Philip Plait does a very educational, entertaining and exhaustive job at clearing up many misconceptions making it understandable for the general public. Kevin Scullin’s narration is excellent.
Funny, intelligent, scary
I liked that the author didn't seem scolding, just educational in a humorous way.
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Having taught astronomy for years now to children, I can say that Philip Plait's bad astronomy is an excellent resource for educators seeking to check their knowledge of the facts.
Recently listened to this for a second time. This an interesting survey on different topics.
I didn't give it five stars because (as with many books of this ilk) there are references that become increasingly dated.
I especially like the chapters addressing pseudoscience.
The author seemed to dislike that other people misunderstood science. I got like 4 chapters in and he brought up examples of superstition and complained that people shouldnt belive in it which i agree with but dont care if they do. It wasnt a funny book about weird mistakes people make about physics. It was just some guy bitching about stupid people. Wasnt for me and maybe not for you.
He explains why the sky is blue to tides to science fiction. And he does this without being boring. Definitely worth spending time to listen.
I know that Phil Plait has a website to support and promote, and I am certainly a fan of it's continued success, but I probably would have enjoyed this title a lot more had it simply been named "Dr. Plait Talks About Cool Science Stuff". He addressed a lot of topics and explained a lot of things that I either didn't know, or didn't even think I was interested in and for that, I enjoyed the book. I suppose the premise of presenting everything as 'Bad Science' is the only drawback. There was certainly some bad science addressed, but I found some of the bad science to be a reach to press the story along.
I don't call the refusal to believe scientific fact 'bad science'. I call it closed minded idiocy. Most of these 'bad astronomy' examples fall into that category. These are the people who will never read this book and it wouldn't matter if they did because you aren't changing their minds (astrologers and lunar landing hoax people, to name a few). There are other things that popped up from time to time that made me scratch my head. For example, some people believe the Hubble Telescope flies around the universe taking close up pictures of the stars and objects that you see pictures of. Now granted, my sphere of friends and acquaintances is quite modest, but I don't think I've ever heard of anyone who even remotely thought that. I suppose that if there are really people who do believe that, then maybe they should be seeking professional help. Nonetheless, this is presented as though the belief may be somewhat widespread and that the idea needs to be addressed and the idea squashed.
Maybe I'm nitpicking, but my mind would wander on some of the topics, asking myself the question "Why would somebody believe such a thing?", forcing me to back up the audio a couple of minutes to refocus on the otherwise information packed evidence against the belief as it was being addressed. I think I would have been more focused if the author just simply said, "Let me explain to you why the moon looks larger than it really is.", and avoided all the silly theories that people may or may not think causes the phenomenon.
The narration was decent. I don't feel that Kevin Scullin did a particularly bad, or great job. He has a monotone flavor to him which for a book of this type isn't necessarily bad. Sometimes when reading quoted material, he would switch to a funny sounding narration voice, or fake an accent (not too well though). Nothing about the narration was a deal-breaker though.
All in all though, I did find this book interesting for the most part, and I did learn some new things that I never knew before which always makes the effort worthwhile.
A great book, going through the biggest mistakes and misconceptions about astronomy, but it's a little dry. There's too much technicalities and a tiny bit to much math.
Love to read. No time. Audio solves that problem because I drive alot.
My only complaint is about the total solar eclipses. If you try to watch the total part of one through any kind of filter you will miss it. You must watch it with bare eyes and it will not hurt your eyes. What he says is only true for the partial phases.