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Robin Lovelace

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Arko Shaving Cream Soap Stick
Arko Shaving Cream Soap Stick
Price: £2.10

5.0 out of 5 stars old-school - the original and best!, 15 Sept. 2014
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Low cost, low energy, old-school - the original and best!

Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R (Use R!)
Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R (Use R!)
by Roger S. Bivand
Edition: Paperback
Price: £42.87

5.0 out of 5 stars The authoritative resource on R’s spatial capabilities, 15 Sept. 2014
This is as excellent book, as reported in my review of it for Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, partly reproduced here to give you a flavour. Check out my website and look on book reviews for the full review:

As a geographer and heavy R user, I was naturally excited to discover Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R (ASDAR). I purchased a copy of the first edition in the summer of 2012 at the European Region Science Association (ERSA) annual conference in Bratislava and was pleased to get my copy signed by the book’s lead author and influential R programmer Roger Bivand (who also manages R’s spatial ‘Task View’ and contributes to many R packages).

Two years later, I no longer feel like a beginner in the world of R for geographical applications and ASDAR was certainly of great assistance. Now in its second edition, the book has been substantially rewritten to account for rapid progress in R’s spatial capabilities. As an advanced user who teaches R for GIS applications and having read both versions of the book, I feel that I am well-placed to write this review. The book’s tone and technical focus (it contains code, equations or images on most pages) suits well its intended audience: advanced or intermediate users of R wanting to improve their spatial analysis skills.

A major selling point of ASDAR is that its authors are some of the core developers of R’s spatial capabilities. This shows in the introductory chapter where R’s advantages over ‘legacy’ GIS packages are expounded: R is completely free and open source, providing huge potential benefits in terms of education and reproducibility (Ince et al., 2012). Rich in code and examples, the book demonstrates that R can be used as a powerful command-line GIS. Using many images and case studies, ASDAR acts as a bridge between developers and users, providing flesh around the terse skeleton of R’s inbuilt documentation. The authors have spent more time than most thinking about how best to perform spatial operations in R and this shows: often there are multiple solutions to spatial problems and ASDAR provides much-needed guidance on current best practice.

In summary, this book is the authoritative resource on R’s spatial capabilities. I heartily recommend ASDAR to all existing R users interested in spatial data and adventurous R beginners with a strong grounding in GIS.

The SAGE Handbook of Transport Studies (Sage Handbooks)
The SAGE Handbook of Transport Studies (Sage Handbooks)
by Jean-Paul Rodrigue
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £85.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive overview but bland at times, 4 July 2014
I reviewed this book for the Journal of Transport Geography, and thought it may be of use to people browsing the book on Amazon. Overall it's good but lacks detail and reproducible examples in some areas and is rather bland at times. All these can be expected from such an overview but I'd liked to have seen more progressive thinking.

See more on the Transport Geography Research Group page:

And the pdf of my final review:

The Future is Not What it Used to be: Climate Change and Energy Scarcity
The Future is Not What it Used to be: Climate Change and Energy Scarcity
by Jörg Friedrichs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece for optimists and pessimists, 9 Dec. 2013
This was a gruelling read but I emerged the other side of it better informed about the long-term prospects of industrial civilisation than ever before.

To put this book into context, I was asked to write it for Environmental Values, have reviewed books such as the Ecotechnic Future and Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition. To summarise, The Future Is Not What It Used to Be provides a potent antidote to wishful thinking
about the scale of global problems and a brutally honest high-level assessment of humanity's failure to act.

For pessimists there is much to confirm one's world-view and insight into how to avoid the traps of despair or denial. For optimists the book is a gruelling but ultimately enlightening experience. Falling into the latter camp, I found the book a dark masterpiece. A sober check against reckless hope, it contains a message that anyone interested in civilisation's long-term future needs to hear.

For the full review, please see www

Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding
Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding
by George Monbiot
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.27

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild vision built on pragmatism and evidence, 23 Sept. 2013
This review first appeared on [...]

George Monbiot is a well-known environmentalist. He has a regular column in the Guardian newspaper, writes occasionally for a number of other publications (all his articles can be viewed on the clutter free website [...] and a number of books already under his name. As a child, I sometimes dreamed of 'saving the rainforest' and probably for this reason Monbiot became a natural role model as I grew up, even though he quickly destroyed my overly simplistic views of 'good' conservationists vs the 'bad' deforesters. His writing is broad, encapsulating the links between many different elements of what is, invariably, a more complex problem than what first impressions indicate. In the mid 2000s, George Monbiot took-on the 'greatest environmental threat' - climate change - almost head-on in his acclaimed book Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning. This provided motivation for me to seek solutions, not only on some abstract policy level, but in my everyday life.

Fast-forward five years. Instead of fretting over our collective failure to overcome society's enduring addiction to fossil fuels, it is refreshing to see that Monbiot has moved on. Environmental problems are big and, due partly to the long timespans over which they develop, can seem intractible. Instead of discussing the problem, in this case lack of wild or 'self-willed' ecosystems, from an abstract perspective, Monbiot dives into some vivid descriptions of experiences in the wilderness. Contrast this with the monotony of everyday life and it becomes apparent that many people are suffering from ecological boredom. We have got to the point in which opening a poorly designed bag of nuts constitutes the most exciting manual task of the day! The escapism of video games and the many other distractions of the modern world is provided as anecdotal evidence for this, alongside a wealth of peer-reviewed literature on nature deficit disorder provides an undeniable argument: we need to re-engage with nature.

As Monbiot has himself said elsewhere, the underlying concept of this book is a simple one. It is eloquently written, yet succinct and without excessive diversions. The personal story that provides the backdrop to the ideas presented is not self-indulgent, but clear, concise and at times brutal.

Regarding the actual policies that he is proposing, George Monbiot seems to have moved further towards the 'pragmatist' camp of environmentalism since the The Age of Consent, in which global issues are tackled head-on and the real-politik of potential solutions are apparently hammered-out (disclaimer: I've not read the book). Older and perhaps wiser, the solutions in Feral are less complex and eminently more feasible. These include (in the order that they are presented in the book) the return of trees and 'keystone species' such as the moose and otter to low-intensity farmland; a reduction in overgrazing in 'Sheepwrecked' uplands, and the enforcement of 'no fish zones'. All of these could easily have economic benefits that dwarf their costs over time, even for the farmers and fishing industries that currently resist any whiff of environmentally beneficial regulation. The description of whales as a keystone species with the potential to fertilise the seas and sequester large volumes of carbon dioxide in the process in "Rewilding the Sea" was particularly interesting, and supported with ample peer-reviewed literature to persuade even the most hard-nosed 'factivist'.

Ultimately this book is not about facts, though, but about our inbuilt need to interact with nature, the wider benefits this could bring, and practical steps towards making it happen. I heartily recommend this book to anyone: young and old; deep environmentalist or environmental skeptic;high-powered businessman or local forager. The ideas will change the way you think about nature and, at the very least, encourage you get out there more often.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2014 10:04 AM BST

UltimateAddons Pro Bike Bicycle Cycle Handlebar Mount + Tough Waterproof Case for Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 S II 2
UltimateAddons Pro Bike Bicycle Cycle Handlebar Mount + Tough Waterproof Case for Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 S II 2

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allows you to save the energy embedded in you smartphone, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As everyone knows, smartphones are not environmentally friendly. They cost the Earth through mining, manufacture and disposal. They also have an impact through the short-termism that they encourage in the users (Monbiot 2013: ).

For this reason I was reluctant to get one.

However, I eventually did, justifying it ethically by buying it second-hand (we need to encourage longevity and re-use). And by using it as a bicycle navigation system, so I didn't have to spend so much money on fuel.

This add-on really is 'ultimate': very sturdy, very strong and extremely user friendly.
Yesterday it enabled me to navigate 60 km from Manchester to Sheffield, saving ~£10 in petrol money alone.

I am sure it will more than repay itself soon, so it could be the accessory that repays itself the most you'll ever buy.
As others have noted, the external 'stand alone' case is also very sturdy.

One add-on I'd like to see: an option for it to house a larger battery: this really would make it ultimate, but not enough to remove a single star from this review.

(For more info on how you could use this to great effect, please see my article on bicycle touring, here )

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition
by Charles Eisenstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.59

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Degrowth is the solution: here's why, 7 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wrote a review for this book in my local magazine NowThen (Google "Sacred Economics, NowThen, Sheffield" for the full version complete with artwork: it's in issue 59). Here is an extract, plus some closing thoughts (Amazon has passed my censorship test if this gets published - due to reference to free (Creative Commons licensed) versions of this book):

"[... Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World provided a convincing vision of the future based on the disintegration of advanced civilisation due resource depletion.] The problem is that industrial civilisation shows no sign of slowing down, let alone of pressing the auto-disintegrate button any-time soon. On the contrary, hyper capitalism has proved to be a tough old bugger, akin to Wile E Coyote from Looney Tunes; it takes a hammering from every side yet always comes back to terrorise us again. Even after its founding assumptions are disproved and worldwide waves of protest decry its idiocy, the bastard just won't die. Land-grabs, adverts targeting children and new oil drilling techniques ensure that Greer's expectation, that the metaphorical Wile E will finally just top himself, is optimistic to say the least.

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein is equally visionary, but starts from a different premise; the monetary machine that directs human affairs has gone AWOL and now benefits no-one, least of all the degraded psychopaths at the top, who try in vain to control the beast. Like Greer, Eisenstein encourages de-monetising your life, focussing instead on true wealth; the people and environment that surround you. Unlike Greer, he believes in creating a much better world: "Are we so broken that we would aspire to anything less than a sacred world?"

This may seem utopian, but Sacred Economics provides pragmatic solutions at every level. Individuals can replace monetary relationships with real ones, buy less and re-use more. Communities can set-up social enterprises. And, when the current batch of growth-obsessed politicians get booted out of office, nations can implement a raft of sensible measures to exorcise the financial demons from our economy.

Sacred Economics is a cracking read that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you're not sure about beg-borrow-or-buying such a chunky lump of paper, you're free to grab every chapter of it from the internet, where it has been placed in its entirety under a Creative Commons licence at"

To this I would add that Eisenstein strays a little too far into the "sacred". (One example: "By the same token, by fostering within ourselves a realization of the sacredness inherent in materiality, and by aligning our work with that sacredness, we lay the social and psychic foundation of an economy in which more and more of the things we make and do for each other are beautiful, personal, alive, and ensouled." - Even ignoring the fact he invented the last word in that sentence it is nigh on possible to understand!) At this stage Eisenstein would have been well advised to stick to the concrete economic and pragmatic reasons why his suggestions are sensible. But this should not stop anyone from buying (or downloading, for free from his website) this generally very well written book. Clearly infinite economic growth is not feasible, and this book provides the best "non-collapse" narrative for dealing with it that I have read. Tim Jackson's "Prosperity without growth" ( Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet free online) provides the best political response I've read, and this links well with an emerging political/activist movement of Degrowth.

In summary please get this book and spread the message. You will not regret it for one moment.

Lenovo IBM Thinkpad X61s Laptop
Lenovo IBM Thinkpad X61s Laptop

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbeatable build quality, 16 July 2012
This review is from: Lenovo IBM Thinkpad X61s Laptop
I purchased the x61 from ebay ([...] ) 3 months ago. Typing on it now and I LOVE it.

This is a strange emotion to feel for a computer I know, but the build quality (strong screen that folds lush, chunky buttons, and used certified for use in space - [...] ), battery life (~5 hours light use) and price (I paid £150 for mine) make it truly adorable. I was tempted by this Samsung Series 7 15.6 inch Laptop (Intel Core i7 2675QM, 2.2GHz, RAM 8GB, HDD 750GB, DVD-SM DL, LAN, WLAN, Bluetooth, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit), but it was too expensive, resource-intensive and flimsy-looking for my liking. I want any of my large material investments to last half a decade at least and you should too (yes you, Iphone/Spacephone user!)

With the world running out of high grade ores and easily extracted fossil fuels, we need to be intelligent with our the use of natural resources. This is the other reason that I love this laptop: it's refurbished so you've helped support an industry that encourages electronic "waste" into second-hand awesomeness!

Installing Ubuntu 12.04 will provide you with the best operating system in the world (IMO) which works a treat with the Think Pad. More of these please, to support computer refurbishment and transition to a low energy society.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2012 8:51 PM GMT

Global Ecology: Environmental Change and Social Flexibility
Global Ecology: Environmental Change and Social Flexibility
by Vaclav Smil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £42.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of the world's life systems, 11 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lucid, concise, accurate, numerate writing from the "master of energy". The amazing thing is that Smil's magnificent overview is accessible and bite-sized. Highly recommended antidote to the tendency of academics to know more and more about smaller and smaller areas of knowledge.

Also recommended: Environment, Power, and Society for the Twenty-First Century: The Hierarchy of Energy

Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air


Aquabourne Wind up & Solar Radio AM/FM- Features: Clock, Torch, Alarm, Splashproof and MP3 or Phone Charging Function
Aquabourne Wind up & Solar Radio AM/FM- Features: Clock, Torch, Alarm, Splashproof and MP3 or Phone Charging Function

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact, light, sturdy, radio. Multi-function, but needs more!, 11 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent product for people who want a portable radio that will not need new batteries. The 5v charger function is great, and it's much easier to tune than their other mini portable radio Aquabourne Wind up & Solar Radio AM/FM/WB - splash proof. V2 high output solar panel (which is frankly too small and flimsy to be of serious use).

However, one star remains for the company that can provide the ultimate radio experience. This would have the following features:

- Digital radio (is this asking too much)
- MP3 input so you can use it as a mini amp
- Alarm clock (radio is the best way to wake up ever!)
- Multiple phone charging adaptors (you can buy these here online - currently only fits Nokia I think)

These are minor issues, however, when your aim is to listen to the radio free from the mains grid, cables, or rechargeable batteries, then this is great. Another big plus for me is the fact that it demonstrates that you can have a high standard of living without recourse to large fossil fuel inputs. The embodied energy of this device is probably substantially less than alternatives such as space phones, tablets, and laptops, and it should last longer than these products too. All in all, a great "ecotechnology".

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