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Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada)
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Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
by Maureen Seaberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.56
9 used & new from CDN$ 4.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A traumatic brain injury transforms an ordinary mind into a beautiful mind, Aug. 2 2014
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"I struggled to my feet. Not only was I in a lot of pain, but I was having trouble getting my bearings. The world looked different: off-kilter, dreamlike. Everything that moved had trails of colored light following close behind it.

There were triangles and squares in repeating patterns wherever I looked, from the windows to the lampposts to the street signs...

I rubbed my eyes. The glow of the streetlights seemed amplified. I could see the cars going by, little chipped shapes bouncing off their hoods."

The above is what was experienced after a brutal mugging and is found in this fascinating book by Jason Padgett (and Maureen Seaberg). Padgett is now an aspiring number theorist. He's an award-winning artist who hand-draws the stunning geometric patterns he sees everywhere. (Seaberg is an author with several forms of synesthesia (see below). She has written for numerous notable publications.)

This book briefly describes Padgett's life before his TBI (traumatic brain injury) that resulted from a mugging and his long struggle to understand what was happening to him after his TBI. Padgett is determined to overcome psychological and neurological trauma and fully embrace his new mind that now has an extraordinary gift.

What is that extraordinary gift? Answer: acquired savant syndrome (the first documented case) with mathematical synesthesia.

(Savant in the term "savant syndrome" is one whose mental capabilities are quite limited but who possesses some extraordinary talent. Padgett's talent is mathematics and his other mental capabilities seem not to be affected as in the typical savant. Synesthesia is a process in which one type of stimulus produces a secondary, subjective sensation, as when some colour evokes a specific smell. In Padgett's case, he associates shapes with numbers.)

What's even more amazing is that before his TBI, Padgett was a party-loving jock and a college dropout who did not make it past pre-algebra.

This is a true story of sorrow and joy, of falling in love, finding a passion for mathematics and physics, and above all, discovering a profound sense of wonder for the order in our seemingly chaotic world.

Finally, there are twelve colour photographs near the center of this book. My favourite has the following caption:

"My conception of particle fusion [or nuclear fusion where two atomic nuclei combine to form a more stable heavier atomic nucleus resulting in a considerable amount of energy being released]. I imagine the center hexagon [in the photo] as the inert iron core of a star [like our sun] and the six surrounding hexagons [in the photo] as the outer mass, collapsing due to the immense pull of gravity. I'm fascinated by the process of fusion and the possibility of harnessing it to create unlimited, clean energy."

In conclusion this is a well-written book about the story of an ordinary man who was transformed when a traumatic brain injury left him with an extraordinary gift.

(first published 2014; a note from Maureen; 18 chapters; main narrative 225 pages; acknowledgements; bibliography; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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The Angel Ultimatum
The Angel Ultimatum

4.0 out of 5 stars This book is "dedicated to every caring person who has ever, or will ever live", July 25 2014
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"[In this analysis] we will approach the Bible as being the most complex literary puzzle ever created, and we will examine two completely different solutions [with respect to religion] to that puzzle."

The above comes from the introduction of this extremely interesting e-book by Alexander Mann. Mann is an author, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He develops new movie projects through his Production Company, Alexander Mann Productions, and works with notable talent throughout the entertainment industry.

Question: what is the ANGEL ULTIMATUM? Answer: MAKE SENSE OF CREATION, OR ELSE!

In this book, Mann examines the traditional biblical explanation of creation where angels (supernatural beings) are created and whose actions in Heaven negatively affect the human race. There is, thus, a need for salvation through the Messiah, with the message of that salvation entrusted to religion.

Mann presents an alternative and, in my opinion, plausible explanation for everything that has taken place within the creation of individuals. Free will, the concepts of good & evil, and angels figure prominently in this explanation.

Throughout Mann's analysis, the role of religion is considered. (According to Mann, the word "religion" does not appear in the Old Testament Hebrew and only appears five times in the New Testament Greek.)

I was impressed with Mann's analysis. It is well-presented, thorough, and rational. As well, I was impressed with Mann's ability to conceptualize. As a result, I learned quite a bit from this book.

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie version of this book (of which Mann wrote the screenplay). It has already been announced on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is lack of references. The only reference given is that "all biblical references are from the New International Version of the Bible." However, there was information given that made me wonder where it was obtained. For a book of this type, I feel references are especially critical.

In conclusion, this is a well-written book. We're told in the "about the author" section that Alexander Mann has suffered the deaths of his older brother, his father, and most recently his mother. It seems to me that these losses combined with his ability to conceptualize (mentioned above) has enabled him to create an original work of depth that appeals to both the heart and intellect.

(First published 2014; introduction; 15 chapters; bibliography; about the author; 1740 KB; print length 90 pages)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Single-Disc Edition)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Single-Disc Edition)
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 24.62
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid sequel and ending to the Indiana Jones series, July 19 2014
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"Whoever finds [the crystal skull] will control the greatest natural force the world has ever known."

The above (spoken with a Russian accent) comes from this science fiction adventure movie, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise.

It was created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg.

This movie was released nineteen years after the previous film (the fantastic "The Last Crusade," 1989). It acknowledges the age of its star, Harrison Ford (who plays Indiana Jones) by being set in 1957. (Ford was 64 in this movie.)

This movie also pays tribute to sci-fi B-movies of the 1950s, pitting Indy against Soviet Agents who are searching for a telepathic crystal skull. The Head Soviet Agent is Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett, who gives a good performance).

Indy is aided by his former partner, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and her son Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Marion appears in the last half of this movie.

To keep continuity with the three previous Indiana Jones movies, traditional stunt work was used instead of computer-generated doubles.

I personally enjoyed this movie. Yes, there are some absurd scenes (liked the "nuked the fridge" scene) but overall it was a good movie with, what I thought, was an important message. I especially liked the fact that this movie gave brief homage to Indy's father, Henry Jones Sr. (played by the first 007, Sean Connery) and to his late archaeological academic colleague Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott, 1922-1992). We even get to see very briefly the Lost Ark (which was the relic Indy sought in the sensational blockbuster, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1981).

Although this film is no "Raiders" or "Last Crusade," it does have its moments.

Director Steven Spielberg said in an interview that "I'm very happy with this movie." (This is unlike his negative comments about the dark "Temple of Doom," 1984.) He even said Cate Blanchett's Irina Spalko was his favourite villain of the series. (Note that Blanchett was 12 years old when "Raiders" came out.)

As with the previous films, this movie features the unforgettable music of the great John Williams.

This movie was a financial success, grossing over 780 million dollars worldwide, making it the franchise's highest-grossing film. (This is probably due to nostalgia for the series. I found "Raiders" and "Last Crusade" much more entertaining.)

Finally, the DVD itself (single-disc edition released in 2008) has 2 extras. I found both to be interesting.

In conclusion, this is a solid sequel to end the Indiana Jones series!!

*** 1/2

(2008; 1 hr, 55 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 16 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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How Sherlock Changed the World [Import]
How Sherlock Changed the World [Import]
Price: CDN$ 28.69
20 used & new from CDN$ 17.31

5.0 out of 5 stars It's elementary! A documentary that blends real-life forensics with the fictional forensics of Sherlock Holmes, July 12 2014
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"Sherlock Holmes, the first CSI, continues to inspire detectives on TV and at the movies. He is as popular as ever. But his lasting legacy is that, even today, he continues to solve crimes."

The above is said by the narrator at the end of this spectacularly interesting documentary that blends real-life forensic analysis with Sherlockian forensic analysis.

I learned quite a bit from this documentary, not only about forensics but about Sherlock Holmes (and his alter ego, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859 to 1930).

Using a combination of interviews (with forensic scientists, crime historians, Sherlock Holmes' experts, etc.), dramatic recreations, and archival footage (some in black and white), this documentary explains the impact and legacy of the most famous fictional crime fighter in history.

Here are some of the chapters found in this documentary:

(1) Jack the Ripper
(2) Deductive reasoning
(3) Blood evidence
(4) Bullets and ballistics
(5) The science of poisoning
(6) Fingerprints and fakes
(7) The art of tracing footsteps

Finally, what I especially liked about this documentary is the use of real high-profile murder cases with footage of the real crime scenes.

In conclusion, not only is this an instructional documentary on forensics, it is an entertaining one as well. I leave you with this piece of wisdom from Sherlock Holmes:

"Once you've excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

(2013; 2 hr; 2 episodes; wide screen; 12 chapters)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Shadow World
Shadow World
by Chris Impey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.71
11 used & new from CDN$ 17.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Is this a sci-fi novel? Only the SHADOW (and this reviewer) know for sure, July 5 2014
This review is from: Shadow World (Paperback)
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"If this [novel] is about anything, it's the boundary between creation and madness, art and science, the natural and the artifactual [meaning "of or related to artifacts"]. Characters are fictional although some are inhabited by amalgamated aspects of real people. The science is factual but I insert plausible speculation in places...

[This novel] hopefully explores new terrain between fiction, fantasy, and popular science writing...

[This novel] has twenty-eight sections organized into...chapters. Each [chapter] is geographically specific, connected to and yet disconnected from the [chapters] that precede and follow. Each chapter has a particular iconography: a celestial body, a substance, and an artifact."

The above comes from this VERY INTERESTING and well-written novel by Chris Impey (or Cimpey as he refers to himself). He is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. Impey is also a writer and has written many popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology, two introductory textbooks, and four science books. This is his first novel.

Many years ago I saw a science fiction (and horror) movie (directed by David Cronenberg). For those that didn't understand this movie beyond what was being shown, they saw it as a mess. For those who understood it, they saw it as exceptional. I saw it as a masterpiece.

The same goes for this novel. In my opinion, this novel is a masterpiece. (Unlike the movie mentioned above, even if you don't "get" this novel, it still is an interesting read.)

This novel follows the life of the Scot, McEvoy, from age 19 to age 40. It is filled with (among other things) action, adventure, family, philosophy, politics, science, steamy sex, travel, and even some religion.

Who is McEvoy? At one point in the novel, he's described as a "shadow person." He displays a wide range of behaviors. The most important, in my opinion, is that he is a questioner. (This is how the reader should be when reading this novel--as a questioner.)

We globetrot with McEvoy starting from the Arizona desert and ending up in Sweden, near the Arctic Circle. Each of the adventures (one per chapter) seems to be different from the other one with the only common element being our hero. In fact, after reading this novel, the unsuspecting reader might view it as a collection of short stories. (Don't believe me? Just read some of the reviews on Amazon's American site.)

I'm here to tell you that this novel is definitely NOT a collection of short stories. As the author tells us above, each seemingly separate adventure is "connected...and yet disconnected."

I forgot to tell you that each time McEvoy goes to a different place, he doesn't remember how he got there. He has memory problems and other problems. Our hero has many "chance encounters" and "game-show twists" in his life.

I especially liked two things about this novel: the science and the humor.

Impey describes, through his characters, all the science quite well throughout his novel. The more of a science background you have, the more you'll probably enjoy this novel. (Realize though, you don't have to have a science background to read this novel.)

The humor found throughout is impeccable. (Impey must have been laughing uncontrollably to himself as he was writing some of this stuff.) Much of this humour is blended with fantasy. The separate fantasies (whether funny or not) that occur throughout this novel should tell you that something strange is going on.

Now, to answer the question posed in the title of this review: Is this a science-fiction novel? Definitely YES (but it's not obvious). In fact, it's an exceptional sci-fi novel! However, you'll only realize this if you consider the "big-picture," and not the snapshots presented in each chapter.

Tips on reading this novel:

(1) Carefully read the preface (much of which is reproduced above)
(2) Pay attention to detail
(3) Pay attention to the science
(4) Give special attention to the first chapter
(5) After you have read this novel, carefully analyze the two lists of objects found in it.
(6) Don't worry if you don't "get" this novel initially. (For me, I never understood this novel until I finished it!)

Finally, I found the cover image of this novel (displayed above by Amazon) quite relevant to its title. This cover image's artistic title is "Wintery."

In conclusion, Chris Impey has written an impressive debut novel. Now, the question is:

"Will he quit his day job and write only science fiction novels?"

(Perhaps he already has in some "shadow" universe.)

(first published 2013; preface; 7 chapters or 28 sections; 4 sections per chapter; main narrative 325 pages; about the author)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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[New Technology] OxyLED T10 COB(Chips on Board) 7-Level Touch / Sliding Sensitive Control Dimmer, Eye-care LED Desk Lamp with Free Angle Adjustment Gooseneck (Piano Black)
[New Technology] OxyLED T10 COB(Chips on Board) 7-Level Touch / Sliding Sensitive Control Dimmer, Eye-care LED Desk Lamp with Free Angle Adjustment Gooseneck (Piano Black)
Offered by Hisgadget Canada
Price: CDN$ 62.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 62.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stylish, ultra-modern desk lamp that adopts energy-efficient solid-state Light-Emitting Diode (LED) technology, June 28 2014
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"[1] Seven levels [of] brightness
[2] Eye-protection
[3] Free-angle adjustment [of lamp light]
[4] Safe touching [or easy touching of lamp brightness controls]

[5] Long life [of LED bulbs]
[6] Energy saving
[7] Eco-friendly
[8] Top-class LED"

The above eight features are what you'll find printed on the back of the box that contains this ultra-modern lamp by OxyLED. (The name of this lamp that's printed on the box is "Dimmable COB Smart LED Desk Lamp" where "COB" stands for "Chips On-Board.")

Contents of the box:

(1) Desk lamp
(2) Adapter (attached to one end of a cord with a round plug-in at the other end)
(3) Instruction manual (six pages)
(4) Warranty card

I immediately took the lamp out of its box and was impressed by its design (pictured above by Amazon). This lamp appears to be of modular design consisting of these components:

(1) Lamp base (which has a touch panel to adjust brightness)
(2) Lamp arm (that is bendable or adjustable)
(3) Lamp head (that has the COB LED bulbs)

I was also amazed by this lamp's stability considering that you can bend the lamp arm a full ninety degrees from the vertical, it's not heavy, and it has a small base diameter.

This lamp is quite easy to set-up and operate. The instruction manual has large diagrams to guide you. Actually, I should say that it's "lucky" that there are diagrams because some of what's written can be confusing. For example, the adapter (indicated above) is referred to as a "charger" several times.

As well, the diagram showing angle adjustment in the instruction manual seems to be wrong. It shows how the angle can be adjusted through ninety degrees from, what appears, to be an arbitrary reference point. This diagram is incorrect because it doesn't take the ninety degree angle from vertical. In other words, you can only bend the lamp arm maximally from vertical to horizontal (or horizontal to vertical). Doing otherwise may cause damage.

I tried to find the longevity of this lamp's LED from the instruction manual. I encountered these statements: "LEDs have a lifetime of many tens of thousands of hours" and "Extremely long service life: >10000 hours." As you can see, nothing specific was given. By chance, I noticed on the box this lamp came in, a clearly defined information square above feature [5] indicated at the beginning of this review. It said "20 years 50,000 hours."

I take this to mean that the LED in this lamp has a longevity of (50,000 hours or 20 years). Is this true? Doing the math and crunching the numbers, (50,000 hours actually equals about 5.5 years). This result assumes that the lamp is on twenty-four hours a day for 365 days a year.

Perhaps, what they mean is that the lamp can be used for 20 years but only when used a certain amount of hours per day. (Certainly not twenty-four hours per day as indicated above.) Again, doing the math reveals the lamp could be used for just under 7 hours per day!! This is astonishing! (Personally, I thought this usage per day was going to be much, much less but the numbers don't lie.) This information should be in the instruction manual.

The instruction manual indicated nothing about support for this lamp if something goes wrong (such as a defective LED bulb burning out). No telephone numbers or Internet addresses are given. There is no mention of a warranty.

However, what the manual does say is "not [to] attempt to dismantle [this] lamp."

There is a separate "warranty card." (This card is small and I almost missed it.) It states that "You can return this product [within the warranty period] for a replacement for any valid reason as defined in our return policy." As well, an Internet address is given. I could not find any "return policy."

I checked out this lamp's website. It has a support page and there is a return policy. (Note that there is other stuff on this website, not just this lamp.)

Finally, I should explain my final rating. This lamp is "cool." It is sleek, stylish and easy to operate. I especially liked that it is LED eye protective and has a nifty angle adjustment. The light produced is soothing and relaxing. I give the lamp itself a rating of 5 stars. I was not impressed with the instruction manual for the reasons I outlined above. I give it 3 stars. My final rating is an average of these two separate ratings.

In conclusion, this ultra-modern "Dimmable COB Smart LED Desk Lamp" should provide you with solid performance for many years!!!

{LED bulb longevity: 50,000 hours (or 20 years using lamp 6 hours and 50 minutes per day); BASE DIAMETER: 4.5"; Length (bendable arm); 14"; Height (arm fully vertical): 25.5"; Height (arm fully horizontal): 14.5"; CORD LENGTH: 55"; Weight: 2.5 lb; Colours: piano black or snowflake white; Model: T10; WARRANTY: 1 year; Website: hisgadget dot com; Made in China}

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Bilingual Widescreen Edition)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Bilingual Widescreen Edition)
Price: CDN$ 8.88
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars YES! A worthy sequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark", June 21 2014
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"The search for the cup of Christ is the search for the divine in all of us."

The above line comes from this fantasy-adventure film that was directed by Steven Spielberg from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. This is the third installment in the "Indiana Jones" franchise.

The "cup of Christ" in the above quotation refers to the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and used to collect drops of Jesus' blood at the Crucifixion.

Harrison Ford, Denholm Elliott (1922 to 1992), and John Rhys-Davis reprise their roles as Indiana Jones, Marcus Brody, and Sallah respectively.

Sean Connery (who played the first 007)gives an outstanding performance as Indy's father, Professor Henry Jones, Sr. (Recall that Indiana Jones hates snakes. Can you guess what his father hates?)

In this film, set largely in 1938, Indy searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by the Germans (because they want his knowledge to find the Grail).

River Phoenix (1970 to 1993) appears in the opening sequence of this movie as Young Indiana Jones. He gives an exceptional performance. This sequence shows the origins of Indiana Jones' hat (a fedora), bullwhip, chin scar, and phobia to snakes.

Also, look for the mature Indiana Jones' face to face encounter with Adolf Hitler (1889 to 1945) and the three booby traps he must overcome to obtain the Grail.

Spielberg wanted to make this film because he wanted "to apologize for the second one." (The second film was "Temple of Doom" [1984].)

You'll find that this movie has the spirit and tone of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). It does not quite reach the heights of "Raiders" and definitely avoided the lows of "Temple." This movie has the added advantage of showing a good father-son dynamic.

The wonderful music of the great John Williams adds to each scene.

It was filmed in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Jordan, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, and California.

Finally, the DVD itself (released in 2008) has six interesting extras.

In conclusion, Indiana Jones returns in all his exciting glory in this movie!! And remember, in archaeology, "'X' never ever marks the spot."

**** 1/2

(1989; 2 hr excluding end credits; wide screen; 36 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
by Ray Jayawardhana
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.17
7 used & new from CDN$ 3.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over "God" particle and make room for the--"Ghost" particle, June 15 2014
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"[The theoretical physicist Wolfgang] Pauli [1900 to 1958] composed a now-famous letter and addressed it: 'Dear Radioactive Ladies and Gentlemen.' In it, Pauli declared that he had 'hit upon a desperate remedy' to salvage the law of energy conservation [which says, (energy in = energy out)] in beta decay. [Beta decay is a type of radioactivity.]

He proposed [or hypothesized] that electrically neutral particles exist in the [atom's] nucleus, and referred to them as 'neutrons.'

Pauli elaborated: 'The continuous beta spectrum would then be understandable on the assumption that in beta decay, along with the electron, a neutron is emitted as well, in such a way that the sum of energies of the neutron and the electron is constant.'"

The above extract comes from this fascinating and surprisingly easy-to-read book by Ray Jayawardhana. He is an astronomer at the University of Toronto (in Ontario, Canada) where he holds a Canada Research Chair in observational astrophysics. Jayawardhana is also an award-winning science writer. (He has recently been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science at York University, also in Toronto.)

The above extract is what started the hunt for the ghostly particles called neutrinos. Note that the great physicist Enrico Fermi (1901 to 1954) coined the name "neutrino" (meaning "little neutral one" in Italian) to distinguish Pauli's hypothesized particle from the neutron (which was discovered a couple of years after Pauli's 1930 letter was written).

It's all here. Everything you wanted to know about neutrinos and the intrepid scientists determined to find them. And all of it presented in an easy-to-read format.

Along the way, the reader will bump into such things as the "solar neutrino problem" (which remained unsolved for three decades), supernovas (exploding stars), and the matter/antimatter inequality problem.

This book concludes with the possible practical applications of neutrinos.

Finally, at the back of the book is a "Time Line" or, more specifically, a Neutrino Time Line (beginning in the year 1896 and concluding in 2013) that basically sums up the entire book. There is also a helpful glossary especially for those whose science background may be shaky.

In conclusion, remember that "Whenever anything cool happens in the universe, neutrinos are usually involved." To understand this statement, you must read this book!!

(first published 2013; 8 chapters; main narrative 190 pages; time line; glossary; notes; acknowledgements; index; about the author)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes
Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes
by Svante Paabo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.53
18 used & new from CDN$ 6.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Molecular biology [can] contribute fundamentally new and unexpected knowledge to paleontology", June 7 2014
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"That December I felt a satisfaction rare in my scientific career. What had started as a secret hobby when I was a graduate student in my native Sweden over thirty years ago had resulted in a project that seemed like science fiction when we announced it a little over four years ago [in May of 2010 via the journal 'Science']."

The above comes from the last paragraph of this VERY interesting book by Svante Paabo. He is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics. Paabo is one of the founders of paleogenetics. (A discipline that uses the methods of genetics to study early humans and other ancient populations.) He is now the director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (in Leipzig, Germany).

What was the "project that seemed like science fiction" mentioned above? None other than sequencing the Neanderthal genome!! (A genome is all the genetic material of an organism while Neanderthals are an extinct species of human, possibly a subspecies of H. sapiens.)

It's all here. Beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies (in the 1980s) and culminating in the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome (in 2010), this book details all the events, intrigues, failures, and triumphs of this time through the eyes of a true pioneer.

Why is this all important? Because it offers insight into the question of who we modern humans are through our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals.

This book concludes with a DNA analysis of a finger bone found in the Denisova cave in Siberia.

What I especially liked was Paabo's adherence to the scientific method and what he says about science. In other words, this is THE book to read if you want to learn how REAL science is REALLY done.

I only had two problems with this book. First, I think a glossary would have been beneficial and second, I think some of the finer points of the author's life could have been omitted.

Finally, the image on the front cover (displayed above by Amazon) is a Neanderthal skull (H. sapiens neanderthalensis).

In conclusion, this book details the incredible personal story of one scientist's quest for our human origins using genetics as his scientific tool!!!

(first published 2014; preface; 23 chapters; postscript; main narrative 255 pages; notes; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Widescreen)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 8.88
12 used & new from CDN$ 5.39

2.0 out of 5 stars What Happened??, May 31 2014
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This is a fantasy-adventure film is a prequel to the smashing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) even though it's the second installment of the "Indiana Jones" franchise. As with "Raiders," it was directed by Steven Spielberg with the story being by George Lucas.

After arriving in India, Indy (Harrison Ford) is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees. To help him in his quest are Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott (Kate Capshaw), a nightclub singer, and his eleven-year-old Chinese sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). Along the way, the trio stumble on an evil cult.

S. Spielberg, G. Lucas, and Dan Aykroyd all have cameos.

For those seeking the thrills and excitement of "Raiders," you will be disappointed.

This is what the director said in 1989 about his OWN movie:

"I wasn't happy with [this movie] at all. It was too dark, too subterranean, and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered "Poltergeist" [a 1982 horror movie he co-wrote]. There's not an ounce of my own personal feeling in [this movie]."

(He said later that the greatest thing he got out of this film is that he met Kate Capshaw who later became his wife.)

Kate Capshaw called her character "not much more than a dumb, screaming blond."

However, if you like voodoo, child slavery, human sacrifice, the ripping out of human hearts, hanging, immolation, the slapping of children, excessive violence (I've only mentioned a few things), then this movie is for you! Out of this mix, this film has been praised for its intensity and imagination. (Go figure!!)

The reason I gave this movie the rating I did was because of the great John Williams' music and for certain scenes:

(1) The rock crusher
(2) The mine car chase
(3) The rope bridge
(4) The spike chamber

This movie, incredible as it seems, has grossed more than three hundred and thirty-three million dollars. I think the reasons for this is that people thought they would be seeing a movie of the calibre of "Raiders" and simple curiosity - they wanted to see for themselves what all the controversy was about.

Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2003) has one extra.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend that you don't let children watch this movie. They may get traumatized!!

** 1/2

(1984; 1 hr, 53 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 31 scenes)

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