Inflight Science: A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window

Brian Clegg. Totem, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-184831241-8
If flying in an airplane has left you with questions, Clegg (Armageddon Science) will have the answers you're looking for and then some. Beginning at the airport, he takes the reader through the trip chronologically, explaining how security scans your luggage, explicating the magnetic field of a body scan, and shedding light on why few airports have a gate 13. He then identifies the plane's parts and expounds on the physics of flying. Once in the air, Clegg explains the landscape out the window (even the Nazca Lines, in case you're flying over Peru), covering the fractals of streams and why rivers meander, among other subjects. With time devoted to clouds, time zones, jet lag, technology, eclipses, and outer space, Clegg also includes more esoteric details, such as why you can't get a good cup of tea on board—the lower air pressure reduces the temperature at which water boils. Though it's not as much fun as a trip to Hawaii, it's much cheaper. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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