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Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States)

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Exploring Advanced Euclidean Geometry With GeoGebra
Exploring Advanced Euclidean Geometry With GeoGebra
by Gerard A. Venema
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from CDN$ 46.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A tool for the efficient and effective teaching of geometry, March 3 2015
Geometry is such a visual subject that it cannot be learned without the creation of understandable diagrams. In the classrooms of past years, this meant a writing utensil on either a chalk or whiteboard, a process that was not easy for those of use that are challenged by simple drawings. The combination of this text and the ability to use a free package that can be used to illustrate the examples is a powerful tool for teaching Euclidean geometry.
The speed with which the geometry can be taught as well as the level of student retention will both be increased by using this book as a text in combination with Geogebra. Since not much has changed in the area of advanced Euclidean algebra in a long time, the content is fairly standard. Although I was very impressed with the last chapter where the Poincaré disk is used to demonstrate hyperbolic geometry. There is a misplaced notion among many that non-Euclidean geometry is hard when in fact there are very understandable ways to introduce it. This shows a logical and effective way to demonstrate hyperbolic geometry.
Utilizing the dynamic and visual advantages of Geogebra, the math teacher can delve far deeper into the subject matter than was possible before. Since the text is very clear as a standalone tool, the combination will make the teaching of geometry far more efficient than it has been in the past.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Africa In Flames
Africa In Flames
DVD ~ Various
Price: CDN$ 6.98
22 used & new from CDN$ 3.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Good if you view it through the appropriate lens of the time, March 2 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Africa In Flames (DVD)
Even viewed through the lens of understanding how Africans were portrayed in the late 1920’s, this “documentary” still has some weaknesses. However, if you factor in how sub-Saharan Africans were depicted in other venues, then this one stands up reasonably well. They are depicted as having intelligence and culture, not as mindless and simple savages.
The video was filmed in the small Habbania town of Buram in Southern Sudan, stars the actual people of the village and was first released in 1930. It depicts them in their daily lives, the dangers from predators as well as some of their ceremonies. The title of the video is taken from the main event, a prairie fire that forces the villagers to flee across a river.
While the video is narrated, it is not of the high quality that was seen in later “talkies” If you are experienced in the history of film then you could come close to dating it by realizing that it was made in the transition from silent films to the days when the art of including dialog had been perfected.
One amusing aspect is that some of the women are bare-chested, which is a reminder of the old standard that bare breasts were allowed to appear uncensored as long as they were covered by black skin.

Being Agile: Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile
Being Agile: Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile
by Mario E. Moreira
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 47.45
16 used & new from CDN$ 32.97

5.0 out of 5 stars What agile is and how to alter the company culture to make it work, March 1 2015
In general, there are two fundamental features to the adoption of agile development methods. The first is that there is no fixed set of rules to an agile implementation. The very nature and power of agile development is the informal nature, where developers are expected to form short-term teams to complete a task, disband and reform into different teams all based on the specific needs of the moment. While this gives the staff developers are great degree of professional and intellectual freedom, it also can increase the pressure to deliver.
The second is that agile requires a dismantling of the traditional command and control system where each person is an entry in a hierarchical chart with a direct report and possibly a team of subordinates. Workers at the lower levels are no longer given specific instructions regarding what to do, which many people can find frightening. Orders from a superior can be comforting to those that lack confidence in their ability to adapt to changing conditions. It provides a natural excuse for many things that can go wrong.
Despite these problems, there are many rewards to the adoption of agile methods, given the rapidity of change in the modern world, some businesses are almost required to develop and implement an agile development philosophy. Customer feedback is now almost instantaneous and can be fed through several different channels, including social media, none of which can be dismissed as mere noise.
One of the best aspects of this book is the declaration that revenue is a trailing indicator of success; in many cases by the time the value of that metric is known the results are preordained and not always positive. Moreira describes the critical leading indicators of project success and emphasizes what should be the primary goal of all development, the complete understanding of the Minimal Viable Product (MVP), the lowest and most significant bar that must be achieved.
Metrics to aid understanding, tactics to use when adopting agile, ways to convince staff of the wisdom of agile and the allaying of their fears, the day-to-day actions as well as the setting of regular and quickly achievable goals are all covered in great detail. People are not genuinely hypocritical when they want freedom in their work and then are afraid that they may get it. That is just human nature.
There are many natural and acceptable concerns that people have when you take away the structure of their work environment, most people want the emotional comfort of being told what to do. Moreira not only tells you what the agile development methods are, he also serves as a psychologist and sociologist in explaining how to convince employees and customers the agile path is the better one. It is a fundamental shift in the company culture, which is a complex thing to do.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

VINOMIO Wine Chiller- Best Single Wine Bottle Chiller -For White, Red, Sparkling Wines and Champagnes - A Favorite Gift for Connoisseurs -Stainless Steel For Durability.
VINOMIO Wine Chiller- Best Single Wine Bottle Chiller -For White, Red, Sparkling Wines and Champagnes - A Favorite Gift for Connoisseurs -Stainless Steel For Durability.
Offered by VinoMio
Price: CDN$ 26.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective way to chill your wine, Feb. 28 2015
This is a simple utensil, easy to use and effective in cooling wine. It comes in two parts, a stainless steel rod seven-and-a-half inches long and a pour spout. The rod is placed in the freezer until cold, screwed onto the nozzle and then, after some wine has been poured out to make room, the cold rod is placed into the wine bottle.
There is a rubber seal on the spout to prevent leakage and the wine flows through the spout, making it unnecessary to remove the steel rod to pour the wine. This is very convenient, allowing the user to reap the maximum benefit from the cooling rod.
Cleanup is by hand only, the device is not dishwasher safe, but given the simple construction of the rod and spout, this is very easy. Nothing cleans faster than stainless steel. If you prefer your wine chilled, this is a fast and convenient way to get it to the temperature you desire.

This item was made available for free for review purposes.

Batman: Evolution
Batman: Evolution
by Greg Rucka
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 29.44

3.0 out of 5 stars The artwork and presentation theme was a disappointment, Feb. 27 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Batman: Evolution (Paperback)
This book is a continuation of the excellent “Batman: No Man’s Land” sequence, unfortunately it is a step down. While the artwork of the NML series was excellent, in this book the coloration is minimal and the lines are drawn much more harshly.
Gotham City is being rebuilt at a frenetic pace, yet it is split into two groups. The people that stayed in the city are called “OGs” and those that left and have returned are called “Deezees.” There is a great deal of tension between the two groups with people in each group agitating against the other. Criminal gangs based largely on nationality have carved out their respective niches and they often engage in violent actions against each other.
There is also the presence of a gang that is providing an alchemical elixir that will give a human for eternal life. However, it is extremely addictive, must be taken to maintain the longevity and alters your body structure so that you become part animal. For example, one of the gang members is part king cobra. The leader of the elixir gang and his lieutenants use the hostility of the criminal gangs to incite additional violence so that they can take over the underworld of Gotham City and stopping them is the primary task that Batman is working on.
While the story has some good qualities, I simply could not overcome the visual theme of the story. It may be that I was spoiled by the previous NML books, but what I saw here left me lacking.

Yummy Stories: Six Stories to Stimulate Your Mind and Appetite
Yummy Stories: Six Stories to Stimulate Your Mind and Appetite
by Lil L. Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.89
5 used & new from CDN$ 13.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales where the happy ending is about the reader rather than the characters, Feb. 27 2015
These six stories feature the properties of fruits and vegetables and the good they do for you when you eat them. Small villages, kings, princesses and children interact with animals of all types, from a baby dinosaur to butterflies, a dog, a rooster, a rabbit, frogs and bees. There is also a giant, a witch and three beautiful fairies and no really evil creatures.
The main point is to wrap a fairy tale style story around the concept of eating healthier. It is very well illustrated, colorful and much of the scenery looks like vegetables. The pickets of a fence are shaped like asparagus spears, trees look like the leaves of a beet plant, some huts look like onion bulbs, others look like mushrooms, many of the plants look like broccoli and a few of the other plants look like parsley. After reading the book I found myself going back over the illustrations trying to identify additional references to healthy food items.
This is a very nice book, the reading level is approximately that of a second grader and some of the dialog consists of four line segments where the first and second and then the third and fourth lines rhyme. Since children have an instinctive love of rhymes, this feature increases the joy experienced by the young reader. The author and the illustrator have combined to make an entertaining and educational book.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Traitors (Bilingual) [Import]
Traitors (Bilingual) [Import]
Price: CDN$ 28.71
14 used & new from CDN$ 17.76

5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of some of the forces working against oppression in the world, Feb. 27 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Traitors (Bilingual) [Import] (DVD)
In this case the word “Traitors” is the name of an all-female punk rock band in Tangier, Morocco. Their songs express a harsh dissatisfaction with their country and their lives in general. Malika is the lead singer of the band and is in her own way fairly tough. Things begin to fall apart when she is fired from her job at a call center, but seem to quickly rebound when she is contacted by a record producer. However, they need money for studio time and her family faces eviction from their home due to non-payment. Her father runs a car repair shop but is not working as much as he should. Malika has worked in the shop so she is very good at working on cars.
After trying several potential sources for quick money, Malika becomes involved with some ruthless drug dealers. She is courageous and confident, but to get out of the mess she finds herself in Malika must interact with a category of people that do not tolerate failure or weakness. The action is tense and unpredictable as she leaves herself vulnerable and tries to avoid becoming the equivalent of a drug delivery slave.
What I really liked about the movie was the image of the rebellious females in the rock band. There are places in the world, Russia is the most prominent, where one of the few voices in opposition to totalitarian movements and oppression are radical females. The female protest group Femen that resists oppression by publicly exposing their breasts also comes to mind as well.
While Morocco is liberal by Arab standards, it is still a country where women are expected to be subservient to their husbands and within that context; this movie is a breath of fresh air. Malika is young, determined and smart, willing to challenge many aspects of her society. She will need all of her intelligence in order to survive the situation that she has put herself in. Malika and her band are the type of people that the short-lived Arab Spring was all about.

This movie was made available for free for review purposes.

Bathroom Sports Quiz Book
Bathroom Sports Quiz Book
by John Murphy
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 9.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Something interesting to go to when you are going, Feb. 27 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Bathroom Sports Quiz Book (Hardcover)
I was an intense sports trivia fan when I was young, I read and memorized every baseball fact that I encountered. Since I spent a lot of time talking about baseball and other sports with the other kids on my street, it gave me an early advantage. Of course, in order to respond they also started reading books about the history of baseball. It was a great time, our arguments over which player or team was best were laced with facts that included the context of their playing.
This book contains many of those facts; it consists of a set of ten question quizzes over all areas of sports. The answers to the questions appear on the following page. As is always the case with such questions, there is a wide difference in the level of difficulty. Most sports fans will remember the major events and those specific to their favorite teams.
The reason for the quiz being ten questions long is that all are designed to be completed during a sit-down bathroom visit. With 50 quizzes, this gives you a month and a half of quality reading material while you are resting naturally. They also will give you quality material to discuss with your fellow sports fans.

Love Me
Love Me
DVD ~ Ushan Çakir
Price: CDN$ 24.98
16 used & new from CDN$ 17.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally engaging film, a clash of cultures amidst desperation for meaningful relationships, Feb. 26 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Love Me (DVD)
Sasha is a young and attractive Ukranian woman, Cemal is a Turkish man and both are in dead-end relationships. Sasha is involved with a married man and Cemal is bound by tradition to marry a girl that he has never met. When Cemal expresses regrets his male relatives decide to take him to Kiev in the Ukraine so that he can sow his wild oats one last time before marriage.
Sasha is desperate to get pregnant so she goes to a nightclub frequented by foreign men with the intention of picking one up for a one-night stand. Her choice is Cemal and even though they can barely communicate they end up in her apartment. Sasha orders Cemal to take a shower and while he is doing that Sasha is busy poking holes in the condom.
They are interrupted and suddenly find themselves allies in an important task where Cemal demonstrates that he is a kind man, something that Sasha has been desperate for. Although other things do not go well, Cemal further demonstrates that he is the type of man that Sasha wants while Cemal is impressed by the confidence exhibited by Sasha. This is so unlike Turkish women that Cemal finds that his feelings are also kindled.
Theirs is a love that is seemingly impossible, sudden, intense, and the kind that derails life paths. The viewer finds themselves rooting for a happy ending with the two of them together and the movie engages in a roller coaster of a ride between the "yes they will" on the top to "not a chance" on the bottom.
The plot device of "looking for love in all the wrong places" has been used countless times and in the fairy tales they live happily ever after. This one is at times rough and is more realistic, for this is gritty, full of challenges and sensitivity to the emotion of strong and surprising love and the pull of ethnic differences. It is an emotionally engaging movie.

This film was made available for free for review purposes.

Title: Zoo Doings: Animal Poems
Title: Zoo Doings: Animal Poems
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Sure to entice smiles and giggles from young readers, Feb. 25 2015
This is a collection of fun and sometimes nonsensical verses that will make children giggle. The subjects are animals that nearly all children will be familiar with and an illustration accompanies every verse. All verses are short and the following is the one for the chipmunk.

"Chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter
is the chipmunk's steady patter,
even when he's eating acorns
(which he hopes will make him fatter)."

As the example shows, each segment of verse contains a few facts about the featured animal, so this book is both entertaining and educational. Rhyming verse is an effective way to encourage children to read and this book will attract them for it is just fun to read.

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