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Peter M. Armstrong "USER86" (UK)

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Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating ideas, eloquently put, 8 May 2009
Unweaving the Rainbow is a wonderful example of Dawkin's superb writing style and ability to explain.

There is something for everyone as he draws examples that involve various disciplines. My favourite bits were:

His hypothesis that you could calculate the length of an elephant's penis by performing fourier analysis on a urine trail in the sand!

The comparison drawn between the development of sonar and the evolution of bats.

Great stuff throughout

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of hot air, 8 May 2009
This book is adorned with many recomendations from a variety of prominent newspaper columnists etc.. I for one felt terribly mislead by these reviews as my experience was completely different!

To begin with, Taleb's narration is very egotistical and continually attacks "tie wearing economists" with venom. I could forgive this except that the book fails to provide much insight into the folly that has been endured by the misuse of mathematical models.

I think Taleb is an ironic example of someone who benefited from a Black Swan event. The timing of his book proppelled it to the top of the sellers list, this provided a real opportunity to expose the ridiculous way in which: politicians, fund managers, bankers... have relied too heavily on inadequate models to describe highly nonlinear coupled systems such as: weather, the economy, geopolitics, energy policy etc.. There was so much scope for an influential book to capitalise on the current situation. Unfortunately, by chance and timing, Taleb's book, with all its vacuous rants and repitition, highjacked and squandered this potential.

I Am a Strange Loop
I Am a Strange Loop
by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.69

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 April 2009
This review is from: I Am a Strange Loop (Paperback)
Having read the book I could not disagree more with the reviewer who gave one star. This book does not have any agenda in the slightest and I doubt very much the reviewer really read the book as if anything Hofstadter argues that consciosness exists to a varying degree depending on the sophistication of the brain possessed by the animal and so one could infer that he advocates meat eating! which he doesn't do either.

Although elements of the book seem abstract and sometimes a little off track, once fully read I began to appreciate the care the author has taken to tie all of his anecdotes and metaphors together to provide his wonderful vision of what a soul means.

In addition to all this, the book is peppered with great: scientific, musical, literary and everday analogies that really clarify the points he is trying to make.

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