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Wp Harris (UK)

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Day By Day Armageddon
Day By Day Armageddon
Price: £5.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish, 12 Feb. 2017
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Congratulations - now you too can get your book published without fear of rejection.
Turns out there's a reason print publishing houses hire editors after all.


SKY-WATCHER ANTI-TIP OBSERVING CHAIR
SKY-WATCHER ANTI-TIP OBSERVING CHAIR
Offered by Picsio
Price: £99.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOt just bad - actually dangerous., 12 Feb. 2017
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This chair is held in place using the observer's weight and, if that weight shifts or leans back the whole seat is liable to fall (by a couple of feet). This is an intrinsic part of the design, to the extent that the seat actually comes with a warning not to sit back. If you do, injury is likely to result, and potentially severe injury (to the spine certainly, and potentially to the fingers if they were to get caught in what is basically a wide open and unprotected mechanism. I'm actually surprised this got a CE mark to allow it to be sold in the EU as there is no way it meets even the most basic product safety standards. I used it once and it went to the tip (I would not want to be responsible for passing this on to someone on the second hand market). Have since replaced with the Mey observing chair, which is vastly better.


Astronomy Hacks: Tips and Tools for Observing the Night Sky
Astronomy Hacks: Tips and Tools for Observing the Night Sky
Price: £16.09

2.0 out of 5 stars A few good ideas for beginners, 25 Jan. 2017
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A few good ideas for beginners, and the book does get better as it goes in, but much of the content is obvious or presented better in other books. Some of the safety advice betrays its US origins and is, frankly, nuts (e.g. if going to a dark sky site take a gun for self defence!). Some of the information is simply wrong. The authors say red LED light, regardless of brightness, does not affect dark adaptation (wrong, based on some very superficial analysis) and that binoculars with BK7 prisms can be identified by looking at the exit pupil for igniting (also wrong, this is caused by undersized prisms, which are, alas, not uncommon in BAK4 prisms also). There is also rather old fashioned assumption that US and Japanese equipment is always good, while the Chinese lag behind at the bargain basement end of the market (Chinese optics do tend to be less expensive, but with a few exceptions they are broadly comparable in terms of quality). On balance, has some okay content, but not great.


Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self Teaching Guides)
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide (Wiley Self Teaching Guides)
by Dinah L Moche
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.35

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction if you're prepared to do a little work, 11 Aug. 2016
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This is a great introduction to astronomy, pitched somewhere betwwen a popular science book and a basic textbook. Coverage includes theory of observing (the celestial globe and coordinates, strengths and weaknesses of observing in different wavelengths etc), solar system objects, star types and lifecyles, galaxies and cosmological issues (e.g. cosmological expansion and redshift) for a beginning audience. There is some maths but it's pretty basic, and questions at the end of each chapter to test your newly acquired knowledge.
Inspired me to go a bit futher with Ian Morison's excellent Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology, which explores the same ideas but in more depth and with more of the maths. Finding this one a bit of challenge, but getting there, and Moche definiteky deserves some of the credit.


Visionary 12x60 High Definition Binoculars
Visionary 12x60 High Definition Binoculars
Offered by OptixMania
Price: £82.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor. Optics are probably okay - significant chromatic aberration, 12 Dec. 2015
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Very poor. Optics are probably okay - significant chromatic aberration, but typical for the price. The focus mechanism is abysmal - incredibly spongy, with both eyepieces moving freely under the least pressure (e.g. from touching them to your eyes) such that it is impossible to achieve or maintain crisp focus. The eyepieces also move relative to one another, so the dioptre adjustment is pretty useless. I got these as an experiment to see if an inexpensive pair of binoculars would be usable for astronomy. Maybe some are, but not these. Not worth the £60 I paid for them.


Skywatcher Heritage130P FlexTube Dobsonian Telescope Black
Skywatcher Heritage130P FlexTube Dobsonian Telescope Black
Offered by Carmarthen Cameras
Price: £149.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little scope, 23 Aug. 2015
Great little scope. Only had it a few weeks but gives fantastic views of the moon and Saturn, and catches enough light for deep sky viewing. Bought this with a 4mm lens from Celestron, which I would highly recommend - gives quite a lot more magnification, but still well within what the optics can handle. Really good for planetary viewing. The base is stable, but it really needs to be put on a table or something, which can introduce a bit of shake. Think it would pair well with an alt-az tripod.


Statistics Explained, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Social Science Students
Statistics Explained, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Social Science Students
by Perry R. Hinton
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction that actually makes sense of the subject, 26 April 2013
For me, this was the book where I felt I had finally "got" the basics of statistics. It concentrates on the underlying ideas, but includes enough of the maths (introduced in the most user friendly way I have ever seen in a book of this type) for the reader to actually do the tests "by hand" and (more importantly) to understand what the particular formula is doing and what the results actually mean. It covers all of the "main" tests, both parametric and nonparametric.
Given my pretty poor (high school) level of maths, I found this book pretty challenging at times (especially the later sections on Analysis of Variance), but it got me there in the end. For someone with quite basic maths (comfortable with algebra but no calculus or complex linear algebra) this is the best "serious" introduction to the subject I have come across. Compared to the O'Reilly "Statistics in a Nutshell" book, I would rate this much more highly. If I was to offer one suggestion for improvement, a chapter on probability would be a worthwhile addition.


Statistics in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly))
Statistics in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly))

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in parts, but with major errors, 5 April 2013
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For example, coverage of the Kruskal Wallis H test.
* Gives the wrong formula: n instead of N, and with (mean R-(n+1))/2 squared rather than (mean R-(N+1)/2)^2.
* Gives Chi Square df for H tests as 8, rather than k-1 (the example has k=3).
* Tells the reader that an H of 2.26 is enough to reject the null hypothesis with a critical Chi Square value of 15.51.

Previous to this there are a few typos, but this is just plain wrong, and is liable to seriously derail anyone attempting to use this book to learn about statistics. In comparison, while it covers less ground, I'd have to say Perry Hinton's Statistics Explained is a better book. Covers all the basic tests, gives better examples and goes into the maths a bit more while still managing to be more accessible.


A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
by William B Irvine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.92

35 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't really get it, 21 Jun. 2011
The problem with this book is that the author does not understand the Stoics. He makes no attempt to engage with Stoic logic or physics, and as a result manages to seriously misrepresent their ethics.
In Irvine's view, Stoics enjoy and appreciate the good things in life, such as wealth, fine food etc, but learn not to cling to them too hard. In terms of describing the everyday life of a Stoic, this is all very well, insofar as he or she will tend to seek the things that we are by nature fitted to seek out, and, as a human being, will experience sensations such as pleasure or pain. But for the writers whom he claims to represent,these "good" things were truly indifferent, and ought to be regarded as such. I might seek out a tasty meal, but failing to acquire one - or getting a fatal dose of food poisoning - is no more or less "good" than its successful acquisition. The good thing is making a reasoned, autonomous (and non passionate) decision to act according to our nature - making a decision to look for food, and accepting whatever outcome fate decrees with good grace. Irvine's "goods" are as unworthy of inspiring a response in us as so-called "bad" things like pain, disease or the death of a loved one.
In his discussion of Epictetus's argument that we should learn to value and seek only what is in our control, he fails to appreciate that what Epictetus is referring to is the capacity for choice (to assent to or withhold assent from impressions). This leads him to argue - against Epictetus - that some things are in our control, some are outside our control, and some are partly under our control. With this, the Stoics' detailed insights into cause, effect, fate and necessity are thrown out of the window and replaced with something completely vapid.
I'll confess that I stopped reading at this point and went back to my copy of Brennan's "The Stoic Life", and a good dose of Seneca. I'm sure the author's intentions were good, but he seems to have missed the point.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2017 7:35 PM BST


A New Stoicism
A New Stoicism
by Lawrence C. Becker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked this a lot, 19 Jan. 2011
This review is from: A New Stoicism (Paperback)
This is, as other reviewers have said, an attempt to re imagine Stoicism from a modern perspective. The discussion of the good life is couched largely in the language of modern moral philosophy and ethics. However, the importance of psychology and on the study of nature in the Stoic tradition is also acknowledged through engagement with modern work in developmental psychology and the emerging field of positive psychology.
The text is couched in modern, analytical terms - you will not find any discussion of impressions, impulses or assent - and references and comparisons are predominantly with modern writers. Similarly, there is no real discussion of Stoic practice. The thrust of the argument concerns the development of healthy autonomy and the way in which the projects and undertakings of autonomous agents imply emerging normative goals and frameworks - what is specifically Stoic is the account of how development of this autonomous subject according to its own nature (i.e. virtue) comes to be the unifying force behind all of one's life projects, and thus the principal project of one's life. This framework helps to support the most convincing argument I have seen for the doctrine (which Becker does not agree with) that virtue does not admit of degrees.
For those classically inspired Stoics hankering after more familiar territory, each chapter has an extensive commentary at the end, where details of Stoic texts and arguments with contemporaries are engaged with in more detail. The final section of the book is effectively a summation of the argument using a modified sentential calculus that attempts to reconstruct certain elements of Stoic logic. I'll hold my hands up here and admit that I haven't read this bit yet!
This is not a particularly easy read, but neither is it especially difficult. Essential reading for anyone interested in Stoicism and its take on the world but who feels that all that stuff about Zeus could do with a bit of updating.


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