Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for Susan Alexander > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Susan Alexander
Top Reviewer Ranking: 759,488
Helpful Votes: 41

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Susan Alexander (New Forest)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Staedtler Lumocolor Whiteboard Marker 351 with Bullet Tip - Assorted, Pack of 4
Staedtler Lumocolor Whiteboard Marker 351 with Bullet Tip - Assorted, Pack of 4
Offered by Avatar Express
Price: £4.86

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whiteboard markers that really work!, 30 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
They seem to do exactly what we expect, and the tops aren't too difficult to get off. The box doesn't click shut, but hey.


AKORD ME-1 Pro Double Dual Head Stethoscope, Doctor Nurse EMT Vet Medical Health Care
AKORD ME-1 Pro Double Dual Head Stethoscope, Doctor Nurse EMT Vet Medical Health Care
Offered by North Suite
Price: £2.60

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! A real stethoscope that works!, 30 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's so handy to have a stethoscope! This one really does the job and you can listen to everyone's heartbeat with ease!


Managing Food Safety - 2nd edition: 999
Managing Food Safety - 2nd edition: 999
by Dagmar Engel
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second edition very useful, 20 Sept. 2012
As a trainer who runs Level 4 Food Safety courses, I use my copy of this text book from the CIEH constantly. The sections at the end on return to work criteria (following illness with different infections) and descriptions of different pathogens are very useful. In fact, my copy is falling apart as it's used so often. There has only been one update of the first edition - the latest one has a mostly black cover, so do make sure that you aren't buying the first edition, as it does have a few areas of ambiguity and the index has annoying gaps (I add my own index additions to help myself find my way round the material at speed). The style of the book is quite readable, with lots of discussion on how to manage a food poisoning outbreak; details of "Typhoid Mary" and quite a long and confusing bit about the difference between food-borne disease and food poisoning (it becomes less clear the more you read). However, I certainly wouldn't be without it while teaching Level 4 Managing Food Safety in Catering/Manufacturing/Retail or HACCP courses, and I recommend that students purchase this together with Hygiene for Management by Richard Sprenger, as they cover the material in quite different ways.


Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) Biology Revision Guide with Student CD
Edexcel International GCSE (IGCSE) Biology Revision Guide with Student CD
by Ann Fullick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IGCSE revision guide, 18 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This revision guide is a partner to the matching text book (which is IGCSE Biology Student Book) and, together with the student CD, it makes a valuable aid to study. It's bright, colourful, lightweight (a paperback just a bit smaller than A4 and very easy to read because the text is broken up into bite-sized chunks and liberally illustrated with large, colour diagrams. It's organised, as you would expect, into logical chapters in sections A to F. The matching text book contains a great deal of detail and background reading, all of which is essential for the student, and this revision guide starts each chapter with bullet-point facts, followed by illustrated salient details, clearly set out, for a couple of pages. For example, the chapter (21) on "using microorganisms", describes fermentation and biotechnology and modern biotechnology, together with handy "Examiner's Tips" which are boxed and coloured, in the margins. There's a diagram in colour of industrial fermentation and a flow-chart showing the process for making beer and yoghurt. On the third page is a paragraph explaining how the student can demonstrate experimentally how respiration takes place. This is followed by the Questions section, which is very useful for checking knowledge and understanding - the student may have to refer to the main text book for some of the answers. This revision guide should be used in conjunction with the CD and main text book, and I would urge a student to remember to refer to the glossary at the end, as well as the index. This helpful book it ends with three pages of notes on "preparing for exams", including tips on exam language and how to respond to questions which ask "name; complete; describe; give; explain; discuss", with worked examples. Well done to author Ann Fullick for making biology accessible and interesting.


The Frog With Self-cleaning Feet And Other Extraordinary True Tales From The Animal World
The Frog With Self-cleaning Feet And Other Extraordinary True Tales From The Animal World
by Michael Bright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining biological trivia, 18 Sept. 2012
A wonderful compilation of amusing and amazing facts and descriptions, this little book hooks in the reader from the beginning, and the title is an example of the kind of fact that makes this book perfect to dip in to. I hesitated before entitling this review "biological trivia", as it isn't trivial in any way, just fascinating and quirky, reflecting the animal world itself. Organised into short paragraphs, each describing a different and specific "did-you-know?" kind of fact, the reader can quickly build up quite a bank of entertaining stories, which may be helpful when designing a quiz for any age-group. I could easily imagine using this to ask a group "true or false?" followed by any one of the hundreds of startling facts. It is entertaining, and sometimes jaw-dropping, to read what the animal world gets up to, and the reader might be searching for more in-depth descriptions, for after a while it becomes too mind-boggling to read so many facts, one after another. Yet of course, this book is designed to stimulate and arouse our interest, and after that we can then go and find out more by ourselves. Perhaps it might have been a good idea to vary the formula a little, for example to put in sub-headings asking a question, before introducing another paragraph with another fact, in a similar way to that found in "Does anything eat wasps?" and "Why don't polar bears' feet freeze?" Yet the author admits that this is not a book you would choose to read in one go from cover to cover, but to dip in to. Well done to the author for presenting the animal world to us as fun, funny and endlessly fascinating.


Three in Norway: By Two of Them
Three in Norway: By Two of Them
by J.A. Lees
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A dryly witty travelogue of a bye-gone age, 13 July 2012
I bought this book in Norway for a few krona some years ago and I have read and reread it many times, as it's so amusing, and evocative of a long-gone age. You have to read it to see what it's so engaging. The authors put in recipes, poems, observations and write with such innocent candour, that the spirit of those days is really captured, for example. "It continued raining in a nice keep-at-it-all-day-if-you-like kind of manner, so we resided in the tent and read, and indulged in whisky and water for lunch to counteract any ill effects of the reading - for some it was poetry." A super book.


Gardens in China
Gardens in China
by Peter Valder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Will appeal to those interested in garden history and Chinese culture, 11 May 2012
This review is from: Gardens in China (Hardcover)
Monstrous porcelain figures; an abundance of artificial mountains, and rocks embellished with calligraphy - many garden features in China are at odds with a European's concept of a garden and have led visitors to comment on "a form of bad taste peculiarly Chinese" and displeasing to the European eye. So why are westerners so startled by an initial view of a garden in China?

Chinese gardens are the end product of four thousand years of garden history and linked to a culture with a philosophy distinct from that of the west. Traditionally arranged to express a profound view of the world and man's place in it, gardens were built to satisfy needs both for enjoyment and for social recognition by the owner, who would proclaim his own wealth and taste, with places for receiving guests, viewing the moon, playing music, painting, writing poems, viewing seasonal flowers and holding ceremonies.

Botanist Peter Valder's interest in China was fired by the adventures of famous plant-hunters of the 19th and early 20th centuries and his enthusiasm has led him to travel extensively to record and photograph gardens and garden plants. Journeying both on and off the beaten track, he set out to describe Chinese gardens in the closing years of the 20th century. Opening with a chapter on how gardens in China evolved and how they have been perceived through western eyes, Valder's quest takes him down a fascinating historical path. With wry humour, the author offers a snapshot of life in China today, and the text is rich with advice to the visitor, for example we are warned that armed soldiers will rush out if we attempt to photograph Water Cloud Kiosk, and signs in English implore us not to "spit everywhere", nor to carve on the bamboo, (the penalty is 14 days imprisonment and a fine!)

Gardens in China is divided into five further chapters, each dealing with the gardens in one of five regions covering a vast geographical area: centre, north, south, east and west. Valder explains that this five-fold arrangement is suggested by ancient Chinese cosmology in which each of the five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal and water - become symbolically correlated with everything else in the universe. Throughout the book Chinese characters have been painstakingly transliterated using the Pinyin system.

In a break with conventional garden photography, over 500 colour illustrations depict the gardens as Valder found them, complete with hoards of tourists and skies grey with atmospheric pollution. Refreshingly, the author has focused on little-known gardens such as the courtyards and gardens of temples and enclosures of ancient burial grounds as well as public parks and botanical gardens both old and new.

With a wealth of historical and background material, Gardens of China is a valuable source of information which will appeal to any traveller to China and those interested in garden history and Chinese culture.


Gaia's Revenge: Climate Change and the End of Humanity (Politics and the Environment)
Gaia's Revenge: Climate Change and the End of Humanity (Politics and the Environment)
by P. H. Liotta
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £27.95

5.0 out of 5 stars "Gaia's Revenge"by Liotta and Shearer, not to be confused with "The Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock, 11 May 2012
The notion that unintended events that might pose a threat is the focus of "Gaia's Revenge" in which authors PH Liotta and Allan W Shearer examine scenarios of climate change. The title relates to the Greek Earth Goddess together with the work of Sir James Lovelock who posited the "Gaia hypothesis" in the 1960s*, suggesting that the earth is a self-regulating superorganism. Although this idea was rejected by many, different versions of the hypothesis have developed with a debate emerging as to whether humankind has contributed to knocking the earth "out of balance".

"Gaia's Revenge" is not about climate change itself, but human security and strategies for coping with the potential implications of climate change. Aimed at those with an interest in public policy making, security and the environment, it challenges us to think about the implications of environmental effects on security and how we face climate change.

Abrupt climate change is a threat to our security, and Liotta and Shearer describe a scenario in which the gradual rising temperatures that have been experienced since the middle of the twentieth century continue through to 2020 and beyond. The authors carefully explain that this scenario is admittedly low-probability (but high-impact) because scenarios are "story lines" - unverifiable but plausible accounts that allow people to understand the flow of events that are taking place by making predictive judgments about what could happen.

In this climate scenario, growing seasons are reduced; fish migrate with shifting ocean temperatures; the average temperatures in Europe drop by 6ºF as Northwestern Europe becomes comparable to present-day Siberia and throughout Europe drought and soil loss contribute to food shortages. There is widespread famine and uncertainty about the timing and extent of monsoon rains in Asia, and Bangladesh becomes nearly uninhabitable from rising sea levels

In response to these future environmental changes, the strategic implications predicted are that countries may develop offensive strategies, with access to water for drinking and irrigation being a source of conflict around the world. People from northern EU nations may move to Mediterranean African countries.

The authors carefully point out, however, that the future offers no facts and our image of the future is based entirely on assumptions. The authors look in detail at the mental maps of decision makers; the threat of ecoterrorism; the role and influence of the sceptics; and end with a thoughtful chapter on how we differ from other species in that we are aware of the impact of our activities and can learn to act differently and repair harm. It is this awareness that obliges us to assess the consequences of our activities and act responsibly.

In conclusion, the authors note that if we have the ability to act responsibly, yet fail to act on this moral imperitive, then climate change may well mark the end our our humanity, and, if true, then Gaia will have had her revenge.

(* "Gaia's Revenge"by Liotta and Shearer, not to be confused with "The Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock).


Toxin: The Cunning of Bacterial Poisons
Toxin: The Cunning of Bacterial Poisons
by Alistair J. Lax
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars some shocking stories of epidemics and extraordinary human tales, 11 May 2012
Written in a style which makes it enjoyable to read, Toxin highlights some shocking stories of epidemics, together with extraordinary human tales. Arrogance among doctors and scientists sometimes impeded healthcare, for example, when in 1847, Dr Ignaz Semmelweis felt there was a link between doctors who worked in the postmortem room at a hospital and the high level of fatal disease in women who were attended by these doctors after giving birth. He instigated a policy of handwashing, and mortality fell from 15% to 2%. Yet, astonishingly, the medical establishment poured scorn on his ideas that doctors and nurses were spreading disease, and he was ridiculed and ignored. The author observes that even today, the refusal of some to follow approved infection control measures is one of the reasons for the epidemic of hospital infections.

The author, who is Professor of Cellular Biology at King's College, London, leads us to the story of diphtheria, and understanding the three basic mechanisms of toxins and why plague and typhoid are so deadly. Most disturbing is the seventh chapter focusing on man's sometimes deviant and inhuman nature and the development of biological weapons. An increasingly gloomy picture is painted of potent and deadly molecules that cause fatal disease naturally or can be used by the madmen of the world as weapons.

However, pessimism is dispelled towards the end of the book as highly positive aspects are described, such as the therapies devised to protect against toxin action. In addition to the development of highly effective and safer vaccines, the final chapter focuses on the use of toxins to fight cancer, in which the potent cell-killing capability of toxins are linked with other molecules that can bind to cancer cells. The resulting chimaeras are referred to as immunotoxins (as the targeting part of the molecule is usually an antibody). Toxins that have been mainly used for immunotoxins are the diptheria toxin, and the plant toxin ricin (also used as a biological weapon and famous for use in the assassination of a Bulgarian dissident in 1978 in a poisoned umbrella tip).
In a different approach, the lethal factor of anthrax toxin is being investigated for anti-tumour activity and the author suggests that it is possible that within the next 50 years or so all current treatments for cancer will be superseded by much smarter remedies that target only cells with cancer mutations.

We are left on a positive note, the author assuring us that he is certain that the science of dangerous poisons, their harmful actions and their use in cures and the stories of the scientists involved still have a very long way to go. An enjoyable read, I would thoroughly recommend "Toxin" for students of biology and related subjects.


Living in Groups
Living in Groups
by Jens Krause
Edition: Paperback
Price: £46.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars aspects of grouping - a book for biologists, 11 May 2012
This review is from: Living in Groups (Paperback)
"Living in Groups" will familiarise the reader with current ideas on the ecology and evolution of group-living animals, and selected case studies illustrate how these ideas and concepts are applied to actual systems. The biggest chapter looks at the benefits of group formation, highlighting anti-predator strategies. Grouping as a means of detecting approaching predators is known as the classical "many eyes" theory, enabling groups to spot predators more effectively and is widely known as a concept, yet safety in numbers (dilution of risk) and information transfer between individuals are equally important points. These hypotheses are looked at in detail and found to be more complicated and closely related than they first appear, as attack abatement is the result of the joint action of "encounter-dilution" and "many-eyes". Further benefits of grouping include defence against parasites (horses); communual defence (lions); foraging benefits and group hunting (African wild dogs); finding a mate (lekking behaviour); keeping warm (mice); and travelling more efficiently in air (pelicans); on water (ducklings) and under water (fish). Further chapters look at costs to grouping such as increased attack rate on larger groups; the mechanisms that govern the evolution and maintenance of grouping behaviour throughout the animal kingdom, and the factors that control group size and group composition in particular situations. The authors discuss the theory of assortativeness; predator preference for "odd" prey, and environmental effects on grouping behaviour, such as desert locust behavioural changes induced by crowding.

"Living in Groups" will appeal to those working in the field of animal behaviour, and it is not aimed at the lay reader, nor is it intended to be an encyclopaedia of grouping animals species. The reader is guided to the more specialised literature for further reading on certain topics with thirty pages of references.

Readers will learn a great deal about aspects of grouping and many interesting questions that have still to be addressed. The authors believe that our understanding of the nature of grouping in animals can be greatly improved and their warm concluding remark invites the reader to "join us in this research endeavour, and help make this book out of date!"


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4