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Floris Brownstone (Raleigh, NC United States)

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The Art of Computer Programming: Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd Edition)
The Art of Computer Programming: Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd Edition)
by Donald E. Knuth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 78.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 56.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Encyclopedia of Algorithms, July 11 2004
(...) This is a book about the science of algorithms. Algorithm's are either right or wrong.
Knuth uses the MIX programming language thoughout, and if you hope to learn programming by reading this book, you should look elsewhere. Someday we'll have 2^40 registers and that will introduce a new set of problems. And yet we will still be trying to make our programs work faster on some, as yet, uninvented architecture. And people will still be reading Knuth.
A good reference for serious computer science students. Others should look at O'Reilly. That have some really good books.
This is an encyclopedia of what is known about sorting and searching and what computers can do. It is nothing else.
Graduate students in computer science (especially those in theory, algorithms and the occasional compiler fan) will benefit. Hackers will probably not benefit from this book.

The Annals of London: A Year-by-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History
The Annals of London: A Year-by-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History
by John Richardson
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 18.48

5.0 out of 5 stars An American Anglophile's Dream, June 8 2004
I would recommend this gem of a book to American Anglophiles.
I found this wonderful volume when I was shuffling through a used bookstore in Raleigh, NC, while my soon to be ex was pouring over the gardening section. I came upon "The Annals of London: A Year-by-Year Record of a Thousand Years of History" just by chance. I sat down and opened it up. I was transfixed for the next two hours. It is very compelling.
This book reads like a slow-motion history of western civilization: Every page (it's organized like a newspaper) has a tidbit.
It is a gripping tale. The inevitability of freedom is evident. The people of London ignore their leaders with a very satisfying frequency.
Interesting tidbits: Henry VIII's coffin exploded while laying in Westminster, and his remains were eaten by dogs. Fleet street sewers. The demolition of the Globe and a not widely popular playwrite. Murders and anarchy. Flatulant leaders and the beginings of English socialism. This book is an incredible archive, and I would recommend it to any fellow American who has a fascination for mother England.
A bit wordy in that British sort of way, but like any good newspaper, you can skip the parts that don't interest you.

How Good Are You at Backgammon?: 50 Challenging Situations for You to Rate Your Ability with the Experts
How Good Are You at Backgammon?: 50 Challenging Situations for You to Rate Your Ability with the Experts
by Nicholaos S Tzannes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.91
20 used & new from CDN$ 1.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Aug. 26 2003
The authors describe themselves as world champion backgammon players. I have no reason to doubt this claim. However as expositors of backgammon, they fall fairly far from championship status.
The book presents a series of backgammon positions. Given a board position, a roll, and the cube, the reader is asked to find the best move. The authors then assign from one to five points to the reader's selection (assuming that the reader decided upon one of the authors' preselected moves, of course.)
Most of the introductory positions are uncontroversial. The authors quickly move on to more complicated board positions however, and here is where the trouble begins. In many positions, they tend to favor the safe play. Certainly a recognized style, but stating that the safe play is the best play, without a discussion of the cube, the score, or any alternatives seems like hubris.
In one problem, the authors state that "black is far enough ahead to run in this position", but they make no attempt to quantify what they mean by "far enough ahead", nor is there even any discussion of how to determine when one player is ahead. In another position, where they also advocate a safe play, they make no mention of the possibility of playing for a gammon, and the pro's and con's of that decision.
The book doesn't present enough basic principles to be of use to the novice: There are no discussions of pip counts, very little of bearing off, and only a muddled mention of hitting probabilities. The experienced player will find himself disagreeing with the authors without gaining any insight from them.

Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems
Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems
by Selwyn Hollis
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 21.05

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Introduction to DE, July 31 2003
Dr. Hollis here gives us a book that explains, in plain terms, the very esoteric subject of differential equations.
The subject should not be esoteric. The limit is encountered in every man's life. Here, we finally see it in action. This is the author's forte. He knows his subject completely.
Hollis has a simple, yet very adventurous plan: Mathematics without appeal to the physical world can not appeal to the average man. In this, he succeeds beyond all expectations.
The Mathematica examples are astounding. Have you ever seen a ticking watch flick, or wondered about the bright moon sailing across the sky, or watched in horror as a raw egg fled from your hand to the floor and wondered: "What happened?" This is the book for you. His explanation of Runge-Kutta is the best I've seen.
The only weakness I perceive is in the section on Laplace transforms. Laplace transforms should require only a mechanical mathematician and some knowledge. Given that Laplace transforms are a fundamental tool, I would have expanded this chapter. The average engineer needs a sound basis. The classroom teacher can decide for himself what his students need.
The last chapters should appeal to those who want to "push the envelope". The equations lay down very neatly and precisely what can and can not be done.
Writing: Very clear. Lot's of examples help the average to excellent student.
Overall: Outstanding. A great learning tool.
Looking forward to the third edition.

The Queen is Dead
The Queen is Dead
by Mark Simpson
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Zeeland's most interesting book, Jan. 17 2003
This review is from: The Queen is Dead (Paperback)
"The Masculine Marine" is better.
Nevertheless, this is a good read on the airplane. It will shock the soccer mom from Washington who's sitting next to you in those cra
If you're looking for Andrew Cunanan tidbits, you'll find nothing but a tiny picture and some smart regret.

Hymns To The Silence
Hymns To The Silence
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 147.92
19 used & new from CDN$ 39.44

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a delight, Jan. 17 2003
This review is from: Hymns To The Silence (Audio CD)
What a delight to find that this CD is still in print. My old one caved after 7 years of listening, and I thought it was gone forever.
I own (or used to own :) the two CD set. The first CD is spiritual, hopeful, candid, and makes me think about how cool God can be. Probably not cool to say that, but listening to Van Morrison brings out the best in men.
The second CD is filler. That's why it only gets 4 stars. Still, the first CD is one of his best albums.

Backgammon For Serious Players
Backgammon For Serious Players
by Bill Robertie
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 0.14

4.0 out of 5 stars As the title suggests, best for serious players, Feb. 18 2002
Dr. Robertie presents over 100 problems in this book, all with serious analysis. Not for the novice, but if you're a backgammon hound, it's worth the read.
His analysis of the end game is especially good.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex*
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex*
by David Reuben
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all right, Feb. 20 2000
My parents gave this book to me when I was 14. I guess they thought they were doing the right thing, but now that I'm 37, I understand a lot more things. This book filled my head with so much wrong information. This might be a good title if you're curious about others, but it is not really about sex as much as it is about thinking sex is icky.
The number one thing I get from this book is that Dr. Reuban doesn't like the types of relationships many people have. He doesn't like single people who have not yet found a life-partner; he doesn't like teenagers discovering their sexuality in any manner; he doesn't like people over 60 who might not feel old; he doesn't like gays, he seems not to like black people.
Please buy a sex positive book before you buy this piece of misinformation. (...).

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