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Country: Europe, DE, Germany
This is a remarkable book. It reads like a detective novel; but it's subject is actually economics - specifically, how the Soviet Union's centralized economy was designed and why it failed. Each chapter could stand on its own as a terrific short story with great characters and lots of local color. But, as the stories progress, you discover that you're following and understanding a larger, more complicated story.
Remember when Khrushchev and Nixon had the famous "kitchen debate" at the Moscow American technology exhibit in 1959 and Khrushchev boasted "In 7 years we will reach the level of America. When we catch up and pass you by, we'll wave to you."? You learn from Spufford that one reason Khrushchev felt confident enough to make the boast is that the Soviet Union had, at just that time, made a huge investment in an entire city devoted to science and mathematics. It was called Akademgorodok (academy town) and was, at its peak, staffed with 65,000 scientists and mathematicians. One of the goals of this establishment was to develop both the mathematics and the computer systems necessary to make the Marxist economic vision a reality. Of course, we know the outcome. That was settled when the Soviet Union collapsed. But, the important thing the book offers for any American who lived through the cold war is not the outcome. It's what we didn't know at the time - the part of history that was happening behind the iron curtain. And once you read it, you'll understand more clearly why China decided to move to a market-based economy. We assume they learned from us. I now think it's likely they learned more from the USSR's failure.
There is another lesson I took from this book. The Soviet leaders refused to learn from experience because they couldn't shake loose from the grip of Marxist ideology. Their best scientists and mathematicians were telling them that the only way to avoid economic failure was to allow supply and demand to establish prices. But that was a heresy that couldn't be tolerated. It was too much like capitalism. I look at our politics today and wonder if some of the most vocal advocates of capitalism are now making a similar mistake by refusing to consider ideas that seem too much like socialism.
I grind my teeth in my sleep, and the tooth the left of my front two had a chip to prove it. On Monday morning I was rudely awakened by my bottom teeth smacking hard into my front top teeth as I must have been grinding again. I sat up and wound up spitting out 2/3-3/4 of my chipped tooth. This was right in the front, there was no way of hiding it, I was mortified.
I began scouring the internet to find ANYTHING I could use to remedy this situation until I could see my dentist and get it properly treated. I found Temp Tooth, and was skeptical. It seemed too good to be true, but I was willing to give just about anything a shot. I ordered the product and had it over-nighted to me.
It was at my door this morning, and I got right to work. It took a little while to get the hang of making a tooth, and I noticed that the plastic seems to harden quite quickly. I wound up tossing my first attempt, as I made it a bit too dark for my tooth color, and made a great temporary tooth on my next try. By using tea to melt the beads for only a couple of minutes, I was able to get a great natural off-white color on my tooth to match the others. I used my broken portion of tooth as well as the surrounding area to perfectly mold the spot, and the temp tooth really snapped in and held in place well. From afar, you could never notice anything is wrong with my tooth, and up close it looks no worse than your average temporary crown from the dentist.
This product was a total (social)life-saver, and I can't believe that it actually worked. $35 for a truly invaluable product if you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. I will be keeping a container of Temp Tooth in my medicine cabinet for life!!!
The Bose Solo TV sound system is an excellent addition to any home entertainment system. The sound quality is clear and powerful enough to change my whole TV experience.
My first impressions were that Bose took the time and effort into packaging the system (something which I've only really seen with Apple products to date personally). The product packaging securely kept the device from getting hurt during the shipping process and made it exciting to get the system out and setup for the television. The instructions even helped me understand something that I really should have figured out a long time ago -- the things at the end of optical cable are just caps that you're supposed to remove. As someone who never used optical cables previously reading through the instructions made things a little easier for me (not used to removing caps from cables).
In terms of the sound I'm shocked by the difference between it and my tv speakers. To see what sort of difference actually existed I tested muting my television speakers and the Bose Solo TV sound system one by one to compare it... it really doesn't compare. It just feels alive while my television speakers just kind of deliver sound... I'm not a guy audio guy so I won't be able to give a good idea of why it's great I just know it is.
The controller that comes with the system is sufficient although kind of tiny and I imagine it'll get lost sometime in the next few months. It only has a few buttons, however, because the system isn't that complex to control so I imagine that's very intentional. Either way the system was really easy to get into my universal remote so I no longer even need the little thing but I can imagine people who lack a universal remote may be annoyed at home many controllers they'll have after this (cable, tv, bluray, bose) but that's not really Bose's fault.
In general I'd highly recommend this product the sound quality is amazing and it really changes how I watch television into more of an experience than it was prior.