13 November 2006

Roguish adventures? Not likely.

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.


Karen said...

Love Bill Nye... good to know the other book isn't worth spending my time or money on.

Anonymous said...

I've read other books of this ilk, but not this one in particular. Is this more of a "if you need X and don't have time/money to get one, here is a substitute method" sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't try some of the projects.

For you, and others that may want to see what it's about, check the free how-to video clips I've placed on my www.sneakyuses.com website. There also free projects, articles and great resourcefulness stories and great links too.

Also, there is a second book available in the series called, "Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things."

Cy Tymony

Ejly said...

Cy, thanks for the feedback. I'll give the 2nd book a chance and see if we can get further with the experiments. The NPR interview you did was pretty interesting.