Wenn xkcd.com einen neuen Science Cartoon postet, vibriert das Internet. Sein Blog What if, auf dem der Physiker Randall Munroe jede Woche scheinbar unsinnige Fragen mit exakter Wissenschaft und genialen Strichmännchen beantwortet, ist Kult. Wie lange würde es dauern, bis wir merken würden, dass sich der Erdumfang verändert? Was wäre, wenn der gesamte Niederschlag in einem – quasi omnidirektionalen - Überschall-Regentropfen fiele? Endlich auch als Buch und endlich auf Deutsch!
Short-listed for Physics World's Book of the Year
The Sunday Times (UK) Best Science Book of 2014
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2014
An NBC News Top Science and Tech Book of 2014
A Politics & Prose 2014 Staff Pick
In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared to go against the establishment by proposing that Earth rotates around the Sun. Having demoted Earth from its unique position in the cosmos to one of mediocrity, Copernicus set in motion a revolution in scientific thought. This perspective has influenced our thinking for centuries. However, recent evidence challenges the Copernican Principle, hinting that we do in fact live in a special place, at a special time, as the product of a chain of unlikely events. But can we be significant if the Sun is still just one of a billion trillion stars in the observable universe? And what if our universe is just one of a multitude of others-a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities?
In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the Earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. As Scharf explains, we do occupy an unusual time in a 14-billion-year-old universe, in a somewhat unusual type of solar system surrounded by an ocean of unimaginable planetary diversity: hot Jupiters with orbits of less than a day, planet-size rocks spinning around dead stars, and a wealth of alien super-Earths. Yet life here is built from the most common chemistry in the universe, and we are a snapshot taken from billions of years of biological evolution. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision.
With characteristic verve, Scharf uses the latest scientific findings to reconsider where we stand in the balance between cosmic significance and mediocrity, order and chaos. Presenting a compelling and bold view of our true status, The Copernicus Complex proposes a way forward in the ultimate quest: determining life's abundance, not just across this universe but across all realities.
The title chapter, for example, gives us a second moon orbiting closer to Earth than the one we have now. The night sky is a lot brighter, but that won't last forever. Eventually the moons collide, with one extra-massive moon emerging after a period during which Earth sports a Saturn-like ring.
This and nine and other speculative essays provide us with insights into the Earth as it exists today, while shedding new light on the burgeoning search for life on planets orbiting other stars.
Appealing to adult and young adult alike, this book is a fascinating journey through physics and astronomy, and follows on the author's previous bestseller, What if the Moon Didn't Exist?, with completely new scenarios backed by the latest astronomical research.
In his waggish yet authoritative book, Ben Yagoda has managed to undo the dark work of legions of English teachers and libraries of dusty grammar texts. Not since School House Rock have adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs been explored with such infectious exuberance. Read If You Catch an Adjective, Kill It and:
Learn how to write better with classic advice from writers such as Mark Twain (“If you catch an adjective, kill it”), Stephen King (“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs”), and Gertrude Stein (“Nouns . . . are completely not interesting”).
Marvel at how a single word can shift from adverb (“I did okay”), to adjective (“It was an okay movie”), to interjection (“Okay!”), to noun (“I gave my okay”), to verb (“Who okayed this?”), depending on its use.
Avoid the pretentious preposition at, a favorite of real estate developers (e.g., “The Shoppes at White Plains”).
Laugh when Yagoda says he “shall call anyone a dork to the end of his days” who insists on maintaining the distinction between shall and will.
Read, and discover a book whose pop culture references, humorous asides, and bracing doses of discernment and common sense convey Yagoda’s unique sense of the “beauty, the joy, the artistry, and the fun of language.”
For the millions of armchair daredevils who made Worst Case Scenario a mega bestzseller, Hunter Fulghum offers an even more hair-raising handbook. The result of persistent probing, diligent research, and outrageous phone calls to institutions like Fort Knox and the Pentagon, Don't Try This at Home gives thrill seekers everywhere the insider information they crave to show them how to perform feats such as:
*Conduct a SWAT Team hostage
*Rappel off the Eiffel Tower
*Borrow the Mona Lisa
*Form an independent nation
*Break into Buckingham Palace
*Catch a great white shark
*Meet aliens at Area 51
Filled with step-by-step instructions, including lists of necessary tools, timing tips, and helpful illustrations, Don't Try This at Home provides the ultimate guide to doing the impossible.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Prepare to be amazed, appalled, disgusted, and hugely entertained by this compendium of indelicate oddities. Nothing is too inane, too insane, too bizarre, or too distasteful for this incredible, seemingly impossible, but absolutely true collection of facts from across the ages and around the world.
Did you know…
…that Pope Benedict XII was such a hardened boozer that he inspired the expression “drunk as a pope”? (From “10 Historic Drunks”)
…that as a special honeymoon treat, Prince Charles read Princess Diana passages from the works of Carl Jung and Laurens van der Post? (From “History’s 10 Least Romantic Honeymoons”)
…that the best-dressed gentlemen in medieval England exposed their genitals below a short-fitting tunic? (From “History’s 10 Greatest Fashion Mistakes”)
…that Alfred Hitchcock suffered from ovophobia—fear of eggs? (From “10 Phobias of the Famous”)
…that King Louis XIV only took three baths in his lifetime, each of them under protest?
(From “10 Great Unwashed”)
…that in 1930, Sears customers became enraged when the catalog was first printed on glossy, non-absorbent paper?
(From “12 Magical Moments in Toilet Paper History”)
--San Francisco Examiner
For thousands of years, women have asked themselves: What is the deal with guys, anyway? What are they thinking? The answer, of course, is: virtually nothing. Deep down inside, guys are extremely shallow.
But that has not stopped Dave Barry from writing an entire book about them. If you're a guy--or if you're attempting to share a remote control with one--you need this book, because it deals frankly and semi-thoroughly with such important guy issues as:
The role of guys in world history, including the heretofore-unknown relationship between the discovery of North America and golf
Why the average guy can remember who won the 1960 World Series, but not necessarily the names of all his children
The Noogie Gene
Why guys cannot simultaneously think and look at breasts
Secret guy orgasm-delaying techniques, including the Margaret Thatcher Method
Why guys prefer to believe that there is no such thing as a prostate
And much, much more
"Whether you're a guy--or attempting to share a bathroom with one--Barry has some wacky words of wisdom for you."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sorry, beautiful people. These days, from government to business to technology to Hollywood, geeks rule the world.
Finally, here’s the book no self-respecting geek can live without–a guide jam-packed with 314.1516 short entries both useful and fun. Science, pop-culture trivia, paper airplanes, and pure geekish nostalgia coexist as happily in these pages as they do in their natural habitat of the geek brain.
In short, dear geek, here you’ll find everything you need to achieve nirvana. And here, for you pathetic nongeeks, is the last chance to save yourselves: Love this book, live this book, and you too can join us in the experience of total world domination.
• become a sudoku god
• brew your own beer
• build a laser beam
• classify all living things
• clone your pet
• exorcise demons
• find the world’s best corn mazes
• grasp the theory of relativity
• have sex on Second Life
• injure a fish
• join the Knights Templar
• kick ass with sweet martial-arts moves
• learn ludicrous emoticons
• master the Ocarina of Time
• pimp your cubicle
• program a remote control
• quote He-Man and Che Guevara
• solve fiendish logic puzzles
• touch Carl Sagan
• unmask Linus Torvalds
• visit Beaver Lick, Kentucky
• win bar bets
• write your name in Elvish
Join us or die, you will.
Begun, the Geek Wars have
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Well, why not? Mars, after all, is the planet that holds the greatest promise for human colonization. But why speculate about the possibilities when you can get the real scientific scoop from someone who’s been happily living and working there for years? Straight from the not-so-distant future, this intrepid pioneer’s tips for physical, financial, and social survival on the Red Planet cover:
• How to get to Mars (Cycling spacecraft offer cheap rides, but the smell is not for everyone.)
• Choosing a spacesuit (The old-fashioned but reliable pneumatic Neil Armstrong style versus the sleek new—but anatomically unforgiving—elastic “skinsuit.”)
• Selecting a habitat (Just like on Earth: location, location, location.)
• Finding a job that pays well and doesn’t kill you (This is not a metaphor on Mars.)
• How to meet the opposite sex (Master more than forty Mars-centric pickup lines.)
With more than twenty original illustrations by Michael Carroll, Robert Murray, and other renowned space artists, How to Live on Mars seamlessly blends humor and real science, and is a practical and exhilarating guide to life on our first extraterrestrial home.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
THIS IS YOUR SCORECARD.
The day we turn any age, we become contemporaries of everyone who has ever been that age, and it becomes our business to know that Bob Dylan wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” when he was twenty, Orson Welles cowrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane when he was twenty-five, Winston Churchill was fired from the Admiralty when he was forty and took up painting, and Jane Austen died, unmarried and mostly unknown, when she was forty-one. Knowing who did what when provides the yardstick by which to measure our own progress; it’s comforting to learn that Grandma Moses didn’t show her first painting until she was seventy-eight, and discouraging (but not surprising) to discover that Einstein was already smarter than you at age sixteen.
A witty, ironic collection of moments from famous lives organized by year of age from infancy to death, A Book of Ages tells you who is doing what, who is on top of the world, who is waiting for his luck to change, who is saying unkind things about whom, who is planning his revenge, who is meeting for the first time, and who Elizabeth Taylor is currently divorcing.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?
An Eccentric Miscellany of Achievements,Misdeeds, Crossed Paths, Bypaths, Inventions, Scandals, Child Prodigies, Late Masterpieces, Marriages and Breakups, Feuds, Dead Ends, Second Chances, Adventures and Misadventures, Novels Written and Battles Won and Lost, All Organized by Year of Age.
From the Hardcover edition.