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Cap'n Refsmmat

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The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, Mark Thompson

 

Concerning the 1915-1919 struggle between Italy and Austria.

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I recently finished Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy, followed by his Confederation handbook.

And now I am about to finish A Second Chance at Eden, various short stories from 2070-2589 set in the same universe (actually a handfull cameos as well).

 

After that I guess it's Leviathan Wakes.

I guess I will read Hamilton's Great North Road but probably not for some time, I got too much other stuff for now.

 

And one of these days I need to soem more Michio Kaku stuff, so far I onyl read Physics of the Impossible.

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I finished Deborah Blum's The Poisoner's Handbook. Very well written. A story of the rise of forensic pathology in NYC in the context of poisoning deaths, largely during the prohibition era. Then I read Angel Killer (same author) which is about tracking down a mass murderer/cannibal.

After i read some comments on The Poisoner's Handbook, i decided not to buy this book. (see comments from

Valentin Rodionov)

..............

Most, if not all of the chemistry (and physics) in this book is entirely disconnected from the reality of science. Blum's treatment of poisons, analytical procedures and basic science ranges from simple misstatements, inaccuracies and misunderstandings to statements that are outright wrong. Some of these are listed below:

 

* The action of mustard chemical warfare agents has nothing to do with "becoming a ferocious form of sulfuric acid". Mustards act through alkylative damage of DNA (and other biomolecules).

* Sodium carbonate is not an acidic chemical.

* HCN is not a "potent acid".

* No additional source of hydrogen is needed to perform a Marsh test for arsenic.

* It is not likely that arsenic compounds will crystallize in the tissues of a poisoning victim.

* The Reinsch test is not a simple color test, as is implied by Blum's description. This is according to Gettler himself: [...]

* Electrical current is not measured in volts.

* Blum's description of radioactive decay, to borrow a phrase from Wolfgang Pauli, "is not even wrong".

 

This list is by no means comprehensive - these are just some of the many cringe-inducing parts in the book.

..........

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Poisoners-Handbook-Forensic-Medicine/product-reviews/014311882X/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt_sr_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

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A good book to read this Memorial Day weekend is Armageddon, The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 by Max Hastings

It presents a totally unromanticized depiction of combat, plus a good analysis of the stengths and weaknesses of the opposing armies and generals.

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Recently finished The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde. Currently the last book in the Thursday Next series.

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Recently finished The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde. Currently the last book in the Thursday Next series.

Ooh - didn't know there was a new one. Time to take my Amazon account for some exercise.

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In Praise of Idleness By Bertrand Russell [1932]

 

 

 

...In the West, we have various ways of dealing with this problem. We have no attempt at economic justice, so that a large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork. When all these methods prove inadequate, we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks. By a combination of all these devices we manage, though with difficulty, to keep alive the notion that a great deal of severe manual work must be the lot of the average man. ...

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Ooh - didn't know there was a new one. Time to take my Amazon account for some exercise.

 

There's one in the works but no release date yet.

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I've just ended Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects

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I've just ended Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects

 

 

Doctor, are you Dr. House ? ;-p

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Doctor, are you Dr. House ? ;-p

 

You mean Hugh Laurie? the actor that plays Dr House.

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"The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal"

David McCullough

 

An excellent telling of what was behind the effort to build the canal, and an interesting view of how science slowly began to accept that malaria and Yellow Fever did not come from swamp fumes and low moral standards.

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"The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal"

David McCullough

 

An excellent telling of what was behind the effort to build the canal, and an interesting view of how science slowly began to accept that malaria and Yellow Fever did not come from swamp fumes and low moral standards.

 

David McCullough is a national treasure, I would gladly admit the sound of his voice is now indelibly imprinted within me. Do you ever read his works with this somewhat subconscious narrative effect coming into play?

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David McCullough is a national treasure, I would gladly admit the sound of his voice is now indelibly imprinted within me. Do you ever read his works with this somewhat subconscious narrative effect coming into play?

That is funny you say that. On occassion some phrase or sentence in the book reminds me of something I've heard him say before and it is like I hear that small part being narrated by him. His books are such a pleasant, comfortable read, just like his narrations.

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That is funny you say that. On occassion some phrase or sentence in the book reminds me of something I've heard him say before and it is like I hear that small part being narrated by him. His books are such a pleasant, comfortable read, just like his narrations.

 

I'm so glad to hear you say that. I think his work is some of the best examples of a historical narrative, he really is as descriptive as a good fiction writer. Smooth is a word I would use to describe his style . And it is undoubtedly the quality of his narrative style that triggers those impromptu narrations.

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I just took the loan of The Archimedes Codex: How A Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing The True Genius Of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist by Reviel Netz & William Noel. Looking forward to a good read. :)

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I just finished "Devil in the Grove" by Gilbert King, and won the 2013 Pulitzer for nonfiction. It's about racism and justice (or lack thereof) in the south, just after WWII, and recounts the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund's involvement, with a large dose of Thurgood Marshall's career up through that point, as well. Excellent book — a very compelling read.

 

(Gilbert King was a high school classmate of mine, and if you told me someone from our class would eventually win a Pulitzer he wouldn't have been particularly high on the list of my guesses. A good example of people hitting their stride later on in life, and how high school is not necessarily a good predictor of one's future)

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