Saturday, 19 April 2014

A Great Piece Of Writing


This debut novel is great solid read that engages the reader from the get go. The Atlantis Gene manages to pull together several themes into a tight and solid narrative. The plot is well constructed and unravels at nice pace that keeps you intrigued throughout the story.

There is a lot going on in this book and the author does a masterful job of keeping the flow of the story going. Numerous sub-plots and characters all slowly weave together to create a rich tapestery of action and intrigue. As mentioned earlier in this review it is melding of varied themes such as the origin of man, mystisim, Science Fiction and a secret world order that make this book stand out from the crowd.
 
4.5 Stars

Friday, 18 April 2014

Don't Waste Your Time

 
I held high hopes for this book but alas I was dissapointed. For me the story of how the diary was discovered was more intersting than the diary itself. Yes it does provide a brief snaphot into the life of a French soldier at the opening of the Great War. But it lacked  details and this left me  not feeling connected are caring about the soldier. The artwork that accompanyies the diary  is drab and unisnpiring. I am sorry to say that the book to me felt like it was trying to cash in on the centenary of World War I.

2 Stars

Kingdom Of The Dead


Kingdom of the Dead: The zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before. The plague destroyed nine-tenths of the population, and the dead refuse to rot. The survivors learn that each and every one of them carries a death sentence: the virus circulating in their very bloodstreams. Just how far will one scientist go – how many people’s lives will he destroy in his quest to save the human race? The fates of several worlds hang in the balance.

It had only been a week after the twins’ thirteenth birthday party when the whole world had gone to complete shit. At first, both Mortimer and Daniel had thought that witnessing the dead coming back to life and eating folks was probably the most awesome thing ever to happen in their lives. Seeing all those zombies killing people on the nightly news was far better than anything that their video games could have come up with.

Their excitement took a serious blow when the news hit the Internet that a select few were turning without getting bitten. The fear became more profound when these select few began growing daily. When the outbreak reached their hometown, their terror increased exponentially.

Will the twins and their older brother, Martin, survive? Will they learn the truth about the infection that decimated the world’s population, and their role in saving the human race?

“Every single one of those things is a chemical disaster. As long as the zombies still shuffle about, their bodies stay together. It’s only when the things are truly dead when the fun and games begin. Their flesh is nothing more than a foul concoction of highly toxic and corrosive chemicals.” Tony looked at his wife. “How on earth do you dispose of countless millions of corpses that refuse to rot?”
Tony must battle to find the answers before time runs out for all of them.

Even after four long, miserable years, Kenny’s mind and body wouldn’t allow him to forget his impossible resurrection. Of all the millions of souls the plague of death had taken, Kenny believed that only he had risen with his humanity hanging by a thread.
Right now, his thread had frayed to the point of snapping. If he didn’t get his injection, Kenny’s joints would stiffen and the cold would grip his body, and this time the sickness would not release him. He’d be dead for sure this time. After that, there would be no stopping that urge to bite into sweet human meat.
4 Stars
 


Review from the Bookie Monster

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The History of the Traffic Light

You see them hanging around, here and there. They’re everywhere, part of the landscape, it seems but you never really pay close attention to them until you blow through a red one.
Traffic lights. Webster’s defines them as “a set of automatically operated colored lights, typically red, amber, and green, for controlling traffic at road intersections and crosswalks.”
Without traffic lights, urban life would be a lot more chaotic than it is. No doubt bloodier, too.
 
Roman MilestoneRoman MilestoneTraffic lights as regulators of traffic flow evolved from road signs – those ubiquitous objects on the side of roads that provide essential, often useful, and frequently annoying information. Road signs, of course, came on the scene sometime after the development of roadways, which developed to accommodate vehicular and military traffic.
 
The oldest constructed roads known are stone paved streets at Ur, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present day Iraq, and date to around 4000 BC. All of our traffic signs trace their origins to Roman milestones. As the name suggests, these were usually large stone columns placed at intervals of one mile (occasionally portions of a mile) and contained directions and the distance remaining to Rome; the origin of the old saying “All roads lead to home.”
 
In the middle ages, road signs evolved into multidirectional indicators that directed travelers to distant villages and towns, and sometimes included distances to specific destinations. Automobile traffic signs began appearing on roadsides not long after the introduction and proliferation of the automobile.
 
The red, green, and amber colors used by traffic signals are nature-based and have evolved from nautical right-of-way, and railroad usage.
Almost from the very beginning, Red has been the color of choice for “Stop.” Red, the color of blood, is considered a hot, or “dangerous” color. It elevates blood pressure, and heightens nervous tension. The shade of red used in most traffic signals contains orange hues to improve its visibility by individuals with vision issues, such as color blindness.
 
On a color wheel, Green is the polar opposite of red, and a seemingly natural choice for “Go.” Green is a calming and welcoming, and hence, inviting color. According to some sources, the use of green as a “go” signal for car traffic is a carryover from railroads, which adopted the color because white light was not sufficiently discernible during daylight hours. Like red, the color green in most traffic signals is enhanced. It includes some blue for the benefit of colorblind individuals.
 
Yellow, or amber, the color of “Caution,”is the most visible color in the spectrum. It can be seen from the greatest distance.

The world’s very first traffic light was installed for the benefit of pedestrians, not traffic and was inspired by the 1102 fatalities and 1334 injuries documented on London roads in 1866. Invented by John Peake Knight (1828-1886), a railway engineer from Nottingham, the signal was installed at the busy intersection of Great George and Bridge Streets near Parliament in London on December 10, 1868. It was based on railway signals then in use, and manufactured by Saxby and Farmer, a leading railway signal manufacturer. Mounted on a tall pillar, it featured three semaphore arms provided with red and green gas lamps for nighttime use, and was operated by a police constable. It was an instant success.
 
Unfortunately, the signal was destroyed just over three weeks later, on January 2, 1869, by an explosion caused by a leaky gas valve that resulted in the death of the police officer operating the device. Knight’s signal was declared a public safety hazard and ordered removed. It would be another 60 years, 1929, before an electrified variation of Knight’s traffic signal would be reintroduced to London streets.
 
The next chapter in the development of the traffic light took place in Chicago in 1910, when Earnest Sirrine introduced what is believed to be the first automatically controlled traffic signal. The device used two separate display arms that rotated on an axis between two fixed positions. The display arms were arranged as a cross with one display continually offset from the other by 90-degrees. In place of red and green lights, Sirrine’s “street traffic system” used the non-illuminated words“stop” and “proceed.”
 
Two years later, Lester Farnsworth Wire (1887-1958) – a detective with the Salt Lake City Police Department – invented a traffic light that used red and green lights. It was powered from overhead trolley wires. The following year, 1913, James Hogue received a patent for a manually controlled red and green-lighted traffic signal that was installed in 1914 at 105th Street and Euclid in Cleveland. Its big advantage lay with the ability of police and/or fire personnel to adjust the rhythm of operation as necessary in the event of emergency.
 
William Ghiglieri of San Francisco received a patent on May 1, 1917 for the first automatically operated traffic signal employing red and green colored lights that included an option to allow manual operation. Then in 1920, Detroit cop William Potts (1883-1947) invented electrically powered, hanging, automatic traffic lights to control four-way intersections. Potts signals were the first to include amber “caution” lights and were installed at several busy intersections along Woodward Avenue, still the Motor City’s main drag.
 
In 1923, Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr. (1877-1963) – the inventor of a “respiratory protective hood” that was the forerunner of the gas mask, and the first African-American to own an automobile in Cleveland OH – received a patent for a reliable and inexpensive manually operated signal. Shortly after being awarded the patent, Morgan sold his rights to General Electric for $40,000 (currently the equivalent of more than a half-million dollars). GE used the patent for protection in a failed effort to establish a traffic light monopoly.
 
Meanwhile around this time in Detroit, the home of Henry Ford and the Model-T, the first traffic tower in the US was installed at the intersection of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in 1917. As they began being used in other cities, the towers assumed a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but were generally big, tall, right in the middle of all the traffic action, and therefore, VERY visible. These traffic controlling structures were often manned, but not necessarily so, and were available with or without traffic lights.
 
Laying claim to the world’s oldest operating traffic light is the city of Ashville OH. The light in question controlled traffic from its installation at the corner of Main and Long Streets for about 50 years. Designed by Ashville resident Teddy Boor, the signal featured a slowly rotating hand that swept across the face of each light to let drivers know how much time remained before a light change. The signal was ordered removed in 1982 by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which ordered the then village to replace it with a standard traffic light.
While it is no longer controlling car traffic, the light is still operating, and directing foot traffic inside the Ashville Museum, where it is the most popular exhibit. According to officials, “there is plenty of foot traffic.” The light has also been featured on Oprah and An American Moment With James Earl Jones

 Sourced at Inventorspot.com

Saturday, 12 April 2014

History Does Not Get Any Better Than This



Paul Ham keeps pumping out great book after great book. His talent in bringing history alive on the page is evident in 1914 again. With the 100 year anniversary of the start of the Great War upon us this book gives us an insight into the people and the world in which they lived.

1914 does not try to shed new light onto the start of the war but what it does is to give us a look into a world on the cusp of change and its masters that thirsted for war. We see that the Great War was not triggered by the assignation of Franz Ferdinand as popularly believed, but instead it was a combination of numerous factors. Much of this book is taken up with giving the reader a great sense of the people and politics of the time, as well as the key events leading up to the outbreak of war.

What I liked about this book is that it tries to view the road to war through the eyes of the people and doctrine of the time.  This book for me is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the causes and opening months of the war to end all wars.

5 Stars, LBR Tick of Approval



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

What Will You Do When The World Ends

 
 
The Perseid Collapse follows on from Konkoly's excellent book the Jakarta Pandemic and like the previous book it a fantastic read from start to finish. His second book is set six years after the flu pandemic that bought the USA and the world to its knees. The world is finally back to normal what else can go wrong?

This story kicks into top gear fairly quickly with our heroes being thrown into a world of chaos. This is caused by an unexplained EMP blast and Tsunami that destroys large parts of the USA. It is put down as a meteor strike but the author gives us enough information to know otherwise. It is into this world our heroes are yet again thrown. Learning much from the previous disaster they put their plans into action. This book is an action packed thriller, in which they come face to face with the dark side of humanity as they race to save family living in Boston.

As a post-apocalyptic novel this book ticks all the boxes and manages to deliver a fresh fast paced narrative with well thought out and written characters. For me the true test of how good a book of this genre is comes down to how paranoid it makes me. This book had me looking around seeing how well prepared I will be if the end of the world comes and it is not looking good. I look forward with great excitement to the next novel in this series.


4.5 Stars




 


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The History of Monopoly


Monopoly was first marketed on a broad scale by Parker Brothers on November 5, 1935..Today, an estimated 500 million players from around the globe have been mesmerized by the Monopoly game since its creation. It remains a classic, passed down from generation to generation, making it the world's most popular game.
Although Monopoly is frequently said to have been invented by Charles Darrow in 1935, its origins actually go back to when Lizzie Magie, patented 748,626 (US) issued January 5, 1904, a game called "The Landlord's Game" with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people can find it hard to understand why this happens and what might be done about it and she thought that if Georgist ideas (that is, a supporter of political economist Henry George), were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.
 This original game was enjoyable but although patented it was not taken up by a manufacturer until 1910 when it was published in the US by the Economic Game Company of New York. Apart from commercial distribution, it spread by word of mouth and was played in slightly variant home-made versions over the years by Quakers, Georgists, university students and others who became aware of it. As it spread, its rules were changed, most notably in dropping the second phase of the game during which a Land tax was introduced to replace the other taxes, and the shortened game became known as "Auction Monopoly".
It was often localized; the original fanciful property names being replaced by street names from the cities where the players lived. By the late 1920s it was known as just plain "Monopoly" and was played very much as it is now. One version of the game, commonly played in the Philadelphia area, had Atlantic City street name. In 1929 Ruth Hoskins began playing Monopoly in Indianapolis with her brother James and his friend Robert Frost "Pete" Daggett Jr., who was a friend of Dan Layman.
 
 In 1933, Charles B. Darrow played a game on oil cloth on his kitchen table, fell in love with the game's exciting promise of fame and fortune. He played "Monopoly" at home with his family and friends. But others soon heard of the game and ordered sets of their own. Later that year Charles Darrow patented and sold copies of the game as his personal invention. Darrow went to work, making hand-made copies of Monopoly and selling them for $4.00 apiece.
 
When demand for the game grew beyond his ability to fill orders, he brought the game to Parker Brothers who first rejected it on the basis there were 52 design errors. Undaunted, Darrow continued to produce handmade editions on his own and was highly successful. Parker Brothers caught wind of the success and decided to buy the rights to the game. In 1935, owned by Parker Brothers, the Monopoly® game became America's best selling game. Parker Brothers subsequently decided to pay off Magie, and others who had copyrighted commercial variants of the game, in order to have legitimate, undisputed rights to the game, and promoted Darrow as its sole inventor.
After buying up Lizzie Magie's patent for $500 and no royalties, Parker Brothers marketed a few hundred sets of The Landlord's Game and then buried it forever. Then it turned to a more dangerous flaw in the plans to rescue the firm with Monopoly: "A game surprisingly similar to Darrow's and known as Monopoly was played on homemade boards in the DKE house at Williams College in 1927 et seq. It developed in Reading, Pa., much earlier than that.
 "Almost exactly this same game as played at Williams was put on the market in Indianapolis early in 1932 through L. S. Ayres & Co. The name was changed to Finance for trademark reasons. Dan Layman's predecessor Finance. That cost more money: $10,000. But none of it went to Layman. A victim of the Great Depression, broke and desperate for money, he had sold his interest in Finance to a small games manufacturer, David W. Knapp, for $200.
Once Finance was wrapped up, Parker Brothers turned to another Monopoly-like game called "Inflation," manufactured by a Texan named Rudy Copeland. Early in 1936 Parker Brothers sued Copeland for patent infringement. Copeland countersued, charging that Darrow's and therefore Parker Brothers' patent on Monopoly was invalid. If the details forming the basis for that charge had become public knowledge, Parker Brothers might never have gone to reap a fortune from Monopoly. But Parker settled the lawsuit immediately by paying Copeland $10,000 to surrender his rights and keep his mouth shut.
 
 Decades later, when they attempted to suppress publication of a game called Anti-Monopoly, designed by Ralph Anspach, the trademark suit went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1983, and the court found in favor of Anspach because Darrow did not actually invent the game.
There is no accounting for the unrivaled devotion that the Monopoly game has garnered over the past sixty years. Some say it is the chance to build a fortune, take a risk, make an acquisition. Others insist it is the drama of competition. Edward P. Parker, former president of Parker Brothers suggested that the magic of the game Monopoly is "clobbering your best friend without doing any damage."
 

DID YOU KNOW?
·    Over 200 million games have been sold worldwide. More than five billion little green houses have been "built" since 1935.
·    A set made by Alfred Dunhill, with gold houses and silver hotels, sold for $25,000.
·    The longest game in history lasted 70 straight days.
·    In its current and well-known incarnation, the Monopoly game is so firmly capitalist that it was once banned in Russia and China and is still outlawed in North Korea and Cuba.
·    In 1970, a few years after Charles Darrow's death, Atlantic City erected a commemorative plaque in his honour. It stands on the Boardwalk, near the juncture of Park Place.
·    Sometimes, circumstances call for a special MONOPOLY® set to be used. The students of Juniata College in Huntington, PA had a "big idea" in the spring of 1987 and turned part of their campus into a MONOPOLY® board larger than a city block. Giant foam rubber cubes were used for dice, and bicycle messengers with walkie-talkies kept players informed of their moves.
·    In 1978, Neiman Marcus demonstrated its good taste by offering a $600 full-size chocolate MONOPOLY® game in its Christmas catalogue. Requests came pouring in from chocolate and game lovers alike. And in 1991, the Franklin Mint issued a collectible MONOPOLY® game selling for $550 that included gold and silver pieces.


Sourced at Idea Finders