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Maarten (Reading, UK)

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Play Klezmer! - Violin
Play Klezmer! - Violin

4.0 out of 5 stars Generally recommended, 25 Nov 2013
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I can't say I am a big expert on Klezmer - or fiddling for that matter! This book presents fairly easy settings of Klezmer music. These pieces are straightforward to get to grips with if you're around grade four/five or above. The CD is useful, as it also has tracks with just the accompaniment, but I must say that the accompaniment sounds a bit "cheesy" to me. With Klezmer I always think of a more "earthy" type of music, not the somewhat polished orchestra on this CD. Also, this is very much just a book with Klezmer tunes, it is not really a book which teaches you what Klezmer actually is. For that purpose it is probably better to look at Ilana Cravitz's "Klezmer Fiddle - a how-to Guide": this is rather more informative and focusses in great depth on the music theory behind Klezmer fiddle, but at a rather more advanced playing level. In all, I rather like my "Play Klezmer!" book: it has some good tunes and it is easy to just dip in to and have a go.


Principles of Planetary Climate
Principles of Planetary Climate
by Raymond T. Pierrehumbert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £54.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - what a book!, 9 Nov 2012
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Ray Pierrehumbert is a giant in the field and I am grateful he decided to write this expansive work. This is not an easy read; not because it is too complex, but simply because it is so big: there is an awful lot in here to enjoy, but in practice, you would probably end up just dipping in this book at various points. You will learn an awful lot about the climate of our own planet, but with the continued discovery of new exoplanets the subject matter of this book becomes even more important. Pierrehumbert's writing style is lucid and pleasant. A truly impressive book.


Equilibrium Thermodynamics
Equilibrium Thermodynamics
by C. J. Adkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally clear, 9 Nov 2012
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Perhaps not worth writing a review, because I mostly agree with other reviewers: this is truly an excellent book. It is clear, simple, and concise, yet it achieves a very high level in classical thermodynamics.

One of the key advantages is that this book has, to my taste, exactly the right length: it is expansive enough to contain all relevant material for a physicist trying to learn classical thermodynamics, but it is short enough to be practically readable in full. Make it shorter and you wouldn't be doing justice to the field; make it longer and you simply wouldn't want to read it all in detail.

The treatment is modern but sticks to the classical subjects of Gibbsian thermodynamics; it makes only brief references to microscopic theory if it helps to visualize what is going on. This is exactly the right treatment for this subject: Thermodynamics is a rigorous macroscopic theory in itself; it is not some appendix of statistical mechanics.

The book is clear and of a very accessible level and contains no superfluous mathematical complexity.

Where the book does not deliver (by design, mind) is in non-equilibrium thermodynamics. There are plenty of references to non-equilibrium processes but this usually does not go beyond classical ideas of availability and maximization of entropy. There are other books that focus in more detail on non-equilibrium properties.

I have the impression this is a digital reprint of the original print run, but the production quality of the book is very good.

Marvellous; easily my favourite physics book (and I have quite a few!)


Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory
Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory
by John O'Sullivan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.59

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughable and sad at the same time, 5 Dec 2011
Do I have any authority to write a review here? I have a degree in theoretical physics and I teach atmospheric thermodynamics and radiative transfer at university and have written a textbook about it. My research speciality is thermodynamics of the climate system. Am I in cahoots with the climate change lobby? I am not at all a fan of the IPCC (and am not part of it) and its processes and I am generally very critical of many of the climate panic predictions from some of the models, and I disagree with the Kyoto protocol, BUT:

Funny, how people with no apparent knowledge of even the basics of the physics of radiative transfer think they have the authority to write a book about it. The "science" presented in this book is of a laughable Mickey-mouse level and is mostly wrong and presented in a misleading way at pretty much every level. The "reviews" you can read here of the climate change deniers are often equally laughable with a truly staggering display of lack of ANY basic knowledge of thermodynamics or radiative transfer. It truly boggles the mind that people with not even the very basic knowledge required to understand the greenhouse effect believe they can pontificate about the matter. I suppose that is post-mdernism for you.

Don't waste your mental effort on this pathetic excuse for a science book.


Atmospheric Thermodynamics
Atmospheric Thermodynamics
by Craig F. Bohren
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £66.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat unpleasant book ..., 13 Jan 2011
The authors of this book are experts and have thought hard about the field of thermodynamics - there is a lot of good stuff in this book. However, I find this book a bit depressing.

The style of the book is rather abrasive. The authors seem to think all readers are fools who constantly perpetrate silly errors which, of course, the authors are there to put right. The book is for a substantial part made up of such passages. Yuck.

Apart from abrasive, the writing style also is in my opinion too obviously quasi-funny. The authors have set out to not say anything in a straightforward way, but try and wrap any bit of info in some supposedly funny story. I wonder whether the authors were inspired by the informal style that Feynman uses in his majestic undergraduate physics books. It is a good thing to learn from the master. Just not everybody succeeds.

Thirdly, and perhaps most seriously, the content is flawed in several locations. The authors regularly chide the reader about their supposed naivety but then go on to produce some rather shaky or even wrong arguments - often vehemently arguing against things that no-one really believes to be the case anyway. They also include a rant against the common use of differentials in thermodynamics, without actually producing anything all that insightful or profound as an alternative. (In short, differentials are largely rewritten as Lagrangian or total derivatives.) I have always very happily defined and used differentials in my thermodynamics classes, and my students are quite happy to follow the arguments.

The authors include a lot of historical details and they clearly have great technical writing skills - the text reads easily - I wish I was as good a writer (I wrote a book on a similar topic myself, so this is where I should declare an interest!)

Despite the positives, I can't really recommend it to my students. They might get the impression that people in science all behave like a patronising smarty-pants.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2013 2:35 PM GMT


Scientific Calculator With 30KB Ram - Black
Scientific Calculator With 30KB Ram - Black
Offered by Oxford Educational Supplies Limited
Price: £47.50

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 10 Dec 2007
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This is simply a great calculator - well worth the five stars and very good value for money. I have no doubt this calculator will be a modern classic and a big sales succes for HP: many serious calculator users have been waiting for this little machine.

The HP 35S can be used as an RPN calculator, which is a simple and intuitive input method traditionally used by HP. RPN is superior when compared to the awkward and error-prone input method used on most modern calculators - if you want, you can use this standard input method as well (a concession to the sales department at HP) It has many, many functions, many of which are useful and most of which are easy to access. Especially the "solve" function is much more useful than I ever anticipated: it can numerically solve a complicated equation without the need for rearranging the equation; this is a feature that I didn't know I needed until I bought the machine! The calculator is fully programmable: great fun and very powerful - but something I have had little use for upto now. The memory is quite big: plenty to keep all my useful equations in memory.

The build quality is good. The calculator is robust and has an old-fashioned, solid feel to it. The hard case is very useful: the calculator can be used without taking it out of the case. The beautiful design is both pleasing and ergonomic. The user guide is comprehensive as you would expect (and hope) for such a powerful calculator with additional material available on the HP site.

In short: the HP 35S is powerful, easy to use, sturdy, and good-looking - look no further for a serious scientific calculator.


HP 9S EveryDay Scientific Calculator
HP 9S EveryDay Scientific Calculator

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and cheap, 11 Dec 2006
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I have to add a review here because the previous reviewer completely missed the point and is in fact mostly wrong. He/she is describing an RPN calculator which the 9s certainly is not! I do not know what calculator this person is refering to, but it is certainly not the HP 9s.

I bought this one because I needed a simple scientific calculator with no bells and whistles. Well, that is what you get: it still has more functions than you would ever want to use and it is simple and straightforward to use. Furthermore, it is very cheap. What else do you want?

Perhaps it is a bit plastick-y, but one cannot really complain for this price.

Oh, and you do get a user manual in English (and lots of other languages), again, contrary what our previous reviewer said.


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