This is a go classic, written by Kaoru Iwamoto, who has kind of an interesting history. He was one of the players of the famous "atomic bomb game" thaThis is a go classic, written by Kaoru Iwamoto, who has kind of an interesting history. He was one of the players of the famous "atomic bomb game" that took place in the outskirts of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. Apparently he devoted much of his later career to spreading go to the West, which is why this is one of the most well-known go books in English.
Iwamoto doesn't write with the same "personality" as Toshiro Kageyama in Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. He doesn't want to scare beginners away. However, the amount of content in this book might be a little overwhelming for the true beginner. In its slim 148 pages, Iwamoto goes from explaining the rules and basic principles of play to some fairly sophisticated examples of life-and-death problems and joseki, and then provides a complete analysis of two of his own games. Nothing too advanced, but it's kind of like taking all of Janice Kim's Learn to Play Go series and stuffing it into one little book.
If you want just one book to start learning to play go, Go for Beginners would be a good choice. For more gradual book-learning, covering the same material but in much more detail and step-by-step, I would recommend Janice Kim's series as a starting point....more
Dia. 2. Black blocks at 1, of course. There is no need for him to wonder what White may do afterward. Given a chance like this, only a feeble-minded
Dia. 2. Black blocks at 1, of course. There is no need for him to wonder what White may do afterward. Given a chance like this, only a feeble-minded player would be uncertain where to play - 'not this point, not here either, perhaps I should leave the position as it is.' Black's hand should be trembling with eagerness to play 1. He should be overcome with emotion.
Toshiro Kageyama doesn't mince words. Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go may be visualized as Kageyama-sensei leaning over your go board and smacking the back of your head every time you make a stupid move. (Actually, he seems like quite a nice, if crusty, gentleman; he probably didn't smack people.) This book is neither a tutorial nor a dry textbook laying out go problems and josekis and handholding the student through their solutions. Another way to think of this book is Kageyama pointing at a particularly clever move and saying "Look at that! Isn't that awesome?" He loves go and he wants you to love go, too. But he wants you to stop being such a lazy dumbass about it.
I first read this book way, way back when I was first learning go (in college) and it did nothing for me. Don't be fooled by the title into thinking that "Fundamentals" means "Basics." This book is written for low-ranking kyu players, but ones who have already been playing for a while; Kageyama assumes you don't need any go terminology explained and that you have played enough go that when he says "Have you ever found yourself in this situation?" the reader will nod and say, "Yeah, that looks familiar."
As a (very slightly) more experienced player now, I was able to understand a lot more, but I still couldn't "get" a lot of it. Kageyama's explanations were clear enough, but I definitely got the feeling that fine points that he expected to be intuitive and obvious were... not. So I'll revisit this when I am a better player.
It's definitely worth reading for a low-ranking player. The chapters are:
Ladders and Nets
Cutting and Connecting
The Stones Go Walking
The Struggle to Get Ahead
Territory and Spheres of Influence
Life and Death
How to Study Joseki
Good Shape and Bad
Proper and Improper Moves
Tesuji: the Snap-Back; Shortage of Liberties; the Spiral Ladder; the Placement; the Attachment; Under the Stones
He inserts many personal anecdotes, from watching movies at the theater as a child to lecturing on NHK-TV, and ends the book with a detailed review of one of his own professional games, when as a young, low-ranking professional, he scored an upset victory against the Meijin (one of the best go players in the world at the time). Can't blame him for savoring a game like that! Going over his moves just highlights how much I don't understand; I could kind of follow what each player was doing, but it was nothing like my own games. Many of the moves seemed to radiate invisible lines of force affecting stones halfway across the board in ways I could not comprehend; even though Kageyama explains each move, it's like he's a physicist giving a dumbed-down explanation of string theory to an elementary school science class.
This is a go classic, and one that's meant to be read slowly and then reread....more
This is a very colloquially written but comprehensive survey of Ozark dialect. The authors discuss the history of Ozark dialect, regional variations,This is a very colloquially written but comprehensive survey of Ozark dialect. The authors discuss the history of Ozark dialect, regional variations, grammar, euphemisms, taboos, use of the dialect in fiction, and end the book with a glossary of Ozark words and phrases.
It's not organized like a reference book, so it's not easy to find a particular phrase or term, but if you are looking for an interesting read about Ozark customs and language, or want to get a good feel for the dialect for writing purposes, this is an excellent book....more
This is a very compact, densely written volume. It covers all the basics of machine learning: perceptrons, support vector machines, neural networks, dThis is a very compact, densely written volume. It covers all the basics of machine learning: perceptrons, support vector machines, neural networks, decision trees, Bayesian learning, etc. Algorithms are explained, but from a very high level, so this isn't a good reference if you're looking for tutorials or implementation details. However, it's quite handy to have on your shelf for a quick reference....more
Excellent intro to both Python programming and NLP. Assumes no prior familiarity with either, so this is a good book both for beginning CS students whExcellent intro to both Python programming and NLP. Assumes no prior familiarity with either, so this is a good book both for beginning CS students who know little to nothing about linguistics, and for beginning linguists who have no programming experience....more
This and Speech and Language Processing by Jurafsky and Martin are the two big introductory texts in natural language processing. I prefer the JurafskThis and Speech and Language Processing by Jurafsky and Martin are the two big introductory texts in natural language processing. I prefer the Jurafsky book; it goes into more detail, has more examples, and is written more for use as a class text. The Manning and Schutze book is much more mathematically oriented and goes into more detail on algorithms, so if you're focusing on the statistical aspect more than the language aspect, refer to this book. Ideally, you probably want both....more
This and Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing by Manning and Schutze are the two big introductory texts in natural language processiThis and Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing by Manning and Schutze are the two big introductory texts in natural language processing. I prefer the Jurafsky book; it goes into more detail, has more examples, and is written more for use as a class text. Make sure you get the second edition, though....more
This is one of those books like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" that tells us truths about our food that we sort of already knew, or at least suspected,This is one of those books like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" that tells us truths about our food that we sort of already knew, or at least suspected, but probably didn't really want to have dragged out into the harsh light of day to be confronted. No one reading this book is going to be surprised to learn that fast food isn't very good and isn't very healthy. But you will learn just HOW unhealthy it is. It's not just that the raw materials are of low quality and processed beyond recognition, until they're almost devoid of nutritive content. It's also that the regulatory agencies we think are ensuring the safety of the food we eat are under the thumb of the fast food industry, and this book tells some real horror stories about contamination and unsanitary food preparation.
But "Fast Food Nation" won't just appall you with regard to what you put in your mouth. It also tells us how the industry works, how fast food has contributed to the decline of the family farm, why so much of America's farmland and beef and chicken industries exist to service fast food chains, and the dirty, dangerous, and low-paid conditions in which employees throughout the supply chain work. Your Big Mac has a real cost, both economic and social.
The author did not write some kind of socialist anti-business screed, though. Schlosser writes with humor and an appreciation for the quintessential Americanness of fast food. He traces the rise of McDonald's and Carl's Jr., and how they are linked to Disney, takes us inside their corporate headquarters, and shows us some other American businesses that have resisted the mass produced uniformity of fast food.
"Fast Food Nation" takes a long hard look at the industry, but it's not an expose so much as an "unauthorized biography"... of the business and the people involved in it. ...more
On the surface, "Freakonomics" is a collection of interesting factoids and anecdotes leading to conclusions, some of which are very counterintuitive.On the surface, "Freakonomics" is a collection of interesting factoids and anecdotes leading to conclusions, some of which are very counterintuitive. One of the most interesting chapters is the analysis of the economics of crack-dealing, based on a graduate student's "fieldwork" where he hung out with a gang for months and learned just how the business worked. (Bottom line: it's just like a typical corporation, where the low-level "footsoldiers" do the gruntwork for very little pay, hoping to make it into middle management and eventually the "executive" levels.) The authors aren't afraid to examine inflammatory subject matter, either, all while trying to remain strictly neutral regarding the political and moral ramifications of their conclusions. They point out that swimming pools are far more dangerous to children than guns, but don't take a position on gun control. They examine the hysteria about "superpredators" that you may remember from the 1980s -- what was supposed to be an apocalyptic crime wave of sociopathic teenagers which never materialized. They argue rather convincingly that legalized abortion did more to lower crime rates than anything else, but they do not present this as an argument in favor of abortion and take great pains to point out that there is no racial component to this argument either.
But, what is "Freakonomics" about? The authors say at the outset that their book really has no theme; it's just a book about interesting things you can learn by looking at economic data. I suggest, however, that the book really does have a theme. It's about examining evidence impartially, being willing to look at what the numbers tell you, even if they lead to conclusions that contradict conventional wisdom or your own beliefs. Most importantly, the authors spend a lot of time taking the reader by the hand in studying the difference between correlation and causation. That is, the fact that two phenomena appear to be related does not mean that one caused the other. They give many examples of correlated statistics, and then demonstrate how one can go about determining whether or not there is causality involved.
In this respect, "Freakonomics" should be required reading for every high school student, as it explains clearly and in an interesting manner some basic critical thinking skills that would go a long way towards a more educated public. ...more
I'd have given this four stars when it first came out, but it's a bit dated now. Well, you'd expect any book speculating about the future of programmiI'd have given this four stars when it first came out, but it's a bit dated now. Well, you'd expect any book speculating about the future of programming languages to be dated five years later. Still, it had/has some interesting things to say about strongly typed vs. weakly typed languages....more
"The Outlaw Sea" is a real page-turner about a wild, lawless frontier that affects all of us. With so much of the raw materials of civilization shippe"The Outlaw Sea" is a real page-turner about a wild, lawless frontier that affects all of us. With so much of the raw materials of civilization shipped by freighter -- machinery, vehicles, food, oil -- you'd think shipping would be more closely regulated and better protected. But the author shows us how it's in the best interests of those who own the shipping lanes for there NOT to be much regulation. Ships, crews, and cargos are all, ultimately, expendable. It's more profitable to lose a ship here and there than for the navies and marine authorities of the world to get serious about policing the waves. Hence, we learn that inspections, even in ports where the authorities are relatively uncorrupt (which is rare) mean very little, and piracy is surprisingly common in the 21st century. You also get a look at the lives of mercantile sailors, which are not at all romantic or glamorous, but dirty, dangerous, grueling, and underpaid.
You'll be particularly appalled at how easily a ship can be taken, and the possibilities for terrorism are chilling as well...
This isn't really a single book, though, or at least it doesn't read like one. It's a collection of several different marine-related themes. First, Langewiesche talks about the law of the sea, or rather, the lack thereof. He covers regulation, naval enforcement, the shadowy, mutable world of ship owners and registries, and why the world depends on shipping and why shipping remains "a world of freedom, chaos, and crime."
Then he spends a huge chunk of the book talking about a single disaster, the sinking of the ferry Estonia. This is practically a minute-by-minute account, complete with descriptions of crew and passengers, survivors and non-survivors, and plenty of after-the-fact analysis of exactly what went wrong and the legal and political ramifications.
Finally, Langewiesche describes the ship-breaking yards in India, "hell on Earth," where the poorest of the poor break apart condemned vessels for low pay, crawling over shards of metal and puddles of toxic waste.
This book started out as several different essays, but each one holds up on its own, and the complete work is an eye-opening expose of both life on the high seas and the people who work to keep the world's shipping afloat. ...more
Every Java programmer should read this book, no exceptions. It will make you a better programmer.
Note that this book does not teach Java; it assumes yEvery Java programmer should read this book, no exceptions. It will make you a better programmer.
Note that this book does not teach Java; it assumes you already know it. So it's not an introductory guide. However, once you learn the basics of the language, this should be the next book you read....more