Review: They Were Soldiers – How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story

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Amazon Page

Ann Jones

5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary book — Gabriel’s trumpet on true cost of war, December 3, 2013

A necessary book. The author has rendered a national — a global — service in documenting the psychological, social, and physical costs of war, costs that surpass the continually astonishing financial cost of war. SIX STARS (my top 10%)

I read this book this afternoon while waiting for a flight out of Afghanistan. The book hit me hard. Although I have been well aware of the staggering number of disabled veterans and suicidal veterans, most of what this book offers up was new to me and deeply disturbing.

The book also made me realize that as an intelligence officer save in a basement — the occasional big car bomb not-with-standing — my time in Afghanistan has been illusory, in that I have not at any time confronted the blood and guts pathos that this book lays out with a professionalism that is compelling.

The book also forces me to think of my three sons, the youngest of whom is contemplating joining the military after college. While I served and retired honorably from the Marine Corps, my wars were Viet-Nam as the son of an oil man and El Salvador as a clandestine case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ve seen my share of dead people across all three, but I never personally experienced the deep gut-wrenching mind-altering pathos that this book lays down.

QUOTE (5): [This book] is about the damage done to soldiers, their families, their communities, and the rest of us, who for another half-century at least will pay for their care, their artificial limbs, their medications, their benefits, their funerals, and the havoc they dutifully wrought under orders around the world.”

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Dec 4

Review: The Ageless Generation: How Advanced in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy

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Amazon Page

Alex Zhavoronkov

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent on Regeneative Health, Light on Preventive Health, Ignores Corrupt Toxic Corporate Practices, November 26, 2013

I was given this book as a gift and was glad to go through the substance. It is very strong on regenerative health but at a very high level. The examples and charts and lists of specifics that I was expecting are not there.

It touches on preventive health as a responsibility, and suggests that individuals as well as organizations should be held accountable for poor health practices they embrace. However, there is not a word in this book about the evils that we do every day in the way of growing, processing, and selling toxic food, flushing drugs into our water, and so on.

The book is a quick read in part because it focus strictly on the 10,000 foot level — more or less an executive overview of how and why regenerative medicine is possible, affordable, and vital.

Among the author’s practical points:

01 Era of age is here — most can expect to live at least a decade if not longer than their parents, perhaps much more if they take care of themselves and preventive / extender medicine kick in (the book does not cover either)

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Nov 28

Review: The Technology of Nonviolence

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Amazon Page

Joseph G. Bock

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering Work, Deserves a Great Deal of Attention, April 29, 2013

I am shocked that there are no reviews of this book. Brought to my attention by Berto Jongman, one of the top researchers in Europe with a special talent at the intersection of terrorism and related violence (e.g. genocide) and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), he knew this is an area that is of very high interest to me.

The book passed my very first test, with more than ample references to Dr. Patrick Meier, a pioneer in crisis mapping, SMS translations and plotting by diasporas, and humanitarian ICT generally. I strongly recommend his blog and expect him to produce a book of his own soon.

The primary focus here is on social media via hand-held devices. It assumes a working Internet and does not have a great deal of focus on the urgency of achieving an Autonomous Internet, and more fully exploiting Liberation Technology and Open Source Everything (OSE), the latter my special interest along with M4IS2 (Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making).

Use Inside the Book to see the chapters and appendices. The author makes clear two major points early on:

01 Grassroots is where its at, not top down macro

02 Technology alone is not enough, organizing — the hard long road of grassroots organizing — is essential.

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Apr 29

Review: Internet-Based Intelligence in Public Health Emergencies – Early Detection and Response in Disease Outbreak Crises

Publisher's Page

Publisher’s Page

Editors Mordini, E., Green, M.
Pub. date March 2013Pages 160
Binding softcoverVolume 105 of NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – E: Human and Societal Dynamics
ISBN 978-1-61499-174-8Subject Computer & Communication Sciences, Security & Terrorism, Social Sciences

Momentous social events result from the sum of micro-level changes in daily individual life, and by observing and fusing publicly available data, such as web searches and other internet traffic, it is possible to anticipate events such as disease outbreaks. However, this ability is not without risks, and public concern about the possible consequences of improper use of this technology cannot be ignored. Opportunities for open discussion and democratic scrutiny are required.

This book has its origins in the workshop Internet-Based Intelligence for Public Health Emergencies and Disease Outbreak: Technical, Medical, and Regulatory Issues, held in Haifa, Israel, in March 2011. The workshop was attended by 28 invited delegates from nine countries, representing various disciplines such as public health, ethics, sociology, informatics, policy-making, intelligence and security, and was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. Its starting point was the 2009 outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. The book includes both scientific contributions presented during the meeting and some additional articles that were submitted later.

Interactions between public health and information and communication technologies are destined to be of great importance in the future. This book is a contribution to the ongoing dialogue between scholars and practitioners, which will be essential to public acceptance and safety as we rely more and more on the internet for predicting trends, decision-making and communication with the public.

Foreword by Robert David Steele

REVIEW

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Mar 29

Review: American Healthcare A Moderate Approach

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Kevin Ludlow

5.0 out of 5 stars Rock Solid Common Sense De-Politicizes Health Care & Health Insurance (Not the Same Thing!), November 4, 2012

I received this book as a gift since I am known for my interest in reform, including health care (my one really original slide on the topic is posted above with the book cover), and I was glad to have a chance to read it.

The author gets very high marks from me for, among other things:

01 Opening with a commitment to proper source citation, objective balance, and people-centered solutions

02 Documenting how the radicalization of politics has led to the most expensive and least capable health care system on the planet

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Nov 4

Review: Food Politics – What Everyone Needs to Know

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Robert Paarlberg

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing at Three Levels, January 25, 2012

This book is disappointing at three levels:

1) The publisher has been completely dishonest in failing to illuminate the fact that this is a book Of, By, and For Monsanto, the greatest force of evil to ever hit farming.

2) The author (naturally) does not address the total corruption of the US Government and most other governments with respect to all issues, not just food. Corn as fuel, corn as fake sugar, corn as inedible cattle feed that puts cattle feces into spinach, the poisoning of our children and our environment by pesticides and other toxins that substitute poison for intelligence, are not covered.

3) Finally, the author is completely lacking in a systemic approach to all of these matters. Here are the twelve core policies that must be harmonized if they are to be effective: Agriculture, Diplomacy, Economy, Education, Energy, Family, Health, Immigration, Justice, Security, Society, Water. This book is abysmally oblivious–no doubt for the convenience of Monsanto–to the fact that agriculture that is based on fossil fuel consumption, inter-continental transport, poisoning for both growth and packaging; that destroys small farmers and community-related farming; that destroys the health of entire nations; that destroys the chain of life in seed that gives birth to new seed (instead substituting suicidal seeds); and finally, the cost-benefit ratio of water use in relation to all that is grown or raised–none of this is to be found in this book, ergo this is a dishonest, incomplete, rather ignorant book.

From where I sit, the publisher, the publisher has disgraced their brand. Here are ten links to books I recommend instead of this book.

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
How Everyday Products Make People Sick: Toxins at Home and in the Workplace, Updated and Expanded
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense
Diet for a Small Planet
Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate (New in Paper) (Princeton Science Library)
Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy
The Republican War on Science
Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion
Pandora’s Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy
Debt and Death in Rural India: The Punjab Story

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Jan 28

Worth a Look: The Real Cost of Cheap Food

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Amazon Review

‘This is an engaging, brilliantly argued and very well-written text. It is among the best books about agri-food issues I’ve read in recent years. Its structure is logical, its arguments are coherent and practical, and it draws on a huge, diverse and up-to-date literature.’ Geoffrey Lawrence, Professor of Sociology, University of Queensland, Australia

Michael Carolan’s book is an arresting account of the invisibilized costs of our food system. His comprehensive detailing of the political, cultural, ecological and health impacts of industrial food clearly reveals the artificial economy of pricing, demonstrating the multiple relations of food beyond its appearance as simply a commodity.
Philip McMichael, Cornell University, US

The Real Cost of Cheap Food is a must read for anyone truly interested in understanding our impaired food system and what we need to do to redesign it. As Carolan points out so brilliantly, the problem with cheap food isn’t just about the “externalities” we ignore, but it lies at the heart of how our food system is designed and requires that we take a fresh, comprehensive look at the problems inherent in our globalized food system. Those problems include the poverty and the potential civic unrest and conflicts it foreshadows, its implications for human and environmental health, and what it all portends for community well-being and the need for cultural transformation. This is one of the most comprehensive treatments of this important issue available today and can serve as a guide for everyone interested in redesigning our food system for the decades ahead. Frederick Kirschenmann, Iowa State University, US

Product Description

This challenging but accessible book critically examines the dominant food regime on its own terms, by seriously asking whether we can afford cheap food and exploring what exactly cheap food affords us. Detailing the numerous ways that food has become reduced to a state, such as a price per ounce, combination of nutrients, yield per acre, or calories, the book argues for a more contextual understanding of food when debating its affordability.

The author makes a compelling case for why today’s global food system produces just the opposite of what it promises. The food produced under this regime is in fact exceedingly expensive. Thus meat production and consumption are inefficient uses of resources and contribute to climate change; the use of pesticides in industrial-scale agriculture may produce cheap food, but there are hidden costs to environmental protection, human health and biodiversity conservation. Many of these costs will be paid for by future generations – cheap food today may mean expensive food tomorrow. By systematically assessing these costs the book delves into issues related, but not limited, to international development, national security, health care, industrial meat production, organic farming, corporate responsibility, government subsidies, food aid and global commodity markets. The book concludes by suggesting ways forward, going beyond the usual solutions such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and community gardens. Exploding the myth of cheap food requires we have at our disposal a host of practices and policies. Some of those proposed and explored include microloans, subsidies for consumers, vertical agriculture, and the democratization of subsidies for producers.

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Oct 12