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William Hartston is a Cambridge-educated mathematician and industrial psychologist. Between 1962 and 1987 he played chess competitively, becoming an international master and winning the English chess championship in 1973 and 1975. He runs competitions in creative thinking for the Independent newspaper and the Mind Sports Olympiad. He also writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express and has written a number of books on chess, mathematics, humour and trivia.
The forward march of human knowledge has deepened our understanding of the universe and flung wide the floodgates of technological advance: we have established that the world came into being more than 4.5 billion years ago; we have deciphered the Rosetta Stone; travelled to the moon; eliminated smallpox and isolated the 'fat gene'. But in every domain of inquiry there remain a myriad things that we do not know, and which lurk tantalizingly beyond the bounds of our understanding. In The Things that Nobody Knows, William Hartston takes us on a guided tour of 501 gaps in our knowledge of cosmology, mathematics, animal behaviour, medical science, music, art, language and literature. As well as explaining our ignorance of the answers to such questions as 'What is Dark Energy?', 'Is colour a product of the mind?', 'Was there ever a real Pope Joan?' and 'Why are so many male giraffes gay?', he considers the likelihood of light being shed on these mysteries in the future. Both cerebrally satisfying and more-ishly dip-into-able, rigorously researched but also serendipitously playful, The Things that Nobody Knows is the perfect gift book for intellectually inquisitive people of all ages.
A wonderfully entertaining celebration of that most unique of creatures: the sloth.In public estimation, sloths have undergone an astonishing transformation in the course of the past few years. Thanks largely to YouTube clips posted by the sloth orphanage in Costa Rica, sloths have attracted a vast audience of admirers. Instead of seeing them as ridiculous anachronisms of which we know little, they have turned into creatures considered by many to be the most endearing on earth. Over much the same period, scientific investigations have also changed our view of sloths. No longer are they seen as total misfits in the modern world but, in the words of one specialist sloth investigator, they are 'masters of an alternative lifestyle'. In this wonderfully entertaining celebration of this most unique of creatures, William Hartston reveals the fascinating history of the sloth, from the prehistoric ground sloth to modern pygmy sloths in Panama, explores the current state of the science of sloths and reveals the truth behind sloth behaviour.
The books in this bite-sized new series contain no complicated techniques or tricky materials, making them ideal for the busy, the time-pressured or the merely curious. Brilliant Chess is a short, simple and to-the-point guide to learning the basic principles in a few short steps. Even if they have no idea about the rules or the moves, in just 96 pages readers will discover the basic strategies of chess, gaining just enough knowledge to get inspired and begin playing. master the essential moves be a great strategist plan ahead play online challenge the clock
Useless information - we can't get enough of it. Everywhere you look these days, there is a new book of trivia, a new web page, a new column in the newspaper, all containing a wealth of fascinatingly useless tidbits. Finding the answers to questions you'd never thought to ask, reading an off-the-wall statistic, or browsing through lists of zany facts is always a refreshing and amusing distraction from the tawdry details of everyday life. But this is no ordinary list of random facts. Unlike other books of useless information, it is organised alphabetically and full of cross references so that all those hilarious entries can be enjoyed and shared with other like-minded trivia fanatics. This is a treasure chest of a book for anyone whose curiosity extends beyond the worthy and dull to the eccentric and amusing!
If you are tantalized by trivia, this is the book for you. Packed full of intriguing oddities about figures, each page will have you raising your eyebrows and gasping in surprise. The mesmerizing numerical tidbits are ideal for general knowledge enthusiasts, statisticians, and fans of the random.