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Saxon Physics: Student Edition First Edition 1993
Saxon Physics: Student Edition First Edition 1993
by Jr. John H. Saxon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $53.44
82 used & new from $4.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rote learning, but in the best way possible, August 16, 2012
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It's funny how most traditional teachers don't like this method, but at the same time, I always hear the "practice makes perfect" lecture. With the Saxon books there's no shortage of practice opportunities. My whole problem with traditional methods is that everything is blocked into chapters. So if you're doing stuff on electromagnetism, it's easy to forget the earlier material on classical physics. With Saxon you're practicing more than one topic at a time, so you get used to holding more skills in your head. The other problem I have with traditional methods is that there are maybe 3 or 4 problems that represent each skill, and I feel like I just skim over the concept and it just doesn't "stick" as well. It could just be me and my horrible memory, but I do find that the repetition really helps me internalize the concepts. There's also the notion that this method doesn't allow for conceptual learning. I found the exact opposite to be true. Because I had so much practice, I was able to apply alot of these concepts to the outside world.

Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships
Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships
Price: $15.39

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas, but don't waste your money., June 6, 2012
Maestripieri does a great job of explaining human behavior in terms of game theory and biological markets. The book uses economic models to make sense of primate behaviors such as dominance, pair bonding, and cooperation. However, there are some faulty arguments and too much misinformation. If you don't want to read my whole review, I'll just sum it up by saying don't waste your time on this book. The primatologist Frans de Waal does an infinitely better job of using a comparative approach to human behavior. I found this book very interesting: The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. Now on to the nitpicking...

The first point of confusion is when he addresses the issue of morality. He states "Humans started out their evolutionary journey similarly amoral. Then Moses gave people the Ten Commandments and told them what was good and bad, and right and wrong, according to God. Or maybe a bunch of people just sat around a table and signed a social contract establishing rules..." Well this is a rather superficial explanation of morality. He seems to think that morality originated with a piece of paper. That's disappointing coming from someone so highly educated. He later states "Moses never spoke to the monkeys about commandments, and the monkeys can't write a social contract--or they haven't had time yet to do so." Lumping religion and morality together is something I'd expect from a fundamentalist Christian, not an esteemed scholar. If we take morality for what it is, and that is a code of conduct that enables peace and cooperation, then all social animals have their own form of morality. It has nothing to do with writing something down on a piece of paper, and no biblical references are needed. Morality is simply an evolved trait that allows animals to live in groups. What's even more shocking, is that after making this shallow argument, he goes on to explain all the ways that humans behave like amoral animals. That's a whole lot of dissonance. If you think about moral behavior as an evolved trait, then everything becomes more streamlined. Moral behavior such as altruism evolved to help an individual survive in a group environment. If the lights are turned out or circumstances change, moral behavior is no longer beneficial and selfishness takes over. It has nothing to do with a black and white contrast, and everything to do with the fact that evolution made the individual's behavior flexible. He also had this to say when referring to moralistic aggression in macaques: "I wouldn't call this moralistic aggression--there is no morality among macaques--but the circumstances are quite similar to those of human moralistic aggression." If the circumstances are so similar, why draw the line between moral and amoral? In both species, moralistic aggression serves as punishment against cheaters. It's the same context and the same motivation, so I don't see the need for a distinction to be made. Of course if you are willing to accept Maestripieri's asinine argument on the possession of morality, then I suppose you could accept this quote.

On the topic of theory of mind, Maestripieri has this to say: "recognizing that other people have goals and desires and that their behavior is guided by the pursuit of these goals is a complex cognitive ability that arguably sets humans apart from all other animals, including monkeys and apes." If that's the case, then how is it that chimps are so adept at manipulation? Chimps have been known to deceive and manipulate their human caretakers. How is this deception possible if chimps are not conscious of the intentions of others? Basic logic tells me that possessing theory of mind is instrumental to the ability to manipulate. I wish Maestripieri would do a better job of explaining his view. This is an instance where Frans de Waal provides a more complete argument.

There is also a large rhetorical hole when he talks about romantic relationships. He states, "I believe that romantic love is unique to our species and probably evolved a few million years ago, after our ancestors split from the ancestors of chimpanzees and other apes." He goes on to say that this bond evolved because it takes two parents to raise a child. I agree with him on that, but there are other species that pair bond in order to successfully raise offspring. If romantic love is the emotional factor that is responsible for the human pair bond, what is the emotion motivating gibbons to stay together? If romantic attraction is unique to humans, I'd like to know how other species accomplish the same thing. He doesn't address this, so I'm not convinced that romantic love is exclusive to humans.

Now for nepotism. He says "nepotism has been part of human history since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden." Maybe this has to do with his Italian upbringing, but I got sick of his biblical references. He also says that vampire bats only regurgitate blood to their relatives. Actually there is evidence for nonkin reciprocal altruism in vampire bats. This is according to the Wilkinson article in Nature.

Lastly, he makes some extremely inaccurate statements on dog behavior that will have dog trainers (like me) and canine behavior experts tearing their hair out. He states that "dogs avoid stealing forbidden food if they see that a person is watching them, but do it promptly if the person has her eyes closed, has her back turned, or is otherwise not looking at the dog." He's anthropomorphizing (hypocritical, considering page 155). Dogs are poor at generalizing verbal commands to different spatial arrangements. When you teach a dog a verbal cue, you are typically facing the dog standing up with your eyes open. Dogs who are trained like this are also responding to your inadvertent visual cue. If you say "leave it" while lying down, kneeling, hanging from a tree, facing away, standing on your head... the dog doesn't interpret this as the same cue because he's receiving different visual messages. A dog can be trained to stay away from food if you leave the room, but you have to condition that specific visual scenario. I know this because I've successfully done it several times. A second mistake that he makes with dogs has to do with "anger." Again, he's anthropomorphizing. The prevailing view among canine aggression experts is that dogs show fear aggression. It has nothing to do with being "angry" and everything to do with being undersocialized during the dog's critical period. The third (and biggest) mistake he makes is when he states "Dobermans, on average, tend to be aggressive." According to statistics from the American Temperament Test, 78% of Dobermans passed. So unless he is referring to 22% of a population as the "average," his statement is erroneous. I'd really like to see the statistics he used to make that claim. In the future, Maestripieri should steer away from dog behavior because it's clearly not his area of expertise.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dog Behavior 101, May 22, 2012
This book does a good job of explaining operant conditioning in a concise yet thorough fashion. It serves as a great introduction to aspiring trainers and dog owners. This book has the power to promote the dog lover to the level of the educated "dog person." I know plenty of people who love dogs, but most owners are completely ignorant as to how their dogs actually learn and perceive their world. She explains that while humans are good at attributing emotions and thoughts to other humans, they mistakenly use this same theory of mind technique with their dogs. In other words, they anthropomorphize. Donaldson does a great job of having her readers assume the perspective of a dog--a cognitive challenge for many humans. I'd like to emphasize that this book is NOT intended to be a how-to training manual. She does include some training tips, but it's mainly a book about the methodology and philosophy associated with operant conditioning. If you are looking for a how-to training manual, I highly recommend this: Train Your Dog Like a Pro

There are some holes in her reasoning. Throughout the book, she states that a dog does not have the capacity to detect the emotions of humans. We know that dogs can smell cancer long before any machine can detect it. We also know that dogs can be trained to predict seizures and panic attacks in humans. Based on these observations, there is no reason to omit the possibility that dogs can sense many other internal states. I'd be interested to look at future academic research in this area.

Donaldson also claims that dogs are "amoral." If you look at the dictionary definition of "moral," you find this: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong. Sure, dogs may not have a human moral code, but all social animals have their own species-specific system of right vs. wrong. Dog-specific morals may be different from human morals, but this doesn't mean they don't have their own system. What I find contradictory is that although she categorizes dogs as amoral, she goes on to describe social rituals that are present in dog-dog socialization. Isn't the fact that dogs possess social rituals indicative of a moral system? You see this all the time at dog parks. There will be many well-socialized dogs playing and adhering to The Golden Rule of reciprocity (play is not possible without reciprocation), and all of the sudden a rude adolescent enters wreaking pandemonium. The social code of conduct is the primer for successful social interaction and species-specific morality serves as a prerequisite for social harmony. I have to brazenly say that Donaldson is wrong on the issue of morality in dogs. It does exist; it's just not the same as human morality.

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet
Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very detailed and thorough understanding of the pet dog, June 15, 2011
First off, the people who gave this book 1 star had the similar complaint that it was too lengthy and too academic. Reality check: you read books like this to be informed, not entertained.

His training philosophy makes alot of sense. He explains that dogs need to be taught boundaries, and that permissiveness is inhumane. This leads to behavior problems which leads to the pound and euthanasia. The fate is no different than that of a dog who has been chained up and abused all its life. It annoys me when people spoil their dogs and don't bother to teach them how to safely get along in a human world. This is very detrimental to your dog, just as it would be detrimental if you allowed your child not to go to school. He also explains how the application of punishment is not a good way to train your dog. I wish more people would realize that, because every time I go out, I see someone walking their dog who is either ignorant of this fact, or does not want to learn.

The information in this book was very well laid out and I appreciate his description of the evolution of dogs, and how that information is applicable to your current dog. You cannot understand your pet unless you have a comprehensive understanding of his ancestors and origins. Bradshaw did a very excellent job of delineating all the latest research and compiling it into a coherent concept on dog behavior.

I really enjoyed how he explained what goes on in a dog's brain when he uses his nose. As humans, this is a very foreign concept to us. He goes on to say how in order to truly treat your dog well, you need to appreciate that his nose is his primary way of receiving information, no matter how gross it may seem to us. Not letting your dog sniff another dog's butt is the equivalent to hiding your face when you meet someone new. This behavior certainly would not lead to a pleasant introduction and you would likely come off as rude and antisocial.

He also puts to rest the controversial breed discrimination based on the fact that irresponsible owners are more likely to choose dogs that "look tough," and consequently mistreat them. It's a nature versus nurture debate, and he explains how puppyhood experiences influence behavioral gene expression. The truth is you can adopt a pit bull and as long as that dog is raised as any dog should; with consistent training, boundaries, and exercise, the dog is likely to turn out fine. More people need to realize this, and it's unfortunate that so many dogs are being killed just because of a specific look.

Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution
Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution
by Raymond Coppinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.92
66 used & new from $7.00

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars obsolete information, June 15, 2011
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The author's frequent referral to dominant/submissive terminology give the impression that this book was written without knowledge that the linear hierarchy philosophy of canids has been defunct for some time. Then when referring to a group of dogs in Tijuana, he says "It would be interesting to know what their problem is. Why are they such meanies? I didn't like them." You would never hear a legitimate animal behaviorist use that diction. Dogs are not "mean." That's an anthropomorphized human term. More recent research into canine aggression suggests that this behavior is an outward manifestation of increased levels of stress hormone. More recently apprised dog trainers interpret this as anxiety aggression, or fear of having a valuable resource (food, shelter) being taken away.

Furthermore, after the author admits to "having no more than a reading knowledge of these dogs"(215) he goes on to describe fighting dogs as not having "submission." This is nonsense. I have had first hand experience with dogs bred for fighting because I used to volunteer at a Chicago shelter. From my experience, these dogs were more scared than anything else. It was also disturbing how he seemed to justify using dogs to fight: "As disagreeable as this may seem, people claim benefit just as a pet owner would claim satisfaction from owning a good dog. The successful fighting dog can produce for the owner a cash prize and the increased sale of puppies from a superior individual. The dogs get cared for and the survivors get to leave their superior fighting genes to the next generation."

If you want to really understand your dog, read the book Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet This is much more recent and accurate.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2012 3:56 PM PDT

The Definitive Book of Body Language Publisher: Bantam
The Definitive Book of Body Language Publisher: Bantam
by Allan & Barbara Pease
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from $18.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars help in every aspect of your life, June 10, 2011
The advice given in this book is very valuable and also very accurate. I found it interesting how the authors were able to make connections between human body language and that of other primates. Their claims are backed up by statistics, and are explicitly delineated. The book may appear to be sexist at times, especially in the 30 pages devoted to courtship and flirting. It doesn't take one long to realize that the authors are distinguishing biological fact from political correctness. As if to counteract this perceived sexism, they also give advice to women on how to be taken seriously in the workplace and how to counteract male dominance.

I read a good portion of this book while people watching at the beach. I was surprised how many tidbits of information I could authenticate just by looking at my surroundings. The information in this book will help you succeed in job interviews, and you can continue to apply what you learned while in the workplace. There is significant emphasis on how to build positive rapport with both your peers and your superiors. Everyone who needs help at work, interviews, dating, and even just general socializing should read this book.

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
by Patricia B. McConnell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.04
180 used & new from $2.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ideal book for multi-dog households, November 3, 2010
Of all the dog behavior books out there, this one is the most concise and to the point. For example, one of the tips she gives is to walk AWAY from your dog when you want her to come. It works. I can tell you, I have never felt more confident about reading my dog's body language and letting him interact with other dogs.

She clarifies the ideas of dominance and leadership, and explains why those words have such a negative meaning. The best part is, you don't even need to touch your dog(s) to get them to respect you. It can be done through positive reinforcement. Her claim is that dogs will have pack-like behavior when they are getting high quality food from a central source (you). The idea centers around how dogs behave in a multidog household, as opposed to how they behave in a scavenging feral dog pack.

WalkyDog Dog Bicycle Exerciser Leash
WalkyDog Dog Bicycle Exerciser Leash
Offered by The WalkyPet
Price: $59.99
2 used & new from $58.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thing you could do for your dog, October 17, 2010
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I'm used to running with my dog, but I damaged my knee so I bought this to attach to my bike. This works great and it is totally safe, provided you know how to handle a bike. The post has springs inside that regulate tension. If the dog pulls, the spring pulls back with equal force. That way you don't loose your balance and your dog gets an automatic correction. My strong Lab is very prey drivey and we live in a forest preserve. Every time he sees deer, he'll veer off in that direction, but the walky dog spring absorbs his pulling. I just keep going straight and he bounces right back into place, no harm done. Make sure you mount it properly, as at first I didn't tighten the screws enough, and the post could swing around with some torque. The post should be ABOVE the dog's head, not poking his ribcage, as some idiot reviewer said.

It seems like the only people that gave this 1 star reviews were just poorly educated, because you are NOT supposed to make a small dog--or even worse, a wrinkled nose small dog such as the Boston terrier--run with a bike. Those dogs have breathing problems, and if you cannot keep up with their tiny legs just walking, you got other issues. Please don't be like the moron who used this with a harness. It will poke their side, and putting a harness on the dog is like inviting them to pull. Not a good idea on a bike. I'm not usually this up-front with people, but sloppy dog ownership ticks me off.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
by Jim Gorant
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.03
192 used & new from $0.01

129 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best dog book since Shiloh, September 17, 2010
I haven't felt this way about a dog story since I was a 9 year old reading Shiloh. The only difference is this story actually happened, and reality really kicks you in the butt. While the ugliness of the story is hard to digest at times, Gorant gives acknowledgement to the heroics of the protagonists, as they relentlessly shuffle through legal proceedings and irritable sports fans. The dedication of the investigative team was astounding, as they spent every last hour of their days and every penny from their own pockets in order to save these awesome dogs. I see a movie in the future.

Gorant made it clear that the only reason why dog fighting still exists is because apathetic government officials want an easy job. This book, and the Vick case in general, exposes all the behind-the-scenes nastiness of not only dog fighting, but bureaucracy. It's about time that these macho phonies got more than a slap on the wrist, and my hope is this book will capture enough publicity to pressure local and federal governments to grow a pair and treat dog fighters like the murderers and rapists that they truely are.

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