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SanDisk 4GB Sansa Fuze MP3 Player (Black)
Looks/Feel:First things first, straight out of the box this little mp3 player looks stunning, the photo here fails to give it justice. It' a good weight in the hand, and the 'wheel' feels very solid
Basic controls:The controls and menu browsing are beautiful in their simplicity, even people with a very limited knowledge of these gadgets (me, for example) need not even read the enclosed instructions.
Connectivity:The interface with widows is excellent, with Vista recognising the Fuze straight away. The "drag & drop" method of storing your song information couldn't be easier, and it is very fast - it transferred around 2 gig of music files very very rapidly.
Sound:The best part of this player (and of course the most important!) is the sound. I'll admit that on first listen I wasn't very impressed with the factory pre-sets, but there is an option to fully customize the sound using the custom equalizer setting. This proved excellent and I was able to attain (for me personally) the perfect sound.- FANTASTIC
Screen:The screen is just the right size, it's very clear and the display is aesthetically pleasing. The photos supplied seem very sharp and well defined, but I am yet to try my own pictures in the device.
Extras.The addition of FM radio is a very welcome feature. The signal is clear and tuning the radio is relativity simplistic. The supplied earphones are also of a good quality.
Overall:Brilliant. I struggle to find fault with this lovely looking, affordable, good quality device. Well worth the money.
It is easy to draw the comparison with Orwell's '1984' (which is actually name-checked within the novels narrative), but I think the book also owes a lot (perhaps more than 1984) to Huxley's 'Brave New World' - both unarguably un-shabby influences.
The main thing that marks out the divergence in ideas with Elton's novel and 1984 is faith, or rather the dangers of blind faith and religious fundamentalism (It does make you wonder if Elton has ever read the non-fiction book 'The end of Faith' by the equally brilliant Sam Harris!?)
This book may not be his best in the sense of storyline (in my opinion that accolade goes to his brilliant 'High Society') but I feel the importance of the message outweighs the flaws in narrative.
Like many of his other best sellers the book is drenched in satire, but I do admit, lacks the overall wit of some of his better novels ('Dead Famous' is an excellent example of Elton at his satirical hilarious best). With this view in mind however it is worth noting that unlike 'Dead Famous' this book deals with a subject that is harder to make light of - the inherent dangers of blind faith over logic and reason.
By discarding the values of reason, freedom of thought and science Elton has (perhaps with an almost depressingly terrifying accuracy) portrayed a world led by faith - it is not a pleasant one!
State of Fear
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This is an amazingly well researched novel; the story is brilliant and contains genuine compelling evidence against 'man-made' global warming. The book is essentially Crichton's attack on 'the march of unreason' (as the, equally brilliant, Dick Taverne would put it).
Along the way the narrative of the book exposes (backed up by scientific research - all fully referenced I might add) many of the 'truths' we're fed via the media & eco-fundamentals to be no more than wilful fabrications and woeful manipulation of data.
It makes for an amazingly thought provoking and enjoyable read.
The End of Faith
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I really can't begin to articulate or do justice to the quality and lucidity of the arguments put forward by Harris within this book, so I'll just say this;
If you have an open, intelligent and enquiring mind - Read it.If you want a better understanding of why the world is in such a mess - Read itIf you are interested in ethics, moral identity and politics - Read it.If you are intrigued by the nature of belief - Read it
The Dawkins Delusion?
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How sad - that was my thought after reading this "work" - which took no more than an hour or two - the thing is so skinny!! The slenderness of the book does help to point to two rather damming facts:
1. The book was rushed in order to 'cash in' as a counter argument to Dawkins work.2. The arguments contained are so weak they lack any form of evidential based research and result analysis - thus reducing the text to a list of ideas and suppositions (I believe these are commonly called 'leaps of faith', and have absolutely no scientific or logical merit)
In reality this book boils down to Christians writing for Christians - full of ill defined unconvincing circular reasoning. This will certainly not alter the mind set of any atheist (unlike Dawkins' work, which seems to have enjoyed some success in converting some religious types).
It seems sad that rebukes to Dawkins' work, ultimately, miss the point of his writings completely!
This book (as others before it) fails to introduce any new arguments or hypotheses to the debate. It is in essence a reactionary and fundamentalist rant to the cool logic and calculated facts put forward in `The God Delusion'.
It is a sorry person indeed who attempts to hold this conceited tome up to `The God Delusion' believing it to be a truly scientific rebuttal.
Tricks of the Mind
"Ah...erm thanks" was my response to a well meaning relative after opening the wrapping surrounding this book on my birthday.
For a start I'm not really sure if I even like Derren Brown all that much! - However reading is a great passion of mine - so on one dreary afternoon - and for lack of anything better to read - I took the plunge and began!
Firstly I was surprised by the wit and charismatic form the writing took. Derren is truly a gifted writer. This book is both enjoyable and well informed (Derren sights a wide range of references including Dick Taverne & Sam Harris - no less!).
Essentially the book is quite a bizarre mix of insights into how memory can be trained, the power of suggestibility, unconscious communication and other techniques employed by magicians, charlatans and Derren alike.
Part six of the book is, for me, arguably the most compelling section - in which Derren reflects on the current trends of anti and pseudo science. This was not at all what I was expecting from this book, and therein is why I feel it firmly deserves the 5 stars I'm going to award it.
I have no doubt that fans of Derren's shows will find plenty of material within they enjoy (and can impress their mates with) while people such as myself, who until reading this had no real opinion of the man, will be won over by his wit, story telling ability and (in the case of part 6 of the book) cool logic and respect for scientific process.
Right, I'm off to thank my aunt for such an (unexpectedly) brilliant gift.
The March of Unreason
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An absolutely fantastic book.In an ideal world, one not controlled by doomsayers, fear-mongers and sensationalist headline grabbers - this excellent book would be on the school science curriculum throughout Europe.The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (which makes a refreshing change!).Just read it!
The God Delusion
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Powerful emotive stuff! As with all of Dawkins' work this book is extremely well researched and executed. I have but one complaint though, in that I concur to a large extent with the reviewer below. This book could have been Dawkins' chance to really reach a wider audience, and indeed start to instigate a change in society's attitudes to the ridiculous notion of religion and 'Higher-Powers' that he (and others) wish for. However, ultimately I'm afraid; some/most of this books written delivery is perhaps a little too technical for most. Its all well and good writing a fine book claiming that religion is dangerous, but that message is largely (it seems) only reaching the converted. Agnostics and people wavering in their beliefs may, unfortunately, be put off by the technicality of Dawkins' text. This (relatively) minor quibble aside though 'The God Delusion' really is a fantastic book, and in an ideal world should be added to the curriculum in 'Religious Education' classes across the country without delay.
The Mighty Boosh: Live (2 Discs)
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I'm a huge, HUGE, fan of the boosh, but this just didn't cut it for me. Something is Fundamentally missing here in the transition to stage from TV (yes, i know the show started as a live act, but i'm speaking in comparision to the TV show that most were familiar with first). The bright, intimate & fuzzy ambiance created in (both) TV series' is, I feel, largely the shows appeal (sadly lacking when presented on stage). It's a shame as I had really high hopes for the live show, but to put it fairly - This is just not as funny as the TV show :o(
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace: The Complete Series
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This is quite simply one of the funniest, most well executed comedic series ever. Criminally overlooked at the time of its TV release. (almost) perfect.