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181. Uriel's Machine - NEW in paperback:
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183. Comparative Biomechanics : Life's
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181. Uriel's Machine - NEW in paperback: Uncovering the Secrets of Stonehenge, Noah's Flood and the Dawn of Civilization
by Christopher Knight, Robert Lomas
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193141274X
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Sales Rank: 32619
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Modern scientific investigations show that Earth has been hit many times by objects such as comets and meteorites. Laboratory work on comet impact effects demonstrates that comets could cause tidal waves to exceed three miles tall and near 400 miles per hour. In the last 10,000 years, there have been two impacts of such proportion: a seven-fold impact into all the world's oceans around 7640 B.C., and a single impact into the Mediterranean Sea about 3150 B.C., the time of Noah's Flood.

Uriel's Machine proves ancient Europeans not only survived the 7640 B.C. flood, but developed a highly advanced civilization dedicated to predicting and preparing for future meteoric impacts. Building an international network of sophisticated astronomical observatories, these ancient astronomers created accurate solar, lunar, and planetary calendars, measured the diameter of the Earth, and precisely predicted comet collisions years in advance. This was the true purpose of megalithic structures such as Stonehenge. In 3150 B.C., the ancients' predictions proved true, and their device- Uriel's Machine-allowed the reconstruction of civilization in a shattered world.

Uriel's Machine also presents evidence that:

* There was a single global language on Earth
* A single female was a common ancestor to all living humans
* Angels bred with human women to create The Watchers, giant half-human beings
* The oral tradition of Freemasonry records real events

A fascinating study of humankind's past, present, and future, Urie/'s Machine proves the world was indeed flooded, but survived wholly due to these ancient Europeans, their heavenly knowledge, and one remarkable machine. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

This book proposes a revised version of events in the development of human civilisation, illuminated by the latest evidence and intelligent new ideas.

Through their insider's view of the Freemasons, and several years of research, the authors analyse ancient traditions in order to expose fascinating novel insights into key stages in human history. The topics presented are thoroughly researched, and the arguments are objective, logical, structured, clearly presented and easy to follow. There is an intelligent balance of detail and relevance in the information presented.

Substantial scientific data are cited to support the case that the biblical flood was an authentic historical event, with a clearly identified cause dated to the relevant period, and global cataclysmic effects that can still readily be seen today. An impressive ancient understanding of geometry, astronomy, navigation, the measurement of time, and other sciences, is revealed in the legacy of our distant ancestors. Persuasive documentary and archaeological proof is presented, together with interesting anecdotal evidence, to suggest how pre-historic wisdom was acquired and carefully handed down by secret organisations. An intriguing series of events are described, from the knowledge taught to Enoch by the angel Uriel, through the construction of megalithic monuments, to the creation and shaping of nations and religions, and the formation of modern secret societies - even the mysterious agenda of the New World Order. The book culminates in some astonishing observations on the influence of ancient traditions on today's modern civilisation. Royal and aristocratic bloodlines are traced back to high-priests from the ancient middle-east. Their secret knowledge is guarded by an elite Masonic brotherhood, organised by some of the world's most influential people. It seems that a sacred ideology - established in a legendary ancient era when gods lived on Earth among men - may be about to return to govern the world.

Such an intriguing and though-provoking text will enrich and broaden the outlook of anyone interested in reading about popular topics relevant to history, religion, conspiracy theory, or secret societies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uriel's Machine: secrets of the ancient stones
Who built the mysterious, ancient stone circles like Stone Henge, that stand in so many locations accross Europe and also in the Middle East?

Why were they built? What was their intended purpose?

Who are the Freemasons and the Knights Templar? What have they and other secret groups got to do with megalithic structures?

Do the secret societies who still guard their sacred, secret and very ancient information quietly influence world affairs today?

Uriel's Machine beautifully attempts to explain the answers to these and other profound and intriguing questions.

Some ideas of the ideas expressed at first sound a little far-fetched but convincing arguments are painstakingly made by Lomas & Knight, with virtually every page bearing at least one reference to other books and studies in order to robustly support their theories.

If you have even a passing interest in megaliths, stone circles, ancient man, religion, conspiracy theories, the Freemasons or the Knights Templar, then you should certainly add this book to your reading list. it is entertaining, bold and extremely well researched.

4-0 out of 5 stars Machine of the Gods?
By now I am quite familiar with Lomas's and Knight's writing strengths and weaknesses. Reading Uriel's Machine therefore was untainted pleasure.
Knight and Lomas theorize that the Great Flood did in fact occur, and moreover was the cataclysmic event in scientific civilization. They believe that prehistoric people's were more advanced than previously thought, and science at least of astronomy originated with them.
This whole work is one archeological detective story as they lead readers to stonehenge and other megolithic sites in Ireland, Wales, and England.
They cover an enormous amount of theories and legends, including the Biblical Enoch, and Watchers. In fact sometimes reading I forgot what the central argument/thesis they put forth was, this duo has a mild tendency to digress, (usually to some connection with freemasonry), but as I stated I have adapted to this writing style and read on soaking up the knowledge they splashed across the pages.
Each chapter concludes with a conclusion(like d'uh eh haha), which is a handy synopsis of all the points they made in the chapter chiseled down to their bare bones.

This is another title by these authors I found intriquing, fascinating and educational. Want to investigate the ancient roots of science? Read this title.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uriel's Machine -- a mechanism for historic/archaeo truth.
This is a truly fantastic work. Their evidence, indicative of the fact that civilization IS far older than we have been led to believe, is excellent. In my research of ancient histories, I have long believed this (history of human civilization is much older)to be the case.

Archaeologists and historians will forever toe the tired old line that history is as it is written up in history books. Artifacts have, on rare ocassions, turned up in areas indicating that mankind was around building civilizations during times when he wasn't supposed to be. See the website
Science, in the interest of safeguarding its ego, is aware of the truth but chooses to maintain its obscurity. As an example, when the skeleton of a 9000 year old non-native American was discovered in Washington State, the government rushed in and buried the site under deep layers of concrete. (The system helps the govt. to preserve its lies, so it is only proper that government should respond to the system accordingly.)

Uriel's Machine is composed of fine research, various disciplines are utilized for attainment of whatever information is available regarding the truth/fallacy of their thesis, and the appraisals of experts in said disciplines have been sought for and included in the text.

We need, for a change, the truth about this topic -- the TRUE history and achievements of the human race.

1-0 out of 5 stars Good fiction? Yes.
Forty years ago Hawkins, an astronomer discovered the function of Stonehenge by using an IBM computer. That function was more incredible than all the fanciful notions dreamed up to explain the monument between the time it was abandoned during the early Bronze Age (around 1500 BC) and the early modern age of computers. The Knight/Lomas attempt to throw a new brand of mysticism into one of the most amazing discoveries about the intellects of men we've usually considered primitive does nothing to discredit the achievement. This book has as much validity as the claims almost a thousand years ago that the structure was placed there by Merlin through the use of magic.

The men who've studied and dug beneath this shocking accomplishment of pre-history during the past centuries have uncovered the tools used to build it. Stone tools. Deer antlers. There's mystery here, but the mystery involves human determination, persistence and motive.

As for the Knights Templar claims by the authors: The history of the Templars is well documented. They are worthy of awe. The Templars need no modern-day fanciful fictions to add to their place in history. No Foucault's Pendulums need obscure a strange group of men who dedicated themselves to what they believed until all who could be captured were excommunicated and executed.

I'd suggest readers interested in these subjects read Hawkins (about Stonehenge). If there's interest in the Templars read the actual histories. You won't get anything approaching magic, but you won't need it. You'll come away as intrigued and mystified as you would have if you'd read (and believed) this book. But the foundation for your awe will be justified.

The main problem with this book is that it's written by two men who haven't dug under Stonehenge and haven't observed the function for themselves. An electrical engineer and an advertising man. Go to the experts and don't bother with this book. However, if you happen to be blessed with the ability to become excited over fabrication and fantasy, buy it. This book is for you. ... Read more

182. Introduction to Stochastic Calculus Applied to Finance
by Damien Lamberton, Bernard Lapeyre, Nicolas Rabeau, Francois Mantion
list price: $69.95
our price: $69.95
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Asin: 0412718006
Catlog: Book (1996-06-01)
Publisher: Chapman & Hall/CRC
Sales Rank: 373655
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In recent years the growing importance of derivative products financial markets has increased financial institutions' demands for mathematical skills. This book introduces the mathematical methods of financial modelling with clear explanations of the most useful models. Introduction to Stochastic Calculus begins with an elementary presentation of discrete models, including the Cox-Ross-Rubenstein model. This book will be valued by derivatives trading, marketing, and research divisions of investment banks and other institutions, and also by graduate students and research academics in applied probability and finance theory. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise introduction to mathematical finance.
This book, translated from French, is by now a classic graduate textbook on mathematical finance, and provides a clear and concise introduction to the basic and important aspects of the theory. Although one of the first textbooks on the subject, it still remains in my opinion one of the best.

The book has been written for engineering students not mathematicians and avoids the theorem/proof format, going straight to essentials.

Also, while most textbooks on mathematical finance exclusively adopt either a probabilistic (like Baxter & Rennie) or a PDE approach to the theory (Wilmott et al, Wilmott), this book maintains the balance between the two aspects. Moreover, it does not neglect numerical methods and gives details on several algorithms for option pricing ( trees, Finite Difference, Monte Carlo) Finally, and perhaps this point is very important, the book maintains a reasonable volume while treating all these topics AND maintaining a high level of scientific rigor: all statements and notations are precise and oversimplification is avoided. Advanced topics such as variational inequalities for American options and HJM theory of interest rates are also included.

Some drawbacks of the book are: - a complete absence of empirical data/ real life figures - no description of various kinds of derivative products, why they are used,... But then, what can you ask for in such a small volume?

If you are an engineering/maths student and you want to discover what mathematical finance is about, I recommend you this book instead of John Hull's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good INTRODUCTION to ONE part of finance
As precisely mentioned in the title, this book is only an introduction; and it is not an introduction to finance, but to stochastic calculus applied to finance.

The buyer of this book should therefore be aware of three facts:

1. After having read this book you are not (yet) an expert on stochastic calculus applied to finance. You have to continue with other books mentioned in Lamberton/Lapeyre. But this book is an excellent framework that leads you to many important results, omiting proofs that are only technical.

2. Mathematics is used in many other areas of Finance too (Time Series Analysis for example). What is treated in this book is only a very small part of Finance Mathematics, but an important one.

3. One should read another book with more economic background at the same time.

The authors begin with discrete-time models to present many important ideas in a (mathematically) simple environment before treating the contiuous models. Introduction to stochastic integration and stochastic differential equations is brief. Stochastic integration is only with respect to the standard browning motion. After having reached the Black-Scholes model and american options, the approach via partial differential equations is treated, followed by interest rate models, models with jumps and, a good idea: a chapter on simulations.

The book has very few mistakes, no important ones, only a strange layout failure on pages 6 to 7.

So I highly recommend this book as an INTRODUCTION to ONE important part of finance mathematics if read in combination with another book with more economic background. It can especially be used for upper graduate student seminars or as a basis for lecture courses.

4-0 out of 5 stars A stochastic approach of finance for engineers!
The french initial version of this book has been one of my first technical papers that deal with stochastic calculus towards finance. It is written by and for engineers I must admit, but students in actuarial sciences (like me) won't be lost by so many formulas and equations if they agree to read with a piece of paper and a pencil on the hand. I have worked on the Vasicek's model and the simulations described have helped me a lot. Too bad that the lattice model is not explored. Anyway it is a good preparation before the opening of "Brownian Motion and Stochastic Calculus" from Karatzas & Shreve.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Exercises!!
A compact & rigorous book on the mathematics of financial derivatives.However, it's not a best buy for having too much exercises . I would recommend Neftci's or Baxter's book for newcomers

4-0 out of 5 stars A Mathematically Sophisticated But Frustrating Treatment
The book is a translation of a French Text. Generally, the exposition is mathematically sophisticated and flows well. However, many of the interesting and important results are given as exercises and long problems with many parts which can be frustrating (& irritating). In fact, I would estimate that a third of the book consists of these exercises and problems. The book should be used as a companion to other more basic books on option pricing like "Financial Calculus" by Baxter et al. ... Read more

183. Comparative Biomechanics : Life's Physical World
by Steven Vogel
list price: $60.00
our price: $60.00
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Asin: 0691112975
Catlog: Book (2003-08-04)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 202959
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Why do you shift from walking to running at a particular speed? How can we predict transition speeds for animals of different sizes? Why must the flexible elastic of arterial walls behave differently than a rubber tube or balloon? How do leaves manage to expose a broad expanse of surface while suffering only a small fraction of the drag of flags in high winds?

The field of biomechanics--how living things move and work--hasn't seen a new general textbook in more than two decades. Here a leading investigator and teacher lays out the key concepts of biomechanics using examples drawn from throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Up-to-date and comprehensive, this is also the only book to give thorough coverage to both major subfields of biomechanics: fluid and solid mechanics.

Steven Vogel explains how biomechanics makes use of models and methods drawn from physics and mechanical engineering to investigate a wide range of general questions--from how animals swim and fly and the modes of terrestrial locomotion to the way organisms respond to wind and water currents and the operation of circulatory and suspension-feeding systems. He looks also at the relationships between the properties of biological materials--spider silk, jellyfish jelly, muscle, and more--and their various structural and functional roles.

While written primarily for biology majors and graduate students in biology, this text will be useful for physical scientists and engineers seeking a sense of the state of the art of biomechanics and a guide to its rather scattered literature. For a still wider audience, it establishes the basic biological context for such applied areas as ergonomics, orthopedics, mechanical prosthetics, kinesiology, sports medicine, and biomimetics.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best introductory physics textbook ever
This book would be a fantastic text for an introductory physics class, eg, mechanics classes aimed at future doctors. It begins with the "simple" problem of walking, which can be understood as an oscillation, with the frequency tuned to the length of your legs. From there, the book proceeds to dimensional analysis, and treats the biomechanical universe as a set of simple tubes, surfaces, flows, beams, and levers, all amenable to simple calculation and estimation. This book contains more real, relevant physics than any introductory physics text (with the possible exception of the Feynman lectures, which are totally unsuited for first-year students). It is the best physics textbook we know. (Review co-written by Dr Sanjoy Mahajan, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge).

5-0 out of 5 stars Offer from the author...
An accumulation of instructional materials to accompany the book will be sent as an e-mail attachment to anyone who contacts me at tell me a little about who you are. The files (Word and PDF) are freely usable for anything except remunerative republication. If you are using the book in a course and wish to limit local dissemination (I supply answers to the problem sets), tell me and I'll do my best to comply. ... Read more

184. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History
by Howard K. Bloom, Howard Bloom
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0871136643
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Sales Rank: 26578
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (95)

2-0 out of 5 stars Careful Thinkers Beware! Frustration Ahead.
Bloom's claim that his book is a "Scientific Expedition" is what caught my interest in the bookstore, and turned out to be the basis of the betrayal I felt at reading it. While there may be some interesting (and perhaps even true!) ideas presented in the book, the fact is that the presentation undermines them so badly that it is hard to give credibility to any of them. Obviously, Bloom is well equipped with an arsenal of historical fact. However, his use of historical anecdote to "prove" points should rankle anyone familiar with careful scientific thought. Examples can be found in history to prove virtually any point, and Bloom lacks compelling evidence to support his thoughts. Most offensive to my sensibilities were his lumping of all Islamic and Native American cultures as inheretly violent. His evidence that this is the nature of Native Americans? Well, the "bloodthirsty savage" passage was written by someone who many Native Americans considered a friend! (I can just see this historian; "No, really, some of my best friends are Indians!") What bothered me more than anything, however, was Bloom's relentless abuse of the ideas of Richard Dawkins. He rides Dawkin's thinking on "memes as replicators" to an absurd horizon. At the same time, he promotes his "superorganism" concept, which has none of the properties of replication. He bases this "superorganism" idea on a group selectionist argument that has been debunked so thorougly that I find it hard to believe that he didn't deliberately omit the counterarguments. Personally, I was familiar enough with Dawkin's Selfish Gene theory to see the gaping holes in Bloom's thinking. In other areas where I have no such knowledge, I have to face the likelihood that the same careless thinking probably went in to his conclusions. Hence my mistrust of ANY points Bloom is trying to make. If you need further evidence of Bloom's readiness to dismiss inconvenient facts in order to make his point, I suggest you reread the concluding chapter. I find it telling that Bloom, in the space of a paragraph, casually dismisses a law of thermodynamics as "wrong". Such a thorough lack of understanding of his subject matter is a very un-scientific approach. The cover says the book is a work of "intellectual courage". This may be. (I certainly find it courageous to be so willing to be potentially so wrong on so many points, and to present ideas with such weak evidence.) As intellecual as it may be, it does not stand up scientifically. Bloom may need to narrow his field in order to be up-to-date on all of the relevant information, or drop his pretense at scientific accuracy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lucifer Principle
I wrote this review for my Grandchild who will be entering college this September. I recommended this book to her because I felt it had an excellent perspective on world history and world cultures. Here is what I told her:

Howard Bloom's thesis is: As a planet, we must learn to live together with respect for each of the cultures. If we don't organize a planetary world order the result may be that we blow ourselves up. Very plausible!

In formatting world order a conflict arises between competing tribes. The evolution of our DNA and our brain, especially, begins billions of years ago and our genetic material contains remnants of the first reptilian brain which was programmed with basic motor skills and survival techniques. Mr. Bloom describes the evolutionary process of the brain as first forming into a unit the size of a peach seed and increasing in size with each level of evolution--evolving from basic survival to an organism capable of calculating equations and having sensitivity to our fellow man and the historical stages throughout time.

Unfortunately, it is the peach pit remnant in our brain that houses our innate survival genes and which we revert to in tense situations and which causes us to ultimately reach low-level tribal feelings of conflicts. However, during the billion-year course of evolution, we developed filters in the brain which we have learned to apply when we find ourselves in a warlike relationship. Easy to say, but difficult to practice as history will teach us. One of the final developments of the DNA and brain gave us the ability to dream and stratagize plans to build a peaceful world. Again, easy to say: We live in a disparate world where third world countries are struggling to find a piece of bread and it's very reasonable for them to think that, "We have all the bread". Hence, we experience events such as the World Towers Destruction. Note: This book was copyrighted in l995 before the Towers fell and as such the Towers are not a part of this book. We all understand the icon of the Towers and we learn from Mr. Bloom's historical descriptions that these events have taken place for thousands, or millions, or... of years all over the world.

In the first world countries we find we no longer are in a survival mode but are on a higher plane of evolution and technology with time to create ideas which lead to ideologies and Mr. Bloom terms these ideas as "memes". Individual organisms do not exist alone by the very nature of man because we either die out of lonliness which creates illness or we self-destruct. Instead the individual organisms segregate themselves by "memes" and form superorganisms who debate and fight for their individual ideas of religion or political systems.

We learn how we arrived at the threshhold of blowing ourselves up and by studying we can see the process and the steps to be taken to achieve world order. We are not promised early results, even after milleniums of history, but we have the hope and no choice but to take that path to peace. Since l946 we have statistics that show that the preferred way to achieve this world order is to form democratic communities and nations. These stats show that democracies make fewer attacks on their neighboring tribes or countries.

One of the important reasons to read this book is to gain a comprehension of the historical process of the evolution of the socialization of our planet. By gaining this understanding, we find a sense of control in our individual being and the very accomplishment of being in control protects our health and quality of life simply because we lessen the stress and anxiety such as posed by wars.

Read this book to learn how man developed through the ages and how this development staged us for our predicaments today. Understand why this is and you will eliminate a lot of worry and stress from your life.

1-0 out of 5 stars Best avoid
The Lucifer principle is a particulary dishonest and odious effort to discredit entire peoples and cultures as intrinsically evil. The arguments employed are artificial and pseudo-scientific, but what can one expect from a writer who lists among achievements management of Kiss rockstar Gene Simmons. In targetting certain cultures, especially the Arab-islamic one, the author reveals his own ethnic bias. Bloom adresses himself to the average American, the best and most innocent of people of course, but therefore also gullible and easily misled, so they are warned that they must have no mercy in dealing with these evil peoples. In Abu Ghraib prison we see that this advice did not fall on deaf ears. There we have Blooms proof of the innocence of the Americans and their determination eradicate evil people. In sum, avoid this piece of hate literature.

1-0 out of 5 stars A triumph of shoddy scholarship over critical thinking
A superficial rehash of the ideas of others supported by overgeneralization from haphazardly selected studies. If you have an interest in evolutionary psychology, memes, or the relationship of the individual to the "superorganism" there are so many other (and much better) books that are well-researched and thought out. The extensive reference list provides the appearance of scholarship and comprehensiveness, but the reader should be aware that this is illusory at best. If you are a nascent social Darwinist looking for rhetoric with which to back up your arguments, this may be the book for you. But if you want to learn something about evolution and the modern mind, seek out the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, and read Richard Dawkins, David Buss, Steven Pinker, and Robert Wright.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evil Explained
Bloom takes on the old religious and philosophical question of evil and gives an answer from evolutionary science. He shows that war, genocide, class antagonism-- what is often dubbed "evil"-- can be explained from basic results of survival of the fittest.

The author seems sure he's right, and so the anecdotes he rolls out are there for illustration, not to prove his point. There are some errors in his history, and some of the examples are just silly. At one point, Bloom tries to show womens' aggressive nature by referring to uncertain history (Augustus's wife Livia), a legendary figure (Helen of Troy), and a mallard duck.

The "meme" buzzword gets thrown around a lot, which makes for sloppy thinking: it can denote a single word, a technology, or even a whole culture. The self-destruction of bacteria and human kamikazes are too-readily compared. Group selection is invoked to explain self-destruction. This makes the book exciting, controversial, and less certain than if it were based on orthodox science. Bloom says what he thinks; a lot of people won't like it.

The conclusion is that struggle for dominance among organisms and groups leads to ever higher levels of organization. I found it compelling, disturbing, and ultimately hopeful. If you agree with the thesis, you will love the book. If you disagree, you'll be angry that it's not proven science. But as it says in the Preface: "Don't it read and believe, read it and think." ... Read more

185. The Fractal Geometry of Nature
by Benoit B. Mandelbrot
list price: $45.00
our price: $30.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0716711869
Catlog: Book (1982-08-15)
Publisher: W. H. Freeman
Sales Rank: 63499
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Imagine an equilateral triangle. Now, imagine smaller equilateral triangles perched in the center of each side of the original triangle--you have a Star of David. Now, place still smaller equilateral triangles in the center of each of the star's 12 sides. Repeat this process infinitely and you have a Koch snowflake, a mind-bending geometric figure with an infinitely large perimeter, yet with a finite area. This is an example of the kind of mathematical puzzles that this book addresses.

The Fractal Geometry of Nature is a mathematics text. But buried in the deltas and lambdas and integrals, even a layperson can pick out and appreciate Mandelbrot's point: that somewhere in mathematics, there is an explanation for nature. It is not a coincidence that fractal math is so good at generating images of cliffs and shorelines and capillary beds. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars A dated but still fascinating book
This was the book that first caught my attention. It was the cover diagram: a figure the like of which I had never seen. One thing led to another until I finally wrote my own application of fractals, Fractals in Music.

Mandelbrot is an odd character, but a superb thinker. His book does not offer a lot of science, but rather a compelling view of how this fascinating and growing topic developed. I recommend it highly.

2-0 out of 5 stars A review on the book -- not on Mandelbrot
Mandelbrot is the person who introduced the fractal theory to the world in its present form. Many fields of science including geophysics have gained from fractals. However, this is not the book one should read to gain knowledge on the subject.

It is not an easily readable book. 1. It is not well-organized 2. It does not cover necessary things in detail 3. Frustratingly long in some parts. Instead the books: Feder, Fractals; Turcotte, Fractals and Chaos in Geology and Geophysics can be recommended.

Fractal geometry may be interesting as a historical book, after one gains a sufficient knowledge on fractals.

5-0 out of 5 stars a unique personal account of a (then) new science
highly personal, highly self-congradulatory, highly-amusing, highly interesting, a great read! More math/sci authors should tell us how they really feel like Mandelbrot!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected
After having studied fractals in school and reading numerous books on chaos and fractals on my own, I figured that Mandelbrot's book would be the pinnacle, surpassing everybody else's interpretations and getting the information "straight from the horse's mouth". I was wrong. Mandelbrot, while he may be a brilliant mathematician, has not quite mastered the English language. The topics that he speaks of in this book are basic, not exactly what you would expect from the leader in his field. He doesn't even go into real specifics, or not the specifics that I wanted to see going into this book. In fact, I didn't even bother finishing it. There was nothing new, no powerful insights that other books may have missed. Mandelbrot, it seems is much better at mathematics then at writing. My suggestion is to buy a different book on the subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, one of the first, but not the best
The book is still a milestone in the history of fractals, but it gets currently lost among the many available publications. Surely a good book, but there now exist other texts that can be considered more advisable to a reader, particularly to a computer-oriented one. ... Read more

186. Numerical Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow (Hemisphere Series on Computational Methods in Mechanics and Thermal Science)
by S.V. Patankar
list price: $99.95
our price: $84.96
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Asin: 0891165223
Catlog: Book (1980-06-01)
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Co
Sales Rank: 455959
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want to code heat/mass transfer/fluid flow, buy this
This is extraordinarily well-written for anyone who knows a little bit about heat transfer, mass transfer, or fluid flow and wants to write a mathematical model to perform calculations in 1D, 2D or 3D. (Also works for electromagnetic equations of the same form--used it for my doctoral thesis.) It's very practically oriented, with clear explanations and good diagrams showing how the grid layout translates into code.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fundamental book on CFD
This is one of the ground breaking texts. I purchased a copy on the recommendation of a collegue (who has worked in the field for a while) when I started in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

I found the book a little bit difficult to get into. Having spent more time working through CFD problems, it all now makes sense - although I would recommend beginners to find something else more recent (such as An introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics: The finite volume method by Versteeg & Malalasekera) that has some of the more recent developments in the field.

It is still an invaluable reference to have on your bookshelf as it covers the fundamentals of CFD.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
A very good book to start learnig about CFD and an excellent book to everyone that works with CFD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best and most convincing exposition of numerical techniques
This book should be the first one you want to read on numerical modelling of fluid flow and heat transfer. The book is developed in the context of the author's SIMPLER methodology of analyzing incompressible flow but the derived insights from the explanation will be invaluable for any serious computational fluid dynamicist. The single most positive factor about this book is that it's concise and to the point and everything is described from a very physical and tangible perspective. ... Read more

187. BLAST
by Ian Korf, Mark Yandell, Joseph Bedell
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0596002998
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Sales Rank: 118423
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sequence similarity is a powerful tool for discovering biological function. Just as the ancient Greeks used comparative anatomy to understand the human body and linguists used the Rosetta stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, today we can use comparative sequence analysis to understand genomes. BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), is a sophisticated software package for rapid searching of nucleotide and protein databases. It is one of the most important software packages used in sequence analysis and bioinformatics. Most users of BLAST, however, seldom move beyond the program's default parameters, and never take advantage of its full power.BLAST is the only book completely devoted to this popular suite of tools. It offers biologists, computational biology students, and bioinformatics professionals a clear understanding of BLAST as well as the science it supports.This book shows you how to move beyond the default parameters, get specific answers using BLAST, and how to interpret your results. The book also contains tutorial and reference sections covering NCBI-BLAST and WU-BLAST, background material to help you understand the statistics behind BLAST, Perl scripts to help you prepare your data and analyze your results, and a wealth of tips and tricks for configuring BLAST to meet your own research needs. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars useful for comparative sequence alignment tasks
BLAST is a well-known tool for bioinformatics (biological sciences+computer sciences). In this book contains a concepts of central dogma of molecular biology, sequence aligment, sequece similarity, practical BLAST programs (divide into 5 programs), and how to install and use BLAST tool. Moreover, it also offers enough tips to improve my BLAST searches usage. I think this book's content is well-writing and well-organizing for comparative sequeces alignment tasks. I use this book to begin in bioinformatics and it can help me to learn about this. But this book does not contain all of things that I want to known on bioinformatics or computational biology.

5-0 out of 5 stars How does sequence alignment actually work?
If you want to understand the nuts and bolts of how sequence alignment works, then this is the book for you. It will be especially useful for BLAST users who want to understand how it actually works and also for developers who don't know much biology, struggle with the math, but have no problem reading a perl script.

The book is basically divided into:
0. A Foreword by Stephen Altschul (the co-creator of BLAST)
1. A quick web intro to a BLAST search
2. Sequence alignment and how the algorithms work
3. Blast and how the Blast statistics are calculated
4. The different types of Blast e.g. WU-Blast
5. Approaches to Performance speedup
6. Reference sections on BLAST parameters

The real key is that this book neatly splits the difference between academic texts and papers which are quite often too difficult to read without sufficient background (and they are not precise about the implementation anyway) and the user-manual type texts which don't discuss the theory at all.

One of the best chapters (in my view) is chapter three, where they explain and illustrate the workings of the Needleman-Wunsch and Smith-Waterman algorithms for global and local alignment. If you read the text, then study and run the included perl code, you WILL understand how they work, but be prepared to spend several hours trying different examples. The real advantage of this approach is that you get a deep, practical understanding of how alignment actually works, that you just can't get from reading a mathematical treatment of the subject. Once you understand this chapter, you are actually sufficiently expert to get inside alignment code and modify it for your own purposes.

Ian Korf does continually emphasize that the algorithms may look clever, but they are, in the end, robotic in that they will quite happily align complete rubbish if you are not careful about controlling the algorithm and thinking carefully about the results you get.

There are a couple of mistakes in the diagrams (chap 3), that are addressed in the errata, but the perl code is correct.

Finally, because this book is about BLAST, it doesn't mention other methods of sequence alignment such as Hidden-Markov Models or methods of multiple sequence alignment. Perhaps they'll do a book on those as well one day..

5-0 out of 5 stars Author comments
As the first reviewer mentioned, the book is not a fast read. In order
to run BLAST properly one must understand how and why it works. BLAST
exists at the intersection of molecular biology, computer science, and
statistics. This might sound intimidating, but once you read about these
topics in chapters 2-4, you'll see that it isn't so complicated and it
all fits together nicely. We know that BLAST users come from a variety
of backgrounds and we have therefore written the book for a general
audience. As a result, the book is more than just a BLAST manual, it's
also a friendly introduction to computational molecular biology.

Writing this book took a lot of time and effort. It went through some
painful transformations. The authors waged many battles against
themselves and each other to bring to you the kind of book we wished we
could have bought several years ago. We'll feel our work was justified
if you approach your next BLAST search as a scientific experiment and
not a Google search. And if we've helped some of you to embark on a new
career/hobby in bioinformatics, drop us a line, it's sure to make our

5-0 out of 5 stars This IS a book about BLAST!
Useful book for biologists to understand computer algorithm. This book is very helpful if you are going through endless BLAST search. It is not a fast read but it is packed with useful information. I have started using the suggested examples and tricks in this book and feel more comfortable at doing the search. Important book for Bioinformatics researchers! ... Read more

188. Nonzero : The Logic of Human Destiny (Vintage)
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679758941
Catlog: Book (2001-01-09)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 13780
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his bestselling The Moral Animal, Robert Wright applied the principles of evolutionary biology to the study of the human mind. Now Wright attempts something even more ambitious: explaining the direction of evolution and human history–and discerning where history will lead us next.

In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world.
... Read more

Reviews (76)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Logic of Human History
When Watson & Crick discovered the structure of DNA they claimed to have found the secret of life. In Nonzero, Wright nominates a new candidate for that distinction: what he refers to as "nonzero sumness." This ugly duckling of a term captures what Wright believes to be the principle that has driven life on earth from pre-organic molecules floating in the primordial soup through the marvelous complexity of the human brain. Along the way, this same mechanism has churned out the Code of Hamurabi, the United Nations, and the internet. Impressive. What's more, Wright argues that nonzero sumness, properly understood, is a giant neon arrow pointing toward the ultimate destiny of mankind.

The title of this book comes from game theory. If Wright accomplishes nothing else, he at least succeeds in presenting this formerly arcane subject in terms immediately graspable by any bright high school student. In a nutshell, game theory is the systematic study of decision making given a set of rules and opponents whose interests are more or less adverse. In a zero sum game the winner takes all; thus it pays to be competitive. In a nonzero sum game, the players end up better off, on average and over the long run, if they adopt a cooperative strategy.

Wright takes game theory and imbeds it in a Darwinian framework. He proposes a kind of meta-game wherein competing strategies vie for players in the real world. Because nonzero sum games yield a higher average payoff over the long run, they attract more players. They are more fit in Darwinian terms. Go-it-alone, win-at-all-costs strategies might yield a high immediate payoff, but they are disadvantaged in the long run.

Economists and political scientists have been using game theory for decades. When biologists discuss evolutionarily stable strategies they're using game theory. When evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain altruism (as Wright does in his book The Moral Animal), they invoke game theory. In Nonzero, Wright takes the next logical step and uses game theory to explain the whole of human history.

In arguing that cooperative strategies are destined to prevail in the long run, Wright's tone is necessarily optimistic. But Nonzero explores the darker side of human history as well. A key point of the book is that a game that is nonzero sum overall may nevertheless contain zero sum components. Imagine a market for widgets. If Al can produce widgets in his factory at a cost of $30, and Bob can make widgets from scratch at home for $60, then both Al and Bob will benefit if Bob buys widgets from Al at any price, P, where $30Wright's Darwinian conception of game theory, and its application to history, invites speculation about the meaning of "progress." New technologies and new methods of social, political and industrial organization allow people to interact in new ways, and to realize previously unattainable cultural and economic dividends. But as the preceding paragraph shows, "History, even if its basic direction is good, can proceed at massive, wrenching human cost." In other words, newer, better, more nonzero sum strategies might carry unanticipated and unwanted zero sum baggage. Viewed in this light, "progress" translates into increased diversity, complexity and interdependence, but not necessarily improvement.

Now we come to the D-word in the book's subtitle. Wright wisely resists the temptation of detailed prophecy, but he is sure that the future will build on the past with respect to the trend towards greater diversity, complexity and interdependence. Here, in contrast to preceding chapters, Wright's originality fails him. He summarizes this admittedly non-so-new vision of the future in a catalog of seven "not-so-new features": 1) the declining relevance of distance; 2) the economy of ideas; 3) increasingly frictionless transactions; 4) liberation by microchip; 5) narrowcasting; 6) Jihad vs. McWorld; and 7) the twilight of sovereignty. Anyone who has not lived in a cave for the last thirty years will immediately recognize that these trends are already underway. Countless books and magazine articles have documented them, and indeed, Wright wastes little time substantiating them, devoting no more than a few paragraphs to each. Inevitably, Wright sees the culmination of these trends in some form of world government and a technology-based global brain.

While the not-so-new features are considered axiomatic in some circles, one nevertheless wishes that an author of Wright's intellect and perceptiveness had spent more time considering them. After all, as axiomatic as these trends are, they contain latent and patent tensions that beg resolution before the "next step" is taken. Furthermore, Wright's conclusions regarding world government and a global brain are presented rather uncritically. Writing at the cusp of the twenty-first century, Wright couldn't resist peering into the future. But as a work of prophecy, Nonzero is less than satisfactory. As an historical inquiry, however, Wright presents a promising new framework for the study of human interactions, and he does so in a convincing and entertaining way. One wishes he had subtitled his book The Logic of Human History and left it at that. With Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Robert Wright achieves a qualified success, but a success nonetheless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweeping, informative and entertaining
Thankfully, an increasing number of authors (Landes, Diamond, et al) have been tackling social evolution - a crucial topic that's been shied away from for too long. Wright's effort is inspired, intelligent, engaging, erudite, not the least bit pretentious, and exceedingly well-written. Wright's basic message is that living organizations - both organisms and the groups they form - have been getting increasingly complex and well-integrated since life began, so it's a good bet that this trend will continue into the future. He presents a general hypothesis, and then provides a mountain of fascinating evidence to back it up. It's not experimental science, it's theory-driven science, but it's definitely not "bad science" as a few reviewers (usually non-scientists, interestingly) have said. Reading this book will definitely increase your knowledge and understanding of the history of life on earth, and as the goal of science is to increase knowledge and understanding, I'd say the scientific value of this book is high - much higher than most history you will read (historians usually don't even try to make their interpretations consistent with biological knowledge). Though not the last word in social evolution, this book is an excellent leap forward, and anyone interested in history, biology, or social evolution should read it, and have a great time doing it. Highly recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars Selectionism and directionality
Reprinted from reviewer's private reviews, Jan 2000

... Kauffman's At Home in the Universe is careful thus to distinguish his different processes. The fanstastic use of the theory of games is not evidence, but hypothetical speculation. We have no evidence whatever that genes for altruism arose through natural selection.(David Stowe, Darwinian Fairytales),and the theory of games, as a mathematical toy, however interesting, will not resolve the issue and is too lightweight to be a candidate for the 'logic of destiny'! This book is the second this year on evolutionary directionality to cite Kant's seldom cited essay Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose. It is not clear if he is responding to this other book (by John Landon, World History and the Eonic Effect)which answers Kant's challenge to find 'nature's hidden plan' directly through periodization and shows the only simple way to infer directionality as this can be taken in world history, data that springs from observations beginning in the nineteenth century. Evolution in history shows a clear global character with long range sequential and parallel evolution, a far cry from anything in Darwinism. And we see that the 'evolution of ethics' is presented to us directly in history if we can see it. No theory of history can omit this data. Wright's misleading treatment of the theme of 'asocial sociability' might seem plausible to some in Kant's at first puzzling essay, but fails to consider the background of his famous Critiques and also that this is not given as a solution but a problem to be solved. Kant cannot be made a Darwinian and was wise to the fallacy of mechanical explanations of ethical will long before the onset of sociobiology (although he would seem to have supported 'evolution').Along with this we find the obligatory citation of Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper on historicism. Wright actually claims he will bypass their objections and find a novel escape from their strictures, but it is hard to see his answer. The total confusion of directionality and teleology is evident everywhere. The problem of historical laws is connected to the famous Kantian antinomies, the third of freedom and causality being the ultimate source of Berlin and Popper's views. To attempt a hybrid between natural selection and teleology via the theory of games is notably confusing and won't stand. The point is that there is no 'theory' that is causal unless you renounce 'freedom', this and a host of variants that were prominent in the golden age of Universal History. Evolutionists make fun of this and promptly fall into all the traps. In Kant's wake dealing with the evolution of freedom in explicit terms we find such as Hegel, lately Fukuyama. Sociobiologists are noted for their blundering in this area with conservative renditions of liberalism and fail to consider that one of the proper themes of historical evolution is just this 'evolution of freedom', which cannot be made scientific (and prone no doubt to whiggish confusion). The philosophers of history were at least clear about their subject. Wright's argument summons all the old phantoms of historicism and hardly passes muster beside Popper's critique of the original leftist versions.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read in history and human destiny
Does humanity have a purpose? A difficult question that the author doesn't attempt to answer in this book. However, he undertakes another question that, if answered, could make answering the first question a little less difficult. Robert Wright, author of "The Moral Animal", asserts that civilization is inevitable and that cultural and biological evolutions are driven toward complexity. In other words, cultural evolution is moving forward by a force and not here only as a result of a long string of serendipitous shots of good fortune, although luck does help. A lot.

Mr. Wright identifies this force as what he calls Nonzero-sumness. Nonzero-sum is the name given in Game Theory to the interaction that leaves every party involved in a more favorable state than (or, at least, similar to) its state prior to the interaction, or what is informally known as a win-win situation. That is in contrast to zero-sum interactions where parties gain through the loss of others. A soccer match is a typical zero-sum interaction for the playing teams since the triumph of one means the loss of the other. However, the same game is a nonzero-sum interaction for the players of a team since a goal scored by a player is a goal for all players in the team.

The author says that nonzero-sumness is embedded in nature and that all forms of life and social structures are rewarded if they tap into its nonzero-sumness potential. Just as well, structures or forms that do not make use of this potential are taken over by other structures or forms that do. In addition, if nonzero-sumness is tapped into in one way, possibilities for further nonzero-sumness multiply exponentially. Complex civilization, in other words, is inevitable. Even intelligence is inevitable, albeit not necessarily in a human form.

This is a strong claim, but it doesn't go unsubstantiated. Mr. Wright spends the first and bigger part of the book analyzing history from the first appearance of hunter-gatherer societies to our day and age. He takes head-on many mysteries such as the reason why the industrial revolution appeared in Europe and nowhere else any earlier, or why did the Chinese civilization regress from complexity and expansion to isolation and decay in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.

The first common notion that he refutes is the claim that agriculture was invented as a result of a dry up of abundant natural resources available to hunter-gatherer societies. He refutes this by proving that agriculture was invented several times throughout history, and was not necessarily an invention to elude fresh hardships. He looks thoroughly into several civilizations that started independently from scratch and found its way to complexity driven by the force of exploiting nonzero-sumness.

He also explains how some major zero-sum activities, such as wars and commercial competition, seem to drive civilization further when in fact they are either mere failed attempts or serve a wider nonzero-sum purpose.

Sounds boring? It's probably my review that is boring because the book is extremely entertaining and the arguments will leave you with a lot of thoughts to say the least. The depth of Mr. Wrights' knowledge in history is manifest throughout the book and serves his arguments extremely well.

In the second part the author attempts to prove that not only cultural evolution is driven by nonzero-sumness, but biological evolution as well. And although science doesn't seem to extend solid confirmation of Mr. Wright's arguments, it doesn't prove it erroneous either. He will extend many examples that are explained perfectly by his theory.

Things, however, begin to get a bit too controversial for my taste in the third part. Here the author pushes the notion of nonzero-sumness a bit too far. Too far to the extent of actually saying that god is nonzero-sumness, although equivocally. He also theorizes that the process of evolution (biological and cultural that is) is in fact conscious. Based on one philosophical definition of consciousness as the ability of some kind of information processing, he argues that by processing the feedback of genetic mutation and social development; evolution is self-conscious. Finally, I did not find myself agreeing with his attempt to conform the force of life to the second law of thermodynamics of entropy.

Nevertheless, this does not subtract value from the book overall but indeed adds to it. Even those claims that I did not find myself in agreement with left me with a lot to think about and helped me reshape many of my ideas and notions. And in the end, the author contemplates lightly the question that started this review, although he doesn't claim to have the answer. But as I said, the question seems a little more accessible in the light of the information provided by this book.

Another thing that I liked about this book is its accessibility. The layman reader will not have to worry about unfamiliar terms because everything is explained rather simply and difficult concepts are properly introduced into the discussion.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very good book to read if you're interested in humanity or history as it will offer the reader a lot to learn in both fields.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing book
This book dicusses an intriguing thesis - that win/win scenarios (nonzero-sum cooperation) are primarily behind societal and cultural development, as opposed to win/lose (zero-sum competitive) scenarios.

While the book is very thought-provoking, I feel that Wright glossed over significant information (he gives short shrift to the influence of religion, and ignores the development of constitutional democracy). He also makes a lot of generalizations and has a short and simplistic consideration of the nature of a supreme being. However, the book advances ideas that would be good for the author or others to fully develop in further, more detailed works. ... Read more

189. The World's 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems
by John R. Vacca
list price: $24.99
our price: $16.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131426435
Catlog: Book (2004-07-07)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Sales Rank: 31300
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring Original Contributions from Dr. Stephen Hawking

Unfold the mysteries that vex the greatest minds in science

Gain extensive knowledge of the most challenging scientific problems and learn from more than 60 of the world’s foremost scientists—among them, 40 Nobel laureates! Expand your horizons with a wide range of advanced scientific theories and techniques on problems concerning:

Permanently storing nuclear waste or eliminating it altogether
Harvesting energy from a reaction similar to that of the sun
Earthquake prediction
The creation of the universe
Comprehension of free will
The mystery of dark matter
The cosmological constant problem
The construction of a consistent quantum theory of gravity
And much more

Science has reached dazzling heights of discovery, transforming civilization in the process. And yet, some of the most fundamental questions remain unsolved! In The World’s 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems, John Vacca—together with more than 60 of the world’s most highly respected scientists—explains these problems in detail and describes the intellectual and technological hurdles to be overcome in order to solve them.

This book is indispensable for science buffs, teachers, students, and scientists who want to keep pace with the latest developments. The World’s 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems delves deep into mysteries such as the creation of the universe, dark matter, the quantum theory of gravity, protein folding, free will, consciousness, earthquake prediction, Fullerenes, the quantum mechanical vacuum, storing or eliminating nuclear waste, and more. No other resource explains science’s most compelling dilemmas with such clarity and authority, and nowhere else can you share the expertise of so many brilliant minds! You’ll find

Complex topics made intelligible, as only experts in their fields can
Coverage of the key problems expected to dominate the next 40 years of scientific research
The World’s 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems is must reading for anyone teaching science or performing scientific research. It also will fascinate the moderately technical reader or scientific novice. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

2-0 out of 5 stars quite the fluffy book
Don't waste your money on this book.I read the entire 650 page book, which should have been much closer to 200 pages.The first several chapters, on physics and astrophysics were decently interesting.However, I had several problems with this book:

1) The author frequently repeats the same statement several times in a same chapter.For example, in the chapter on DNA, the statement that a strand of DNA contained billions of bases was made 3 or 4 times in the same 3 or so pages

2) In many chapters, the most interesting content was only to be found in the conclusion.The content was, of course, only glossed over.

3) In several chapters,advanced subject jargon was uesd, yet never defined.

4) There were several chapters that made me seriously question the value and veracity of the "science".To return to the DNA chapter, he says he'll prove that DNA could not have been created by random (even directed random) changes.This is, of course, true; ironically, he doesn't say anything about it after that statement.Additionally, the entire chapter on "free energy" was a sham.Sure, free energy is possible - as long as you define any currently not / little used energy source as "free energy".Additionally, ludicrous sources of truly free (and impossible) energy were presented as supposedly viable.

It's such a shame that such potential to be a very valuable and interesting book was given over to this author to be ruined.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing book for science lovers
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in knowing about the frontiers of science. The author uses a layman's language to explain complicated and advanced science concepts and problems.

-Vikas Panwar

5-0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction becomes Science Fact
Having just seen the movie "I, Robot" after reading this book, I was amazed by how John Vacca was able to capture the wonder of science I used to feel as teenager when I first read Issac Asmiov's book over 30 years ago.John's ability to bring the "technology" down to the layman's level without losing any of the fidelity is the truly remarkable. I, for one, am looking forward to the forthcoming discoveries described in John's book with great anticipation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read
This is a shift from John's usual books, nevertheless a very interesting read.He tackles some real issues and makes for a very intellectual and informative book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - a truly great read
What we don't know won't hurt us... or will it ?? This thought provoking book will make you think twice about that question.
Twenty unsolved and unanswered scientific mysteries and laid out for you with many quotes and references along with the authors own unique conclusions to boot.
Hopefully some young brillant scientific mind will read this book and become intrigued enough to solve some of these mysteries once and for all.
Fine book - fabulously well done. ... Read more

190. Introductory Graph Theory
by Gary Chartrand
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486247759
Catlog: Book (1985-02-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 95573
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Clear, lively style covers all basics of theory and application, including Mathematical Models, Elementary Concepts of Graph Theory, Transportation Problems, Connection Problems, Party Problems, Diagraphs and Mathematical Models, Games and Puzzles, Graphs and Social Psychology, Planar Graphs and Coloring Problems, and Graphs and Other Mathematics.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Chemistry, Neural Nets, Matrix Manipulation -- all here
While working on my math degree I wanted some light reading on Graph Theory for completing some side projects. This book hit the spot, and the examples saved me.

Chartrand uses applications from every field of interest (e.g. finance, Chemistry, Physics, games, social psychology, computers, etc.) Who would have thought that while reading a math book that a friendly discussion of social psychology would pop-up? Well, that's how Chartrand is able to keep us moving through the pages; he uses the common to reveal the mysteries of Graph Theory. Who doesn't know about the Tower of Hanoi or the Knight's Tour or the one-boat-fox-and-chickens problems? All of these classics make for ready connecting points, leading us into profound restatements of well-known problems. Not much space is devoted to creating artificial problems for which we must be convinced need solving, and so the book is rather thin (a real bonus for those of us who don't want to spend a month in a math book).

Picking up the book after having read it so long ago, I was happy to find that the chapters are nearly autonomous and can be profitably read by themselves -- so keep it as a reference and jump in as the need arises, you'll be both entertained and mathematically illumined.

My only complaint is that the writing style is rather thick with mathematical lingo (seemingly) for the sake of being technically pithy. I am not convinced that such is necessary for a good math book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview for those with solid math background
This book is excellent, especially if you already have a pretty good background in math. I don't... high school math through calculus, almost all of which I've forgotten. But the appendix gets you up to speed on the basics of sets, functions, and proofs using mathematical induction. That was enough for me to get a lot out of all but the last chapter, which deals with matrices and groups. Although I have to admit that I occasionally needed to read an example four or five times before I really got it.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in graph theory and to any serious software developer (which I why I picked it up). The ideas presented are directly applicable to that line of work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!
Most books assume that the reader has a month to carefully read the book. In reality, the reader often has a day or two and needs a solid understanding of the material but not a really detailed understanding. This book is great because it quickly and clearly covers all of the necessary concepts. What else can you ask for?

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introductory book to graph theory
This book is really god and informative, the topics are clearly explained even to the most novice of readers. Many practice problems. Highly recommended for computer science major.

5-0 out of 5 stars Student's perspective
This was the text used in my undergraduate introduction toGraph Theory. It is quite good, and cheap! It is the perfect text toget the flavor of the subject and spark interest in students to learn more. For a Prof. looking for an idea for a summer course, or an oppertunity to teach to non-math majors who need an upper level course, this is perfect. END ... Read more

191. Data, Voice, and Video Cabling
by Jim Hayes
list price: $40.95
our price: $40.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401827616
Catlog: Book (2004-06-22)
Publisher: Delmar Learning
Sales Rank: 414095
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cabling is one of the fastest changing technologies today, and this updated book addresses the latest developments in premises cabling, including wireless networks.The hands on processes used in the installation of data, voice, and video cabling are observed using minimal theory and liberal practical advice.A logical format that separates key concepts into specific sections minimizes confusion between the unique installation practices among the different technologies.Copper cabling is first discussed, including coax, telephone, and Cat 3 and Cat 5 LAN cabling.A section devoted to fiber optics then follows.Within each section, discussions progress from the basics to components, installation, and testing to assist in the development of individual skills. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Data, Voice, and Video Cabling
Very dissappointing. The video cabling section didn't discuss splitters, taps, attenuators, modulators,signal loss and many other areas of video installation. The other sections were somewhat better but also lacking in depth. I've learned more from reading the appendixes in the Leviton Catalog.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellently Writtten
I found this book to be written in a way that can be understood easily by the common "Joe". I've read many books on this subject and found that I wish I would have started with this one to begin with. It lays out the foundations of the infrastructure field in a descriptive and understandable way. Excellent choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Instructors reveiw
I have been teaching fibre optics (Canadian Spelling for fiber) and communications for a number of years now, and I have read and used most every book available on the subject. I have been able to get something pertinent out of all of them. I have been using "Data, Voice and Video Cabling for some time now. The majority of the time my students are offered these books, not as a requirement of the course, but as a an option. (They are supplied during the course free of charge.)

Recently a class involved in an extensive training course asked about Homework. I suggested reading the issued text books by the next morning. (Big mistake) The next AM, I was inundated with questions and ideas about communications cabling. Further, I sold 12 of the VD&V books immediately. Most of my people had spent many hours reading over and reveiwing all required reading. These students were all eminently qualified instructors in a Communications, train-the-trainer course.

Many people assume that they can learn everything from books without the benifit of formal instruction. An unfortunate mistake. I have to deal with this attitude on a daily basis. However if you want to be close to this assumption, try this book. Always keep an open mind and try to refrain from the negativity.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent and helpful book
This book is probably the best book on communications cabling I have seen. It covers copper cabling and fiber in different sections which makes it less confusing. It has lots of good pictures on how to actually install the cables. ... Read more

192. The Web of Life : A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385476760
Catlog: Book (1997-09-15)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 32579
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars More Compilation than Creation
For those familiar with Capra's more famous tome "The Tao of Physics," the inconsistencies of that book are also present in this one. Once again, Capra has attempted a synthesis of specialized branches of scientific knowledge into an overall unified theory, this time dealing with biology and ecosystems. Unfortunately, just as the older book explained eastern and western views of time and space but failed to convincingly integrate them into a larger understanding, the same thing happens here. The result is a useful compilation and summary of various realms of modern scientific thought, but once again Capra's goal of creating a unified theory fails to materialize.

What we do get is a serviceable summary of recent research and breakthroughs in various "systems" theories. This is the antithesis of classic western science in which natural processes are broken down into small independent parts that are only related in a linear cause-and-effect pattern (the mechanistic view). Capra provides plenty of evidence that natural phenomena, both within organisms and across ecosystems, operate in far more complex and systematic fashions. These types of systems theories are necessary for a true understanding of the Earth and life itself.

But Capra's work here is mostly summary with little analysis. He tends to introduce scientists and their theories repeatedly throughout the book, and very large segments are made up entirely of the works of other theoreticians such as Lynn Margulis or Humberto Maturana. Capra also has an annoying way of saying that every scientific discovery he covers was groundbreaking or profoundly influential. The book ends very inconclusively with a skimpy 8-page epilogue in which Capra tries to tie the extensive knowledge he has compiled into a new theory of how humans should interact with the Earth. But it turns out to be merely simple environmentalism, and not the grand unified theory that was goal of all the extensive build-up. This book is quite useful as a summary of knowledge, but once again Capra just doesn't quite bring it all together. [~doomsdayer520~]

4-0 out of 5 stars Systems thinking explained for the rest of us.
This book is an excellent synthesis of those intriguing and sexy scientific terms you'd like to understand but don't know where to begin. Systems theory, complexity, chaos, cognition, autopoeisis, symbiosis, gaia theory. For these and more the answer is to start reading here.

Those who already have half a clue about what these terms may refer to will notice that Capra's overview is emphatically cross-disciplinary. His bringing together of work in different fields of inquiry makes him well worth reading to see something of the 'bigger picture'. There is also likely to be something here you didn't already know. For instance, I was intrigued by Capra's description of the work of Candace Pert on the role of peptides, and her conclusion: 'I can no longer make a strong distinction between the brain and the body' (p. 276). Time after time I was filled with the strong desire to know more about the wonderful world Capra is describing, and to chase up the references on each page.

Capra's approach, along with his conclusions, are controversial and all the more stimulating for that. Even if you don't swallow the whole story, his vision of life in which everything is connected to everything else will make you question many preconceived ideas about the nature of nature. Despite what might be claimed for a book such as this, Capra hasn't quite reached the 'holy grail' of a complete, holistic account of life. In fact, it is exciting to consider how much there is that we still don't know and can't agree on. I give 'The Web of Life' four stars. I felt is petered out somewhat toward the end. If there had been a more dynamic conclusion to the book, it would be worth five.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very informative and easy to understand
I thought this book was very informative and easy to understand for people who are not experts in systems theory. It provided me with a nice holistic perspective of the systems we are involved in. Through his books, Frijof Capra is spreading a holistic way of looking at life. I believe that his books serve a very important function in this age of materialism, urban alienation, spiritual confusion and chaos. Although there are many great books that serve this purpose, this is defintiely one of them. Another book that serves this wonderful purpose is, "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. It is an incredible book that uses the systems approach to understand how our subjective selves are also involved in these systems. If the world is to become a better place, both books should be read by many many more people.

1-0 out of 5 stars Doomsday Philosophy Masquerading as Science
Unfortunately I had to read this book for a college class. Although Capra uses the umbrella of science, his approach is anything but scientific. The book sank considerably in my estimation when I saw that the first footnote credits Al Gore for documenting that the world is on the brink of destruction. Perhaps our world really is in sorry shape if we are willing to recognize a career politician as a credible scientific source.

Capra claims that it is imperative that the planet shift over to his "ecological" world view, but he provides little in terms of accurate information or factual data to support his position. This book is an emotional appeal to a romanticized view of the Earth, with a typical lack of appreciation for human ingenuity and ability to adapt.

Better choices for those who actually prefer the facts about the state of the world are "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World" by Bjorn Lomborg or "Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists" by Peter Huber. If you are a new age dreamer who doesn't care about facts, this book is for you. If you seek the "scientific understanding" that Capra's subtitle promises, look elsewhere.

2-0 out of 5 stars I have to disagree
I found this book very difficult to stick to; I even took it with me to read on the treadmill at my health club in my old "captured audience" ploy and found that the treadmill was actually "interesting enough!" I'd actually gotten to page 208 when my great dane Tempo tore the book to pieces. Now, you have to know that my father was a school librarian, so books are treated with great reverence in my house. It is with a certain amount of shame that I have to admit to a little relief in this instance; I certainly can't imagine buying it again just to finish it. (Forgive me, Dad)! ... Read more

193. Incompressible Flow
by Ronald L.Panton
list price: $130.00
our price: $130.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471593583
Catlog: Book (1997-01-10)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Sales Rank: 216030
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The second edition is needed to update research, examples, and applications to industry. The presentation starts with basic principles followed with a patient development of the mathematics and physics leading to theories of fluids supported with examples and problem exercise. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible Flow
This book presents a horrible introduction to graduate level fluid mechanics. Some faculties like to teach from this book because of a few well-written sections near the end of an otherwise disastrous attempt on the subject. Kundu or Currie present a much more comprehensive approach to introducing the wonderful subject of fluids and the different solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations.

3-0 out of 5 stars Full of errors
The book is great, but FULL of erros. It looks like it never was corrected or edited. There are sign error on equations, missing terms is equations, bad correlation of equation numbers and so on. The overall quality of the book is excellent, but the errors kill it. Luckily the teacher of my class was the author himself so I could ask him and correct the errors as I was reading on. However, if you're buying this book and the author is not your teacher (most likely), then you'll run into some anoying troubles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast Service, Good Condition, No Problems
The book came within the estimated time and in good condition. The company sent an email to make sure I had received my order and everything was okay. I have no complaints.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good book!
I used this book for a first course in fluid mechanics at graduate level. Initially, one may feel repelled at the arrangement of topics in the book, but once accustomed to this type of layout in graduate level texts( for e.g "Transport Phenomena" by Bird et al), it is a pleasure to read and learn therefrom.
What makes this book unique is that the author has successfully managed to describe important ideas with minimal description and mathematical jargon. However, for a novice in fluid mechanics(at a graduate level), reading this book without any interaction with a fluid mechanician(research worker/professor) might be a difficult task.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Supplement
We used this text in my first graduate course in fluid dynamics. The text was an excellent supplement to the lecture series it accompanied. The derivations were clear, useful, and covered a large range of material. It should serve as an excellent reference for future coursework as well. ... Read more

194. Digital Satellite TV Handbook
by Mark Long, Mark E. Long
list price: $66.95
our price: $66.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750671718
Catlog: Book (1999-07-22)
Publisher: Newnes
Sales Rank: 233381
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Digital Satellite TV Handbook and companion CD-ROM will serve as your complete interactive course in the new digital satellite TV technologies. This textbook, which provides a comprehensive overview of all the digital satellite TV platforms currently in use world-wide, includes the essential satellite coverage maps and transmission parameters that readers will need to receive
digital TV services from any location around the world. It
also presents those aspects of digital video compression and high
definition TV that are of the highest relevance to installers,
technicians, and other satellite professionals working in the global
direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV industry. The Digital Satellite TV
Handbook analyzes the hardware requirements of digital DTH receiving
systems by comparing and contrasting the new digital TV technologies
with earlier analog TV transmission systems, so that readers can
readily grasp all of the details required to make the transition from
the analog era of yesterday to the new all-digital world of the

The Digital Satellite TV Handbook is based on the author's extensive
experience as an instructor for private corporations and trade
associations around the world. To facilitate the learning experience,
the author has included a series of "Quick Check" exercises and answer
keys so that readers can determine for themselves whether or not they
have adequately understood the various course segments provided.
Mathematical formulas that are relevant to course content also are
presented at the end of each chapter. Best of all, the companion CD-ROM
version of the Handbook, which may be opened by any Internet browser
software program, contains numerous Internet hyperlinks. Readers can
click on any textbook hyperlink to immediately access hundreds of
additional pages of supplementary information from the world-wide web or
obtain information updates concerning the current operations of
satellite system operators and digital TV programmers around the globe.The CD-ROM also gives readers access to full-color versions of all the
textbooks, footprint maps, charts and other illustrations.

A graphic-intensive training manual
"Quick Check" exercises in each chapter
Mathematical formulas relevant to each chapter's content
... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Outdated
This book is not worth the money. It has outdated information and in my opinion is poorly written. Save your money.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good first book.
I found this book to be a good introduction to Satellite TV. It was an easy read. I think I went through the whole thing in a weekend. The first half of the book is pretty general. The second half is focused more on specific home satellite TV systems (I skimmed this part). The book comes with a CD-ROM which has color copies of many of the books figures. ... Read more

195. Harmonograph: A Visual Guide to the Mathematics of Music (Wooden Books)
by Anthony Ashton
list price: $10.00
our price: $8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802714099
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 24561
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

During the nineteenth century, a remarkable scientific instrument known as a harmonograph revealed the beautiful patterns found in music. Harmonograph is an introduction to the evolution of simple harmonic theory, from the discoveries of Pythagoras to diatonic tuning and equal temperament. Beautiful drawings show the octave as triangle, the fifth as pentagram; diagrams show the principles of harmonics, overtones, and the monochord. Anthony Ashton examines the phenomenon of resonance in Chladni patterns, describes how to build a harmonograph of your own, and provides tables of world tuning systems. This inspiring book will appeal to musicians, mathematicians, designers, and artists alike. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars hints of the mystical
This is an excellent little book on harmonics and sound, encompassing science and music. It is a much needed counter weight to the effervessence of other recent titles on temperament and harmonics. It is such a beautifully visual book, with graphic depictions of sound waves, you will simply want to look at the illustrations for hours. It hints at the mystical without falling off the edge into either New Age or Cultural Supremacy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Fascinating
I discovered the the Wooden Books series less than a year ago through some serendipitous bookstore browsing, and soon purchased them all. Each volume is compact, well-written, beautifully illustrated, and most of all informative. I'm reading my copy of Harmonograph along with Stuart Isacoff's book Temperament (also recommended), and couldn't imagine a more perfect pairing of books. Being musically challenged, I rely on Harmonograph to make better sense of the intervals Isacoff discusses in his book, and it does so in a brilliant, unique way. You won't be disappointed in this little gem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting.........
Although, I had never heard of harmonographs until I saw this text in a book store recently, the drawing on the cover caught my eye immediately, as I had seen similiar drawings, created by some drawing device using pendulums, in Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater's THOUGHT FORMS, first published over 100 years ago. Those who are familiar with Stephen Phillips' 1980 work: Extrasensory Perception of Quarks (which is a contempory analysis of Besant & Leadbeater's Occult Chemistry, published in 1908 & 1919) might be well inclined to take Besant and Leadbeater seriously regarding their geometric descriptions of thought forms. Since Besant and Leadbeater assume that there is some commonality between the shape of the thought forms they perceived and those drawn by a harmonograph, this book seems like a good introduction to this long forgotten device, which may provide some sort of conceptual framework to think about thought forms. ... Read more

196. Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
by Martin Curd, Jan A. Cover, J. A. Cover
list price: $61.80
our price: $61.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393971759
Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 36027
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Unmatched in breadth and depth, Philosophy of Science addresses the pivotal questions that have occupied philosophers and scientists in this century. Forty-six readings by leading thinkers such as Thomas S. Kuhn, Sir Karl Popper, and Philip Kitcher examine issues ranging from models of explanation to theoretic confirmation and prediction; from the significance of rationality, values, and objectivity to the arguments for and against scientific empiricism and realism, with two unique chapters on "Science and Pseudoscience" and "Laws of Nature." ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exemplary Anthology
I hope I won't be suspected of overstating the virtues of this book when I say that this is the single finest philosophy anthology that I've ever encountered--and, believe me, I've seen my fair share of them. Curd and Cover deserve to be commended--and I hereby commend them--for their work in editing this volume. Not only have they made compiled a very useful anthology of approximately fifty selections in contemporary philosophy of science, but they've included a very significant amount of original editorial material. Indeed, I've never seen a philosophy anthology with editorial material anywhere near this extensive or helpful. Curd and Cover provide the reader with introductions to each section; detailed and thoughtful commentaries, many of which are forty to fifty pages long, on the readings at the end of each section; a twenty-page glossary of terms; and extensive bibliographies on each of the subjects covered. Roughly a third of this book, which is 1300+ pages long, has been written by the editors.

Because of the comprehensiveness of the commentaries that Curd and Cover have included on each section of readings, this volume, unlike many such anthologies, works very well as a stand-alone introduction to the field. For these commentaries provide the necessary background that the reader needs to fully appreciate the problems with which the authors of particular selections are struggling, the arguments they present in the selections, and the importance of the various selections in contemporary thinking about how best to solve the problems of the philosophy of science. In other words, the commentaries here do much of the work that a lecturer would do, and so reading these papers along with the commentaries is like going through an excellent and wide-ranging introductory course in the philosophy of science.

This anthology is intended to introduce the most general subjects in contemporary philosophy of science. Curd and Cover emphasize work in the philosophy of science that is of importance to anyone interested in the subject, and they have deliberately tried to avoid including readings that assume the reader is familiar with a great deal of contemporary science or its history. There are sections on each of the following topics: the demarcation problem (the problem of isolating what, if anything, is essential to, and distinctive of, scientific inquiry), values and objectivity in science, underdetermination and the Duhem-Quine thesis, induction and the nature of scientific evidence, explanation, laws of nature, intertheoretic reduction, and scientific realism. Most of these sections include four or five papers (the section on realism, which is by far the largest section, contains about twice as many). And this book includes work by many of the most important figures in these areas, including Kuhn, Popper, Hempel, Lakatos, Laudan, Kitcher, van Fraassen, et al.

And the reader should note that this anthology focuses only on work in the natural sciences. None of these selections discusses philosophical issues arising in the social sciences--though the topics covered are of sufficient generality that they should be of interest to people studying the social sciences as well. Furthermore, none of these selections are primarily about the philosophical issues arising in particular natural sciences. So don't come to this anthology looking for philosophy of biology or philosophy of physics.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the philosophy of science, and it's ideal for classes introducing philosophy of science to advanced undergraduates and to graduate students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction in the philosophy of science
Anyone who ever wondered about science in general, or what answers sciences can give us to questions we pose, and which not, if we should believe what science tells us or rather not, what it is that sets apart physics and astrologie, or if the picture that science gives us in its laws and theories reflects reality or is just an instrument for science, all those (and all those who would like to start pondering right now)can get a very profound introduction into those (and other) aspects of philosophical contemplation by reading this very well written and edited book. It consists of 9 chapters, each treating one subject by first giving a short introduction by the editors, then several papers by leading philosophers in the field, and then a very well written commentary on each of those papers, that retrace and explain the papers for easier digestion. My fullest recommendations for this book. ... Read more

197. Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia
by Gregory Benford
list price: $13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380793466
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 237884
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Combining the logical rigor with the lyrical finesse of a novelist , award-winning author Gregory Benford explores these and other fascinating questions in this provocative analysis of humanity's attempts to make its culture immortal.  In Deep Time he confronts our growing influence on events hundreds of thousands of years into the future and explores the possible "messeges" we may transmit to our distant descendants in the language of the planet itself, from nuclear waste to global warming to the extinction of species.  As we begin our incredible journey down the path of eternity, Gregory Benford masterfully calls forth some of the intriguing, astounding, undreamed-of futures which may await us in deep time.

... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep Time/Deep Self-Revelation
I very much enjoyed reflecting on the ideas presented in Benford's discussion. The content and organization of the book are not specifically addressed in previous reviews on this site, so for the reader wondering what the book is about, a road map might be useful.
Deep Time has four sections:
(1) Ten Thousand Years of Solitude describes a project in which the author was involved, which addressed how (or if) society can design safe repositories for nuclear waste with effective means of communicating across millenia to people who will not share our culture, technology, or language, "don't go near this place." Past epic attempts to communicate over the millenia and present attempts to preserve computer data for even a few years do not build confidence that this critical message will speak properly to its unimaginably distant audience.
(2) Vaults in Vacuum is a rather darkly amusing discussion of the etched plates NASA sent out on some space missions intended to communicate with whoever finds them about Earth, Sol, and humans. The unintended humor of the political process surrounding their design communicates more to us about human nature than the disks themselves could ever communicate to aliens! The fate of the diamond disk that was supposed to ride with Cassini-Huygens to Saturn is nothing short of hysterical.
(3) The Library of Life is a depressing description of the potentially Chicxulub-scale loss of biodiversity caused by humans in the last few centuries. It argues almost poignantly, perhaps quixotically, for building cryogenically-preserved DNA libraries to store the basic information on biodiversity, so our far descendants, if we manage to leave any, might be able to resuscitate what we are destroying -- "Jurassic Park" on ice.
(4) Stewards of the Earth: The World as Message is a vaguely postmodern discussion of the earth we're leaving behind us for our descendants as a text and what that text reveals about us. The message is not flattering or hopeful. Should human society with its next-quarter or, at most, decades time frame begin to design and effect centuries-long agendas to assist the planet to support us at a high level of technological civilization, our primate cleverness may yet evolve into wisdom and conscious design of what the earth says about us to our long-distant descendants.

5-0 out of 5 stars 2 years...
It's been around two years since I first read this book, and i must say i reference it to people all the time. the reason: it is so darn fascinating. i really liked how the author put things in context and made me think about media forms and how we transfer data. if i gave you an 8-track tape right now, would you know what to do with it to get the info contained on it? younger folks might not know what it is. they would recognize tape (maybe), but 100 years from now, how many players would be around? the book talks about a project the author was on. a nuclear waste site in new mexico needed to have a way to communicate to humans (or others) in the future that the site is radioactive. since the radiation could last 10,000 years, the message would have to be able to be understood centuries from now. what would the message be like? if you read the book you'll find out! lots of different ideas are kicked around and i just couldn't put the book down. buy it, have fun!

4-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking idea, not completely carried through
This book, by a physicist and science fiction writer, starts off well with a philosophical perspective on Humankind's collective attention span. The desire to convey some essence of ourselves, Benford writes, is the great impulse behind deep time messages. But there also is a desire to shape the future, and to use the idea of the future to shape the present. He describes his personal experience as a member of a group advising the Department of Energy on what kind of markers should be used to warn future humans of an underground radioactive waste depository. He then turns to the design of plaques to be attached to spacecraft that will leave the solar system, unfortunately getting bogged down in bureaucratic and interpersonal battles involving NASA officials. Other subjects addressed are preserving a record of biodiversity in a "Library of Life" and addressing human-caused climate change, leading toward "planetary management." These are all good themes, but Benford's conclusion does not propose an overall approach or a more systematic way of addressing our long-term future.

3-0 out of 5 stars I found it boring
The concept of public servants trying to communicate messages to a distant future it quite interesting. I found it interesting that even we have lost even the locations of some time capsules even 50 years ago. It certainly had some good ideas.

The main problem I felt was that the writer was trying to write like a science fiction and a philosophical work. It just could not keep my interest up.

However it would make a good project book for someone in a class trying to keep students interested. Which is what I am series thinking of doing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Topic, but Benford Skims the Surface
The first third of the book is interesting and enlightening. Benford discusses his work as a consulting scientist on the U.S. government's plans to secure a nuclear waste despository for ten thousand years into the future. There is a lot of unintended humor because it turns out that perhaps the best approach may be to simply leave the site unmarked! But we all know that will never happen because ther's government money to be spent...

The next section describes work he did for a solid diamond marker medallion that was to fly with NASA's Cassini mission to explore Saturn and put a probe on the largest moon, Titan. This section is somewhat silly, and includes a lot of gossip and innuendo about other scientists and the NASA bureacracy. The whole plan falls apart at the last minute, and naturally, the author of _this_ account is not the bad guy. Common sense tells us that casting a 28 mm diameter diamond disk into the methane sea of Titan probably is not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

The last third of the book is largely envrio-paranoia babble from a scientist who should know better. Benford claims we should try to cryogenically preserve thousands or even millions of species so they can be studied in the future. His rationale is they might become extinct before scientists can catalog them. So how do you preserve something that you don't even know about yet? Simple - you go out to the edge of the rain forest (or wherever) and scoop up buckets of junk and - you guessed it - freeze it! Yes, that is the proposal: buckets of mud, sticks, and poop in liquid nitrogen dewars. Never mind the fact that earlier in the book, he comments how our present state of technology and stable civil institutions might be temporary, and we can expect major disruptions in the near future. What happens if some day all of these freezers are "unplugged"?

He redeems himself in the final chapter by admitting that the Human species is at a point where we will soon be able to take charge of our evolution, and that it may be possible to alter global climate through the application of technology and fix problems like excess CO2 production. The afterword is so beautifully written, it makes you pause and wonder, what happened with the rest of the book?

All told, this book presents some valuable ideas and insight into a subject that few people have considered. ... Read more

198. Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander Von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World
by Gerard Helferich
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592400523
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Gotham Books
Sales Rank: 14573
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The thrilling story of the charismatic explorer who Simon Bolivar called "the truediscoverer of South America" and the daring expedition that altered the course of science.

From 1799 to 1804 German naturalist and adventurer Alexander von Humboldtconducted the first extensive scientific exploration of Latin America. At the completionof his arduous 6,000-mile journey, he was feted by Thomas Jefferson and presented toNapoleon, and, with the subsequent publication of his findings, he would be hailed as thegreatest scientific genius of his age.

Humboldt’s Cosmos tells the story of this extraordinary man who was equal partsEinstein and Livingstone, and of the adventure that defined his life. Gerard Helferichvividly recounts Humboldt’s expedition through the Amazon and over the Andes,highlighting his paradigm-changing discoveries along the way. During the course of theexpedition, Humboldt cataloged more than 60,000 plants, set an altitude record climbingthe volcano Chimborazo, and became the first to study the great cultures of the Aztecsand Incas. In the process, he revolutionized geology and laid the groundwork for modernsciences such as climatology, oceanography, and geography—and his contributionswould influence future greats such as Charles Darwin and shape the course of science forcenturies to come.

Published in time for the bicentennial of the expedition’s completion in May 1804,Humboldt’s Cosmos is a dramatic tribute to one of history’s most audaciousadventurers, whom Stephen Jay Gould noted "may well have been the world’s mostfamous and influential intellectual." ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enthralling story, brilliantly organized and written
This is the story of Alexander Von Humboldt's five-year journey of exploration in the New World (1799-1804). Humboldt was in his late twenties, a German aristocrat of independent means, brilliant and filled with boundless energy and enthusiasm. He set out with the idealistic belief that all of Nature (including humans) was an integrated entity which could be understood and defined by exacting scientific measurement. Quite a modern conviction for the 18th century! He returned to Europe internationally famous, acclaimed by readers of his widely published reports who found his constructive spirit a welcome relief from the current realities of the Napoleonic Wars.

Humboldt, his companion Bonpland, occasional fellow travelers, and a small coterie of native handlers and guides explored the upper reaches of the Orinoco River, deep in the impenetrable jungle bordering the Amazon watershed. They traveled in narrow dugout canoes, heavy with personnel, dunnage and scientific measuring equipment and boxes for their growing collection of specimens. They portaged rapids, slept in the wet, swatted mosquitoes and were constantly at the mercy of predators and exotic diseases. Later they traversed the tall rugged Andes in Equador and Peru, studying and recording everything around them. They paid particular attention to the great volcanoes, some over 20,000 feet, climbed them and contemplated their geological formation and established cutting edge scientific theories. Finally they journeyed through the more inhabited areas of Mexico and Cuba, recording anthropological, social, and political observations in addition to their continuing scientific studies of nature. Humboldt paid particular attention to the institution of slavery, which he abhorred.

Three cheers for Gerard Helferich who has given us this enthralling story of a nearly forgotten significant man. His book is carefully researched and documented, brilliantly organized and written. It is a thoroughly readable text. I read it rapidly with avaricious delight!!

5-0 out of 5 stars BEFORE THERE WAS DARWIN
You may vaguely recognize the name Alexander von Humboldt (especially if you recall seeing his statue outside of the American Museum of Natural History in New York), but he's not as famous as he should be. Before Darwin ever set foot on the Beagle, von Humboldt and his crew set out on an unprecedented five-year journey throughout Latin America, traveling through the Amazon and the Andes, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Cuba. Throughout his journey, Humboldt make painstaking observations -about the land, the flora and fauna, the wind and the currents, and the peoples he encountered - and his notes and ideas helped shape entirely new disciplines in science: he was a hero to the young Charles Darwin. While there have been a flood of books championing individuals who were "footnotes" to science and history, Humboldt was the real deal. This informative but very lively book, written on the 200th anniversary of Humboldt's most famous journey, should help restore Humboldt's reputation as a pioneering scientist and thinker.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adventure and science story...a fascinating read
This book is a scintillating adventure and science story about one of the world's most important and, curiously least known, figures, the dashing Alexander von Humboldt, who in the course of five years blazed a five thousand mile swath through Latin America, including Cuba, Mexico, and what is now Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. He and his traveling companion Aime Bonpland conducted the first extensive scientific exploration of these countries. In the course of their incredible journey, completed two hundred years ago, the two climbed Chimborazo, coming within 1300 feet of the summit, an event that wasn't to be surpassed until Whymper conquered the peak in the 1880's. I highly recommend this book for anybody interested in adventure, science, and history. ... Read more

199. Pharmaceutical Production Facilities : Design and Applications
by Graham Cole
list price: $169.95
our price: $169.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0748404384
Catlog: Book (1998-02)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 365082
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Book Description

An introduction to the design and operation of pharmaceutical production facilities. Illustrates many of the state of the art concepts that have to be considered in the design of production plants as we meet the next millenium. ... Read more

200. Digital Baseband Transmission and Recording
by J.W.M Bergmans
list price: $138.00
our price: $55.20
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Asin: 0792397754
Catlog: Book (1996-10-31)
Publisher: Springer
Sales Rank: 86267
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Book Description

Digital Baseband Transmission and Recording provides an integral, in-depth and up-to-date overview of the signal processing techniques that are at the heart of digital baseband transmission and recording systems. The coverage ranges from fundamentals to applications in such areas as digital subscriber loops and magnetic and optical storage. Much of the material presented here has never before appeared in book form.The main features of Digital Baseband Transmission and Recording include: + a survey of digital subscriber lines and digital magnetic and optical storage; + a review of fundamental transmission and reception limits; + an encyclopedic introduction to baseband modulation codes; + development of a rich palette of equalization techniques; + a coherent treatment of Viterbi detection and many near-optimum detection schemes; + an overview of adaptive reception techniques that encompasses adaptive gain and slope control, adaptive detection, and novel forms of zero-forcing adaptation; + an in-depth review of timing recovery and PLLs, with an extensive catalog of timing-recovery schemes. .Featuring around 450 figures, 200 examples, 350 problems and exercises, and 750 references, Digital Baseband Transmission and Recording is an essential reference source to engineers and researchers active in telecommunications and digital recording. It will also be useful for advanced courses in digital communications. ... Read more

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