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Mr. S. Varaitch "msp4realmf" (UK)

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VAUDE Bike Gaiter Short black Size:40 43
VAUDE Bike Gaiter Short black Size:40 43
Offered by faguru
Price: £19.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Best bit of cycling kit, 11 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I commute 40miles every weekday on my 29er along muddy canal towpaths; and without doubt this is the best piece of kit for keeping socks/shoes clean of crap. I would advise buyers to buy one size bigger than shoe size, as the Velcro fit does tend to be a little too snug.


The Autobiography of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh
The Autobiography of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful biography of a true Sikh, 6 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book starts of rather ponderously with an account of the political situation in India at the time of the arrest of Bhai Randhir Singh Ji for his part in the Lahore Conspiracy (agitation to get rid of the British Raj over India), however after this prologue starts the autobiography of Bhai Randhir Singh Ji which chronicles his 16 years spent in various jails as a political prisoner.

The account is moving and raw with the descriptions of the many humiliations faced by Bhai Randhir Singn Ji emotional to read. His interactions with various jailers demonstrate with clarity the conduct demanded of Sikhs even when faced with depressing and hopeless situations.

My highlight of the book comes from Bhai Randhir Singh Ji interaction with Bhagat Singh in which Bhair Randhir Singh Ji admonishes Bhagat Singh for desecrating his Sikh appearance. In this passage Bhai Randhir Singh Ji argument about Sikhi being above the petty trivialities of personal ego and fame really spoke to me.

A highly recommend read for Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike on how to live an honourable life with the upmost integrity.


Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (Vintage)
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (Vintage)
by Robert B. Reich
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A compelling diagnosis with solutions for the US economy, 27 Dec 2013
Interesting analysis on the founding of the Fed by Marriner Eccles - the author focuses on the many similarities between the 2008 recession and the great depression. The middle class stagnation of wages plays an important part of Reich's polemic.

Reich instead of just diagnosing the many causes of the 2008 recession also has an interesting array of policy measures the US government can take to prevent another such crisis; such as negative taxation for those who earn under a certain salary.

The enduring issue to come out of having read 'Aftershock' is the pervasive income inequality that has emerged since the start of the Reagan era (i.e. the creation of the '1%'). Reich's fanciful future in which a demagog ('Margaret Jones') might appear is a useful rhetorical device.


End This Depression Now! (Unabridged)
End This Depression Now! (Unabridged)
Offered by Audible Ltd
Price: £16.45

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macroeconomics explained, 7 Jun 2012
I suspect that the impact of this book will very much be along ideological grounds - which is a shame as I sense from Krugman a politcial evenhandedness that is absent from his NYT blog. Krugman points out in equal measure areas of cognitive dissonance from both democrats and republicans regarding the economy. He also indirectly conveys hows difficult economists find it to break from strongly held internalised theories of how macroeconomics works even in the face of data telling otherwise (a trait also prominent in Science).

Krugman gives a convincing account of the OECD countries current state of economic malaise - highlighting that the USA is in a classic liquidity trap - whereby a simultaneous paying down of debt has led to a collapse in demand. Krugman makes the point that it is legitimate in this scenario for the state to drive demand via a stimulus.

A excellent book on economics that is praiseworthy because of the clarity of descriptions given. Well worth reading even if you regard Krugman as an ideological bÍte noire.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2012 10:34 AM BST


Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
by Nick Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A contemporary successor to 'On the Origin of Species', 31 Dec 2011
1. A wonderful book in which the author outlines in detail 10 key biochemical ideas which add considerable weight in support of Darwin's theory of evolution. As a biochemistry lecturer I was pleasantly surprised as to the level of detail the author adds and the demands he makes of his readers. I suspect that readers who do not have a reasonably grasp of A-level (level 3) biology or chemistry might struggle with chapters 1 & 3 (where the electron transport chain is discussed in both cellular respiration and photosynthesis).

2. Nick Lane has achieved an almost herculean task on making sense of 10 disparate systems and integrating them all into one gestalt piece. The author's style is such that the technical detail is never dry nor superfluous in the task of making the concept as clear to understand as possible. Nick lane laces the narrative with vignettes on the key scientists (and disputes ...see Martin Braiser vs Bill Schopf) and his own internal monologue. The book also gives due credit to the German evolutionary theorist August Weismann - who barely achieves a footnote in most English language Biology textbooks.

3. A quite wonderful read that deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe as Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species'. A pleasure to be read and re-read.


Piratica: The Family Sea: No. 3
Piratica: The Family Sea: No. 3
by Tanith Lee
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 26 Dec 2011
1. Like most of Tanith Lee's narratives, the main protagonist is a strong but ephemeral female. However Piratica trilogy marks a slight narrative change in that Piractica or 'Art' has issues with her barely mention father. Nevertheless the dysfunctional mother/daughter motif in Lee's fiction does come to the fore when Art herself has a daughter in 'The Family Sea'.

2. The first book is extremely engaging and has some marvelous comedic vignettes. As an adventure story it works well on multiple levels with a cryptic series of clues to the treasure map which is enjoyable.

3. The second and third books are slightly darker however there are comic touches in both but this never reaches the level of the first installment. The third book was rather disappointing with many loose ends and a unsatisfying denouement.


The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living
The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living
by Fritjof Capra
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Adding more Yin to your Yang, 23 Dec 2011
1. Fritjof Capra's "the hidden connections" is a book of ideas. Capra explains in detail a conceptual framework that integrates biological, cognitive and social dimensions of life which allows for a systematic evaluation to a series of important issues.

2. I found Capra's book remarkable in having been prescient enough (published in 2002) to predict the failings of capitalism - as evidenced so spectacularly in 2008.

3. Capra makes the point that globalisation and financial deregulation has lead to a world economy where profit and loss are no longer determined by local factors and the cyclic supply and demand cycle. However "...today's global economy is structured around a network if financial flows in which capital works in real time, moving rapidly from one option to another...[thereby inducing capital flight and creating a full blown economic crisis].

4. Of interest is the expert way in Capra manages to summarise a whole series of conceptually awkward ideas in a brief series of passages. For example Capra summarises the Central Dogma of Molecular Genetics in the most succinct manner that I have ever read it and also explains the political machinations behind the public and private institutions that competed to decode the Human Genome first (up until reading the book I had no idea as to how important a role James [Jim] Kent played).

5. Capra essentially refutes the simplistic Genetic deterministic view of behaviour in favour for the more nuanced systematic role that epigentics plays.

6. Moving forward, Capra suggests that the masculine paradigm be changed for one that remakes masculine into an algorithm that embraces co-operation and systematic thinking.

7. Several authors are quoted extensively throughout the text, namely Vandana Shiva and Manuel Castells - both of whom I will be reading further. A thought provoking and easy-going read - I would definitely recommend


Stuff Matters: Genius, Risk and the Secret of Capitalism
Stuff Matters: Genius, Risk and the Secret of Capitalism
by Harry Bingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.78

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book does not matter, 2 Jun 2011
1. The book is subtitled "Genius, Risk and the Secret of Capitalism". The book offers no such insight. Instead the reader is subjected to a series of schizophrenic annotates and stereotypes that belong in the confines of a pub rather than in the published form.

2. Its difficult to detect any gestalt narrative as the author jumps from one theme to another based upon a series of nouns, e.g. 'Markets', 'Investors', the nebulous 'Agents' etc. The author seems to believe that the 'Lakshmi Mittal' story is more incredulous than the 'Zuckerberg' story simply because Mittal grew up without electricity. The author negates any mention of the Mittal's comparative advantage, e.g. political connections, access to loan guarantees, extensive knowledge of steel manufacturing etc. Has the author ever read Adam Smith!

3. The most obnoxious view the author has is his sneering condescension of the fact that Italians invented double entry book keeping (more specifically it was a Venetian, Luca Pacioli). The authors sneering condescension coming from the implication that all Italians are tax evading wide-boys (nudge nudge wink wink!).

4. A really cringe worthy and messy book, the equivalent of spending half an hour with the local pub bore.


Dark Watch: Oregon Files #3: A Novel from the Oregon Files
Dark Watch: Oregon Files #3: A Novel from the Oregon Files
by Clive Cussler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brazen ignorance, 22 July 2010
I'm well aware that this genre of book is aimed at those who wish for escapism, however the general geopolitical ignorance displayed by Clive Cussler's (with the aid of Jack du Brul - who supposedly has a degree in International Relations) novel is galling.

The most prominent of errors is the depiction of tge villian 'Shere Singh' - the name 'Shere Singh' is a tautology both the words Singh and Shere mean Lion; no Sikh has the name Shere Singh, it would akin to calling someone William Guillermo or Diego James.

The Sikh 'Shere Singh' smokes - a action which is prohibited in Sikhism.

Shere Singh proclaims the name of 'Allah' for whilst being shot - the Sikhs proclaim Wahguru as their godhead not Allah.

One of the Sikh henchmen is called Mohammed Singh (Ha Ha) ...No Sikh would be called 'Mohammed'; it is an Islamic name not a Sikh name.

Please Clive Cussler and Jack du Brul, endeavour to commit to basic research in future before depicting such a farcical nemisis.

On the actually book, i found it shallow and cliched.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2011 11:09 AM GMT


Littlejohn's Britain
Littlejohn's Britain
by Richard Littlejohn
Edition: Hardcover

26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...the literary event of the decade, 7 May 2007
This review is from: Littlejohn's Britain (Hardcover)
Wow...this tome is powerful stuff.

I could spout off endless superlatives about Littlejohn's masterful technique and sophisticated use of the English Language, but that would not even begin to describe the impact this epoch defining book has had on me.

More over Amis, Self and Brooker there's a new wordsmith in town and he ain't takin' no prisoners.

Well done Littlejohn, ...keep on keeping on!!


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