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Book Review: Why are Orangutans Orange? – New Scientist

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About Why are Orangutans Orange? (2011)
Why Are Orangutans Orange?Illustrated for the first time, with eighty full-colour photographs showing the beauty, complexity and mystery of the world around us, here is the next eagerly awaited volume of science questions and answers from New Scientist magazine. From ripples in glass to ‘holograms’ in ice, the natural world’s wonders are unravelled by the magazine’s knowledgeable readers. Six years on from Does Anything Eat Wasps? (2005), the New Scientist series still rides high in the bestseller lists, with well over two million copies sold. Popular science has never been more absorbing or more enjoyable. Like Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? (2006), Do Polar Bears Get Lonely? (2008) and Why Can’t Elephants Jump? (2010), this latest collection of resourceful, wry and well-informed answers to a remarkable range of baffling science questions is guaranteed to impress and delight.

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Review: Why are Orangutans Orange? (2011)

Why are Orangutans Orange? is yet another instalment in the popular Last Word series from the New Scientist. I say yet another as this is a series that could go on endlessly, given science never runs out of questions. Thankfully these questions and answers are entertaining and therefore that is no bad thing.

This follows the previous format where a question is provided by a reader and answered by readers, some of whom are experts, some of whom have a layman’s knowledge but some personal experience. A slight difference in the format is this title in the series includes photographs – a nice addition to the book.

They do say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and this applies here. They have the winning format, with a variety of questions on various topics and a good array of answers.

Indeed about the only issue I have with the book is that sometimes the array of answers can create confusion about what the correct answer is, therefore don’t read this book expecting to come away with definitive knowledge. You may be left wondering about the exact answer, given that some of the reader responses go in very different directions. However, that in itself is something that has always been a bonus in the Last Word column.

Science is all about questions and all about questioning answers and nowhere more aptly demonstrates this than in the Last Word. Embracing the culture of constantly seeking to challenge, constantly looking to know more, constantly questioning and welcoming participation, this is a great example of science at its best. Interesting, fun, collaborative and entertaining – another excellent instalment.

Verdict: 4/5

Book Source: NetGalley

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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