Ask the Experts

I’ve just finished reading Scientific American’s Ask the Experts. It is purported to be “answers to the most puzzling and mind-blowing science questions.”

I didn’t find it THAT great. But it was good and I did learn some. (Always a goal in my life.)

According to my understanding of pages 216-17, a whip “cracking” goes faster than the speed of sound. Interesting. I didn’t hear a sonic boom. Is that what the crack is? A miniature sonic boom? I don’t know.

Someone asked if you would fall all the way through a “theoretical hole in the earth.” And I laughed when I read that the tunnel would have to be 12,756 kilometers long. (Remember the Massachusetts highway with the 3-ton concrete slabs for decoration that fell and killed someone?) I’m thinking even if it were possible, it’d be like highway construction. Always ongoing and never completed.

Supposedly, if you dropped into the hole you would be like a pendulum, going back and forth from end to end, every 42 minutes. That would be a fast trip to the other side!

For my book I thought the introduction of the “song of the sands” would be interesting. Sands can either whistle/sing/squeak/bark or boom. The boom lasts much longer. The sand is dry more often than wet and doesn’t have a lot of vegetation. Seems that would be, at least, an interesting tale for Dielli to record.

And I thought it was interesting that if you shake a can of mixed nuts, the Brazil nuts will “float” to the top. There are two reasons why that is true. If you want to know, you can read the book (or look it up on the internet).