
Content by notjim
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Reviews Written by notjim







1.0 out of 5 stars
One Star, 23 May 2015
Mostly sand, hardly any seeds.









1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The definitive story of our recent troubles!, 3 Jun. 2014
Avoids easy targets and instead tells a broad textures story describing the tigers origins, its flaws and its dramatic end; beautifully written.









1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
satire / elegy / polemic, 2 Nov. 2012
"Is it true you can poke the fire with a stick of dynamite in perfect safety? I used to take my nieces to scientific lectures, and I believe I heard it then. Anyhow, even if it isn't true of dynamite, it is true of women."
A wonderful book and three books in one; a sharp, laughout loud social 1920s satire, a love song to the English countryside, both where it's wild and where it's carefully tended and an angry and frank commentary on the position of women, on their marginalization.









2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
"It was more fun at the bottom when you started", 7 Oct. 2012
"After a pause Neely said, 'Anne . . . I . . . we did it.' 'Did what?' 'You know.' 'Neely . . . you mean . . . ?' 'Uh huh. It hurt a lot and I didn't come. But [ ] made me come the other way.' 'What are you talking about?' 'He went down on me.' 'Neely!'."
Ribald, real, wild and basically irresistible; Valley of the Dolls is great fun and warm and weird and flawed: the sudden times shifts and changes in tone make you feel like you've taken a doll yourself and what about her treatment of fatness, or her gay characters or mental disability ("he has the mind of a child")? It's a mess but, somehow, it's life and you like it anyway.









2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
A very O'Reilly book., 6 Oct. 2012
"[O'Reilly] where the first publisher I contacted, and the one I most wanted to work with because of their tradition of books covering 'just the facts'"  from the Preface.
This book covers just the facts, in 500 pages it gives a grand tour of algorithms and data structures and that 500 pages includes extensive pieces of code, it manages this by sticking to short, pithy descriptions and being unafraid to stop the description when the algorithm is described. This seems almost a mania, for example, we are told that algorithms that divide the data in two again and again incur a cost of log n, but the three or four lines it would take to prove this are skipped, we are told a couple of times that a factor of n(n+1)/2 is the result of the "well known formula" for adding the numbers 1 to n, it would've seemed easy to give the formula. The result though is a very useful and precise book you could go to in a hurry and remind yourself how radix sort works, or formalize your hazy knowledge of data structures.
For very slow and careful study the code listing would be invaluable but it seems a waste not to have include more commentary on the code, commentary as opposed to comments, the code itself is commented like real code in a way that is wasteful of space without being pleasant to read. The author writes so well but the code is left most to stand for itself, to understand it you have to read it line by line and work it out. In this way, the book aims itself at a painstaking study or as a source of quick reference, but is unsuitable for a middle course of directed reading, where code commentary is essential.
A rose is a rose is rose: the author wanted to write an O'Reilly book, this is what it is and if that's what you want, this book is for you.









5.0 out of 5 stars
It's salt peter alright, 5 Oct. 2012
It comes in a cardboard box and bag, not the plastic bucket in the picture, but it is a kilo of potassium nitrate, I used some to make smoke bombs for the kids and they were awesome, so good.






Sweet Tooth

by Ian McEwan Edition: Hardcover 
Price: £18.99 



0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not enough sums., 15 Sept. 2012
"More like an equation of Leibniz or Hilbert."
So Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth grew and grew on me with its brazen trickery, the hand opening and closing, sometimes with the card in it, sometimes without. For all its casual writerliness, it's a lot of fun.
I was disappointed though: I thought it was a book about a mathematician whose is also a keen but lazy reader and it's not. It seems foolish and silly, but I thought it was going to be a book about folk like me and I thought "at last", because at the moment there aren't any. Actually, the treatment of mathematics was obvious and boring, we are logical and emotionally distant and mathematics in the novel often stands for a sort of uncreative and unimaginative and therefore inauthentic truth.
Here's an example: the quote above is all wrong, Leibniz and Hilbert doubtlessly solved equations, but neither are associated with an equation; in fact they bookended the period when equations were the stuff of mathematics. You can come up with the "imagine if" example yourself, name two writers x and y and a genre or form, A, they aren't associated with and say to yourself "imagine if he'd written 'more like an A of x and y'". This is left as an exercise.
Here's another example: there is only one piece of actual mathematics and it's the Monty Hall Problem, I mean he did a good job of it, but it's such a hackneyed choice. I have taught the Monty Hall Problem a million times; a million years ago I was explaining it to people at parties with beer can ashtrays and Betty Blue posters in the forlorn hope it would lead to sex. I am tired of it and, if this was a book for folk like me, none of us want to read about the Monty Hall Problem. Why not use the Cantor diagonalization argument, or, if it had to be statistics, what about the killing room paradox or that thing with the envelops where one has twice as much money in it as the other. Why not some geometry? How about the classification of Lie Groups?
I know, I understand that the deaf ear for mathematics is probably intentional, part of the trickery, part of the novel, and that's fine; but I was hoping for a novel about me.









92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Pen pee?, 17 Aug. 2012
If you pee on it and you are pregnant it turns blue!
If you stick it in your mouth and it turns blue you are at the peek of your fertility cycle!
It is awesome! Highly recommended!









1.0 out of 5 stars
Not as bad as his journalism, as if that were possible., 31 Oct. 2011
Eamonn Delaney's journalism is a pile of hatefilled homophobic, xenophobic bullypulpit bile, a load of pompous dogeared barstool nonsense. He is clearly a horrible, disappointed man. This book isn't quite that bad, maybe when he wrote it he still had some hope for himself; it isn't good though, it is just a lot of grey meh. I wouldn't bother if I was you.


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