Tuesday, August 28

Every Minute on Earth

Fun Facts That Happen Every 60 Seconds
Steve Murrie and Matthew Murrie
illustrated by Mary Anne Lloyd
Scholastic 2007

Yes, another book of lists, this one with a fact per page illuminating some aspect of things that take place on the planet each minute. Did you know that Americans are drinking 208,333 cups of coffer per minute? That's a lot of java, and someone has to be picking up my slack because I'm not drinking any! A little closer to home, a red blood cell will travel 27 feet in a minute. I wonder if that's one-way or round trip or just a layover destination.

While I find this sort of book perfect for car travel, and certainly perfect for fact-hungry boys, I can't help but feel there's a lost opportunity in not following up on at least some of the information. For example, automotive tires are made at the rate of 572 a minute in the United States, which adds up to about 300 million tires every year. But where do they end up and what resources are used in the process? Perhaps too political a subject, to point out the downside to our consumerism, but if the rates listed in the book are meant to impress then color me impressed by the vast quantities of things we don't think about. I guess that takes all the "fun" out of the book.

On a more personal note, it was nice to see the length of the average movie laid out in feet. I once worked in movie theatres and on a couple of occasions when I really wanted to mess with people whenever they asked "How long is the feature?" I liked to say "Oh, just over two miles." They'd pause, and nod, and then it would hit them that length had more than one meaning. Most of the time I'd follow up with "Around two hours" but occasionally people walked away with that information and didn't seem to notice what I'd said.

A lot of that in retail, people asking questions without actually listening to the answers. But I digress.

My bottom line on this is that this is perfect for a library or as a jump-off point for discussing some of the underlying meaning of some of the information, otherwise unstellar.
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