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Profile for Ian Gordon Malcomson > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC)
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

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Powermall UL-Listed 6 Pack A19 8W (=60W) Led Light Bulbs 800LM 2700K E26 For Home Commercial Lighting
Powermall UL-Listed 6 Pack A19 8W (=60W) Led Light Bulbs 800LM 2700K E26 For Home Commercial Lighting

4.0 out of 5 stars A Bargain at the Price, June 25 2016
Here are ten things I like about this product: 1. Low 8 wattage equivalent to 60W; 2. Regular size bulb; 3. Light is fairly soft; 4. They are dimmable but are inclined to flicker; 5. They can last a long time; 6. No hum; 7. Mercury free; 8. Pay for themselves four times over; 9. Definitely brightens up the room; and 10. Screws in easily.

MaxAike 1 Polarized Unisex Retro Aviator Sunglasses Reflective Lens (1, Black)
MaxAike 1 Polarized Unisex Retro Aviator Sunglasses Reflective Lens (1, Black)
Offered by MaxAike1
Price: CDN$ 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good deal if the polarized effect is your thing, June 25 2016
These are proving to be a decent pair of sunglasses. The polarized lens cut back on the light during the middle of the day. The frames are sturdy and fit over a regular pair of glasses if desired. Comes with a nice case, carrying bag and cleaning cloth. Looks like a good deal for the price.

The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future
The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future
by Peter Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.34
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.52

5.0 out of 5 stars The Art and Science of Weather Forecasting, June 25 2016
Peter Moore has written an amazing book about the history of meteorology. This is no ordinary study of the science of weather forecasting because it starts back in the century Britain with the extraordinary vision of several scientists/thinkers committed to finding a better way to predicting weather and its impact on the humankind. Central to this story are the efforts of a dedicated naval officer, Robert Fitzroy, in seeking and amassing data that would make his analysis accurate, timely, and helpful. Remember, this a time when technology for this kind of research was crude and limited to thermometers, barometers, hygrometers, and anemometers. While society was waking up to the power of the atmosphere, as Constable's magnificent landscape captured clouds and advancing storms across the English countryside, it still lacked a reliable system to collect, record, and process information that would help people adjust to big weather events. The repeated storms, floods, and deep freezes were costly because nobody knew how to predict them and prepare accordingly. This history looks at the inspired and often dedicated efforts of the likes of Beaufort, Edgeworth , and Fitzroy to develop that better means through such innovations as wind scale, a better barometer, a telegraphic machine, and high-altitude balloons that reached over 10k feet. By the middle of the 19th century, metereology was finally coming into its own with such concepts as pressure gradient, cyclones, isobars, and pressure highs and lows. While experimenters like Fitzroy travelled widely to get that critical information but in the long run could never move fast enough to satisfy their critics who were forever looking for more accurate weather data. Moore writes as one wjo knows his subject well and has a romping good story or two to share with his readers.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Grave Injustice Begging For Redress, June 24 2016
This has to be one of the better biographies I have read that involves a powerful story backed by historical evidence rather than mere conjecture which puts the reader in touch with the epic events of another century. Reiss, through extensive and painstaking research, gets a fix on the life of a famous but much maligned French revolutionary general, Alexandr Dumas, during the later part of the 18th century. His findings prove once and for all that his many adventures and deprivations became the inspiration for the legendary hero in his son's "Count of Monte Cristo", written years after his premature death. I learned so much about how history can actually come together to provide a more accurate record of events when we are prepared to delve into the real story behind the official version, wherever it takes us. While Count Dumas' life starts in Haiti, on a plantation, as a member of a mixed-blood aristocratic family. That part of the tale describes what life was like as his father, finally a Count, tried to figure out what the future was in a colonial culture that offered few prospects for himself and his young son. The times were harsh, when the only way out for Alexandr's grandfather was to flee to the mother country, France, and start a new life. Little did he and his young son, Alexandr's father, realize that life was just starting to get interesting. On the verge of the French Revolution, father and son would go in seemingly different directions: one towards bankruptcy and obscurity; the other towards fame and notoriety. It is the latter career path that Reiss investigates as it wends its way through a revolutionary time when slavery was outlawed and aspiring professional black soldiers like Alexandr were treated equally. But then, impressions can be misleading. His story takes on a new and darker twist that leads to having to deal with the prejudices and caprices of General Napoleon Bonaparte, as he prepared to seize power. Yes, Napoleon, in all his narcissistic cruelty, uses General Dumas' heroic exploits, for personal gain, during the Italian and Egyptian campaign, only to dump him when he finally became emperor. It is this part of the book that deals with how honorable and long-suffering Dumas was in handling the devious and immoral Napoleon, even as he was being betrayed. Read this book if you want to see Napoleon at his worst and how the Dumas family tried to redeem their father's much maligned name. As the record shows, this is not an easy task when racism and chicannery still abound in French society centuries later. I had no problem seeing a strong case for making Dumas a national hero, especially when his much stellared career is set next to Napoleon's bowdlerized story.

EShing 500ML Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Portable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Aroma Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings 7 LED Color Changing Lamps and Waterless Auto Shut-off Function for Yoga Office Bedroom Baby Room
EShing 500ML Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Portable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Aroma Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings 7 LED Color Changing Lamps and Waterless Auto Shut-off Function for Yoga Office Bedroom Baby Room
Offered by EShing
Price: CDN$ 39.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A very well-made device for home comfort., June 20 2016
There is nothing like a good quality diffuser freshening up the air and reducing dryness in your house. I know because I have a couple working in various parts of our condo. This one is the best because it offers so much more in terms of capacity, options and performance. To start with, it has a well of water that last hours, it has power to discharge incredible amounts of steam, and buttons that are easy to operate in setting time and strength of discharge. The special lighting changes colours and seems to be stronger on this model than others. The instructions that came with it are easy to follow.

Carfia Sports Polarized Sunglasses for Men or Women, UV400 Protection Unbreakable Sports Glasses for Cycling, Riding, Driving, Running, Golf and Other Outdoor Activities
Carfia Sports Polarized Sunglasses for Men or Women, UV400 Protection Unbreakable Sports Glasses for Cycling, Riding, Driving, Running, Golf and Other Outdoor Activities
Offered by MAYBE TRADE CO.,LTD
Price: CDN$ 68.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Marvelous Product, June 20 2016
Welcome to a new era in sunglasses. This particular product comes with our unreserved approval. It offers interchangeable lenses for all conditions. So far, I have tried out the polarized and late-evening ones with very good results. The wrap-around effect allows for the comfort of lateral protection. An inside frame offers rigidity to the lens. The frame is sleek, sturdy, and light. They come with a cord for every day use and one for sports activities so that the glasses won't fall. Great quality for the price.

ferus+fivel Celtic Cross Leather Journal Notebook Sketchbook - 7" X 9 1/2"
ferus+fivel Celtic Cross Leather Journal Notebook Sketchbook - 7" X 9 1/2"
Offered by ferus+fivel
Price: CDN$ 39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Gift for that Special Person, June 20 2016
What a nice product! It is leatherbound, with a Celtic cross embossed on its cover and plenty of heavy, high-quality paper ideal for ink and pencil sketches and journaling. To keep it closed, a leather cord conveniently wraps around it to give an additional antique look. I find it especially helpful that this is the same size as a regular book that can fit on a book shelf instead of being stored away in a drawer.

Bestdeal® Fast Inflatable Portable Hangout Air Bag Sofa suitable for Camping, Travel, Beach and other Activities (Blue)
Bestdeal® Fast Inflatable Portable Hangout Air Bag Sofa suitable for Camping, Travel, Beach and other Activities (Blue)
Offered by bananapiess
Price: CDN$ 50.99
6 used & new from CDN$ 50.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not as Simple as It May Seem But Still Functional, June 16 2016
When we finally figured this product out, we discovered that we had a very interesting outdoor inflatable on our hands. While it may seem easy to inflate, light to carry, seal and repose, according to Youtube, there were a couple of little problems along the way like not enough ambient air, difficulties determining how far to roll up the ends, and rolling off the sides. In all fairness, the air sofa works but not to our complete satisfaction. We will keep it, however, for our next vist for the beach where the breezes are stronger and the setting more conduicive for stretching out.

The Anatomy of Fascism
The Anatomy of Fascism
by Robert O. Paxton
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.98
38 used & new from CDN$ 10.08

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Helpful Understanding of a Complex Concept, June 16 2016
This review is from: The Anatomy of Fascism (Paperback)
This study is as relevant today as when it was written over a decade ago. I like the way the author tackles fascism as a major historical force in the hope that his readers will become more aware of its true implications, rather than just using it as a pejorative for depreciating one's political enemies. Paxton's approach to this controversial term is to anchor it in history. Essentially, it is a political movement that attempts to elevate or glorify the state as being greater than the sum of its parts. Its inspiration is the enshrining of a mythical ideal where national greatness is celebrated in a culture of military superiority, ethnic purity, and ultimate world dominance. There is nothing minimal in what Paxton says about how this initial idea becomes reality. It is a complex process that goes through at least five stages before reaching its climax in the form of a world empire. Using Italy and Germany as his main references, Paxton demonstrates that the emergence of these two nation-states in the twentieth century involved extensive periods of political unrest fueled by weak national leadership, a strong reliance on violence to cause its overthrow, the creation of an eternal quest for national greatness equipped with enemies, and a realistic plan to make it happen. Both of these fascist movements - the original Italian Pax Romana movement and the heavily radicalized German Arayan version - succeeded in becoming full-fledged national governments that enacted their own respective forms of terror as a way of solidifying their rule. Paxton wants us to understand that neither of these fascist parties would have made it as far as they did without the presence of strong conservative-nationalistic forces in rural areas. The persistent unrest of the interwar years only paved the way for Hitler and Mussolini to use any kind of public dissent on the political right to forge alliances against the Church, Jews, Bolsheviks, and Socialists in an attempt to gain power. Once there, they would have a variety of means to consolidate and expand their grand plans. While there are many cases of demagogues in the 20th century proceeding along similar lines, none met with the same degree of success, albeit limited to, at most, a couple of decades in power. One of the weaknesses in fascism is that it does not contain the means to bring the dream to fruition in its largest form because its modus operandi is basically one of fear, alienation, cruelty, and territorial domination based on the whim and creed of a master race. As a historical idea, it had short-term life because it was peculiar to a certain part of the world where circumstances were ripe for its inception. You may want to call the actions of a bullying public figure fascist but you must be careful not to confuse this generic reference with the historical one that goes well beyond mere characterizations of bad behaviour.

The Fear Index
The Fear Index
by Robert Harris
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.99
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a Literary Letdown, June 16 2016
Before reading "The Fear Index", my only experience with Harris was "Pompeii" and "Fatherland". Both these novels offered an interesting and stimulating alternative view of world history which easily grabbed my imagination. Unfortunately, this one didn't because it lacked any effective context in which I could connect to time, space, and character, three critical ingredients in any well-written novel. One, the setting of Geneva as the place where Alex Hoffman helps set up a very successful, high-tech driven hedge fund could, in fact, be any major world city but for the fact that the massive secret Cern project lurks somewhere in the Alps, and that is where Harris' protagonist got his scientific training. Two, the sense of excessive fear that dogs Hoffman throughout the story seems to consist of psychological forces that are never really explained other than they are ultimately triggered by his very troubled mind. So what would make Hoffman feel uneasy about a life given to making money hand-over-fist through innovative hedge funding. All we learn about Hoffman's mental health is that he strongly believes he is under attack from assailants he can't identify - enemies lurking in the shadows ready to destroy his meteoric achievements. Three, only when we finally learn what makes Hoffman so obsessed and fearful, do we, then, begin to understand that a hidden part of the man is that he is truly married to technology on the grandest and scariest of scales. His company has developed an A.I. algorithm that is programmed to make trades at the most sophisticated level, barring any chance of failure. This seems to be the perfect solution for destroying the competition, one might think, except the fear factor only increases to now paranoid levels. Hoffman has become a truly isolated individual who seems fixated on acquiring more wealth while no longer able to cope with the world around him which includes a very talented wife. Read this novel if you want to discover what the amazing epiphany will be that will turn it around for Hoffman and bring him back to his senses. It just sort of happens, like a lot of things in this novel. While Harris might be trying to regale the reader with a heart-stopping, suspense-filled mystery about how fear of the unknown can come to dominate our existence, he may have failed to clinch the deal by how he attempts to save the day in getting Hoffman to do the unexpected and turn on himself. To arrive at that point, we have to put up with a plot that is too ponderous, a cast of characters that are superficial, and a conclusion that simply reduces the process of progress to pulling the plug if it doesn't meet our personal needs.

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