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A. D. Crysell "mandydoos" (UK)
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Around the World in 84 Days: The Authorized Biography of Skylab Astronaut Jerry Carr (Apogee Books Space)
Around the World in 84 Days: The Authorized Biography of Skylab Astronaut Jerry Carr (Apogee Books Space)
by David J. Shayler
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful addition to the list of astronaut biographies, 21 Dec. 2008
David Shayler is a prolific writer on the subject of spaceflight. Jerry Carr is a retired astronaut who flew on the American space station Skylab in the early 1970s. The two have combined to create a biography that has enough technical and historical information to keep the spaceflight fans happy and enough biographical anecdote to keep the whole story rolling along very nicely. This is no real surprise - having met both men I can vouch for the fact that they are charming and humourous people.

Perhaps the best aspect of this book is the gap it fills. Shayler has written a full length history of the Skylab project (recommended) but Carr has always been an unfairly overlooked astronaut. He landed the not so plumb post-Apollo task of commanding the last, and longest (at 84 days, hence the title) solely American spaceflight to date. Missing out on the Moon was one thing. Carr led a crew that was overworked by Mission Control and never flew again. But he does not come across as bitter or resentful, merely happy to have had the experience.

This might not seem an obvious choice for an astronaut biography (there are plenty of Armstrongs, Aldrins and Conrads out there, for instance) but it is one with an eye to the detail, one that wastes little time telling the story. It assumes little in the way of prior knowledge but does not assume the reader is so unintelligent that everything has to be spelled out in overly simple language. Recommended for all interested in the history of spaceflight.


Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
by Michael Shermer
Edition: Hardcover

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone interested in ID, 8 Dec. 2006
Some background. Michael Shermer writes a column in Scientific American called Skeptic. He edits a journal called The Skeptic. He used to be a believer. He once wrote a book called Why People Believe Weird Things. He knows what he is talking about.

So he rightly got annoyed when the intelligent design concept began to make ground and he decided to write this thoughtful, intelligent and well written book. It is essential reading as an introduction to the against side in the on-going debate. He is not technical, not deeply scientific or philosophical: he just outlines the salient facts.

Most people reading this book will see the passion of someone who cares deeply about the truth (his earlier book spent much time concentrating on Holocaust deniers) and why the truth matters. He does not waste time praising ID for its insights - he just shows it up for what it is: a vacuous and empty attempt at bring the Christian God back into the classroom in the USA by smuggling it in under the transparent fleece of pseudoscience. Read it for yourself and you too will see. Unless, of course, you are not a skeptic in the proper sense: your mind is made up.


The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwin and Intelligent Design (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwin and Intelligent Design (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
by Jonathan Wells
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.74

22 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incorrect, yes, 30 Nov. 2006
I suppose it depends on your point of view but I was lucky to have this book on an overnight flight from Tampa to London last summer and it passed the time admirably. As for being a source of useful information on Darwinism and intelligent design, well, it's not really. It characterises Darwinism in a straw man way so it is easy to knock down. It takes intelligent design as well proven and philosophically sound. It isn't. This is a funny book, unintentionally in many cases, and should not be treated in any way as a good argument against Darwinism. There are plenty of books available for balance - if you don't like Dawkins then read Gould, or Ridley (either of them) or Steve Jones... That's just for starters.

This book gets 1 star because I cannot give it zero.


Shattering the Myths of Darwinism
Shattering the Myths of Darwinism
by Richard Milton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

16 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Empty rhetoric, 30 Nov. 2006
Milton has written a couple of books with the same vague theme - science is bad, sort of. The trouble is, they are the sort of books that look good but fall to bits as soon as the vaguest breeze of truth plays on them. Gossamer arguments of the sort that Erich von Daniken would have found full of holes are the basis of this. He might have been a science journalist but that doesn't make him an expert. And journalism doesn't stand in for the great dividing line between truth and untruth in the court of science - the evidence.

Some reviewers have pointed out the evidence accumulated against evolution in the last twenty years. The evidence in support just keeps on pouring in, however, and that rather outweighs the few anomalies. Oh, well, never mind. It keeps a man employed and stops him being a burden on society.

Milton should have stuck to the day job and not the demolition job. He's just no good at it. This review gets one star because I cannot give it none.


House - Season 1 [DVD]
House - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Laurie
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £13.51

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware imitations, 3 Feb. 2006
This review is from: House - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
House is too new to have spawned imitations yet but you can bet it will. That's because it's so good and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not that Dr House is into flattery. For me the appeal of this series is less about the interaction between the characters or the medical dramas but the lack of interaction between House and his colleagues. He has one friend (Wilson), has had one relationship with a woman that we know about and, as you will learn, isn't really that good with men either.
There are aspects of Sherlock Holmes here. The House/Holmes and Wilson/Watson comparisons stand up but I wonder if either the producers or Hugh Laurie himself saw the great Jeremy Brett in the ITV series and based some of the mannerisms on Brett's Holmes. Both series have brilliant scripts and brilliant acting.
Best of all about this series are the one liners. Superbly sarcastic and incredibly rude at times, taking no politically correct route through life, Greg House is probably the everyman we'd all like to be. He doesn't play office politics (perhaps he should write a textbook on it), but he is supremely intelligent and he can exist without the support of his fellow man. I look forward to the day that Steven Fry turns up (he must, surely) as a nice English doctor. That would be something.


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