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Profil für Charles Ashbacher > Rezensionen

Persönliches Profil

Beiträge von Charles Ashbacher
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Rezensionen verfasst von
Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States)

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Meg
Meg
von Steve Alten
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 8,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen A great thriller, one of the best that I have read, 22. Januar 2016
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Meg (Taschenbuch)
This is one of the most engaging and intense thrillers that I have ever read. It is based on a living dinosaur premise that is plausible. The Mariana Trench is a long undersea valley where there are thermal vents that have been active for millions of years. The heat and chemicals they release warms the water and provides the elements that bacteria and other small living creatures use for energy. Like environmental niches everywhere, this create a food chain and at the very top is the mighty “Carcharodon Megaladon” a 70-foot, 100,000 pound predator that has supposedly been extinct for millions of years.
Since sharks cannot survive for long in cold water, any shark that managed to get into the warm waters of the trench would have to stay there, the cold water layers between the trench and the surface would provide a natural isolation mechanism. This would allow “Carcharodon Megaladon” (Meg) to exist in the trench with very little that could ever challenge it for millions of years.
Jonas Taylor is a deep-sea submersible pilot and in the opening he is piloting a craft into the trench when he encounters a female Meg. He executes emergency procedures but the action leads to the deaths of the two scientists in the ship with him.
Using a plausible premise, Alten develops a mechanism where the Meg can survive the passage through the cold water layers and reach the surface, where she feasts on whales and the occasional human. Large and sturdy enough to batter and destroy medium sized ships that annoy her, the Meg becomes a terror that must be dealt with.
The story takes many twists and turns, never moving outside the bounds of the possible. It is intense, the characters are well developed and it will no doubt make a great movie that could be even more terrifying than “Jaws.”
One of the best aspects is that it is at least possible for a Meg to have survived to modern times, think Coelacanth if you have doubts.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


Leadership and Soft Skills for Students: Empowered to Succeed in High School, College, and Beyond
Leadership and Soft Skills for Students: Empowered to Succeed in High School, College, and Beyond
von Cary J. Green
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,99

4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent advice, just nothing new or remarkable, 22. Januar 2016
It seems that no self-help book is complete without some form of linguistic wordplay gimmick. This book is no exception, the wordplay here is the three Rs: Readiness, Relationships and Results. Not the best one I have ever read but a lot better than some of the acronyms that I have seen elsewhere.
The skill sets that Green encourages have existed and been necessary as long as modern industrial bureaucracies have operated. They are: communicate well, dress and act professionally. In many ways the mega-successful tech titans such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have set a bad example in this area. These three and many others in technology are known for a lack of fashion sense, of course they are the peak and all others should heed Green’s advice. Dressing like these guys does nothing to improve your chances of reaching their level of success.
While the advice contained in this book is valuable, useful and can aid the soon to be ex-student in their entry into the job market, there is nothing remarkable or even new. Remove a few references to modern technology and the content appeared in books over a century ago.
As an experienced reviewer, as a read through this book the thought, “I have read this before” kept recurring. Some examples of the well known are the two lines bolded on pages 79 and 83.
“If you are going to criticize someone, be sure you have your facts straight.”
“Don’t diminish your likelihood of success by submitting application materials that are full of errors.”

This book was made available for free for review purposes


Being a Captain is Hard Work: A Captain No Beard Story
Being a Captain is Hard Work: A Captain No Beard Story
von Carole P. Roman
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,18

5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the most valuable of lessons of life, what to do when you are wrong, 21. Januar 2016
The intrepid Captain No Beard and his brave crew are once again sailing the high seas on a great adventure. In this case they are on their way to Dew Rite Volcano. When Mongo announces a brewing storm and Linus points out that they are going in the wrong direction, the captain refuses to acknowledge the obvious. His position never changes in the face of mounting evidence, to the point where Zach is placed in grave danger. Demonstrating his courage, the captain rescues Zach and then is forced to a point of extreme humility where he must admit his mistakes.
There are two lessons in this book, one major about life and the other a factual one involving science. When it is first clear that he has made a mistake, Captain No Beard refuses to admit it, making the consequences of his mistake far greater than they otherwise would be. This is a very important lesson about life, you will make mistakes, so the only reasonable course of action is to admit them early and learn from them.
The second lesson is about the different types of clouds and what they mean. Mongo knows that a storm is coming because he recognizes the correct cloud type. The captain disagrees because he misidentifies the cloud type. There is a complete list of cloud types at the end with explanations of what they mean.
If done right, life lessons and science lessons can be effectively combined in an entertaining manner. This book is an existence proof of that. It is an excellent book for children to learn one of the most valuable lessons about life, what to do when you are wrong.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


Numinous Packs GlobePacs Anti-Theft Wheeled Luggage, 80 Liter by Numinous Packs
Numinous Packs GlobePacs Anti-Theft Wheeled Luggage, 80 Liter by Numinous Packs
Wird angeboten von Numinous Packs
Preis: EUR 230,94

5.0 von 5 Sternen A great bag for the person traveling to remote places where you need to pack nearly everything, 19. Januar 2016
This is an awesome travel bag, large, expandable and with many options to hang, tie and stuff items into locations in the interior and on the exterior. With wheels and a solid base it will stand by itself with a height of approximately 34 inches. There is a very solid and soft handle on the top, making it easy on your hands when you are pulling it, although there is also a hard plastic retractable handle.
The back zips open to expose the straps that make it a backpack, the straps are three inches thick and very well padded. An adjustable strap goes across the chest area and there is padding in the area of the lower back and a five inch thick padded strap to go around the lower abdomen. When all of this is combined, the pack is very comfortable to carry, even when very heavily loaded.
There are mesh pockets for drink containers on both sides with integrated lock mechanisms on the exterior access to the main compartments. Those locks are operated by a combination that should immediately be reset from the obvious default. There is also an open top mesh pocket with an elastic closure on the back of the pack.
There are so many different interior pockets they are literally too numerous to mention in a short review. Some are open top pockets while others are sealed with zippers. The fabric is very sturdy and will tolerate a lot of wear, it is designed for the traveler that needs to effectively carry all that they need when they are in remote places. Not only is it designed to hold a load, it is also engineered so that load will be as easy as possible to transport, whether you are using the wheels or your musculature.

This item was made available for free or for a reduced price for review purposes


High Level Investing For Dummies
High Level Investing For Dummies
von Paul Mladjenovic
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 23,97

5.0 von 5 Sternen Advice that will increase your investment knowledge IQ, 19. Januar 2016
This is one of the few self-help books that will retain its value over time. The advice is solid as well as timeless and while there are some sections that discuss the possibility of getting rich quick, the overwhelming majority deal with ways to get rich in a slow and methodical manner.
There are explanations of many of the standard investing strategies, from the standard long to the more complicated and potentially dangerous short. Other strategies, such as call and put options, straddles, strangles and bull, bear and neutral combination strategies are explained. The investment tactics employed by some of the superstars of the business are also covered.
The only negative that I see in the book is the placement of chapter 19, “Big Picture, Big Profits.” In this chapter some of the major overall economic behaviors, such as gross domestic product, leading economic indicators and unemployment are explained. Particularly how they affect various investments and investment strategies. To me, it would have made more sense to lead with this material, after all it is always best to clearly define the terms before you use them.
That said, this is an excellent primer on the exciting and challenging field of personal investing. With many companies dropping or dramatically reducing their pension programs, retirement savings is now in the hands of the individual. It is challenging but doable, as long as you do some basic research, accurately identify your needs and ability to take risks and invest within the time frame that is your current reality. This book will both mitigate the challenge and increase the level of doable.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe | Summary
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe | Summary
von InstantRead Summary
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,89

4.0 von 5 Sternen Not enough emphasis on the speculative nature of the contents of the book, 19. Januar 2016
One point that needed more emphasis in this summary was a more questioning attitude regarding the main thesis of the book. In the introduction where dark matter is explained there is the paragraph: “While dark matter does not readily fit into the Standard Model of particle physics, and although dark matter has not been detected directly, data from the recently launched GAIA satellite may support the theory that dark matter exists in the Milky Way galaxy as a thin, concentrated disk.” Notice the word “may” in this segment, there is no definitive proof of this yet it is the basis of main thesis of the book.
The subsequent paragraph is: “The wobble of the solar system up and down through the Milky Way and the proposed dark matter disk could dislodge Oort cloud objects, sending them into the inner solar system to periodically collide with the Earth. One of these may have been the meteoroid tied to the K-Pg extinction.” Again, the presence of the word “may.” This regular contact with the dark matter is used to explain the evidence for regular mass extinctions on Earth.
There is no mention of the “Nemesis” hypothesis regarding the regular extinctions, which is the theory that a small dark star orbits the sun and occasionally comes close enough to discharge comets from the Oort cloud. While there is no evidence for Nemesis, its existence could also explain the periodic extinctions.
In closing, I liked this summary, but the author should have been more forceful in pointing out the the dark matter premise is a hypothesis based on foundational unproven hypotheses. While learned, it is scientific speculation based on very weak evidence.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


The Clearstream Affair
The Clearstream Affair
Wird angeboten von moviemars-amerika
Preis: EUR 19,43

5.0 von 5 Sternen Tense and unpredictable story based on real events, 19. Januar 2016
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Clearstream Affair (DVD)
This movie is based on real events where a dedicated investigative journalist exposed the illicit actions of a Luxembourg-based bank as well as bribery and kickbacks in the purchase of ships by the navy of Taiwan. The ships were built in France and the Taiwanese naval officer that raised questions was found dead on a beach. Not having done any investigation of the actual events, I do not know how precisely this movie follows the real events, but will certainly grant them some creative license.
It really does not matter how accurately this movie follows the actual events, everything that happens is completely plausible and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The amounts of money that are involved are staggering, with the usual consequences of deception, claims and counterclaims and a lot of big time CYA.
Roberts himself becomes obsessed with following the story to the point where his home life with his wife and two daughters begins to suffer and unwind. While there is no graphic violence, there is the regular hint that it could break out at any time, for the French intelligence services are involved as well. The viewer is often puzzled as to which side various people in the mix are on, the side of truth and decency or that of grabbing one big fistful of Euros.
This is a great movie, even if you know the end result the tension will keep you riveted.

This item was made available for free for review purposes


Urban Armor Gear Schutzhülle nach US-Militärstandard für Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ - transparent [Verstärkte Ecken | Sturzfest | Antistatisch | Vergrößerte Tasten] - UAG-EDGEPLS-ICE-VP
Urban Armor Gear Schutzhülle nach US-Militärstandard für Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ - transparent [Verstärkte Ecken | Sturzfest | Antistatisch | Vergrößerte Tasten] - UAG-EDGEPLS-ICE-VP
Preis: EUR 33,39

4.0 von 5 Sternen Not sure about the claim of secure drop tested, 18. Januar 2016
This case is constructed from hard, white plastic on the back with a set of five small, round rubber bumpers roughly 0.25 inches in diameter. The plastic is somewhat flexible and there is a rubber ridge all the way around that will hold the device fairly tight. Since it is made from somewhat flexible rubber, the ridge will absorb some shock if the device is dropped on edge. However, while I did not have the courage to perform an actual experiment, it seems very possible that the phone could pop out of the case if it is dropped on edge from a modest height. When I pressed the short end down with a bit of pressure, the case bent a bit, something that could force the phone out.
The advertising claim is that the case is military drop-tested, I take them at their word but have no idea how rigid that standard is. This case will provide your phone significant protection on the back, although I question if it will hold the phone if it is dropped on edge from the height of your ear.
This item was made available for free for review purposes


The Bank War
The Bank War
von Paul Kahan
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,22

5.0 von 5 Sternen A detailed account of a very important event that is historically underappreciated, 18. Januar 2016
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bank War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Modern national economies need strong central banks, the financial system of any country of any size needs a central authority to manage the money and the policies by which is it controlled. Although there are a few American presidential candidates on the fringe that argue for the abolition of the American Federal Reserve, there is no chance that the Federal Reserve will be abolished. Such a reaction would lead to chaos in the financial markets.
Alexander Hamilton was one of the more farsighted creators of the American federal government in that he understood the need for a central bank, even though the American economy at that time was small and very diffuse. However, many people were not in favor of strong central control of anything and there was consistent opposition to the bank he developed, even among the framers of the constitution.
It took the strong-willed and stubborn President Andrew Jackson to consolidate the opposition to the Bank of the United States to the point where there was a successful vote to revoke the charter. However, it was not done without a fight and as head of the Bank at the time, Nicholas Biddle led the battle to keep it in existence.
What is most interesting about this description of the political battle over the Bank was how intense, partisan and self-serving it was. People on all sides thought nothing of using tactics that severely damaged the American economy in order to make their points or strengthen their position. There were times when the good of the country won out, but they were very few.
The revoking of the charter of the Bank of the United States was one of the major events in the first half of the nineteenth century, yet it is rarely discussed in history classes. It pitted the populist Jackson and his political cronies against the breadth of groups in opposition that ultimately became the Whig Party. The battle mirrored what was happening in the American economy, as industrialization was becoming a greater force and the great eastern ports were developing, the economy was rapidly changing with a greater need for a stable and organized financial structure.
Political alliances were made, destroyed, remade and shifted in strength as the men of influence acted on their ambitions, profit motives and personal relationships to jockey for position. Kahan correctly points out that those that state that political partisanship is greater now have no sense of history, particularly the time of Andrew Jackson. Spouses and even the national economy were fair game in what Jackson considered a war, where there was very little middle ground or compromise.
This is a great book about what arguably was the major event in the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century. The loss of the Bank of the United States and the decades where there was no central bank at a time when the economy and the country expanded dramatically made the process much different than it could have been.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


Help Me!: Once I slice, it relieves so much pressure, I can breathe again...
Help Me!: Once I slice, it relieves so much pressure, I can breathe again...
von Deborah Bowman Stevens
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,84

5.0 von 5 Sternen A story told from two sides of the teen contemplating suicide scenario, 17. Januar 2016
Mick is a teenage boy that has moved to a new school, his parents have divorced and he now lives with his father. While Mick was at his old school his best friend committed suicide via a gun over bullying and he is now at a new school and being bullied again. Mick has found some new friends, in particular Layla and Shawn (male). Mick is under a great deal of emotional pressure that he relieves by cutting himself. However, the “relief” is only temporary and he thinks more and more about using his father’s gun on himself.
The story is told from two separate prespectives, the same events are described from Mick’s and then Layla’s perspective. Layla is aware of Mick’s self-damaging actions and believes they are escalating. The two points of view are very well done and important to the overall message of the book, the anguish of the teen under the pressure and the reaction of the friend that chooses to intervene. In the modern world, many teen children find themselves in one of those positions and any advice they receive on how to effectively deal with it is valuable.
While adults are involved, this is almost totally a story about teens, their lives and struggles and how they can assist each other when that help is critical. Teens on both sides of this scenario can benefit from reading about Mick and Layla.

This book was made available for free for review purposes


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