feet! More than half of all couples who become engaged this year will never make it to the altar. Why? Leading experts believe it's because couples fail to really get to know their potential mate before getting engaged. Relationship expert and noted couples counselor Norm Wright steers potential brides and grooms through a series of soul-searching questions to discern if they've really met "the One." Couples will be much more confident about whether or not to pursue marriage after completing these in-depth and personal questions. Norm also addresses the delicate subject of calling off the wedding if readers discover that a potential mate isn't actually meant to be a life partner.
Author: A. P. Holiday
Release Date: 2014-03-20
Did you know that there are one million earthworms in an acre of soil, or that an average American eats 10 pounds of marshmallows in a year? Did you know that the act of yawning and stretching at the same time is known as pandiculation? These facts, and hundreds more in a wide variety of subjects including history, science, sports, music and more, make Hmm...I Did Not Know That a must read for trivia buffs and fact fanatics.
Author: Christopher Wanjek
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2003-04-07
"Christopher Wanjek uses a take-no-prisoners approach in debunking the outrageous nonsense being heaped on a gullible public in the name of science and medicine. Wanjek writes with clarity, humor, and humanity, and simultaneously informs and entertains." -Dr. Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine; monthly columnist, Scientific American; author of Why People Believe Weird Things Prehistoric humans believed cedar ashes and incantations could cure a head injury. Ancient Egyptians believed the heart was the center of thought, the liver produced blood, and the brain cooled the body. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was a big fan of bloodletting. Today, we are still plagued by countless medical myths and misconceptions. Bad Medicine sets the record straight by debunking widely held yet incorrect notions of how the body works, from cold cures to vaccination fears. Clear, accessible, and highly entertaining, Bad Medicine dispels such medical convictions as: * You only use 10% of your brain: CAT, PET, and MRI scans all prove that there are no inactive regions of the brain . . . not even during sleep. * Sitting too close to the TV causes nearsightedness: Your mother was wrong. Most likely, an already nearsighted child sits close to see better. * Eating junk food will make your face break out: Acne is caused by dead skin cells, hormones, and bacteria, not from a pizza with everything on it. * If you don't dress warmly, you'll catch a cold: Cold viruses are the true and only cause of colds. Protect yourself and the ones you love from bad medicine-the brain you save may be your own.
Author: Hannah Warner
Publisher: Metro Publishing, Limited
Release Date: 2010-10-04
Which king ordered everyone to bed at 8pm? How many Pot Noodles are sold every second in Great Britain? How many streets must a London cabbie memorize in order to pass "the knowledge"? How much does the hammer of Big Ben's bell weigh? If you want to know the answers to these and a whole host of other questions about Blighty, then this is the book for you! Great Britain is a nation steeped in history, traditions, and terrible food. But how much do we really know about our weird and wonderful island? In this informative, amusing, and fun compendium of knowledge, author Hannah Warner reveals a host of things you probably don't—but should—know about this great country. This entertaining collection includes fascinating facts about royalty, politics, history, food and drink, sport, writers, transport—and even Great British failures. It is a celebration of the great and the good (plus those who were not so great but tried hard) from this land. So once you've taken the bulldog for a walk, queued for your fish and chips, made a nice cup of tea, and put your feet up, sit back and revel in all that is glorious about Great Britain!
Author: Patricia T. O'Conner
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
Release Date: 2010-08
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Do you cringe when a talking head pronounces “niche” as NITCH? Do you get bent out of shape when your teenager begins a sentence with “and”? Do you think British spellings are more “civilised” than the American versions? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you're myth-informed. In Origins of the Specious, word mavens Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman reveal why some of grammar's best-known “rules” aren't—and never were—rules at all. This playfully witty, rigorously researched book sets the record straight about bogus word origins, politically correct fictions, phony français, fake acronyms, and more. Here are some shockers: “They” was once commonly used for both singular and plural, much the way “you” is today. And an eighteenth-century female grammarian, of all people, is largely responsible for the all-purpose “he.” From the Queen's English to street slang, this eye-opening romp will be the toast of grammarphiles and the salvation of grammarphobes. Take our word for it.
NB: THIS IS THE DE LUXE COLOUR VERSION! You may wish to purchase the black and white interior at a much keener price, also on Amazon, which as you will see has garnered endless 5-star reviews from readers who love it. But this is what it's about: You don't have to paddle up the headwaters of the Orinoco to be surprised by something utterly amazing. You don't have to search the markets of Samarkand and trawl the back streets of Mandalay to find the almost unbelievable, the compellingly curious, the utterly enlightening or the irresistibly odd. You just have to look in your own store cupboard. Your food and drink; your household appliances, your medicines; your own home and street; in your country, your business, your daily transport; the very words you use every day. That's what this book is about. Finding the utterly extraordinary in the ordinary. Dip into any of the topics and you'll soon be hooked. It's time to make the mundane marvellous...
New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.