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dr.bob
113173.  Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:29 am Reply with quote

At the risk of pissing off all involved with the most marvellous QI Book of General Ignorance, and quite possibly reducing my chances of ever getting given a freebie again, I'd like to mention that I've spotted a small number of factual errors whilst reading the superb Book of General Ignorance (have I mentioned that it's really rather good?)

1) I've already mentioned in post 107173 that there are actually 5 galaxies visible to the naked eye, although the fifth probably counts as "only just".

2) This one's doubtless a misprint that should be fixed in the 2nd edition. On page 111 it says that the fact that the USA originally consisted of 13 states explains why the US flag has 13 red stripes. Clearly this should either read "13 red and white stripes" or "13 stripes, 7 red ones and 6 white ones".

3) On page 77, it claims that hippos are the largest member of the pig family. However, as regular viewers of 1 vs 100 will know, the hippo is more closely related to whales than pigs. Much more detail is found here http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/01/24_hippo.shtml:

Quote:
The conclusion by University of California, Berkeley, post-doctoral fellow Jean-Renaud Boisserie and his French colleagues finally puts to rest the long-standing notion that the hippo is actually related to the pig or to its close relative, the South American peccary. In doing so, the finding reconciles the fossil record with the 20-year-old claim that molecular evidence points to the whale as the closest relative of the hippo.


4) *cough*Moons*cough*

Actually, no, let's not go there. That one's already been done to death elsewhere on these forums.

So, a few points to tidy up when the book gets reprinted. Apart from that, it's a most excellent book and I urge you all to rush out and buy one. In fact, buy a few!

 
dr.bob
114084.  Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:07 am Reply with quote

Another couple of points.

Firstly, on the back cover of the book, it states that there are 80,000 planets in the solar system. Leaving aside the whole IAU definition of a planet which only came out after publication, this figure of 80,000 doesn't seem to correspond with any of the figures mentioned in the explanation inside. It mentions 8 planets, 60,000 identified kuiper belt objects, and a couple of million possible objects (I seem to recall). However, the 80,000 figure doesn't come up. Can anyone tell me what this relates to, or was it just a misprint of 60,000?

Secondly, not really an error, but the discussion of the largest thing that a blue whale can swallow points out that the size of its throat proves that it couldn't have swallowed Jonah. Surely the fact that the blue whale is a mammal proves that it couldn't have swallowed Jonah. Jonah 1:17 clearly states that he was swallowed by "a great fish" and, last time I checked, whales aren't fish.

Unless the catholic church has decreed that they are, like Capybara and Barnacle Geese :)

 
violetriga
114100.  Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:14 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Secondly, not really an error, but the discussion of the largest thing that a blue whale can swallow points out that the size of its throat proves that it couldn't have swallowed Jonah. Surely the fact that the blue whale is a mammal proves that it couldn't have swallowed Jonah. Jonah 1:17 clearly states that he was swallowed by "a great fish" and, last time I checked, whales aren't fish.

Unless the catholic church has decreed that they are, like Capybara and Barnacle Geese :)


The distinction between fish and such mammals must've been far later than the English translations of the bible, and thus the use of the term 'fish' is open to interpretation.

 
dr.bob
114169.  Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:18 am Reply with quote

....like most things in the Bible :)

Whether that's interesting enough to be included in the book's discussion, though, is a matter for superior beings than myself, I guess.

 
Eloise
117627.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:44 pm Reply with quote

Love the book, but have also found a tiny misprint...

In mine, pages 189 till 220 are printed twice... unfortunately the second 189 till 220 seem to have replaced pages 221 till 252, so I'll never know what colour Robin Hood's tights were :(

 
Andrew
117630.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:48 pm Reply with quote

Eloise wrote:
Love the book, but have also found a tiny misprint...

In mine, pages 189 till 220 are printed twice... unfortunately the second 189 till 220 seem to have replaced pages 221 till 252, so I'll never know what colour Robin Hood's tights were :(


I've personally not got that far through the book but just looked at my copy and I appear to have those pages (including the tights part)....I'm sure you could get your copy replaced...

 
Eloise
117631.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Didn't buy it... was freebie.

Don't think they're available here yet, but also haven't looked because I already have one, so they might be.
Is definitely on my Sinterklaas & Christmas list though...

 
Flash
117642.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:31 pm Reply with quote

Calling a book with 31 erroneous pages "a tiny misprint" seems very charitable to me. I think I'd like to be your friend.

 
Andrew
117650.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:43 pm Reply with quote

I didn't like to say that so glad you did Flash :-)

 
Eloise
117660.  Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:08 pm Reply with quote

Well, technically, it is just one misprint... though just a little bit bigger than, say, only mentioning the red stripes.

& maybe, some day, it will be a collector's item.

 
Andrew
117698.  Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:10 am Reply with quote

Eloise wrote:
& maybe, some day, it will be a collector's item.


Umm, it's got pages missing though - what collector would want that? ;-)

 
Eloise
117728.  Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:49 am Reply with quote

I know... still trying to look at the bright side.

 
dr.bob
118524.  Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:29 am Reply with quote

Back to the subject of factual errors, although I admit that this one is very slight and probably only bugs trained astrophysicists like myself, so feel free to ignore my insane rantings (as normal).

I was reading the entry talking about Olbers' paradox (why the night sky is dark). It mentioned the deep field photo done by the Hubble Space Telescope and said that it was pointed at a very blank portion of sky, and the "film" was exposed for 11 days.

Film?!?!

What kind of technology do you think the HST is running? Do they send up a space shuttle every few weeks to change the film so they can take it down to Boots to be processed?

As I'm sure you're aware, the HST uses ccd's in its cameras. This might be an example of simply expressing a technical point in terms that the general public would be more likely to understand, but it just seemed a little odd, particularly these days when people are so used to digital cameras.

 
Tas
118525.  Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:41 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Umm, it's got pages missing though - what collector would want that? ;-)


It may be expurgated version...

:-)

Tas

 
qibookwrangler
118547.  Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:34 am Reply with quote

some copies apear to have been pre-approved and edited by the Catholic church (if not by Dr Bob)... not sure why they would take offense at Robin Hood's tights, but you never know ...

Any misprintings please email details to bookshop@qi.com and we will take up the issue with the publisher with respect to replacements.

 

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