Sunday, 4 October 2015

The mathematics of love - Hannah Fry

On my mission if not to fall in love with mathematics, at least enjoy it enough to master the fundamentals, I have been dipping my toes in to the world of Pop.Math books.
The mathematics of love is the latest book I have tried and thankfully it was light on the advanced calculus and heavy on the common sense layman explanation.
Hannah throws in her love of mathematics and why as she, alongside authors of other books, try to convince me that math can be both fun and beautiful.
Looking at everything from the algebra of online dating to the best way, mathematically speaking, of finding a long term partner, this is possibly the best investment of a couple hours of your time you can get for the price.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Dark Knight - Dennis O'Neill

Following on from 'Batman begins' the Batman encounters the insane criminal known only as 'The Joker'.
While fighting an inner emotional turmoil over a childhood sweetheart and the chance to hang up the tights to allow Harvey Dent to become the hero Gotham needs, the hero the criminal underworld needs has stepped forward.
The Joker admitting the Batman 'completes him' doesn't want Batman dead anymore, but he does feel the need to inject a brand of anarchy in to Gotham and calls in to question the morals of both Batman and Gotham's inhabitants.
With the creation literally of two face to add to the melting pot, this turns out to be a good read, but could have been made better by greater detail of the action and fight scenes instead of speeding through them but...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Stevenson

The classic Victorian Gothic tale of a respectable and honourable gentleman, a man of science, a man that has lived a good life, a man with very little evil in him, that through scientific exploration allows the evil a release.
Using chemical compounds as a placebo Dr Henry Jekyll allows himself to give in to a moral slip, something a man in his position would never be allowed to do publicly. Being in control all the time, in the public eye, a professional, a gentleman, he finds his dark side needs some sort of release, however cognitive dissonance will not allow him to entertain such thoughts while wearing the mantle of Dr Jekyll.
So using his knowledge of chemistry he concocts a formula, a potion, to shake off the shackles of societal morality in an effort to give his darker side a form of release that he can intellectually square away to himself, if not to others.
As Dr Jekyll, he can not indulge his dark side, his pursuit of lower pleasures, of drinking, gambling, cavorting, fighting and down right meanness as we see Mr Hyde step on a child and walk on as the child cries, thinking nothing of it, a true Psychopath, no feeling of morality, of right or wrong, no inflexions, no remorse.
If this novel shows us anything it is the admission that if we hold a moral mirror to ourselves we can see we have a dark side, a side which we fight daily, a constant battle to do good, to be good over being 'bad'.
It is the fable of the two wolves living inside us all, one good, one bad. Constantly battling each other for supremacy. Which one wins? The one we feed.
Dr Jekyll excused his dark side by the pursuit of scientific discovery, what intellectual pardons do we tell ourselves every day for our behaviour when we allow our dark side to reign over us?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The flesh of the angel - Ben Counter

The Story
While engaged in a mission to destroy sslyth breeding grounds and stall their invasion of Imperial territories, Zameon Gydrael encounters an ancient foe of the Dark Angels Chapter - one of the legendary Fallen.

Read it because

It's not easy being a Dark Angel. Keeping all those secrets is tough enough even amongst other Dark Angels, but in the Deathwatch, it can be deadly. When Gydrael spots a Fallen in the midst of a vital alien-hunting mission, his decision to place Chapter above duty probably isn't going to end well for him... or anyone else.

ISBN 9781782517061             

The Synthetic storm affair - Robert Hart davis

Our intrepid U.N.C.L.E. agents are once again in perilous danger. Crash landing on an island inhabited by agents of T.H.R.U.S.H. can they escape and solve the mystery of the Synthetic Storm Affair.
With a strong female lead, this is another classic tale of thrills, spills and adventure featuring Napoleon and Kuryakin, with a special reference to Waterloo.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Necessary evil - Rob Sanders


The Story

Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak - scholar, adventurer, fugitive. Since fleeing the fabled Black Library of the eldar with the Atlas Infernal, he has been hunted by xenos, heretic and sorcerer just as he once hunted them. Guided and protected by this ancient tome bound in human skin, he has now found his way to the daemon world of Nereus in search of a powerful Chaos artefact. With Ahriman and the Thousand Sons racing to claim it for themselves, Czevak must scour the colony of Perdition's Landing if he is to outwit his old enemeis... but might this bedraggled outpost hide an even darker secret of its own?

Read it Because

Inquisitor Czevak, never the friendliest of Imperial servants, forges a genuine connection with a human surviving on a Chaos-tainted world... That can't end well. A fascinating exploration of how life clings on and humanity adapts to the most dangerous of circumstances... though sometimes with a little help from higher powers.

ISBN 9781785723018

Crisis economics - Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini, an economist, one of a handful, that predicted the crash of 2009. Saying that economics is a science, not a sideshow prediction model. For everyone economist including Roubini that got this one right, the elephant in the room is how many did they predict wrongly.
After all a room full of monkeys could write a Shakespeare play on a typewriter given enough time.
So Roubini shows off his massively inflated ego, gives credence to other economists that all had pieces of the puzzle, but it took the superior intellect of Roubini to fit the jigsaw pieces together to make a holistic approach that foresaw the crash but politicians didn't listen to his lone voice.
At least that is exactly how Roubini is portrayed in this book, some sort of economic, all seeing God that towers above the rest of us.
Well, economists don't know much about economics and politicians know even less. Perhaps next time Roubini embarks on a book mission, a little less self-hero worship and a little more on the nuts and bolts, then maybe I can take this more seriously.
As it stands this is a fluff piece with Roubini claiming "Told you so! Nanananana..." schoolboy antics. Not exactly the behaviour that warrants a Nobel prize, more a rubbing of many professionals the wrong way.