I got what I wanted out of this book for sure, plus a lot more that I didn't really care about.
The useful stuff you may learn (if you know this stuffI got what I wanted out of this book for sure, plus a lot more that I didn't really care about.
The useful stuff you may learn (if you know this stuff already, I would not recommend this beginners-level book)
1) The difference between a class and an ID 2) How to use descendent selectors 3) How to make use of inheritance to optimize CSS code 4) How to calculate "specificity" which is what determines which style gets displayed in case of conflicting styles for the same element (the style with the greatest specificity wins). 5) How to use
s instead of s for page layout (and why this is so much more powerful) 6) The intricacies of using floats for positioning of elements 7) What the significance of the word "cascade" is in Cascading Style Sheets 8) Some very basic idiot-proof decorating tricks and positioning tricks for page elements
The totally useless stuff you will wade through:
1) Endless IE-6 hacks to fix bugs. 2) Redundancy! I know this book was written so that each chapter could stand on its own, but it's really really frustrating to read the same sentences over and over if you're reading from cover-to-cover.
This book will NOT make you into a web designer by any means, but by working through all the tutorials (which can be downloaded here: http://sawmac.com/css2e/) you will start to get some idea of what works -- and how easy it is to make a webpage that looks really nice with just a few lines of code. The book covers all the basics and gives you a flavor of CSS3 in the final chapter.
I went into this book knowing it had tons of negative reviews, and I fully expected to hate it. I even generally do hate books about slovenly drunk glI went into this book knowing it had tons of negative reviews, and I fully expected to hate it. I even generally do hate books about slovenly drunk gluttonous egocentric men who serially cheat on their succession of wives (the main character, nobel laureate in physics, Michael Beard). How could I not hate this guy? I tried. But I found myself patiently listening as he unravelled his shame and his self-loathing, and all of his disheveled thoughts.
Ian McEwan was careful not to make this guy into a caricature, although he does come dangerously close to that blurry line. I think the tenuous thread that keeps Michael Beard just barely this side of not-utterly-despicable, is that he is such a richly complex character. And because part of me just can't hate a climate scientist, no matter how accidentally and begrudgingly he stumbled into the field. "Judge me by my results" is italicized on p.10 (hardcover), which one could imagine would be Beard's death-bed plea -- that we must look away from his wretched personal life, and concentrate on how he saved the planet (no, that's not a spoiler -- the planet is not saved by his invention, surprise, surprise).
With Beard becoming increasingly dotardly as the decades roll by, one could imagine that if the book extended another 20 years, he might come to think he had saved the world. Beard does seem to enjoy the pleasure of thinking that all is right in the world and his life, and doesn't like distractions and inconvenient thruths. He's a bit of an incurable optimist. One gets the impression that the magical summer in which he was furiously engaged in the calculations that would win him the Nobel Prize, left a mark on him. Like a tattoo, he will never be able to scrub off the optimism of that summer, despite increasing evidence that the planet and his personal life is doomed.
It's hard not to focus this review of "Solar" on the main character, but really the book is so much more than this. It's got social commentary. It's got physics-for-poets. It's got poets for poets! It is beautifully written, and a heady yet breezy-fast read. The science itself is vague, but has at least been proofread by a real physicist, so I didn't encounter anything seriously jarring (I am, myself, a physicist, but I obviously wasn't expecting to learn anything new from a piece of fiction). There was also nothing particularly revolutionary in McEwan's portrayal of the world climate debate, and how politics can easily, and does, f*$%k up scientific progress. Nothing new here.
But I was still pleased to see an author of McEwan's popularity take on the subject, if only to raise the awareness of a few more humanities-types, and to acknowledge that climate change is now such a huge and global issue that it can no longer be ignored by anyone, anywhere. That is why I give 4 stars to this book (which is pretty much my highest rating, as I save 5 stars for books that changed my life on some dramatic scale).
This book is fantastic. There are at least 400 pages-worth of information crammed into those 176 pages. This book is definitely not written with the bThis book is fantastic. There are at least 400 pages-worth of information crammed into those 176 pages. This book is definitely not written with the beginner programmer in mind. Even for an intermediate programmer such as myself, I often needed to read sentences three or four times in order to understand them. (Not because the writing was sloppy, but because of having to scour the depths of my brain to remember the meaning of terms like "lexical scope" and "prototypal inheritance").
A great primer into the mind of a politician who wants to slash the government down to size, eliminate the Fed, eliminate all income taxes, bring homeA great primer into the mind of a politician who wants to slash the government down to size, eliminate the Fed, eliminate all income taxes, bring home the troops, and use our absurdly bloated military spending to tackle our mounting debt.
I think using the word "Revolution" to describe his way of thinking is not far off the mark, when he's talking about foreign policy and the Constitution. However, I think his great ideas end there. Sure, there's also a lot that Ron Paul says in his book that's not hard to love (torture is bad! our health care system is insane! unchecked executive power is dangerous!) but it's not particularly controversial either.
What leads me to give only three stars are a couple of issues that he reveals himself to be woefully ignorant. He claims, for instance, that we can use the court system to take care of all of our pesky environmental problems by invoking the people's right to sue the business next door for pollution which causes us direct and provable harm. Ron Paul is stuck in 1970, when all the big industrial cities smelled like rotten eggs. He does not realize that CO2 is invisible and has no smell. It is incredibly naive to think that we can reverse the current levels of greenhouse gases by hauling all big businesses off to court. Wait, it's beyond naive, it's more like WTF? His claim is that IF we'd trusted the free market all along, we wouldn't be in this mess, and all our industries would be a shining utopian sea of green. Yay! Well, welcome to reality, my friends. Ron Paul wants to turn back the clock, yet offers no solutions to the reality on the ground.
Granted, the environment is the issue that I vote on, and his voting record on environmental issues is abysmal. So if you think the green movement is a bunch of hype, maybe Paul is your man. Oh, and if you don't care much about the privacy rights of women, (see his passionate pro-life argument, which uses the oh-so-sophisticated shock-and-traumatize tactics that you see from the likes of the picketers you see in front of Planned Parenthood --- CLASSY!), then maybe Paul is your man.
Enough complaining though. Ron Paul is an intelligent guy, clearly an intellectual, who is spot on when it comes to how our government should work. This book inspired me to try to wade through the tangled mess that is our current economic situation and try to make heads or tails of it. As other reviewers commented, this is a nice introduction to some revolutionary ideas, but he doesn't delve very deep. My sense is that that reflects more on what he was trying to create (a popular book) than on any limitations of his understanding of economics (if not the environment)....more
I came at this book expecting it to be in the genre of sciencey, philosophical, post modern brain-candy fiction. This was all based on the cover, andI came at this book expecting it to be in the genre of sciencey, philosophical, post modern brain-candy fiction. This was all based on the cover, and the fact that I knew the author had also written a book entitled "The Elementary Particles". I should know not to form expectations based on such things, but I did anyway. And it was a good effort on Houellebecq's part too. I am not, not, not a hard-core science-fiction fan, but I was amused, intrigued. Especially at the last chapter, which I won't talk about here. Anyway, this is not a science fiction book at all. Nor is it a dystopia novel. It is fiction. The reason it only gets three stars is that it really seems like the author believes what he is writing is an astute observation of the reality of most human experience. I wasn't buying it, not any of it. And I know there was some artistic point to all of this, some deeper meaning behind his going on and on and on-and-on-and-on about how all social interaction is meaningless without a physical component, OK! I get the point, and it just ain't so. ...more
There is a lot of shouting in this book. Dialog that is really more monologue, and quite mentally exhausting monologue at that. His characters seem toThere is a lot of shouting in this book. Dialog that is really more monologue, and quite mentally exhausting monologue at that. His characters seem to have trouble getting the point succinctly. I get it that Roth is trying to get us to think about Jewishness and identity and fiction and madness and male impotence and political activism ... and about ten billion other things. This is definitely a think tank of a book, and I love that. But it's so ironic that one of the character's horribly anti-semitic complaints is that Jews are boring, because it was just about then that the book itself started to get very boring. Or well, perhaps not boring but tedious.
The book was not without redeeming qualities though. It was twisty and very "meta fiction", as other reviewers have pointed out. I sympathize with characters who think themselves into a pickle. The writing itself is very fine indeed, but I think the book just lost it's punch somewhere along the way because it was about 50 pages longer than it needed to be. ...more