SCIENCES

Electrified Sheep

Grass-eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and Other Bizarre Experiments
Electrified Sheep: Grass-eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and Other Bizarre Experiments. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. 2012. c.352p. bibliog. ISBN 9781250007537. $25.99. SCI
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Blogger and writer Boese (museumofhoaxes.com; Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments) delivers another wacky tour of some of science's more bizarre stories. After noting that his name rhymes with nose, the author uses his sense of humor to make this collection of true stories a page-turner. Some accounts have the capacity to amaze or shock, such as University of Arkansas entomologist and naturalist William Baerg (1885–1980) who studied the bite of the black widow spider—on himself. Or Evan O'Neill Kane (1861–1932), the chief surgeon of Kane Summit Hospital, who decided at the beginning of an operation to remove his appendix that he'd rather do it himself (and succeeded). Most of those tales are not for the squeamish. Of particular interest is the chapter "Deceptive Ways," which deals with how people perceive and remember events, particularly criminal events. Should readers crave more information, Boese provides an extensive list of selected references by chapter.
VERDICT Eccentric people and strange events come to life here in episodes that blur the line between science and science fiction. Highly recommended for lovers of science and the bizarre.

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