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Totality: Eclipses of the Sun
Totality: Eclipses of the Sun
by Mark Littmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Well deserved 5 stars, 8 Dec. 2014
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Excellent. Well deserved 5 stars. Very interesting read, excellent research. Historical accounts. The emotions and observations of past observers. How To photograph. Technical data. In one word: complete.


Vision Revolution, The
Vision Revolution, The
by Mark Changizi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Science upside down, 25 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Vision Revolution, The (Paperback)
Having read all the five star feedbacks (from amazon US) I enthusiastically bought this book only to be sourly disappointed.
The standard approach of the Author is to propose an idea (usually in "I think..." form) and then to search for facts and evidence to support it.
But what about evidence that contradicts his theories? They are conveniently swept under the rug.
Now I do concede that the book's first chapter about why our cones have developed sensitivity to specific frequencies are validly supported, and that there could be truth in this, but what ruins the Author's credibility are endless cases where the facts are clearly wrong or badly supported.

One of these "threads" where things get pretty bad is when the Author tries to convince the reader that mankind has lost its fur for "color signaling". To me, his line of reasoning sounds absurd (p.28): "Skin that is bare -not skin of any particular color- is what we expect to see in primates with color vision, and that's what we find. Bare skin, then, is for color signaling".
This is an example of "cargo cult science" (google it): by seeing two thing happen together, it is deduced that one is cause of the other.
Then again about why we humans still retain some facial hair: "...eyebrows, probably useful for exaggerating facial expressions...". Eyebrows are there so that sweat and rain don't go into the eyes!
Later (p.34) the Author again argues that bare skin is for color signaling: "...Once an animal is bare-skinned and begins to color signal, natural selection could cause specific injured spots to become more visible". That natural selection would change the chemistry of wounds to make them more visible is utterly contorted and unproved, but it gets worse. Veterinarians assure the Author that bruises on dogs are just as bad as on humans (which would not fit with his assumptions) so he goes on arguing that a controlled test should be done (if a controlled test to see a difference in color is needed then it is not for color signaling, is it?). This in not science, the Author is just making it up on the spot.

Another example is when the Author is trying to "prove" that his daughter is using symbols to represent reality in her drawings: "Look at nearly any of the objects in my daughter's drawing in Figure 1. An attempt at realism? Hardly." (p.174).
Saying that children use "symbols to represent reality" because his 5 year daughter's drawing is not "realistic" seems quite hilarious to me, but this is the level at which the Author reasons throughout the whole book. (One could argue that any drawing is a symbol of reality, even a photograph)

The main proposition of the last chapter, the 4th, is: "...If written words must be built out of multiple symbols, then to make words look object-like, symbols should look like object parts. And as we'll see, that's what culture did. Culture dealt with the speech-writer dilemma by designing letters that look like the object parts found in nature..."
And what constitutes "nature" according to the Author? Cubes (!?). Due to the bottom left corner of a cube (a common shape in nature, according to the Author) he concludes that an shape "L" is commonly found in nature (!?), and this is the reason we find it in writing (!?). So THIS "proves" that the letter "L" was inspired by nature. Totally absurd.
I am not saying that in some culture, some written symbol was not inspired by something seen in nature. The problem is that arranging a number of cubes (this is nature?) and finding that some parts of the resulting figure resemble letters constitutes no kind of proof. Very bad science, again. Furthermore there are more plausible explanation as to why letters are shaped with "strokes". A stroke in stone was easier than carving out a curve for instance.

I could go on and on with this kind of examples. The point I want to make is that the Author makes some very bold statements throughout the book with weak or absurd evidence.
I have found the 5 star reviews given to this book totally misleading. There is no inquiry, no verification of what the Author states, everything is taken for true. Readers are praising the Author for revolutionary explanations about vision, when in fact these have only been proposed, and very weakly that is.


The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life
The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life
by Pedro De Alcantara
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 29 Oct. 2013
First book on A.T. I read so cannot make a comparison on the content. It is though very well written, easy to understand and very interesting. Probably will need a second time through. Some of the content is by other authors with more experience on a particular subject (like pregnancy). Recommened.


The Way of the Explorer, Revised Edition: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds
The Way of the Explorer, Revised Edition: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds
by Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Baffled, 24 Sept. 2013
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The first third of the book is pretty straightforward: the story of Mitchell's life and his journey to the moon. A very interesting record of the trip to anybody who loves these things. During the return trip to earth the author experiences a feeling of connectedness to the universe that will change his life. Trying to explain this vision of connectedness becomes his obsession to the point of esablishing the Institute of Noetic Sciences, it's purpose being the study of human consciousness and its place in the universe. The rest of the book is the result of his studies. I do not recommend it to the casual reader for the simple reason that it requires a thick philosophical background to make anything out of it. Some simple introduction to ideas he makes reference to would have been much appreciated. I also have the feeling that Mitchell enjoys using complex language just for the sake of it.
One example of his overly complex style: "Concepts of the Perennial Wisdom emerge, though somewhat differently, when the Great Chain of Being is thought of as information perceived with awareness and given meaning within consciousness by its relationship to other information."
I am also deeply skeptical of his relationship with Uri Geller. Everything that Uri did or said was totally believed in by Mitchell, and this was one of the experimental basis on which he builds his philosophy and theories. Well, just google "Feynman" and "Geller" to see how Feynman debunks the psychic. While I do leave the door open to such phenomena I do not believe this was the case with Uri. Edgar Mitchell makes some bold statements in his book but he is not always convincing.


Reality Transurfing 1: The Space of Variations: 1 (Reality Transurfing)
Reality Transurfing 1: The Space of Variations: 1 (Reality Transurfing)
by Vadim Zeland
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars nonsense, 10 Jun. 2013
What a bag of manure. After 15 pages I had to put the book down. I just cannot lose my time reading this stuff. There is nothing to it. So the author is giving all these examples about "reality" and about how it works justifying his words with physics. So the author is proposing an "interpretation" of our day to day reality using concepts taken from quantum physics, etc which is total nonsense. Each sentence may be true in some way, but he is mixing stuff together that has no relation. Instead of making the world simpler to understand he is making it more complicated, simply because he doesn't have anything to say. This is the sort of stuff that would make Feynman explode like a volcano :)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2013 4:07 PM BST


A Man's Field Guide to Dating
A Man's Field Guide to Dating
by Robert A. Wray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.51

2.0 out of 5 stars Gas, 4 Jun. 2012
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page 53: "Gas"..."Don't try to sneak one by, The risk is to high."
If this is the level of advice you need then go ahead and buy it.
In my opinion not worthe the time.
And... before giving advice on "Getting Ripped" p.40 and "Fighting Fat" p.43,
the author should check his own tummy p2. Hope he follows the rest
of his own advice :)


Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence
Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence
by Sgt. Rory Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars just buy it, 13 May 2012
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This book is not (only) about violence, it's about who you are and who you think you are. It's about psychology, evolution, perception, death, it makes you think. You will see yourself and your world in another way after you read it. There's a point in the book that I couldn't even finish reading, because the implications were so profound.
Just buy it and read it, you will do yourself a great favor.


Improve Vision without Glasses or Contact Lenses
Improve Vision without Glasses or Contact Lenses
by Merril Beresford
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 15 Mar. 2012
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Dear Readers,
I've gone through the first 20 pages and already feel the need to give it a 5 star. This is an outstanding book, it's a treasure trove of interesting information. Informative, instructive, and well written.
Let me give you an example: "It's worth noting that the retina seems to possess a rudimentary form of intelligence and many scientists now regard it as an extension of the brain." Just this piece of information, to me, is mind boggling. You will learn alot by reading this, about your eyes and how to look after them. Highly recommended.


The Art of Printing Photos on Your Epson Printer
The Art of Printing Photos on Your Epson Printer
by Michael Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally Flawed, 15 Nov. 2010
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This book is beautifully printed, with many colorfull pictures and covers many aspects of printing, generally and relative to your Epson.
So you will find these chapters: 1-PRINTER AND INKS, 2-PAPER, 3-COLOR MANAGEMENT, 4-PRINT COMPARISONS, 5-THE CRAFT, 6-PRESENTATION AND DISPLAY.
The layout is beautiful, and there are many nice pictures and explanations. The only problem about this book is that it does not deliver
what it promises: the best from you printer. Let me explain what I found out. Page 84 is about Software setup and resolution. Any digital image
will have alpha x beta pixels, a resolution measured in pixels per inch, and a size: Width x Height. (In fact if you divide alpha by Width you will get
resolution). A picture you want to print will probably have a different size than the "native" size of you image, so you will have to resample it.
(It is better to do it in Photoshop than to let your printer do it)
Usually (but not necessarily) you will reduce it. So the author is suggesting that you set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch.
Apparently though, from research done on the internet most Epsons have a "Native" resolution of 720 pixels/inch.
This means that the optimal setting will be 720 pixels/inch (or at least a multiple of this figure like 360/inch), otherwise the printer
will have to "resample"/"interpolate" and the quality will be reduced. Anyway, I did try it on my Epson and with help from a magnifying lens I could
clearly see the difference between 300 and 720 dpi.
(So honestly...not alot of difference but still enough that it could be seen; why shouldn't I be getting the most when I just have to type a number?)
Now what disturbs me most is that the author doesn't even have a clue about the 720 dpi number, and I wonder
how much he really knows about these printers and how to get the most from them.
If such information is not covered or even mentioned in this 192 page book, where will I find it? Does this book deserve to call itself: "The art
of printing"?. Are the authors really masters of this Art? I leave the answer to you.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2013 11:50 AM GMT


Wedding Photography: The Complete Guide
Wedding Photography: The Complete Guide
by Mark Cleghorn
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book, but could be much better, 9 Oct. 2010
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I do not like to give low scores to books or works that have alot of effort in them, but to be honest I was slightly disapponted by the book with respect to all of the 5 star remarks.
The book has many pictures and alot of valuable information. It is divided in three parts: before, during and after the wedding (post production). The wedding part is divided in chapters for each part of the wedding and different types of shots during the wedding. What I found missing and consider a fundamental flaw is that none of the pictures show the technical details, like the type of lens used, aperture and speed, was it cropped? and when was the color balanced?, was flash used here?. On one side it is good that there are many picutres as it can be an inspiration, on the other I would have prefered fewer pictures and explanations as to why they were taken one way or the other. Also many of the comments are obvious or usless like: "Look for interesting viewpoints when shooting the choir" (shouldn't a good photographer do this reagrdless of what he is shooting?). Overall I feel that something is missing in the book, like a deeper level that will teach you the inner clockwork of that really GREAT wedding picture.
So this will be a good book for the very beginner, as a general reference book, but I would not suggest this book to a photographer that wants to start shooting weddings, or to anybody who wants to look deeper and learn how to be a wedding artist.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2013 8:02 PM GMT


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