Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ocean Book by Frank Sherwin

book cover

The Ocean Book
by Frank Sherwin

ISBN-13: 9780890514016
Hardback: 80 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: April 2004

Source: Bought from a local Christian bookstore.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The oceans may well be Earth’s final frontier. These dark and sometimes mysterious waters cover 71 percent of the surface area of the globe and have yet to be fully explored. Under the waves, a watery world of frail splendor, foreboding creatures, and sights beyond imagination awaits.

The Ocean Book will teach you about:
  • Giant squid and other “monsters” of the seas
  • Centuries of ocean exploration
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • The ingredients that make up the ocean
  • Harnessing the ocean’s energy
  • Icebergs
  • Coral reefs
  • Ships, submarines, and other ocean vessels
  • The major ocean currents
  • El Niño, whirlpools, and hurricanes
  • Harvesting the oceans’ resources
  • Whales, dolphins, fish, and other sea creatures
Learning about the oceans and their hidden contents can be exciting and rewarding. The abundance and diversity of life, the wealth of resources, and the simple mysteries there have intrigued explorers and scientist for centuries. A better understanding of our oceans ensures careful conservation of their grandeur and beauty for future generations, and leads to a deeper respect for the delicate balance of life on planet Earth.

My Review:
The Ocean Book gives a good, basic overview of the many aspects of the ocean (from its physical characteristics to sea life) from a Christian perspective. The author referred to God as the Creator of the oceans and occasionally referred to the world-wide Flood described in Genesis. The book was well-written and easy to understand for about ages 9 on up. It contained many lovely, full-color photographs of sea-related animals and objects as well as useful color illustrations.

The introduction gave some fascinating facts about the ocean. Chapter One gave an overview of the history of studying of the ocean (including when, how, and what studied). Chapter Two talked about the physical characteristics of the ocean (shore, coast, continental margin, trenches, ridges, hydrothermal vents). Chapter Three talked about the chemical make-up of the ocean (also discussing salt & icebergs). Chapter Four discussed how tides, waves, currents, and whirlpools are formed. Chapter Five talked about El Niño, La Niña, and hurricanes.

Chapter Six talked about the fishing and (sea) mining industry and tidal hydropower. Chapter Seven discussed marine life (zones, plankton, algae, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, whales, and ocean monsters). Chapter Eight discussed coral reefs (animals & vegetation, types, how formed). Chapter Nine talked about ocean-going vessels (research ships, submarines & submersibles, how steel ships float, how submarines control their depth, and early ocean navigation). Chapter Ten discussed the Genesis flood (what the ark looked like, how fish survived, etc.). The Appendix had a glossary, short biographies for five ocean-crossing explorers, and length conversion charts. There was also a pull-out poster with some illustrations and pictures from the book.

Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable book to any (Christian) child who's interested in learning more about the ocean.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Introduction
The oceans can be thought of as protective, like a blanket that Almighty God has cast over the surface of the earth. Along with the atmosphere, the oceans help to regulate the climate and weather of the world. Because water is so effective in absorbing heat, the oceans act as heat reservoirs that moderate the cold of winter and the heat of summer.

The oceans are also provisional, directly providing food for sustenance and life-giving oxygen released from tiny, free-floating photosynthetic organisms. Most people know that plants supply the atmosphere with oxygen: what they do not know is that plants contribute only half of the oxygen. Those tiny ocean organisms produce the other half. Indirectly, the oceans provide precipitation by acting as the source of rain for crops. Heavy ocean breakers, tides, and currents also reveal that our oceans are powerful, a source of almost limitless energy for man's potential use.

Human history is closely connected to the oceans. Centuries ago, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and the Indian, Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans were referred to by some as the "seven seas" or those bodies of water that were navigable. As exploration continued through the decades, oceanographers saw the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea as marginal seas of the Atlantic Ocean. They also distinguished the Antarctic Ocean from those oceans to its north. Today these vast bodies of water serve as a great liquid highway for commercial ships, act as borders between nations, supply one-third of usable natural gas and petroleum, and provide a major source of a variety of foods and recreation. God's creative hand is clearly seen in preparing this planet with its life-supporting oceans for our habitation.

The oceans contain the greatest number of living things on Earth. Many of the most amazing creatures in God's creation reside in the salty deep. Incredibly beautiful life forms inhabit the sparkling, sunlit waters of areas such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Here's an excerpt with the pictures shown as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Straighter, Stronger, Leaner, Longer by Renee Daniels

book cover

Straighter, Stronger, Leaner, Longer:
A Head-to-Toe Strengthening, Stretching, & Pain-Relieving Program
by Renee Daniels

ISBN-13: 9781583332276
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Avery
Released: June 2005

Source: Personal library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Stop aches and pains with this effective new therapeutic exercise plan.

Who doesn't suffer from chronic aches and pains in the neck, back, shoulders, knees, or elsewhere? In Straighter, Stronger, Leaner, Longer, medical exercise specialist and personal trainer Renée Daniels presents her full body strengthening and alignment program for rehabilitating injuries and strengthening and toning bodies. She explains why proper alignment is the key to a strong, healthy body, and how our daily habits, from sitting at a desk at work to carrying a baby on one hip all day to spending long hours sitting behind the wheel of a car, can contribute to muscle weaknesses and mis-alignments, leading to aches and pains.

Straighter, Stronger, Leaner, Longer will help readers find relief by showing them how to assess their own posture and movements, which may be causing pain, and by providing them with a personalized exercise program to treat problem areas.

For exercise, I either swim or work around the farm. However, I've had trouble with certain muscles periodically getting stiff and cramping and refusing to naturally work themselves out. So I needed a book that taught stretching exercises.

I bought this book because the author is a medical specialists who understands the details of how the body works and used this knowledge when putting her exercise program together. This lady really knows her stuff from the inside out. I appreciate how this book carefully explained how the body is put together (in very simple terms) and which muscles each exercise works. And you can feel each specified muscle or muscle group being worked during the exercise! Be careful not to overdo an exercise the first time through or you'll get sore.

Most of the book explained the muscle groups and the various exercises that work those groups. At the back, she has two 30 minute exercise workouts using certain of those exercises. If you can't do the suggested exercise, you can always do an alternate one.

The illustrations of the muscles and the pictures of the exercises were in black and white. Overall, the explanations and pictures of the exercises were very clear and easy to follow. However, one exercise, I still can't figure out. It would have been helpful if there was another picture showing the middle stage for that. But since there's another exercise that works the same muscles and is easy to follow, it doesn't really matter.

I used this exercise program for several months and loved it. The exercises are easy to do and don't require specialized equipment (though some optional exercises use an exercise ball). The stretches helped get rid of my stiffness problem, so I stopped using it since I was getting exercise from other activities. However, the last few weeks, I've been in constant, low-grade pain due to stiffness. I tried this program again, and the pain was gone afterward. Maybe I'll just stick with it, this time.

I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a "keep in shape & working order" exercise program.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Goggle Preview

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Exploring the World of Mathematics by John Hudson Tiner

book cover

Exploring the World of Mathematics
by John Hudson Tiner

ISBN-13: 978-0890514122
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: June 2004, Nov. 2005

Source: Bought from local bookstore.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Numbers surround us. Just try to make it through a day without using any. It’s impossible: telephone numbers, calendars, volume settings, shoe sizes, speed limits, weights, street numbers, microwave timers, TV channels, and the list goes on and on. The many advancements and branches of mathematics were developed through the centuries as people encountered problems and relied upon math to solve them. For instance:

  • What timely invention was tampered with by the Caesars and almost perfected by a pope?

  • Why did ten days vanish in September of 1752?

  • How did Queen Victoria shorten the Sunday sermons at chapel?

  • What important invention caused the world to be divided into time zones?

  • What simple math problem caused the Mars Climate Orbiter to burn up in the Martian atmosphere?

  • What common unit of measurement was originally based on the distance from the equator to the North Pole?

  • Does water always boil at 212° Fahrenheit?

  • What do Da Vinci’s Last Supper and the Parthenon have in common?

  • Why is a computer glitch called a “bug”?

It’s amazing how ten simple digits can be used in an endless number of ways to benefit man. The development of these ten digits and their many uses is the fascinating story you hold in your hands: Exploring the World of Mathematics.

Exploring the World of Mathematics is a history of the development of mathematics with some instruction on how to do the various types of math worked in. (Chapters 5, 9, and 10 were more focused on math instruction than history.)

The text was engaging and easy to understand. Much of the book was suitable for middle schoolers, though some chapters were more high school level. There were useful black and white charts and illustrations. At the end of each chapter, there were 10 questions--most tested if you learned the important points in the chapter, but some were math problems based on what was learned. The answers were in the back.

The book occasionally referred to things in the Bible, like explaining the cubit as an ancient measurement of length. The author had math start with the ancient Egyptians (since, according to him, it wasn't needed before then because people were roaming herders). It also referred to a Sumerian counting system that started back in 3300 B.C.

Overall, the book was interesting and well-written. I'd recommend it to those interested in an overview of the development of mathematics or to those desiring to teach their children math in an interesting way.

Chapter 1 talked about ancient calendars (how days, months, and years were calculated in various cultures) and how the modern calendar was developed. Chapter 2 talked about marking the passage of time (including how & why people started counting hours, minutes, and seconds). Chapter 3 talked about the development of weights and measures from ancient ones to modern non-metric systems. Chapter 4 talked about the development of the metric system (mostly weight, length, capacity, and temperature).

Chapter 5 talked about how ancient Egyptians used basic geometry to build pyramids and survey farm land. Chapter 6 talked about how ancient Greeks continued to develop mathematics. Chapter 7 talked about the different systems and symbols for numbers in various cultures and times. Chapter 8 talked about number patterns (like odd, even, prime, Fibonacci numbers, square numbers, and triangular numbers).

Chapter 9 talked about mathematical proofs, decimal points, fractions, negative numbers, irrational numbers, and never-ending numbers. Chapter 10 talked about algebra and analytical geometry. Chapter 11 talked about network design, combinations & permutations, factorials, Pascal's triangle, and probability. Chapter 12 talked about the development of counting machines, from early mechanical calculators to modern digital calculators. Chapter 13 talked about the development of modern computers. Chapter 14 gave some math tricks and puzzles.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from page 9
Most names for months in our calendar are from the Roman calendar. The ancient Roman calendar originally had only 10 months and 304 days. The year began with the month of March. Later, the months of January and February were inserted before March, and the new year began with January.

January was named for Janus. In Roman mythology, he was the keeper of doorways. January was the entrance to the new year. February was from a Roman word meaning "festival." March was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. April came from a Roman word meaning "to open," probably because buds opened in April. May was named after Maia, the mother of Mercury. June was named after Juno, the queen of the gods in Roman mythology. She was portrayed as the protector of women.

In the Roman calendar, months after June had names based on their original calendar before January and February were added: Quintilis (quin, "fifth"), Sextilis (sex, "sixth"), September (sep, "seventh"), October (oct, "eighth"), November (non, "ninth"), and December (dec, "tenth").

Julius Caesar took the month Quintilis and named it July after himself. The next Roman ruler, Augustus Caesar, took the month Sextilis and named it August after himself.

August had only 30 days but July had 31 days. Augustus took another day from February and added it to August so his month would be as long as the one for Julius Caesar.

Read chapter one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Age of Big Business by Burton J. Hendrick

book cover

The Age of Big Business
by Burton J. Hendrick

Hardback: 196 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press
Released: 1919

Source: Bought at library book sale.

Book Description, my take:
Written in 1919 and a part of the Yale Chronicles of America series, this book takes a look at how the first monopolies and large corporations formed between 1865 and 1919. It looks at the areas of petroleum, steel, telephones, public utilities, agricultural machinery, and automobiles with a focus on the "captains of industry" and their influence in changing the face of business.

The Age of Big Business is a history of how businesses changed from small, competing businesses to large corporations that controlled major portions of or all of an industry. Since the book was written in 1919, it was fascinating to see how the various industries have changed from post-Civil-War to post-World-War-I to now. For example, I didn't realize that America once exported oil.

Chapter One compared 1865 to 1919 in terms of technology and business. Chapter Two gave an overview history of the discovery and business of oil and described how "the first great American Trust," the Standard Oil Company, was formed. Chapter Three gave an overview history of the major development and business of steel and how Carnegie Steel Company was formed. Chapter Four gave an overview history of the invention, development, and business of telephones and how the American Telephone & Telegraph Company was formed. Chapter Five gave an overview history of the development of public utilities. Chapter Six gave an overview history of the development and business of agricultural machinery and talked about McCormick's inventions and his three main competitors in that business. Chapter Seven gave an overview history of the invention, development, and business of the automobile and talked about Henry Ford.

Overall, the book was easy to read and interesting. I'd recommend the recent re-releases of this "classic" to those who enjoy reading about technology and business history.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
A comprehensive survey of the United States, at the end of the Civil War, would reveal a state of society which bears little resemblance to that of today. Almost all those commonplace fundamentals of existence, the things that contribute to our bodily comfort while they vex us with economic and political problems, had not yet made their appearance. The America of Civil War days was a country without transcontinental railroads, without telephones, without European cables, or wireless stations, or automobiles, or electric lights, or sky-scrapers, or million-dollar hotels, or trolley cars, or a thousand other contrivances that today supply the conveniences and comforts of what we call our American civilization. The city of that period, with their unsewered and unpaved streets, their dingy, flickering gaslights, their ambling horse-cars, and their hideous slums, seemed appropriate settings for the unformed social life and the rough-and-ready political methods of American democracy. The railroads, with their fragile iron rails, their little wheezy locomotives, their wooden bridges, their unheated coaches, and their kerosene lamps, fairly typified the prevailing frontier business and economic organization.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Quotes: Transportation in American West in 1850s

From Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of California by Remi Nadeau (pages 154-155):

Henceforth, Shasta flourished more as a trans-shipping center than a gold camp. By 1857, four stages from the South and three mule trains from the North raised dust into Shasta every day. The fastest mode of communication was the stagecoach, carrying passengers, mail and express packages. It was a highly specialized vehicle, distinguished from others by the leather thoroughbraces which supported the carriage and took up the shocks of the road for both horses and passengers. The favorite model was the elegant Concord coach, shipped all the way from New Hampshire around Cape Horn to California. Considered the last word in horse transportation, it carried nine passengers inside and from six to eight on top. Rival stages from Colusa to Shasta carried travelers through in just over 12 hours--at the alarming rate of thirteen miles per hour.

While the six-horse stage was built for speed, the eight- and ten-mule freight teams specialized in tonnage. Plodding along at three miles an hour, they would cover the Colusa-Shasta route in around eight days. In mountain country the lead pair usually wore a bow of team bells over the collars, as a warning to head-on traffic coming around a blind bend. In contrast to the stage driver's box seat and six reins, the muleskinner rode astride the near wheeler and controlled the team by a single jerkline running through harness rings to the leaders. In her palmiest days, Shasta's streets were jammed with a hundred such teams every day.

At local wholesale houses, goods were unloaded and placed in saddle boxes for the most primitive transportation of all--pack mules. In trains of around 120 mules each, supplies moved on over bumpy, precipitous trails to Weaverville, Scott's Bar, Yreka, and the Oregon settlements. As this means of transport had been employed in Mexico for some 300 years, operations were in the hands of hardened Mexican muleteers. Though each animal was limited to around 300 pounds, no cargo was impossible for the mule trains. Crates of squawking chickens, stamp mill machinery, dismantled pianos, printing presses--all swayed and jostled over Trinity trails to the tramp of hoofs and the Spanish oaths of the muleteers.