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Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford)
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The Handbook of Mobile Market Research: Tools and Techniques for Market Researchers
The Handbook of Mobile Market Research: Tools and Techniques for Market Researchers
by Ray Poynter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Setting the ethical framework, 26 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As the author says this is more of a reference guide than a learning guide,but it is immensely useful, especially in putting mobile market research into an ethical framework. If you are going to collect market research data through mobile networks then this is going to be a legal minefield with regard to privacy and consent.

Where the book is less strong is on the analysis of the data and so if you are looking for a big data book then you need to look elsewhere, but for anyone setting up mobile market research this is a must for their bookshelf.


Cole & Mason 190 mm Dark Wood and Stainless Steel Oldbury Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill, Brown
Cole & Mason 190 mm Dark Wood and Stainless Steel Oldbury Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill, Brown
Price: £31.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish sophistication and a pepper mill as well., 22 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is not just a pepper mill it is also a design statement. The finish and the materials are excellent, but what I like most is the precision settings for the coarseness of the grind. You can go from fine (not perhaps the finest you will ever get) to extremely coarse. This adjustment is made by twisting the metal band at the bottom between the different settings. This is easy from fine to coarse but a bit harder to do when moving from coarse to fine because of the corns in the milling mechanism, but this is an excellent and well designed feature that is a huge improvement on the screw adjustment mechanisms I am used to.


Philips GU10 LED Spotlight Dimmable Light Bulb (4.5 W) - Warm White
Philips GU10 LED Spotlight Dimmable Light Bulb (4.5 W) - Warm White
Price: £10.06

4.0 out of 5 stars A good LED replacement for a halogen spotlight., 2 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A warm yellow light that matches very well with the halogens in the same light fitting. I prefer the look of the more expensive (double the price) Philips spot LEDs which give a single point of light rather than the cluster of 4 LEDs but that is cosmetic and this is a value bulb.


Evolution and the Theory of Games
Evolution and the Theory of Games
by John Maynard Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £40.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The fundamental text, but fundamentally flawed., 25 Sept. 2014
There is a video of Richard Feynman explaining how science is guesses and then you compare them to reality and when you find that reality is different then your guess is wrong. That is the main problem I have with Maynard-Smith's book. I am an admirer of some of JMS's work and he was a very influential biologist. This book is very highly cited and has founded a whole branch of biological studies, but this does not contradict my view that most of it is wrong. The problem is that these models just don't fit reality. They are overly simple as JMS admits in the later chapters but they miss a few very important features of real biology that make them useful only in exceptional cases rather than more generally. These features are:

1) The models have no noise - there is no fuzziness to the behaviour, all the strategies are pure or mixtures of pure strategies. This is not natural and does not happen in nature.
2) The models all assume selective pressure and ignore the neutral theory of evolution. This is also not biologically true.
3) Information is assumed to be either explicitly or implicitly shared perfectly. This never happens in reality even self-awareness of information is only partial for his asymmetric cases. For example I do not know how good I am at a game compared to someone else. I could have an overly inflated view of my abilities.
4) Why is self-interest compulsory at all times? Where does that come from in nature unless there is a conflict for resources? Live and let live is more typical in abundant systems.
5) All the models are at equilibrium where the conflict for resources has been evident, but in reality this doesn't happen that quickly.
6) The models fail and he has to resort to population genetics to explain Fisher's model of sexual selection.
7) He could not calculate the optimal strategy for the repeated prisoner's dilemma until Rapoport showed that it was tit-for-tat.

Those are the science reasons why the book is wrong. Then coming to the writing itself JMS makes many jumps in arguments that leave the reader stranded. For example he mentions proofs involving Selton's theorem without explaining what it is or where it came from.

Some might find it a classic and I was expecting to be one of them, but in the end I was disappointed and I think that the ideas have been shown to be ultimately flawed. You would do a lot better reading Brian Goodwin's alternative views.


Complexity: A Guided Tour
Complexity: A Guided Tour
by Melanie Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful refresher with the odd insightful nugget thrown in, 17 Sept. 2014
This is a tour of the key themes of complexity and much of the content you can find in books on the specific components, such as Watts and Strogatz books on Networks or Chaos, Benoit Mandelbrot on Fractals, Stuart Kaufman on his RBN models, Axelrod on cooperation and Wolfram on Cellular Automata. I have read a lot of the original books but it is nice to see the authors gloss on them, especially as she neatly summarises the possible flaws in the models and updates (well until 2008) the current position with contrasting views.

For me it is useful as I had put these ideas on the back burner after seeing Systems Biology burn bright and fail pretty quickly at about the time this was written. That is because there were and still are a lot of band wagon jumpers trying to get the grants and the papers without doing the hard graft to solve the real deep problems. So for me the last chapter where the author acknowledges how difficult progress is sums up the problem. She could have added catastrophe theory to the failed attempts and also the meetings set up by Waddington in Theoretical Biology. The problems are hard and even with computers we are left stuck on what is the right framework and what are the right questions. As she sums up in the conclusion we are waiting for Carnot and the book has no more answers than the sum of its parts.


Teaching for Quality Learning at University (Society for Research Into Higher Education)
Teaching for Quality Learning at University (Society for Research Into Higher Education)
by John Biggs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.69

5.0 out of 5 stars If you are teaching in Higher Education this book will change your life, or at least your teaching., 12 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book should become a standard text for all teaching staff in Higher Education. If you are being taught by someone who has not read it or if you are in a University that does not apply constructive alignment then as a student you should be worried. It should be on every higher education teacher's bookshelf and you should check that they have read it.

Constructive alignment is one of the most powerful tools we have for improving higher education. If it could filter down to secondary education then even better, but there are arguments for the militaristic approach that is currently the norm. This takes students back to an experiential way of learning - much more like primary school, but with the required maturity that you should have amongst higher education students (that is why it probably would be a disaster at secondary level).

Many academics will resist this progressive approach but the simple selling points are that you get higher grades, better outcomes and better student feedback for doing less teaching. Do less and get more who could possibly object to that. Less of the dirge of the lecture and more of the inspiration and mentoring, more time for research and less time for regurgitation. This book is a classic and should define where higher education goes from here. This is a starting point and the ideas will develop in a multi-structural way, but this is a paradigm changing book.


Nature Pure Potent Raspberry Ketone
Nature Pure Potent Raspberry Ketone
Price: £14.88

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave me unpleasant side effects, use with caution., 10 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I decided to see whether all these claims about Raspberry ketone were true and to give it a test. I am a professional statistician and scientist, but one with an open mind about natural remedies. I am very wary of fad diets like Atkins and Dukan which promote a low carbohydrate diet. One of the side effects of these diets is that the body changes the metabolic pathways used and so you get ketone breath. So I know that ketone metabolic pathways are related to low blood glucose and also to diabetes and insulin levels.

I took the first tablet at night as recommended with water before the evening meal. It is worth noting that many diets suggest drinking a large glass of water before meals as this fills the stomach and suppresses appetite as well as helping digestion, so this would have a weightloss effect on its own without the ketone. The first thing to notice is that the pills repeats leaving the taste of raspberry in your mouth all the time. The next day I woke up with a very severe attack of vertigo. I had strong nausea and a loss of balance, this was coupled with sweating and dehydration, even though I had drunk the large glass of water and more. The nausea lasted for most of the day, which I spent in bed.

I waited a week before trying another tablet and by then I had developed a strong aversion to both their smell and taste. Sometimes it is wise to listen to what your body tells you but I tried another tablet just to make sure the nausea was caused by the tablets and not some other cause such as a virus. Again I had the nausea within an hour of taking the tablet, although less strongly. These are some of the symptoms of ketone poisoning. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html.

The problem is with all unregulated supplements that suppose to have medical effect is that there can be side effects and for me this includes the severe nausea and confusion. This might suggest that I am borderline diabetic (there is some family history of type I and type II), but there are other possibilities. These side effects will not happen for everyone because everyone has different metabolic properties and a different diet, but for me and possibly others raspberry ketones provoke a strong negative reaction. So beware and use with caution. The rest of the tablets are going into the composter.


Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies
Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies
by Howard Wainer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Statistically sound, but totally wrong about the point of education, 30 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have previously read Wainer's book on Medical Statistics and he is an excellent statistician and excellent proponent of using appropriate quantitative measures to present data. The problem is that education is not like that. I wrote a review of Academically Adrift and it has the same fatal flaws. Until I read Biggs and Tang - Teaching for Quality Learning at University I could not put it into words as to why I feel the approach is wrong, but it is basically because quantification in education is a nonsense. Exams are a nonsense.

What education is seeking to do is produce a person who can have a successful life and play a part in society. This might mean helping them towards their career, or just helping them live their everyday lives. So in what way does an exam test that this is true? Yes it doesn't and it never did. They are falling into the trap of what is called a Level 1 teacher where you only think about facts and what the student is learning, rather than what the student does in learning. Politicians always take this approach because it means measures and metrics and standards and "equality". When in reality this means an educational monoculture that grinds down the best parts of human creativity and individuality. It is like living in some machine world where we turn out students in batches and our aim is increased productivity. Education is not a machine and exams are a poor surrogate measure for real-life.

So all his arguments are correct if quantification matters and if quantification makes for fairness and meritocracy. He shows that there is a strong correlation between entrance exams and final degree exams. This shows that if I can do exams at the end of High School, I can still do the same sort of exams (multiple guess in the US) at the end of my under-graduate degree, But this does not mean anything about my higher order thinking skills.

Then he says that choice in exams introduces unfairness as weak students choose badly. In the UK University exam choice is the norm and not the exception. In the UK we mark essays, not with gradate students but with faculty and we do not use multiple choice anywhere nearly as extensively as in the US. The emphasis is on the higher thinking skills. He is right you can grade a student on the choices they make and the first lines they write because this tells you if they know what they are talking about in a second. It is not unfair it just exaggerates the differences between weak and strong students and so choice makes a mockery of the metrics you use. That is the real problem. The quantitative approach breaks-down when you do this. It is not fairness that is the problem but that nasty introduction of subjectivity to blur the nice clear metrics. Good students still get good degrees and weak students get poor ones. This is the core problem of quantitative measures in education - they do not work and cannot work in a complex system. We know this from medicine, and we even know it from the maths of non-linearity.

So how to solve the problem? Well biology does this kind of optimisation all the time, and so does the economy (although economists do not). It is simply natural selection, or the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Simply put if you set enough assessments of different types and styles with enough different staff marking to different personal preferences, eventually all of that subjectivity filters out and the answer you get at the end is the right one. It is not neat and tidy, but this pragmatic solution will always be superior to any amount of analytics and attempts to mechanise the methods.

In the end I agree most with the Epilogue which is about how Education needs to continually change to try and improve. Wainer says that it should be by incremental exploration and this is also a feature of an evolving system under natural selection. There is an example of how this has worked in the political arena in the development of the British Constitution. There is considerable danger in taking a big bang (US and German constitution) approach to education and we should be very afraid of any minister or expert who suggests large scale changes.


Ultrasport Men's Biking Pant - Black/Victoria Blue, Small
Ultrasport Men's Biking Pant - Black/Victoria Blue, Small
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and comfortable, 29 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is not a lot to say about cycle shorts. So long as they fit, they have enough padding and they don't roll up on your thighs there is not a lot else to say. I have quite large thighs and so riding up is never a problem. They have plenty of padding - perhaps a bit too much but depending on your saddle you might never have too much. There is a small zip pocket at the back which is useful for your bike lock key, or house key. I like the design which is more interesting than the plain black and they look like they will be hard wearing. The seams gave in my last pair quite quickly and the material wore out where it rubbed. These look like they will last longer, but only time will tell.


Philips YS527/17 Click and Style 2-in-1 Shave and Stubble
Philips YS527/17 Click and Style 2-in-1 Shave and Stubble
Price: £49.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Works best wet, 29 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is a long time since I last used an electric razor and so I thought that I would give this one a go. I am not really in the intended age range as it is intended for young men with less bristles and lighter hair growth. So for me the two circular cutters did not work very well as a dry shaver especially around the neck. Using it wet gave much better results and a smooth shave. My only problem then is the under nose region and the side-burns but I suppose that takes practice. All around I think that it is a good first electric razor, it is stylish, quite light and does the job. But for the more mature and stubbly man, you need something stronger.


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