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STEPHEN PLETKO "Uncle Stevie" RSS Feed (London, Ontario, Canada)

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Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science
Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.06
92 used & new from $7.37

5.0 out of 5 stars The second half of the extraordinary, scientific life of Richard Dawkins (a k a Darwin's "Rottweiller"), February 6, 2016
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“Are we witnessing a constructive merger between scientific and literary cultures, perhaps [a] ‘third’ culture?...

I dare to hope that my books…are among those that changed the cultural landscape…I’d like to think that I might have been one of those who helped kick-start this ‘third culture.’

Unlike an “Appetite for Wonder” [published in 2013], this second volume of my autobiography is not simply chronological, not even a single flashback from my seventieth birthday. Rather, it is a series of flashbacks divided into themes, punctuated by digression and anecdote. Since we are dispensing with rigid chronology, the order of themes is somewhat arbitrary.”

The above comes from this amazing book by Richard Dawkins (born 1941). He was first catapulted to fame with his iconic book “The Selfish Gene,” which he followed with a string of bestsellers. Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the Recipient of numerous honours and awards (over thirty but I lost count). He retired from his position as Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 but remains a fellow of New College (a constituent college of Oxford in the U.K.)

As mentioned above, this is the second part of the autobiographical memoir by Richard Dawkins. The first part tells the first 35 years of his life until the publication of his first book in 1976.

In this second volume (and in my opinion the most interesting volume), he continues his autobiography until an academic party for and “on his seventieth birthday.” He explains his inspirations, ideas, encounters, and history.

He mentions some of his “heroes” such as Charles Darwin, Douglas Adams, Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Francis Crick, Daniel Dennett, and Bertrand Russell.

He develops subjects such as his scientific work (he is an evolutionary biologist and ethologist, the science of non-human behavior), travels, and conferences, his Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, his work as Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, his documentaries as well as his personal life and his books.

His documentaries include:

(#1) Nice guys finish first (1986) (#2) The Blind Watchmaker (1987) (#3) Growing up in the Universe (1991) (#4) Break the science barrier (1996)

(#5) The big question: Why are we here? (2005) (#6) The root of evil? (2006) (#7) The enemies of reason (2007) (#8) The genius of Charles Darwin (2008) (#9) The purpose of purpose (2009)

(#10) Faith School Menace? (2010) (#11) Beautiful minds (2012) (#12) Sex, death, and the meaning of life (2012) (#13) The Unbelievers (2013)

His bestselling books include:

(#1) “The Selfish Gene” (1976) (#2) The Extended Phenotype” (1982) (#3) “The Blind Watchmaker” (1986) (#4) ”River out of Eden” (1995) (#5) “Climbing Mount Improbable” (1996) (#6) “Unweaving the Rainbow” (1998)

(#7) “A Devil’s Chaplin” (2003) (#8) “The Ancestor’s Tale” (2004) (#9) the BLOCKBUSTER “The God Delusion” (2006) (#10) “The Greatest Show on Earth” (2008)

(#11)“The Magic of Reality” (2011) (#12) “An Appetite for Wonder” (2013).

This book, though in autobiographical format, is really about the intersection of culture, religion, and science as well as the merger of scientific and literary fields known as “The Third Culture.”

This book is extremely well-written. I’m not surprised since Dawkins has won many literary awards including the “Shakespeare Prize” (2005). It is witty, self-deprecating, sometimes funny but always interesting. As well, it oozes with scientific insight. (Again, not surprising since he established “The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science”). And yes, there is talk on religion. (In fact, with the publication of his 2006 blockbuster, Dawkins was rocketed into a circle of thinkers dubbed “The Four Horsemen.”)

Finally, there are three sets of glossy colour photographs. Each set contains about thirty pictures. All of these add immensely to the main narrative.

In conclusion, all readers of this autobiography will be given the opportunity to eavesdrop on the workings of an extraordinary and beautiful scientific mind, one that is intellectually fierce but belonging to a person who is generous and modest!!!

(First published 2015; 13 chapters; main narrative 440 pages; acknowledgements; picture acknowledgements; index; about the author)

*/*Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada*/*

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GLL LED Reading Lamp for Bedroom, Dimmable Eye-Care Desk Lamp,3 Level Dimmer Brightness Table Light, Sensitive Touch Switch Control, Daylight White Lamp, Aluminum Alloy Finish, 3W Led Bulbs
GLL LED Reading Lamp for Bedroom, Dimmable Eye-Care Desk Lamp,3 Level Dimmer Brightness Table Light, Sensitive Touch Switch Control, Daylight White Lamp, Aluminum Alloy Finish, 3W Led Bulbs
Offered by GLL Direct
Price: $48.99
2 used & new from $26.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A stylish LED desk lamp that is sure to impress, January 30, 2016
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“[1] Special touch switch, 3-level touch [brightness]
[2] Protects eyes [from straining], natural and non-flickering light
[3] Ultra-thin lamp [that’s]…elegant-looking
[4] Lightweight, space-saving, environmentally-friendly, easy to handle
[5] Wide application [of uses:] desktop lamp, laptop lamp, reading lamp, [etc.]
[6] Ideal…for students, office workers, etc.”

The above features are what you will find on the website associated with the manufacturer of this stylish light-emitting diode (LED) desk lamp distributed by GLL Direct.

The contents of the unmarked box I received was as follows:

(1) Desk lamp
(2) Adapter (attached to one end of a cord with a plug-in at the other end)
(3) User Manual or “Instruction Manual” (one page)

I was impressed by the lamp’s design (pictured above by Amazon). It appears to be one piece consisting of three components:

(1) Lamp base (which has a touch switch to adjust brightness)
(2) Lamp arm (that is curved solid and appears not to be adjustable or bendable)
(3) Lamp head (where the LEDs are located)

I was also amazed by this lamp’s stability considering that is so light in weight and has a small base.

This lamp is quite easy to set-up and operate. (This is good considering that the operating instructions are not the greatest.)

All you do is short press to switch to turn it on. A green indicator light also comes on. Short press the switch again to give more brightness and press again to give yet even more brightness. Pressing the switch again will cause the light to dim. Press the switch again when the desired dimness is obtained.

Long press the switch to turn the lamp off. A blinking (each blink lasts a second) red indicator light comes on and the lamp shuts off after 10 blinks/seconds. Note that there is no indicator light when the lamp is completely shut off thus making this lamp ideal for a bedside table.

I found the user manual to be incomplete. For example, we’re not told how long the LEDs last and there is no way to find out since no Internet addresses or phone numbers are provided. I found out that GLL Direct does give you the opportunity to ask questions through the Amazon website (this is not mentioned in the user manual) but I chose to go to the website associated with the manufacturer (mentioned above) which I found after an extensive search.

The longevity of the LEDs for this lamp turns out to be >30,000 hours. Doing the math, this turns out to be about 3.5 years. This means that this lamp could be on 24 hours per day for 3.5 years before the LEDs stop working. This also means that this lamp could be used, on average, for 6 hours per day for 14 years before the LEDs stop working!!

The user manual tells us not to take apart or modify this lamp or the product warranty will be voided. How long is the warranty? We’re not told. I had to go to the above website to find this important information.

Finally, I should explain my final rating. This lamp has many good features as indicated above. I give the lamp itself a rating of 5 stars. However, I was not impressed with the user manual for the reasons I gave above. I give the user manual a rating of 3 stars. My final rating is the average of these two separate ratings.

In conclusion, this stylish lamp should provide you with solid performance for many years!!!

Special note: I was fortunate enough to obtain this lamp at a significant discount which strongly motivated me to create this honest review of it.

(LED longevity: >30,000 hours (lamp can be used for 14 years for 6 hours per day); Number of LEDs in lamp head: 6; (W X L X H): (3” X 7” X 13”) ; CORD LENGTH: 70”; Weight: 10 ounces; Colours available: silver and black; Model: #PLD 388; WARRANTY: 1 year; WEBSITE: aliexpress dot com; Made in China)

<< Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Do Guns Make Us Free?: Democracy and the Armed Society
Do Guns Make Us Free?: Democracy and the Armed Society
by Firmin DeBrabander
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.18
54 used & new from $10.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Deadly illusion: (guns = freedom), January 23, 2016
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“We thought [the] Sandy Hook [shooting massacre of children] would change things…

I will argue that the armed society…is no longer recognizably free. Guns are not the condition of freedom at all, but the opposite. They may turn out to be compatible with liberty, but at a certain point, as they proliferate and dominate the public sphere, they chase our civil rights and freedoms away…

I will appraise the arguments put forth by the [U.S.] gun rights movement, rebut them in turn, and demonstrate their political and social implications…

I will not propose specific gun control regulations. I am not a policy expert but a philosopher, and I will evaluate our gun culture from that perspective.

My aim is to highlight the contradictions inherent in the gun rights movement, and its opposition to our democratic aspirations.”

The above comes from this extremely well-written and well-researched book by Firmin DeBrabander. He is an associate professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). DeBrabander has written social and political commentary for numerous publications such as the “New York Times” and “Counterpunch.”

At the heart of debate over gun rights is the ambiguous wording of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This ambiguity leads to the following question:

Did the Founding Fathers have in mind a collective right to bear arms, or an individual right?

It is from here that that the debate between gun control activists and gun rights activists (headed by the National Rifle Association, NRA) begins.

DeBrabrander meticulously examines the claims offered in support of unchecked individual gun ownership. By exposing the contradictions and misinterpretations in the case presented by gun rights activists, he convincingly demonstrates that an armed society cannot be a free society, and is, in fact, one that hinders democracy and thus free expression.

The author sometimes meanders to other related topics (such as violence and war). Personally this did not bother me but some readers may find this somewhat irritating.

Finally, DeBrabander’s examination of this issue is well-supported with many reliable sources.

In conclusion, this book is a must-read for all people who hope we will never see another Sandy Hook massacre (but sadly know that we likely will).

(Note that this review was written one day after a major shooting in Canada where four people were murdered. The victim’s ages were 13, 17, 21, and 35. The shooter was 17.)

(First published 2015; preface; acknowledgements; 5 chapters; main narrative 235 pages; notes; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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God Delusions
God Delusions
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
28 used & new from $7.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A THEOLOGIAN'S NIGHTMARE, January 15, 2016
This review is from: God Delusions (Hardcover)
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"It is in the light of the unparalleled presumption of respect for religion that I make my own disclaimer for this book. I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently that I would handle anything else."

The above is found in the first chapter's last paragraph of scientist Professor Richard Dawkins amazing, easy to read book. Throughout this book (contrary to what other reviewer's state) what Dawkins does is delve into some aspect of religion's past (mainly Christianity), analyze what is said, and then he comes to a rational and reasoned conclusion.

To give the potential reader a "feel" for the book, I shall give the title of each chapter (in upper case) and an actual thought-provoking statement from each chapter:

(1) A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS NON-BELIEVER. "I [that is, Dawkins] am intrigued and mystified by the disproportionate privileging of religion in our otherwise secular societies."

(2) THE GOD HYPOTHESIS. "I have yet to see any good reason to suppose that theology (as opposed to biblical history, literature, etc.) is a subject at all."

(3) ARGUMENTS FOR GOD'S EXISTENCE. "The higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold `beliefs' of any kind."

(4) WHY THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY IS NO GOD. "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding...If you don't understand how something works, never mind: just give up and say God did it."

(5) THE ROOTS OF RELIGION. "We observe large numbers of people...who hold beliefs that flatly contradict demonstrable scientific facts."

(6) THE ROOTS OF MORALITY: WHY ARE WE GOOD? "Research evidence...certainly doesn't support the common view that religiosity is positively correlated with morality."

(7) THE `GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST [spirit of the times]. "Religious wars really are fought in the name of religion, and they have been horribly frequent in history. I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism."

(8) WHAT'S WRONG WITH RELIGION? WHY BE SO HOSTILE? "As a scientist, I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect."

(9) CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION. "Priestly abuse of children is nowadays taken to mean sexual abuse...The Catholic Church worldwide has paid out more than a billion dollars in compensation."

(10) A MUCH NEEDED GAP? [that is, does religion fill a much needed gap?] "The atheist view is correspondingly life-affirming and life-enhancing, while at the same time never being tainted with self-delusion, wishful thinking, or the...self-pity of those who feel that life owes them something."

What makes this book especially easy to read is that each chapter is divided into sections. Here are the sections for chapter three:

(1) Thomas Aquinas' `proofs' (2) the ontological argument and other a priori arguments (3) the argument from beauty (4) the argument from personal `experience' (5) the argument from scripture (6) the argument from admired religious scientists (7) Pascal's wager (8) Bayesian arguments.

This book is filled with historical quotations from prominent people. One of my favorites is by philosopher and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell (1872 to 1970):

"The immense majority of intellectually eminent [people] disbelieve in Christian religion, but they conceal the fact in public, because they are afraid of losing their incomes."

There are two things in this book that really stood out for me:

(1) Dawkins includes a section on hate mail sent not only to him but to others who value reason and rationality. I couldn't believe the gruesome content of these letters. All these letters were sent by believers in God.

(2) Dawkins describes the people still being ruthlessly killed in the name of religion. And this is the twenty-first century!!

The only problem with this book is that it is long. Personally, this did not bother me. However, the people who should read it in its entirety will probably not read it from cover to cover because of its length. This is truly a pity.

In conclusion, this book in a nutshell delves into supernatural religion and contrasts it with the reason and rationality of science. I leave you with another of my favorite quotations found in this book by comedian George Carlin:

"Religion has actually convinced [many] people that there's an invisible man--living in the sky--who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever `til the end of time...But He loves you!"

(first published 2006; 10 chapters; main narrative 375 pages; appendix; books cited; notes; index)

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Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change
Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change
by Seamus McGraw
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.95
35 used & new from $15.86

5.0 out of 5 stars What the ordinary person thinks of and how they cope with climate change, January 10, 2016
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“It may well be that there never will be a magic bullet, no single solution or package of solutions that will successfully fend off the worst effects of rising seas and harsh droughts. Sure, we can slow the process if we have the will to:

(1) Reduce our consumption of coal and oil
(2) Wean ourselves off natural gas over the next few decades
(3) Limit the environmental impact of biofuels, and
(4) Expand our array of renewable power sources.

Maybe we can cut our consumption and buttress our infrastructure a little bit at a time. But it may well be that we’ve loaded the skies with enough poison that the best we can hope for is to manage the problem, at least for the foreseeable future, and maybe find a way to tough it out.”

The above comes from this extremely informative and well-written book by Seamus McGraw. He is a journalist who has written on the dangers of hydraulic fracking. McGraw’s other writing has appeared in major publications such as the “New York Times” and the “Huffington Post.”

Most people are aware that climate change is one of most polarizing issues of our modern times. This book mentions these extremists of each pole (from politicians, policymakers, scientists, and academics) but is also aware of the large number of ordinary people between these two poles (like farmers, ranchers, and fishermen), those dealing with stronger storms and more intense droughts than they’ve ever seen before. It is this middle ground that is the focus of this book.

This book lays out the science of climate change but also delves into the human stories of people fighting both the climate and their own beliefs to find solutions to the many environmental problems that they face.

The result is a book that effectively brings all these voices together (from scientists to fishermen) and becomes a model of how we might have a reasoned, pragmatic conversation about our changing climate.

Interesting facts also permeate this book. For example, “[Recent] daily readings [show] show that we [have] reached a carbon level of 400 parts per million [ideally, it should be roughly half this] and that we [have] reached it far faster than most scientists had expected.”

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that there is a chapter on religion. I found this out of place in a book like this. Fortunately, this chapter is short and does not affect the rest of the main narrative.

In conclusion, this book brings some sense to the charged issue of climate change!!

(First published 2015; 12 chapters; main narrative 160 pages; acknowledgements; notes; bibliography; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Frontline: Gunned Down
Frontline: Gunned Down
DVD ~ .
Price: $16.79
16 used & new from $13.43

5.0 out of 5 stars "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", January 3, 2016
This review is from: Frontline: Gunned Down (DVD)
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“The gun is a symbol of freedom, the only thing that keeps the government from taking over. It really has nothing to do with guns; it has to do with freedom. Do you give your freedom to the government or do you keep it within yourself, within your community, within your family? And that’s the appeal.”

The above comes from a former National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesman and is found in this powerful and informative documentary. There is a message right at the beginning that this documentary that states that it “may not be suitable for all audiences” and thus “viewer discretion is advised.”

This documentary was televised on January 6, 2015. It is an episode of “Frontline.” Frontline is a public affairs television program that produces and broadcasts in-depth documentaries about various subjects. It has been critically acclaimed and has received numerous awards. Since its inception, there have been almost 600 films broadcast.

The reason I obtained this particular documentary is that I read the negative reviews of it on this site. Thus, I knew it had to be good. And sure enough, it was good…very good!!

Quite simply, this film reveals the history of how the NRA came to dominate the U.S. gun debate. The viewer gets to follow the NRA’s political evolution (through archival footage) and see how it consistently succeeded in defeating new gun control legislation. The facts presented in this film are astounding. (One fact that I found fascinating was that the NRA was once a safety organization.)

This documentary draws on brief interviews with leading voices on both sides of the gun regulation debate. We get to sit down with Congressional leaders, present & former White House officials, Vice-president Joe Biden and, gun-rights & gun-control advocates. Featured are firsthand accounts from eye-witnesses and from family members of mass shooting victims.

Some of the more “famous” shootings presented in this film are:

(1) At an outdoor shopping center where Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot
(2) The Columbine massacre
(3) Assassinations of the 1960s: JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King
(4) The shootings of former President Ronald Reagan and his press secretary James Brady
(5) The Sandy Hook School massacre where seven and eight year olds were gunned down

Finally, the title of this review is a quotation from one of the NRA’s top leaders that was made right after the Sandy Hook massacre of children.

In conclusion, this is astounding and disturbing documentary which presents a history of the National Rifle Association and brings you up-to-date on mass killings from guns.

(2015; 53 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 6 chapters; PBS)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Gamer
Gamer
DVD ~ Gerard Butler
Price: $4.99
186 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars You want ACTION...you got ACTION, December 26, 2015
This review is from: Gamer (DVD)
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A person talking with a slayer:

Person: “Who aims? The player or the slayer?”
Slayer: “I’m the hand. Someone, somewhere else is the eye.”

The above dialogue comes from this sci-fi action film and pretty well sums up what this movie is about.

This movie takes video gaming to the extreme and makes you wonder if there are any boundaries to what humans will do to amuse themselves.

Briefly, in a near-future multiplayer video game called “Slayers”, death-row convicts are forced to do battle. Convict Kable (Gerard Butler), the highest-ranked warrior of this game and controlled by Simon (Logan Lerman), a skilled teenage gamer, must survive thirty gaming sessions in order to be set free. Will he do it?

Ken Castle (played over-the-top by Michael C. Hall), creator of not only “Slayers” but also “Society,” is the main antagonist in this movie.

This movie is definitely not for everyone. Yes, it has lots of action (almost non-stop) and special effects that held my attention but also contains excessive amounts of sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, as well as frightening, intense scenes. Be forewarned!

I liked the background music found in this movie.

Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2009) has four extras.

In conclusion, this movie is not for everyone but adrenaline-junkies will certainly appreciate it. After watching this movie, you may ask yourself:

“Who’s playing who?”

(2009; 1 hr, 25 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 24 scenes; rated ‘R’)

*** 1/2

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War
Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War
by Brandon R. Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.36
59 used & new from $15.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The true story of the father of QUANTUM THEORY, December 19, 2015
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“Humbly, I now try to tell some of Max Plank’s [1858 to 1947] rich story. I admit from the start that I can’t approach his life as a science historian, but I come to Planck as a physicist long fascinated by his breakthrough and haunted by [his] sad eyes [that appear in many pictures of Planck in his later years].

I have for many years wanted to know who he was, what shaped him, and how we might best understand his circumstances…

What follows are my best attempts to discover this German [theoretical] physicist and share the results not just with scientists, but with any interested reader, since we are bathed one and all, from every direction, in the glow of his law [known as Planck’s law of black body radiation where a blackbody is an object which absorbs all heat radiation that falls on it.]”

The above comes from the preface of this superbly written and researched book by Brandon Brown. He is a Professor of Physics at the University of San Francisco. His writing for the general audience has appeared in many publications such as “New Scientist” and the “Huffington Post.”

(Planck actually made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as the originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes. A quantum is a discrete energy package. He is also known for Planck’s constant.)

I should emphasize that this is not a physics book. Yes, some of Planck’s important scientific theory is presented (and quite well at that) but along with the science we are exposed to history (World War One and Two), politics, colleagues & friendships (especially with Albert Einstein), and family life.

The result is a multi-dimensional book that creates a rich portrait of a brilliant physicist working in a dangerous time. This book effectively shows how war-torn Germany and personal tragedy deeply affected Planck’s life and work.

The main narrative is not presented as a linear biography but instead each chapter is in the form of digressions. For those that feel uncomfortable with this, there is a “Max Planck Timeline” at the beginning of the book.

Peppered throughout are over twenty black and white pictures. As well, there are two important graphs and one map.

The book’s cover (shown above by Amazon) is a profile of Planck, aged 21.

Finally, there is an appendix entitled “A Modern Look at the Thermal Radiation Spectrum.” It provides a more modern understanding of the underlying physics of black body or thermal radiation. This appendix is a bit more technical than the main narrative.

In conclusion, if you did not know much about Max Planck whose work was described by Einstein as “the basis of all twentieth-century physics,” then I guarantee you’ll know much more about him after reading this book!!

(First published 2015; preface; acknowledgements; Timeline; 16 chapters; coda; main narrative 210 pages; appendix; notes; bibliography; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Widescreen Edition)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Tim Curry
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $10.34
74 used & new from $1.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., December 13, 2015
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“Michael Rennie was ill, the day the Earth stood still, but he told us, where we stand,
And Flash Gordon was there, in silver underwear,
Claude Rains was the Invisible Man,
Then something went wrong, for Fay Wray and King Kong, they got caught in a celluloid jam,
Then at a deadly pace, it came from outer space,
And this is how the message ran:
Science fiction, double feature.”

The above comes from the opening (sung by disembodied oversized female lips with a male voice) of this completely different musical comedy horror film that’s a satirical tribute to science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through to the early 1970s.

It is based on the 1973 musical stage production, “The Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O’Brien (who acts in this movie as the character Riff Raff).

The story centers on a young engaged couple Janet & Brad (Susan Sarandon & Barry Bostwick) whose car breaks down near a castle called the “Frankenstein Place” where they seek a telephone (no cell phones at this time) to call for help. The castle is occupied by Strangers (notice the capital “S”) in elaborate costumes celebrating the “Annual Transylvanian Convention.”

They discover that the head of the castle is a Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), an apparent mad scientist who is a transvestite. (Yes, that’s right, a transvestite mad scientist.) Dr. Furter hails from (you guessed it) Transsexual, Transylvania. (Well, maybe you never guessed it.)

The singer Meatloaf has a small part in this movie as Eddie.

A criminologist (Charles Gray) narrates the story.

The twenty songs found in this movie are quite good and catchy. And Susan Sarandon sings!

When this film was first released, it was largely critically panned. But thanks to “midnight movies,” this movie now has a large international cult following. (Critics might like to know that this movie has earned almost one hundred times its original budget!!)

Not surprisingly, this movie was selected for preservation on the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress on 2005.

Finally, the DVD itself (the fortieth anniversary edition released in 2015) has six extras. One of the extras gives you a choice between the U.S. or U.K. version of this movie. The movie on this disc has been digitally remastered meaning that there are no blemishs or artifacts.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to view something completely different, this is the movie to get!! And what’s the lesson learned from this movie? One possible lesson is:

“It’s not easy having a good time.”

(1975; 1 hr, 35 min excluding end credits; wide screen, 35 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Rocky Horror Picture Show
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Offered by HARVEST MOUSE, LLC
Price: $24.95
7 used & new from $24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., December 13, 2015
This review is from: Rocky Horror Picture Show (DVD)
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“Michael Rennie was ill, the day the Earth stood still, but he told us, where we stand,
And Flash Gordon was there, in silver underwear,
Claude Rains was the Invisible Man,
Then something went wrong, for Fay Wray and King Kong, they got caught in a celluloid jam,
Then at a deadly pace, it came from outer space,
And this is how the message ran:
Science fiction, double feature.”

The above comes from the opening (sung by disembodied oversized female lips with a male voice) of this completely different musical comedy horror film that’s a satirical tribute to science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through to the early 1970s.

It is based on the 1973 musical stage production, “The Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O’Brien (who acts in this movie as the character Riff Raff).

The story centers on a young engaged couple Janet & Brad (Susan Sarandon & Barry Bostwick) whose car breaks down near a castle called the “Frankenstein Place” where they seek a telephone (no cell phones at this time) to call for help. The castle is occupied by Strangers (notice the capital “S”) in elaborate costumes celebrating the “Annual Transylvanian Convention.”

They discover that the head of the castle is a Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), an apparent mad scientist who is a transvestite. (Yes, that’s right, a transvestite mad scientist.) Dr. Furter hails from (you guessed it) Transsexual, Transylvania. (Well, maybe you never guessed it.)

The singer Meatloaf has a small part in this movie as Eddie.

A criminologist (Charles Gray) narrates the story.

The twenty songs found in this movie are quite good and catchy. And Susan Sarandon sings!

When this film was first released, it was largely critically panned. But thanks to “midnight movies,” this movie now has a large international cult following. (Critics might like to know that this movie has earned almost one hundred times its original budget!!)

Not surprisingly, this movie was selected for preservation on the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress on 2005.

Finally, the DVD itself (the fortieth anniversary edition released in 2015) has six extras. One of the extras gives you a choice between the U.S. or U.K. version of this movie. The movie on this disc has been digitally remastered meaning that there are no blemishs or artifacts.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to view something completely different, this is the movie to get!! And what’s the lesson learned from this movie? One possible lesson is:

“It’s not easy having a good time.”

(1975; 1 hr, 35 min excluding end credits; wide screen, 35 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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