Category Archives: Books

Breaking News

By Martin Fletcher

There is more than one story in this book. There is the story about his dangerous journey around the world’s war zones. There is the story of how a BBC cameraman became an NBC Bureau Chief.  There is a story about how technological advances made it easier to get the news out, but the main story is how he went from covering stories to covering people.

Fletcher’s parents escaped to Britain from Nazi Germany. He learned about the Holocaust from survivors and not from renting Sophie’s Choice. He did not like bullies who denied people their jobs, their homes and ultimately their lives. Over time his stories were not about the people in power, but the powerless, the exiled, the refugees, those who had no choice over what other people decided the rest of their shortened lives would be like.

In his travels he learned there were many sides to a story but some people were just plain wrong. They use religion as an excuse, an arrogance of faith. It was usually the people who would not allow him to cover a story. He learned that the old saying about a conflict “taking two to tango” was more like “it takes one to tangle.” Too often the conflict would be carried to their children. As long as one side fights, there will be war until the other surrenders or dies. Until then Fletcher will be there to cover it.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 15, 2011 The New Yorker

On Aug. 15, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The Business Of Austerity” about how the Republican Congress caused the US Government to default. By harming the full faith and credit of the United States they caused the stock market to fall, hurting their friends on Wall Street. Austerity hurts recovery.

Dana Goodyear wrote “Grub” about eating bugs as a source of protein.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “Sleeping With The Enemy” about what happened to the Neanderthals. Apparently they were not as artistic or creative as humans.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 1, 2011 The New Yorker

On Aug. 1, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Smash The Ceiling” about whether the United States needs a debt ceiling.

Anthony Lane wrote “Hack Work” about Rupert Murdoch’s media empire (News Of The World and Fox News) and its abuses in England and possibly America.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 25, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jul. 25, 2011 The New Yorker’s Alec Wilkinson wrote “Let’s Get Small” about Tumbleweed’s Jay Shafer and the tiny house movement. Supporters say they are affordable, environmentally friendly and easier to maintain than normal housing. Built on trailers, they are usually under 400 square feet with a kitchen and bath. They may violate local building codes and banks may not mortgage. According the International Code Council, no habitable room can be smaller than 70 square feet and no house under 261 square feet.

Calvin Trillin wrote “Back On The Bus” about Freedom Riders in the 1960’s American South. Segregationist tried to decide who was a member of the press, limit their access, tell them whether they could take pictures and even what kind of cameras they could use.

John Cassidy wrote “Mastering The Machine” about Ray Dialo, hedge fund founder of Bridgewater Associates. Dialo correctly predicted the collapse of the economy in 2007 because of the “crazy lending and leveraging practices” of financial institutions. He approached and informed the Bush Administration and they did not act on it. The Obama Administration did act and the economy rebounded fast than even he thought it would.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 11, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jul. 11, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Dodger Mania” about the financial problems in Greece. Apparently Greece is in trouble because rich people do not pay their fair share of taxes. Many other people follow their example and it hurts their economy.

Ken Auletta wrote “A Woman’s Place” about Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved

Jun. 27, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jun. 27, 2011 The New Yorker’s Nicholas Lemann wrote “Get Out Of Town” about the growth of US cities. As of the year 2000, eighty percent of Americans live in cities. Richard Florida’s book “The Rise Of The Creative Class” is about what makes cities attractive to white collar workers like scientists or artists. Open, diverse and culturally creative places attract economic growth.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Flooded Earth

By Peter Ward

There is a lot of talk these days about underwater real estate, where people owe more on a house than it is worth. I’ve been reading the book Flooded Earth by University of Washington scientist Peter Ward. He talks about the original meaning, where the property is really underwater from climate change. He conservatively estimates sea levels will rise about a meter over a the next century. Meanwhile there will floods and storm surges as the water rises. In an interview with Salon he said:

“Some of the very low-lying cities in the San Francisco Bay aren’t savable. San Francisco’s got high ground, but a lot of Oakland is really low ground and the entire San Jose region is hugely threatened.”

You have to think about this if you are buying Bay Area real estate. A lot of property will be worthless over the next few decades. But it is more than San Francisco; Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle are in the same fix as every seaside city considering what to do about rising sea levels.

In the meantime, property owners need to find how high they are above sea level and think about selling early rather than late.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

 

Jun. 13, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jun. 13, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The Warren Court” about Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The banking lobby is trying to stop her but she may run for US Senator from Massachusetts and become a bigger headache. Warren thinks that informed consumers force companies to compete and create efficient markets.

Annette Gordon Reed wrote “The Persuader” about Harriet Beecher Stowe and her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 6, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jun. 6, 2011 The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza wrote “Romney’s Dilemma” about how Mitt Romney’s Healthcare reform was adopted as the foundation for Obama’s plan so that Republicans would not object. After all, it was a Republican idea.

Louis Menand wrote “Live and Learn” about why college is necessary. It educates and socializes. It is necessary for a highly developed democratic society.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 30, 2011 The New Yorker

On May 30, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “A Billion Prices Now” about policy makers not having enough accurate information to make timely decisions about the economy. Beginning with the New Deal, the government began collecting statistics to put together Gross National Product (GNP) that became today’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To improve upon this, MIT economists Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobin created the Billion Prices Project (BPP) which predicted the economic collapse of September 2008 two months before it showed up in government statistics in November. Having such information can help decide how much intervention or stimulus is needed. Of course it requires courageous politicians to act upon it.

Michael Specter wrote “Resistant” about the history of epidemics, vaccination and human rights. A plague can change history or destroy a civilization. Get your kids immunized.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 2, 2011 The New Yorker

May 2, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Bitter Pills” about the conflicts in controlling cost while providing good health care. “The ideal system, for most voters, would guarantee all seniors reasonable health care, stop the debt from getting out of control, and keep paying health care providers as before.”

Rivka Galchen wrote “Dream Machine” about quantum computing.

Pankaj Mishra wrote “The Inner Voice” about Mohandas Gandhi.

Anthony Lane wrote “In The Dark” about Werner Herzog’s movie “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” There is a cave in France with amazing drawings that are over 30,000 years old.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 25, 2011 The New Yorker

On Apr. 25, 2011 The New Yorker’s Burkhard Bilger wrote “The Possibilian” about David Eagleman, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. He studies how people perceive the passage of time in life threatening situations. Time may seem to slow down but it is the brain’s activity that speeds up. We are always sensing the world a little late until there is a crisis. He studies soldiers, police, race car drivers, survivors of vehicle accidents. People that are always in a danger can develop a near permanent hyper vigilance. They describe the hyper vigilance, hearing every sound and seeing every detail.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 11, 2011 The New Yorker

On Apr. 11, 2011 The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta wrote “Murdoch’s Best Friend” about Rupert Murdoch’s appointment of Robert Thomson to run the Wall Street Journal.

David Denby reviewed “Strange Trips” about the movie “Source Code” where a disabled veteran keeps living the same terrorist attack over and over with different results. It is like Groundhog Day.

Copyright 2011 DJ Clie All rights reserved.

Apr. 1, 2011 Reader’s Digest

In the July 2011 issue of the Reader’s Digest, Michelle Crouch wrote “Get Hired Not Fired.”about the secrets that HR people will not tell you. Cynthia Shapiro says “Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re pretty much unemployable.””If there was someone we no longer wanted at the company, we’d give him all the worst assignments on impossible deadlines, set him up to fail, and document that. After a few months, we could safely terminate him.” I do not know Shapiro. I’m glad I don’t.

Shauna Moerke says “If you’re trying to get a job a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely.” In your resume, use keywords, do not reveal your age, weight, or whether you have kids. Check out Salary.com.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

 

Mar. 21, 2011 The New Yorker

Mar. 21, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Scrimmage” about the NFL owners and players. “But the NFL is not capitalist in any traditional sense. The league is more like the trusts that dominated American business in the late nineteenth century, before they were outlawed. The goal is not to embrace competition but to tame it, making the owner’s business less risky and more profitable.”

Paul Tough wrote “The Poverty Clinic” about the Bayview Child Health Center in San Francisco. Medical Director Dr. Nadine Burke talked about serving the patients greater needs that resulted in needing medical care. Poverty is a public health issue. The stress of poverty will kill you.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 14, 2011 The New Yorker

On Feb. 14, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Sputnikonomics” about the how government funding research and development in the space program, interstate highways or the internet resulted in dramatic long term economic growth.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote “The Order Of Things” about college rankings. They do not tell enough about the graduates who finally walk out the door. Quality varies from student to student and what they gained from the experience.

Adam Gopnik wrote “The Information” about books about the Internet and its effects on the world.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 31, 2011 The New Yorker

On Jan. 31, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Don’t Enter The Dragon” about the risk of investing in China. “A lack of transparency and a disregard for accounting regulations are all too common among US listed Chinese firms…” Chinese firms may try a reverse merger by buying American companies listed on the stock exchange to avoid scrutiny by investors or regulators.

David E. Hoffman wrote “Going Viral” about the Pentagon’s efforts to deal with swine flu and other biological threats.

Patricia Marx wrote “The Borrowers” about how people live the illusion of affluence by renting expensive clothes or purses.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “America’s Top Parent” about tiger mothers driving their children to excel.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 17, 2011 The New Yorker

Jan. 17, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “State Of The Unions” about how the unions of the Great Depression helped create the American middle class after World War Two. People who do not belong to unions do not realize they benefit from their effect on corporations and government programs.

Jill Lepore wrote “The Commandments” about people who worship the US Constitution.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Hadoop

The Definitive Guide

By Tom White

This second edition confirms this book’s place as the official textbook for Hadoop. It is for stone cold coders. As a matter of fact I would not venture into Hadoop without this book and an experienced Oracle developer.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 3, 2011 The New Yorker

Jan. 3, 2011 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The Jobs Crisis” In a recession there is not recovery until you have a job. You cannot blame the unemployed for structural unemployment. Government should extend unemployment insurance to those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and help them get training for the skills that will be in demand.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker

On Dec. 20, 2010 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Groupon Clipping” about Internet companies trying remain relevant or part of the next big thing like Google trying to buy Groupon.

Michael Specter wrote “The Doomsday Strain” about scientist Nathan Wolfe’s searching the world for new diseases and cures.

David Owen wrote “The Efficiency Dilemma” about US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the idea that increasing energy efficiency might mean we just use more energy.

Pankaj Mishra wrote “Staying Power” about Mao Zedong’s rise in China.

Caleb Crain wrote “Tea And Antipathy” about the real Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 13, 2010 The New Yorker

On Dec. 13, 2010 The New Yorker’s Ariel Levy wrote “Reservations” about the Long Island Shinnecock tribe’s attempt to open a casino and the effect it may have on their community.

Jonah Lehrer wrote “The Truth Wears Off” about the scientific method and how theories are challenged in that process.

Peter J. Boyer wrote “House Rule” about conservative Republican US Congress representative John Boehner’s experience growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio and in Washington DC. Missed Vietnam by that much.

John Cassidy wrote “Enter The Dragon” about how communist China adopted capitalism.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 6, 2010 The New Yorker

On Dec. 6, 2010 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The Big Uneasy” about the second round of quantitative easing (QE2) by the Federal Reserve. The Fed just buys longer term bonds to help stabilize and stimulate the economy.

Tom Bissel wrote “A Simple Medium” about TV Show creator Chuck Lorre. He has worked with Roseanne, Brett Butler, Cybill Shepherd, Christine Baranski, Charlie Sheen and the cast of the Big Bang Theory.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 22, 2010 The New Yorker

On Nov. 22, 2010 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Greedy Geezers” about the inexplicable lack of support of health care reform by some senior citizens. Apparently they are misled by Republican spin doctors. Others seniors see the benefits of everyone having the benefits that seniors enjoy.

Louis Menand wrote “Talk Story” about the history of late night talk shows, particularly Dick Cavett.