Light Elements: Essays in Science from Gravity to Levity

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stone, humor columnist for Discover magazine, brings a relentlessly wacky sense of humor to her essays exploring scientific questions, from how cows contribute to the greenhouse effect (they belch often, producing large quantities of ozone-depleting methane) to why scratching on a blackboard gives us the ``willies'' (it's a relic of a primal warning mechanismp. 82 ). The author asks us to ``rethink what it means to be human'' when describing a visit with Koko, a gorilla who uses sign language to express her urge for a baby. And she introduces us to eccentric scientists like Calvin Schwabe, a University of California epidemiologist who advocates alternative protein sources such as ``Earthworm Broth,'' and Alice Gray, the American Museum of Natural History's ``doyenne of cockroaches.'' Stone visits entrepreneur Corky Ra's (ne Nowell) mummification business (your choice of Egyptian, art deco or Renaissance styles), and considers the implications of research into mood-altering fragrances for the workplace. With its comic perspective, this collection makes science not only intelligible but entertaining as well. (May)
Library Journal
Stone may be the Erma Bombeck of science writing. In this collection of humorous essays, most of which are from her monthly Discover magazine column of the same name, she depicts the kinks and quirks of science from the point of view of a layperson who may not possess the technical skills of the scientist, but probably has more common sense. The over 25 essays are loosely arranged in four categories--``Animal,'' ``Vegetable,'' ``Mineral,'' and ``General''--and topics include such serious areas of scientific and technological investigation as bovine flatulence, silent velcro, commercial mummification, and the cultural anthropology of honky-tonk bars. Sure, some of the jokes are corny, and some are real klunkers, but general readers will relate to Stone's approach. This book should be popular in public libraries.-- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345366085
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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