((My comments in double parentheses - Homer))
 
                              BOOK REVIEWS
 
                                 FG - 8
                                No Date
 
                       Copyright (C) Frank Gordon
       Redistribution rights granted for non commercial purposes
 
     In the Area of Scientific Methodology Applied to the Humanities
 
     SENTICS The Touch of the Emotion by Dr.  Manfred Clynes.  Anchor
Books 1978.  Paperback.
 
     A researcher in biocybernetics and a concert pianist, Dr.  Clynes
has shown that different emotions have characteristic expressive
"shapes."  And these can be recorded as specific pressure patterns made
by one's fingers.
 
     Hope, courage, joy, love, grief, and even perfunctory mechanicality
each have their own pattern.  These can be expressed through music, and
can reveal an inner pulse characteristic of each composer (giving his
own personal signature or "presence").
 
     He also discusses ways of exploring one's emotions with these
pressure waves.
 
     THE LUSCHER COLOR TEST by Dr.  Max Luscher, transl. by Ian Scott,
Pocket Books, N.Y., 1971.  Paperback.
 
     This paperback includes 8 color plates for the test, which is taken
by selecting one's preferred colors.  This test is non-verbal, extremely
simple and rapid, and surprisingly informative.
 
     THE MATHEMATICAL THEORY OF COMMUNICATION by Claude E. Shannon &
Warren Weaver, Univ. of Illinois Press 1963.  Paper.
 
     This looks at communication as a reduction of uncertainty by the
selection of a definite message from a collection of possible messages;
and shows how the concept of entropy (uncertainty, disorder, a measure
of unavailable energy) can be applied to information.
 
     It also demonstrates how noise or distractions can be overcome by
redundancy; simply repeating the message until it gets through, or by
coding it more effectively.
 
     Another related work from the same time period is:
 
     CYBERNETICS or Control and Communication in the Animal and the
Machine by Norbert Wiener, M.I.T.  Press 1961.
 
     This book is a classic in the area of control by biofeedback, or
feedback loops generally.  Historically, it is rooted in the steam
engine governor, and WWII anti-aircraft fire control.  He discusses what
can happen when feedback is mismanaged and results in uncontrollable
oscillations and "hunting."  It is, however, extremely mathematical in
some sections.
 
     THE MYTHICAL MAN-MONTH Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick
P. Brooks, Jr.  Addison-Wesley 1975.  Paper.
 
     Among other discoveries, Brooks explodes the myth that adding more
manpower automatically results in more productivity.  Based on his
experiences in developing the IBM O/S 360 computer, he notes that
because of training and intercommunication needs, more manpower can
actually mean less productivity.
 
     For a society which assumes that more money and manpower is the
answer to problems like a creaking educational system, such insights are
valuable.
 
     FOUR REVIEWS In the Area of Geopolitics and Ecology
 
     THE POPULATION BOMB, by Dr.  Paul R. Ehrlich, Sierra
Club/Ballantine, N.Y., 1973
 
     This book describes the problem of over population and its effects
in the areas of air, food, water, birth control, death control, and our
total environment.
 
     ".. no changes in behavior or technology can save us unless we can
achieve control over the size of the human population.  The birth rate
must be brought into balance with the death rate or mankind will breed
itself into oblivion.  We can afford no longer to merely treat the
symptoms .."
 
     For additional information on this subject, I suggest you view the
evening news.
 
     HEALING THE PLANET, Strategies for Resolving the Environmental
Crisis, by Paul & Anne Ehrlich, Addison-Wesley 1991.
 
     Population pressure is the key factor of planetary overload, but
this book examines other factors:  global warming, ozone depletion,
garbage disposal, and irresponsible "affluence."
 
     ENTROPY A New World View, by Jeremy Rifkin, Viking 1980.
 
     The author points out the defects of the present world view with
its naive endless growth and unlimited energy philosophy.  There are
limits imposed by entropy, the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
 
     Simply put, energy is only available when there are differences,
and as the energy is used, these differences disappear.  That is,
available energy becomes unavailable energy.
 
     From this viewpoint, what appears as "advances:"  the coal fired
steam engine, the oil fired gas engine, and nuclear power; can be seen
as desperate momentary exploitations of non-renewable energy sources.
 
     THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS by Paul Kennedy, Random
House, N.Y. 1987
 
     This is an analysis of global politics over the past 500 years.  It
examines the connection between economic and military policy, and the
drain of an over-extended projection of military power; which leads to
downfall.
 
     It is implicit in this book and those above, that the struggle to
become a "great power," and the clashes between these powers, in reality
constitute crimes against the planet, which have not yet been codified
into human law; but these laws are there, real, and inexorable.
 
     Frank Gordon
 
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Homer Wilson Smith           This file may be found at
homer@rahul.net              ftp.rahul.net/pub/homer/act/fg8.memo
Posted to usenet newsgroup:  alt.clearing.technology