Framing the Dialogue

Posts Tagged ‘bill bryson’

Great Balls of Fire

One of the facts that stuck with me most when I first read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything was the shear number of occurrences that could annihilate our life on Earth. None were more surprising than the fact that there was a volcano under Yellowstone National Park…in fact Yellowstone is a volcano. A recent article suggests that the Yellowstone Supervolcano may be even larger than original estimates. The bigger the volcano the bigger the effect WHEN it blows again. The article also provided some historical perspective:

In A Sunburned Country

Bill Bryson always combines interesting facts about his destinations with humor to make his travel journals both fun and informative.  Though In a Sunburned Country was written a number of years ago, I wanted to read it because Australia is to me, like many people that that I talk to, a destination to which I would like to travel.  I am not sure whether Bryson diminished or enhanced that wish.  This book is probably much like Australia itself…wonderful sections separated by long stretches of barren landscape. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything

“Imagine trying to live in a world dominated by dihydrogen oxide, a compound that has no taste or smell and is variable in its properties that it is generally benign but at other times swiftly lethal.  Depending on its state, it can scald you or freeze you.  In the presence of certain organic molecules it can form carbonic acids so nasty that they can strip the leaves from trees and eat the faces off statuary.  In bulk, when agitated, it can strike with a fury that no human edifice could withstand.  Even for those who have learned to live with it, it is an often murderous substance.  We call it water.”