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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani

Well, I finished it, and I got lousy about doing status updates, but it's all Chapter 3s fault:  the bit about cats drinking water had me wanting to post an Easter-cat video of her drinking from the tap/faucet in slow motion.  But apparently BookLikes doesn't like embedding any video that isn't YouTube and I don't want to create a freaking YouTube account just so I can post a video of Easter-cat showing the physicists how it's done.  So I had a minor hissy fit and sulked for the remaining three chapters.


Be thankful I didn't take my suspicions about the time it takes mammals to urinate any further, is all I'm saying.


I found the section about elephants in chapter 4 both interesting and tense - thumbs down to the authors for trying to inject suspense in the narrative at the expense of a baby elephant.  TOTAL SPOILER ALERT:  he's fine - happy ending.  Take that Durrani and Kalaugher.  The parts about the bats and the snakes I sort of knew already, although the level of detail built on the basic, working knowledge I had on both.  


Chapter 5 found me mostly feeling sorry for the eels.  The whole tone of that section felt very old-school, let's torture them for Science! - I don't think that's the attitude of the authors themselves, but by the end of it, yeah, I mostly just felt really bad for the eels.  Though I love the bit about Miguel Wattson at the Tennessee Aquarium (which is brilliantly done, by the way - genius - and I highly recommend taking the time to visit if you're ever in Chattanooga).  The section about the bees detecting electrical fields around flowers was something I'd read elsewhere recently, but I loved the information about the Loggerheads. The authors focused on the East Coast of Florida, but my West Coast home (far superior side of the state, in my opinion) beaches are also popular and busy nesting spots for these majestic creatures and it's the normal way of things to see roped off squares of beach during the nesting season.  Seeing the females come up the beach is an awesome experience.


Chapter 6 had me at the start, but then started losing me in all the descriptions of mathematical equations and formulas.  It rallied briefly with the triggerfish, because they're both awesome and native to Australia, which means, unlike the red garter snakes in Canada, I have an outside chance of seeing a small fish shoot bugs out of the air in the wild.  Just imagine if I stumbled across a whole school of them on a particularly buggy morning; it'd be like mother nature's own Bellagio!


The final question about whether animals really know they're using physics was answered, I think, perfectly.  Most humans don't know they're using physics every day; Beckham just bends it and doesn't think about how.  But I do take exception to the backwards way they approach animal intelligence.  We don't know how intelligent animals are, but our default answer is the obvious confirmation biased one.  Given the state of the planet, I'm not at all sure the bees and ants don't have it all going on over us. They've both managed to colonise the planet without burning it down, after all.


Mostly, I enjoyed the book; I liked the angle they authors took to bring physics to the everyday world, and make the reader consider just how much we're all beholden to the laws of the universe.  The humor mostly fell flat for me, but I appreciated the effort.