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$13.56 list($15.95)
141. Technical Rescue Riggers Guide
$45.00 list($62.50)
142. Living Bridges: The Inhabited
$24.61 $19.28 list($28.95)
143. Logs, Wind and Sun: Handcraft
$44.50 $17.45
144. Principles of Emergency Planning
$19.50 $9.74 list($27.00)
145. Mindstorms: Children, Computers,
$18.45 $11.90 list($27.95)
146. Fast Second : How Smart Companies
list($23.95)
147. Connections
$89.40 $67.00
148. Hazardous Materials: Strategies
$44.12 list($25.00)
149. Pencil, The : A History of Design
$23.10 $9.75 list($35.00)
150. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the
$155.00
151. Science and Civilisation in China:
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152. 101 Best Cover Letters
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153. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue
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154. The Botanist and the Vintner :
$153.00 $89.95
155. Engineering Mechanics: Statics
$29.95 $20.88
156. The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global
$9.60 $3.99 list($12.00)
157. One Good Turn: A Natural History
$499.95 $474.89
158. Computer Systems Validation: Quality
$10.17 $4.99 list($14.95)
159. The Soul Of A New Machine
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160. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under

141. Technical Rescue Riggers Guide
by Rick Lipke
list price: $15.95
our price: $13.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0966577701
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Conterra Inc
Sales Rank: 192360
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The new revised edition, Technical Rescue Riggers Guide by Rick Lipke, shows some of the most up to date techniques rope rescue available today. 126 pages, 296 clear illistrations and photos, from basic knots and anchors, to highlines, helo rescues, and much more! Completely cross referenced, with handy safety reminders throughout. Already on its third printing, this guide is rapidly becomming the defacto national standard for safe, intelligent rope rescue. A portion of the sale of this guide goes to support volunteer mountain rescue. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Technical Rescue Riggers Guide
One of the best, I highly recommend it as a quick refresher. The technology is excellent, and the illustrations clear. Lipke has distilled the material to the essence of what is needed to perform high end rescues.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but...
This is an excellant field refrence guide providing that you have completed a class in rope rescue. Also, the pages are made of paper instead of plastic, which is the norm for Fire / Rescue field guides. Since it is made with paper, it is rendered useless quite quickly in adverse conditions. All in all, only buy this book if you are competent enough to understand the instruction and responsible enough to put it to good use.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but a somewhat different technique than standard
The Technical Rescue Riggers Guide is a small, pocket sized wealth of information, similar to the CMC Rope Rescue Field Guide. Written by talented and proficient rescuers from the Pacicific Northwest, it advocates some somewhat non-standard (to the usual CMC / Rescue-3 / etc) school of thought, but has better descriptions of rigging highlines, etc than most field guides. Their recommendations for rope kits are probably the most complete (possibly overdone) I've ever seen, but their technique of color-coding webbing lengths certainly makes sense.

All in all a valuable addition to the rescuers library, and the techniques are worth considering by all rescue teams. All in all, ... Read more


142. Living Bridges: The Inhabited Bridge, Past, Present and Future
by Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain)
list price: $62.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3791317342
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Prestel Pub
Sales Rank: 596497
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143. Logs, Wind and Sun: Handcraft Your Own Log Home ... Then Power It with Nature
by Rex A. Ewing, LaVonne Ewing
list price: $28.95
our price: $24.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0965809838
Catlog: Book (2002-08-20)
Publisher: Johnson Books
Sales Rank: 35371
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable reading with a wealth of information
I have been reading everything I can find about log homes. Most of the books I have read are more like an information text book. Lots of facts but boring. Logs Wind and Sun gives you the facts and how to use them along with a very enjoyable story of the trials and tribulations the authors encountered building there own log home. This gives you a much better idea of what to expect building your own log home from scrath or from a kit. The detailed information on solar and wind energy is a real eye opener. It opened up a whole new possibility of finding what my wife and I want in a piece of land to build our retirement log home on. We thought that land with no power was out of the question. Now we know that is exactly what we want. With this book you have nearly all the information you need to build a self sufficient log home. If your dream is to have a log home in the mountains far from the "rat race", Logs Wind and Sun is a must have book. Live your dreams!

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, informative and easy to read!
When I started reading Logs Wind and Sun, I imagined I would skim the more detailed parts about construction since I don't plan to build a log home. I bought the book because I was interested in solar and wind generated electricity. But in the end, I read everything. Whenever I tried to skim, I soon came across something that caught my interest and, before I realized it, I was totally entranced with the story. The framed inserts break up the flow of the text and add little tid bits of information just when some variety is necessary. Rex's Maxims and LaVonne's Verities are a novel way of introducing light humor while at the same time making an important point. The illustrations were very concise, attractive and easily understandable. The photography was out of this world and the photos very appropriately located within the text. Every photo enhanced the message on the page where it was found. Logs Wind and Sun is clearly a product of team work, the story of a couple who, working together, accomplished their dream. I loved it, and also learned what I wanted to know about solar and wind power.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Log Home Wannabes
Logs, Wind and Sun is one of those rare books that is both packed with useful information and enjoyable to read. I only wish it had been available five years ago when my husband and I started drawing up plans for our own log home. We spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to get utilities to our remote mountain building site. This book clearly lays out alternative power solutions that can give you the freedom to live with all the modern conveniences you need miles from the nearest power pole. The authors personal experience provides the framework for the book, but they have obviously done their homework, and all their recommendations are backed up by copious facts. The book is generously sprinkled with photos and illustrations that de-mystify and explain and personal stories that entertain and inspire. LaVonne's Verities and Rex's Maxims give you personal insights and quips. And the writing is several notches above most other how-to books, offering emotional insights into the process of building your own home, as well as the more expected practical fare. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever dreamed about building a log home. ... Read more


144. Principles of Emergency Planning and Management
by David Alexander, Alexander
list price: $44.50
our price: $44.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195218388
Catlog: Book (2002-03-15)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 176055
Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As interest in planning for emergencies and disasters burgeons, and educational and training programs proliferate, Principles of emergency planning and management is the first book to meet the need for a concise yet comprehensive and systematic primer on how to prepare for a disaster. Providing readers with a comprehensive, systematic, yet concise introduction to effective preparation for disasters, it provides a unified starting point encompassing the scattered and parochial literature in this nascent field of academic enquiry and practical endeavor.The book provides a general introduction to the methods, procedures, protocols and strategies of emergency planning, with emphasis on situations in industrialized countries and the local level of organization (i.e. cities, municipalities, metropolitan areas and small regions), though with ample reference to national and international levels. Rather than concentrating on the practices of any one country or state, the author focuses on general principles. Principles of emergency planning and management is designed to be a reference source and manual from which emergency managers can extract ideas, suggestions and pro-forma methodologies to help them design and implement emergency plans. A comprehensive all-hazards approach is adopted, with frequent reference to the most important individual hazards and the planning and management needs that they create. Twelve examples of actual emergency planning and management problems are analyzed in detail.Principles of emergency planning and management is written especially for the new generation of emergency planners and managers that is emerging as a result of intensified governmental interest in disaster preparedness. Many of them will occupy positions in government or other organizations that require emergency plans. The book will also be of value to students of disasters and hazards who have a practical interest in how disasters are planned for and managed, and to professional workers and trainees who will eventually have to participate in disaster plans. Principles of emergency planning and management is designed to be easily integrated with training courses in emergency preparedness. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Get Out in the Field; Get an Editor
This text bears no relationship to the practice of disaster management. I am noticeably retarded for having read it. ... Read more


145. Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
by Seymour Papert
list price: $27.00
our price: $19.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465046746
Catlog: Book (1993-07-14)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 139303
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars EIGHT STARS -- A Breakthrough in Natural Learning
This is the best book I have ever read on how to assist people to learn for themselves. Papert began his work by collaborating with Jean Piaget, and then applied those perspectives in a self-programming language designed to help children learn math and physics.

Papert explains Piaget's work and provides case studies of how the programming language, LOGO, can help. He provides a wonderful contrasting explanation of the weaknesses of how math and physics are usually taught in schools.

I learned quite a few things from this that I did not know before. People are very good at developing theories about why things work the way they do. I knew that these theories are almost always wrong. What I did not realize is that if you give the person a way to test their theory, the person will keep devising new theories until they hit on one that works. What is usually missing in education is the means to allow that testing to occur.

An especially imaginative part of this book were the discussions of how to create theory testing solutions that are much simpler and easier to apply than any school problem you ever saw in these subjects. Papert works from a very fundamental and deep understanding of math and physics to reach the heart of the most useful thought processes for applying these subjects. It is thrilling to read about what you have known for many years, and to suddenly see it in a totally different and improved perspective.

Another benefit I got from this book were plenty of ideas for how to help my teenage daughter with her math. She is very verbal, and Papert points out that math seldom teaches a vocabulary for talking about math. As a result, she memorizes a lot and gets dissociated from the subject. I got a lot of ideas for how to encourage her to personalize the concepts and problems by moving her own body. From that I realized that I often solve the same kinds of problems by recalling physical situations I have been in. But I have failed to help her make that connection because I was unaware of it on a conscious level.

If you want to improve as a learner, help others learn better and faster, or simply want to understand more about different ways to think, this is a great book. I hope that all teachers get a chance to read and apply it.

Enjoy learning more!

4-0 out of 5 stars Mindstorms is mind-expanding
If you ever wondered why you didn't "get it" in a hated school subject, even though you seem to "get it" in other parts of your life, read this book. Pappert discusses learning, teaching and the liberating role that technology--if done right--can play in the classroom and out of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for teaching human learning, but weak for application
As other reviewers have pointed out, papert does a nice job of going through how humans learn and setting up the case that the current education system does not fit our learning process very well. However, this book does little to give teachers specific on how to properly use the computer in the classroom. LOGO, while a useful tool for learning, does not translate well to a classroom setting or for teaching the necessary curriculum.

5-0 out of 5 stars A true classic
It would be hard to find a better book than this. While Prof. Papert discusses the language Logo, which he invented, the book is about much more than a computer language. It is about how children (and adults as well) learn and about revolutionary ideas about teaching and the power of thinking. He discusses many real-life children he worked with, some with learning problems. He opens your mind to the proper use of computers in the education system. For example, if you wanted your child to really learn French, you couldn't do better than allow him to live in France for a while; similarly, if you want your child to learn math, why not let him live in 'Mathland' - an environment created in a computer where math can be explored in a fun way and yet must be learned in order to explore and prosper. Papert explains this and many more powerful ideas. This is a must read book for anyone interested in the learning process.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Important Book
This is one of the best books ever written. Not because it so well-written; on point of style it is good but not exceptional. What makes this book so important are the powerful ideas it deals with: meta-ideas, thinking about thinking. While other books (on religion, philosophy, psychology and computation) have dealt with such, few have done it as successfully or straightforwardly as Papert, and insanely few have done it via the topic of education. No more pertinent a topic exists, and it is because of this (not in spite of it) that the book is accessible.

Straightfoward is the key word. Papert tells it like it is. This book is one of the last products of an age where thinkers empowered the economy (rather than the other way around) -- the golden age of Bell Labs and the MIT LISPers, whose fruits carried the world through 2 decades of incredible economic developement, but whose ideals have been ignored.

The reader could dismiss the critic's Randian gripe, if he had anything else to read; this book is out of print. ... Read more


146. Fast Second : How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets
by Constantinos C.Markides, Paul A.Geroski
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787971545
Catlog: Book (2004-10-22)
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Sales Rank: 28191
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Book Description

Discover why being a "fast second" is often more financially rewarding than being at the cutting edge.

If you get there first, you'll lead the pack, right? Not necessarily! The skill-sets of most established companies, say strategy experts Constantinos Markides and Paul Geroski, are far better suited to scaling up newly created markets pioneered by others (in other words, being "fast seconds") than to creating these markets from scratch. In Fast Second, they explore the characteristics of new markets, describe the skills needed to create and compete in them, and show how these skills match up with different types of companies. Drawing on examples of successful fast-second firms such as Microsoft, Amazon, Canon, JVC, Heinz, and many others, they illustrate how to determine which new markets have the potential to be successful and how to move into them before the competition does, when to make a move into a new market, how to scale up a market, where to position a company in the market, and whether to be a colonizer or a consolidator.

Order your copy today! ... Read more


147. Connections
by James Burke
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316116726
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P)
Sales Rank: 99604
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

You can make all the plans you will, plot to make a fortune in the commodities market, speculate on developing trends: all will likely come to naught, for "however carefully you plan for the future, someone else's actions will inevitably modify the way your plans turn out." So writes the English scholar and documentary producer James Burke in his sparkling book Connections, a favorite of historically minded readers ever since its first publication in 1978. Taking a hint from Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man, Burke charts the course of technological innovation from ancient times to the present, but always with a subversive eye for things happening in spite of, and not because of, their inventors' intentions. Burke gives careful attention to the role of accident in human history. In his opening pages, for instance, he writes of the invention of uniform coinage, an invention that hinged on some unknown Anatolian prospector's discovering that a fleck of gold rubbed against a piece of schist--a "touchstone"--would leave a mark indicating its quality. Just so, we owe the invention of modern printing to Johann Gutenberg's training as a goldsmith, for his knowledge of the properties of metals enabled him to develop a press whose letterforms would not easily wear down. With Gutenberg's invention, Burke notes, came a massive revolution in the European economy, for, as he writes, "the easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens."Burke's book is a splendid and educational entertainment for our fast-changing time. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book
This book suffers from comparisons to Burke's PBS series by the same name probably because this is more of a sampler of his perspectives than a comprehensive treatment. Still, it is an absolutely fascinating look at the history of technology and how a break in the smallest link in the chain of technological development might preclude an invention from ever coming forth.

I enjoyed Burke's presentation style, written a bit like a mystery novel, giving us the pieces of the puzzle one at a time leading to the ultimate technology as we know it today. It leaves the reader guessing at each step as to what indispensable modern technology will result.

Burke postulates that major technological advancements are not the result of geniuses slaving away in laboratories, but instead the amalgamation of numerous small inventions, mostly created by average folks trying to adapt to everyday problems. While I accept that premise prior to the 19th century and perhaps in certain cases through to the 20th century, I believe that with few exceptions (like Gates invention of DOS for example), most major technological breakthroughs now result from concerted and organized R&D efforts that result from government grants and the corporate profit motive. The only difference today is that the geniuses are working in their den on a PC, and not in a lab. However, with the sophistication and innovativeness necessary to reach the next level in today's complex scientific fields, such breakthroughs are no longer the within the capabilities of the average person. Though one might point to the proliferation of dot com companies as support of Burke's position, I would argue that these are not average people, but rather the geniuses next door.

This is a book that makes one ponder the fabric of life and the importance of each individual strand. It is light reading with a heavy point and in that regard it is extraordinarily elegant. I rated it a 9/10. I highly recommend it to anyone with a curious mind.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to Technology History
If you've seen James Burke's TV program of the same name, or his
short-lived Scientific American column, you might be taken aback by the
relatively slower pacing of this book. I found that in the TV program
and the magazine column, Mr. Burke ricocheted from colorful personality
or idea to another, in a confusing, dazzling, and ultimately
entertaining way -- giving one the idea that the history of innovation
is that of one large web, but one doesn't get the larger cast of events.

However, in the book, he slows down and spends pages upon the
developemnt of infantry tactics and the effects of the use of guns in
battle in Medieval and Renaissance warfare. This book is simply a
history of technology, told in 9 separate, large arcs, coming full
circle from the tenuous and interconnected energy system that resulted
in the unexpected 1965 Northeast American Blackout -- which is used as a
metaphor for the development of technology as a whole.

More to the point, this book centers more on the overall social aspects
and developments of different societies; Mr. Burke is British, so one
sees how he comes back again and again to point out how England sprung
ahead or fell behind in certain developments, and why. He does mention
a few more flamboyant personalities in this history, but his thrust is
that techonological progress is more a function of being in the right
location at the right time, and combining the right concepts from those
who came before. As well, he focuses on how technological change
affects society: population and wealth fluctuations due to supply
bottlenecks, how fireplaces broke up the communal manor and inspired
courtly love traditions, how lack of social mobility stifled progress in
England and how cheap land in America meant the first factory works here
would be young women.

Sometimes Burke gets mired in the details of the way some of
technological innovations work (I can't quite follow some of the
explanations of how clockworks tick), but it gives one a wider
perspective on what was possible at what time. It's true that each
chapter works chronologically, but overall the arc of the book is not
chronological, but thematic. This is not a scholarly text. However,
this is a good introduction to the history of Western technology - its
connections and its impacts.

4-0 out of 5 stars A materialist view of history needs illustrations
The point of James Burke's Connections is that material inventions and environmental conditions (not ideas) are the driving force behind the way that societal interaction is structured. As such, Burke reopens the centuries-old Marx-Hegel debate about whether or not our world is structured by the ideas of prominent thinkers (ie: Martin Luther) or the invention of certain objects (ie: the deep plow) and other material conditions (ie: the Black Plauge).

While you may or may not agree with Burke, on all levels, he does a great job of supporting his central argument. From the claim that the first cities were formed as the result of the receding ice age to the idea that romance became viewed by society as a "private" thing with the invention of the fireplace, he is consistent in his thinking. And while, the gaping hole in his argument is his failure to acknowledge that it was the *ideas* of certain "gifted" persons (ie: Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers) to put available materials together in a useful way, he still reaffims my conviction that social relations are a function of the material world around us. Bottom line is that we don't structure our world as much as we like to think.

Sadly, I found the lack of illustrations in the abridged audio edition had the overall effect of weakening his argument to some degree. I'm really not big on illustrations in texts, but I think to thoughroughly appreciate James Burke's ideas, you have to "see them". For instance, it's very distracting to try to visualize "Volta's Electric Pile" in your head and keep track of what Burke is talking about. I suppose that's why the Mini-series and the book did so well. (5 stars for the now unavailable book, by the way)

On the other hand, I take strong exception to the reviewer who claims that Burke "...goes off on tangents..." in Connections. His attention to fine detail is much appreciated as both thoughtful commentary and, more importantly, substatiative evidence to his claims. Reviewers who do not see the value of such introspection perhaps lack the attention-span that is required to read (or listen to, as the case may be) Burke's treatise.

In sum, I deduct one star for the audio edition for its lack of illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening And Entertaining
This delightful book is what we all wish all our Science classes were like. Mr. Burke shows amazing correlations between events and inventions, from the button to the Bomb and back again.

The book starts out with the subtle events leading to a huge Northeast blackout. We observe how technology is a double-edged sword which first frees us, then ultimately makes us entirely dependent on our own conveniences.

Many everyday expressions and ideas such as "lime light" are traced to their anachronist origins. Lots of fun!

4-0 out of 5 stars Overstates Remote Connections
I have to say that I like the premise behind the book: seemingly random events leading up to a coherent pattern of invention and innovation. I also appreciate all the implications this has for long-term conscious planning by governments and individuals. However, I think that Burke understates the role of great geniuses in scientific and technological history. Not everything we have is primarily due to remote connections. I think that "The Day the Universe Changed" is a better written and more interesting book. This one, however, is also worth reading.

The first part of the book about interconnectedness and mutual dependence for survival in the modern industrial society should be required reading for all types of back-to-nature, anti-technology, sustainable-development eco feminists. It shows that we are not at liberty to simply adopt a Rousseau-esque, crab-like movement back into "natural," pre-industrial world. So for this reason alone, the book is worth the price you pay for it. ... Read more


148. Hazardous Materials: Strategies and Tactics
by David M. Lesak
list price: $89.40
our price: $89.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0835952096
Catlog: Book (1998-06-02)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 779133
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Book Description

Provides a systematic approach to operational decision-making, as well as a basic strategic and tactical system for dealing with hazardous materials emergencies.Based on the author's seven-step GEDAPER Process that is used by the National Fire Academy as its model hazmat decision-making process. Provides a comprehensive overview of the Hazardous Materials Standard of Care, federal laws, regulations, standards, and guidance.Student and professional fire fighters, police, EMS providers, emergency managers, safety managers, or anyone who performs emergency response to hazmat incidents. ... Read more


149. Pencil, The : A History of Design and Circumstance
by HENRY PETROSKI
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394574222
Catlog: Book (1990-01-14)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 521109
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Like most other human artifacts, the common pencil, made and sold today by the millions, has a long and complex history. Henry Petroski, who combines a talent for fine writing with a deep knowledge of engineering and technological history, examines the story of the pencil, considering it not only as a thing in itself, but also as an exemplar of all things that are designed and manufactured.

Petroski ranges widely in time, discussing the writing technologies of antiquity. But his story really begins in the early modern period, when, in 1565, a Swiss naturalist first described the properties of the mineral that became known as graphite. Petroski traces the evolution of the pencil through the Industrial Revolution, when machine manufacture replaced earlier handwork. Along the way, he looks at some of pencil making's great innovators--including Henry David Thoreau, the famed writer, who worked in his father's pencil factory, inventing techniques for grinding graphite and experimenting with blends of lead, clay, and other ingredients to yield pencils of varying hardness and darkness. Petroski closes with a look at how pencils are made today--a still-imperfect technology that may yet evolve with new advances in materials and design. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pencils, pencils, pencils
What can you say? They're a very interesting subject. There are some frankly odd people who don't tend to agree with me but they need to get a life! Pencils are great and the subject of pencils is vast and multi-faceted. You can write with them and.....well, you can only write with them admittedly but if you, like me, find that one aspect of a very boring inaminate object to be fascinating then buy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The complex relationships of a simple object
This book takes somthing I always considered simple and took for granted, and shows how it interrelates. Who knew, for example, that WWII lend-lease included pencils?The complete desolation of the red cedar population should be a lesson in the preservation of renewable resources, but probably won't be.

I would most highly recommend this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars a vv heavy read...
The Pencil is jam packed with technical and historical development of the humble pencil.... which is good and reflects extremely good research... however it is not a light read.... that's why i'm giving it 3 stars.... i was practically dragging myself to read the book.... it became a daunting task... i'll give it another go sometime... overall... its an ok book.... i'd recommend borrowing it or purchasing it at a bargain price....

2-0 out of 5 stars actually kind of dull
Despite my background as an engineer I found this book rather dull and tough to finish.There are some things that I guess I didn't need to know about pencils.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
Although the subject is pencil and pencil making, this bookreads really well and easily. A great book! ... Read more


150. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon
by Wally Schirra, Von Hardesty, David Reynolds
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
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.
... Read more

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


151. Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology, Part 3, Agro-Industries and Forestry (Science and Civilisation in China)
by Christian Daniels, Nicholas K. Menzies
list price: $155.00
our price: $155.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521419999
Catlog: Book (1996-06-20)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 487495
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Book Description

Volume VI Part 3 of Science and Civilisation in China contains two separate works. The first, by Christian Daniels, is a comprehensive history of Chinese sugarcane technology from ancient times to the early twentieth century. Dr. Daniels includes an account of the contribution of Chinese techniques and machinery to the development of world sugar technology in the premodern period, devoting special attention to the transfer of this technology to the countries of Southeast and East Asia in the period after the sixteenth century. The second, by Nicholas K. Menzies, is a history of forestry in China. Dr. Menzies identifies a tradition of forest management that can be traced to the earliest Chinese written records, and describes methods of silviculture, and the major timber species used in Chinese forestry. A final section compares China's history of deforestation with the cases of Europe and Japan. Each of these works will interest scholars of Chinese science, culture, and ancient agriculture as well as historians of science. ... Read more


152. 101 Best Cover Letters
by Jay A. Block, MichaelBetrus
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071342575
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 26770
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beat out the competition for the best jobs

Create an image of accomplishment, professionalism, and competence that today’s employers are begging for! Job-seekers have paid hundreds of dollars for the expertise in these dynamic guides — and regarded every cent as well spent! With these job-landing tools on your desktop, you’ll have the same savvy working for you, for far, far less — with the same great results.

101 Best Resumes packs tried-and-proven advice you’ll use to:
*Create a resume that gets you in the door
*Target your resume for a specific positions - over 70 different categories are covered
*Experiment with traditional and new formats
*More!

101 Best Cover Letters shows you how to put together compelling letters to accompany your resume. Learn how to:
*Ignite interest with the first two sentences
*Turn references into endorsements
*Send your cover letter online
*Pick up smart interviewing tips...negotiate a higher salary use the Internet in your job search...work with recruiters... and much, much more! ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars GREAT Book, BUT NOT in Digital Format
Great examples of cover letters with explanation of what makes them great, but I only know this because I bought the printed version after not being able to read the examples AT ALL in the downloaded digital version. I even tried reading on a 19" high resolution monitor using the PC version of Microsoft Reader, .

The problem is that even though Microsoft Reader allows one to change the fonts of the print to suit the reader, scanned images like ALL the cover letter examples are not scalable, so it is impossible to distinguish an e from an o, l from an i, and so on.

Amazon should not sell books with graphics and fixed images in digital format, or at least should warn customers of the issue before they pay to download a book in digital format that has over 70% in unscalable, unreadable format.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT FOR THE NEWBIES or EXPERTS OUT THERE!
This book was a great investment! The cover letters give you examples to use in your own letter and show you the strengths found in each cover. I actually took a highlighter to this book and highlighted my favorite lines and ideas out of certain letters. I then implemented them into my letter. Great for everyone, the professional or the inexperienced. YOU NEED THIS BOOK!

2-0 out of 5 stars I was very disappointed with this purchase.
I was very disappointed with this purchase. The only subject the letters cover is for use in getting a job. If I had known that it was strictly targeting getting a job I would have never purchased this. I was looking for a book that had a variety of letters you would find useful in the business world, not getting a job.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best on the market
This is the best book of its kind on the market. It's letters were varied and covered more topics than I needed, but will use in the future. Definitely worth the [money]!

4-0 out of 5 stars the best letter which is ever readed?
ya this is good book and i can tell that everyone should read this ... Read more


153. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
by Gary Kinder
list price: $27.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871134640
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr
Sales Rank: 93532
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The facts speak for themselves. In 1857, the Central America, a sidewheel steamer ferrying passengers fresh from the gold rush of California to New York and laden with 21 tons of California gold, encountered a severe storm off the Carolina coast and sank, carrying more than 400 passengers and all her cargo down with her. She then sat for 132 years, 200 miles offshore and almost two miles below the ocean's surface--a depth at which she was assumed to be unrecoverable--until 1989, when a deep-water research vessel sailed into the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, fat with salvaged gold coins and bullion estimated to be worth one billion dollars.

Author Gary Kinder wisely lets the story of the Columbus-America Discovery Group, led by maverick scientist and entrepreneur Tommy Thompson, unfold without hyperbole. Kinder interweaves the tale of the Central America and her passengers and crew with Thompson's own story of growing up landlocked in Ohio, an irrepressible tinkerer and explorer even in his childhood days, and his progress to adulthood as a young man who always had "7 to 14" projects on the table or spinning in his head at any given moment. One of those projects would become the preposterous recovery of the stricken steamer, and the resourcefulness and later urgency with which the project would proceed is contrasted poignantly with the Central America's doomed battle in 1857 to stay afloat.

Thompson, who spent nearly a decade planning and organizing his recovery effort, emerges as one of the great unsung adventurers of these times (the technical innovations alone required for such a task produced a windfall for the scientific community and defined a new state of the art for deep-sea explorers and treasure hunters), and the story of the steamer's sinking is compelling enough to make any reader wonder why the Central America sinking isn't synonymous with shipwreck in this Titanic-happy age. --Tjames Madison ... Read more

Reviews (170)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Read in Every Respect
"Ship of Gold" is a wonderful read. What I most appreciated was its approach to adventure and science on the same intense level. This is a book that will inspire you- not to go searching for sunken treasure, but to set your mind on a goal and do whatever it takes to reach it. Tommy Thompson had to ask himself a huge question. How can a 150 year old ship of gold be found in 8,000 feet of water, and how can its treasure possibly be salvaged safely and effectivly from that depth? The answer lies in robotics and engineering. Thompson, a trained engineer, had to pull together a team of dedicated workers and invent the technology no one had sucsessfully been able to make before. Throw in a rival treasure hunting team following them at sea looking for the same wreck, and you have a story of unparalelled adventure and wonder, every bit as exciting and page-turning as it is informative and facsinating. On top of that, Kinder has a written a fantastic account of the ships final days and moments, which he splits up and weaves in between chapters on Thompson and his growing ideas for finding the wreck. The paralel stories grow together as the book progresses, placing us inside Thompsons head to understand his desire and iron will for finding the Ship of Gold. This is a book that should not be missed- please do yourself a favor and read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars You will surprise yourself with how much you enjoy this!
I don't know which is more fascinating, the story of the steamship Central America sinking amid a violent storm; or the story of the engineer extraordinaire who resolved to recover it's California gold rush cargo that had remained undisturbed for almost 125 years under two miles of ocean. Fortunately, Gary Kinder chose to tell both tales and they are equally engrossing

Almost by definition, disasters at sea make for interesting reading, and the foundering of the Central America ranks among the worst maritime losses in American history. She went down in water over 10,000 feet deep, lost for over a century. Kinder relates her final voyage, illuminating the heroism of her captain, crew and passengers in a style that nearly makes the reader weep as her decks vanish into the sea. That alone would make this book worthy of note in any list of ship histories, but Tommy Thompson determined to find the wreck and to recover a treasure that many experts considered to be unrecoverable.

It takes a talented writer to make an engineer seem interesting, or maybe the engineer just has to combine an almost Edison-like gift for innovation with a bit of treasure hunter to be interesting. First you have to find the ship, then you have to figure out how to bring it's cargo back to the surface - no mean feat at those depths. But Thompson wasn't content with simply finding and recovering the gold bullion and coins that went down with the Central America, he wanted to bring the artifacts up as cleanly and completely as possible. Where others might have been content to just sink a robot-controlled bucket down to the wreck and scoop up what ever could be found, Thompson and his crew invented new technologies that brought coins up with so little damage that appraisers at first questioned whether they were from a shipwreck. Thompson and company face one challenge after another, engineering problems, technologic problems, financial problems and even the drama provided by rival treasure hunters. You might be surprised how difficult it can be to put this book down.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great story, excellent writing, and NO PHOTOS!
If ever there was a book that cried out for photos, this one is it and yet no photos. I know there is now another book providing the photographic record, but they should have been in this volume. This is a huge and glaring mistake and only the skilled writer saved the book from disaster when the enginering must be verbally explained.

I felt a number of minor characters in the story of the ship wreck could have been cut without any great loss to the central story which tends to bog down in detail about the disaster. The detail is needed in the recovery phase but not is telling the history and some drama was lost because of it.

Over all a compelling read and well worth the time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book but No Pictures
I picked up a copy of this book new from the bargain rack in a local store, not really knowing what to expect.

Kinder writes very well, explaining clearly any number of historical circumstances, as well as modern engineering and conceptual activities. The ship's history, and that of its passengers and captain make especially compelling reading. The team and the work that went into financing, searching for, discovering, documenting, and recovering items from the wreck may serve as a blueprint for someone interested in starting up any sort of business enterprise - Kinder's writing reveals principles of entrepreneurship as they actually functioned in the Columbus-America project.

For me, the downside was the lack of historical photos and images from the search/wreck/recovery-process. Nevertheless, I think this is a book I will keep and probably reread.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read Book for Every Engineer or Engineering Student
The title sounds weird but I really mean it. As a educator of pre-engineering students at a local two-year college I can think of no better book to introduce a student to what a truly gifted engineer does. If you have a friend, child, collegue, whatever who has a bit of engineer in them, get them this book and have them read it. If you are an engineer or love to tinker on old cars, planes, trains, etc. you won't be able to put this down.

The disaster and man vs. nature storyline is enough to hook anyone but for those with a technical or mechanical bent, the descriptions of the problems encountered and surmounted in recovering the gold take the book beyond almost every other recent work in the genre. ... Read more


154. The Botanist and the Vintner : How Wine Was Saved for the World
by Christy Campbell
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156512460X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-25)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Sales Rank: 30831
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the mid-1860s, after countless centuries of bearing the fruit that would become wine, French grapevines began to wither and die in ever increasing numbers and no one knew why. It started in southeastern France, in the Rhone Valley, as Christy Campbell tells the tale in his masterful The Botanist and the Vintner. Within 30 years the inexorable rolling disaster that was the phylloxera infestation had reached into every nook and cranny of France's wine making regions, destroying nearly all. Everywhere the wine grape grew--England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Eastern Europe, and even Australia--phylloxera appeared and took no prisoners. Except for American grape vines. The little bug didn't seem to have much taste for the skunky wines of native American grapes.

Christy Campbell, British journalist and, if The Botanist and the Vintner is any example, master storyteller, waltzes the reader into the middle of a fascinating tale of discovery and combat and never stops dancing. The book reads like a detective novel, a page-turner you can't put down. And it's about a bug, phylloxera, a root-sucking aphid that absolutely wiped clean the grand vineyards of France and thrived in defiance of both peasant remedy and all that "modern" science could bring to bear.

The modern science of the time, mind you, included debating Darwin's new theory of evolution. So it's really at the beginning of discovery and scientific technique. Despite a French government prize of 300,000 gold francs for a remedy, it took 30 years and more to pinpoint the reason for the vineyard die-off, and a practical way of defeating the organism. Grafting onto American rootstock – a rootstock that was the initial cause of the disaster – won the day though not the reward.

Campbell both begins and ends his tale in California's Napa Valley, where phylloxera once again raised its nasty little head toward the end of the 20th century, about 100 years after the struggle in France. It cost millions of dollars to bring the bug to bear. But this time part of the solution turned in a transgenic direction which is, of course, a threat with a completely different vintage. --Schuyler Ingle ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Victory Over the Aphids
Legendary French wines were almost wiped out when the vines that produced their grapes withered in the nineteenth century.The problem was one that has become familiar; our capacity to ship species from one continent to another has meant that we can have much more variety in our plants and animals, but it also endangers the homebodies that have to meet the newcomers.In _The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World_ (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), Christy Campbell writes that in the 1840s, trade in grape vines proceeded with "no barriers, no inspectorate, no concept of biological quarantine."The result was that tiny aphids with an extraordinary life cycle made their entry from America into France, and found the sap of the French grape vines exactly to their liking.Campbell has told the story of this disaster much like a mystery, and indeed, the vintners who saw their vines rapidly wither had no idea what was happening.A voracious caterpillar had threatened their plants two decades before, and a fungus had come shortly afterwards, but no one had seen a pattern of vine death like this one, with the leaves rapidly drying and curling up.There were only guesses about what was going on; too much rain, smoke in the air or iron in the soil from locomotives, and even emanations from telegraph lines were held to be responsible.Perhaps it was as simple as soil erosion or bad weather.No one knew.

The problem was an aphid usually called phylloxera.It took a long time to finger this particular culprit for many reasons, among which was that the tiny insect was not found on the dead vines.The simple explanation was that the aphids sucked all the sap they could out of the roots of the plant, and with nothing further to eat, moved on.Eventually, entomologists worked out the confusing life cycle of the aphid, which included several different forms of adults, some laying eggs on leaves, some laying eggs on the roots, and others having flying sexual forms.The aphids had been brought to France from America.The aphids and the American vines had long ago drawn a truce; aphids still infested the plants, but the plant developed mechanisms to keep alive through the assault, and the aphids settled in to feeding steadily off the living rather than killing the plants outright.The French vines had no such protection, so the aphids sucked them dry and moved on.Before finding an elegant solution to the problem, vintners simply had to pull up the dead vines and start growing something else, but that did not keep them from trying fanciful remedies, especially when the government offered a reward.Some proposed setting vials of holy water from Lourdes among the withering vines.Putting potatoes or frogs into the soil to draw away the poison had equal effect.Snail slime was championed, as were marching bands and a "beating wheelbarrow."Insecticides were useless.The problem had come from America, and the solution was from America as well.The solution was to use the root stocks of the American vines (vines which bore grapes the French considered vastly inferior), but to graft upon them the French vines which had been cultivated for centuries.

Campbell has told an enthralling story of science at work.It is a true success story, but attempts to controlnature seldom result in total or permanent success.The final section of his book reveals that outbreaks continue to occur and that the insects can develop new strains to which the old solution does not apply.Perhaps the rootstocks can be immunized.Perhaps, in these days of genetic modification, the genes from American vines that co-evolved with the phylloxera could be somehow inserted into the French varieties.GM wines are probably inevitable.The wine world used its wits to battle one pest successfully a century ago, but there will be others, and the story is not all told yet.
... Read more


155. Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics (3rd Edition)
by Anthony Bedford, Wallace T. Fowler
list price: $153.00
our price: $153.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0130324736
Catlog: Book (2001-12-20)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 621404
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book presents the foundations and applications of statics by emphasizing the importance of visual analysis of topics—especially through the use of free body diagrams. It also promotes a problem-solving approach to solving examples through its strategy, solution, and discussion format. The authors further include design and computational examples that help integrate these ABET 2000 requirements.Features strong coverage of FBDs and free-body and kinetic diagrams. Chapter topics include: Vectors; Forces; Systems of Forces and Moments; Objects in Equilibrium; Structures In Equilibrium; Centroids and Centers of Mass; Moments of Inertia; Friction; Internal Forces and Moments; Virtual Work and Potential Energy; Motion of a Point; Force, Mass, and Acceleration; Energy Methods; Momentum Methods; Planar Kinematics of Rigid Bodies; Planar Dynamics of Rigid Bodies; Energy and Momentum in Rigid Body Dynamics; Three-Dimensional Kinematics and Dynamics of Rigid Bodies; Vibration.For professionals in mechanical, civil, aeronautical, or engineering mechanics fields. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not great
Not a bad text. It is well-written and clear, but lacks depth. Slightly oversimplified. There is not a sufficient variety of problems. I taught from this text and found that I had to supplement it with my own information. ... Read more


156. The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrophe
by Colin Mason
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1844070182
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Earthscan Publications
Sales Rank: 218304
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Book Description

* The disturbing disclosure of six "drivers" - depleting fuel supplies, population growth, poverty, climate change, famine and water shortages - that will converge in a catastrophic "spike" in the decade of 2030

* Reveals how the world is poised to plunge into a new Dark Age - unless we act now

* Reassuringly presents a prioritized action plan to avoid the coming crisis and build a bright future

The 2030 decade will see six "drivers" converge with unprecedented force in a statistical "spike" on the graph paper of life. Depleted fuel supplies, rampant population growth, poverty, climate change, famine and water shortages are all on a crash course that could plunge the world into a global dark age.

Mason cuts through the rhetoric, reams of often conflicting information and doom saying to illustrate a broad picture of the world as it is and the courses of action that we need to take now to avoid catastrophe. With over 100 priorities for immediate action to prevent crisis in the future, this book presents a way forward to a bright and prosperous future for all people. ... Read more


157. One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw
by Witold Rybczynski
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684867303
Catlog: Book (2001-09-11)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 54277
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Best Tool of the Millennium

The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." An award-winning author who once built a house using only hand tools, Rybczynski has intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- which serves him beautifully on his quest.

One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry. Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Screw Up Your Courage and Dive into Screwdrivers!
Although I had no interest in screwdrivers and screws when I started this book, the text provided a pleasant reading experience and I learned more than I thought I would. All in all, it was well worth the time spent. I think you will feel that way too, unless you have no interest at all in mechanical devices and the process of innovation. My favorite parts related to the innovations.

This book is composed of equal parts (1) why the author chose the screwdriver as the tool of the millennium for his article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (2) where you have to go to find out about screwdrivers from the past (3) how he developed the information for this history of the screwdriver and screws and (4) the geniuses who developed the key advances in the technology of these useful devices. The style is a bit rambling, much like what would happen if you were chatting about the subject over a barbecue in the back yard with plenty of time on your hands. I can assure you this must be the most complete and authoritative book about screwdrivers and screws ever, especially since the author points out the virtual absence of any prior material turning up in his research.

Let me summarize the key areas. He picked the screwdriver as the tool of the millennium not because he thought of it, but because his wife told him that it was the one tool that she always kept around. After having gone through his own tool kit, he had not even thought of the screwdriver.

The first place where much shows up on the screwdriver in older texts is Diderot's Encyclopedia. In those days screwdrivers were called turnscrews.

To get a flavor of the screwdriver in the middle ages, when it seems to have appeared, you have to look into armor and early guns.

The screw goes back much further, showing up in useful form for Archimedes in Greek times as a way to raise water.

Screws later played many other important roles, especially in presses (including, of course, printing presses).

Lathes turned out (pun intended) to be an important related technology for making screws precise and consistent.

I learned about some interesting related technologies, including Greek mechanical devices with gears for calculating the orbits of heavenly bodies.

Then, we finally get down to gears and the development of improved lathes and the Robertson and Phillips screw heads. He prefers the Robertson (which I had never heard of before) which uses a socket top to screw in and remove screws.

At the end is a nice set of illustrations along with a glossary of tools.

This book is probably going to be a classic Father's Day gift for decades, along with a Robertson screwdriver, socket set, and screws.

Overcome your misconception that you know all you need to know about screwdrivers. You'll be pleasantly surprised by this gentle and unassuming book.

When you are done, pick something else you think you probably know enough about and search around to find a good book on that topic as well to expand your own knowledge further. Keep doing that, and some wonderful learning awaits you!

Donald Mitchell (donmitch@irresistibleforces.com)

3-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Magazine Article
This little book illustrates one way to turn a magazine article into a book: write about the writing as much as about the subject. And so the author tells us how he came to the idea of an article about screws and screwdrivers; he tells us about the libraries he went to to research it, the books he read, and their authors lives; he describes the museums he visited and the displays he saw there; and he describes the stream of consciousness that led him along the way. The result is a non-chronological treatment that can be a bit confusing; and although structured as a detective story, using hints from obscure books and museums to trace a path steadily farther back into history, the materials in the last chapter -- on the use of screw devices in the ancient world -- are actually the most commonly known and available. But the story is pleasantly told and along the way we do learn what there apparently is to know about the history of the screw and screwdriver.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Little Book
Just read the professional reviews; this is an absolutely pleasant little book. It is small, and only 145 pages of main text; the rest is illustrations, notes & sources, and is not an in-depth treatise on any specific person, place or instrument. However, I believe it is well researched and if you seek further information there are plenty of sources to follow up on. The writing is excellent, conversational and engaging, scholarly, clear, direct and not intimidating or off-putting. The author starts out with a conversation on why and how he started looking into the history of the screwdriver. Through the chapters he branches into the screw, the auger, and predecessors through history. The talks quickly about who invented what, what we know from original publications, the scientific or engineering implications of the inventors and their inventions. All very quick, but with lots of sources of you desire further reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars I'm turning into a crotchety old man before your eyes ...
This is a fun little book, although the author has written better.

My review is on the price though. I buy everything that Witold Rybczynski writes although this one gave me pause. Twenty dollars for a 130 paperback--with small pages at that?

I am a fan of the handsomely published essays like Hitchen's Kissinger, Klein's Fences and Windows, and Amis' Koba. They need to have a market, but I'm not sure that this new pricing approach is good for long-term readership.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting stuff, but a bit dry and disorganized.
Seems more like a rambling diary of the author's quest to research a piece he did for the NY Times Millenium Issue. The history and connections are quite interesting, but it seems his notes needed a lot more editing.

For example, the division of material into chapters seems very arbitrary and not particularly helpful. The narrative is choppy in many parts. One is not sure where he is going with his assorted findings of references to screws through the ages. He jumps around, back and forth, delving in the 1700's, then the middle ages, then the 1800's, then Roman times, then to the 1500's...it's quite confusing to follow the thread, if there is one. I don't think the author took the time to reflect on all he had found and tell a clear story of it. Rather he revels (understandbly) in the fun and frustrations of researching the material.

Also, his assertion that the inventor of the screw was clearly a mathematical genuis is not very convincing. Yes, the helix is elegant. But the screw itself is an ancient invention that was clearly an interative development. Just because some mathematicians like Hero describe in those terms doesn't mean he invented it.

Another aspect is that the illustrations are a bit stingy and could have been better placed throughout the book. It would have made the material easier to follow. And how about a timeline chart? That would surely have helped!

The bottom line is that there are parts of the book that I found interesting, and other I found frustrating. A mixed review is the best I can offer. Your level of curiosity will determine how desirable a read it is. ... Read more


158. Computer Systems Validation: Quality Assurance, Risk Management, and Regulatory Compliance for Pharmaceutical and Healt
by Guy Wingate
list price: $499.95
our price: $499.95
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Asin: 0849318718
Catlog: Book (2003-12-18)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 463970
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Book Description

Both pervasive and ubiquitous, computerized systems are now an integral component of every corporate strategy in pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. However, when technology is combined with high-risk public safety projects or the production and control of life-saving medicines or devices, it is necessary to ensure that it is reliable, quality assured, and validated. The most comprehensive guide on computer validation currently available, containing more than 200 illustrations and more than 100 tables, Computer Systems Validation helps you see the big picture.The author reviews regulations and their development, organization responsibilities, validation life cycle based on GAMP4 Guide, strategic approaches to validation, electronic records and signatures, handling regulatory inspections, metrics, and opportunities for performance improvement. He presents practical examples and checklists throughout the book and explores the role of quality assurance and risk management as key components of pragmatic regulatory compliance. Covering methods that help you avoid duplicating effort among departments and business functions, the book demonstrates how you can use your investment in technology to improve business efficiency and gain the competitive edge. ... Read more


159. The Soul Of A New Machine
by Tracy Kidder
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0316491977
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 26205
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tracy Kidder's Pulitzer Prize winning phenomenon! From the bestselling author of House and Among Schoolchildren comes the astonishing true story of the "Hardy Boys" and "Microkids" of Data General Corporation--dedicated technological wizards who envisioned the impossible...then battled time, corporate intrigue and the odds to bring their dream to breathtaking lilfe. A momentous achievement, The Soul Of A New Machine is the epic an unforgettable human adventure--an enthralling celebration of the eternal spirit of American invention.


... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marriage of Equity and Technology
This book, this first best-known book to emerge from Kidder's credible and entertaining non-fiction oeuvre, chronicles the efforts of a group of computer enthusiasts to develop and then gain stake in the then-young (1980) industry. But this book is more than a mere study of technology and its seemingly pervasive sphere of influence. The books speaks to the inherent nature of equity and the just rewards when coupled with good intentions of individuals from where all ideas (great and otherwise) emerge. This book is a judicious and lasting gift to those who know and realize the more positive efforts arising from work in technological field. Highly recommend

5-0 out of 5 stars Kidder adds warmth to any topic
I had just finished reading Kidder's "Hometown" about Northampton, MA (a former home of mine), when I decided to read "The Soul of a New Machine". While "Hometown" clearly shows Kidder's maturity as a writer, "The Soul of a New Machine", written roughly 15 years before, demonstrates Kidder's characteristic warmth and eye for detail. "The Soul of a New Machine" is a wonderful book and an archaeological gem for computer history enthusiasts.

I found this book to be riveting (I finished it in a day and a half), and though I am not qualified to comment on the accuracy of Kidder's use of ECE terminology, it most certainly passed my limited geek muster. Kidder presents complex technical information adroitly, creating analogies understandable to the lay person. At the end of the book, I emerged feeling as if I personally knew the characters, and I found myself rooting for the success of the Eclipse Group. Overall, I loved this book. A hacker classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars We Don't do it for the Money
Soul of a New Machine is an excellent portrayal of a heroic team of young engineers. What defined the book for me was the sort of mad, beautiful work ethic that the team in the story had. This is the best way I can describe it:

When you're young and you get interested in something, you get _passionate_ about it. Maybe it's because you don't know the importance of money and responsibility yet, but you really get into a sport, or hobby, or any other interest, and you do that hobby or play that sport, you write stories or fix cars, making whatever sacrifices you need to just so you can do this thing you love, not because you want to make money at it, or gain respect or admiration, but because it gives you priceless rewards and satisfaction. And it's a purest love you can have. When you grow up, you get disillusioned, from paying bills and other responsibilities. You lose the spark. You start doubting your interest in what you used to love, be it the mechanic who used to love cars but has grown jaded, or the teacher on a low income who has to deal with unruly students and demanding parents.

The Soul of a New Machine is a throwback to that youthful perhaps almost a bit naive passion. It's about the antithesis of the 9-5, where if the pay is horrible, you couldn't care less, you still work overtime. This pure struggle, the essence of a profession, is what makes the book so great. It's the most archetypal element of a career or profession, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that only something you put your soul and your sweat and blood into, can give you. In that basement in Data General, this beautiful dream became real in the form of the Eagle minicomputer. If you've felt the kind of spark that drove those young men before, this book will remind you. And if you haven't, maybe this book will kindle a new passion in what you do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Machines make us human
Tracy Kidder is one of those people who can write comfortably about a variety of subjects. Whether it is school children or nursing home residents or, in this case, modern engineers and creators, he manages to give us a glimpse of their essence. He manages to delve and reveal their very soul.

I read this book some time ago and marvelled at how it remained in my thoughts for some time afterward. The hopes, the dreams, the interaction, the sheer act of pure thought - these are all captured in brilliant prose right before our eyes. And in spite of all the problems, barriers, egos and behind-the-door dealings, we see a corporate project progress and understand (finally) that all such endeavors are, in the end, human ones.

Men and women stretching the bounds of technology is what has always defined our race. We are the technological animal, the creature that uses other materials to enhance our life. Great story - great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Humanity of Engineers - Exposed!
Tracy Kidder takes a subject that would be incalculably boring to most readers, and creates a story with all the characteristics of fictional masterpiece. However, the most striking part of Kidder's story is the fact that it's true. In The Soul of a New Machine the reader is plunged into the chaotic world of Data General, a leading minicomputer company just before the turn of the 80's. As in the film Dances With Wolves, Kidder watches from a distance, and is soon assimilated into their circle, becoming able to live and speak among them; the engineers. His firsthand experience allows him to offer a well crafted look into the high pressure world of the computer industry and the men and women who make it tick.

From the first words of the epilogue the reader is drawn into a story that he or she cannot completely grasp. Piece by piece the reader is allowed to realize that this is a story about a computer. As the mists begin to clear the reader finds the setting to be a basement lab at building 14A/B in the Data General compound in Westborough, Massachusetts. Here the tale unfolds as a company finds itself behind in the race with its arch rivals and in need of savior product line. To spice up the plot, internal competition has allowed two separate teams with different means for reaching the same end to enter into a fierce combat of engineering and technical mastery. Suddenly the reader is off on a race to build the better machine, faster.
The birth of the 32 Bit Eclipse compatible unwinds throughout the pages of the book. From logic design to the product rollout as the Eclipse MV/8000, the reader is whisked through the rapid-fire world of computer engineering - through the eyes of those who experienced it. The lives of managers, engineers, programmers, and more of the same are brought to life. Instead of the typically nerdy or aloof stereotypes of engineers, the Eclipse team is presented as a cadre of human beings working on a common goal. Their struggles, fears, triumphs, embarrassments, and the entire gamut of human emotion is displayed as this core group of thirty odd men and women race to build the next great thing.
Surprisingly, the story of something as technical as birthing a computer is made understandable and enjoyable. Instead of drowning in a sea of "engineering-ese," the reader is rafted down the rushing waters of human struggle. In an industry that has routinely been vilified as the thief of all that makes us human, Kidder has restored hope in the "little guys" who are fighting to stay afloat. The passion with which he presents this story is equaled only by the passion of those whom the story is about. As one finishes the final pages of the book, he will find himself unusually compelled to read the epilogue, and then disappointed at the thought of putting the book down. The Soul of a New Machine is truly a masterpiece in its own right.

Ultimately, The Soul of a New Machine will find a captive audience in more than just computer enthusiasts. This book will appeal to a wider audience interested in studying the human side of industry. Accordingly, it does not bog down in the technical details, but instead presents them through the eyes of a journalist, whose specialty is writing and not engineering. Some more conservative readers might find themselves offended at the uncensored vulgarity of some of the protagonists, but will most likely still be drawn in by their humanity. Tracy Kidder has opened up the world of the engineer to the outside world, and the outside world will be fascinated. ... Read more


160. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble
by Lester R. Brown
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393325237
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 26687
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A bold new plan for those concerned about rising temperatures, population projections, and spreading water scarcity.

Lester Brown notes that if the environmental trends of recent decades continue, the global economy will soon begin to unravel. The food sector, he believes, is the most vulnerable. Record-high temperatures and falling water tables are already taking the edge off grain harvests in some countries, including China, the world's largest grain producer.

The wake-up call will come, Brown believes, when 1.3 billion Chinese consumers with an $80 billion trade surplus start competing with Americans for U.S. grain, driving up food prices. Rising food prices could create political instability in low-income countries, disrupting global economic progress.

At that point, it will be clear that business as usual—Plan A—is not working. In Plan B, Brown outlines a World War II-type mobilization to stabilize climate by restructuring the global energy economy and to stabilize population by investing heavily in health care, family planning, and the education of girls in developing countries. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good science is not discredited by bad science
An important contribution to the environmental debate. I was suprised by the critical review below that gives 1 star to Plan B and cites "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg as a refutation of Brown's work. Readers of that review may not be aware that "Skeptical" has been discredited, refuted and rejected by the scientific community. Critical reviews of Lomborg's book can be found in leading science journals, including Nature, Scientific American and Science. The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty issued a decision that declared Lomborg's research "to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty," and to be "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice." (Lomborg is Danish). Readers will not be persuaded by references to junk science coming from an anti-environmentalist.

1-0 out of 5 stars Rescuing a planet from nonsense
Lester R. Brown is a well known and totally discredited doomsayer and environmental crackpot. His analyses and prophecies (consistently proven wrong) are based on crude number doctoring and misunderstanding of basic biology, economics and statistics. And while one might argue that debating his views is a waste of time, he and his likes have a loud and fairly influential following. For a more balanced and sane description of the state of the world, read for example the books by Julian Simon, and Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist".

5-0 out of 5 stars I agree with that person, buy 10 and pass them out.
Wow, after reading this book, I am left speechless. I read this book in conjunction with a Native American Studies class that I took, and I have never learned more terrifying facts in my entire life. Lester Brown, although he admits that the task is too great for one book, describes bluntly the thin line our species is walking between self preservation and self destruction. He does not pull any punches in describing how the human race is pushing Earth dangerously close to its breaking point. Brown outlines the clear reality that if trends continue the demand put on the environment by humanity will overtake its carrying capacity. He makes many interesting points but he also stays true to the title of the book, not only spreading blame, of which there is plenty to spread, but also offering possible solutions to the most important of problems. I thought I was environmentally conscious before I read this book, boy was I surprised. This book brought my environmental consciousness to a whole new level. It also unfortunately made me realize that unless the rest of the world gets on the same page as Brown in a hurry, the environmental damage will be irreparable. I'll agree once again with what that other reviewer said. Read this book and buy 10 copies to hand out.

5-0 out of 5 stars A species out of control?
Lester Brown recently wrote Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth in which his thesis was that "the environment was not part of the economy...but instead that the economy was part of the environment." (p. xv)

Here he presents an upbeat and positive plan for saving the world from the consequences of what he calls the planet-wide "bubble economy." His central argument is that we are about to face a food shortage of crisis proportions as our aquifers and rivers run dry. The relative price of food, which is directly dependent upon ready water supplies from underground and through the diversion of rivers, he argues, is about to skyrocket as China and other grain-hungry nations begin to import grain.

His plan B is a combination of interventions that would include environmental tax reform, that is, taxing products in terms or their true cost including pollution and the use of non-renewable resources. Thus the consequences of pollution-induced illnesses like asthma, etc. be factored into the cost of gasoline. In this way non-polluting energy sources such as windmills and solar energy cells would become cost-competitive with fossil fuels almost immediately.

The first half of the book is devoted to describing the problem, which he calls "A Civilization in Trouble." The second half is devoted to his Plan B which includes adopting "honest global accounting," stabilizing the population, and raising land productivity. He wants not only to shift taxes from the environmentally sound ways of doing business to the ecologically harmful ways, but to shift the subsidizes that many countries now give to fossil fuel producers and to fishing and logging industries to environmentally safe products and industries. He points out that it is foolhardy to subsidize the destruction of our environment as we are now doing.

Brown quotes Oystein Dahle, former Vice President of Exxon for Norway as saying: "Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth." (p. 210)

A striking example of what Brown means by shifting taxes comes from former Harvard Economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who wrote: "Cutting income taxes while increasing gasoline taxes would lead to more rapid economic growth, less traffic congestion, safer roads, and reduced risk of global warming..." (p 214)

Incidentally, Brown asserts that rising temperatures adversely affect crop yields. He notes that crops are grown in many countries "at or near their thermal optimum, making them vulnerable to any rise in temperature." He cites a study by Mohan Wali at Ohio State University showing that photosynthesis increases until the temperature reaches 68 degrees F. and then plateaus until it hits 95 degrees whereupon it begin to decline, and ceases at 104 degrees. (pp. 62-63)

The problem with his solution is that, as Brown points out, the body politic, especially that of the United States, must take action to implement the changes. Unfortunately, President Bush, who represents corporate interests (as most American politicians do), will continue to call for more studies, and nothing will be done. More particularly, taxing destructive practices will only work if all (or at least a substantial majority) of the countries of the world cooperate. Polluted air, acid rain, depleted aquifers, and rivers run dry cross borders. Consequently we have a daunting task in front of us.

A crucial psychological problem is that our instincts were honed in the pre-history when the resources of forest and savanna were effectively inexhaustible, where it didn't matter how much we burned and polluted since we could just move on. Our numbers were so small relative to the land that it would renew itself as we were despoiling other lands. With six billion-plus people on the planet there are no "other lands" and there is no time for the land to renew itself. We can no longer toss our waste over our shoulders, defecate in the stream, and slash and burn.

This is just one respect in which we have to ask, are human beings as presently evolved able to cope with the modern world? The tribal mentality, with its violence toward outsiders and toward the environment, is still with us, but the tolerance of the environment for such behavior is not. The myth of the noble savage and indigenous people living in harmony with nature needs a reality check. We are savages in headsets, neither noble nor ignoble. We are indigenous people whose lands have gone the way of the Garden of Eden. We are clumsily and incompletely adjusting to a different landscape: the modern world.

The race is on. Which will come first: our adjustment to the needs of the planet or the collapse of our great civilizations? Note well it is the needs of the planet that come first. Note also that the collapse of our civilizations will usher in a period of immense pain and suffering, even for those of us sitting atop Mount Olympus, as it were, in our garden homes sheltered from the storms in our inner cities and in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

A great deal of human suffering can be averted by anticipating the consequences of globalization, of diminishing resources resulting in diminishing returns. But it is also true that a great deal of human suffering can be averted by not doing something stupid that may have unintended consequences. We must use our abilities and our knowledge to choose between the two. Lester Brown is trying to help us do that. This book is a fine introduction to the problem and to a possible solution.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading
This book is in three sections - the first part provides facts, figures, charts and tables to define the problem; the second part - Plan A - projects the future under the business as usual scenario; the third part - Plan B - is Brown's recommendations of what we must do. The problem has the following components:
- over the last 50 years world population has doubled, the global economy has expanded seven fold and our claims on the earth are excessive;
- we are cutting trees faster than they can regenerate, overgrazing rangelands, over pumping aquifers and draining rivers;
- soil erosion of cropland exceeds new soil formation;
- we take fish from the oceans faster than they can reproduce;
- we are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere faster than nature can absorb it, creating a greenhouse effect raising the earth's temperature;
- habitat destruction and climate change are destroying plant and animal species faster than new species can evolve.

Throughout history man has lived on the earth's sustainable yield but humanity's collective demands surpassed the earth's carrying capacity in 1980 and by 1999 exceeded carrying capacity by 20% creating a global bubble economy. "The sector of the economy that seems likely to unravel first is food. Eroding soils, deteriorating range lands, collapsing fisheries, falling water tables, and rising temperatures are converging to make it more difficult to expand food production fast enough to keep up with demand. In 2002, the world grain harvest of 1,807 million tons fell short of world grain consumption by 100 million tons, or 5%. This shortfall, the largest on record, marked the third consecutive year of grain deficits, dropping stocks to the lowest level in a generation." Trying to fill the 100 million ton shortfall, feeding an additional 70m people each year, reducing the number of under-nourished and rebuilding stocks is likely to further deplete aquifers, increase erosion and raise food prices. Farmers face two challenges - rising temperatures and falling water tables. The 16 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1980 with the three warmest in the last five years and this adversely affects grain harvests, forcing traditional grain exporting countries like Canada to reduce or cease exports. World wide 70% of water is used for agriculture, 20% by industry and 10% for residential purposes. Water mining due to governments' failing to limit pumping to sustainable yield has increased pumping costs and reduced profit margins when grain prices are at a historical low, obliging many farmers to withdraw from irrigated agriculture. Industrial demands are increasing and industry can afford to pay much more for its water than farmers. Sandra Postel in 'Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?' details a bleak picture of what is in store for us regarding falling water tables, rivers which don't reach the sea and the impact on food production. China is such a populous country that whatever happens there impacts everyone in the world. China's deserts are expanding and the US Dust Bowl of the 1930s is being reproduced there but on a much bigger scale. China's forthcoming grain deficit will force up grain prices. "Many of the most populous countries of the world - China, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and nearly all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa - have literally been having a free ride over the past two or three decades by depleting their groundwater resources. The penalty of mismanagement of this valuable resource is now coming due and it is no exaggeration to say that the results could be catastrophic for these countries and, given their importance, for the world as a whole." Many countries are living in a food bubble economy; the question for these countries is not whether the bubble will burst, but when.

The food bubble economy is just the first of the bubbles that the author explains. If we continue with business as usual - Plan A - the troubles described will continue or worsen; the world is failing environmentally and will eventually fail economically. "In sum, no one knows exactly the extent of our excessive claims on the earth in this bubble economy. The most sophisticated effort to calculate this, the one by Mathis Wackernagel and his team, estimates that in 1999 our claims on the earth exceeded its regenerative capacity by 20%. If this overdraft is rising 1% a year as seems likely, then by 2003 it was 24%. As we consume the earth's natural capital, the earth's capacity to sustain us is decreasing. We are a species out of control, setting in motion processes we do not understand with consequences that we cannot foresee."

Einstein told us that you can't hope to get out of a problem with the same thinking that got you into the problem so we cannot expect Brown's proposed solutions to be readily accepted or popular. However, they all practical and make sense. Most proposals are familiar but few holding positions of responsibility have been willing to implement them because Plan A gains more votes and today's politicians are unlikely to be around when the leaders of tomorrow have to pick up the pieces. "Plan B is a massive mobilization to deflate the global economic bubble before it reaches the bursting point. Keeping the bubble from bursting will require an unprecedented degree of international cooperation to stabilize population, climate, water tables, and soils - and at wartime speed. Indeed, in both scale and urgency the effort required is comparable to the US mobilization during World War II."

This book is not just for environmentalists; it is of interest to every housewife who will shortly see her housekeeping money pay for less and less. This book should be required reading for everyone who hopes to be alive in a few years time. ... Read more


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