Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things by Cy Tymony was profiled a few weeks back on Science Friday with Ira Flatow. I found the show's discussion pretty interesting, so looked up the book. (Exerpt available from Google.)I was hoping to find some kind of happy-fun Saturday morning type activities for me and the boys, a'la Bill Nye the Science Guy's cool and easy physics experiments.
Unfortunately, this book didn't really fit that bill. The writing was solid, but the experiments weren't all that interesting. For example, I could make a videotape rewinder. But then I'd have to explain what a videotape is to my digital-generation offspring, and that might lead to inconvenient questions about my LP collection, or heaven forbid my 8-track tapes be found! Why would I want to make a manual videotape rewinder anyway? And how long would it take to rewind a VHS tape by hand?
The most interesting items, like an automatic door opener, required the cannibalization of remote control car parts. I would rather have the car to play with!
So, skip this book if you aren't interested in one of the particular experiments listed in the TOC. I'll stick with My Guy Mr. Nye.