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Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" RSS Feed (Phoenix, AZ.)

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Gone Girl
Gone Girl
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Plot, but Way too Long, March 30, 2015
This review is from: Gone Girl (Amazon Instant Video)
A very good plot that goes on far too long and becomes too complicated. The ending is surprising, but isn't likely to last very long.

Marked Woman
Marked Woman
DVD ~ Bette Davis
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $14.06
15 used & new from $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Her Finest Work -, March 29, 2015
This review is from: Marked Woman (DVD)
A crime movie dating back from 1937, starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Bette eventually stands up to one of the city's most powerful gangsters - after he has her sister killed.

The plot is reasonable and coherent. The problem lies within Bette Davis' acting - she overdoes it in many scenes (especially early in the movie) to the point where it becomes laughable, at best.

Building the H Bomb :A Personal History
Building the H Bomb :A Personal History
Price: $17.09

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative, March 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
On March 9, 1951, Edward Teller and Stan Ulam issued a report at the Los Alamos Scientific Lab stating that the electromagnetic radiation (mostly X rays) from a fission bomb could compress and heat thermonuclear fuel such that the fuel would be ignited and propagate. The expected result was megatons of energy, far more than that of atomic bombs. ) The Hiroshima bomb had an estimated 'yield' of 13 to 15 kilotons, the Nagasaki yielded about 21 - 23 kilotons.

Previously it had been thought that radiation would soak up too much of the energy of an A-blast, with not enough remaining to ignite the thermonuclear fuel and keep it burning. Their revised concept was that this could be avoided through great compression of the thermonuclear material' previously Teller had previously rejected this approach, then realized that radiation would be an excellent source of compression. The concept was simple, but incredibly difficult to model mathematically - thus, no sure sense of its potential.

Calculations at the time were first mainly accomplished by women using Marchant, Monroe, and Friden calculators. Then 1949 IBM card-programmed calculators, and ultimately with the 1950 SEAC computer Within three months of the manual calculating, the idea appeared promising enough to be endorsed by the AEC's General Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, the USSR had a group of nuclear scientists as competent as those in the U.S., including Andrei Sakharov, Vitaly Ginzburg, and Yakov Zeldovich. Their initial ideas came without benefit of espionage, the latter ones helped by Klaus Fuch's espionage. One of their early ideas was to replace deuterium as the thermonuclear fuel by lithium hydride in which the lithium was comprised by the isotope lithium-6 and the hydrogen was deuterium.

Ford asserts that both the U.S. and Russia began work on the H bomb in the early 1940s - success eluded them, however, for a decade because of mental blinders holding back both teams. Then, in 1952, the ten-megaton explosion of 'Mike' obliterated a Pacific Island. (SEAC calculations had estimated a yield of 7 megatons.) Theoretically, it was possible to build a million megaton bomb, but experts contended that after about 50 megatons all additional power is dissipated in the upper atmosphere, and President Eisenhower decided not build H-bombs bigger than those tested in the Pacific.

Both had immigrated from Eastern Europe - Teller, the physicist, was from Hungary, Ulam, the mathematician, from Poland. (Calculations involved classical and quantum laws of electromagnetism and mechanics.) Ford also tells us that the two didn't much care for each other - Teller was intense, focused and pessimistic, Ulam much more laid back and full of ideas.

What did all this cost the U.S.? From 1940 through 1996, we spent (conservative estimate) nearly $5.5 trillion (1996 dollars) on nuclear weapons and weapons-related programs. Most of this (86%) was spent on the many delivery vehicles - strategic bombers, ballistic missiles, artillery shells, nuclear land mines, etc. Total other defense spending was $13.2 trillion.

Environmental impact? The U.S. conducted more nuclear tests than all other nations combined. In 1962, just before enactment of the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the U.S. detonated 96 nuclear weapons, and the Soviets 79. Two hundred forty-four megatons was exploded in the atmosphere between 9/61 and 12/62, the equivalent of 16,250 Hiroshima-sized bombs.

In 1960, we had a stockpile of nearly 1.4 million Hiroshima-sized bombs. In 1957, Admiral Arleigh Burke stated that 720 warheads on Polaris submarines would be enough to deter the Soviets - we already had almost 5X that number deployed. When Army Chief of Staff General Tayor wrote in 1960 that 'a few hundred missiles' would satisfy deterrence, we already had 7,000 such. And when Secretary of Defense McNamara argued in 1964 that 400 megatons would suffice, we had almost 17,000 megatons.

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
by Rick Tetzeli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.00
67 used & new from $12.55

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Reveals How Jobs Grew as a Manager and Leader, March 24, 2015
Author Tetzeli begins by reminding us that it's hard to read anything about Steve Jobs that doesn't pigeonhole him as a wunderkind, jerk, innovator, egomaniac, and/or tyrant. Another favorite - portraying him as cowing coworkers and competitors with a 'reality distortion field.' This book adds a valuable new dimension and perspective - portraying how Jobs grew as a manager and leader by learning from others.

Some indisputable facts - early on he was so divisive and undisciplined that he was pushed aside in 1985 from the firm he founded, and they he returned as a radically effective visionary leader of a company that became the world's most valuable enterprise. Not surprisingly, co-author Brent Schlender believes Jobs changed more than any other businessman he'd covered in two decades at the Wall Street Journal and Fortune.

Early on Jobs showed himself as wanting to learn from others - arranging luncheons with eg. Edwin Land, Andy Grove, Robert Noyce, Jerry Sanders, and Charlie Sporck for the purpose of learning how to be a company builder. This 'pursuit of individual excellence' also extended to hiring at early Apple - Regis McKenna was hired by Jobs as an early advisor.

Part of the difficulty in providing a balanced view of Jobs is that some of his closest colleagues can be difficult to draw out - especially those who had parted ways under unpleasant circumstances. Perhaps Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and one who knew and worked with Jobs for 25 years, summarizes it best - 'Steve (was) someone trying to improve in both his business decisions and his private behavior. But he didn't express it in the same ways as others.' Thus, 'The Evolution of Steve Jobs' paints a picture of him as someone with a deep hunger for learning.

Early in Jobs' career he asked industry luminaries such as Edwin Land (Polaroid), Robert Noyce and Andy Grove (Intel), Jerry Sanders (Advanced Micro Devices), and Charlie Sporck (National Semiconductor) to lunch so he could learn from them how to be a company builder. Jobs also wasn't reluctant on hire the best talents - eg. Regis McKenna as Apple's marketing maven.

Apple quickly grew after introduction of the Apple II; after several years of its success, Jobs sensed a need for the firm to move on to Apple III. Apple III was envisioned as being an incremental improvement. However, after Xerox invested $7 million in Apple and allowed it to see its PARC developments (eg. sharp bit-mapped characters, a mouse-driven pointer, and icons, Jobs changed his focus to a new transformative product - the Macintosh. Unfortunately, he failed to provide a simple and clear vision (became a muddled combination of a personal and business computer) and was removed as leader after only months - the project was behind schedule and had become too expensive. Jobs also needlessly drove a wedge between himself and Woz - Woz chose to help Apple with updates, and Jobs lost the close connection the two previously had. Jobs also created unrealistic expectations for the Mac engineers, based on his experience with Woz.

Apple III was a disaster. Jobs had insisted on it having no fan (eliminate noise), leading to its motherboard being made of aluminum (good heat sink, more expensive). Still about 14,000 had to be replaced due to severe overheating (chips originally were placed too closely together), only 120,000 were sold, and it was discontinued in 1984 after four years. The product was introduced a year late, cost $4,340 (more than double its planned price), had very limited backwards compatibility. Even after that failure, Jobs continued to interfere in other areas - eg. supplier selection for Apple overall.

Lisa also was a big failure; meanwhile, IBM's PC with MS-DOS (and clones) were taking over the market. The Macintosh was introduced 1/24/84, establishing Jobs as a master showman and rebuilding his project-management credibility. However, it only had 128k of memory (bound by its $1,995 retail price), no internal hard drive, little software (the OS was being tweaked until launch day). Sales quickly fell off, and Jobs did little to lead improvement efforts. He was then pushed into a non-role, left, and pursued NeXT - aimed at the academic market that Sun Microsystems' work stations $20,000) were supplying. Jobs promised to deliver the equivalent for $3,000 - and didn't come close.

Problems included spending far too much building an automated manufacturing plan that could produce 600 units/day - for a market that would only take 600/month, an exotic logo, producing a perfect cube with sharp edges - that necessitated using expensive and hard to work with magnesium as casing material, an I.M. Pei designed floating stairway, and optical disc drives (greater capacity, but slow compared to Sun). One could contribution, however, was its use of object-oriented-programming - facilitating faster program development.

Apple's first decade was riven by internal conflicts, many initiated or exacerbated by Jobs. After getting fired, however, he encountered the collaborative culture at Pixar, molded by Ed Catmull. Catmull was also able to keep Jobs from getting too involved in production, thus forcing Jobs to watch from a distance as they worked their way through failed plotlines, poorly conceived characters, and interference from Disney's chief of animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. After Toy Story, Jobs got to see the team go through it again and again. Per John Lasseter, director of Toy Story and now head of Disney Animation and Pixar, Jobs then became 'willing to be open to the talent of others, . . . (and) to inspire them to do amazing things he knew he couldn't do himself.'

Jobs' new team at Apple (1997 et seq) credits him as in some scenarios being a great delegator, as well as at other times a demanding micromanager. Fortunately, those now micromanaged were mostly able to both receive and return Jobs' high intensity 'discussions.' One of their successful redirections of his focus occurred in 2000 when his top managers convinced him that digital music was a better bet than digital movie editing - twelve months later iTunes was released and the iPod less than a year after that. When Jobs introduced the iPhone, he originally barred independent developers from creating software for it - however, after listening to his team he allowed creation of the App Store, which helped secure the iPhone's success. En route, Jobs had learned to become a better manager and sustain a strong executive group that delivered first-rate products almost every time.

Another less-obvious Jobs transformation - from transformative products like the Apple II, Mac, and NeXT Computer (the latter was not successful), to the more incremental approach he'd seen at Pixar. The annual demands of the consumer electronics market made incrementalism necessary, and those advances also provided potential for new breakthroughs.

Jobs hired Joel Podolny from Yale's School of Management in 2008 to create Apple University. The intent of Apple U. was to embed the why of Steve's thinking into the company he left behind, to codify a set of corporate decision-making values. Classes are case studies - both successes and failures. Jobs further ensured continuity and success via using Tim Cook as his #2.

America's Sweethearts
America's Sweethearts
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, Stupid, Childish, March 23, 2015
This supposedly romantic comedy film stinks - childish, utterly predictable, and boring. Billy Crystal has more talent in his little finger than I have in my entire body - yet he co-wrote this garbage, and plays the lead role. The rest of the cast hopefully have found much better things to do for the other years in their lives.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Movie, March 22, 2015
Audrey Hepburn plays the role of Holly Golightly - an eccentric society girl who lives off rich men. A new neighbor moves in (George Peppard) - a purported writer (who hasn't written anything in years) living off a wealthy, older married woman (Patricia Neal). Eventually they both shed their supporters and join forces. It's a long movie, but worth the time.

Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
by Frank Bruni
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.18
10 used & new from $13.34

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relax -, March 22, 2015
The majority of American families are focused on making sure their kinds simply attend a decent college and on finding a way to help them pay for it. A minority attach a make-or-break importance to being accepted to a finite circle of exalted institutions - that isn't supported by the evidence. That mania seems to be growing in intensity - evidenced in the escalation of applications to elite schools and the dizzying expansion and expense of college admissions coaching. (On the other hand, a single electronic application now makes it easy to apply to a lot of schools and encourages more applications, while even elite campuses attempt to boost their rankings (partly based on selectivity) by flooding the mails with glossy enticements - even though they already reject 9 of 10 applicants.

Author Bruni contends that the effort students put into their collegiate education matters more than the name of that institution. And we're all becoming increasingly aware of distinguished overachievers who never graduated from college.

The bulk to Bruni's 'documentation' is via anecdotal reports - always of dubious value since they're so easily influenced by author bias. Fortunately, he also cites the research by Krueger and Dale showing that students who merely applied to Ive-level schools, but didn't attend, later earned as much as those who did. But then, economist Caroline Hoxby has counter-evidence, and she's not referenced.

Many recruiters told him they are much more focused on a candidate's experience than where they went to school. When the Wall Street Journal asked recruiters the best universities for their entry-level hires, the top five were Penn State, Texas A&M, the University of Illinois, Purdue, and ASU.

Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
DVD ~ Bette Davis
Offered by Surplus DVD Source
Price: $10.15
70 used & new from $4.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Real 'Sleeper' (boring, slow-moving), March 22, 2015
This review is from: Now, Voyager (Keepcase) (DVD)
Bette Davis stars as an unattractive and repressed spinster (Charlotte( who's been dominated by a dictatorial, emotionally abusive, and aristocratic mother. Not surprisingly, she ends up lacking self-confidence. Turns out Charlotte was an unwanted child born late in life, after three sons. Fearing Charlotte is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her sister-in-law introduces her to a psychiatrist. After spending time in his facility, she somewhat recovers and decides to take a long cruise instead of immediately returning home. There she meets a married man and learns of his devotion to a young daughter and how it keeps him from divorcing his manipulative wife who dislikes the young girl. Surprise - they fall in love, decide not to see each other again, and Charlotte returns home.

There she finds the courage to confront her mother, causing her to have a heart attack and die. Charlotte becomes depressed and returns to the psychiatric facility. There she meets the lonely young daughter she'd learned of previously. Charlotte then finds meaning to life and is allowed to care for the girl.

Another problem - Davis smokes too much.

Dead Ringer (1964)
Dead Ringer (1964)
DVD ~ Bette Davis
Price: $12.51
43 used & new from $7.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Plot, Good Acting, March 16, 2015
This review is from: Dead Ringer (1964) (DVD)
Interesting plot with good twists and turns involving twin sisters - one of whom 'cheated' the other out of a husband and life of leisure. Turns out both are guilty of murder, and a miscarriage of justice evens the score.

Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports
Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports
by Jay M. Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.39
21 used & new from $18.17

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue Credible Expose of Big-Time College Sports, March 16, 2015
Co-author Mary Willingham was formerly a remedial reading tutor to UNC athletes, while Jay Smith is a professor at UNC and her main backer in the resulting uproar. The book covers nearly 20 years of UNC's secret campaign to keep football and basketball players academically eligible with phony courses (over 200 lecture courses never met) and hundreds of independent study classes of equally dubious value in a black-studies department. Then the situation got worse when university leaders tried to cover it all up - first demoting her, then publicly condemning her.

Beginning in 2003, she taught members of the football and basketball teams to sound out multi-syllable words. The good news is that a number of those that tried (not all did) made considerable progress. The bad news - there wasn't any way they would be able to write papers for college classes. Worse - she soon learned about a hard drive maintained by the football team that contained term papers - athletes would make minor alterations and then submit them for credit. Willingham believes 'There's no way the professors could not have noticed the same papers coming in from athletes.' Then she learned about the black studies classes that never met - all that was required was a 20-page paper, and anything got an A or B. In 2006 Willingham took her concerns to the athletic director - he displayed no interest, and subsequently denies remembering any discussion.

Athletes were also steered to other 'easy A' majors such as Dramatic Art, Philosophy, Geology, Geography and French.

December 2012 brought the results of an internal investigation led by former governor James Martin. He'd found 216 corrupted courses and 560 grade changes he suspected were unauthorized. Martin also noted that there were more non-athletes than athletes in the phony classes, and concluded that 'This was not an athletic scandal, it was an academic scandal.' Ironically, that conclusion was good news for UNC - allowing the school to avoid NCAA investigation by contending that the problem had nothing to do with athletics.

When Carol Folt took over as UNC's chancellor, Willingham decided to warn her about the large number of athletes with fourth- to eighth-grade reading levels, some even below third-grade level. (Players were also scoring below 400 on the verbal SAT - the 15th percentile.) Instead, Folt's assistant (UNC Provost Dean) accused Willingham of making slanderous statements at a 1/2014 faculty meeting - his presentation was followed by applause.

Willingham resigned later that year and is now suing the school. Some believe that at lest one UNC national championship is now at risk.

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