I need to stop having expectations for books. I thought this was going to be more like his book What If? which had strange situations and then gave a scientific method of answering the question. This is taking a theoretically normal problem, but then solving it (still scientifically) in the weirdest and most impractical way possible.
(The version I have is an ARC, and I’m reading it on my phone, so things don’t always line up correctly. Which isn’t great, but hey, I didn’t pay for it, so I shouldn’t complain! I could get the book out from my library if I really wanted to…) (Update: I did.)
I think my favorite section was “How to Make and Emergency Landing” because the author asked whatever random aviation landing questions he could to astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is awesome. The mere fact that he was game to answer these questions, and answer them seriously, is just one example of his awesomeness.
While I don’t need the practical knowledge of the exact wall thickness and strength I need to make a viable pool right now, at least I know there’s an equation for one should I need it. And there’s a fun link where you can put in your height, weight, and level of athleticism to see how far you could theoretically throw things. Theoretically, I can throw a microwave 2.88 meters!
The “How To Predict the Weather” section is pretty helpful in understanding weather patterns. The “How to Take a Selfie” also has some usable practical knowledge, including the fun fact that a rainbow covers 83° and an iPhone X has a 65° horizontal field of view, so you won’t be able to get the whole thing in one shot! Some sections are just kind of fun, like “How to Tell if You’re a Nineties Kid” and some really have no practical application, like “How To Build a Lava Moat” or “How To Mail a Package (From Space)” or “How To Power Your House (On Mars)”
There were some sections I read through, some I skimmed through, and some I skipped altogether (mostly due to time restrictions and too much math.) Picking and choosing sections is okay, though! The sections aren’t dependent on one another. It’s an interesting and entertaining read with both fun and informative diagrams. And hey, you never know when some random bit of knowledge will come in handy!
This fulfills the 2020 Bingo square of “How To”