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A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes
A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes
by Stephen Hawking
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

32 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Book, 25 April 2003
This is a poor book. Stephen Hawking knows his stuff, but he is very bad at conveying that information to others. He doesn't go into enough detail to allow the user to understand the physics behind the subject and consequently the book has a very "so-there", "Because it just is!!" quality to it. For example, Early in the book he states that time moves slower close to the gravitational field of a large object, like the earth. He doesn't go into any detail, or explain this. I know that it it because gravity and acceleration are the same, and as einstien showed, going faster causes time to move slower. But if I wasn't familiar with relativity I wouldn't have understood this, and wouldn't have felt that I had learned anything.
I hit problems at chapter 6, "Black Holes" because I know very little about them, and thus didn't feel like could follow the chapter. The book has a reputation of being one in which people can't get past the first few chapters. Well I think this is why.
A better example of a good way to learn a subject is through the books of Richard Dawkins. Upon reading his books I always come away with an excellant understanding of the topic. It's a shame that this book wasn't in a similar style.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2011 12:36 AM BST

Contact (Special Edition) [1997] [DVD]
Contact (Special Edition) [1997] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jodie Foster
Price: £4.18

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellant Film For Seeing The Aitheist Point Of View, 19 April 2003
This is a good film. But for me, the greatest apeal was being given a chance to see how Atheists feel about having religion forced upon them, and in this case, about having her life's dream destoryed by those people.

40 Days And 40 Nights [DVD] [2002]
40 Days And 40 Nights [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Josh Hartnett
Price: £1.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor, 19 April 2003
This film was not in the least bit believable. It portrays women as being just as promiscuous as men, so that to go 40 days and nights resisting sex would be a real challenge.
Life isn't like that, I gave up on it half way through.
If you want a good teen, sex comedy go for the American Pie movies, or maybe Road Trip.

The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex
The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex
by Charles Darwin
Edition: Paperback

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 14 April 2003
This book is brilliant. However, you must read it in it's own time. Darwin wrote this at a time when people saw humans as being at the top of the ladder that was evolution. This was also a time when Europeans thought themselves to be superior to the rest of the world. This seemed a natural conclusions since they were more advanced, richer and had conquered almost the whole world.
This book is beutifull. Darwin had obviously found mass condemnation from The Origin Of Species,. but also mass acceptance by many, especially from the scientific community. This book is written by a true scientist, who backs up his arguments with as much evidence as possible, but without going overboard. His target audience is not the ignorant who refuse to accept evolution regardless of the available evidence. When read in context, and freed from the fear of mass condemnation which haunted Darwin throughout The Origin Of Species we are given a chance to really see Darwin's genius. When reading this I got the impression that Darwin, freed from the narrow minded ideas of his own time, and given a slight push, could have taken the theory of evolution and advanced it to it's modern state.
It is true that Darwin's theory has been twisted as a justification of the holocaust, and other racial crimes. However, it must be pointed out that Evolution is not alone, many theories can be twisted to justify evil. Also, there is another way of looking at the ladder theory of evolution, which is the way in which the British empire took it. The British helped out other peoples throughout the world, and the plan at least was to stand them up on their own two feet.
There is a very interesting point in thie edition. Karl Marx loved the idea of survival of the fittest. He interpreted man as a being which always advanced to the next level. He therefore concluded that since Capitalism would collapse, something he spent his life writing about, that man would implement the better system, ie Communism. However, Darwin comments that man does not instinctivly advance to the next level, commenting that many "savages" don't advance. Also, neither did the Romans, who were quite content to continue as they were, disproving Marx's supposition.
This is an excellant book, which must be read in it's time, not with a modern mind, or with retrospective knowledge of the holocaust.

Contact (Special Edition) [1997] [DVD]
Contact (Special Edition) [1997] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jodie Foster
Price: £4.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant For Understanding Aitheism, 20 Jan 2003
This is an excellant film for any non-atheists who want to see the aitheist point of view.

The Origin of Species
The Origin of Species
by Charles Darwin
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Piece Of History, 12 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Origin of Species (Hardcover)
An excellant book. However, if you know a bit about evolution and want to know more this is not the ideal book. This is a piece of history rather than a science book. It is famous for being inaccurate with the fine details, as those details weren't known at that time. If you forget that Darwin gives that fact to you bluntly in the first chapter. When I was reading this book I found myself saying out loud to the book "ok, I get the point, now get to the interesting stuff!" This is because Darwin tries his best to convince the audiance that Evolution is fact and tries to prove this to the reader. reading this in the 21st century I never doubted that evolution is fact. However, I eventually sat back and realised the real beauty of this book. It was Darwin's attempt to convince the world that evolution and not divine intervention control nature. The book is essentially one big argument and for that reason it is excellant read as a piece of history. If you know absolutly nothing about evolution then this is a good place to start, since it's audience had never heard of evolution. However, I would advise reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins immediatly afterwards as this will bring you up to date.
Another piece of beauty from this book lies in Darwin's mention of Man. He makes hardly any references to Man, and doesn't mention that Man is descended from apes, but makes major hints that he believes that natural selection is just as applicable to man.
This is an excellant read.

The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)
The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)
by Karl Marx
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

23 of 149 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not The Genius He's Made Out To Be!, 17 Nov 2002
I was born in 1980 as such I am a member of the generation, which is now becoming adult and has never known fearing a nuclear war. Therefore my generation is the first that can look upon Communism in a new light.
We know that communism doesn't work, and why, however, many people from previous generations in my opinion fall into two categories. There are those who try to tell us that Communism is evil and put their argument along with such a passion as if they are desperate to convince everyone not to adopt it.
There are the others who tell us that the communism doesn't work (as was clear in the living standards in communist Russia), but only because of the oppressive reigemes which run it and that (This is a direct quote from a man in his late 50s)
"If Communism was practiced as it was preached it would be the ideal system.".
However, History has shown that Communism doesn't work because, as all Socialogical, Psychological and evolutionary theories now show, people will not work for the good of the community. They will only work to help themselves. Hence in Communist Russia there was no drive and the country fell way behind.
With Regard to The Communist Manifesto (Finally!), I have not read any of Karl Marx' other works, but going off this I have to tell you that I was bitterly dissapointed. Karl Marx falls into one of the above catagories. He hates the ruling Bourgeous and wants to destroy it. When you read this book you can feel the hatred he has for the ruling classes, and you can feel that he wants to systematically destroy them. With all the praise his works have been given over the decades I expected this to be a rational, reasoned, objective, well researched and though out text, almost scientific in it's approach. This is nothing of the sort.
Karl Marx sees only what he wants to see.
"It has been objected that upon abolition of provate property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
According to this, bourheois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work acquire nothing, and those who aquire anything,do not work."
I expected upon reading this to find an ingenious method for overcoming the problem of there being no incentive to work. Indeed communist systems had been tried before Karl Marx, although obviously on a very small scale. The problem all of these systems encountered was one of how to stop those who ate lots and contributed nothing. Instead of an ingenious idea we see the above. The bourheois [ruling classes (bosses)] work because there is something in it for them, even if it's only in the form of status and career, and you will notice that they always allocate themselves easy, (or at least, not hard physical) tasks. They get other people to do the manual labour, for which they have to pay them. No-one who is in a manual labour job would work if they stopped getting paid for it. Believe me I know! But Karl Marx accepts the above because it's what he wants to see. History has shown that the inequality of wealth is a necessary evil for a society to be prosperous, and every country which has tried to equalise wealth has come close to economic ruin. You only have to look at Great Britain during the 1970s.
A relative of mine who lived through 1970s Britain and observed all of the trade union members who called strikes for silly little things and who preached the abolition of wealth can often talk of the realism of communists. They are jeallous of the rich and want rid of them for that reason. In every case, those who preach the abolition of wealth often forget what they preach when they get a lot of money. This can also be observed in many communist rulers in various communist reigemes throughout Europe (prior to the 1990s)
To sum up, this book is a big dissapointment. I am only going off one of his shortest texts, but this shows that Karl Marx is not an enlightened man, only one who for whatever reason (I don't know anything about his personal history hated the ruling classes and the rich and wanted to see them destroyed by taking away that which makes them powerfull. Many abuse victims often want to excert the same fate upon their abusers. A similar type of pyshcology can be observed here if you carefull read between the lines.
"The abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independance, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at."
If you want to read a book about Communism I would recommend 'Communism A History' By Richard Pipes. In my opinion it's writer falls into the category of those who want to passionatly convince the world of the evils of Communism, and as such it must be read with an open mind, but it does however, go into more detail on those things which Karl Marx Chose to ignore and give a better overview of the realities of Communism.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2012 4:43 PM BST

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