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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth
Publisher: Crown Business
Authors: JUAN ENRIQUEZ
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
new idea in town


There is nothing quite so chilling as the prospect of an intellectual looking ahead to the future and describing for we poorbenighted masses both how it will look and what we have to do to get there. In my own lifetime alone (a mere forty years)this has included pronouncements that communism was a permanent rival of democracy, perhaps even its superior; that aSilent Spring was coming; that central planning made Japan a more formidable economic power than America with its freemarket economy; predictions of a new Ice Age in the sixties and, alternatively, of Global Warming in the 90's; dire warningsof a Population Explosion followed by today's obvious underpopulation crisis; and so on and so forth, ad nauseum. In thosefour short decades, I've lived through the Sexual Revolution, the Third American Reawakening, the New Age, Women'sLiberation, Animal Liberation, Black Pride, Gray Pride, Gay Pride, Handicapped Pride, the Nuclear Age, the Space Age,the Green Revolution, the Information Age, the Digital Revolution, the Imperial Presidency, the incredible shrinkingpresidency, yadda, yadda, yadda... Comes now Juan Enriquez to inform us that we're about to live through the GenomicAge :
THE DOMINANT LANGUAGE ... AND ECONOMIC DRIVER...OF THIS CENTURY...IS GOING TO BE GENETICS.
Those who remain illiterate in this language... Won't understand the force making the single biggest difference in their lives.
And like all of his predecessors, Mr. Enriquez wants to make sure that we completely restructure our lives and our societyaround the notion that he's right.
The quotation above is in roughly the form that Mr. Enriquez uses in the book, apparently believing that in the future we'lltreasure almost random typesetting, variable capitalization, incomplete sentences and the like. Instead, this style feelsincredibly condescending, as if big print, bold lettering, and broad, easily comprehensible ideas are the only way to reach thehoi polloi.
In this spirit, Mr. Enriquez does not offer many specifics about how we can prepare for this genomic future, but those hedoes include seem to indicate that he may have completely missed the point of the 20th Century. He focusses heavily on theeducational end of the equation, apparently believing that having a population that is literate in the language of genomics willsuffice to allow nations to participate in the potentially explosive economic growth that genomics may bring. But the SovietUnion, Cuba, and many other countries expended huge amounts of energy, time, and resources on educating their people inthe science of the day and it served for nought. For one thing, what your people know really doesn't make any differenceunless they have the free institutions--capitalism and democracy--in which to utilize their knowledge.
For another, states simply lack the flexibility to determine which knowledge will be needed tomorrow and governmentbureaucracy is too inefficient at the actual educating process. Perhaps Mr. Enriquez is right about the long term importanceof genomics and the revolutionary economic impact it will have, but if he's not, imagine how long it will take a government,once embarked on his project, to realize its mistake and change the emphasis of its curriculum. Mr. Enriquez himself saysthat :
Many are unprepared for... The violence and suddenness with which... New technologies change... LIVES ... COMPANIES ... COUNTRIES ... Because they do not understand what these technologies can do.
Through all the "revolutions" and "ages" listed above, be they real or imagined, the one thing that remained constant inAmerica, though not as constant as we might like, was the adherence to the idea of freedom. The ability of democracy andcapitalism to adapt to all of these social, scientific, political, and intellectual forces seems to indicate that a climate of freedomis the necessary condition for a society to handle these violent and sudden changes. Yet he's suggesting locking ourselvesinto an education system premised on a belief that genomics is necessarily the future : that's pretty sketchy.
Finally, who cares if all of us speak the genetic code, so long as enough scientists do? The digital revolution is hummingalong quite nicely and not many of us are fluent in binary. There does not appear to be anything so unique about geneticengineering that it will require widespread knowledge of the genetic code. Even if genetic manipulation allows me to growwings, I won't be the one doing the engineering, any more than I know how to fix my own car.
There's another element to all of this that is far more sinister, and that's Mr. Enriquez's suggestion that we be prepareourselves philosophically and ethically to fully exploit the possibilities of genetic technology. Thus, contemplating theprospect of human cloning, he says that :
The Christian moral and ethical system is ill-equipped to address some of the choices and dilemmas created by the genomics revolution.
We may all want to pay some attention to the beliefs and consequences...
Explored by religions like Hinduism and Buddhism...
Where reincarnation remains a central tenet...
Funny, it would seem more appropriate to me to require that uses of new technologies conform to the traditional moralstandards of Western Civilization, not that we ditch those ethical prohibitions that might inconvenience our full exploitation ofthe science. If you extend Mr. Enriquez's logic to its inevitable end, doesn't our prospective ability to clone ourselves makeevery one of us expendable? Why punish murder if the scientists can just duplicate us? Maybe that's the point, that thistechnology holds out the promise of a world where we can finally free ourselves from the moral codes that have restrainedus for thousands of years, but is that really a consummation we wish for?
It may well be that Mr. Enriquez does not mean quite what these flippant statements of his seem to mean, but the discussionof most issues in the book is so general that it is hard to know for sure. But we do know this, liberal democratic capitalismhas proven uniquely adept at withstanding potentially transformative technologies and social movements. By allowing peoplethe freedom to study whatever they desire, to band together into cooperative business endeavors, to buy and sell theproducts and services of their choosing, and by rewarding winners extravagantly and punishing losers harshly, the freemarket has been able to route these various forces into productive channels. No matter how great the promise of genomics,it seems awfully unlikely that our current system, or something approximating it, will not be able to deal with it quiteeffectively. And because democratic capitalism is so distinctly a phenomenon of the Anglo-American world, the dominantlanguage of the 21st Century is likely to be the same as it was of the 20th, and the 19th, and the 18th : English, specificallythat of John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Burke, Lord Acton,etc.. And the force that makes the single biggest difference in our lives will continue to be not genomics but freedom. By allmeans read the book, there's plenty here that's interesting and it's an easy enough read. But be wary of taking any of it atface value. As a general rule, it's helpful to be profoundly skeptical of anyone who advises wholesale changes to the culture,particularly to its moral foundations, just because there's a new idea in town.
GRADE : C-



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The CISSP Prep Guide: Gold Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Ronald L. Krutz, Russell Dean Vines
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
This book no longer relevant


I just took the test yesterday and this book was basically the only one I used to prepare. It went over information you really don't need and didn't cover well enough the ones you do. There was a level of detail that was not addressed in this book as well areas that weren't even covered. A co-worker of mine used two books, this one and the All-in-One and he said that the All-in-One covered the areas and was more accurate to the test. One more point the questions in this book are nothing like the ones on the test and are not a good judge of what the questions will be like.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Object-Oriented Software Engineering: Practical Software Development using UML and Java
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Europe
Authors: Timothy Lethbridge, Robert Laganiere, Timothy Lethbridge, Robert Laganiere
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is THE Book for Software Engineering


I used this textbook as an introduction to Software Engineering, and for the first time in my University career, I didn't find my textbook lacking or incomplete.This book covers it all: the basics of Software Engineering, a review on Object-orientation, the software life cycle, detailed modelling in UML, architecture and design, patterns, and testing.The material is easy-to-read, in-depth, well organized, and comprehensive. Too often, you find a book that bogs you down in its wordiness and jargon, but this isn't one of them.This book was written by professors in the Software Engineering field who know, from years of experience, what a student needs to know in order to learn and understand the process of software engineering.This is not a book that will sit on your shelf: I used it all the time during my first software course and still take it as my reference for all my other software courses.I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a lot about software.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly Networking)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Matthew Gast, Matthew S. Gast
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Outdated and by default, Useless.


This book wouls be great if it was the year 2000 or something. It's outdated and therefor not a decent guide to implement any kind of .11 network unless you don't mind it being completely unsecured.
Get a sample chapter here and you be the judge:
...
Save Time and money by getting Syngress "Building a Cisco Wireless Network" or any other Syngress wireless book for that matter. They offer a 1 Year Buyer protection Plan that lets you get updates for your book if the technology changes within 12 months of your books purchase...very useful.
I manage a multi-level wireless outfit for a company in Seattle and have been testing 11a and 11b for almost a year now. This book is barely worth reading, unless it was free!
=)
kevin