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Iain S (UK)

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Bad Science
Bad Science
by Ben Goldacre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars should be a compulsory read in final year of secondary school, 26 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Bad Science (Paperback)
This is one of those books that I think the world really desperately needs. There is so much damaging pseudoscience being spread by the likes of the Daily Mail, we need to 'vaccinate' our kids against it by giving them this book.

I've had a scan through the 1 star reviews of this book, and they seem to be mostly from believers of homeopathy who've taken great offence at his chapter on homeopathy - but they didn't read the following chapter on the placebo effect. The author states that homeopathy is proven to be as effective as placebos, and in the next chapter he describes how useful the placebo effect really is, therefore homeopathy can still be a valuable treatment - just as long as practitioners advise their patients to see real doctors too.


A Universe From Nothing
A Universe From Nothing
Price: £6.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but room for improvement, 9 Dec. 2014
A very interesting read, plugging an important gap in popular science books, and well worth the price.

The reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is because I think some of concepts could have been better explained, and I had a lot of questions firing in my head as I read the book, which weren't answered. If you read a book by Richard Dawkins, he explains everything in almost too much detail (and I find myself thinking 'yeah, yeah, I got it' and skipping ahead) - in this book it's the opposite.

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh in that our brains have not evolved to be able to visualize quantum mechanics, and it can only really be understood by the mathematics - the level of which is beyond the majority of the population.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2015 12:14 AM GMT


Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America
Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, fills in a lot of gaps if you've only read books on Columbus, 20 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
great book, and one of the best value-for-money reads I've had in a long time. My only criticism is it could do with some editing, but for this price I can't give it less than 5 stars.


Earth: The Definitive Visual Guide (Dk)
Earth: The Definitive Visual Guide (Dk)
by DK
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.09

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth having on your bookshelf, but has some mistakes., 31 Aug. 2014
A great book overall, but let down by mistakes and inconsistencies (could be better edited).

For example it talks about when humans diverged from apes, and has a timeline graphic above which contradicts this.
Also, it starts describing certain rocks as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic but only explains what what these terms mean in the next chapter.

The publisher should have paid more to the proof-readers and editors to check this book properly.

Still, I'm happy I bought this book, and is a great complement to the DK Universe book.


Divoom ONBEAT-200 Bluetooth Speaker - Black
Divoom ONBEAT-200 Bluetooth Speaker - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, good price, 12 Aug. 2014
At last, a good value Bluetooth speaker that has good sound. I've tried two others and wasn't happy with them. But with this one I've found nothing to complain about.


KitSound Hive Bluetooth Wireless Universal Portable Stereo Speaker with 3.5 mm Jack Compatible with Smartphones/Tablets/MP3 Devices - Black
KitSound Hive Bluetooth Wireless Universal Portable Stereo Speaker with 3.5 mm Jack Compatible with Smartphones/Tablets/MP3 Devices - Black
Offered by Hale Communications
Price: £49.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars annoying background buzz., 12 Aug. 2014
I sent mine back because it had one fatal flaw which was that it 'buzzed', this wasn't noticeable at high volumes, but at low volumes or listening to audiobooks it was very annoying. I would have asked for a replacement, except I've seen other reviews complaining about this buzz. I wonder if a lot of the 5* reviews are from people who just play their music loud and won't hear the buzz - in which case it's a fine product.


KitSound BoomBar Universal Portable Rechargeable Stereo Bluetooth Speaker Compatible with Smartphones, Tablets and MP3 Devices - Black
KitSound BoomBar Universal Portable Rechargeable Stereo Bluetooth Speaker Compatible with Smartphones, Tablets and MP3 Devices - Black
Price: £18.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sound quality not that much better than mobile phone speaker. You can get much better than this for £10 more., 12 Aug. 2014
I sent this back, I'm no audiophile, but I didn't find the sound quality to be that much better than just playing music directly from my mobile phone. I bought an Onbeat-200 for £10 more and it's a lot better.


An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming
An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AGW deniers will be dissappointed, author accepts AGW, but is a climate 'optimist', 23 Jun. 2014
This is by far the best "sceptic" book on the subject, I put inverted commas because the author declares that he accepts the majority scientific view on AGW and admits he's not a scientist and is in no position to argue otherwise, but his principle skepticism is of how we handle it.

This sets his book apart from much of the mad ravings of the climate change deniers who don't even recognize that man is responsible for the 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 (this is 100% provable due to the particular carbon isotopes from fossil fuel combustion present in the 'new' CO2 that's measured in the atmosphere, and also quite simply from historical records of coal and oil production/consumption).

In a nutshell, the authors argument boils down to:

There's a good chance AGW will be beneficial, we've plenty of time to adapt, and future generations will be much richer and able to deal with it anyway.

Basically he's an optimist.

He does however recognize the risk of catastrophic global warming, where positive feedbacks could put us on a slippery slope to a climate similar to the planet Venus, and does advocate a carbon tax instead of cap and trade (which he describes as a scam), and geo-engineering (putting aerosols into the stratosphere to block sunlight) as an emergency measure.

A few things that irritated me about this book however was the authors constant and mostly unqualified use of the word 'ubsurd' to dismiss many genuine concerns and in particular renewable energy. He states that the UK achieving 20% of its electricity from renewables is "beyond credibility", and yet Scotland now gets over 30% of its electricity from renewables, and Portugal gets over 50%.

Also, his suggestion that we could be giving kids food poisoning by not having a dishwasher and washing dishes in hand-hot water was his 'let them eat cake' moment in this book. Does he think everyone in the UK can afford and has the space for a dishwasher at home?


Thawed Out: Debunking Climate Change Denial
Thawed Out: Debunking Climate Change Denial
Price: £2.12

3.0 out of 5 stars Clear and well written, but a bit short, 23 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found it an interesting read, but feel it's a bit overpriced considering the length of the book, it's more suited to a lengthy magazine article.


Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (PDF Booklet)
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (PDF Booklet)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very concise overview that non-scientists should understand., 28 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent and very well written document that everyone should read. It sticks 100% to the science and quite rightly doesn't dignify the many nonsensical sceptics arguments with a response.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2015 9:28 AM BST


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