Imponderables

Imponderables

4.2 5
by David Feldman
     
 

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Why does an "X" stand for a kiss?
Which fruits are in Juicy Fruit® gum?
Why do people cry at happy endings?
Why do you never see baby pigeons?

Pop-culture guru David Feldman demystifies these topics and so much more in Why Don't Cats Like to Swim? -- the unchallenged source of answers to civilization's most perplexing questions. Part of

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Overview

Why does an "X" stand for a kiss?
Which fruits are in Juicy Fruit® gum?
Why do people cry at happy endings?
Why do you never see baby pigeons?

Pop-culture guru David Feldman demystifies these topics and so much more in Why Don't Cats Like to Swim? -- the unchallenged source of answers to civilization's most perplexing questions. Part of the Imponderables® series, Feldman's book arms readers with information about everyday life -- from science, history, and politics to sports, television, and radio -- that encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs just don't have. Where else will you learn what makes women open their mouths when applying mascara?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Feldman, a media consultant and lover of the obscure, here addresses scores of questions that one may have contemplated, but to which no answers are readily forthcomingwhy certain traffic jams occur and clear up without apparent reason, why the word ``Filipino'' is spelled with an F and not a Ph, why unleaded gasoline costs more than leaded. In an engaging, sometimes jocular manner, Feldman communicates an impressive amount of information: a piece on popcorn develops into an examination of the economics of running a movie theater; the answer to a question on laundry bleach is worthy of an encyclopedia. Occasionally, Feldman offers such a fresh way of looking at a phenomenonas when he discusses why people cry at happy endingsthat he makes us see it as if for the first time. This is an entertaining collection of trivial and not so trivial information. Illustrations not seen by PW. (April 21)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061745027
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Series:
Imponderables Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
561,819
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


What is the difference between "partly cloudy" and "partly sunny" in a weather report?

The expression partly sunny was brought to you by the same folks who brought you comfort station and sanitary engineer. As a technical meteorological term, partly sunny doesn't exist. So while you might assume that a partly sunny sky should be clearer than a partly cloudy one, the two terms signify the same condition. You have merely encountered a weathercaster who prefers to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Actually, most of the meteorological terms that seem vague and arbitrary have precise meanings. The degree of cloudiness is measured by the National Weather Service and described according to the following scales:

Percentage of Cloud CoverTerm
0-30clear
31-70partly cloudy
71-99cloudy
100overcast

Where does "fair" weather fit into this spectrum? Fair weather generally refers to any day with less than a 50 percent cloud cover (thus even some "partly cloudy" days could also be "fair"). But even a cloudy day can be termed fair if the cover consists largely of transparent clouds. On days when a profusion of thin cirrus clouds hangs high in the sky but does not block the sun, it is more descriptive to call it a fair day than a partly cloudy one, since one thick cloud formation can screen more sunshine than many willowy cirrus formations.

You might also have heard the aviation descriptions of cloud cover used in weather forecasts. Here's what they mean:

Percentage of CloudCoverTerm
0-9clear
10-50scattered clouds
51-89broken sky
90-99cloudy
100overcast

Not many people know what the weather service means when it forecasts that there is a "chance" of rain. Precipitation probabilities expressed in vague adjectives also have precise meaning:

Chance of PrecipitationNational Weather Service Term
0-20%no mention of precipitation is made
21-50%"chance" of precipitation
51-79%precipitation "likely"
80-100%will not hedge with adjective:"snow," "rain," etc.
How does the National Weather Service determine the daily cloud cover in the space age? Do they send up weather balloons? Satellites? Not quite. They send a meteorologist to the roof of a building in a relatively isolated area (airports are usually used in big cities) and have him or her look up at the sky and make a well-informed but very human guess. Imponderables. Copyright © by David Feldman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

David Feldman is the author of ten previous volumes of Imponderables®. He has a master's degree in popular culture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and consults and lectures on the media. He lives in New York City.

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Imponderables 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could anyone please tell me how long this book is? Thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Histarical questions then again sometimes i wonder wat goes on in his head when he writes these questions
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago