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VARIDESK Pro
VARIDESK Pro
Offered by TWDC
Price: £350.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great aid for back and knees, 27 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: VARIDESK Pro (Personal Computers)
This is a great thing and a real bargain. The mechanism is totally and easily functional, and it has plenty of range and number of adjustments. The only thing to be careful about is to make sure that your computer cables are long enough to allow the range of adjustment. I use it almost 100% of the time and I have recommended it to many friends and colleagues.


4 Pcs Pink Glittery Rhinestones Decor Car Tyre Tire Valve Stem Cap
4 Pcs Pink Glittery Rhinestones Decor Car Tyre Tire Valve Stem Cap
Offered by Well-Goal
Price: £2.25

1.0 out of 5 stars Threads are badly cut, 27 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The threads on these were badly cut and therefore it won't screw on the wheel. Since I bought this as a joke for my girlfriend, I didn't bother to try to replace them.


Amateur
Amateur
by Edward Klein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Hatchet Job, 14 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Amateur (Hardcover)
I bought this book fully predisposed to accepting its theme: that Barack Obama is an empty suit with a gift for the gab. I hoped to have this belief confirmed with crisp writing and detailed analysis and research. Instead, I got a badly written hatchet job with no pretense of objectivity or depth. The only one who is proven to be an amateur by this effort is the author. One to avoid.


OXO Good Grips Utensil Holder, Brushed Stainless Steel
OXO Good Grips Utensil Holder, Brushed Stainless Steel
Price: £20.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The stickers are impossible, 21 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read the other reviews about the stickers and thought that they must be an exaggeration. THEY AREN'T. They are impossible to remove completely, even with white spirit, and anything tough enough to achieve an even partial removal, damages the adjoining plastic.

Is someone at Oxo listening? These stickers are destroying an otherwise excellent product!!! Change sticker suppliers immediately!


Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
by Jared Diamond
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but ultimately very flawed, 20 Jun. 2012
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Although it may merely reflect my level of ignorance of many of the subjects covered by this book, I found myself intially impressed by the number of "of course!" moments I had when reading: all the little observations like why all our domesticated animals for consumption are herbivores, the ease of movement of techniques east-west as opposed to north-south, the data on the distribution of domesticable species, the theory that late-arriving humans wiped out the large animals of the Americas, etc.

But as I read on, it became quickly obvious that Diamond's desire to "justify" the backward state of his friends like Yali has overcome any attempt at objective analysis. His constant references to the endowment advantages of "Euroasia" accounting for the dominance of this continent, when in fact there was nothing "Euroasian" about it and when it was only a "Eur" phenomenon. His absurd attempt to explain the failure of China to maintain its early advances, which he ultimately attributes to geographical factors creating "too much" centralization, as opposed to the "just right" centralization of Europe -- a kind of Goldilocks view of history. His failure to even attempt to explain the failures of other Euroasian civilizations, such as the Ottomon one, which had enormous endowment and other advantages and still collapsed before Europe. His insistence that American civilizations were hampered by a relatively small east-west axis of only 3,000 miles -- sure, smaller than Eurasia's 8,000 miles, but hard to believe that 3,000 (or even a much lower number) isn't sufficient. His nearly offhand comment at one point that Japan could take advantage of the invention of the transitor better than, for example, Kenya, due to Japan's thousands of years of preceding advantages, although there is nothing in Diamond's theory that would account for the persistence of these initial endowment advantages in today's "flat" world. His habit -- seen most clearly in his chapter on technology -- to extrapolate from a limited amount of evidence that supports his view, while ignoring all the contrary evidence. And the list goes on....

Diamond argues passionately that the relative backwardness of certain people and continents cannot be attributed to genetic differences. But here he is pushing on an open door; almost no intelligent commentator makes this argument. European civilization grew to dominate the world not because it was superior genetically, but because it was -- and in many ways, still is -- superior culturally (in the widest sense of that word). To attempt to explain the relative speed of human advancement without emphasizing the cultural, political and economic factors affecting innovation and investment is an impossible task, both at the continental level and at the level of individual societies (and sub-societies). Diamond ultimately does his friend Yali no favours by diverting him from the absorption of "Western" ideas about rule of law, property rights, mutual trust, delayed gratification, formal education, economic and political freedom, etc., by granting him an in-built excuse for his current status.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2013 7:40 AM GMT


What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day
What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day
by Christopher Lloyd
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Propaganda, 1 Nov. 2011
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I bought this book for my children and thought that I would read it in advance. Glad I did. Pretty shocking stuff and if this is representative of the type of propaganda our children are being taught, then we are all in trouble.

First, the good stuff -- limited though it might be. The book is very well and entertainly written, and is particularly commendable for its structure, linking natural history, pre-history and history together in a logical and fluid manner.

The problem is the content. In fact, the sub-title of the book should probably be "How white, male Europeans ruined everything" because that is the dominant theme of the book. For example, the chapter on "Hunter-Gatherer" was sub-titled "How humans lived in a state of nature for 99 per cent of their history on earth without permanent homes, full-time jobs or private possessions", concluding that "Stone Age man lived well, happily and mostly in peace." Really? Strange how we don't find these characteristics in primitive current-day tribes which closely replicate Stone Age existence -- that is, we don't find them unless you happen to be a Margaret Mead with more political beliefs than scientific ones. For that matter, we don't even find them in the behavior of our primate cousins, who battle over hierarchy, access to scarce resources and reproductive opportunities continuously.

But the real aim of the author becomes known when he turns to the 19th century. For example, his comments on colonialism: "(n)ineteenth-century Europe's financial and material gains were made a the expense of the native populations of Asia, America, Africa and Australia....Yet by the time most African countries received their political independence in the second half of the twentieth century, their land had been exhausted, their raw materials removed, their economies sucked dry by loans, and trade agreements locked their populatons in poverty....To add to their economic woes, many colonies won their poltical independence only for their governments to fall into the hands of corrupt, despotic rulers, who, with weapons sold to them by developed nations, greedily clung to power. In this way, ethnic and tribal disputes still predominate today, even after the tyranny of arbitrary colonial rule....These are some of the reasons why Capitalism has failed to make amends for the colonialism of the past" You see? Those nasty white, male Europeans, with their evil Capitalism, are responsible for everything, even down to this day. Africa's failure has nothing to do with indigenous factors such as the absence of the rule of law, the systematic violence, the mass corruption, the absence of civil society and individual freedom, and the the rival gangs of looters who call themselves political parties. No, had they never been touched by those white, male Europeans and their evil Captilist system, Africa would doubtlessly be in a state of primordial bliss today.

But Lloyd really waxes enthusiastic when he can talk about his hero: Karl Marx, whom he introduces in a chapter sub-titled "How some people tried to reist the advance of Western civilization, wishing instead to return to a more natural order...." Marx wrote his "prophetic manifesto", which "proved uncannily accurate" as to "the course of Capitalism and the rise of the suppressed proleteriat". Marx, it appears, was well on the way to leading mankind back to the bliss of a "more natural order", with the assistance of his similarly idealistic follower Lenin (he of the "you can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs" fame), when his revolution was stolen by Stalin, who "had different ideas" and whose "goal of industrialization was far removed from Lenin's ideal of creating a classless and equal society". In this way, Lloyd repeats the "hijacking" myth, without even bothering to mention that every Communist society was similarly hijacked, which might lead a somewhat less biased observer to wonder if there wasn't something endemically bad in the Communist system. He also fails to mention that every society built upon Marxist principals did not produce "a more natural order", unless your idea of a more natural order was nearly universal privation (except for the chosen few apparatchiki), complete political and social oppression, and total environmental devastation. No, instead Lloyd sums up his review of Marx with "(t)he ghost of Karl Marx haunts anyone who believes in the supremacy and wisdom of the human system of economic organisation called Capitalism." Sorry, but I think that a fairer summery would be that the ghost of Karl Marx haunts the few remaining morons who actually believe that this intellectual charletan had something meaningful to say.

After he finishes praising Marx, Lloyd throws in a few more political-economic jewels, such as (when commenting about the deaths in World War II) "in reality these deaths were as a result of two wars, although arguably they both stemmed from the same inexorable rise of global Capitalism." And: "Between them, cheap Chinese labour and the rich oilfields of Saudi Arabia underpin today's global economy" -- I sure hope that someone told Steven Jobs that before he wasted his time trying to innovate and create immensely valuable and desirable products out of base metals, sand and electronic bits. And then finally this old chestnut: "Broadcast media...transformed the ability of manufacturers to sell their products through advertising. Modern economic growth can now rely on marketing agencies developing elaborate strategies for convincing millions of consumers to buy products not found in nature that no one really needs," by which Lloyd apparently means that ONLY products found in nature can satisfy a TRUE human need, which is a belief that I am sure Lloyd adheres to rigorously in his personal life.

But the good news is that Lloyd's book is not a product found in nature and therefore we can ignore it without doing damage to our "state of nature" or violating a "more natural order". And I suggest that this is one area where we should follow Lloyd's preaching. But nowhere else. Please.


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