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Cool Stuff 2.0: And How It Works    by Chris Woodford & Jon Woodcock order for
Cool Stuff 2.0
by Chris Woodford
Order:  USA  Can
DK Publishing, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In their Introduction to Cool Stuff 2.0 (, the authors tell us that 'Cool technology has cool science behind it - and both are all around us'. They then proceed to lucidly present all kinds of cool technology under the headings: Live, Connect, Play, Move, Explore, Construct, and Protect. The cover holograph is pretty cool too, and inside is an enticing combination of text, colorful photographs, diagrams and graphs, with cross-references between pages to related subjects. Each topic is presented in a two page spread.

Live starts by explaining how smoke detectors work, and continues to present developments including a floating bed, high definition TV, bioplastic, and an artificial retina. Connect has fun inventions like the Nabaztag robot rabbit and the Readius e-book, as well as various Bluetooth devices, and supercomputers. Play, a section bound to be popular, moves from games consoles to computer designed roller coasters, robots, extreme sports and so on - I'd love to try the Gekkomat for climbing smooth surfaces! Move is a speedy section covering Formula 1 cars, road construction, as well as many new kinds of vehicles on land, water, and in the air.

Explore takes us to Mars and beyond with space probes, solar sails, spaceships and space stations. It also addresses scientific exploration to try to detect, for example, the Higgs Boson particle or neutrinos. In Construct, we learn about concrete and other building blocks, as well as innovative new designs, and uses of micro machines. Finally, Protect assesses ways to make us all safer, from airport security and spy technology to scuba diving rebreathers and flood barriers. At the end of the book are four What's Next? pages, with point form summaries under categories like Energy and Nanotechnology, followed by a Glossary.

While the nature of such a volume as Cool Stuff 2.0: And How It Works is such that it must skim the surface and can't provide in-depth coverage on any one topic, it does offer a good basis for an initial understanding of a wide variety of subjects, encouraging further exploration. Though not every invention covered (for example the toilet, whose sensor allows it to raise the seat for a user) satisfies the introductory objective to help us 'live smarter and protect the planet', I found the book fascinating, and highly recommend it to younger teens.

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