Although I may be, I hope I'm not the only newb who's stuck both feet in his mouth at one time or another - if not quite frequently. That said, I wanted to share some light reading I've been doing that totally clarifies some of the carburation complexities and exhaust/intake quandaries that keep me awake at night.
1) Weber Carburetors by Pat Braden
2) Scientific Design of Exhaust & Intake Systems (3d edition) by Philip H. Smith & John C. Morrison
Functionally, these two books (read simultaneously) have made a world of difference for me. Although the Pat Braden book primarily addresses Weber carburetors, his contrasting analysis gives you a taste of other designs as well. The pictures are helpful for those of us who find it hard to read after staring at a screen all day.
These pictures also help when reading the Smith and Morrison book, because the lack of simple diagrams can be daunting for those of us who don't get to wrench very often.
Put simply, both books, taken together, give you a great foundation for understanding not only the science behind carburation, intake and exhaust systems, but also give you the tools to evaluate/appreciate the banter that goes on among some of the more veteran contributors in the SOC.
I would seriously recommend picking them up.
P.s. Have I inadvertently slipped into "The Madness" everyone keep talking about?