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Reviews Written by
Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States)

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Battlestar Long Patrol
Battlestar Long Patrol
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 3.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Starbuck as womanizer and hero, July 27 2015
This review is from: Battlestar Long Patrol (VHS Tape)
The Galactica and the collection of ships under its protection has just left their local star system and is entering a completely unfamiliar region of space. To conduct a search a Viper has been modified to be faster than all others and is outfitted with a computer with a sexy female voice. “Her” name is Computer Oral Response Activated (C. O. R. A.) and she has a bit of an attitude with an air of superiority.
Starbuck volunteers to be the pilot on the single Viper probe where it could be a one-way mission. He immediately establishes a relationship with C. O. R. A. and discovers a long lost penal asteroid with an unusual social structure.
What makes this episode stand out is the dialog, specifically between Starbuck and C. O. R. A. There is humor, with the computer outpacing Starbuck in both wisecracks as well as skill in piloting the ship. This episode also formally establishes the competitive relationship for Starbuck between Athena and Cassiopeia.

PRISONER'S DILEMMA
PRISONER'S DILEMMA
by William Poundstone
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for all people active in geopolitical decision making, July 26 2015
This review is from: PRISONER'S DILEMMA (Hardcover)
Simultaneously one of the most over and underrated areas of mathematics, game theory has many applications in the behavioral sciences. The classic example of this is illustrated by the problem known as the prisoner’s dilemma. Each arrested person must make a decision as to whether they should keep silent or confess and implicate both of them based on how they think the other person will act. Both gain the most by silence, but the worst possible outcome is to keep silent when the other talks. With applications in politics all the way up to the consideration of nuclear war, the problem is fascinating.
The treatment here is a combination of a biography of John von Neumann and a description of the (mis)uses of game theory. Clearly, the most interesting items are the descriptions of strategies advocating a “preventive” nuclear war in the late 1940’s. The end result of such a conflict would have been a world where the United States was overwhelmingly dominant and Washington D. C. would have been the de facto capital of a “world” government. As amazing as it sounds, there were people who rationally argued for such an action, Bertrand Russell being one of the most outspoken. Such positions continued to be argued until both sides developed a reliable second strike capability, which solidified the nuclear balance of terror. One of the most interesting what-if scenarios that once can imagine, a nuclear preventive war would make an exciting science fiction story.
John von Neumann clearly ranks as one of the most talented people of all time. Arguably the best mathematician ever, one of the original computer scientists, fluent in many languages and knowledgeable in many areas, his accomplishments are truly awesome. At one point he was one of the most powerful people in the world, influencing decisions affecting the lives of everyone on the planet. All of this is explained in a very readable style as very little mathematics is used in the descriptions.
This book should be required reading for all who rise to positions where national security decisions are made. It could also be used as a text for many courses in political and behavioral sciences. Even mathematicians will find it useful.

Published in “Mathematics and Computer Education,” reprinted with permission.

Flatworld® Elegant Creative Star Throw Pillow Cover Linen Cotton Natural Bed Pillow Protectors Home Decors (Purple Audrey)
Flatworld® Elegant Creative Star Throw Pillow Cover Linen Cotton Natural Bed Pillow Protectors Home Decors (Purple Audrey)

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, soft and attractive throw pillow cover, July 26 2015
Length:: 0:15 Mins

This case for a small pillow is adorable according to my daughter. The design of a cat along with the purple background really catches and holds your attention. Once you put one on your sofa you will be strongly tempted to purchase a mate.

This item was made available for free for review purposes.

Suave Mens Body Wash, Hair & Body 2 In 1 12 Ounce (pack Of 6)
Suave Mens Body Wash, Hair & Body 2 In 1 12 Ounce (pack Of 6)
Offered by ABC Wholesales
Price: CDN$ 19.77
2 used & new from CDN$ 19.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Cleans all my hair well and leaves no feeling of residue, July 26 2015
I have been using this body wash twice a day for four days and I like it. The hair on my head is blonde and very fine, that hair has been left soft and in its usual unmanageable state. I wear a beard that never gets much more than an inch long and I used this wash on it as well. That hair is much coarser, yet it was also made softer by this wash.
As for the rest of my body, it cleaned with no residual feeling of unrinsed soap. One very positive point is that while there is a slight odor to the wash, it fades very quickly. Shortly after washing my beard I could detect no odor from it. something that does not happen with my regular shampoo. It also felt soothing on the slight sunburn I received today.

The Shape of Space: How to Visualize Surfaces and Three-Dimensional Manifolds (Monographs and Textbooks in Pure and Appl
The Shape of Space: How to Visualize Surfaces and Three-Dimensional Manifolds (Monographs and Textbooks in Pure and Appl
by Jeffrey R. Weeks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 61.50
21 used & new from CDN$ 20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars An explanation of how things can be twisted in space, July 25 2015
Any author attempting to explain and visualize dimensions higher than three and/or the elliptic and hyperbolic geometries is engaged in a significant undertaking. In this book, Weeks does succeed in doing both but the reader is presented with a difficult task.
With 141 exercises and plenty of illustrations packed into 324 pages, it is short on explanation and the reader is forced to learn by problem solving. This is not to say that the exercises are poorly developed. On the contrary, they and the illustrations are very well done. However, doing an exercise after every few paragraphs does make the book a slow read, and in many cases it is necessary to understand a problem before the next material can be comprehended. Fortunately, complete solutions to all problems are given at the end of the book, but even so, a great deal of thought must be given to some of them before they are understood. As the book progressed, I found myself reading only fifteen to twenty-five pages on any given day. This necessitated a great deal of back-pedaling to previous illustrations and exercises, but it was the limit that I seemed able to comprehend at any given setting.
Beginning with Flatland (by A Square-actually Edwin A. Abbott) and going through the creation of manifolds, the presentation of the basic concepts, like all of the text, is very well written. It is just unfortunate that there is not more of it. For example, in Chapter 9 (concerning spheres), there are seven exercises and five and one-half pages of illustrations packed in twelve pages. Chapter 17 (describing bundles), has thirteen problems and seven and one-half pages of diagrams in a total of fifteen pages. Illustrations are valuable, but in this case they describe abstract phenomena not easily followed, and more words than usual are needed to explain precisely what is occurring.
And so, in conclusion, this book is highly recommended for those who wish to learn about the properties of manifolds and surfaces and are highly motivated to do so. But lacking that, the chances are very good that you will not make it beyond the midpoint.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

Pokergeist
Pokergeist
by Michael Phillip Cash
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poker made entertaining via unusual characters, July 25 2015
This review is from: Pokergeist (Paperback)
This story moves quickly, both in terms of events and in ease of reading. It is one of those stories that just seems to flow smoothly, even though there is no dramatic action. Although there are millions of dollars at stake.
Clutch Henderson is an excellent poker player, he is vying for the championship of the International Series of Poker and when he loses in the last match, he drops dead. Clutch has also left behind a bit of a mess, he is still legally married to one woman even though he has been living with another for many years. Clutch also owes a lot of money to a loan shark, and he is circling among the people in Clutch’s life, trying to find which one inherited his money.
Yet, while Clutch is dead, he is not gone, his ghost continues to float around Las Vegas and he encounters Telly Martin, a computer expert that is unemployed and trying to make a living as a poker player. Albeit with a spectacular lack of success. Clutch encounters Telly and convinces him to let Clutch help him win at poker. Of course Clutch can see their cards and only Telly can hear him, so Telly has a decided advantage.
What makes the story work is the quirky nature of all of the characters, from Telly and his girlfriend to Telly’s parents, to Clutch’s girlfriend, wife, daughter and even the pimp and his working girl. Until I read this story I never thought that a book about a poker tournament could ever keep my interest. I finished this one within 24 hours of opening it for the first time.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Just as Special
Just as Special
by 3evoke
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.23
7 used & new from CDN$ 13.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for children that feel that life has given them less than others, July 24 2015
This review is from: Just as Special (Paperback)
Mason is a boy that does not have a father in his daily life and he is on the porch feeling sad about the situation. When he does not respond to a call for lunch, his mother comes out and tells him that sometimes, for many different reasons, a dad is not around. So far, nothing special or illuminating. However, what comes next is the power of this story.
Mason’s mother explains to him about all of the other men in his life that do things with him, take him places and show that they care. This list includes some relatives and also extends out to include his coach, science teacher and their neighbor. This discussion perks Mason up and gets him excited about life again and the last thing he does is jump up and run away so that he can get back in the action.
Many children have things missing from their lives and it is easy for them to feel bad about their condition. The best solution is to emphasize what they have in their life and how valuable those things are. That is the point of this book and it is very well made, this is a book that could be used in a therapy program for disadvantaged children.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Yoga Pilates Mat Sling Strap Black by Bags for Less
Yoga Pilates Mat Sling Strap Black by Bags for Less
Offered by Vision Store USA
Price: CDN$ 12.27
2 used & new from CDN$ 12.27

5.0 out of 5 stars My new first choice for my morning stretches, July 24 2015
Review written by Adriana Boettcher, edited by Charles Ashbacher

This Yoga Mat with Carrying Sling is lightweight, easy to carry and use and is well made. I own several yoga mats and this is one of the most comfortable and flexible surfaces. It's easy to roll out and put away; it also rolls compactly for easy storage. This yoga mat is large, comfortable and does not slip on hardwood. Overall, I am very pleased with it and it's become my first choice for my morning stretches.

This item was made available for free for review purposes

Etekcity® Collapsible 30 LED Ultra Bright Portable Camping LED Lantern Flashlights (10-Year Warranty) for Home & Outdoor and Emergency Use: Suitable for Hiking, Camping, Emergencies, Hurricanes, Outages (Batteries Included)
Etekcity® Collapsible 30 LED Ultra Bright Portable Camping LED Lantern Flashlights (10-Year Warranty) for Home & Outdoor and Emergency Use: Suitable for Hiking, Camping, Emergencies, Hurricanes, Outages (Batteries Included)
Offered by Etekcity Corp
Price: CDN$ 16.95
2 used & new from CDN$ 16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and provides a great deal of light, July 24 2015
Review written by Adriana Boettcher, edited by Charles Ashbacher

The LED Camping Light is amazing! I was surprised at its ease of use (simply slide the top upward to instantly have light!) and the brightness of the LED light (blinding). The attached hangers allow the light to suspend where ever it's needed and it provides enough light to easily see several feet around it even in pitch black surroundings. I am an infrequent camper, but I do kayak as often as I can and this light will allow me to be out on the water a little longer. With it, I will be visible and can see the shore and where to put in. it's also sturdy enough to be dropped with no lasting damage! Great product; I highly recommend it.

This item was made available for free for review purposes.

Mommy, What Do I Hear?: Five Senses for Children
Mommy, What Do I Hear?: Five Senses for Children
Price: CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Great primer to start a dialog with children about how we use our sense of hearing, July 23 2015
Written at the level of the late first or second grade student, this book takes the reader through a few of the things that we use our sense of hearing for. Some of them, such as listening to the birds sing or the sound of ocean waves, are for pleasure or relaxation. Others, like hearing the sound of a train, can help keep us out of danger.
The presentation has the form of a young female dog having a dialog with her mother. She asks a series of questions that begins with "Mommy, for what do we use the sense of hearing?" This is followed by a series of “What else?” questions.
The structure is a short section of text on a page followed by a full-page illustration that is colorful and simple in design. All are well within the levels of understanding of a child. This is a good book to get children started in thinking about their sense of hearing and a great primer for follow-up conversations where the reader asks the child, “Can you think of anything else that you use your sense of hearing for?”

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

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