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On Angular Momentum (Dover Books on Physics)
On Angular Momentum (Dover Books on Physics)
by Julian Schwinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99
32 used & new from $4.86

4.0 out of 5 stars very affordable, November 14, 2015
Excellent news for students of physics. Dover Press has published this reprint of Schwinger's classic work. Extremely affordable compared to current texts. Dover is renowned for the low cost of its imprints, though the downside is that its authors get niggardly royalties. Still given that Schwinger is safely dead, maybe his estate does not have an issue.

The most noticeable aspect is the paucity of figures. Newly written books now are much more richly endowed with diagrams, which are often in colour. Still, if you can accommodate this, you could be rewarded by learning from a giant of 20th century physics.

LUMINTOP TD16 High Power 1000 Lumens LED Tactical Flashlight With Holster, 6 Modes Cree XM-L2 U2 Brightest 1 Inch Waterproof Police Flashlight With Clip, 18650 Battery Side Switch Strobe Torch Light
LUMINTOP TD16 High Power 1000 Lumens LED Tactical Flashlight With Holster, 6 Modes Cree XM-L2 U2 Brightest 1 Inch Waterproof Police Flashlight With Clip, 18650 Battery Side Switch Strobe Torch Light
Offered by Lumintop Direct
Price: $118.98
2 used & new from $98.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well designed, November 14, 2015
The torch is well designed. The tactile ergonomics of the grip is appealing. You get a solid grip on it, which is crucial for many tasks. I did not test the drop protection claimed by the specifications but it is quite plausible. Another merit since torches are invariably dropped when often used.

The beam shines intensely. Luckily the choice of an LED light source means a far more efficient use of the battery. I suspect no new torches use the traditional bulbs, which lose too much power in heat.

The ability of the torch to remain working if dropped into shallow water is a bonus. For the times when you are trudging in the rain and tripping into pools of water. This was always a problem with old fashioned torches.

The documentation that accompanies the torch is nicely written in mostly correct English. Sadly, you sometimes do not see this with products from China. But for the Lumintop, the manufacturers were careful to attend to this. The instructions also come in Chinese (of course!), German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese. French and Portuguese. Whew! This is positioned for a global market.

One of the pamphlets is very slick. A bunch of photos of the torch "deployed" in outdoor contexts. Professionally photographed. It does have a clumsy English phrase - 'Choose a suitable own flashlight'. The 'own' is awkward.

Hell's Foundations Quiver (Safehold)
Hell's Foundations Quiver (Safehold)
by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.70
66 used & new from $11.29

4.0 out of 5 stars need maps from earlier books, November 2, 2015
You know the maps at the start of the book ? Weber puts these in every book, but the exact choice of maps varies. For this book, there is frequent mention of battles in places not in the book's maps. It seemed like an error at first. A little frustrating, because sometimes [often?] trying to follow the narrative of march and counter march purely from the text is awkward.

Then in a moment of pure cynicism I realised this was deliberate by Weber or the publisher. You can see the maps in the previous 2 books. I had to find earlier copies of those and open at their maps. Not bad! It is a subtle inducement for you to buy those if you don't already have them.

Oh, since we're talking about maps. It might help if the maps of the land and sea battles also showed the locations and movements of the units, like a conventional military history narrative. The maps of the Safehold books don't do this anywhere.

I also have to say in response to those complaining about the slow pace of events. This was already pointed out by reviewers of the 3rd book. If Weber had listened, the series would have ended long ago. I at least am content to go along with Weber at his pace. We get to see a very complete world, in all its flaws.

Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire
Slaves of One Master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire
by Matthew S. Hopper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $85.00
26 used & new from $66.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars globalisation leading to the use of slaves ?, October 21, 2015
Hopper gives a story of slavery that may well be unfamiliar to American readers who often conflate that slavery effectively ended with the US civil war. We see in the text that actual slavery was alive right into the 20th century in Arabia. There are accounts from the logs of Royal Navy captains tasked with intercepting slaver ships in the Indian Ocean. Mostly indeed a noble venture. But we see accounts of how sometimes the events were not so stark. A captain might compromise and not imprison the slavers or even free the slaves. Perhaps to accommodate local Arab mores in a gesture of pragmatism.

Some light hearted moments in the book touch upon how dates were marketed in the US. Grown and picked in Arabia by slaves and then shipped by sail. A touching case of globalisation if it were not from the slaves. Reminding us that globalisation may indeed have troubling aspects, as least a century or so ago.

This reminds me of another history book, written in the 50s, about an inventor of a way to harvest cotton more efficiently. The author remarked that the invention made economic another 2 generations of the Southern slavocracy [sic]. For both the slaves and the masters. The picked cotton was sold to British mills. A globalisation that predates the one in Hopper's text.

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel
Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.39
189 used & new from $9.41

4.0 out of 5 stars feed the body to the pigs on the next day, October 18, 2015
[Warning - plot spoilers.]

Ok, I have not read the other 3000 reviews posted. Did you? But of those I did read, none panned the striking implausibility that starts and ends the story. What is wrong with so many reviewers. Both those who liked it and those who did not. The story starts with the villains burying a victim under a pig lot. At the end, we are told by one villain that they got rid of their earlier victims by feeding them to the pigs. So why not the bloke at the start of the story? Because the pigs had already been fed that day.

Rubbish. All they had to do was keep the body another day and then give it to the pigs. Simpler and less work. Also safer. Because when they buried the body, if it was ever found that would be evidence against them. Whereas the pigs would eat the evidence, as they did for other corpses. Oh, and just in case you might think the body will have rotted so that the pigs won't eat it ... The pigs would readily do so. This is why pig was an insult in most languages. Pigs historically would eat all sorts of rotting food. A disgusting habit that led to their characterisation as an insult. And why Judaism and Islam banned the eating of pork.

A howler of a flaw in the book. What is it about Reacher fans? Do so many leave their logic outside?

This error by Child and the reviewers is interesting at a different level. It shows that the historical memory of pigs has simply been lost. Even if you keep a pig as a pet, and some do, likely you don't feed it long rotting food, interspersed perhaps with some horse and dog feces.

Child has made glaring mistakes like this before, all for dramatic effect. But still big mistakes. Another novel had a Latin American druglord go to the US, whereupon Reacher killed him. In reality, the druglord would never enter the US; the police and courts cannot be suborned, unlike where he lives. Another Reacher book started with crooks taking a victim from a warehouse in Los Angeles where they were holding him and killing him by dropping him off a helicopter in the desert. By the way, in my review of that book, some fool responded by saying they did this because if they killed him in LA, microphones deployed by the city would record the gunshots. Such flaws. The opening scene was in a warehouse. They could have simply shot him there, and then drove the body to the desert to be dumped.

Nuclear Reactor Design (An Advanced Course in Nuclear Engineering)
Nuclear Reactor Design (An Advanced Course in Nuclear Engineering)
by Yoshiaki Oka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $65.00
47 used & new from $65.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars detailed consideration of safety, September 27, 2015
The book starts from a basic undergraduate background in physics and engineering, in developing the design guidelines of recent years. It shows that there has been steady research and improvements in reactors. Something largely absent from the general news about reactors in the press. The narrative should be understandable to a graduate level coursework.

Much of the design centers on safety issues. Rather topical after the meltdowns in Japan a few years ago. How to safely and redundantly halt a functioning reactor under many possible emergency situations. The reader may want to read these sections of the text closely.

Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy Paperback February 8, 2015
Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy Paperback February 8, 2015
by Melanie Swan
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from $58.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars possible businesses, September 27, 2015
Underneath Bitcoin is the blockchain technology. We do not yet know if Bitcoin will ultimately be successful as currency. Is it the equivalent of Facebook or Myspace or Friendster? But more discerning people focus on the blockchain as the more likely prevailer. This book deliberately eschews much chatter on Bitcoin, to focus on the technology of the blockchain. Much is deep intricate math, but Swan successfully summarises those so that you do not need a degree in maths to follow along.

Instead, the book spends time discussing possible business uses. Speculative indeed. But with much still unformed, here is the merit of the book. Look especially at the discussions about financial tech [fintech] implications. Like how to transfer money more efficiently. Starts you pondering. Is there a business here for you ?

OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook - Third Edition
OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook - Third Edition
by Cody Bunch
Edition: Paperback
Price: $40.99
25 used & new from $40.99

4.0 out of 5 stars use as cookbook or textbook, September 26, 2015
The Foreword of the book takes us to the birthplace of the Web - CERN. Where in the late 80s, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first version http and HTML standards. Just as the data needs of that time spun out the Web, the continuing need for greater computing analysis motivated the use of OpenStack and the first version of this book. A very impressive pedigree for the text.

You can use the book either as a dive into a given recipe out of the 110 cited on the cover, or by reading it front to back. The latter is possible as the book is configured as a full text for the newcomer. The code snippets are extensive and seem clear. They explain the different roles in the cloud platform. Scattered throughout the book are actual screen captures of example input and output at the command line level.

Some of the potentially most complex parts are hidden, as they should be. The making and managing of key pairs for public key cryptography. From your perspective as a system administrator you can see from the text that the computational intricacies have been pushed below your explicit purview. See for example the section in the text on Nova and Compute, that deals with key pairs. None of the math bubbles up to your domain expertise.

One simplification present throughout OpenStack is the use of ssh. It avoids the typing of passwords. Good for you and the users. The book also favours Ubuntu for its linux environment. I am guessing that other variants of linux would largely also permit what the text describes for OpenStack.

Thrill Seekers
Thrill Seekers
DVD ~ Casper Van Dien
23 used & new from $3.43

4.0 out of 5 stars quaintly innocent hijacking, September 20, 2015
This review is from: Thrill Seekers (DVD)
A bit disturbing that some 15 years have passed since the movie was made. The computers in it now seem so dated. But more to the point, the movie came out months before the terrorist attacks of 2001. The early scene of the movie showing a time traveller with a gun in a plane, and the subsequent travails of the hero after he averts the crash inevitably to me evoke the real events of September 2001. Note that in the movie, when he is questioned by the police afterwards, there is no hint of terrorism.

A quaintness that seems so innocent in light of actual events a year later.

Why Australia Prospered: The Shifting Sources of Economic Growth (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
Why Australia Prospered: The Shifting Sources of Economic Growth (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
by Ian W. McLean
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $38.95
38 used & new from $22.00

4.0 out of 5 stars look back more than 24 years, September 14, 2015
A detailed but somewhat dry text on Australia's economic history. Tracing from the enforced convict labour of the early days to 2010. Few personalities enter into this narrative. Rather, the authors study why over the decades and 2 centuries, the standard of living rose to one of the best in the world. Exceeding in fact Britain's after world war 2.

Readers who are already aware that Australia has had 24 years of growth to date [2015] might want to peruse this text for a look further back. The resources of the continent are vast and by good luck Australia has largely had competent government. Largely avoiding the resource curse that caught countries like Brazil and Nigeria.

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