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Mr. A. Baron "a_baron" (England)
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unbounding the future , the nanotechnology revolution
unbounding the future , the nanotechnology revolution

4.0 out of 5 stars Unbounding The Future, 28 July 2014
When this book was published at the start of the 1990s, no one had heard of 3-D printing, which is set to revolutionise manufacturing and so much more over the next decade or two. "Unbounding The Future" concerns nanotechnology, which was thought to be the next big thing then. It wasn't of course, that was the Internet, but it will surely have its day, indeed if it doesn't, Mankind is sunk.

This book is extremely optimistic, and outlines some of the benefits we – or the next generation - can look forward to. How about organisms that break down waste and pollutants leaving us with a pristine environment, power too cheap to meter, and nanomachines that seek and destroy cancer cells within the human body?

The authors believe there will be costs and dangers associated with the new technology as well, but these are problems that can be overcome. The big question is why are governments and corporations worldwide making only nominal investments in nanotech instead of fracking and other lunacies?


The Chess Player's Battle Manual: Equip Yourself for Competitive Play
The Chess Player's Battle Manual: Equip Yourself for Competitive Play
by Nigel Davies
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The Chess Player's Battle Manual, 27 July 2014
This book came to my attention via a Usenet post when someone asked me if I were the Baron whose game appeared therein. I said I thought not, but when I checked it out, I found I was. Seeing my name in print at that time always appealed to my vanity, but I was less than pleased to see I had been cast as the idiot who didn't know how to defend the King's Gambit, especially as I actually won this game from the previous year. (Non-believers can find the full game, annotated by Yours Truly, on Archive.Org).

Leaving that aside, this is a book that is actually worth studying; its aim is threefold: to equip the average club player against any opening, to round his middlegame, and to help him win in the ending. That is a lot to do in a hundred and sixty pages but any club player who studies this book will gain something from it. There is also some quite basic stuff like the Lucena position and Philidor's position in the rook endings, but by the time this book was written, chess already had a vast literature, one that is still expanding to this day, which is one reason I'm glad I opted out of it a decade ago.


The Back: Relief from Pain (Positive Health Guide)
The Back: Relief from Pain (Positive Health Guide)
by Alan Stoddard
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The Back: Relief From Pain, 27 July 2014
Broadly speaking there are three parts to this book: the good doctor tells the reader a bit about the back from the perspective of human biology/medicine; how to avoid back pain and back problems generally; and what to do if for whatever reason you are unable to avoid them.

There are plenty of diagrams of both men and women from the self-help perspective showing the reader how to sit at a desk and how not to, how to position himself in the car, how to perform back exercises, and so on. There are also brief discussions of treatment from both massage and surgical corsets to the extreme, namely surgery. The longer you live, the more likely you are to suffer some form of back pain, but hopefully this is one book you will buy as unnecessary insurance rather than as a remedy. I wish I could say the same.


Out There: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Out There: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
by Howard Blum
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Out There, 27 July 2014
Did a mainstream publishing house really put out this book, and in hardback at that? Sadly, yes. Any book that includes the MJ-12 saucer crash documents as an appendix without a strong disclaimer should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Or maybe a boulder.

The thesis of “Out There” is that the US Government has – or had – a secret department whose remit was/is to investigate UFOs. That claim is not controversial but according to arch-UFO skeptic Philip Klass, this is simply not true, furthermore, the book is riddled with errors. Klass reviewed “Out There”, he also appeared alongside Blum with Oprah Winfrey. He appears in the book too, but whatever his opinion on UFOs, this book has nothing to say. It may be there are people here and there within the US and other governments looking at UFO reports on an ad hoc basis, in fact there almost certainly are, but that is no excuse for either poor scholarship or sloppy research.

Philip Klass died in 2005; the much younger Howard Blum is still alive and still putting out books by mainstream publishers. Hopefully they have more to say than this one, but don't count on it.


Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation
Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation
by Joe Nickell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £34.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Camera Clues, 27 July 2014
This is a review of the 1994 hardback edition. Joe Nickell is a leading skeptic, but this is not a book for skeptics, or at least not only for only for skeptics. The history of photography is discussed going back before the daguerreotypes. How do you date old photographs? Clues can be found herein, and fakes, these abound. There is a chapter on trick photography as distinct from fake photography, and the lengthy chapter on photographing the paranormal goes back to American con-man William Mumler; ectoplasm rears its ethereal head, as do flying saucers and the Loch Ness monster. Apart from honest mistakes, paranormal photography is by definition fakery, with the notable exception of Kirlian photography which can be abused by New Age cranks but does not involve fakery per se.

This is all good stuff, but the age of digital photography has been with us for some time, so don't expect to be able to spot the fakes so easily in future, if at all.


Google: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
Google: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
by Sarah Milstein
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Google: The Missing Manual, 26 July 2014
Computers have changed so fast since this book appeared that this first edition is more of a history book than a manual. Nevertheless, there is quite a lot of useful material in it. The nature of programming is such that by and large the old version is forwardly compatible.

There is also quite a lot of historical background here, but everything else has moved forward. Well, almost everything, Google Groups is now a shadow of its former self. There are sections on search tools, shopping, advice for webmasters, and so on. For the latter there is also a section on getting rid of Google. Now who today in his right mind would want to do that?


Nella: A Psychic Eye - How to See into the Mind, the Future and the Beyond
Nella: A Psychic Eye - How to See into the Mind, the Future and the Beyond
by Nella Jones
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nella: A Psychic Eye, 25 July 2014
Nella Jones was an evil old woman and an habitual liar. In 1991 she was humiliated by James Randi who put her psychic "gifts" to the test. Jones claimed to have assisted the police on many occasions; she had her supporters, according to this book one with the appropriate name Detective Constable Neil Pratt, or perhaps that should be Defective Constable, kneal prat!

Naturally this book had a ghost writer, but Mandy Bruce was a journalist rather than an ectoplasm, and a true believer, unless she wrote astrology columns purely for the cash. If you bought this book, you wasted your money, unless you read it as the work of fiction it is.


Great Games by Chess Prodigies
Great Games by Chess Prodigies
by Fred Reinfeld
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Games By Chess Prodigies, 25 July 2014
The good thing about this book is that being written in an earlier age it is entirely in real - ie English classical - notation. The disappointing thing is that it includes the games of only 4 prodigies with the lion's share devoted to Fischer. Surely there have been more than that? Not the great Alekhine, who paid his dues, but how about Tal? The Magician from Riga was known for his creative fantasy. Whatever, this book includes quite a few games that all county standard players will recognise, such as Morphy's famous "Barber Of Seville" against two aristocrats, and Fischer's 1956 brilliancy prize at the age of 13 against Donald Byrne at New York.

Also included is Fischer's miniature against Reshevsky in the Accelerated Dragon, or it would have been a miniature if the book's third prodigy had resigned after blundering away his queen for two minor pieces and a pawn in the opening chasing what Harry Golombek used to call the advantage of two bishops.

Fred Reinfeld was a prolific chess author and an extremely strong player in his own right; while this is as good as most of his books, it remains to be seen if all the games herein can be called great simply because they were played by prodigies.

(The above is a review of the 1967 hardback edition).


Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. Clairview Books. 2010.
Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. Clairview Books. 2010.
by Antony C. SUTTON
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wall Street And The Rise Of Hitler, 24 July 2014
This is the third in a series of books about inconvenient history by an iconoclastic author. Antony C. Sutton became a very reluctant conspiracy theorist, but what else can this be called? "Wall Street And The Rise Of Hitler" is a thoroughly documented book but it should be read in conjunction with "Who Financed Hitler..." by James and Suzanne Pool. It is clear that although the Wall Street insiders were happy with the Communists they were not so happy with the Nazis. The reason why can be found in the programme of the Nazi Party, which is reproduced as an appendix. This was written not by Hilter but by Gottfried Feder. Although a committed anti-Semite, Feder hit the nail bang on the head with regard to usury. If Hitler had adopted his ideas re finance and ignored or at least toned down his rhetoric on the Jewish Question, the Second World War might have been avoided and as A.K. Chesterton said, he might have delivered Mankind the greatest gift since Prometheus stole the fire from Heaven.

Antony Sutton's life was devoted to exposing the scams of big money, and for that reason his works are still largely ignored today, including by the so-called radicals of the extreme anti-capitalist left. Anti-capitalist indeed.

For the record, I actually bought the hardback over thirty years ago.


The Bumper Book of Government Waste 2008: Brown's Squandered Billions
The Bumper Book of Government Waste 2008: Brown's Squandered Billions
by Matthew Elliott
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars The Bumper Book Of Government Waste 2008, 24 July 2014
This book tells us what we all know – governments waste considerable sums of money. Some of this is wisdom in hindsight, some of it may not be waste at all in the proper sense. If you lived in the same house for twenty years without any major problems, was your fire insurance a waste? Was your burglar alarm superfluous? Some of the figures in this book are also arguable, nevertheless, there are some very interesting ones. On page 45, the CEO of Network Rail is listed as one of the top ten earners in the public sector, yet Network Rail is run in effect as a private limited company, one that picks the pockets of both passengers and taxpayers alike.

There is of course a section on Europe, wherein among other things we are told that Commission Regulation (EC) No 1737/2006 on the monitoring of forests requires civil servants to log data on individual trees. If you look up the actual document on-line you will find that with the de rigueur forms it runs to a staggering 73 pages. Imagine filling out one of those for every tree in the land. On second thoughts don't, where would we get the paper?


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