# Book Review: Geekspeak: A Guide to Answering the Unanswerable, Making Sense of the Nonsensical, and Solving the Unsolvable by Dr. Graham Tattersall

Part of: Science and Being

Dr. Graham's book, Geekspeak, is a fun read if you like mental gymnastics. Some of the issues it investigates are rather nonsensical such as  charting your relationships with other people to find out "that a pal of a pal of a pal of a pal" can ultimately link you to three fourths of the earth's inhabitants. In effect, this means that if you overlap the circle of acquaintances of your friends and relatives, you are connected to 4.1 billion of the earth"s 6.6 billion people.

Now, if you are interested in how many dumpsters are needed to hold all of America's trash for one year, Geekspeak mathematically takes you through simple calculations to find out. The result is staggering because if placed bow-to-stern, the needed containers would make a line close to 750 million feet in length, a distance of 142,045 miles. Since the circumference of earth is 24,902 miles at the equator, a simple division of these two numbers shows that America's trash in dumpsters would circle the earth 5.7 times.

But then the book takes up more meaningful issues. Traveling along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I've seen large energy producing windmills. Throughout the mountains of Tucker County in West Virginia, I've seen probably hundreds of them. On one visit there, I stood about 30 yards from the bottom of such a wind turbine as the three enormous blades turned over my head. Now, Geekspeak has given me an answer I've often wondered about: a wind turbine can generate 300,000 watts of power if the wind is blowing.

Equally interesting are other facts. Dr. Graham shows that more than 60% of the energy from an automobile combustion engine is wasted. It is released to the atmosphere through the exhaust system and through the car's radiator to keep the engine from overheating and destroying itself.

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### Article Author: Regis Schilken

Regis Schilken's stories reflect his search for meaning in a very human but frightening way. Three of his books have been published: The Oculi Incident, The Island Off Stony Point, and a third, You Know When was just recently released. …

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