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R. Wilson (Yorkshire, UK)
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E-males
E-males
by Allen Jarvis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.13

2.0 out of 5 stars A book about emptiness, and not in a good way., 22 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: E-males (Paperback)
It is hard to see the point of writing this book. Perhaps Allen Jarvis has actually lived the drug-fuelled yuppy life himself? Whether he has or not, he is good at portraying the tedious futility of their young, wealthy lives. Instead of grinding poverty we have grinding affluence (with lots of grinding). But describing this so well produces a book in which there is no one, not even Jo, to feel warmly about. They are just a gang of lost souls.


Karen Barad: Was ist das Maß des Nichts? Unendlichkeit, Virtualität, Gerechtigkeit
(dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts, 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken ... 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken) (German Edition)
Karen Barad: Was ist das Maß des Nichts? Unendlichkeit, Virtualität, Gerechtigkeit (dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts, 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken ... 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken) (German Edition)
Price: £1.68

4.0 out of 5 stars An English ramble about a difficult matter, 22 Oct. 2014
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I was surprised by this book, surprised in several ways. The first surprise was that I received two books on my Kindle: one text in English and one in German. I don't have any skill in German, but I presume the English is the same. The second surprise was that the book is really short.

The listing makes it appear to be a German book, but it had been recommended to me and the preview revealed it to be in English.

However, the main surprise was that the book (in my view) was not philosophy, nor mathematics nor physics. It was poetry!

This is a short reverie on the subject of 'nothing'. (It has to be short since it is about nothing.) Barad thinks deeply about nothing and covers the theology of creation, the quantum vacuum, the limitless workings of the brain and several other topics. The result is a delightful, yet mystifying wander through some subtle ideas.


Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God (Topical Line Drives Book 5)
Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God (Topical Line Drives Book 5)
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Mumbling the Lord's song in a strange land, 12 April 2014
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I found this an interesting book. It gave me an introduction to theological ideas which sit more easily with our modern, scientific world than the old time religions. However, it was rather shallow, both in presenting Epperly's own ideas and in grasping the depth of the challenge from outside religion. (And I don't mean the extreme polemics of Dawkins)

Epperly's style is repetitive, with some phrases coming up again and again. He uses several anecdotes from his pastoral work and this sometimes gives his book the air of a new-age self-help tract, rather than a thoughtful response to the rapidly changing modern world. He is also rather inclined to stress his own achievements and cleverness - it's definitely not a humble book.

So it's a fair introduction to a difficult subject, but there is no great substance to it.


Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life by Derman, Emanuel ( 2012 )
Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life by Derman, Emanuel ( 2012 )

5.0 out of 5 stars A book in four, wonderful parts., 2 Sept. 2013
I bought this because it was reviewed favourably, I think in New Scientist, but I'm not sure. I expected it to be about physics (where I am rusty but, having a PhD, I feel fairly comfortable) and Wall Street (where I have never been, neither literally nor figuratively). I hoped the book would help me see why so many physicists have gone to Wall Street.

Well, it certainly covers Wall Street, but the book had two surprises in store. There was physics and finance - as I expected - and there was Judaism and Spinoza, neither of which I had expected. It's a heady mixture of four elements.

It is an exciting book to read, though it is deep and therefore has to be read slowly. (Or perhaps I am even rustier than I thought.) Derman helped me understand all four of his topics better than I did before. With finance that is not surprising, I was very much a beginner, but he improved my understanding of physics too.

I found much to value here. He certainly delivers on the promise of the title: I feel better able to understand the economic chaos around me. The main problem seems to be a sort of idolatry, a beautiful idea which has gone beyond reason and usefulness to become dangerous delusion. I wonder if people like George Osborne read stuff like this? Probably not, but he's missing a treat as well as some vital insights.


Stones Against the Mirror: Friendship in the time of the South African Struggle
Stones Against the Mirror: Friendship in the time of the South African Struggle
Price: £5.76

5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book about reconciliation, 31 July 2013
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In the early 1960's Hugh Lewin was an anti-apartheid activist South Africa and a saboteur. His best friend, Adrian Leftwich, was in the same game. Adrian was interrogated by the security forces and confessed, betraying many of his friends.

The book does an excellent and honest job of recalling the activism and the betrayal. It's a moving picture of two idealistic men in their early twenties struggling to influence a cruel and unjust regime. Forty years later they get together and realise that, despite the hurt and the huge anger, they are still friends. They have learned a lot, mainly about themselves.


Knowledge Of Angels
Knowledge Of Angels
by Jill Paton Walsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The road to Hell ..., 26 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Knowledge Of Angels (Paperback)
This is an excellent story and very well told. The dramatic tension of the two main strands (a ship wrecked philosopher and a lost wolf-girl) is created believably and well sustained. I do have some worries. There is an awkward (and to me unnecessary) erotic interlude half way through. Also, I had difficulty believing that a rational man would fail to see the seriousness of his position and, like Galileo, make a strategic confession of faith rather than risk a terrible death.
However, these are minor quibbles. The good points include the adroit handling of difficult theological debates, a moving portrayal of the hellish darkness brought by a devout inquisitor, and the sympathetic portrayal of a flawed princely prelate.


Men Speak the Unspeakable
Men Speak the Unspeakable
by Michael Elias
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but chaotic, 2 Feb. 2013
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This book is a transcript of conversations between two thirty-something men. They talk about life, the universe and everything. About growing up, being gay, being a parent, etc. etc.

It is hard to read, and hard to benefit from, because it is so lacking in structure. This lack of structure applies as much to single pages as to the book as a whole. The pages are in a cramped typeface. Occasionally a sentence is printed in huge letters in a different typeface. The conversations ramble and - being transcribed word for word - are full of the illogicality and loose ends that all normal conversations have. There are lots of unexplained, puzzling references to previous events in their lives.

It would be a much better book for the reader if it had more structure and tidiness. Just making it look better on the page would help a lot. There are interesting insights and observations in here, but it's an effort to dig them out from the chaotic presentation. This transcript may have been a cheap and easy way for the authors to get into print, but it is tiresome and frustrating for the reader.

Perhaps most of its fans (it has fans) would read it for 'the rude bits', or simply for the reassurance that their own rude thoughts are pretty commonplace and therefore not as pathological as they feared. The book deserves better than that.


No Title Available

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent desk light, 1 Nov. 2012
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I am very pleased with this LED lamp. I've been looking for a new desk light because my previous choice became very hot if it was on for any length of time. This one stays cool. Also, the colour is very close to daylight. Given that the LEDs are likely to have a much longer life than bulbs, I expect it will give better value for money in the long run.


Bodies Electric (Bloomsbury Modern Library)
Bodies Electric (Bloomsbury Modern Library)
by Colin Harrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to write, great to read, 15 Oct. 2012
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This story is about high finance and a take-over bid in the media world. It must have been hard to write because the world of business is usually pretty dull to an outsider's eye, and often pretty dull for the insiders too. But Harrison manages to make the take-over battle really interesting.

Alongside the business story is a gripping love story: man sees beautiful girl, tries to help her in a chivalrous way, runs into troubles with her estranged husband and the relationship ends in disaster.

The two stories - business and romance - have twists and turns in their own strands plus cross-links to each other. The characters are convincing and evoke a strange mixture of sympathy and disquiet. The twists and turns are surprising and handled with skill. The novel explores the violent clash between the mega-rich and the working class. There are people in both camps who are barely keeping their heads above water.

The picture of where the IT/Media world is going is rather over-blown, but it is presented cleverly. It is over-ambitious (said with the hindsight of 20 years since it was written) but the excitement of building products that change how we see and understand the world is real and electrifying.


LaCie Minimus 2TB USB 3.0
LaCie Minimus 2TB USB 3.0

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good product: failed setup, but got there in the end., 16 Aug. 2012
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This huge capacity drive worked very well, though I have only used it with USB 2.0, and not USB 3.0.

However, at first I relied on the automatic setup software and it simply failed to work. This caused me a little frustration: the drive comes with only very minimal installation instructions and the setup feature simply wouldn't do anything. After a little head scratching I used the standard Windows7 partition and format tools. As a first attempt I did a "quick format" and this didn't seem to work well: when I tried a hard disc back-up it failed. So then I tried a full format of two partitions (which took hours). This worked very well and the new disk now works fine. It did a full backup of my hard disc fairly quickly (in spite of the lack of USB 3.0) and I have had no other problems with it.

By the way, the supplier's service (Optimum Supply Solutions) was excellent: prompt delivery, well packaged, no problems with their service at all.


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