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P. Younger "Professor Paul L Younger FREng" (Newcastle, UK)
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A Cure For Gravity
A Cure For Gravity
by Joe Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and readable, 4 May 2016
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This review is from: A Cure For Gravity (Paperback)
Excellent and readable. A must for anyone interested in / nostalgic about the late 70s and 80s poplar music scene in the UK


Volcano Discoveries: A Photographic Journey Around the World
Volcano Discoveries: A Photographic Journey Around the World
by Tom Pfeiffer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 May 2016
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Superb set of photos and very informative, geologically erudite commentary.


Scotland Now: A Warning to the World
Scotland Now: A Warning to the World
by Tom Gallagher
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nationalism comes in two end-member varieties: Gandhian and fascist. The SNP variety is not very close to the Gandhian tendency, 4 May 2016
As a "Yes" voter I approached this book with mixed feelings. However, having experienced first-hand the vitriol of the cybernats last year - culminating in me receiving a death-threat for publishing a scientific paper on induced seismicity due to fracking (a heretical topic, apparently) - I was in the market for some erudite insight into whether the brand of nationalism now in stratospheric ascendancy in Scotland is really as healthy as it at first appeared. I had already picked up that the SNP are fierce centralisers (Police Scotland, Fire and Rescue Scotland, council tax freezes, a bill to control university governing bodies etc etc) and that they do not engage with valid criticism but always accuse the questioners of "insulting the Scottish people" or similar words. This book - thoroughly documented with source references - is a tour de force of the worrying lapse from reason that seems to have taken grip of political instincts in Scotland during and since the 2014 independence referendum. The parallels with many other manifestations of nationalism that turned out to be highly damaging to the poor and vulnerable are convincingly explained. It all makes very sobering reading. It is well-written and easy to read - albeit a bit prone to repetition in places.


Fast Forward
Fast Forward
Price: £9.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Piece de resistance, 9 April 2016
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This review is from: Fast Forward (Audio CD)
I have appreciated Joe Jackson from day one, and sometimes his albums reach the absolute pinnacle of achievement - Jumping Jive, Big World and Vol 3 all spring to mind. Fast Forward undoubtedly joins this list - the songs are addictive, the music compulsive. JJ at his best - no trace of age in that unique voice. If you ever liked any JJ stuff before you MUST get this album.


Farrar
Farrar
Price: £13.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Like the other two CDs in his Strathglass trilogy (Canaich ..., 26 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Farrar (Audio CD)
Like the other two CDs in his Strathglass trilogy (Canaich and Affric) this is an extremely enjoyable exposé of the creativity, skill and sensitivity of the marvellous Duncan Chisholm. If you like Scottish music you will love this.


Pope Francis' Revolution of Tenderness and Love
Pope Francis' Revolution of Tenderness and Love
by Cardinal Walter Kasper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Jan. 2016
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Excellent brief intro to the thinking - and doing - of Pope Francis in re 'mercy'


Do Monkeys Go to Heaven?: Finding God in All Creation
Do Monkeys Go to Heaven?: Finding God in All Creation
Price: £8.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone interested in the relationship between faith and the natural world would find this extremely useful - not just interestin, 26 Jan. 2016
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What a superb read this is. Anyone interested in the relationship between faith and the natural world would find this extremely useful - not just interesting, but practically useful as a basis for prayer and reflection. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

My only regret is I was only able to buy it in kindle format - for some reason the Canadian paperback seems unavailable via Amazon.


Holy Wells: Scotland (Holy Wells)
Holy Wells: Scotland (Holy Wells)
by Phil Cope
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and fascinating, 12 Sept. 2015
This is a superb book, and a true bargain for the price. A vast amount of research - in study and field - has gone into identifying and documenting many formerly-revered wells and springs, many of which are not even remembered locally these days. The photographs are excellent and make you want to put on your boot and go. Helpfully, six-figure grid references are given for every site. Apart from the fact you will not want to risk taking such a beautiful book into the rainy Scottish outdoors, it is an absolute inspiration for exploration. Note down the grid refs and go! One of the nice things about the book is that it is fairly straightforward in its documentation, not heavily laden with Christian or neo-pagan advocacy - you are free to form your own views, depending on your persuasion. There is only one minor point I picked up (and in saying this I will reveal my own persuasion ...): on p. 217, the author deduces that the two pairs of initials 'AM' and 'DG' either side of the apex of the stonework on the reconstructed facade of St Ignatius' Well are likely those of the tenants of Lord Lovat who reconstructed the well in 1880. In fact 'AMDG' is the acronym of St ignatius of Loyola's personal motto 'Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam'. As a hydrogeologist long fascinated by the culture that has grown up around wells and springs, though, I have to say I loved this book and will be returning to it repeatedly - as well as visiting the many sites shown so enticingly in it which Phil Cope has rescued from obscurity. If you love the Scottish landscape, water features and history, then you will love this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2015 6:57 PM BST


The Real Cost of Fracking: How America's Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food
The Real Cost of Fracking: How America's Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food
by Michelle Bamberger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hearsay, anecdotes and an abandonment of scientific principles, 6 Oct. 2014
The BBC asked me to look at this ahead of an interview last Saturday (4th Oct, Radio Scotland), drawing on my experience on the UK's national review panel (joint Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering) and on the Scottish Government's Independent Expert Panel on Unconventional Gas. A few comments:

1. What doesn't come across in the book as screamingly as it should is the absolute travesty of democracy that is the USA's system of giving every Vice-President an unopposed bill in Congress - which in the case of VP Dick Cheney (also a former of VP of one of the world's largest oilfield service companies ...) was a bill to exempt shale gas developments from almost all prior environmental legislation. Personally, I don't think the industry needed it, but once any reasonably skeptical person of democratic (small d) impulses sees that, the immediate thought is "they must have something really bad to hide".

2.As no such exemption will EVER be forthcoming in the EU, which thankfully lacks the USA-style pork-barrel politics, most of the anecdotes in this volume about sloppy handling of wastewaters at surface, and reinjection of wastewaters, etc are simply irrelevant in Europe: such practices were outlawed here decades ago.

3. The book itself covers areas of hydrogeology, epidemiology, toxicology etc etc on which the two authors are in no way qualified to comment. Instead of admitting that, they have assembled an embarrassing assemblage of hearsay anecdotes. The usual code of practice for scientists is not to pretend to specialist knowledge which they have not subjected to the scrutiny of their fellow-scientists in peer-review. This code has not been followed by these two authors. (I refrain from commenting here on matters of veterinary science and pharmacology, in which the authors ARE actually qualified to offer opinions).

4. The authors suddenly declare that by "fracking" they mean every part of the oil and gas production process. This "Humpty-Dumpty" approach to terminology is unacceptable to scientists.

5. The authors identify as "shale gas syndrome" a vague assemblage of everyday symptoms, including "headaches, nosebleeds, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rashes" (p. 22). Stop and reflect for a moment. It would be impossible to work on a drilling rig if those were your daily conditions. You wouldn't be able to recruit or retain rig-hands. So why (other than worrying yourself to death over books such as this) would only human beings located 100s to 1000s of metres from the rig have these symptoms, but not the human beings on the rig floor? It makes no kind of sense. By the authors' shoddy standards I had "shale gas syndrome" when I did the interview on Saturday morning - so should I run around looking for the nearest drilling rig to blame (anyone should do, as water wells, geothermal wells and environmental monitoring wells are drilled in essentially the same way) - or might it just be I had a beer or two many on Friday night?

6. For the record, fracking is used to develop water wells in the Scottish Highlands, and during development of water wells all over the UK (as elsewhere), we inject very large quantities of "chemicals" far worse than anything ever put down a shale gas well: concentrated sulphuric acid or hydrochloric acid. Most of London drinks water daily from wells that were developed using these "horrific" chemicals.

7. A full 82% of UK households rely on gas for ALL of their heating and hot water. As North Sea production has been in nosedive for almost a decade now, we face two alternatives: find some other sources. The main alternative to importing from Norway (itself now in decline) is Russia. I for one am uncomfortable with fundamental reliance on the Putin oligarchy.

8. In response to a question about what alternatives the UK had, Dr Oswald not only betrayed his lack of appreciation that gas in Europe is mainly about HEATING (he appears to think it is all used to generate electricity - which is typically less than a third of the gas used); he also revealed himself to be out of date with realities in Germany - which he recommended to Scotland as a role model. Here is an extract from my forthcoming book "Energy: all that matters" (Hodder, Nov 28th 2014):

"... Grid-locked: how Germany’s low-carbon transition led to increased CO2 emissions.

Germany can be rightly proud of its Energiewende, i.e. its enthusiastic transition towards deployment of renewable energy technologies, which has seen it become a world leader in per capita installed capacities for wind and solar power. This has been achieved by offering impressive public subsidies for these technologies, exceeding retail costs for fossil-fuelled electricity by factors of around 2 (for wind) and 10 (for PV). This has so privileged these sources of power on the grid that highly efficient combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants have become uneconomic and closed down. Any hope for redeeming the economics of German CCGT plants, which currently rely on imports from Russia, were dashed when, in response to vociferous campaigning, the German government banned shale gas exploration. Around the same time, the government also responded to uproar following the Fukushima incident in Japan by announcing that it would accelerate the greatly closure of all remaining nuclear power plants in Germany. These announcements appear to have preceded a thorough analysis of the implications for grid stability of the loss of nuclear baseload and gas-fired dispatchable energy. However, as the burgeoning wind and solar installations cannot provide baseload or dispatchable duty, it soon became apparent that the grid was heading for sporadic, lengthy power outages. Evasive action was taken by the German government, which has turned to its cheap indigenous lignite resources to support up to 10 GW of new lignite-fired power stations, the first of which (>2.2 GW) was recently commissioned near Köln. The collapse of the value of carbon credits on the EU emissions trading system has apparently made German lignite irresistibly cheap. The problem is that lignite – a form of coal akin to peat - has a much lower calorific value than bituminous coal, it is characterized by significantly higher carbon emissions: it is, in fact, the worst of all the fossil fuels from a climate change mitigation perspective, with more than twice the CO2 emissions of the gas it has effectively replaced. In these circumstances, the only hope of avoiding a rise in carbon emissions would be rapidly fit carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities to these new lignite-fired power stations. Yet the only pilot-scale CCS project yet attempted by the German authorities was cancelled when the government failed to transpose EU CCS law into national legislation on a reasonable time scale, with legislators backing down in the face of vociferous opposition by pressure groups. Controversy focused largely around subsurface injection of CO¬2, though the objectors’ arguments betrayed their utter lack of hydrogeological understanding. This concatenation of unintended consequences has already begun to manifest itself in a rise in Germany’s total annual carbon emissions: having declined steadily since the 1990s to reach a minimum of 917 million tonnes (Mt) in 2011, they subsequently rose to 931 Mt in 2012 and 951 Mt in 2013. The moral of the story is: good intentions alone will not balance a national power grid ..."

9. Can I recommend that, instead of buying this woolly and emotive book of hearsay, you download the following free, objective assessments of the environmental risks of shale gas developments:

https://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/shale-gas-extraction/report/

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/07/1758

Both were assembled by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists - experts in the many fields of relevance - who have no stake in shale gas companies, but who have a scientist's commitment to the truth: a trait sadly lacking in this well-meaning but lamentably poor book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2014 3:35 PM GMT


Jesús. Aproximación histórica (eBook-ePub) (Biblioteca Pagola) (Spanish Edition)
Jesús. Aproximación histórica (eBook-ePub) (Biblioteca Pagola) (Spanish Edition)
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesús en cuatro dimensiones, 21 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Una guia imprescindible del verdadero Jesús de Nazaret - sin duda el libro religioso más valorable que he leido en mi vida (con la excepción del Nuevo Testamento mismo). Yo le recomendo sin reservación ninguna.


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