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EQL885328 - Zero Calorie Sweetener
EQL885328 - Zero Calorie Sweetener
Offered by LifeStyle Limits
Price: $12.75
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, June 13, 2016
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I have a fried who really needs these articulate sweeteners and in mass quantities. This does the job.


Texts from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan...and Isn't Afraid to Use It
Texts from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan...and Isn't Afraid to Use It
Offered by Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
Price: $8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Cats Strike Back, June 13, 2015
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A cute conceit nicely developed. Many of the exchanges not only are funny, thoughtful even, but are in a way believable and informative if you will. I look forward to future editions of this book.


ROBERT HEINLEINS CITIZENS OF THE GALAXY #1 (OF 3)
ROBERT HEINLEINS CITIZENS OF THE GALAXY #1 (OF 3)
4 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A graphic novel very close to the book., April 16, 2015
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Much better than I expected. It truly captured the spirtit of the book, which I have read several times. Can't wait for the next one.


Galactic Derelict
Galactic Derelict
by Andre Norton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
26 used & new from $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 10, 2014
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Everything went fine, arrived on time, quality as expected.


John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood
John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood
Price: $3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best movie about Hollywood since Final Cut, January 16, 2014
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There are still annoying typoes but overall this is a profoundly moving book about a movie that was abandoned, allowed to fail, and has since achieved both resurrection and redemption. After initial skepticism, I too came to love john Carter the movie and perhaps the strongest aspect of the book is the degree the author captures that love of the fans, including himself, to enable the reader to truly
feel the tragedy of what happened. it's a heck of a story very well told.


Scale Relativity And Fractal Space-Time: A New Approach to Unifying Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
Scale Relativity And Fractal Space-Time: A New Approach to Unifying Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
by Laurent Nottale
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $182.00
37 used & new from $122.09

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new approach to unifying relativity and quantum mechanics, March 4, 2012
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This is a book of majesty and genius. What it does is enable the reader to see the whole range of the cosmos from the atom to the universe in a coherent way. With his theory, Dr. Nottale has accomplished something truly great. Even if his vision is ultimately deemed a failure, one has to regard the attempt as a magnificent success.

I'm on my second (slower) reading of the book so what is this book about? At root it's a program to unify biology and physics (and you thought Einstein was ambitious!) It's difficult to imagine a more challenging goal (one Nottale himself thinks it will take centuries to complete.) The central question is understanding morphogenesis, i.e. how order comes about, how structure is formed resulting in things, assemblies (e.g. galactic clusters), organisms; how form comes into being and evolves. Studying the scale of these phenomena at each level of their existence marks the beginning of a far deeper science than what we have had before. One might label it Generalized Quantum Mechanics.

Scale is the key. We've all noticed the similarities in nature at various levels: e.g. an overhead picture of a hurricane vs. a spiral galaxy. It's clear that at some point Nottale encountered Mandlebrot's seminal work, Fractals: Form, Chance, and Dimension (1977) (Nottale would have been 25 at the time) and a revelation occurred. Fractals, of course, are quite familiar now. They reside in the realm of continuous, non-differentiable functions, so bizarre that mathematicians once referred to them as "monsters." But familiarity can breed fondness and Nottale concluded that if physics could be extended into that realm, one far larger than the domain of differentiable functions -- specifically second-order differential equations which have been the mainstay of physics since Newton -- fractals would be in their natural home. And far more could be done with the problems of structure, shape, and form. The fit seemed to be natural, though the mathematics more difficult. Scale and its relativization (keep in mind there are no absolute scales) could be studied in their natural home.

What Nottale discovered, after the mathematical preliminaries were in place and explaining them takes up a good third of the book, was that generalized Schrodinger equations are the key tool in understanding the emergence of structure. They are the engines of order, call it "negentropy." Each of the levels/scales from the atom up (at jumps of 10 to the 4th - 5th power) yields schrodinger-type analyses and associated equations. In other words, physics beyond micro-physics -- the Quantum domain -- is recast into something kind of like QM, but with striking differences. The good news is that the strange behaviors of quantum mechanics (the woo-woo stuff that has so cluttered our thinking regarding a consistent interpretation of QM) would not for the most part be carried over into these new and extended domains, though there would still be quantization. The better news is that new phenomena would be predicted, new aspects of nature would be revealed (e.g. Helium II).

This is perhaps most strikingly illustrated in Nottale's work on the solar system(s) where he shows that this macro-system is, unlike the atom, quantized by velocity. The new velocity quantum-unit is 144.7 kilometers/second which appears to be a new universal constant. Orbits are either in some integer multiple or integer fraction of this value. He is then able to derive the spread of possible planetary orbits -- given the size of the central sun. And as noted this is for all solar systems. Building upon observational work that has only been possible in the past 20 years, he has been able to confirm these predictions.

It's not that all these ideas are new nor that Nottale is some sort of solitary genius working alone. Some of the ideas, like applying the Schrodinger equation to the solar system, go back to the 1920's. [They weren't successful.]

Not meaning to detract from his collaborators, but I think it can be said fairly that Nottale is the goto guy in these explorations. Please understand that other people are working in the program as well (for example, a few years back the Schrodinger equation was applied to the problem of rogue waves). But what is crucial is that these these type of problems are being addressed as part of a scientific research program, one that begins with the underlying fractal geometry (about which there remain many outstanding questions) and builds through each successive level/scale, extending and applying the scale relativity physics.

The book ultimately extends these scale relationships from galactic clusters to the structure of flowers, the beginnings of a true science of biology. Unfortunately, the life sciences section in the book comes across as rushed.

Note: Since Scale Relativity and Fractal Space-Time (2011) is essentially an overview of his work, my hope is that he and his colleagues cover much more regarding the morphogenesis of life in Schrodinger`s Flowers (Des fleurs pour Schrödinger: La relativité d'échelle et ses applications - 2009). That book, however, has not been translated into English. [Why?]

Scale Relativity and Fractal Space-Time is not an easy read, yet if you aced Advanced Calculus, you can keep up with it. Even if you find yourself struggling, you should still be able to see and appreciate much that is new.

Whatever your feelings regarding the math, it is my hope that people will be drawn to the sheer wonder of this book. That they will find not only the beauty of Nottale's grand vision, but the thrill of seeing things in a radically different way. To see the solar system or a flower as an extended quantum system is nothing short of astounding. I urge everyone who is interested in the beauty and mystery of the world to invest time in this book. Granted, it will take more than one reading to absorb it's many details, but there is so much to awe and inspire that I am confident the dedicated reader will be richly rewarded.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2012 6:25 PM PDT


Sucker Punch: The Art of the Film by Zack Snyder
Sucker Punch: The Art of the Film by Zack Snyder
by Zack Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.76
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bargain at any price, May 30, 2011
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Since I love the movie, I knew I had to get the art book. The many glowing reviews of the book only confirmed that it would indeed be something special. So I waited and searched and was finally able to get the thing at the relatively modest price of $110. Having done so I can say that it was worth it. If you love the movie Sucker Punch, if you love movies, if you love the process of how movies are made, this book is for you. I can't recommend it enough.

So what caused the price to be so high? These things happen. I believe demand for the book simply out-stripped supply and so the original cost of ~ 35.00 soon tripled. This is one of those movies that if you love it, you will love it a lot. So while the high price is regrettable and I do that the book is reprinted, perhaps in time for the DVD/blu-ray release in late June, if you can scrape together the funds or add one more item to the credit card, it is worth it. There is so much talent and beauty on every page, don't miss it.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2011 7:14 AM PDT


Sucker Punch [Blu-ray]
Sucker Punch [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Emily Browning
Offered by Mediaflix
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Angles, Pretty Warriors, and the Theater of the Mind, April 10, 2011
This review is from: Sucker Punch [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I initially had little interest in "Sucker Punch." I had seen the preview but it was not compelling. Yet the negative reviews were so many and so hateful, and the positive reviews were so few but equally passionate, I became curious, if worried. I actually sat where I could make a quick getaway as soon as I could no longer take it. This was a movie I was prepared to dislike. Instead, I fell in love with it.

It all began with Ken Kelsey and his unhappiness over how the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" turned out. I greatly admired Kesey's the book and was excited about the prospect of a movie. Unfortunately, the producers took the easy way out. Instead of doing it from the POV of Chief Broom and his mental issues (paranoid schizophrenia, likely), including the hallucinatory and occasional unpleasant imagery, the decision was made to tell the story objectively, using Randall Patrick Mcmurphy as the central figure. Telling it from the POV of Chief Broom must of smacked of trip movies and the like and nobody wanted to do that. It sounded far too risky a box-office proposition.

I was left hoping that there were people here and there in Hollywood who wanted to do the story like the author intended. That is, tell the story of a tragic rescuer from the POV of Chief Broom himself.

I have no idea whether any of these thoughts of achieving the vision of Kesey's novel ever coursed through the mind of writer/director Zack Snyder when he was writing "Sucker Punch." From what I have read he mostly wanted to assemble something along the lines of a framing device that would enhance and give ironic detachment, or some such thing, to this tale (tragic in its own right) of female empowerment. The Battle Angels/Pretty Warriors so standard in Anime would have been a tempting symbolic choice. Much of the story requires fantasy, this being a tale set in a mental institution. The main character "Baby Doll" would of course use the wildest fantasies she could summon to sustain her.

It's all in the mind, after all, the "threater" of consciousness (or of war or of movies -- "theater" works in all three contexts). Nevertheless, Snyder's choice of setting and show wouldn't work for most (surely test audiences would have reported their dissatisfaction). In fact, as near as I can determine, about 1/6 of the potential audience hated even the idea of the movie. But whatever his reasoning, once the decision was made he did not hold back. [Not that he is the kind of guy to hold back in any event, as viewers of "300" and "The Watchmen" well know.] It was a daring move. The relentless imagery of male monsters dominating a prison/nightclub/brothel of helpless females could easily have succumbed to parody. What fascinated me, as I watched the film, is how able Snyder was to keep it all under control and only tearing loose during the fantasy sequences.

But do the fantasies work? They are the visual core of the movie and Baby Doll is not a paranoid schizophrenic. Her fantasies would be nothing like those of Chief Broom. The issue is not if the fantasy sequences should have been cut or reduced in scope for enhance audience acceptance. The issue is: do they work given the character of Baby Doll and her situation?

They do. They are plausible. Anyone caught unjustly in such a situation (young male or young female) would have violent fantasies of fighting back. If not against the immediate obviously enemy, impossible in this instance, than any enemy that suits the psychological purposes of the terrified. The more oppressive the external situation, the more extreme the internal response would be. Having gone to the lengths to portray the girl's environment as horrible as he did, he must have felt equally compelled to show how under the leadership of Baby Doll that the girls would fight back against imaginary monsters every bit as intensely as real ones. And from that ongoing fight draw strength to keep fighting.

Though female empowerment, violent or otherwise, is a fairly common theme in hollywood, Snyder cranks up the volume to a pitch that is almost unbearable (I mean that literally -- as an experiment I saw the film in one of the "I-Max" theaters and almost had to keep my fingers in my ears throughout). But he succeeds thereby in keeping the girl-power theme and characters from becoming cliche.

The chosen psychological symbolism won me over completely, I went with it without regret. In addition to the Anime stylization, beautifully done, the figure of the "Wise Man" is crucial. He is the Jungian animus for Baby Doll (who is the Jungian anima for another of the captive girls, Sweet Pea). The "Wise Man" (wonderfully played by Scott Glenn) centers the fantasy sequences. His appearance at the end of the film also enables the perfect emotional release.

"Sucker Punch" is a masterpiece and as such a demanding one. While I understand most people who go to the movies expect to see "really wide-screen TV." This requires more attention. So I reserve by impatience for those critics who seemed unable to watch the film without being in a rush get back to the office to see that they say the same thing as their fellow critics (I lost track of how many times "teen-age boys and masturbation" were used as the ultimate put-down. How droll.) If that's your profession, it is not good enough. Critics have a responsibility to go beyond what Ebert calls "level-1" criticisms when it is clear the writer-director is putting all that he has into it.

A lot more could be written about "Sucker Punch" and will be written. For now, to the entire cast, pitch perfect, and this wonderful, sad tale that fully realizes at last Kesey's vision of freedom, psychological and existential -- magnificently done.


Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 1 - Learning Curve (1907-1948)
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 1 - Learning Curve (1907-1948)
by William H. Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There may never be a more complete biography of Heinlein, September 14, 2010
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This is the book author Patterson was born to write. If you have any interest in the life and work of this great, flawed man, there is no substitute for this biography, nothing remotely close. This is the book to read. Bits and pieces of Heinlein's story had been leaked over the years to be sure, but the full story, as complete as can be reconstructed since much material was destroyed by Heinlein himself who was very protective of his private life, is amazing. Patterson wisely lets the story speak for itself and frees the reader draw his own conclusions. There is still much here for hero worshipers (and I count myself among them), but it has to be admitted that the portrait of the man is decidedly mixed at times. A genius in many fields, he was capable of rash and impetuous acts that leave one breathless. For those who long suspected, an awful lot of his thinking prior to age 40 was done by his lower brains with occasionally disastrous results, but this is admittedly true of a many men, great men most of all.

One of books big and pleasant surprises is the first telling, and a respectful one it is, of the tragic story of Heinlein's second wife, Leslyn MacDonald. Her gradual descent into self-destruction is agonizing to behold, but like all true tragedies the sense of inevitability is impossible to avoid.

I congratulate Patterson on his achievement; I cannot recommend this book enough. It grabbed me from the beginning and like most of the other reviewers, I eagerly anticipate the second volume. A great man has finally got the biography his life has warranted and we are all the luckier for it.


Inception
Inception
DVD ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Price: $4.50
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie of dreams, a dream of movies, September 7, 2010
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This review is from: Inception (DVD)
I have been reluctant to comment on Inception; there seemed little I
could add to the already extensive commentary. My initial sense was
that Inception, while it was a welcome relief to standard summer fare,
possessed enough flaws and precedents to render its claims to greatness
suspect. I gave it 8 stars over my first viewing and let it go at that.

Now, having watched Inception twice since then and having read the
screenplay (see the excellent, Inception: The Screenplay), I have
changed my mind. Inception is worthy of the praise given it. Without
reservation I now give it a 10. This is the first occasion in which I
have changed my verdict on a film following my initial viewing. Why?
Because Inception is easily the best film of the decade in terms of
sheer intelligence, the best film I would argue since The Truman Show.
Moreover, its plot of obsessive love, fear of falling, and frightening
dreams, makes it worthy of comparison to Vertigo. As good as Vertigo?
The fact that Inception can be mentioned without blanching in the same
sentence with Hitchcock's masterpiece tells you something.

I came to love the movie but I was desperate to say something new. I
wanted to comment on the richness of the world of Inception, and give
the viewer a bit more of an understanding of what underlies it.

In the near future, a drug has been discovered that enables people to
share a common dream. Viewed by many as a fascinating opportunity for
creativity, one danger is that a dreamer's mind can be invaded by an
intruder and unless the victim has been trained to resist these
"extractor(s)," he can be tricked into revealing his innermost secrets
(visualized as being within a symbolic dream "safe"). The battle
between a trained mark and one or more skilled extractors can be
harrowing.

This technology can be described as a form of controlled lucid
dreaming. Until this discovery, all experience had been that lucid
dreams cannot be controlled; anything could happen. Since most people
have had them, you know what I mean. But using this drug and its
delivery system (termed PASIV in the screenplay book), lucid dreams can
be controlled. These shared lucid dreams, however, are still subject to
external conditions and the dreamer's own internal state.

Note: the idea of entering into people minds while they are dreaming is
not new. See the movie "Dreamscape (1984)," which has dream specialists
invading the mark, as protectors or attackers. But there are some
remarkable new angles in Inception's approach.

First, the dreams can be recursive. There can be dreams within dreams
within dreams, though at each additional level the dream state becomes
increasingly unstable, requiring the addition of powerful sedatives to
maintain control.

Second, the recursive levels cannot be extended indefinitely. They
terminate in a state called "Limbo," i.e. "unconstructed dreamspace."
Limbo may be infinite in expanse. Little is known of it, though
according to the movie's math, time moves roughly 8000 times faster in
Limbo relative to reality.

Third, the minds of the participants, particularly if there is an
emotional involvement between them, can find their dream "waves" have
become blended or entangled.

There are profound metaphysical dangers in this, ontological and
psychological. Foremost is the loss of one's sense of what is real,
over time being increasingly unable to distinguish between the dream
state and reality. Then there is the loss of one's sense of self. Where
the dreamers are emotionally involved, e.g. in love, their minds can
begin to merge to such an extent that it is a difficult for them to
determine where "I" begins and the other takes over, who is dreaming
what in other words. There are mechanisms, "totems" for keeping track
of where one is in these dream spaces, but the problem is unsolved.

Into this world strides Dom Cobb, one of the best "extractors," a
disturbed, troubled man, with overwhelming feelings of guilt towards is
dead wife, Mal. Cobb is desperately seeking an escape, and return home
to the only happiness he has ever known.

Inception is strikingly original not only in that it introduces a new
technology but a new terminology as well. A shoe-in for multiple
nominations, it is brilliantly edited with a superb score,
special-effects, and a wonderfully, attractive and likable cast.
Nolan's meticulous screenplay pursues its sober and somber plot (you
may smile/chuckle a few times but that is it) with grace and
high-intelligence.

I wish I could sum up the meaning of the movie, but I can't. One
possibility is that Inception is an allegory of the movie experience, a
dream of movies if you will. There is a strong overlap in what Cobb and
his team are pursuing with the movie experience itself as a shared
dream in which we share our emotional secrets. Nolan plays on this, but
the idea of a movie as reflexive of and subversive to one's life has
been often done and it is unclear if Inception adds much.

Another is that Inception should be taken as a movie of dreams, i.e. on
its own terms; that it works best if one simply accepts what is being
shown on the screen and goes with it. Admittedly, for most, multiple
viewings will be required to enable them to get to the heart of the
movie's emotions but they will be amply rewarded if they do. The
central vision in Inception of life's tragedy is compelling. Whether in
the dream state or in reality, we cannot escape ourselves and it is
impossible to tell if the happiness we have is real or an illusion.


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