Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

April 25, 2007

From the book jacket:
Long before there was VHS versus Betamax, Windows versus Macintosh, or Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD, the first and nastiest standards war was fought between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).

AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison bet wrong in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison’s inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the “operating system” for his future inventions—not to mention the company he founded, which would later become General Electric.

The battle over whether alternating or direct current would be the standard for transmitting electricity around the world changed the lives of billions of people, shaped the modern technological age, and set the stage for all standards wars to follow. Today’s Digital Age wizards can take lessons from Edison’s fierce battle—control an invention’s technical standard and you control the market.

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How Fat Works

April 24, 2007

From the book jacket:

An experimental pathologist and molecular geneticist, Philip Wood uses gene-knockout technology to study the way mouse genes regulate the metabolism of fat–research that provides insights into the workings of fatty-acid metabolism in humans and what can happen when that metabolic balance goes awry. Based on the classes he regularly teaches to first- and second-year medical students, Wood’s book reviews the individual and public health burden of obesity and clarifies often-used, but often inadequately explained, terms employed in the continuing cultural and scientific debate about excess fat. He explains the role of fat in the healthy body, how fat is made, stored, and burned, and demonstrates how excess fat can lead to an array of metabolic disorders and diseases, from hypercholesterolemia and insulin resistance to diabetes. He reviews what recent research can tell us about specific genes or groups of genes that can lead to specific metabolic disorders. He explains the science behind common weight-loss regimens and why those regimens might succeed or fail, and reviews the complex interplay of hormones, genes, and stress in the way our bodies deal with fat through the life cycle. How Fat Works is a concise, clear, and up-to-date primer on the workings of fat, and essential reading for professionals entering careers in medicine and public health administration or anyone wanting a better understanding of one of our most urgent health crises.

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Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist

April 24, 2007

From the book jacket:
“I’m an evolutionary biologist and a Christian,” states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she has written an eloquent and persuasive discourse on reconciling evolutionary biology and the Bible.

Perhaps only someone with Roughgarden’s unique academic standing could examine so well controversial issues such as the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, or the potential flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Certainly Roughgarden is uniquely suited to reference both the minutiae of scientific processes and the implication of Biblical verses. Whether the topic is mutation rates and lizards or the hidden meanings behind St. Paul’s letters, Evolution and Christian Faith distils complex arguments into everyday understanding. Roughgarden has scoured the Bible and scanned the natural world, finding examples time and again, not of conflict, but of harmony.

The result is an accessible and intelligent context for seeing a Christian vision of the world within evolutionary biology. In the ongoing debates of religion versus science, Evolution and Christian Faith will be seen as a work of major significance, written for contemporary readers who wonder how-or if-they can embrace scientific advances while maintaining their traditional values.

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City of Bits

March 28, 2007

From the book jacket:

Entertaining, concise, and relentlessly probing, City of Bits is a comprehensive introduction to a new type of city, an increasingly important system of virtual spaces interconnected by the information superhighway. William Mitchell makes extensive use of practical examples and illustrations in a technically well-grounded yet accessible examination of architecture and urbanism in the context of the digital telecommunications revolution, the ongoing miniturization of electronics, the commodification of bits, and the growing domination of software over materialized form.

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Raising children who think for themselves

February 26, 2007

From the book jacket:

Raising Children who Think for Themselves offers a new approach to parenting that has the power to reverse the trend of external direction in our children and help parents bring up empathetic, self-confident, moral, independent thinkers. Children who are externally directed make decisions based on peer groups, violent movies, sexually explicit television shows, and rap lyrics that permeate their lives. When children are self-directed, on the other hand, they use their power of reason like a sword to cut through the jungle of external influences. Fortunately the author shows us, it is never too late to foster in our children the ability to weigh options, consider sources, and think for themselves.

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Parenting Teens with Love and Logic

February 22, 2007

From the book jacket:

When kids hit their teen years, parenting takes on a whole new dimension. As they struggle toward independence and autonomy, some dicey issues emerge. And the real world you want them to be ready for can make you shudder — kids today face life-and-death decisions long before they’re on their own.

So what do you do? Hover over them so they won’t get hurt? Drill them so they’ll do the right thing? According to Jim Fay and Foster Cline, hovering and drilling won’t prepare teens for the real world. Because they learn responsibility like they learn everything else: through practice.

That’s where love-and-logic parenting comes in. Love means giving your teens opportunities to be responsible and empowering them to make their own decisions. Logic means allowing them to live with the natural consequences of their mistakes — and showing empathy for the pain, disappointment, and frustration they’ll experience.

Whether you’ve used the love-and-logic approach all along, or are looking for some extra help during adolescence, Parenting Teens with Love and Logic will give you a fresh look at:

* The difference between punishment and consequences

* How teens deal with self-esteem, control, descisions, and consequences

* How to set up situations so your teen can learn constructive lessons about responsibility

* How your kids grow from childhood to adolescence — and how you can grow with them

* The internal and external changes your teen will go through

* Parenting “pearls” that deal with everyday struggles

When you parent with love and logic,  it’s a win-win situation. You win because you’ll learn to love in a healthy way and effectively guide your teens, without resorting to anger, threats, and power struggles that will haunt them along the path to adulthood. And your teens win because they’ll learn responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems and acquiring the tools they’ll need to cope with the real world.

As a parent, you face no greater challenge — and no greater opportunity —  than to guide your children through their teen years toward productive, happy,  and responsible adulthood. Parenting Teens with Love and Logic will help you meet that challenge and rejoice in that opportunity.

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The Shame of the Nation

February 6, 2007



From the book jacket:“The nation needs to be confronted with the crime that we’re committing and the promises we are betraying. This is a book about betrayal of the young, who have no power to defend themselves. It is not intended to make readers comfortable.”

Over the past several years, Jonathan Kozol has visited nearly 60 public schools. Virtually everywhere, he finds that conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. First, a state of nearly absolute apartheid now prevails in thousands of our schools. The segregation of black children has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968. Few of the students in these schools know white children any longer. Second, a protomilitary form of discipline has now emerged, modeled on stick-and-carrot methods of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons but targeted exclusively at black and Hispanic children. And third, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education in our inner-city schools has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children and their teachers and some of the most revered and trusted leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation is a triumph of firsthand reporting that pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems by the Bush administration. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.

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Parenting Teens with Love and Logic

February 6, 2007


From the book jacket: Foster Cline, M.D., and Jim Fay’s “Love and Logic” approach to parenting teens which confronts us with the many challenges facing teens and their parents. The technique teaches parents to allow their children to learn about solving their own problems by setting up choices and consequences. The authors examine anxious episodes parents may endure with teens. They present the principles with a directness that maintains the reader’s attention throughout. B.J.L.

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Thinking for Yourself

January 30, 2007



From the book jacket: An excellent book that covers such diverse subjects as critical thinking, observation skills, word usage, communication, facts and reality, inferences, assumptions, opinions, viewpoints, arguments, fallacies, inductive and deductive reasoning, research skills and problem solving. And within each subject is a very well defined and easily understood definition of that subject along with examples of each. The chapter quiz found at the end of each chapter helps to ingrain and reinforce the lesson. The book is insightful and well written. Done with great skill as one is actually able to understand the premise and meaning of each topic/lesson.

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Write On!

January 30, 2007

write on

From the book jacket: Here’s a practical grammar reference book and style guide that will help you with all your writing projects, including essays and term papers. You’ll learn how to avoid common writers’ pitfalls, gain a clear understanding of parts of speech and sentence construction, punctuate your sentences correctly, and select rewarding topics to write about. You’ll also find abundant advice on the use of figurative language—similes, metaphors, symbolism, and other devices that transform mundane prose into pleasurable reading. Exercises, a writing test, and an appendix filled with useful information are included to help you hone your writing skills.

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