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Everything that Linguists have Always Wanted to Know about Logic . . . But Were Ashamed to Ask
Everything that Linguists have Always Wanted to Know about Logic . . . But Were Ashamed to Ask
by James D. McCawley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $46.74
46 used & new from $29.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hands down the most accessible introduction to symbolic logic, yet rather comprehensive, April 24, 2011
This book's intended audience is not merely linguists, but rather any student of symbolic logic (beyond classical Greek treatment of the topic) where that student wants to start with the gentle introduction from the top down rather than go straight to Bertrand-Russell-level theoretical monographs on set theory, logic, and combinatorics. Instead, McCawley presents logic not as some topic only for high-priest mathematicians, but rather as something that, given the opportunity, comes naturally as if our brains are pre-wired to learn logic as much as and as easily as riding a bicycle.

This book (as is all of McCawley's other books) is an immense joy to read. Although the title makes the material inside this book sound like `logic for poets', this book goes into fair depth across fair breadth. Portions of the material covered lucidly overlaps with Irving Copi's _Symbolic Logic_ but gentler. Portions apply logic to a kind of transformational grammar. Portions explore quantifiers that demarcate multiple worldviews. Portions explore the establishment of different categories of truth. And nearly every concept in this book is presented in a gentle and lucid style of writing, speaking simultaneously to multiple audiences, each at a different level of expertise among several domains. If you are seeking a 100-page tersely-dense mathematical monograph, perhaps this is not the book that you are seeking. But if you are seeking the comprehensive owner's manual that effectively says through its style of writing `Welcome to the Logic Club! We are glad that you could arrive and join us as a lifelong member.', then this is the book for you.


Practical OCaml
Practical OCaml
by Joshua B. Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $53.15
61 used & new from $1.57

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you already know what it says, you'll know what it says., April 24, 2011
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This review is from: Practical OCaml (Hardcover)
OCaml is a language from an alternate-dimensional universe, even among its peers of Haskell and Lisp. By its very nature, the what-the-hecks per minute will be high when first learning OCaml. OCaml needs a book where the author serves as tour guide and ambassador to a very foreign land, gently introducing why the OCaml natives have the peculiar-yet-advanced culture that they do. OCaml needs a book where OCaml's dissent from the procedural imperative OO languages is compared with and contrasted against analogous technology from a variety of sources, so that the reader can say: oh, *that* is what OCaml is achieving there. OCaml needs a book that builds up a philosophy of programming from scratch, explaining why OCaml does nearly everything differently (e.g., so-called variables that are not variable in value, at least not in the historically-customary sense). This is not that book; this is not that author.

Instead, it seems that this book and its author seek to increase the what-the-hecks per minute well beyond even the high rate that is inherent in OCaml itself as a topic (of any book by any author). This book seems to be written from the following (hypothetical) perspective: OCaml is a mind-bender, so let's gratuitously amplify that mind-bending, because that is what I, the author, really enjoy about OCaml (or programming or life). Although perhaps such a premise would make for a good book a la Charles Dickens's scathing satire of abstract mathematics in _Alice in Wonderland_, this is not that book, but perhaps this is the author who could (with characters and plot that are both absent in this book) accomplish such a work.

All that said, this book does (almost accidentally) accomplish a subset of the aforementioned goals iff the reader reads one paragraph or one snippet of OCaml code and then ponders what was just said from the perspective of: if I were writing this book, how would I have presented the underlying subject matter that was not overtly presented in the wording that I just read. And then go back and re-read the authors words to see if what the reader re-imagined conforms to the author's presentation. Using this (somewhat painful) style of extraordinarily-active reading-via-rewriting-in-my-mind, I actually obtained a moderate amount of usefulness from this book.


Itanium Architecture for Software Developers
Itanium Architecture for Software Developers
by Walter A. Triebel
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from $2.57

4.0 out of 5 stars a gentler introduction to a subset of the material that is in freely-available voluminous Itanium & IA-64 reference manuals, April 24, 2011
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This book is apparently intended for two different audiences: 1) the people who intend to eventually read the Itanium & IA-64 reference manuals that are freely-available as downloads from the Intel website but want a gentler introduction to the big picture at the forest level before examining the bark on each tree in the voluminous reference manuals and 2) the people, such as managers, who want to understand the key highpoints of very-long-instruction-word (VLIW) processors without slogging through thousands of pages in the Itanium & IA-64 reference manuals.

By the way, Intel brands the industry-wide generic term VLIW as EPIC®. In addition to being an introduction to Itanium itself, this book serves as a useful introduction to VLIW as a topic as well to compare & contrast VLIW with RISC and CISC, because (other than a line of DSPs from Texas Instruments) the Itanium line of processors over the past ten years has been one of the few VLIW processors to reach mass production in such large numbers.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars reprint of freely-available Wikipedia but with wholesale severe printing mistakes throughout; total waste of money, April 24, 2011
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This reference book is perhaps the most deeply flawed bound book that I have ever seen. This book copies verbatim various freely-available Wikipedia articles, but then omits each and every mathematical symbol beyond the simple ones, such as those in 7-bit ASCII that appear on your keyboard. This gross mistake affects not only nearly every page, but conceivably as much as over half of the lines on each page. If you are interested in this book, you should wait for the revised corrected edition.


Speeches Of Henry Clay Including A Biographical Sketch
Speeches Of Henry Clay Including A Biographical Sketch
by Henry Clay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $41.41
12 used & new from $36.84

4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent noncomprehensive 1841 collection of Henry-Clay speeches that are interesting to modern readers, April 23, 2011
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This collection of speeches is in many ways the most memorable of this great orator's best speeches. I won't repeat the table of contents here, so please take a look for yourself via Amazon's preview of content that includes the ToC, as well as a generous quantity of pages of speeches from the body of the book. As can be seen in the Amazon preview of content of this modern book, this modern book is a verbatim reprint of an 1841 book of the same title, apparently photographing an original printed copy, which causes some lessening of the quality of the printing, but this modern book's less-than-perfect print quality is still quite readable. In addition to transcriptions from _Congressional Record_, Henry Clay's own copies, and other sources, this book is an excellent historical example of professional American typography from the mid-19th century.

On a different note, Senator Henry Clay was perhaps the foremost of three luminaries of the 19th-century Whig Party that largely predates the modern Republican Party. (For example, Abraham Lincoln was a Whig, before the Whig Party disintegrated into pro-North versus pro-South factions, due to internal divisions regarding the lead-up to the American Civil War.) The other two Whig luminaries where Senator Dan'l Webster of Massachusetts and Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. What should make the Whig Party interesting to modern readers is the fact that the Whig Party had a rather different conservative-liberal alignment than is familiar to us moderns today. The Whig Party was first and foremost nationalist: pro-America as dominant & leading the world in nearly every way, but by strong example & favorable manipulation more than by direct overseas involvement for pure-engagement's sake. In this regard, Henry Clay's Whig Party was quite conservative: conservation of power, pride, and control in American hands via a vision of internal improvements to increase America's potency. In this way, Eisenhower's Interstate System of autobahn-like freeways was a very Whiggish branch of the Republican Party of the 1950s. In this way, the bipartisan Export Administration Regulations (EARs) to protect American national-security intellectual property from escaping from the Free World during the 1980s was also a very Whiggish accomplishment. (Of course, an 1841 book does not mention modern times such as these, but it does very much reveal Henry Clay's like-mindedness on analogous topics during the first half of the 19th century.) In short, Henry Clay's brand of politics could be summed up as: via coordinated private-public joint efforts, invest in America to build up American infrastructure, jobs, and economy to keep America at the top of its power game forever. Apparently neither of our current modern formulations of Democratic or Republican parties pursue that Whiggish vision as their utmost goal. These speeches of Henry Clay show us a valid third way of pro-nationalism that worked quite well to build America up internally in its rise to eventual superpower status.

The speeches of Henry Clay serve to remind us of what active patriotic American nationalism looks like in a favorable light from one of its luminary proponents. These speeches together define what it means to be an American Whig as the American revolutionaries during the 18th century referred to themselves (slightly reinterpreting what the older definition of Whig was on the British isles). Ultimately these speeches from Henry Clay, the most-potent leader of the 19th-century Whig Party, state in long form the definition of what Whig means in both the American & British senses:

a person who fights against tyrannical powers of all kinds via the care & feeding of a strong nation and of a strong people within that nation in wise & responsible self-control of their ever-improving destiny within this strong nation of their own formation. (And in the end these speeches in effect say: isn't that what every citizen of every nation in the world *should* be seeking?)


Programming in Ada 2005 with CD
Programming in Ada 2005 with CD
by J. G. P. Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $115.32
72 used & new from $64.52

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a strictly intermediate textbook, April 23, 2011
Excellent textbook whose main message could be summarized as: Ada2005 is not your father's Ada83. Or Ada83 corrected and done right. Or perhaps by unstated-by-Barnes implication: C++ and Java done right, assuming an Algol68/Pascal syntax instead of C syntax.

For all practical purposes, this textbook assumes that you already know a non-Ada2005 object-oriented imperative programming lanugage, and that you are interested in learning Ada as an additional OO imperative programming langugage beyond the ones that you already know, such as Ada83, Ada95, Java, C++, C#, Objective C, Python, or Smalltalk. (Conversely, this textbook rarely mentions non-Ada2005 programming languages other than Ada83 and Ada95.) Hence it is not for true beginners who do not already know basic imperative or OO concepts, because practically no introduction of or justification of such basics is provided. Although, regarding the readers for whom syntax and semantics that generally correspond to other OO imperative programming languages is their primary interest, they will be exhilarated by Barnes' illumination of the orthogonality, tunability, and flexibility that Ada's syntax permits to go from highly-efficient hardware device drivers up through quite-sophisticated abstractions & enforcements (including now, in Ada2012, declaration of Eiffel-style invariants, which of course are absent in this Ada2005 textbook) when compared to nearly any other programming language: OO or imperative or generic or pure-functional or otherwise.

Conversely, this textbook (and the reason that I deducted one star) provides very few details regarding how the Ada run-time checks operate and only partially covers how the Ada compile-time checks operate. When writing programs in Ada, one must not only be thinking of the syntax, but of a more-elaborate semantics than is present in nearly any other programming language, because few other programming languages attempt to perform mostly a priori as elaborate of a proof-by-mathematical-induction of the correctness of the lifetime of memory allocation as Ada does. 1) A priori design of strong- versus weak-links in otherwise a posteriori smart-pointer synchronous garbage destruction in C++, 2) Ada's largely a priori proof-construction mostly at compile time for the compiler or runtime to overtly/synchronously know when the end-of-life occurs, and 3) the various flavors of asynchronous automatic garbage collection (AGC) in many programming lanugages are 3 competing schools of thought, where it is largely C++ versus Ada versus the rest of the imperative-programming world, so it is no trivial matter in learning Ada. Multiple times in this textbook, Barnes touches on this memory-allocation end-of-life topic with an it-just-works attitude without enumerating all the nontrivial subtleties (as the LRM and AARM do) that can precipitate the situation where the Ada compiler can emit a vast variety of compile-time errors that inform the programmer that the code's malformedness or sloppiness a) blocks incremental formation of the mathematical proof and b) hence likely has at least one bug.

On this topic of determining memory allocations' end of life, I do sympathize with the reviewer who instructed us all in effect: go read the freely-available-for-download _Ada Reference Manual_ (LRM) or better yet the freely-available-for-download _Annotated Ada Reference Manual_ (AARM) and to a lesser degree the freely-available-for-download _Ada Rationale_ to learn about how this proof-by-mathematical-induction is constructed. Although even in those references, the information is highly scattered piecemeal. I hope that the author will add a lengthy chapter on this topic in the next edition, because it *definitely* needs more illumination (without a programmer needing to slog through the 1,220-page AARM to interpret all the subtle nuances) for a programmer to understand all the compile-time errors regarding why the program is being rejected due to the compiler's incremental formation of this mathematical proof followed by the runtime's enforcement a posteriori of what the compiler could not accomplish a priori.


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