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101. Introduction to Structural Dynamics
$63.95 $35.00
102. The Solar System (with CD-ROM,
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103. 100 Suns
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104. New Methods of Celestial Mechanics
$105.44 $69.84
105. Explorations: An Introduction
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106. Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth
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107. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the
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108. The Starflight Handbook : A Pioneer's
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109. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's
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110. Introduction to Aircraft Design
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111. Wheels Up : Airline Business Plan
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112. Learning to Fly Helicopters
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113. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical
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114. Extraterrestrial Contact: The
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115. The Illustrated on the Shoulders
116. The Space Elevator: A Revolutionary
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117. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
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118. Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook:
119. Preservation of Near-Earth Space
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120. The Constants of Nature : From

101. Introduction to Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity (Cambridge Aerospace Series)
by Dewey H. Hodges, G. Alvin Pierce
list price: $60.00
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Asin: 0521806984
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 681890
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Book Description

Here is an introduction to structural dynamics and aeroelasticity, with an emphasis on conventional aircraft. The primary areas considered are structural dynamics, static aeroelasticity and dynamic aeroelasticity. Aeroelastic phenomena discussed include divergence, aileron reversal, airload redistribution, unsteady aerodynamics, flutter and elastic tailoring. Over one hundred illustrations and tables help clarify the text, while more than fifty problems enhance student learning. ... Read more

102. The Solar System (with CD-ROM, Virtual Astronomy Labs, AceAstronomy, and InfoTrac)
by Michael A. Seeds
list price: $63.95
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Asin: 0534421024
Catlog: Book (2004-04-22)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 298263
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Book Description

Mike Seeds' goal in THE SOLAR SYSTEM, Fourth Edition (adapted from the newly revised FOUNDATIONS OF ASTRONOMY, Eight Edition) is to help students use astronomy to understand science and use science to understand what we are. Fascinating and engaging, this text illustrates the scientific method and guides students to these fundamental questions: "What are we?" and "How do we know?"In discussing the interplay between evidence and hypothesis, Seeds provides not just facts, but a conceptual framework for understanding the logic of science. The book vividly conveys his love of astronomy, and illustrates how students can comprehend their place in the universe by grasping a small set of physical laws. Crafting a story about astronomy, Mike shows students how to ask questions to gradually puzzle out the beautiful secrets of the physical world. Mathematics is incorporated into the text (and in separate sections for easy reference), but the book's arguments do not depend on mathematical reasoning, keeping even math-averse students engaged. The revision addresses new developments in astrophysics and cosmology, plus the latest discoveries, from Mars' buried water to the exploration of the Kuiper Belt.This edition is now fully integrated with a FREE, brand-new student tutorial system. AceAstronomy is Web-based, assessment-driven, and completely flexible, creating a personalized learning plan to help each student focus on key concepts to be mastered. This superior system gives students fun, interactive learning opportunities and a greater chance for success. ... Read more

103. 100 Suns
list price: $45.00
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Asin: 1400041139
Catlog: Book (2003-10-21)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 5508
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Between July 1945 and November 1962 the United States is known to have conducted 216 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests. After the Limited Test Ban Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1963, nuclear testing went underground. It became literally invisible—but more frequent: the United States conducted a further 723 underground tests, the last in 1992. 100 Suns documents the era of visible nuclear testing, the atmospheric era, with one hundred photographs drawn by Michael Light from the archives at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. National Archives in Maryland. It includes previously classified material from the clandestine Lookout Mountain Air Force Station based in Hollywood, whose film directors, cameramen and still photographers were sworn to secrecy.

The title, 100 Suns, refers to the response by J.Robert Oppenheimer to the world’s first nuclear explosion in New Mexico when he quoted a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, the classic Vedic text: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One . . . I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This was Oppenheimer’s attempt to describe the otherwise indescribable. 100 Suns likewise confronts the indescribable by presenting without embellishment the stark evidence of the tests at the moment of detonation. Since the tests were conducted either in Nevada or the Pacific the book is simply divided between the desert and the ocean. Each photograph is presented with the name of the test, its explosive yield in kilotons or megatons, the date and the location. The enormity of the events recorded is contrasted with the understated neutrality of bare data. Interspersed within the sequence of explosions are pictures of the awestruck witnesses.

The evidence of these photographs is terrifying in its implication while at same time profoundly disconcerting as a spectacle. The visual grandeur of such imagery is balanced by the chilling facts provided at the end of the book in the detailed captions, a chronology of the development of nuclear weaponry and an extensive bibliography. A dramatic sequel to Michael Light’s Full Moon, 100 Suns forms an unprecedented historical document.

... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, amazing, must see
A very beautiful book presented as large prints, stunning photographs detail the very primal and mythological nature of the nuclear explosion. There is nothing to compare these photographs to in their grandness they make brilliant destructive weapons seem almost beautiful in their conception. An amazing work, the photos are large the way they should be and you will not find a similarly themed coffee table book anywhere. A true gem.

Seth J. Frantzman

5-0 out of 5 stars To change the nature of what it is to be human
Andrei Sakharov once wrote that a very large nuclear war would be a calamity of indescribable proportions and absolutely unpredictable consequences, with the uncertainties tending toward the worse. As a university student I have collected over the years many dozens of nuclear test photographs and with each viewing, it is possible for a person to change. This collection of photographs is nothing short of beautiful, but at the same time horrifying in its capabilities. If you read through this book, you will not come out the same person.

3-0 out of 5 stars How We Won The War
These images of American above-ground nuclear tests are indeed terrifyingly beautiful, and beatifully terrifying. Seeing the massive energy of the atom unleashed, in the archetypical mushroom cloud, is an arresting experience no matter how long ago these photos were taken. The images are rather samey, save for some that show oddly botanical detail of some clouds, probably due to water vapor. The test blasts have retro-sounding Army code names like FIZEAU, YANKEE, BAKER, MAGNOLIA, and etc.

There is no visual perspective-big and small blasts seem the same size due to different camera distances. Some images taken from high-speed time lapse films seem like giant bacilli. Some, irrespective of kilo- or megatonnage, seem like they are splitting the heavens.

Hats off to all the servicemen who were subjected to these tests. It probably wasn't nice for the Pentagon to subject these men to these hazards, and I echo the wish that it never has to happen again. But I do appreciate their sacrifice, because I think it was well worth it.

The author tosses in a sneer at the Strategic Defense Initiative in his end of book timeline. But Reagan understood that nuclear weapons could not be un-invented, only rendered obsolete. Like it or not, nukes are a fact of international life, and a wise leader will not try to wish them away.

The author wants to evoke a Strangelovian mood, but it's too late for that. It makes a difference, whether nuclear superiority resides with free countries or tyrants, now as well as in the Fifties and Sixties. America's nuclear arsenal kept the Soviets and their proxies from gobbling up even more nations than they actually did. The fact that America won the Cold War is, once and for all, A Good Thing, and it was these weapons, along with the MAD doctrine, that helped win it. Better MET than red.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I couldn't put it down. The photos are excellent, the info in the back is captivating, and I hope there is never another nuclear explosion to photograph!

5-0 out of 5 stars Eerie, haunting, horrible and beautiful
I appreciate the nature of these images more having read Richard Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb" many years ago. Without a doubt, what is documented here is the overt potential for total global annihilation by nuclear hellfire, but what is also documented are the direct descendants of one of the most impressive scientific and engineering achievments of all time.

Knowing that these images represent the ability to destroy on a massive scale, one might find it hard to divest themselves of their instinct to be horrified and shun these pictures, but if you can do so, I think you'll find a great collection of some of the most stark, eerie, organic and beautiful images of our recent secret history. The fact that these pictures were taken for documentation purposes, rather than those of art, makes the dichotomy between the beauty and the horror of this book even more apparent.

Well worth the simoleons. ... Read more

104. New Methods of Celestial Mechanics (History of Modern Physics)
by Henri Poincare, Daniel L. Goroff
list price: $299.00
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Asin: 1563961172
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: AIP Press
Sales Rank: 1464210
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Edited by Daniel Goroff, Harvard University This English-language edition of Poincare's landmark work is of interest not only to historians of science, but also to mathematicians. Beginning from an investigation of the three-body problem of Newtonian mechanics, Poincare lays the foundations of the qualitative solutions of differential equations. To investigate the long-unsolved problem of the stability of the Solar System, Poincare invented a number of new techniques including canonical transformations, asymptotic series expansions, and integral invariants. These "new methods" are even now finding applications in chaos and other contemporary disciplines. Contents: Volume I: Periodic and asymptotic solutions: Introduction by Daniel Goroff. Generalities and the Jacobi method. Series integration. Periodic solutions. Characteristic exponents. Nonexistence of uniform integrals. Approximate development of the perturbative function. Asymptotic solutions. Volume II: Approximations by series: Formal calculus. Methods of Newcomb and Lindstedt. Application to the study of secular variations. Application to the three-body problem. Application to orbits. Divergence of the Lindstedt series. Direct calculation of the series. Other methods of direct calculation. Gylden methods. Case of linear equations. Bohlin methods. Bohlin series. Extension of the Bohlin method. Volume III: Integral invariants and asymptotic properties of certain solutions: Integral invariants. Formation of invariants. Use of integral invariants. Integral invariants and asymptotic solutions. Poisson stability. Theory of consequents. Periodic solutions of the second kind. Different forms of the principle of least action. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars great book--exceptional editing
Goroff should be commended on this important publication ... Read more

105. Explorations: An Introduction to Astronomy
by Thomas T. Arny
list price: $105.44
our price: $105.44
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Asin: 0072465700
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Sales Rank: 497045
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written in a clear, concise style for the non-science major, this edition uses analogies and everyday examples to present the most current information about astronomy in a way that students can easily understand. It comes packaged with a free interactive CD-ROM and has a new, expanded web site. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is the best Astronomy text that I have ever seen. It is filled with colorful photos and diagrams, and delves into the more interesting aspects of astronomy. A must for any Astronomy teacher, student, or amateur astronomer. It's also included with a great CD that has planetarium software on it. ... Read more

106. Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of TimeYth
by Giorgio De Santillana, Hertha Von Dechend
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Asin: 0879232153
Catlog: Book (1992-08-01)
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Sales Rank: 38576
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars One aspect of myth
This book is regarded highly by Graham Hancock and that is why I laid my hands on it. It is tough going and the language used was not simple. A second reading was essential in order to comprehend at least 50% of what it was saying.

Credit to Santillan and Dechend for proposing such a wonderful theory, especially in explaining the role of precession in many mythologies. However, to subject all mythologies to only cosmological observation is not correct. This is the same trap that Alan Alford and Daniken fell into. Alford tried to explain all myths using his meteorite hypothesis in his books The Phoenix Solution and When the Gods Came Down while Daniken tried to explain everything using alien visitation.

In this book, the explanation for the Great Deluge was simply brushed aside by claiming it to be a metaphorical drowning of the "earth". If one reads the works of Ian Wilson, Stephen Oppenheimer and others on this subject, one cannot help but conclude that the Flood was a real earthly event.

I believe there is some truth in Santillana and Dechend's conclusions but to ascribe all myths to the observed interplay of cosmological lights seem to be overstretching a good hypothesis.

For a more balanced view, I would strongly recommend the books of Zacharia Sitchin, Colin Wilson and Graham Phillips.

Normally I owuld give 5 stars to the books I review but one star is taken away for its extremely difficult to understand style of writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Milestone Book
This book has contributed more to the understanding of myth and the passing of time than anything since Robert Graves' works. It is a difficult book to read. But, the implication of the authors, that astrology/astronomy and the passage of time were the 'grand backdrop' for all of human history, has profound meaning to all who study it. As mankind passes from one Great Age to the next, he is charged with reinventing himself and the cosmos. The changes hold until the next Great Age, when chaos sweeps away the old systems, and once again all is made anew. This theme echos back through time, we find it most everywhere in the world, in the myths and tales of every people. One of the most important books of the twentieth century.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tour de force in search of an editor
As another reviewer here noted, the intellectual content of this book is overwhelming, but the presentation is obscure at best. Santillana and von Dechend make a very compelling case for common knowledge of complex astronomy among primitive peoples worldwide, and that this understanding was transmitted through myth. For example, they demonstrate very convincingly that virtually all primitive cultures understood the precession of the equinox. Unfortunately all the references to myth-systems will keep all but the most well-read ethnologists either baffled or thumbing through the extensive appendices. This book would benefit immensely from a thorough editing job.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting compendium, flawed synthesis
Hamlet's Mill is a lot of fun, but it is unfortunately flawed by the authors' insistence on seeing disparate myths as a coherent story rather than a set of stories that were created at different times and places and later became incorporated into more elaborate constructs. The "Hamlet story" seems to be a blend, or should I say blends, of very archaic myths concerning such things as a cosmic snake and a world tree, shamanistic beliefs in rebirth, renewal, and return, Middle Eastern astronomical musings on the wanderings of the ecliptic, and an early Indo-European myth of murder and a beer brewing vat that somehow turned into an ocean brewing vat. This last story underwent some remarkable transformations. Taken to India, it lost its beery associations and became a story about the churning of the Sea of Milk, though not before giving rise to a Taiwanese tale of a salt mill in the ocean. Taken to Scandinavia, it turned into a remarkable poetic essay on geological uniformism and a world mill that grinds out both fertile soil and sea salt, and from there into a Finnish tale about what seems to be a late Medieval mechanical gizmo of cranks and cogwheels. Taken to Britain, it finally turned into the Holy Grail.

The fact that these different stories came from such diverse backgrounds is significant, because it raises a cautionary flag against trying to read too much into the fact that the same "story" can contain such diverse furniture as a wicked uncle, a starry sandal lost while crossing a stream, a dragon guarding an eastern tree, a fatal fall of snow and hail in a mountain pass, and a ship ferrying a set of cosmic weights and measures from Canopus to the ancient Uruk of Gilgamish.

Hamlet's Mill is more of a starting point than a solution. At one point, the authors observe that, as soon as classical Greece comes into view, scholars have a way of thinking that everything is "explained", but then they themselves proceed to make the same mistake with regard to Mesopotamia.

But, that much being said, Hamlet's Mill does introduce the reader to some fascinating strands of mythology.

4-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for content, loses a star for delivery
I have to agree with another reviewer here. This book is desperate for a new editor. Far too much information is listed in an "appendix" format, while the bulk of the theories presented come across confusing and disjointed.

However, the scholarship is top notch. This is one of those works which was scoffed at for years until being accepted as "common knowledge" today. The basic premise involves the transmission through ancient myths of astronomical knowledge. The fascinating thing is that this astronomical knowledge is spread all over the world through hundreds of cultures. A full understanding of the workings of Precession of the Equinoxes is the main focus here, which is incredible when you consider that the precessional cycle covers a period of approximately 25725 years. The calculations necessary to chart precession should be nearly impossible for ancient people to accomplish, particularly since we've been told for years that they were barely able to feed themselves, much less have the time or patience to develop such an exacting observational science.

The symbolism of myth is a direct correlation with the movements of the stars and planets, as well as a description of the workings of the Earth's wobbly axis, according to the authors. After reading this work, one line of questioning always comes to mind: How is it that peoples separated by thousands of miles and an equal number of languages always seem to refer to astronomical pheonomena by the SAME names? The Zodiac constellations are represented by the same animals the world over... how is this possible? The constellations certainly don't look like much to the casual observer or even those who were more-than-casual. How did the ancients reach the same observations if they had no contact with each other? The book doesn't answer this question, but it stares every reader in the face.

The theory here is very satisfying to those who refuse to believe that ancient peoples were nothing more than savages. The scholarship is superior to most of the "alternative" historical works currently in print as well.

The ideas rate 5 stars, but because of the jumbled delivery I am forced to remove a star. This is not light reading; be prepared to work hard to capture the ides presented. It's worth it. ... Read more

107. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon
by Wally Schirra, Von Hardesty, David Reynolds
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0151009643
Catlog: Book (2002-05-20)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 37648
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

NASA's Apollo answered President Kennedy's 1961 directive to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. The astronauts, scientists, and mission control operators who took part in the fifteen manned Apollo missions not only accomplished this memorable triumph of courage and technical ingenuity, they stirred the world's imagination and redefined the notion of what is truly possible.

In this captivating story of adventure and exploration, expert David West Reynolds presents a complete and engaging reconstruction of all the key events and personalities in the Apollo program. From the thrilling experiences of the astronauts to the men of extraordinary vision and skill who built a reality out of a dream, Reynolds captures the drama of this epic journey.

Rendering complex and technical material into accessible terms for the uninitiated reader, while providing unusual details for the aficionado, Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon takes you along on the most unforgettable ride of the twentieth century.
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best and MOST ACCURATE book on the subject!
When I first picked up David West Reynolds' APOLLO: The Epic Journey To The Moon, the first thing I did was turn to the index to seek out "Disney, Walt" and "von Braun, Wernher," two names that greatly influenced my childhood (had "Rogers, Roy" been a space cowboy, I'd've looked him up too). Déjà vu: I was instantly taken back to the past looking toward the future with a 10-year-old's wide-eyed awe and wonderment. That's what this amazing book instills in the reader: that same sort of wonder and expectation, as if the Apollo missions were about to lift off tomorrow, yet providing a jolt to the memory that causes you to gasp, "Omigod, I remember that!"

Reynolds writes about the first of three "sci-fi" segments of ABC-TV's Disneyland that aired on March 9, 1955: "Man In Space explained the challenges that would face humans traveling into space and detailed von Braun's concepts for a reusable space shuttle, dramatizing one of its missions and ending with a spectacular night landing...It was watched by an audience of 100 million. [It] was so popular and so provocative...that President Eisenhower [till then, a doubting Thomas] called Disney to order a copy for review by his staff and the Pentagon. It felt to many like a new age was just around the corner."
Man And The Moon, which was televised the following year, was "a preview of what would become the real Apollo 8...portrayed realistically with actors and included a mysterious sighting of unexplained lights on the surface of the Moon, strangely prefiguring events that would occur during the Apollo missions."

At 36, Dr. Reynolds, who has published scholarly articles on archaeology and ancient exploration, also authored the New York Times #1 bestseller Star Wars: Episode 1, The Visual Dictionary, among other books. However, he is truly at the top of his space game here. This is fascinating stuff, and Reynolds writes in a clear, concise, and entertaining style that makes even technophobes like yours truly easily comprehend one of the most spectacular - and complex -- scientific and historical achievements of the last century.

With a "you are there" Foreword by Apollo 7's Mission Commander Wally Schirra, and the cooperation of NASA and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the reader can be assured of the accuracy of the detailed facts and figures Reynolds presents.

Richly illustrated with some rare and never-before-seen photos, it also includes many new rocket cutaways, and custom-keyed maps and panoramas that put you more lucidly in the lunar landscape.

Photographed for the first time is the famous memo to LBJ in which JFK asks, "Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets by putting a laboratory in space, or by a trip around the moon, or by a rocket to land on the moon, or by a rocket to go to the moon and back with a man?"

(Amusing to think that nowadays, American multimillionaires like 60-year-old money manager Dennis Tito and 23-year-old Lance Bass of the boy band N'Sync so casually shell out [$]million apiece to the Russians for the privilege of becoming Soyuz cosmonauts.)

However, this merely scratches the surface of the moon, for Reynolds pilots us to an ethereal kind of Tomorrowland in his Jules Vernesque conclusion: "We will one day surpass the achievement of Apollo. In reaching beyond it, we will at last fulfill its promise, a promise that lies waiting today, waiting for anyone to look up at the glow of the night sky, a promise recorded in the footprints on the Moon."

It is the profoundly inspiring Afterword by Gene Cernan, Mission Commander of Apollo 17, which brilliantly encapsulates Reynolds' comprehensive tome.

"One cannot behold all the lands and seas of the Earth in a single glance and remain unchanged by the experience," says Cernan. "Returning to Earth from the Moon poses the challenge of finding a perspective within yourself that can encompass what has happened to you, that can accommodate the matters of ordinary life as well as the memory of having looked into the endlessness of space and time from another world. I once stood upon the dust of the Moon and looked up, struggling to comprehend the enormity of the message that we found in Apollo. All that is here. In this book..."

No way, no how, could I have said it better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spiffy!
There are a number of books on the American Apollo Moon program,
most prominently Andrew Chaikin's excellent A MAN ON THE MOON, and so
the question that David West Reynolds' APOLLO: THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE
MOON poses is whether another book on the subject really brings
anything to the party.

The answer is YES, in that Reynolds is taking a somewhat different
approach to the subject. Chaikin's book is relatively long and
detailed, but has no illustrations and is fairly nontechnical.
Reynolds' book is substantially shorter, heavily illustrated, and has
a much more technical bent.

All three of these virtues make Reynold's book probably a better bet
for the casual reader, someone who is interested in the Moon flights
but would be perfectly happy with a tidy summing up, focusing in
reasonable detail on the flights themselves but giving a fairly brief
discussion of the background.

Even the more serious reader will find the book's layout and
illustrations outstanding. It's crammed full of pretty pictures and
paintings, ranging from the Chesley Bonestell artwork of the
1950s Colliers / Disney "space program" to fine NASA photography of
the Moon missions. Serious readers may also find the technical
"sidebars" on items such as the "Moon buggy" and unfulfilled advanced
Apollo missions to have some very interesting information in them.

Those who would want to understand the broader scope of the Apollo
program, including its political background, would probably prefer
Chaikin's A MAN ON THE MOON. Reynolds' tends to ignore the politics
behind the Moon program, which in itself could be regarded as a
rational decision to focus on some things and ignore others.

Unfortunately, to get to the most negative comments I can make about
Reynolds' book, the author occasionally does get on a soapbox, doing a
little flag-waving and sometimes playing "eager young space cadet".
A bit of patriotism is fine, of course, but in a few places I felt
as though I was reading the text with someone playing STARS & STRIPES
FOREVER on a kazoo in the background. As far as being a space
cadet goes ... well, yes, I admire the astronauts and believe that
Werner von Braun was a remarkable man in many ways, but the astronauts
were not Boy Scouts, and much more to the point, von Braun was noted
for his arrogance as well as brilliance, and he'd got his hands dirty
working for the Nazis in a way that would never quite come clean.

The soapbox exercises are infrequent and can be ignored. This is
fortunate, because APOLLO: THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE MOON is otherwise
a creditable piece of work. I give it four stars and not five to
emphasize that not everyone might want to buy this book. Serious
students of the space program might want something more substantial.
However, I think almost anybody would like to page through such a
pretty book, and casual readers should find it both interesting and
informative. I think adolescents would be particularly taken with it.

I did find one small bug in the book: a picture that is supposed to
be of the launch of the first Earth satellite, Sputnik I, is actually
of a Soviet manned space launch, a Vostok or some later capsule.
This is not a killer bug by any means, just listing it as a minor

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read
I highly recommend this book, even if you're only remotely interested in the subject. It has everything from pictures to fold-out diagrams, special inserts on all the major points, etc. Just packed with cool stuff. And as for the text, I got chills just reading it. This should be standard reading in 11th Grade History, and those of us outside of a history class will still love every page. Great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful addtion to any collection!
Wonderful photos highlight this stunning edition with excellent production values. Very satisfying in every way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Manners to Read and Value This Book
For Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

I read this book as a layperson not as an engineer, or someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge that an amateur can gain when an interest becomes a serious hobby, or a consuming subject for study. I was going to suggest there were only two ways to read this book but I finished the volume early Saturday morning several hours prior to the loss of the Columbia Shuttle and the 7 men and women she carried.

If this book contains errors about the size of a tank, or the function of a part, that is inexcusable. This book contains written endorsements from more than one Apollo Astronaut, and it would seem that if there is information that is going to be offered as fact it should be correct.

The book is a treasure to anyone who lived and experienced parts of the wonder that was The Apollo Program. This does not excuse the errors if they exist, but it is not reason enough to condemn the value of the book, or ridicule it as a picture book for children.

What quickly became apparent after the tragedy yesterday is how far out of touch the public has become with the men and women who perform these missions, gather knowledge, and do so in situations that contain a level of risk that few people would ever contemplate much less take. The Apollo astronauts, the Gemini astronauts, and the Mercury astronauts were men that we all knew by name. Movies have been made about the original Mercury 7, more recently a film about the miraculous team effort that snatched the crew of Apollo 13 from what should have been certain death was brought to the screen by Ron Howard and a host of wonderful actors including Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris to name only a few.

The Apollo Program was unprecedented, 400,000 people were required to put the program and vehicles together to place men on the Moon. But when the program was ended no money was budgeted to even save all the working documents it took to create Apollo. If we wanted to recreate Apollo the absurd situation is that we would have to do research and development all over again because the records were not properly archived. One of the greatest achievements of humans, and so much of the work is gone.

On January 27, 1967, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White died without leaving the ground, when the capsule of Apollo I burned them to death in a pure oxygen atmosphere which a short circuit ignited.

On January 28, 1986 the 7 Challenger astronauts died less than 75 seconds after launch. Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe were those persons willing to push the boundries of human exploration on that tragic day.
And then yesterday, 9 hours after January 2002 had ended, the men and women at the beginning of these comments lost their lives for reasons as yet unknown.

The Challenger 7 were eulogized by countless people, but on the day of their deaths one of the most eloquent speakers ever concluded his remarks as follows; The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. President Ronald Reagan ... Read more

108. The Starflight Handbook : A Pioneer's Guide to Interstellar Travel (Wiley Science Editions)
by Eugene F.Mallove, Gregory L.Matloff
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471619124
Catlog: Book (1989-06)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 61542
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Starflight Handbook A Pioneer’s Guide to Interstellar Travel "The Starflight Handbook is an indispensable compendium of the many and varied methods for traversing the vast interstellar gulf—don’t leave the Solar System without it!" —Robert Forward "Very sensible, very complete and useful. Its good use of references and technical ‘sidebars’ adds to the book and allows the nontechnical text to be used by ordinary readers in an easy fashion. I certainly would recommend this book to anyone doing any thinking at all about interstellar flight or the notion of possibilities of contacts between hypothetical civilizations in different stat systems." —Louis Friedman Executive Director, The Planetary Society The Starflight Handbook is the first and only compendium on planet Earth of the radical new technologies now on the drawing boards of some of our smartest and most imaginative space scientists and engineers. Scientists and engineers as well as general readers will be captivated by its:

  • In-depth discussions of everything from nuclear pulse propulsion engines to in-flight navigation, in flowing, non-technical language
  • Sidebars and appendices cover technical and mathematical concepts in detail
  • Seventy-five elegant and enlightening illustrations depicting starships and their hardware
... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid Reference Guide
This book covers the strengths and weaknesses of various types of spacecraft, and often adds visuals and drawings to help explain the ways these crafts might work. Electromag-ramjets, light-sails, Nuke powered, they're all here. It's 15 years old, however, but it is nonetheless a good starting point to understand the possibilities of interstellar travel. This book also covers the basic physics behind space propulsion. The book is obviously a good resource for science fiction writers, futurists, and people who want to wow their friends w/ insightful comments on space colonization. W/ the new Mars initiative by NASA, designed to be fulfilled w/in 50 years, maybe NASA might fulfill some of the theories outlined in this book. Be ahead of the curve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interstellar Space Travel lost on way to moon
This subject is too important to bring up in a review. Like a game of Risk the post-MAD political order has limited pre-thought in respect to Western economic development. Whence the website Astronautix brought me to review this book, so too am I in accordance with their Orion project summary and conclusion : we lost our way with a journey to the moon. In so far as the only the human species exists with a consciousness to express religion and hence evolution, any planet "anywhere" is surely at a disadvantage in a post-MAD structure to have rejected flight to the stars in favour of cold war moon bravado. Indeed the excess military products of this cold war rather than point to our preparation to travel to the stars as hypothesized by Orion project devotees, only threatens our imminent vaporisation at the end of interstellar fuel pellets misunderstood or at least not even recognised by their "any planet - anywhere" evolutionary poise. Of course the fundamental problem with Orion is the failure to counterbalance the goal of physical containment with the true size of explosion. Hence the continual attempts of academic studies to reduce the reaction size considerably or to place it outside any necessary direct containment pressures e.g. somewhere behind the craft. Most telling in this whole sorry evolutionary period of this plant is the repetition by the leading nation America of China when it encountered gunpowder. Not only did the Chinese fail to develop "physical containment" in the form of the cannon but they masked secret of the reaction in a science of alchemy. Hence any reader of this who did not actually participate in The Manhattan project is a product of this deliberate obscurity of fact and likely to misunderstand even the basic applications in space and interstellar travel. The safest education strategy is to remain within the historical limits of the application of the project's fruit, the surrender of Japan and not to go further along the development timeline. At least in my opinion! Draw your own historical analogy, but China in failing to physically contain gunpowder failed to initiate the longest technical development path in history: cannon - musket - rifle - machine gun. Interstellar space travel starts and finishes with physical containment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview of Interstellar Spaceflight Concepts
This is an excellent book for anyone intersted in the engineering possibilities of interplanetary and interstellar spaceflight. I read this book years ago as an aerospace engineering undergrad and it helped inspire me in my dream to help make starflight a reality. As can be found here, the technologies for limited interstellar flight have already been investigated, and in some cases, could be implemented today with sufficient funds. The books provides background on all types of rocket based propulsion, covering chemical, nuclear, anti-matter, electric (ion), solar sail, and solar thermal propulsion systems. It also provides an introduction to astrodynamics, space power systems, and the inherent problems encountered by long duration spaceflight over vast distances. As wonderful as this book is, it is badly in need of an update. It barely touches on more recent ideas like long range laser power transmission, as well as more "out-of-the-box" concepts like propellant-less propulsion. Granted there is alot of controversy surrounding notions of artificial wormholes and warp drives, but I'd like to see such ideas at least included as possibilities. As mentioned before, this book is not exceptionally mathematically rigorous, but that could be beneficial to those interested in these concepts without having to possess a background in differential calculus. These ideas stir the imagination and perhaps, someday, we may see these dreams become reality as mankind reaches out to the stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not the best
This is a very, very good book. It covers the basics of space flight, and covers specifics such as different types of propulsion methods and possible interstellar missions.

However, this book is not mathematically rigorous. Although I suggest everyone buy THIS book, anyone who wants a better mathematical treatment of the topic should try to find a copy of the out-of-print _Prospects for Interstellar Travel_, by Mauldin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
One of the most readable, interesting, and "gentle" space science books for the general reader I've ever come across. More, more, more! ... Read more

109. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program)
by Kip S. Thorne
list price: $18.95
our price: $13.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393312763
Catlog: Book (1995-01-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 22361
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (75)

4-0 out of 5 stars The people behind the Science
Kip Thorne is the author of one of the most authoritative texts on Gravitation and Astrophysics. "Black Holes and Time Warps" is meant to bring these recent advanced discoveries in cosmology to the masses. What makes this book most valuable is that it not only devotes many pages explaining the physics in simple terms, but also introduces the major players in the field, telling the stories of their lives, and describing in detail how they achieved their discoveries. The book is therefore very inspiring to young scientists. It is written in a highly narrative style that keeps up a heightened suspense as one wonders what the next discovery will be, what it's impact is one our world vision, and which scientist will bring about such a breakthrough.

We read about the life story of Einstein, and how he worked hard and long hours in between babysitting his children so as to come up with his masterpieces on relativity. We then read about Chandrasekhar, the young student from India, who with nothing more than his own brain and a crude mechanical calculator achieved what is perhaps one of the greatest theoretical discoveries of the 20th centuries: black holes. It would be years before astronomers concur and document the existence of these beasts, years in which Chandrasekhar had to suffer rejection and alienation from his peers in the scientific community. We read about the wonderful experiments physicists set up to understand the world: from massive arrays of radio telescopes for listening to the furthest reaches of the universe, to cosmic ray detectors to measure the minute remnants of supernova explosions. We read about the atomic and H-bombs, about Oppenheimer and his own personal feelings about his creation. Here, the attitude of the author - himself a leading scientist and contributor to human knowledge - is far from passive acceptance of all that science brings. He understands perhaps more than anyone else that science can be applied for evil purposes as well as beneficial purposes, and he does not shy away from discussing these ethical dilemmas he and his peers had to confront at some points in their lives.

Coming closer towards the end of the 20th century, Thorne discusses the complexities black hole research has led us into: apparent paradoxes and strange objects defying understanding - "singularities" in scientific lingo. We read eagerly about the competition between leading scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose to expand our limits of knowledge on black holes. We read also about the role of the cold war in advancing - or suppressing - scientific knowledge.

This wonderful book is augmented by an enormous number of simple illustrations explaining the concepts discussed, as well as photographs of the various people involved in this unending quest for knowledge. The book also boasts of a useful glossary at the end, as well as a timeline, a bibliography, a good set of notes, and a people as well as a subject index. It is definitely a book worth reading, one of the few books on science that admit that science is more than just numbers, but is also about people and is an integral part of the human story. I give it a 4 because I thought the book is too long, and tends to get wordy at times. A concise edition would be a useful contribution. The bibliography also suffers from bloatedness - it is so bulky and with no comments such that the interested reader will have difficulty deciding what to read next.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good History of Black Holes.
Let's start off by saying that this book is not for everyone. This is, however, a beautifully written book that should be read by anyone that intends to go into relativity physics.

Professor Thorne wonderfully combined the history development of Black Holes, along with enough ancedotes to satisfy science seekers. There are tons of diagrams, background stories, and enough to keep the reader going.

However, it may be too complex of a book for the layman. It is very hardcore, and may be a little slow for casual readers, with enough details to confuse a reader the first time through.

The book also demonstrates the futuristic predictions and applications of Black Holes, from being a power plant, to wormholes in space. It was easily understood.

Bottom Line: If you're into physics, or have a lot of time, go out and buy this book, because it's worth every penny. This gives a good background history on the slow progress of Black Holes, and includes ancedotes from Hawkings to Landau. It is highly recommended if you want to learn more than just "What is a Black Hole?" As others have suggested, "Gravitation" by Thorne, Wheeler and Misner would be a more complex book if you have the background for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars okay
Black holes & time warps is great, it explains things thoroughly. And without complex mathematical equations that are inherent in many books that discuss the same subject. I'm not so great on calculus so this is easier on me. Nearly everything was good, but the reason I gave it only four stars is due to the fact that they include too much history you have to read for pages and pages before they actually discuss the topic of the chapter. The first couple of pages are about how a research group got started or who was using the bathroom when something important happened. And it's loaded with personal history that I don't want to know about. Although if like the historical parts then this is your dream book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Black Holes
Kip Thorne is an eccentric author who reveals scientific enterprise of quantum gravity and black holes research in a simple language. This book is rich in history, and classical (Newtonian physics and theory of relativity) and modern physics (quantum mechanics) are presented in non mathematical form. We get rare first hand insights of scientific styles and temperament, and his personal involvement in various aspects of black holes research and his interaction with scientists all over the world especially those from former Soviet Union and the impact of communism on black hole research. The first part of the book describes theory of relativity, concept of spacetime fabric of the universe and curvature of spacetime in presence of matter (stars, galaxies, etc.) to generate gravity. The author gives us a good historical background to build his case for black hole concept. Theory of relativity predicts the existence of black holes but Einstein refused to accept it and so is Arthur Eddington another leading exponent of theory of relativity. The idea of black holes remained in academic obscurity among few who believed in it and it progressively became clear that dying giant stars undergo implosions in which nuclear force the strongest of all four forces of cosmos buckles under gravitational force creating a blackholes. Black holes have been discovered in the center of dying giant stars and in centers of galaxies, and efforts are underway to detect the black hole gravitational waves carried to earth from distant parts of the universe and to seek the secret of what is inside a black hole: a route to another universe? The author warps up the second part by discussing the possibility of constructing wormholes with exotic matter (tunnels in space connecting two widely separated locations in the universe) through hyperspace for interstellar travel and back to the future. He is one of the leaders in proposing interstellar travel. Physicists and academics are too conservative to get involved in space travel research as it is traditionally linked to science fiction and Star Trek junkies. The author can mesmerize the reader with his incredible knowledge and ease with which he can communicate to the reader; at the same time he is eccentric enough to work in one of his laboratory (Palomar Mountains) nude and draw criticisms from peers. He is also crazy enough to take bet with peers for things such as Penthouse magazine and annoy his wife and family with Mormon heritage. This book is free of marketing strategies of the publisher as the author shares his knowledge with the reader to his best of abilities to make everyone understands it even by offering few simple calculations and formulas. Do not be discouraged by the size of the book (619 pages). The text flows well and it is deeply engrossing. Anyone interested in black hole and space travel must have this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine personal history of "big science" in the 20th century

Like many, I started Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time"
(1988), bogged down, and set it aside. Thorne's book got equally good
reviews, but my God, the thing's 600+ pages.... so it sat on my "to-
read" shelf for years. This tardy review is intended for others in
similar circumstances -- or for anyone interested in modern physics &

The book is written as a history of 20th century physics, from
Einstein's theory of the relativity of space & time (1905), to black
holes, gravity waves and wormholes in the 90's. I found this a very
engaging approach. Thorne's writing is (usually) clear and direct, and
he includes enough biographical tidbits and anecdotes to keep the
human juice in potentially dry topics.

A few gems: Einstein's college math professor Minkowski, who had
called the young genius a "lazy dog", later worked out the
mathematics combining space and time into "absolute spacetime."
Einstein made cruel jokes denigrating Minkowski's work, not
realizing, until after Minkowski's death, that his old teacher's math
was essential to Einstein's special relativity work.

Cosmic radio waves were discovered by a Bell Telephone engineer in
1932. Despite widespread publicity, professional atronomers weren't
very interested -- the first radiotelescope was built by a radio "ham",
in his mother's back yard in Illinois, in 1940. The first professional
radiotelescopes weren't built until after WW2, in England and
Australia; Americans didn't become competitive until the late 50's.

Thorne has a fair command of Russian, which gave him an "in"
when the USSR started allowing scientific contacts in the post-Stalin
era. Now that Russia is such a mess, we forget that the Soviets
produced a *bunch* of world-class scientists and engineers [note 1],
from the 1930's on -- including some of the best physicists since


Dr. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Physics at Caltech
is best known to the
general public for his 1988 wormhole "time machine" proposal. Press
coverage included a photo of the author doing physics in the nude on
Mt. Palomar. Embareassing, but didn't hurt the book sales. The
wormhole work grew out of a request from Carl Sagan for a plausible
FTL transport scheme for his 1985 science-fiction novel "Contact"
(which I recommend). Sagan's request made Thorne realize the value
of thought experiments that ask, "What things do the laws of physics
permit an infinitely advanced civilization to do, and what do the
laws forbid?" This style of speculation by world-class scientists has
become popular (and somewhat respectable) in the last decade, and
has resulted in some very stimulating reading, such as K. Eric
Drexler's "Engines of Creation" (1986), and Hans Moravec's "Mind
Children" (1988) and "Robot" (1999).

My last exposure to formal physics was two painful undergraduate
courses (mumble) years ago. Since then I've kept up at roughly a
Scientific American level or below (plus I read a lot of science fiction).
I think I'm close to the author's aim-point for his potential audience.
I found some of the physics tough going, but these sections can be
safely skimmed without losing the thread of his arguments. I read
most of the book in two sittings -- it's surprisingly gripping. So --
don't put off reading "Black Holes" any longer!
Note 1) --along with some remarkable pseudo-science. Iosif Shlovsky tells
of many such projects in his very entertaining "Five Billion Vodka
Bottles to the Moon" (1991). ... Read more

110. Introduction to Aircraft Design (Cambridge Aerospace Series)
by John P. Fielding
list price: $40.00
our price: $32.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521657229
Catlog: Book (1999-10-14)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 264316
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Here is an accessible introduction to the fundamentals of civil and military aircraft design. Giving a largely descriptive overview of all aspects of the design process, this well-illustrated account provides an insight into the requirements of each specialist in an aircraft design team. After discussing the need for new designs, the text assesses the merits of different aircraft shapes from micro-lights and helicopters to super-jumbos and V/STOL aircraft. Subsequent chapters explore structures, airframe systems, avionics and weapons systems. Later chapters examine the costs involved in the acquisition and operation of new aircraft, aircraft reliability and maintainability, and a variety of unsuccessful projects to see what conclusions can be drawn. Three appendices and a bibliography give a wealth of useful information, much not published elsewhere, including simple aerodynamic formulae, aircraft, engine and equipment data and a detailed description of a parametric study of a 500-seat transport aircraft. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars No substance
I consider this book to be a rough draft for a much larger book to come (I hope). The author just skims lightly through vast numbers of subjects, so that anyone who knows anything about airplanes will learn nothing new. Yet it isn't written on a basic enough level to have much to offer someone who knows nothing.


4-0 out of 5 stars Practical guide to aircraft design
Many aircraft design books detail the 'how' of aircraft design. For example, determining the stall characteristics of a conceptual aircraft design. John Flemings' book introduces the 'why' of the aircraft design process. This book is a perfect companion to other aircraft design texts, like 'Aircraft Design-a conceptual approach' by Daniel Raymer ... Read more

111. Wheels Up : Airline Business Plan Development
by John G. Wensveen
list price: $43.95
our price: $43.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0534393543
Catlog: Book (2004-01-08)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 366525
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

WHEELS UP: AIRLINE BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT is the first text that teaches the fundamentals of strategic business planning as they apply to the airline industry. Dr. John Wensveenan international consultant and Assistant Professor of Airline Management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Universityfocuses on issues of particular concern to airline professionals. Flexibility in the current competitive environment, the importance of understanding the structural organization of an airline, and the considerations necessary when making any strategic decision are just a few of the recurring themes he addresses. In addition, the reader is encouraged to consider current trends (post-9/11) and topics of special interest (cost-cutting, aircraft fleet management, and corporate structure, to name a few) while learning the process of creating a successful business plan. Written to be accessible to executives, graduates, and undergraduates, Wensveen's text will be of interest to aviation enthusiasts as well as professionals in the field. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars book not yet available
This first ever wonderful book is not yet available. The author should have waited until it was actually published before writing his own review. The review sounds like one of his epic "about the author" novels.

5-0 out of 5 stars First book ever written on this subject and well needed
This is the world's first book ever written on airline business pland development. The author outlines the true "elements" of an airline business plan versus the generic business plan. Anyone interested in starting a big or small company, airline or otherwise, must have this book. Every airline, airport, air cargo operator, consultant, entrepreneur, investor, and enthusiast must have this reference on hand. Excellent work! ... Read more

112. Learning to Fly Helicopters
by R. Randall Padfield
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071577246
Catlog: Book (1992-01-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Sales Rank: 31920
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An introduction to helicopter flying techniques, many of which are difficult to master, as well as a discussion of emergency procedure, human factors, advanced operations and even a section on careers. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative, well-written, and an all-around fun book
I read this book before I started my helicopter training just about two years ago. Since then, I have bought and read just about every book about rotary-wing aircraft that I can get my hands on. This book is fundamental in nature, but fairly complete none the less and an absolute joy to read. I recently read it again and loved it more than when I first picked it up. Of all the helicopter books I have read this one is still by far my favorite.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worked for me
In reading this book, I can see how people with even limited helo experience could find it beneath them. It covers the very basics and some advanced manuevers, but is nothing that you can't learn from a flight instructor. When I read it, I was 14 and just becoming interested in helos. I am now 16 and have recently re-read it and found it to be less comprehensive than information gleaned from free sources; ie the internet or library. However, if you are interested in helos but don't know many specifics, it is a good book and an easy read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is just great!
I am a student pilot in Switzerland. This book gave me a lot of information on helicopter flying. More than that, it thought me what is essential to know and to remember when flying. If you look for a very technical book, you will be certainly disappointed because the autor does not want to overload the subject with graphs and calculations. But the book is breathtaking for any reader interested in helicopters... (sorry for my english...)

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely worthless
I strongly urge anyone who has any rotory wing time not to buy this book. It is completely introductory in nature. The only usefulness might be for someone before they undergo rotary wing training to gain and understanding of what a rotary wing training program is about.

The back cover boasts that this book is "an ideal supplement to ground school training." But, it is not. There's nothing in this book you do not learn in pilot school. If you're looking for supplemental information, I would suggest "The Art and Science of Flying Helicopters." That is a book I would consider supplemental because it offers a different perspective on aerodynamics and maneuvers. But this "Learning to Fly Helicopters" book does not offer anything new. It does not offer a unique enough insight to justify it even having been published to begin with.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book for people starting to fly Heli's
Probably the best and most reccomendable book i have ever read for people starting their rotary training answering every question up to at least ppl ... Read more

113. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical Astronomy Handbooks)
by John H. Rogers
list price: $120.00
our price: $120.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521410088
Catlog: Book (1995-07-20)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 392685
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jupiter is an extraordinarily colorful and dynamic planet. Over its surface one can observe shadows cast by its moons or giant swirling storms that move and evolve. It is because of this richness of visual and physical properties that Jupiter has intrigued amateur and professional astronomers and has been the goal of several space missions. This highly illustrated volume provides a comprehensive and accessible account of Jupiter and its satellites, synthesizing data from amateur and professional astronomers and space missions. It reviews systematic telescopic observations that have stretched over more than 100 years, in addition to modern observations and theories, and the wealth of data from the Pioneer, Voyager, and Ulysses space missions. As the first full account of Jupiter in thirty-five years, this volume provides the definitive account of Jupiter for advanced amateur astronomers, professional astronomers and planetary scientists. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Jovian Trove! A Ticket to Jupiter!
Hats off to John Rogers. This book is like a textbook on the planet Jupiter. You could take a semester course on the planet and still not get everything that this book has to offer. Starting with early observations of the planet (17th century and following), we explore the planet's bands and belts (each one getting its own chapter!), the forjmation of spots and storms, chemistry, atmospheric speeds and dynamics, theories about what's beneath the clouds, Jupiter's ring system (discovered by Voyager), the moons (several of them getting whole chapters), on and on and on... The tone is decidedly scientific, but often in a conversational, friendly way, a tone that encourages exploring its knowledge.

My sole complaint about this tome (it's not just a book, but a tome) is its paucity of color illustrations. For as much discussion as the book offers about chemistry and color-sources in the belts, more color would be useful. All the color photos (and there a fair number, I suppose) appear in a sort of color plate appendix at the end of the book, and they're excellent, but few. Anyway, that sums up my reservations.

Besides, the book is otherwise lavishly--and I mean lavishly--illustrated, and with a huge variety of (all black-and-white) material, an important matter for a book about this subject. We get charts, grahps, photos taken in the visible spectrum, under various color filters and also various radiation filters (but reduced to two colors, as I said). Fascinating are the photo sequences which show us spots emerging and developing, merging, evolving. It's mostly in black and white, but the wonderfully fine paper stock provides for great reproduction quality. I don't think there is asingle concept or heading that goe unillustrated. Rogers (the author) employs a great wealth of astronmer's detailed (you'll be surprised) sketches of the planet, in little strip maps that sort of unroll the planet before you. And by collecting these sketches from over the centuries, he offers a longterm history of how the planet has been behaving.

Published in 1995, the book can only mention that the comet (I've forgotten its name) will hit it; the book doesn;t cover that actual event, but I can't imagine a fuller account of the planet--or of many dngle subject s period, as this book offers. A great book to poke around in, too, when you have an extra few minutes here and there. ... Read more

114. Extraterrestrial Contact: The Evidence and Implications
by Steven M. Greer, Steven M. Greer
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967323800
Catlog: Book (1999-09)
Publisher: Crossing Point Inc
Sales Rank: 515368
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featured in the book:
-the best UFO/ET cases and the evidence for them.
-the best US and other official government smoking-gun documents
-remarkable close encounters of the Fifth kind
-thought-provoking overview of why ETs are here
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Truth Is Right Here With Dr. Greer
I have been searching for the real truth about UFO and ET since my childhood (1970~), so far what I found was a mess and confusion; bad ET, good ET, alien invasion, abduction, mutilation, science fiction movies, etc... you know the rest.

I spent about one year to finish reading this book, finally all my confusions were gone, my mind was cleared, this book set straight all the mess manufactured by current UFO sub culture all over the world, this is the book that should be read by all the people of the world because it shows us all the solid and credible proof about UFO and ET.

Dr. Greer, he is our only hope at the moment to reveal to the world the truth about UFO, ET and their zero point energy generation technology, he is our only hope for mankind's First Contact in a peaceful manner, he should be our earth ambassador to the universe, he needs all the support he can get from the people of the earth, let us all help him to save this earth from our own destruction.

1-0 out of 5 stars This isn't even good science fiction
Occasionally, I like to get off the beaten path of my usual scientific reading and see what is happening in the arena of UFO research, which I believe is a phenomenon that is still open to question. I had understood that Steven Greer was at the forefront of this reasearch, so I was eager to pick up a copy of his book.
What I discovered however, was a wordy, unsubstantiated series of premisis couched in a sea of pseudo-scientific jardon. Greer, should probably have stayed with his original profession as an M.D. and not have attempted to delve into the realm of physics, which it is clear he has no understanding.
Here is a typical example of some of the slurry he writes, apparently to make us think he either has a direct line to the aliens, or an omnipotent God and therefore needs no proof:
"absolute, undifferentiated mind, together with the causal idea/sound/thought form and the CIV or astral form create a matrix which supports or gives rise to the so-called material universe. The blue-print, if you will, or ideas/thought/sound and subtle CIV form actually supports and helps create the more gross or expressed material universe. But the material universe has with it the unitive,[?] indivisible absolute mind, as well as the causal and CIV apects...It is incorrect to regard, therefore, these aspects as purely distant 'other dimensions' since the warp and woof of the material cosmos is conscious, thought form based and has astral or CIV matrix with it."
Greer maintains that such things as astral projection, levitation, and telekinesis are proven facts of science and not merely anecdotal, however, I haven't seen this sort of proof cited in any scientific publications.
Let's hope that these alien beings that have mastered faster-than-light travel, intra-dimensional travel, and consciousness communication, don't still believe in the old religious dogma that Greer constantly evokes thoughout the book. I'd like to think that these beings have at least shed the superstitions that are on the verge of destroying our society and world. Anyone want to buy a book cheap?
Review by D.K. author of: Quantum Reality: A New Philosophical Perspective.

4-0 out of 5 stars Keep up the good work!
I first read his second book Disclosure and it was awesome!!! The first half of this book was new agey at times but still very interesting. The second half of this book is when it starts getting good. U.F.O buffs will love Greer's books. Greer is getting closer to the truth about extratrrestrials, government cover ups, black operations and much more. Greer's books are must reads.

5-0 out of 5 stars Toward a resolution
Dr. Greer brings to an exposition of UFO secrecy the pragmatic approach of an emmergency care physician with the no-nonsense approach of a methodical professional interested in results. He is not as much interested in giving the reader a thorough debriefing on UFO's secrecy as he wants it to stop. His must-read book proposes the best route to a resolution of the UFO dilema. Secrecy about UFOs has acquired over decades a perpetuate life that even the President or a CIA Director cannot tame. Obviously Dr. Greer benefited in writing his superbly documented book from the support of powerful friends in the CIA, the Pentagone and Congress. The challenge is for Dr. Greer to insure the conspirators in the extensive cover-up of Roswell that they would not suffer at the hands of a citizenry learning the enormity of the big lie. Needless to say that the jaded beneficiaries of this crime against humanity are not eager to see it happen. Unless we all become engaged in exposing the fraud, planet earth will continue its steady decline toward self-destruction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Gigantic Opportunity in Our History
Dr. Greer's book is super packed with facts about the presence of "others". The basic premise is toward action, WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING NOW.

Stated simply we, as earth inhabitants are on the verge of becoming visitors to other planets and the stars. It's essential to approach these "others" in a peaceful, cooperative manner. He is proposing some basic ways of doing that. He is also encouraging society to put their best heads together and approach this contact "the greatest of all opportunities" peacefully with openness, friendliness and cooperation...a new type of diplomacy! There is the idea that our government is withholding information, and there are those who are ordering and using guns to attack these "visitors" under the misguided approach that they are here to harm us... or that the American public cannot "handle it".

On a common sense level, if these alien visitors are here to harm us, just the fact that they are here shows their advanced technical capabilities. They could wipe us all out in a nanosecond if they wanted to. But that has not happened.

It is much more sensible to approach these visitors peacefully and openly. What an adventure...and in our lifetime! Imagine how much we can learn from them...boggles my mind. This is the most gigantic opportunity in our history.

Let's turn on our enthusiasm and creativity for a major face to face peaceful meeting to enhance all of our lives. And let's have it covered on we can all share in the excitement. ... Read more

115. The Illustrated on the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy
by Stephen Hawking
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0762418982
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 18169
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Book Description

The first edition of this revolutionary look at the scientific discoveries that changed our perception of the world, by the renowned physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking, sold over 65,000 copies. Now it's available in a gift-worthy special edition with color photographs and illustrations depicting theoretical models of the planets and their orbits--making Hawking's brilliant insights all the more accessible. This original compilation is based on seven classic works of physics and astronomy which, read in chronological order, trace the evolution of modern science. THE ILLUSTRATED ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS includes selections from On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus; Principia by Sir Isaac Newton; The Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein; Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences by Galileo Galilei with Alfonso De Salvio; plus Harmony of the World by Johannes Kepler. It also includes five important critical essays and an original biography of each physicist, written by Hawking himself. ... Read more

116. The Space Elevator: A Revolutionary Earth-to-Space Transportation System
by Bradley C. Edwards, Eric A. Westling
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
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Asin: 0974651710
Catlog: Book (2003-11)
Publisher: Bc Edwards
Sales Rank: 42822
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The authors take the reader through the history of the concept, technical design and economic practicalities of building an elevator to space, and, ultimately, the implications of what such a low cost transportation system would mean to society. Based on three years of NASA-funded studies and written for the technically literate layperson, Edwards and Westling discuss the recent technological advances that now make the space elevator feasible. They conclude by addressing the effects that the space elevator could have on mankind's future from communications and energy to colonizing space. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and entertaining
The authors managed to convince me in a very short time that Edwards' plan of a Space Elevator could indeed be feasible in a very short time from now (given only a few technological breakthroughs yet to be achieved).

The layout of the book is utterly sophomoric, even more of a surprise as Edwards apparently had a professional writer at hand to co-author the book. These guys have obviously never heard anything about LaTeX or other quality type setting systems that are, mind you, standard in the maths/engineering scientific community. The readibility of the formulae suffers most, and the presentation of the tables and figures is a disgrace as well.

Some readers might find the prose is lacking in style, although I quite liked the colloquial approach (I must say that I'm not a native speaker of English, so if I was I might be annoyed as well). The structure of the chapters would profit from quite some refactoring, too.

Still the sheer amount of information provided is impressive and the authors do a great job in convincing even the most sceptical of the feasibility of this project by tackling most, if not all, of the problems at hand with great skill.

I strongly recommend this book to anybody with an interest in space-faring, science fiction or just great technological ideas that should rather be realized today than tomorrow.

4-0 out of 5 stars First phase of a blueprint for the defense of planet earth
Every year geologists and meteorite hunters find more evidence that the moon and the earth share a common fate in the shooting gallery of our solar system. As the picture of a meteorte strike on the moon in 1954 and the 1994 levy-shoemaker-9 comet strike on our solar systems comet sink, Jupiter demonstrate, we are vulnerable to catastrophic attacks from comets and asteroids that cross the earth's orbit. Chicsulube,Mexico, Chesapeake Bay,us, the meteor crater in arizonia,us, sites in Canada and Russia, even the British offshore oil fields show that we have been hit in the past.
The French mathematician Poissian postulated that it can happen again next week and next month afterwards. One need only remember the lady who won the New Jersey lottery TWICE to understand just how fickle lady chance can be.
The space elevator offers the only economically feasible method to date that could lift the necessary material and manpower to address this very real threat.
The fullerenes 160 Giga-Pascals loading limit need to be attacked with the same urgency of the manhattan project.
The author's do slightly address this issue but they missed a major use for this (SE) technology.
The book reads like a college term paper and even looks like it was xeroxed from one. What it has to say is beautiful and needs to be fleshed out into an encyclopedia of future spacefaring that will make the currect economic sluggishness seem almost a welcome thing.
Look for the stock market to grab nanotechnology ie (fullerenes)in 5 years or so and hype it to the nines.

5-0 out of 5 stars Want a Lift?
After the latest shuttle disaster, the challenge of obtaining cheap (and safe) access to space now occupies NASA's attention more than ever before. If humans are ever to realize the dream of space--exploration, commercialization and settlement on a massive scale--then we need to find a means to climb out of the earth's steep gravity well that is reliable and relatively inexpensive.

Dr. Bradley Edwards has studied this problem and his solution is a space elevator, an idea that until recently has attracted the attention more of science fiction writers than working scientists.

This book, while suffering in places from lapses in style and clear presentation, manages admirably to describe the basic details of Edwards's reformulation of the space elevator concept. Non-scientists will have no problem following the argument.

The key to this contemporary scientific and engineering study of the feasibility of a space elevator is the discovery in the early 1990's of carbon nanotubes. Their physical properties of extreme tensile strength and light weight make them an ideal candidate for playing the role of that elusvive material, "unobtainium". Of course it still remains to be see whether they can be formed into a composite that has the requisite characteristics that will permit the construction of a tether 100,000 kilometers long stretching from earth to well beyond geostationary orbit.

An excellent introduction to what we all hope will be the 21st century's CATS pyjamas!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great as an introduction
I was pleasantly surprised at the contents of this book. Edwards does seem to have covered most of the caveats that are almost immediately brought up when the concept of a space elevator is presented.

Since a space elevator is an engineering project, analysis of the actual feasibility will depend heavily on the planned structure, which in turn will depend heavily on the materials used. And since we're still a ways off from having the 160 Giga-Pascal material one would like to have, it is hard to say whether this still remains a total pipe-dream or is actually possible.

This book should be considered the equivalent of a back-of-the-envelope calculations showing that technically, we're not totally stumped, and pointing out the areas that really have to be worked on (nanotubes in matrix and ultra-long transmission of energy via laser beams.) I would also have liked to have seen a chapter covering the question of torsional stress on the Space Elevator.

All in all, good work.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unusually accessible technical engineering study
The collaborative effort of physicist Bradley C. Edwards and professional science writer Eric A. Westling, The Space Elevator: A Revolutionary Earth-To-Space Transportation System is an unusually accessible technical engineering study exploring the possibility of reaching out into space itself. Packed from cover to cover with theories, charts, tables, calculations, and scientific explanations, The Space Elevator is both an optimistic and an eye-opening look at what could be possible in the very near future. ... Read more

117. The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
by Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer
list price: $49.95
our price: $31.47
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Asin: 155209507X
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd
Sales Rank: 4497
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What type of telescope is best for beginners? Can I use my camera to take photographs through a telescope? How good are the new computerized telescope mounts? What charts, books, software and other references do I need? These questions are asked time and again by enthusiastic new amateurs as they take up recreational astronomy.

But accurate, objective and up-to-date information can be hard to find. Throughout the 1990s, the first edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide established itself as the indispensable reference to the equipment and techniques used by the modern recreational stargazer. Now, authors Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer have produced an expanded and completely updated edition that again sets the standard for accessible and reliable information on one of the world's most popular hobbies.

Dickinson and Dyer -- both full-time astronomy writers -- bring decades of experience to their task. They explain why telescopes often perform much differently from what the novice expects. They recommend the accessories that will enhance the observing experience and advise what not to buy until you become more familiar with your equipment. They name brands and sources and compare value so that you can be armed with the latest practical information when deciding on your next purchase. Sections on astrophotography, daytime and twilight observing, binocular observing and planetary and deep-sky observing round out this comprehensive guide to personal exploration of the universe. Dickinson and Dyer's elegant yet straightforward approach to a complex subject makes this book an invaluable resource for astronomers throughout North America.

With more than 500 color photographs and illustrations, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is also one of the most beautiful -- and user-friendly -- astronomy books ever produced. ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Backyard has gotten bigger and better
This classic introduction to amateur astronomy has gotten a much improved revised edition. Dickinson and Dyer have updated this indispensable resource for the 21st century. This book is divided into three main parts.

The first covers the hardware. The authors explain the workings of the different types of scopes and accessories and give suggestions based upon budget and the type of viewing to be pursued. They tell you what hardware is essential, what is nice to have, and what you can live without including new scopes and accessories that have come out since the previous edition. Also covered is how to set up the scopes properly, and what mistakes to avoid setting up a new scope for the first time.

The second part is a crash course on the sky, starting with what you can see with the naked eye, observing conditions based on your location, and then how to observe the various objects in the sky with the equipment from the first part.

The final part is an introduction to photographing the sky with a camera (film or digital) or a dedicated CCD imager. Coverage includes simple camera on a tripod or barndoor mount setups, piggybacking on a telescope, and thru the telescope photography. Enough to get one started.

The text is not the only part of this book to be updated. Hundreds of color photos have been sprinkled liberally throughout this guide. If you are just getting one book before plunging into amateur astronomy, make this the book. It is great for beginning and intermediate amateurs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best comprehensive astronomy volume available
I cannot heap sufficient praise on this gargantuan effort! Authors Dyer and Dickinson are to be highly commended for this gift to the amateur astronomic community...the sheer amount of practical information packed within this volume is enough to keep the budding ( as well as experienced ) enthusiast "woodshedding" through many a cloudy night! Telescopes of all brands and types are thoroughly examined, along with all the makes of eyepieces, digital equipment, etc...yet this isn't a mere technical treasure trove. These two guys clearly convey their passion for astronomy, along with frank, down-to-earth advice for everyone ranging from the novice to the serious amateur. If I have a single frustration, it's that this gem is far too practical a volume to be a somewhat unwieldy "coffee table" book...I want to order a second copy to chop up into manageable chapters bound individually (!) It's just that good! And did I say anything about the spectacular photographs?

5-0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING, EASY READING BOOK
At the beginning I was just a bit suspicious of buying "one more vulgar amateur book", but after reading it all, I can FULLY recommend to all of you this book.
Photos & edition are simply great, and reading it is a real delight. Easy language (for beginners and/or intermediate level aficionados), first hand advices, no brand-inclined suggestions or recommendations. If you know enough about astronomy (but not an expert, ok?), you can agree with them in almost all authors say. And you, southern hemisphere amateurs, are NOT out of this good reading (many books only cares for specific topics of nothern hemisphere); in fact authors point out very interesting things for us.
Please don't miss this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amateur's Guide gets a celestial makeover
Terence Dickinson is perhaps the leading writer of English-language amateur astronomy books; his Nightwatch is rightly considered one of the best introductions to the night sky and how to observe it. It covers the broad range of amateur astronomy admirably, from science to equipment to observing tactics. One of the only glaring drawbacks to the book is that it is simply too short.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an able sequel. Written with fellow Canadian amateur Alan Dyer, it goes further in depth than does Nightwatch. Because it also goes into specifics in recommending telescopes and accessories, however, it quickly grew out of date. A somewhat updated and revised edition came out in 1994, but more than eight years have passed since then, and most of the models described there have been discontinued, although a few workhorses have continued to the present day.

Now, at last, this book is available in a true second edition. The changes are at once obvious and subtle. Obvious, in that the production is stunning: the old photos, mostly black-and-white, have been replaced by beautiful full-color images of the night sky and detailed diagrams of equipment. Subtle, in that the table of contents reads almost the same; it's not so much the inherent content that has changed so much as how it's presented.

One chapter from the first edition that has disappeared is one entitled "Ten Myths About Telescopes and Observing." In the first edition, this chapter was praised by reviewers and readers alike (and excoriated by some other readers, too!); it undoubtedly surpassed Dickinson and Dyer's expectations in terms of the amount of discussion it engendered. Whether you agree with them or not, they have at least educated their readers about the dispute over these myths. It's hardly the case that anyone makes claims like "Images Appear Brighter in Fast Telescopes" (Myth #2 from the 1994 edition) without being challenged.

Perhaps because of that, and also because Dickinson and Dyer may have felt that it was more important to make sure that beginners (who might buy this book without buying Nightwatch first) were able to use their equipment effectively, the myths chapter has been replaced by an introduction to using telescopes. Like all the other chapters, this one is lavishly illustrated and finely detailed, enough so that one can follow along, step-by-step, in assembling and orienting a telescope and its mount. For example, nearly a full page is devoted to getting a telescope on a GEM, or German Equatorial Mount, to cross the meridian, a tough task for beginners to figure out on their own.

Also substantially changed in presentation is the chapter on finding your way around the night sky. The vagaries of navigation, the celestial sphere, and the nightly movements of the planets, are here illustrated by several pages of diagrams, printed from a number of different planetarium programs. This book has definitely felt the impact of computer visualization of the sky.

Elsewhere, the material has been updated more than changed. New equipment has replaced old equipment, and some of that old equipment now appears in a "classics" category--things to look for in the used telescopes bin. There is a new spin on the chapter on accessories: these have been divided into must-haves, nice-to-haves, and don't-haves. (Much to my surprise, the two-dollar eye patch that I find so handy to relieve strain on my right eye--I'm left-eyed--has been unceremoniously dumped in the don't-have category.)

Should you buy this book? If you don't have it yet, and you'd like a comprehensive, easy-to-understand reference, this is the one. There really is nothing else like it on the market today. If you have one of the older editions, the decision is harder. Certainly, there's enough overlap that you can probably find out newer information from various sources without spending the same amount of money. But it's hard to get it all in one place, and the new edition certainly is a visual treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an excellent book for both new and experienced amateur astronomers. The authors review equipment, visual observing techiques and both film and digital astrophotography. The book is beautifully illustrated and the explanations are very clear. Finally, the book is up to date with regard to equipment descriptions. Since the book covers such a wide range of topics, it is more introductory in nature and the amateur astronomer will still have to purchase specialty books (e.g., The New CCD Astronomy) to get the detailed information one needs for advanced topics. ... Read more

118. Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook: Fundamental Technologies
by David G. Gilmore
list price: $99.95
our price: $99.95
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Asin: 188498911X
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Ast
Sales Rank: 109652
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Book Description

This practical handbook provides the reader with enough background and specific information to begin conducting thermal analysis and to participate in the thermal design of spacecraft systems.

The book is a revised and updated edition of Satellite Thermal Control Handbook, published in 1994. The name change reflects the expanded scope of this work, which now includes thermal environments and design techniques for interplanetary spacecraft, in addition to the Earth-orbiting satellites that were the focus of the original handbook. The reader will now find an updated characterization of the thermal environment in Earth orbit, new material documenting the environments of interplanetary missions, more detailed information about each of the thermal control hardware elements found in the first edition, and presentation of some newer technologies such as heat switches and precision temperature control techniques. ... Read more

119. Preservation of Near-Earth Space for Future Generations
list price: $85.00
our price: $85.00
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Asin: 0521445086
Catlog: Book (1994-06-09)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 715026
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Book Description

What will happen to the near-Earth space environment? How can we ensure the survival of future scientific, commercial and military satellites and space stations? This book addresses the questions that must be asked as debris in space around the Earth--from dust particles to rocket casings, and even radioactive materials--becomes a critical problem. In this volume, many specialists from around the world address the issues, problems, and policies concerned with the preservation of near-Earth space. Their articles cover the technical aspects, and the economic and legal issues concerned, including the enforcement and monitoring of international agreements and the resolution of disputes. This clearly written and well illustrated survey offers the professional and concerned nonspecialist an authoritative and comprehensive review of the problems with and solutions to space debris. ... Read more

120. The Constants of Nature : From Alpha to Omega--the Numbers That Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe
list price: $26.00
our price: $26.00
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Asin: 0375422218
Catlog: Book (2003-01-14)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 46467
Average Customer Review: 3.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A major contribution to our understanding of the basic laws of the universe -- from the author of The Book of Nothing.

The constants of nature are the fundamental laws of physics that apply throughout the universe: gravity, velocity of light, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. They encode the deepest secrets of the universe, and express at once our greatest knowledge and our greatest ignorance about the cosmos.

Their existence has taught us the profound truth that nature abounds with unseen regularities. Yet while we have become skilled at measuring the values of these constants, our frustrating inability to explain or predict their values shows how much we have still to learn about inner workings of the universe.

What is the ultimate status of these constants of nature? Are they truly constant? And are there other universes where they are different?

John D. Barrow, one of our foremost mathematicians and cosmologists, discusses the latest thinking about these and many more dramatic issues in this accessible and thought-provoking book.
... Read more

Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good overview, but ...
"Constants of Nature" is an excellent overview of a fascinating topic--the origins and significance of the constants of the universe. It prompted me to spend a great deal of my free time digging around for more information on many of the topics it addresses, which is always a ringing endorsement for a work of non-fiction.

However, it's not perfect. The book's subtitle ("From Alpha to Omega") is somewhat deceptive--the "meat" of the book (after the first few chapters) deals almost entirely with the fine structure constant (alpha). Barrow talks a great deal about constants in general, but never devotes much time to any of the others specifically. Furthermore, at times, Barrow seems to become sidetracked--an inexplicable discussion of the value of contemplating "alternative histories" (i.e., speculating what would have happened if Germany had won World War II, and similar endeavors) awkwardly interrupts the flow of one chapter, for instance. Also, the book has several errors that were immediately obvious to me (for instance, it says light from the Sun takes 3 seconds to reach the Earth; the correct value is more than 8 minutes), which makes me suspect that there are probably many more errors that I missed, but which would be obvious to someone with a marginally greater degree of physics sophistication.

However, perhaps the biggest disappointment was in the introduction of the values of the Planck length, Planck time, etc., all of which are central to the book. Barrow justifies the signifiance of these values simply by stating that they are the only values of the appropriate dimensions that can be derived by combining certain other physical constants in straightforward ways. However, from there he makes the logical leap that the Planck distance, for instance, is the "natural" measure of length in the universe. This is certainly a fair statement, but it's hardly justifiable to make that statement based simply on the fact that it can be derived from a number of other constants--one could have selected another collection of fundamental constants and come up with a completely different "natural" unit of length. In short, the line of reasoning does not justify the conclusion.

In all, this is a thought-provoking work, but it's often short on detail and had a tendency to leave me with more questions than answers. The more technical reader will probably wish for more thorough arguments throughout; however, it's still an enjoyable read and a fine attempt at popularizing a difficult area of physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative and refreshing text
In his previous book "The Book of Nothing", John Barrow presents a vacuum and uses it to show us its new meaning. Now he finds another interesting topic - constants of Nature in science (mostly "fine structure" constant but not exclusively), and uses them to teach us about unknown history and measurements in modern cosmology. I find his cube of theories and colorful description of many forms of multiverses (including the one having different times dimension) very educative.
Extra flavor is added in chapter 9 (about "virtual history"). It brings some humor and relaxes in the middle of not so easy subjects. Especially chapter 11 requires extra effort and figure 11.6 is missing from the hardcover edition. Generally: book represents another great effort in popularizing sophisticated top end of a science. Hopefully I will remember formula: 2(pi)e^2/hc for a long time to come.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
The Book of Nothing was much better. I am surprised at errors made on simple physical realities. Eclipse of sun is defined as earth's shadow covering sun's disc... Sun's light reaching earth in 3 seconds... As one reviewer already mentioned, letter used for "1" is indistinguishable from "I"... I could not find much detail on "constants", just speculations and what if's... Quotes sprinkled all over are much more fun to read...

4-0 out of 5 stars very good
Fascinating discussion on the number that govern the universe. Though certainly not perfect(and somewhat self promoting), barrow is a very entertaining, infromative writer.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite from alpha to omega
There is a good book in this book somewhere, but it is trapped inside of a fair book that promises a lot more than it actually delivers. There is an initial problem that the book fails to make the case as to why particular constants are important. When discussing the fine structure constant (which is really the only constant that is given any significant coverage), the author tells us that it is made up of a combination of the electron charge, the speed of light, and Plank's constant. One might ask why these three particular values and that would be a fair question. The author tells us that if these three values changed but the fine structure constant remained the same, the resulting universe would be indistinguishable from our own. And then he leaves it there. What does that mean? Why is this the case? The author skips over this and moves on to other topics. He also makes a claim for "natural units" without being clear about what he means and why they are particularly natural.

In chapter six the author discusses some curious coincidences surrounding Eddington's number. But after having debunked some other coincidental numbers he seems to leave himself open to claims that he is simply invoking meaningless coincidences. For example, he lays claim to an odd coincidence between the number of protons in the Universe and the ratio of the strengths of the electromagnetic and gravitational forces between two protons. Why these particular numbers? There are some interesting twists and turns in the book but there are also enough things that seem rather shaky that I began to doubt how much of the book was truly reliable. As one reviewer has already pointed out, what does one say when a book is so careless as to claim that solar eclipses are caused by the Earth's shadow falling on the Sun? I am sure the author doesn't believe that to be the case but it shows a certain amount of carelessness that worries me about the remainder of the book.

There are some good parts to the book that I should mention. The discussion of the Anthropic Principle was clear and concise. His explanation of why intelligent life could not evolve unless there were exactly three spatial dimensions and one time dimension was convincing although I would have liked him to expand on this in more depth. Chapter eleven's discussion of natural nuclear reactors was also quite interesting. Overall there are some good parts in here but I didn't find the book as a whole delivered on its promise. ... Read more

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