Check It Out: Celebrate Earth Day with quizzes



Happy Earth Day! Seems like just yesterday when the third rock from the sun turned 4 billion years old. Before any of us are ready, the big 5,000,000,000 will be here, and all we can do is hope that our little blue planet continues to age gracefully.

While Earth Day is not officially a planetary birthday celebration, it is a good day to be mindful of all that terra firma does for its inhabitants. Without Earth, none of us would be here, so treating our planet with respect should be a requirement of every citizen.

Now that I’ve done my PR duty for our planet, it’s time to do a little PR for this week’s book, “What Does the Earth Sound Like? 159 Astounding Science Quizzes.” I’ve mentioned in previous columns that I’m a bit of a science geek. Time for another confession: I enjoy taking quizzes. Imagine my delight in finding a book that is full of science quizzes. It doesn’t get much better than that! And because there are plenty of questions posed about Earth, it is an apropos title for today’s “appreciate your planet” events.

One of the things I really like about this book is that, instead of presenting pages and pages of questions followed by a long answer section, the reader will find the correct answer to each multiple choice question by turning the page and flipping the book upside down. Mental and physical stimulation at the same time!

Each answer is accompanied by a short explanatory paragraph to help the reader understand why it’s the correct answer. And, unlike quizzes in school, no grades are assigned.

If you’ve been wondering what on earth the Earth sounds like, apparently it “hums” at 16 octaves below a piano’s middle C. We can’t hear it, but seismology equipment can pick it up. According to one seismologist, if we could hear the Earth humming it would sound like lots of banging on trash cans. So, that’s another reason to be kind to our planet — we wouldn’t want the landlord to turn up the volume.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at She blogs at