The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology: 27 Experiments for Young Scientists

Workman. (Irresponsible Science). Sept. 2019. 240p. photos. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781523504947.
Gr 4-8–This broad survey of cutting-edge and near future technology combines introductions to 26 topics ranging from driverless cars and virtual reality to the Internet of Things, 3D printing, smart glasses, test-tube meat, and the feasibility of a space elevator—in one compact volume. Connolly, author of The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science, generally makes good on both a promise to explain exactly what makes each techno-wonder “tick” and on efforts to crank up reader interest by pointing out how all bear “a whiff of danger.” Though said dangers are sometimes a bit comic book–ish (“But what if someone truly evil had control over an army of robots?”) and Connolly does miss a few things, such as the data privacy issues of cloud computing or what types of “unattractive features” parents of designer babies might focus on, readers will come away with plenty of food for thought about technology’s promise and pitfalls. In comparison, the supposedly revealing experiments seem like afterthoughts, utilizing paper, string, and common items in demonstrations that are at best only vaguely related to their entries and too often feature lines like “The candles should start to flicker,” “The image should be revealed,” or “With luck…” a certain result will occur. Finished versions of the frequent illustrations are not seen.
VERDICT The attached mini-projects are a weak link, but upper elementary grade STEM students will benefit from this wide-angled overview of modern and future technology.

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