Another collection of science essays from Asimov, all originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and ranging in subject from the source of the Nile to the role of poetry in modem life. Simple enough for even the most scientifically unenlightened reader, these 17 brief meditations on cosmic rays, the dangers of overpopulation, and how compasses work reflect both Asimov's passing philosophical interests and his freewheeling, conversational style. Though he denies any attempt at social commentary, Asimov never hesitates to express opinions when the opportunity arises--on, for example, SDI (it won't work), modern poetry (it should speak to the lay reader, as opposed to other poets), and the way to achieve success (be aware of Kipling's "unforgiving minute"). His technique is as practiced and predictable as a George Burns routine as he begins each essay with a diverting personal anecdote, then expands his theme--or, in some cases, abruptly changes the subject to address the evolution of man, the formation of the moon, the effects of radon, or whatever other scientific issue has struck his fancy. Clearly enjoying his freedom to "pound the table as anyone would like to," and admittedly not spending an enormous amount of time on each essay, Asimov satisfies only the most cursory interest here--but these pieces entertain nevertheless and may, on occasion, even spark further interest among readers. Typical Asimov, for better or worse.