For the casually curious scientific ignoramus Vergara (Science in Everyday Things, Mathematics in Everyday Things, etc.) plays The Answer Man. Why is carbon monoxide poisonous? Why is the sand on the beach usually white? How big are raindrops? Is there intelligent life on other planets? Altogether we're reminded of Woody Guthrie's song to an overly inquisitive five year-old -- ""Why can't a mouse eat an elephant?"" But Vergara does explain in very undemanding layman's terms the laws of magnetism, capillary action, molecular structure, optics, heat, and even ""cryogenics"" (the behavior of matter at very low temperatures). For browsers who dozed through their high school science courses, Vergara may fill in some gaps.