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141. Syncrometer Science Laboratory
$34.82 list($41.95)
142. Radiography Study Guide and Registry
$9.71 $8.33 list($12.95)
143. Science and Evidence for Design
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144. DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA: EVOLUTION
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145. Water Treatment : Principles and
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146. Human Sexuality: Diversity in
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147. An Alchemy of Mind : The Marvel
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148. Deep Simplicity : Bringing Order
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149. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the
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150. The Great Betrayal : Fraud in
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151. To Engineer Is Human : The Role
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152. CURING CANCER: The Story of the
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154. Sampling Techniques (Wiley Series
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155. When Things Start to Think
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156. Life by the Numbers
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157. Finite Mathematics With Applications
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159. Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties
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160. Environmental Chemistry: A Global

141. Syncrometer Science Laboratory Manual
by Hulda Regehr Clark
list price: $19.95
our price: $16.96
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Asin: 1890035173
Catlog: Book (2000-12)
Publisher: New Century Pr
Sales Rank: 129911
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There are 3 kinds of investigations that can be made with a syncrometer;

1.You can detect entities in your body, taken as a whole. For example, mercury aflatoxin, Streptococcus pneumonia, Epstein Barre virus, orthophosphotyrosine, benzene. Such a test is not as sensitive as the organ test, described next, but for this reason allows you to select those entities most abundant in the body and therefore of special significance.

2.You can identify which organs contain a particular entity. For example, the mercury may be in the kidney, the Streptococcus in the joints, and so on. This allows you to embark on a cleanup program for your body in a focused way. The syncrometer lets you monitor your progress.

3.You can detect entities in products. For example, lead in your household water, thulium in your reverse osmosis water, asbestos in your sugar. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars It Works
My paradigm of science has been expanded. I bought the syncrometer. I bought the video by Carmen Myers. I bought the Syncrometer Science Manual. I sat down one afternoon with all of the above. After three hours of practice, it worked.I will never, NEVER be the same again!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A technical guide packed with explanations and tips
Syncrometer Science Laboratory Manual is a college-level manual with a plastic comb binding which will find its audience with students interested in making a Syncrometer and devising experiments for its use. These biology students will receive a thorough grounding in experimental procedures using syncrometry, from plate-zapping to new techniques for cancer therapy. A technical guide packed with explanations and tips on applying the syncrometer to research.

5-0 out of 5 stars The tide is turning!
I was astonished when I saw this manual available from Amazon. Fantastic! For all the skeptics out there who view Hulda Clark's theories as "unscientific" and "quackery," I invite you to check out her latest publication. This is science way beyond its time. This independant scientist has bypassed the normal route of dicovery and handed the results to you personally. No medical journal time lag involved here! She is not motivated by peer recognition nor financial gain. (Clearly the great power above would not have allowed her tremendous success in cancer, aids, etc. if she was motivated by greed.) Anybody familiar with biochemistry and physics can truly appreciate this entire book. It is basically broken down into 3 sections: 1. Basic syncrometer testing: This section contains 30 experiments in basic syncrometer testing. It is a companion section on her 3 books, "Cure for All Cancers," "Cure for Hiv/Aids," and "The Cure for All Diseases."

2. Syncrometer Biochemistry testing: This section contains 62 experiments in advanced biochemical testing with the syncrometer. This is not for the beginner. Nor can one use household products to make testing samples, but with a few hundred dollars in specimen, tissue and substance slides the possibilities are endless!

3. Geometabolism: This 3rd section of 16 experiments undoubtedly qualifies Dr. Clark for a Noble prize in various categories.(Of course she deserved a Noble prize in medicine with her very first Cancer book!) This section involves the effect of the earth's(or outer space) magnetic field on the timing of our metabolism. It would be a great discovery in modern science if she or other syncrometer operator was able to perform these experiments in a space environment outside of the earths atmosphere. This would bring us major steps closer to piecing together many questions of our existence. Are we really connected to our universe? Is there an ultimate "force" that brings us all together? Is there really something to Ayurvedic medicine's philosophy of our health being connected with the cosmos?(Ayurveda is the oldest form of medicine originating from India and spawning nutritional and exercise(yoga) guidelines.)

This book is years ahead of its time for those who can look past its basic ingredient, the syncrometer. Although rather elementary in its design compared to todays technology, its use involves the most sensitive, fool proof machine existing. Our own senses. This device is more sensitive than ELISA immunology testing, is cheap, quick and user frendly. So what is the catch? Well ask any musician if their instrument is difficult to use and you will most likely get a quick, "No!" The reason for this confident answer is that they have PRACTICED long hours. The syncrometer will initially require a few hours of practice much like a musical instrument. It is a blend of hand eye coordination, sensitive listening and concentration to blend the two together. In 6 months of daily practice one can become a saviour to ailing family members and friends. Good luck and God bless! ... Read more


142. Radiography Study Guide and Registry Review (With Diskette for Windows)
by Ruth S. Widmer, Kenneth W. Van Soelen
list price: $41.95
our price: $34.82
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Asin: 0721672892
Catlog: Book (1999-01-15)
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Company
Sales Rank: 319419
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars several inconsistancies
I too, like a previous reviewer, noticed several errors in the self testing section of this book. Luckily I knew the correct answers and could spot them.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Worth the Money
The layout of the book may be appealing, and the graphics & charts too, but the contents are the reason I bought this book. I found many inconsistancies in the review question section where the answer key completely contradicts the text of the book. I also came across similar mistakes on the diskette. I am disappointed in the WB Saunders Company that they can publish a book of such importance which is unreliable and therefore useless.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK FOR REVIEW!
THIS BOOK IS COMPLETE! REVIEWING THIS BOOK IS FUN, EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND PICTURES IN FULL DETAILS. PLUS A DISK FOR REVIEW OVER 800 QUESTIONS.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best review Book on the market
I have never seen such a well organized review book ... Read more


143. Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute)
by Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer, Michael Behe
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0898708095
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Sales Rank: 50158
Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fanatics cannot see the obvious
The obvious truths as exposed in the book cannot be denied by a true scientist who has developed the ability to look beyond his personal bias. One cannot read this book or similar ones without seeing the absurdity of the notion that there is no design behind an obviously designed product.

In today's pseudo science one can pretend that books in a library talk to each other when no one is around to check on them and get away with it if he proposes a "natural" solution to the problem. A bias toward naturalism or materialism is not credible science anymore that a bias toward creationism is. Evidence, such as contained in this book, should lead where it will. If science is forbidden from seeing the obvious because it is not "natural" then it becomes nothing more than a gathering place for fanatics.

I am the author of The Blind Atheist and I have debated materialists for years. I must agree that they are grasping at straws now. Their basis of naturalism is crumbling so they now resort to a pretention that evidence that points to Intelligent Design is not scientific. Well then, is it scientific to mislead the public into a materialistic solution when an intelligent one is indicated? Will books in a library really talk to each other given enough time, or do they simply contain the intelligent input of their creator? Will the laws of physics without intelligent input produce meaningful information given enough time? All of life is based on meaningful information. Time, the crutch of evolution, only obscures the problem and the obvious solution. But fanatics cannot see the obvious.

5-0 out of 5 stars Forget the critics
I have to give this book 5 stars to counter-balance the two reviews that slam this book. It is obvious that neither reviewer has read this book, in part or in total.

Intelligent Design is not creation science. It accepts evolution (i.e., common descent), gradual change over time, and natural selection as a fine-tuning mechanicism of life. It merely suggests that the formation of life is guided by intelligence - the exact question of how that intelligence performed its work, or who that intelligence is, is left open. (It could be anything from aliens to Zeus.)

Intelligent Design has caused Darwinian Fundamentalists to react with alarm because Darwinism is the central facet of their world view. Their objections are more philosophical than scientific (I've yet to read ONE negative review of an ID book that contains any science whatsoever). Darwinists have been the Grand Inquisitors of academia and are crushing real science. While Physics, Astronomy, Genetics, and other fields are literally taking quantum leaps into the future, evolutionary Biology has barely advanced past the early 1900s thanks to the the Fundamentalists' insistence that all evidence be construed, however obliquely, to support the notion that natural selection and random mutation can account for all life on earth.

Read about ID and make up your mind. Don't listen to Fundamentalists like Ken Miller and Richard Dawkins who are long on rhetoric and short on science.

1-0 out of 5 stars This is unfortunate and misleading.
A previous reviewer asks why, since this book has been published, has no one refuted it? Look a little more. "Intelligent Design Creationism and It's Critics" includes reviews by some of the formost scientists in the world. Essentially, Behe's argument is the same as William Paley's and fails the same way. After 150 years, Darwin's idea has become solid fact. Over time the holes keep getting filled in with more knowledge but there will always be new details to understand. Arguing that the idea is wrong because you don't understand a detail is disingenous at best.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Core of Design
If you want to know what is at the core of intelligent design, this is the book. With essays by Behe, Meyer & Dembski, this offers a rare multi-author volume that still fits in a cargo-pocket.

Want to know why ID critics never talk about this volume? It is too solid--they can't touch it. Plus Behe successfully responds to his critics. Instead, they have to resort to name calling and warnings of danger lest someone read this. But don't let them tell you what to think. Evaluate ID for youself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Set Aside the Politics
...P>It's about S-C-I-E-N-C-E. It's about following the scientific evidence wherever it leads, even if it knocks over your favorite sacred cow. Seems to me that the scientists doing objective science these days, at least in the area of microbiology, are all on Behe's side. The rest are stuck back in the paradigm of the 1850's, and can do nothing constructive, only try to suppress his ideas.

Galileo would recognize these tactics in a heartbeat. ... Read more


144. DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA: EVOLUTION AND THE MEANINGS OF LIFE
by Daniel C. Dennett
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 068482471X
Catlog: Book (1996-06-12)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 8200
Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Highest Recommendation! ... Read more

Reviews (118)

2-0 out of 5 stars Too clever by half, too ponderous by far
Dennett canvasses every conceivable debate over the conceptual side of natural selection.

If you lack familiarity with the intellectual landscape, or with parts of it, this encyclopedic tour will be useful. If you know the landscape, you may or may not find Dennett's contributions worth considering--they are rather less than singular.

Personally, I found the book ponderous and shapeless. I already know most of the literature to which Dennett gives his attention, and I found what I gained from his ideas was not worth the time it took to wade through the book.

This volume of thoughts has no coherent rhetorical/narrative arch, and it fails as a clear, compelling development of its thesis. Rather, it is the written record of Dennett's tour through all the current controversies that interest him. It's nice to know what Dennett thinks about all these things, but this an unimaginative strategy for producing a big book.

Dennett pushes a particular thesis and pushes it hard through every controversy: natural selection as an algorithm that can explain human development.

Dennett has an enemy: anything that smacks of making room for any kind of divine intervention. To this end, he even finds the True Believer status of such stalwarts as Stephen Jay Gould lacking. Gould is not just wrong about certain aspects of evolution, in Dennett's view; He is "One of Them," someone who, Dennett somehow divines, secretly longs for some kind of miracle. Banish the infidel!

Let me say that I am sure the universe, Earth, life, and humans evolved. I have no great interest in theology or religion. I think most stories that claim to affirm both religion and evolution, that claim to make god consistent with evolution, end up with a very feeble God-someone who did a very little work billions of years ago, then basically vanished. That is not the god of religion, as I understand religion. For religion, God must be present and active, capable of intervening in the world.

But Dennett's antipathy seems a bit much, to me. He seems altogether too certain, relative to what, in fact, we know about how the world came to pass. Is there any likelihood that evolution is false? No. Is there as much likelihood as Dennett claims that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is basically correct? I don't think so.

Dennett proves much too much-so much, that we already have reason to think his boosterism for natural selection cannot possibly be correct.

You see, Dennett spends his time and energy on Darwin's *less dangerous* idea: natural selection. But Darwin had two ideas, and the other one interested Darwin himself more: sexual selection. After publishing "The Origin," Darwin spend most of the rest of his career on the other idea.

Evolution through sexual selection is a very different beast than natural selection. It is whimsical and capricious. It's extremely sensitive to initial conditions, random fluctuations, and genetic drift. It has precious little to do with fitness, though fitness sets limiting conditions. It's unpredictable. Whether you could call it algorithmic would be highly debatable, at best.

But it is a powerful explanation for an immense body of evidence-that's evidence, not conjecture or faith or anything else questionable-that most scientists agree is nigh-impossible to square with natural selection alone. (For insatnce, it simply is not true that most scientists agree that natural selection accounts for human culture.) Sexual selection is surely consistent with natural selection, but it is not the same thing, and it explains a lot of things that natural selection can't.

That's why in the last couple or three decades, biologists and psychologists-but apparently not philosophers-have begun doing extensive research on sexual selection. (A good account can be found in Geoffrey Miller' "The Mating Mind.")

To illustrate Dennett's "excessive brilliance," that is, his proving too much: Dennett goes on and on with the notion that sexually attractive traits are fitness indicators. That was a brilliant hypothesis, not too long ago. 'Trouble is, it's false. (See, for instance, Laland and Brown, "Sense and Nonsense," page 193 for a partial listing of the falsifying studies.)

For a guy who claims to be so in love with science, Dennett has produced a book that seems to me oddly too full of generalities that science hasn't proved--or that have been disproved.

So you see, Dennett-as best I can tell--has managed to prove that an algorithmic view of natural selection is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at exactly the time when biologists think it can't possible be that.

Now, on another matter, as a matter of moral aesthetics, if you will allow me to use that term: there is an unseemly arrogance to this book. As an intellectual, I found Dennett's self-assurance rather embarassing. (Of course, that may be why he has written more books than I have and is much more famous.)

I find unseemly that Dennett never allows for the possibility that maybe understanding our origins may turn out to be beyond us.

And I find it unseemly that he has decided that religious faith resembling a traditional sort is just wrong without giving any consideration to the sorts of experiences that matter to those who have faith. (I'm not one of them.) No one has ever come to love God because he thought that theological doctrines pose the best hypotheses for scientific explanation. Certain sorts of compelling experience, though, bend even great minds in ths strange direction.

Now, Dennett is probably much smarter than I, so maybe he is not arrogant so much as insightful. But I am not able to dismiss the possibility that some persons' religious experience may contain something important that might be beyond my conceptual grasp.

Just as my dog loves and understands me up to a point, I may love life and-using all my powers to their fullest--come to understand it up to a point. Beyond that, my gray matter cnnot go, though reality goes much further.

Personally, I don't like that idea. But a fair number of estimable thinkers have made this case, and I do not see Dennett producing any argument against it.

It is without a doubt logically possible that life, the Earth, and the universe involve forces far beyond our capacity to comprehend. I find it unseemly and boastful for Dennett not to allow that those who recognize this fact lack nothing in comparison to him, in their intelligence and their understanding of evolution.

I came away from this book admiring Dennett's prodigious intelligence, but not with any sense that I had learned much to which I should give an immense amount of weight.

This book seems to me testimony of what can happen when a brilliant, earnest thinker turns his talents to proving a point. This is boosterism, a polemic, albeit of a highbrow variety.

Too bad Dennett became a philosopher rather than a scientist. What a waste of a fine mind!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but not for the faint of heart!
An online friend with similar interests, Steven Haines, recommended Daniel C. Dennett's book Darwin's Dangerous Idea to me some time ago. (Last year, as I recall). So enthusiastic was/is he over it, that he actually sent me a copy! After reading the book--and it took me weeks rather than days to do it--I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I definitely found it dense with information, a thorough critique of Darwinism and its modern variants, and certainly a very interesting work. On the other hand I found it very slow and difficult reading.

The book doesn't simply lay before the reader the author's observations and research on his topic like so many others. In fact Dennett himself points out this fact in his introduction when he notes that the volume is a book on science not a work of science. As he rightfully notes, "Science is not done by quoting authorities, however eloquent and eminent, and then evaluating their arguments (p. 11)." What he does do is describe the topic of Darwinian evolution and its impact on society, then presents the observations and research of diverse professionals in the field, critically dissecting them for the benefit and edification of the reader. It should be noted that Dennett is not himself an anthropologist or biologist, but he is trained in critical analysis. As Distinguished Arts and Sciences Professor at Tufts University and director of that institution's Center for Cognitive Studies, he is considered a philosopher whose specialty is consciousness as high-level, abstract thinking and is known as a leading proponent of the computational model of the mind. As such he is also considered a philosophical leader among the artificial intelligence (AI) community. His credentials, therefore, give him more than adequate qualifications for performing the above noted dissection with precision and thoroughness.

It is sometimes difficult for the average person, especially one who is not specifically trained in a field of research or in the rules of logic, to be objective about the literature in an area outside their specialty. The power of the written word, the forceful current of a persuasive argument, and the care with which confirming evidence is presented and refuting evidence suppressed or camouflaged, all make it difficult to see the flaws in some of the popular works on evolution--or any other science. Therein lies the value of Professor Dennett's efforts in DDI. He carefully points out the errors and strengths of the authors he cites. As he writes, "There is no such thing as a sound Argument from Authority, but authorities can be persuasive, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly. I try to sort this all out....(p. 11)." And he does so step by step so that the reader can follow the logic or illogic of the arguments under discussion. In doing so he takes on some pretty visible and popular authors, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins among the better known perhaps, and some very high level math-physics intellects, most notably Stuart Kaufmann and Roger Penrose.

I found that the work almost seemed like a collection of essays of varying length on assorted topics with all of them linked by a common theme. The book is probably best read with this in mind, since it's difficult to digest in a single sitting or even with a single read. (I tend to use post-it-note page markers to highlight points on pages I wish to review after finishing a book. There were so many post-it-notes marking my copy of DDI, that a friend at work pointed out that I might just as well re-read the entire book. He's probably right!) Part of the problem lies in the book's basic premis. As a critique of various works by diverse authorities, it demands that the reader more actively participate in the thought process of that criticism. And that participation requires a rather diverse background of knowledge: anthropology, architecture, artificial intelligence, biology, evolutionary theory, game theory, physics, philosophy, are among some of the topics covered under the cover of Darwin and evolution! It also requires some knowledge of the author's under discussion.

While I don't want to scare a prospective reader, I also think that this book might be a little more than most can or wish to handle. I do think that the person who undertakes to read it, devoting to the project the time and care that it deserves, will come away with, not only a good deal of solid information, but with a first rate training in critical thinking as well!

2-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy, not Science
As a Darwinist and a reader of Dawkins and Gould, I read this book primarily to familiarize myself with the scientific refutation of other prominent Darwinists, specifically Gould. I say "scientific," because on the upper left corner of the back cover of the paperback, it is categorized as "Science," so I thought I was reading a science book.

I started reading the book past the half-way point, in the area of content that most interested me, and I discovered a couple of things.

First, there are metaphoric terms used throughout this book, introduced in earlier chapters, which make the book difficult to fully comprehend when opening it up to read at an arbitrary later chapter, if you aren't already familiar with the metaphors (such as "skyhook" and "crane").

Second, apparently, among other subjects, this is also a book on architecture. Specifically, on arcane aspects of the architecture of domes and their supporting structures. Several pages were dedicated to this subject, including detailed pictures and diagrams. Apparently this proved that Gould is wrong, which made absolutely no sense to me, so I bit the bullet and started back at page 1.

I enjoyed the first three or so chapters of this book. A good introduction to the history of thought which immediately pre-dated Darwin, which put into context how truly revolutionary His ideas were at the time.

I couldn't get through the final chapters, something about the evolution of morals. A worthy subject, I'm sure, it's just not the subject for which I picked up this book. Again, I thought I was reading a science book.

Ultimately, I came away thinking, "Why did Dennett write this book?" More specifically, why did a non-scientist write a book purportedly about Science? Well, Dennett answers that for me, sort of. In an anecdote he tells about attending a conference of Thinkers and Scientists in the Northeasten US, and how, during a Q&A type session with attendees, the responses given clearly showed that many of these educated people had a very poor understanding of Darwin's Ideas. It was this experience, he claims, which helped further to motivate him to write this book, ostensibly to set the record straight.

If Dennett had written a book which simply synthesized and explained the current state of Darwinist thinking, I would have been more receptive. Instead, I read a book by a Philosopher who is pretending to be a Scientist, espousing his own scientific ideas, and I don't think he was able to pull that off credibly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Shallow
I am for evolution, but I find Dennett's arguments very weak. It is books like this that sustain creationists.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dennett's Stupid Idea
If creationists wanted a book that would make evolution look absurd, they could do no better than Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Allies of science and reason are done no favor by the likes of Dennett (who, by the way, has no formal scientific qualifications) and his crudely reductionist screeds. ... Read more


145. Water Treatment : Principles and Design
by R. Rhodes, Ph.D. Trussell, David W., Ph.D. Hand, Kerry J., Ph.D. Howe, George, Ph.D. Tchobanoglous
list price: $135.00
our price: $135.00
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Asin: 0471110183
Catlog: Book (2005-01-14)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 279630
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Book Description

The one-stop resource for all aspects of water treatment engineering-from theory to practice
Completely revised and updated to address current practices and technologies, Water Treatment: Principles and Design, Second Edition provides unique coverage of both the principles and theory of water treatment, as well as the practical considerations of plant design and distribution.
Written by the world's leading water engineering firm, Water Treatment: Principles and Design, Second Edition presents the breadth of water treatment engineering-from the theory and principles of water chemistry and microbiology to in-depth discussions of revolutionary treatment processes to concise tips for plant and network design. Material has been extensively updated and revised in response to regulatory requirements and growing public awareness, particularly in the areas of disinfection, membrane filtration, disposal of treatment plant residuals, and basic microbiology with an emphasis on human pathogens and diseases.
Water Treatment: Principles and Design, Second Edition provides an essential textbook for students and a reliable resource for environmental and water resources engineers.
... Read more


146. Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America
list price: $74.68
our price: $74.68
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Asin: 0072860499
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Sales Rank: 174032
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This non-judgmental introduction to human sexuality features integration of ethnic, cultural, gender, and sexual orientation differences and similarities. The text maintains a psychosocial approach, but provides a balanced treatment of the biological, psychological, sociological, anthropological, and historical aspects of human sexuality. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Human Sexuality at Its Best!
As an instructor of Human Sexuality, I have used several textbooks over the years and I always find that (while adequate) there is always something missing from each of them. You know what that means ... buying and using more supplementary materials.

This is the first textbook I have ever seen that is simply PERFECT just the way it is. I will use it in every single one of my future classes. The students, faculty and staff agree. This is the one Human Sexuality book the whole world should read.

Bravo! ... Read more


147. An Alchemy of Mind : The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain
by Diane Ackerman
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 0743246721
Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 9951
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most ambitious and enlightening work to date from the bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses, An Alchemy of Mind combines an artist's eye with a scientist's erudition to illuminate, as never before, the magic and mysteries of the human mind.

Long treasured by literary readers for her uncommon ability to bridge the gap between art and science, celebrated scholar-artist Diane Ackerman returns with the book she was born to write. Her dazzling new work, An Alchemy of Mind, offers an unprecedented exploration and celebration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days -- and does for the human mind what the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses did for the physical senses.

Bringing a valuable female perspective to the topic, Diane Ackerman discusses the science of the brain as only she can: with gorgeous, immediate language and imagery that paint an unusually lucid and vibrant picture for the reader. And in addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, she reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses controversial subjects like the effects of trauma and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, heavily anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness, human thought, memory, and the nature of identity. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brain Candy
Since 1990, when she published "A Natural History of the Senses," Diane Ackerman has continued to explore how intimate human experience defies rational explanation. "A Natural History of Love" appeared in 1994. Next came "Deep Play" (1999), an account of human creativity and our need for transcendence, and "Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden" (2001), about the way gardening elevates our souls. What fascinates Ackerman in these books is the pervasive mystery of nature, despite the increasing depth of our scientific knowledge.

Her approach is to select a topic that is in its essence ineffable, then gather information about it from the worlds of science and evolutionary theory,literature, myth, popular culture and personal experience, and lavish her findings with elaborately worked, poetic prose. Her intention is to say the unsayable. Here, for instance, is Ackerman defining memory in her newest book, " An Alchemy of Mind," which considers the human brain and consciousness from her customarily impressionistic mix of perspectives: "An event is such a little piece of time and space, leaving only a mind glow behind like the tail of a shooting star. For lack of a better word, we call that scintillation memory."

She is a grand, erudite synthesizer, positioning herself at the place where knowledge ends and reporting back to us in the language of lyric. "I believe consciousness is brazenly physical," she tells her readers, "a raucous mirage the brain creates to help us survive. But I also sense the universe is magical, greater than the sum of its parts." This is not the way things sound in neuroscience journals or philosophy of mind papers.

With "An Alchemy of Mind," which might as well have been called "A Natural History of the Mind," Ackerman delights in finding metaphors that simultaneously describe and demonstrate what she is saying. Explaining our compulsion to make subjective order from objective chaos, for instance, she speaks in terms of cartography: "The brain is still terra incognita on the map of mortality, still the fabled world where riches and monsters lurk. But we've begun mapping its shores and learning about its ecology."

As always, Ackerman has done her homework. Her book offers a useful, evocative picture of what is known about the brain's landscape and environment. It presents current research in cognitive science, neuroscience and technology to show how the brain evolved and is structured. It discusses memory and emotion, the formulation of self, the development and operation of language, the differences between human and animal brain function.

Ackerman loves the clarity of fact. But she adores the quixotic, the paradoxical: "Language is so hard only children can master it," she tells us.

Any page reveals a gem of expressive clarity.Early in the book, examining how the brain adapts as we learn new information, Ackerman says, "We arrive in this world clothed in the loose fabric of a self, which then tailors itself to the world it finds."Later, talking about emotions,she says, "Our ideas may behave, but our emotions are still Pleistocene, and they snarl for attention, they nip at passing ankles." To this, in a brilliant throwaway line, she adds, "Emotions often provide a dark italics to our lives." These are memorable translations of scientific premises.

"An Alchemy of Mind" is a bravura performance in the field of popular science writing. At a time when books about the brain, mind and consciousness compete for readers' attention,Ackerman has presented a helpful survey of the field leavened by yeasty writing and provocative insights.
--Floyd Skloot, Newsday

5-0 out of 5 stars A naturalist-poet explores the mysteries of the human brain
   Diane Ackerman remembers a pubescent summer at a camp in the Poconos. Ten 13-year-old girls in a bunkhouse. They talk about boys, canoeing, boys, applying makeup, boys, building fires. And boys. They are exactly alike. But they are also totally different. One might be easily bored, one a loudmouth, another broody. They conceal much from each other about their inner selves. The 13-year-old Ackerman thinks in sensory images and hides her borrowed copy of "Siddhartha." Why are they alike? Why are they different? Of all the mysteries of evolution, the development of the human brain is perhaps the most mysterious.

Ackerman, our poetic chronicler of the natural world, still thinks in sensory images. "An Alchemy of Mind," her brief but lush meditation on the brain, melds scientific research and personal reminiscence with an avalanche of metaphors as she tackles this facet of what she calls her "favorite fascinations," nature and human nature.

The interaction of the brain's 100 billion neurons, she tells us, is like "rush hour on the jammed streets of Manhattan." People are "sloshing sacks of chemicals on the move." Memories are "the shoals of a life." All true, all vivid.  It's an apt technique, because the brain is at its essence a metaphor machine. We look for similarities, patterns, generalities because they point to evolutionary survival strategies. Language itself is metaphor. "Pupil," Ackerman
explains,derives from the Latin word for "little doll," because we see ourselves reflected in one another's eyes. "Windows" comes from the Norse "wind 's eye," which is what they called the ventilation holes in their roofs. "Each word is a small story," she writes.

On the ever-vexing question of whether we are formed more by nature or nurture, Ackerman wisely opts for all of the above. We start our lives with genetic predispositions. But the human being is nothing if not a learner, particularly in the first years. We even learn things that are not true. Hence the false memory. If you tell a small child often enough that he has been sexually molested, he will believe it, and pass any lie detector test.

Ackerman also confirms what we all figure out, sooner or later: the brains of men and women really are wired differently. Women have fewer neurons, but they connect more. That may explain why women are more prone to depression, better at multitasking, remember emotional events longer and better. Women talk, men react through action. Except for the exceptions. And to some extent, we are all exceptions, and that's what makes life so interesting. Sure, we're all human animals, but what about the different personalities in the bunkhouse? What about the Shakespeares, the Einsteins? Einstein left his brain to science, but for years, researchers didn't see anything exotic. Now, scientific techniques have improved, and they realize that Einstein's brain is missing a fold running through the parietal lobes. "Did his cunning spring from an anatomical mistake that allowed better wiring?" Ackerman asks. "Or was it more complicated than that, created from the chemical pond of his brain, a wealth of unique experiences, and the zeitgeist of the era?"

Ackerman delves into her own brain as she wrestles with such knotty questions. For years, the sound of Ralph Vaughn Williams' musical composition, "Fantasia on Greensleeves," triggered a traumatic flashback, because it was the first radio music she heard after a horrifying accident at sea in the South Pacific. Her brain was reminding her to feel fear. But she tells us she has
taught herself to control her panic by consciously turning off her senses, one by one. It is no longer "the terrifying emotional red alert" it had been.

Alchemy is the pseudo-science that seeks to turn base metal into gold. The human mind turns brain cell connections into a self. It's a feat just as improbable as alchemy, but it works. With rare imaginative fertility, Ackerman goes a long way toward explaining how and why.

  

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a fascinating book
I enjoyed reading this book very much. Diane Ackerman takes a complex subject like the human brain and makes it easy to understand. Ackerman begins each chapter with thought prokoking quotes by famous writers, thinkers, and popular movies. My favorite quote in the book is by author Pearl Buck. It is about how people have a need to express themselves creatively. My other favorite quote is from Franz Kafka that says that being happy changes your entire outlook on life.

I loved the way Ackerman explains how the brain works in simple language. I learned that neurons grow new dendritic connections every time a person learns something new or expands on connections that already exists. Neurons communicate with each other by using axons.

There is an interesting chapter in this book that explains the differences between the way men and women think. Women solve problems using both sides of the brain. Men use only the side that specializes in that problem. Men lose more brain cells in the temporal and frontal lobes affecting feeling and thinking as they age. Women lose more brain cells in the hippocampus affecting memory as they get older. Ackerman makes an interesting observation that women worry about losing emotional attachments. This is in contrast to men who worry about losing face.

I also learned that human beings share the same motives, feelings and instincts with animals. We all share and seek a need for protection, hunger, status seeking, social contact, sexual desire, and acceptance. I also learned that tool use isn't just limited to monkeys and humans. Crows have the ability to bend wire into a hook to retrieve food in a bucket.

One of the most interesting sections of this book is the one about memory. I learned that the brain does four things to remember. It recognizes patterns, interprets them, records their source, and retrieves them. Ackerman defines the different types of memory which I found helpful. Working memory holds crates of information for immediate use, but it can only do one thing at a time. Episodic memories are those that are linked to a certain feeling. Memory suffers when we are under stress or if we are bored. Challenge, exercise, and novelty of new things improve our memory. I really liked the way Ackerman connects the subject of memory and language. Language gives us a verbal memory that allows us to learn and remember without physically experience something. Words serve as memory aids for some people too.

An Alchemy of Mind is a very informative and entertaining book. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about neuroscience or psychology.

5-0 out of 5 stars pure delight
Diane Ackerman takes concepts that have interested but eluded me since high school and makes them vivid and alive and crystal clear. She is the master of the perfect analogy, and can make everything in my brain fall easily and contentedly into place. Reading this book gives you a new appreciation of what it means to live in this world, and to experience it through our human brains. She's a gorgeous writer. Reading this will make your cocktail conversation smarter without a doubt, but it will also enrich your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars What an accomplishment.
Ackerman writes brilliantly, her descriptions are charming, her keen observations are both original and scientifically astute. It's a perfect bridge between science and art. What more could one ask for? ... Read more


148. Deep Simplicity : Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity
by JOHN GRIBBIN
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 140006256X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 105532
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149. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon
by Wally Schirra, Von Hardesty, David Reynolds
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0151009643
Catlog: Book (2002-05-20)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 37648
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


150. The Great Betrayal : Fraud in Science
by Horace Freeland Judson
list price: $28.00
our price: $19.04
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Asin: 0151008779
Catlog: Book (2004-10-11)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 105594
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Amazon.com

Horace Freeland Judson, author of The Eighth Day of Creation, eloquently examines the nature and causes of scientific fraud in The Great Betrayal. Although the process of science has built-in checks and balances such as peer review and paper refereeing, Judson calls these "moribund" and asks "whether in fact and to what extent science really is self-correcting." After all, success and good results are sometimes valued above all in science, especially by the agencies or corporations that provide the funding for research. Upon examining hundreds of cases of suspected scientific fraud, Judson answers blind praise of science's self-policing with the terse statement, "Their claims about science are unscientific."

To make his case, Judson begins with some of the giants of science: Mendel, Darwin, Pasteur, Freud. It turns out that each of these men fudged their data in one way or another, whether by omitting numbers that didn't fit desired results, or manipulating photographs, or not using experimental controls. Judson recognizes that there are difficulties in examining historical scientists' behavior through a modern lens, and he deals with the associated complexities by asking tough questions: What if their cheating led to a correct answer? Where is the line between intuition and lying?

The Great Betrayal goes on to describe enough modern cases of scientific fraud to leave readers reeling. The most damning revelations in the book are those showing how whistle-blowers are treated by the scientific establishment, and Judson's showcase for this is Margot O'Toole, who called for correction or retraction of a paper co-authored by noted biologist David Baltimore and was subsequently vilified for her actions. The so-called "Baltimore case" became one of the ugliest and most revealing controversies in late-20th-century science. In the end, Judson offers hope that science may become truly open through electronic publishing. Whether the free exchange of criticism offered by the Internet will refresh science remains to be seen, but without learning from its defects, Judson writes, this great endeavor will ultimately fail. --Therese Littleton ... Read more


151. To Engineer Is Human : The Role of Failure in Successful Design
by HENRY PETROSKI
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0679734163
Catlog: Book (1992-03-31)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 1567
Average Customer Review: 3.32 out of 5 stars
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The moral of this book is that behind every great engineering success is a trail of often ignored (but frequently spectacular) engineering failures. Petroski covers many of the best known examples of well-intentioned but ultimately faileddesign in action -- the galloping Tacoma Narrows Bridge (which you've probably seen tossing cars willy-nilly in the famous black-and-white footage), the collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel walkways -- and many lesser known but equally informative examples. The line of reasoning Petroski develops in this book were later formalized into his quasi-Darwinian model of technological evolution in The Evolution of Useful Things, but this book is arguably the more illuminating -- and defintely the more enjoyable -- of these two titles. Highly recommended. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at failure in structural engineering
I am not really sure how I came across this book. I think it was by following relevant links on Amazon. Anyway I bought this as well as The Evolution of Useful Things at the same time. I found this a very insightful reading in light of my occupation as a software engineer. Several of my coworkers recently had an email conversation regarding the quailty of software engineered products vs. "real" engineer's and their feats of construction, bridges, airplanes and buildings all things that Petroski covers in details.

Some additional thoughts on how structural engineering is different from Enterprise Application Software Engineering:

1. --In general software is unlimited, where as Structural Engineering has natural laws. Higher level Patterns are pretty constant, where as within the created construct of software they are reinvited (Object Patterns, EJB Patterns)
2. --structures have the added requirement of no death, where as Enterprise Software only has revenue associated with it, not as powerful a motivator as death.
3. --software is interactive with behavior, where as a bridge is a bridge

http://www.niffgurd.com/mark/books/2002.html#eng

4-0 out of 5 stars How Things Don't Work
With entire books on the pencil and on bookcases, Petroski has established himself as an author who knows how to make anyone look at everyday items in a different light. Whereas these books explain how objects work, in "To Engineer Is Human," Petroski cites why engineers are responsible for design flaws that cause failure. Being a professor of civil engineering, Petroski shows his expertise in this area. This book is for those who are interested in studying engineering, are already engineers, or are just interested in the "why" of accidents. To be able to understand this book, though, you should do some research on these accidents because Petroski assumes you have heard of them. These include the DC-10 accident in 1979 in Chicago, the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse, and the tragic 1981 Hyatt Regency Skywalk disaster, which killed 114 people.

Petroski is clever with his chapter headings, such as "Success Is Foreseeing Failure" and "When Cracks Become Breakthroughs," which could be considered good rules for civil engineers to follow. I think this is a great book for those interested in engineering, if they have done their homework before coming to class.

2-0 out of 5 stars To Engineer is Human
A little wordy. Suggsted for serious work not for casual reader.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Evolution of Useful Things
The point of the author could be made in 1/2 the pages. The detail and repeated points particularly regarding silverware is overkill and makes it difficult not to abandon the boring book.

5-0 out of 5 stars How Things Break
This little gem is an analysis of engineering failures, and the learning that occurs due to these failures. While he is himself a professor of engineering, Petroski uses language comprehensible to the layman making this book accessible to almost anyone. During the course of the book he argues that engineering is part art and part science, and that as a discipline engineers focus on building safe, affordable, and reliable things (from paper clips to airliners) to meet a set of requirements. He goes on to elaborate that, being human, engineers make errors and sometimes spectacular failures ensue. The key, he argues, is that once errors are exposed, engineers can glean knowledge from those problems to improve future designs.

He uses accessible examples that most people can readily relate to, from researching failure modes on one of his son's toys (the components used most frequently failed first, just like a frequently used light bulb burns out more quickly due to metal fatigue and subsequent cracking), to the deadly collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel walkways, which killed over 100 people. He also discusses easy to comprehend failures (suspension bridges in strong wind), and more intricate interactions, such as was revealed in the Chicago DC-10 accident. Throughout, he retains an aura of good humor and approachability, which makes this book far more readable than most books in this field.

My only complaint about the book is not even the fault of Mr. Petroski at all: the font in the book is very small, and combined with small borders, the book is a bit tough to physically read. Small matter, though, as once you start the book, you will not want to put it down. Well done. ... Read more


152. CURING CANCER: The Story of the Men and Women Unlocking the Secrets of our Deadliest Illness
by Michael Waldholz
list price: $20.95
our price: $20.95
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Asin: 0684848023
Catlog: Book (1999-03-24)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 403253
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The recent startling discovery that a single gene prevents the cells in the body from becoming tumors marked a dramatic turning point in cancer research. Taking readers into the labs where researchers have determined that cancers are caused either genetically or environmentally by destroying this newfound gene, Curing Cancer brings to life the race to unlock cancer's genetic code. It profiles scientists such as Bert Vogelstein, who first uncovered the tumor-suppressing gene; Mary-Claire King, whose research into breast cancer is fueled by personal passion; and Mark Skolnick, whose team found two genes that may account for 10 percent of all breast cancers. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars It reads like a mystery novel
Waldholz does a wonderful job of transporting the reader into the world ofcancer research through stories and events of the scientists, doctors, and patientswho are paving the road to the greatest discoveries in medicalhistory. I really enjoyed how the author was able to make medical scienceeasy to read and understand. The book is exciting, uplifting, and readsfrom one event to the next like a mystery novel. ... Read more


153. The Physics and Technology of Tennis
by Howard Brody, Rod Cross, Crawford Lindsey
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0972275908
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: USRSA
Sales Rank: 103202
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Helping coaches and players streamline their learning systems, improve their performance, and further their understanding and enjoyment of the game, this book provides an entertaining and enlightening look at the physics behind how to use a racquet to change the speed and direction of a tennis ball. Distinguishing the science from the folklore and myth, it makes the physics of tennis understandable to players of all skill levels. Important issues such as the role of string tension, the meaning of power, the importance of swing weight, and the relevance of the various sweet spots are addressed. Athletes are shown how to play better tennis by obeying the laws of the universe, optimizing equipment for ultimate performance, and understanding the dynamics of tennis events. From speed-to-spin ratios and shock vibration scales to choosing string on a moist day, this guide covers it all. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST Book on the Science of Tennis
Simply put... this beautiful book is the best book on the technology of tennis and should be read by every MANUFACTURER of tennis gear, as well as those serious about increasing every aspect of their game! This is well written, beautifully designed and packed with information that any tennis player will enjoy and benefit from!

5-0 out of 5 stars Get the real scoop based on scientific facts
This is an excellent book that dismisses many myths regarding tennis equipment. The three coauthors include two physicists and one tennis pro. They are all avid tennis players. They also have incredibly investigative minds. The book consists of about 40 different articles covering many different technical subjects regarding stroke mechanics, ball bounce, racquets, and strings. All these articles represent serious investigation and research from a physicist standpoint. These articles stand on their own independently. As a result, you do not need to read them in sequential order. You also don't need to read them all to extract the information you care about. For my part, I skipped some of the articles on the physics of ball bounce, but was very interested on all the articles regarding strings and racquets properties. Depending on your own personal interest, you may read or focus on different sets of articles. Given the rather dry subject, the writing style of the authors make the information easy to digest.

Contrary to what players believe, racquets have very similar power. Strings, regardless of tension and type have also very similar power. But, different strings can feel very different based on their respective stiffness. Gut and high quality nylon strings feel soft because they are relatively flexible. Kevlar does not feel so good, because they are the stiffest strings.

According to the authors, the pros don't use any of the high-tech latest models, including oversize, and widebody frames. They use older models customized with lead tape to add swingweight. Oversize racquets are not maneuverable enough at their playing speed.

The authors state throughout the book that racquets that are stiff strung at low tension feel better. A stiff racquet vibrates less. Its vibrations have a faster frequency. The ball sits longer on low tension strings than the fast vibration of a stiff racquet. As a result, both string and frame vibrations are dampened by the longer impact time of the ball. Thus, the least amount of vibration occurs in stiff racquets strung at low tension.

The book has a whole lot more of interesting information about tennis than I share in the above paragraphs. If you love the game, and are somewhat of a quantitative type, you will love this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The truth about tennis rackets
Don't buy your next racket until you read this book. This book, by 2 physicists and a tennis specialist, sets forth what they have found scientifically about tennis rackets and technology. The book takes considerable concentration to mine the lessons learned for your game. But here are a few of the nuggets I found:
1) All rackets have essentially the same power!
2) Stiff rackets vibrate less and feel better.
3) Soft strings and lower tension feel better.
4) String tension has little effect on power.
5) No one knows how to measure "control".
6) Perimeter weighting drastically reduces shock.
7) Backspin groundstrokes are easier to hit than topspin, but have much less tolerance for error.
8) Stand inside the baseline when receiving a slow serve and bash it at the netman. He'll have no time to react.

On the downside, the authors should have done a much better job of summarizing the findings. The chapters are written in sort of a mystery fashion, where you have to wait until the end to get the lessons. The first book by Dr. Brody did a much better job of summarizing the findings for the general tennis player.

Finally, a book that helps you sort through tennis rackets! Unfortunately, the authors conclude that your skill and arm make the difference in how good you are. No racket will take you directly to Flushing Meadows. ... Read more


154. Sampling Techniques (Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics)
by William G.Cochran
list price: $107.95
our price: $107.95
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Asin: 047116240X
Catlog: Book (1977-07)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 199350
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Clearly demonstrates a wide range of sampling methods now in use by governments, in business, market and operations research, social science, medicine, public health, agriculture, and accounting. Gives proofs of all the theoretical results used in modern sampling practice. New topics in this edition include the approximate methods developed for the problem of attaching standard errors or confidence limits to nonlinear estimates made from the results of surveys with complex plans. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic and the bible of sampling techiques
As a marine ecologist and a person with a non-statistical background this book was hard going but is worth the effort 10 times over. I have been using this book for more than 10 years now and finally decided to buy a copy for myself. I would recommend this book to anyone that has to design sampling programs for field surveys in ecology. Beware however - it is not for the faint hearted or those who do not have a bent towards statistics or numerical analyses. ... Read more


155. When Things Start to Think
by Gershenfeld Neil
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
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Asin: 080505880X
Catlog: Book (2000-02-15)
Publisher: Owl Books
Sales Rank: 94352
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a book for people who want to know what the future is going to look like and for people who want to know how to create the future. Gershenfeld offers a glimpse at the brave new post-computerized world, where microchips work for us instead of against us. He argues that we waste the potential of the microchip when we confine it to a box on our desk: the real electronic revolution will come when computers have all but disappeared into the walls around us. Imagine a digital book that looks like a traditional book printed on paper and is pleasant to read in bed but has all the mutability of a screen display. How about a personal fabricator that can organize digitized atoms into anything you want, or a musical keyboard that can be woven into a denim jacket? Gershenfeld tells the story of his Things that Think group at MIT's Media Lab, the group of innovative scientists and researchers dedicated to integrating digital technology into the fabric of our lives.
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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Easy General Overall Read
When Things Start To Think
By Neil Gershenfeld

When Things Start To Think was a very interesting overview from the authors personal point of view on of what happens when technology meets the traditional social world that we live in. Much of it is derived from Gershenfields own knowledge as he explores the world of new technology. He admits to discussing thoughout the book about his ground breaking experience with Yo-yo Ma, and how much of his experience is derived around his years in the Media Lab. Emerging from these detailed stories, such as how marries music with technology, we start to understand that his efforts is a vision of a future that is much more "accessible, connected, expressive, and responsive."

Gershenfield touches on many various areas of technology from wearable computers, to The Big Blue chess playing super computer, to the future of money. He attempts to cover massive amounts of ground on this huge topic of progressive and intelligent technology that some might not consider this book a very in-depth read. However, I would consider it a wonderful overview for those who are interested about the development and evolution of unique technologies that have inspired us to dream about the future. These dreams help us to envision what possibilities can be done when science, curiosity, and desire to create collide.

I don't think that Gershenfield meant this book to be a scholarly one at all, but it was a more causal, easy, and fun read for all to enjoy on a low- tech level. Overall I thought it was a enlightening story on Gresherfield's experiences, and he does drive home the idea that as technology develops out of it's "adolescence" it's important to bring it closer to people so that it's less obtrusive and more useful.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bossy Refridgerators?
An excellent book for the layperson to understand where computing is headed and where the lines between life sciences and technology blur. Gershenfeld makes it easy to understand how our lives will be affected by the incredible advances we are making in all fields of science. This book belongs on the shelf right along side Kurzweil, Norman and Metcalfe. It will round out our comprehension of the future, both near and farther out on the horizon. I learned about PEM three-dimensional printers and how they will help us model our ideas. I learned about the all too easy use of buzzwords such as "fuzzy logic" to confuse the public into thinking something "new" is happening. I learned a great new definition for religion-"Beliefs about our existence that are not falsifiable have a central place in human experience-they're called religion." And I learned about a great place for students of all backgrounds to work together for fun and maybe even profit-the Media labs at MIT. And I found an answer to a question that has long been bothering me. "Marvin Minsky believes that the study of artificial intelligence failed to live up to its promise, not because of any lack of intelligence in the programs or the programmers, but because of the limited life experience of a computer that can't see, or hear, or move." Anyone with even a hint of questions about the future and what it might hold for us should pick up this book. It is marvelous reading, despite the weight of the subject matter!

4-0 out of 5 stars Do things have rights, too? Oh, Yeah!!!
Can you imagine books that can change into other books so all you need is one book or a pair of computerized shoes that communicates through your body network? "When Things Start to Think" is a book written by Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Media Lab at MIT that will let you get a head start for people who are interested in future technology development. The book gives a really good discussion on the digital evolution and answers three hard-to-answer questions: what are things that think, why should things think, and how will things that think be developed? Gershenfeld starts each chapter (idea) with a brief introduction and history background of the idea (technology). Then he discusses further into the development and current issues that are relatively close to the topic and maybe transforming it into a new concept with a little brainstorming.

Gershenfeld not only focuses on future technology development, but he also criticizes the perception that people have toward computers today. He suggests that people need attitude adjustment since the technology development is growing at an incredible rate. Digital money or smart money is an excellent example since everyone now does digital money transactions on-line. How do we adjust our attitude since we are rapidly changing from atom-money to bit-money? Gershenfeld has a very unique point of view. He also gives a fascinating opinion on why things should think, especially he proposes three rights for things: "have an identity, access other objects, and detect the nature of their environment" (Gershenfeld, 1999, p. 104).

"When Things Start to Think" is an easy-read book for people who not only looking for possible future technology development, but also are interested exploring the concepts and algorithms behind them. I found this book is very interesting and inspired me to explore further on the idea of "the personal fabricator" and the three rights for things. Some ideas he talks about in the book are very interesting, such as the wearable computer and the books that can change into other books. Some idea reminds me of another science fiction book "He, She and It." People might be excited and fascinated by these new ideas, but at the same time there is also one question we should ask ourselves: Are we ready? I would love to hear updated information of news experiments or ideas from Gershenfeld.

5-0 out of 5 stars A tour of the future....
When I first read the book, I was astonished at how intuitive everything was - well explained, well thought out, and extremely well written.

I still look at the newspaper on my coffee table and wait for the day that it can do the tricks that the author suggested! If you're into technology, and are even remotely involved with the internet, this book is for you...

And it will be for your children.

4-0 out of 5 stars Computers are for people...not the other way around.
The author of this book is clearly of the opinion that the "Digital Revolution" is more of what he calls a 'disinformation campaign'. His arguments are to the effect that computers and gadgets need to be responsive to human needs, this not being the case to this date. Computers should be a suit of clothes a person can wear (literally!!) and not a straightjacket, the author seems to say. We should expect more from computers, and the Digital Revolution should be for people, not computers.

The author is definitely correct in saying this, as computers are still difficult to use for most people. The author's book is an attempt to propose remedies for this state of affairs, and some of these are highly creative, making the book very interesting to read. Some of the more clever ideas include smart paper, wearable computers, and smart money. He also overviews more exotic notions of computation, such as DNA and quantum computation. These ideas and developments are all very exciting, and no doubt most of them will come about....and soon. ... Read more


156. Life by the Numbers
by KeithDevlin
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471328227
Catlog: Book (1999-03-17)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 48287
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From uncanny movie dinosaurs to the loopy physics of the triple axel, Keith Devlin's vibrantly illustrated book illuminates the mathematics inherent in every human endeavor.

"A beautiful book . . . the aim is not to teach but to entertain, and it succeeds. The view that mathematics is dull is replaced by an image of how math can be both interesting and useful, if not all-powerful."—New Scientist.

"A colorful and exciting introduction to the ways in which mathematics can help [us] to under-stand phenomena. [Devlin] presents fascinating real-world problems posed by real people and shows how mathematics is used to solve them."—Choice.

"Not in many, many years have I seen a book nearly as instructive and enlightening about the beauty of mathematics. Life by the Numbers is superb."—Amir Aczel, author of Fermat's Last Theorem.

"This wondrous book reveals how, on the brink of the millennium, wizards are using math to bring movie dinosaurs to life, to improve tennis stars' serves, to win sailboat races, and to probe the eeriest corners of the cosmos. A pleasurable read for adult and young alike."—Keay Davidson, coauthor of Wrinkles in Time.

"A fascinating account of many of the ways in which mathematical ideas find application in the world around us. Keith Devlin is to be congratulated for bringing these ideas so accessibly to the public."—Sir Roger Penrose, author of The Emperor's New Mind. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining
Life by the Numbers has a simple thesis to prove: that math is anywhere and everywhere; but instead of asserting the pervading ubiquity of mathematics whether you like it or not, the book convinces you that you *will* like it, period.

The book is richly illustrated and jargon-free, true to its promise on clarity and easy-of-reading especially for the non-professional readers. It is not so much of a wild speculation however to suggest that even a professional (specialist) mathematician will get a worthy entertainment reading this book, considering the wide spectrum of human interests where mathematics is unexpectedly to lurk that Devlin adventurously explores.

5-0 out of 5 stars An easily understood description of exciting mathematics
I recently purchased a videotape of the Star Wars™ movie, 'The Phantom Menace.' It is difficult to believe that a more convincing point of evidence for the power of applied mathematics will exist for some time. The scenes where the generated creatures are in motion have a degree of reality that is astounding. As Devlin spends a great deal of time explaining in this book, what you see is a complex series of numbers translated by a computer into pictures on a screen.
Other topics concerning image generation by computer involve the visualization of scientific data. People working in this area are often a combination of graphics artist and computer scientist. With such enormous amounts of data being collected, interpreting it and filtering out the points of interest has become a horrifically difficult task. The only way that it can be done is to find ways to filter the data as much as possible and then display it in a visual manner where the key points are easily discernible. No quote better describes the situation than that uttered by R. W. Hamming, 'The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.'
The physics of sports is also described in some detail. No matter how well trained their bodies are, athletes are still bound by the laws of physics, so at some point their training must incorporate these laws. A simple question such as whether to jump higher or spin faster when figure skating can determine the difference between a medal winning performance and simply watching it happen on television.
This book is a tour de force in how many applications there are for mathematics, with many that appeal to young people. An appreciation for the value of mathematics is the first step towards a desire to study it, and this book will no doubt spark the appreciation.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission. ... Read more


157. Finite Mathematics With Applications
by David E. Zitarelli
list price: $115.95
our price: $115.95
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Asin: 0030558646
Catlog: Book (1992-05-01)
Publisher: Saunders College Publishing
Sales Rank: 612762
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158. Microemulsion Systems (Surfactant Science Series)
by Henri L. Rosano
list price: $249.95
our price: $249.95
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Asin: 0824774396
Catlog: Book (1987-05-01)
Publisher: Marcel Dekker
Sales Rank: 643938
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159. Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissues
by Y. C. Fung
list price: $76.95
our price: $76.95
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Asin: 0387979476
Catlog: Book (1993-01-15)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Sales Rank: 134203
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This classic book is accepted internationally as the standard treatment of the mechanical properties of biological fluids, solids, tissues and organs. It is used widely as both a reference and textbook in this rapidly-growing field. Biomechanics presents a general outline of the discipline, with applications to bioengineering, physiology, medicine and surgery. The second edition reflects the broad advances that have been made in this field during the past decade, and adds numerous new topics. References have been brought up to date, and the widely-praised emphasis on formulating and solving problems has been strengthened with numerous new problems. This book begins with a unique historical introduction to the field of biomechanics, followed by a vital chapter which relates the definitions and vocabulary of applied mechanics to biological tissues. These tools are then used to treat in detail the mechanical properties of blood, including blood cells and vessels. The remaining chapters discuss the viscoelastic properties of biological fluids and solids, as well as the mechanics of muscle, bone and connective tissue. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece in Biomechanics!
What I would say is not a comprehensive review of what the great book talks, but just telling you a truth: if you have engineering and mathamatics background and wanna combine your background to do research in physiology, Fung's book is absolutely a must-buy. This book is profound, but it is actually rooted in nearly all fields of biomechanics research.
It is a conclusion for biomechanics research till 1980's; also this book is a truly great reference for all current researchers who are interested in biomedical research in point of view of a mathamatician and engineer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best
Fung takes a continuum mechanics approach to the principles that underly the human body. All of the ideas in the text are backed up with solid research and easy to understand equations, as well as text descriptions. Fung is also responsible for researching many of the ideas of biomechanics, and so, the text takes on a personal view not found in other books. All in all, the best book out there for introductory biomechanics, but one that you will use for the rest of your life. ... Read more


160. Environmental Chemistry: A Global Perspective
by Gary W. Vanloon, Stephen J. Duffy
list price: $54.95
our price: $54.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198564406
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 271933
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive text is intended to provide upper level undergraduate students with an investigation of heterogeneous natural systems in the environment. The links between and within the various environmental components -- air, water, soil -- are emphasized. There has been insufficient material of this type in existence that supplies both the depth of chemistry needed to explain natural processes and the breadth of material that would present a well rounded introduction to such systems. While the text focuses on basic knowledge and general principles, examples are taken from around the world.

This book describes the chemistry of natural environmental systems, their composition and the processes and reactions that operate within and between the various components. Without focusing specifically on pollution, we also discuss ways in which these systems respond to peturbations, either those that are natural or those that are caused by humans. Background material from subjects such as atmospheric science, limnology, and social science is provided in order to establish a setting for a description of relevant chemistry. Emphasis is on general principles that can be applied in a variety of circumstances. At the same time, these principles are illustrated with examples taken from around the world. Because issues of the environment related to every society, care has been taken to relate the subject material to situations in urban and rural areas in both highly industrialized and low-income countries. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally someone gets it right
I've been looking for this book. Other environmental chemistry textbooks cover too many topics: environmental analysis, ecotoxicology, and environmental engineering are common. This one gets it just right: the chemistry of the air, water and soil (including common pollutants) at the level of a undergraduate sophomore- or junior-level course. The text is challenging enough for chemistry majors but not too intimidating for the biology majors interested in the field.

My only quibbles: not much about environmental modeling of the chemical composition of important systems, still not quite advanced enough (but better than current general textbooks on the topic), and it's missing some important topics (groundwater attenuation, for example). Still, I'll be adopting this book for the course I teach. ... Read more


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