Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Quantcast script would up in my posting – 5/09…


WOW man, was I hacked? Did I fall asleep as I was typing and produce this?? Wierd.

I think I’ve neutered it:

“Many books on books, terrific a single subject, new books, old books, superb

&- l t; !– Start Quantcast tag –>
& – l t ;script type=”text/javascript”>
_qoptions={
q-a-c-ct:”p-4eEQkaDOfBp9-”
};
&-l-t-;-/-script>
&-l-t-;-cript type=”text/javascript” src=”hyper text transport protocal colon slash slash edge.quantserve.com/quant.js”></script>
&-l-t-;noscript>
&-l-t-;img src=”hyper text transport protocal colon slash slash pixel.quantserve dot com/pixel/p-4eEQkaDOfBp9-.gif” style=”display: none;” border=”0″ height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”Quantcast”/>
&-l-t-;-/noscript>
&-l-t-;!– End Quantcast tag –>

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“0” (zero) means True/Pass/Success in BASH, unless it doesn’t!


A well considered policy of many founders of programming culture was to make True/Pass/Successs/OK a “0” and any error condition non-zero, for any routine/function/procedure/method/library element which returned a status. There are plenty of good reasons for this.
1) zero vs non-zero tests are very likely to exist at a very fundamental level (ie single instruction referring to a single input value) on pretty much any computer hardware. So machine code generated from the test of a return code would be fast and compact. Both good things when you want to encourage people to return meaningful status.
2) A wide range of possible error returns encourages the author to give some thought to error detection. It also makes it easy to indicate, generally, what the error is. How very structured!
3) Multiple errors could be returned in a single non-zero value by or’ing different bit values togethter. Even more structured.
4) With return values from calls established, Boolean variables and the lowest level “If for while until” tests are readily defined.

The problem with this is that the equally compelling case for 0=False/Fail/Nope/Faghetaboudit exists, and the single-instruction-single operand argument for zero/non-zero works just as well if zero is FAIL as it if it PASS. In further cases:
2) Non-zero being true and zero being false are intuitive and natural. if ( ptr ) is a steady and reassuring rock when you’re writing your first pointer code. Each time you use it or see it, you reflect again that a pointer is a non-zero value and a zero value means the pointer has not been set. Java fans may argue that you shouldn’t have pointers in the first place but that’s still an open issue as far as I can see.

Anyway, while the C programming language takes the 0=false intuitive approach, BASH, an ostensibly even LOWER level language, takes the 0=true path. And most delightfully, the “expr” program which does math for BASH follows C, not BASH. So, for example,

`expr “$potentialMatches” = “$traceBlkIdx”`

returns 1 if the two integer values are identical, and 0 if they are not. The obvious work-around is to make it != instead of =, but that looks wrong to me, so it needs a comment to tell the reader that its not an error. So in the end, I settled on subtracting one from the other, which gives the BASH logical 0 = TRUE = the numbers are equal and non-zero = FALSE = the numbers are NOT equal. I still put in a comment but to explain why I’m using a somewhat round-about evaluation and why. Anyone looking at it will know that two equal numbers will have a difference of 0, and thus be reminded that TRUE is 0 in BASH.

What could have been a nit of confusion becomes a minor tutorial on a place where presumptions are not aligned.

What a hoot!
Bill

`expr “$potentialMatches” – “$traceBlkIdx”`

Mosquito cockpit photos on the web, links, descriptions


Lets talk about Mosquito cockpit photos on the web:
First, credit where credit is due:

http://www.mossie.org is a GREAT web site and this first group of photos are found there, and taken by Phil Broad, to whom we are all indebted!

http://www.mossie.org/Phil_Broad/Phil_Broad_Collection.htm

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-10.jpg
This color picture looks b&w- only the dark red, wheel-shaped, handle for the landing gear shows that this really is a color picture. The bomb-bay hydraulic control in this cockpit has a white knob, the flap handle is black. THe interior gray-green on the inside of the fuselage shell just looks gray. The hydraulic control levels are bare metal- plated steel, stainless steel or aluminum. The handles on the magneto switches look like bare aluminum.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-11.jpg
Looking down at the rudder pedals. The rudder pedal yokes and foot rests are black. The bare metal (probably plated or polished) twin hand pump for canopy de-icing system is visible, and the handles on the pump rods seem to be something more than just bare metal.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-12.jpg
Engine instruments, ventilator outlet, three knobs probably associated with dimmers, a white paper in a holder (Compass deviation card?)

The inner (right side) engine and propeller knobs are just visible- on this airplane they are shiny black with a large, whilte “P” which I take to mean Propeller (ie “Pitch”)

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-13.jpg
The prop feathering buttons are black and white, diagonal-striped,with small red markers in the middle. At the center-bottom, somewhat out of focus, you can see the Observer’s Oxygen Economizer, a black box- bakelite perhaps. with a light color (paper or aluminum) plate in the middle. The oxygen hose is dark gray or black, with light highlights or possibly a light color on the external spring wrapping. The grab handle above the passage to the nose compartment is light in this picture,

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-14.jpg
Almost everything is black with white details, and interior gray-green. In this view, the color details are the red covers on the two buttons for the IFF self-destruction equipment. and the red handle on the forward (ie left or port) radiator flap control. The destruct buttons are at the front edge of the big electrical box

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-15.jpg
More Observer’s sidewall and black boxes, black and white instruments, black cable wraps, bare metal connectors for the big cables, switch levers, etc. The forward (left/port) radiator flap control lever is red with a dark yellow knob, the aft (right/starboard) radiator flap control has a white lever with a dark yellow knob.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-16.jpg Pilot’s sidewall alongside the pilot’s seat. Mostly gray-green fuselage shell interior, with a black engine and propeller control box, black electrical boxes, black, white and gray wires and cables,, black and dark red placards (anodized?) The smaller black metal bit, aft, is the pilot’s intercom connection, there’s a dark reddish-brown covered receptacle hanging on a small cable from the nest of cables under the black metal piece. The clip at the front edge looks like its for the receptacle.

The larger electrical box is no remote radio channel push button selector.
There may be a dark red/brown center on the electrical control knob mounted just about the pilot’s armrest. I suspect the straight black tube mounted at the top of the sidewall, just below the canopy, is for the Bowden cable that leads from the rudder trim control (above the center of the instrument panel) back to the rudder trim tab

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-17.jpg
Same area as GMOS-16 but from above..Its easier to see what things are and how they work from a higher perspective

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-18.jpg
Looking down onto the engine and propeller control box, control yoke “Carbon Mic” hookup, pitch trim indicator, etc. Part of the engine instruments too. Placards, brackets, gauges, throttle box, levers, cockpit lights, etc, all black. Cockpit sidewall interior gray-green. Dark brown center on knob that’s probably a lighting dimmer.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-19.jpg
Looking aft at observer’s seat (a nice, dark brown shiny upholstery with modern belts, and no armor plate. Not exactly authentic 1940s. All structure interior gray-green, black panel for fuel cocks and engine cutouts. Fuel cock handles are black, cutout buttons are red. Black receptacle for observer’s headphones, hanging on a medium brown cable. Large multi-wire cables along observer’s side wall are covered in a glossy black material.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-20.jpg
Looking straight up at the canopy roof escape hatch- canopy metal framework is all interior gray-green inside, except for the actual hatch, which has a black frame, and the canopy frames that the hatch touches, which are all yellow.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-21.jpg
Low angle of pilot’s seat and sidewall. All seat structure is black, with black or very dark cushions. In this picture the engine supercharger instructions placard looks distinctly brown. Root Beer color. Photo-flash intense light and age are the likely cause.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-22.jpg
In bomb aimer’s station, looking forward, out the nose transparency. Everything is interior gray-green protective paint, except clear windows, a black rubber hose carrying dry air to the sandwich-construction bombardier’s “flat” window.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/images/012%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.jpg

A pretty nicely restored B-35 cockpit. The condition of the trim wheel at the bottom of the column that supports the pilots instruments shows why I think this is a restoration. So its nice and clean and you’d like to hope the colors are mostly original, cleaned up, or touched-up/repainted with originals as references.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/011%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

A nice view up past the pilot’s seat, showing the vacuum system control, details of the seat and its mounting to the bulkhead.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/013%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

Here’s the pilot’s sidewall, showing trim indicator, engine and propeller controls, misc.. stuff.

http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/index.shtml

KA114
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Cockpit%20Box%20B%20KA114.jpg
This is a recently ( 2005) built fuselage in New Zealand, the second they produced. This electrical box looks very much like the photographs of 1940s production Mosquitos. I say we give them credit for getting the colors right, just as they so clearly got the shapes right.

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg
This is a fighter-bomber (F Mk-26, XXVI) fuselage, with a slightly different rudder pedal box than the bomber version.

NZ2308 – a T Mk 43
<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg
This is a refurbished instrument panel, hydraulics, etc, from NZ2308

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg
The left side of this picture shows the bomb switch panels

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg
Original radio transmitter and reciever.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html
Phillip Treweek has hundreds of very, very nice images of historic airplanes- from in flight to in the bilges. Civil and military, new and old. Replica Fokker Dr-1s to F-111s and F/A-18s, major airliners.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html

Philip Treweek’s photos:

NZ2305 F 40 converted to T-43, sold from Oz to NZ
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html

NZ2328 FB6.
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html “>
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html
Not hugely restored, photo looking aft from entrance. Cockpit is partially stripped, partially disassembled. Dirty gray-green. Intercom and related electrical stuff black with grey/beige cables. Fore and aft trim indicator is black. Control stick is black on both sides.area under the glare shield is interior gray green. Fuel cocks and one cutout button visbile, but not vaccuum control or whatever that other selector is. Engine control torque rods visible behind pilot’s seat.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html
looking straight across from entrance at instrument panel, stick, rudder pedals in same stripped/disassembled state as fmead14.html above. It looks un-restored or at least maintained as built, so wooden pieces are interior gray green, as is seat and related structure. Instrument panel faces are black, rudder pedal yokes are aluminum paint. Cable bundle running across behind the instrument panel is in white/cream wrapping, other cables black, gray, dirty silver? Tubing for instruments and controls is dull aluminum or silver paint. The handle of the control stick appears to be bare metal under a black finish which has worn and cracked off.

NZ2336 FB VI
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html
Another un-restored, maintained as built example, and not as dusty or disassembled as NZ2328. Wooden structure is interior gray-green, rudder pedals silver paint, control column black, throttle box black, black levers including parts that stick out the bottom. Relay rods to engine control torque tubes appear to be interior gray-green. Push-button at aft edge of throttle box is either black or missing, I think missing. I’d expected red. Radio control box and compass case are dark gray, Radio box has black over silver id plate, centered, and gray cable that connects to the back. Radio box and throttle box have crinkle finish, semi-matte, unlike control column which is semi-gloss and smooth.

Dark redish brown floor under pilot’s feet, Dark gray leather(?) rubber(?) over moving parts the control column sticks up from, between dark red foot-boards. Elevator control rod from control column to elevator trim mix appears to be aluminum paint. Left most, larger, inner, friction adjust knob has aged to dark orange. Smaller, outer, right hand friction knob is black. Seat height adjustment lever is chipped black finish over natural metal, with bright red pushbutton at the top, push to unlock probably. Glycol de-icing fluid pump handle and body are shiny natural metal, Sanitary tank or possibly first aid kit under seat is interior gray-green over redish primer

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith10.html
Oh, pure gold! Observer’s sidwall, looking back and up from entrance.
Black electrical boxes. Black knobs and bell-shaped bases for… lamp dimmers? Black gauge and control on a black bracket at the lower back corner of the sidewall electrical box. Black electrical gizmo (terminal strip, ??) has receptacle for observer’s intercom. Dirty white cable bundles along sidewall, with darker brown discoloration like caramel stripe in ice-cream. Bare metal connectors where cables meet sidewall box. Gray individual wires in harness the dips down and then rises over entrance hatch. Dark gray oxygen hose. Wide yellow stripe over entrance hatch. Some sort of gray, crinkle finish metal box next to observer’s leg cushion- trailing antenna winch?
.

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith11.html
More gold, looking back at observer’s and pilot’s seats, with original-looking harness. Big radio box on shelf in back. Dark upholstery on observer’s cushions and pilot’s cushions- black or dark brown color. Original???

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith6.html
Inside of crew hatch- interior green, Beware of propellers red letters on white, solid yrllow latch handle, brown leather loop at top of door rib, etc

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith7.html
The compliment to #9, this shows the pilot’s side up to the canopy frame, seat, sidewall, etc. Wooden surfaces all int. gray-green, Prop knobs same orange as larger friction knob, control stick semigloss black, everything screwed to sidewall is black or dark gray. Tube that carries emergency harness release is light gray/translucent

http://www.kiwircraftimages.com/pages/smith8.html
Looking sligfhtly forward to the instruments and controls Interior gray green, black, dark gray.Orange knobs on throttle box, red prop feathering buttons, seat adjustment lever unlock button. Black, white, gray, wires and cables

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/mp00mos7.html
FB Mk VI NZ2336, Box B, various stuff on the Navigator/Observer’s sidewall- this is a GREAT photo- you can see the bare metal over what might be trailing wire antenna, I think I see a crank on it. The whiteish tubing that the various wire bundles are collected in is aging and discoloring, but very clearly a light color, with silver or natural metal connectors where they attach to Box B. There is also a dimmer and an instrument lamp, and a short cable with a 1/4″ female connector for the headphones/mic. AND the twin red buttons to destroy the IFF and/or radar key components (magnetron?)

Spitfire spares

Flickr Mosquito cockpit pix:
DH Mosquito cockpit shot
low angle view of whole instrument pannel. Very clear.

DH Mosquito cockpit shot LH instrument pane
Engine instruments, throttes and propeller control, stick, dimmers, compass.

DH Mosquito looking rearwards from navigator's seat
Navigator’s back armor, 1154 Transmitter/receiver, Direction finding looop hanging inside canopy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904271707/in/set-72157622008359338/
This is a look down toward the rudder pedals, showing the low instrument panel, etc. You can see the wingnut and spool assembly that locks the two rudder pedals together to immobilize the rudder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904282687/in/set-72157622008359338/
Full instrument panel, A fighter-bomber, I’d guess, since there’s the bomb interval stuff on the center pedestal, This is a really nice photo, of a possibly un-restored example.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/sets/72157622008359338/

Lower instrument panel and obvserver’s side. Bomb controls, rudder pedals some kind of drift sight or other complex aparatus.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904298041/in/set-72157622008359338/
Nice view of a fighter version’s pilot’s sidewall, from compass back to the person sitting in the seat

These next two are (C) Andrew Critchell. The watermarks further say lRPS http://www.aviationphoto.co.uk
Dave Hall’s 1:1 scae Mosquito crew compartment replica. This is not an actua Mosquito, as you can see from the former rings in the bombardier’s compartment, and the absence of cables, hoses, rods, levers, etc. I think this is extremely cool and I’d love to experience it. But its like a big RC model or super detailed static scale model. You
can get an idea how the builder(s) think it should look. Not a primary source, but a secondary source for sure.

Fun with string comparisons in BASH/Bourne Shell. Unix/Linux/Mac OS X/Cygwin


Short form:
Compare two strings, in BASH shell script. “$?” is 0 (true) if they are equivalent:
$ t3=a; o3=a; test “$t3” = “$o3” ; echo $?
0

Capture the true/false (0/non-zero) result in a variable:
$ t3=a; o3=; test “$t3” != “$o3” ; z=`echo “$?”`; echo $z
0

Remember $? is updated after every operation, so capture its value DIRECTLY after the test!

Long form::
As used as I’m getting to the generally low quality of software help/tutorial/manuals, this one is really a new low.
Here on page 133, in chapter 5 of the Fourth Edition of Unix Shell Programming by Lowell Jay Arthur & Ted Burns, in table 5.7, states:

s1 = s2 True if strings s1 and s2 are identical

BALONEY!

babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=b; test tF3 = oF3 ; echo $?
1
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=a; test tF3 = oF3 ; echo $?
1

What this “1” means is that “tF3” and “oF3” are DIFFERENT strings. The comparison fails, and the 1 indicates “false”. “true” is 0.

But I’m getting wise to this stuff, So I put dollar signs ahead of them to mark them for substitution and double quotes around them specifying only $, \ and ` (back quote or back tick or graves have special meanings, AND allowing the reference to be processed even if the variable doesn’t exist and has never bveen assigned a value: Anyway:

babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=a; test “$tF3” = “$oF3” ; echo $?
0
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=b; test “$tF3” = “$oF3” ; echo $?
1

NICE! FINALLY. I’ve been trying for 2 1/2 working days to figure out how to do a string variable to string variable comparison.

The really slick thing, which is their justification, is that the double quotes protect the code from uninitialized variables:

babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=; test “$tF3” = “$oF3” ; echo $?
1
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=a; test “$tF3” = “$oF3” ; echo $?
0
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=a; test “$tF3” != “$oF3” ; echo $?
1
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=; test “$tF3” != “$oF3” ; echo $?
0

Gee. Well at least I know what to expect for a while.

Oh yes, if you want that pass/fail value to use for something further, here’s the only way I”ve come up with so far- I HAVE to believe this is sillier than it needs to be, and I’ll improve it when I get smarter about this stuff. But it works, its bullet-proof and I don’t have to think about it for the moment:

babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=; test “$tF3” != “$oF3” ; z=`echo “$?”`; echo $z
0
babbott$ tF3=a; oF3=a; test “$tF3” != “$oF3” ; z=`echo “$?”`; echo $z
1

And if you wonder why I just don’t use a compound statement with -a and -o switches for AND and OR logic, its because I’m comparing four pairs of strings. If all the pairs match, then do “A” else “B” Pardon me if I don’t really want to present an 8 argument test with two levels of parenthesis, 4 equals operators for the string pairs and 3 -a operators for the booleans, to future maintainers.

Bill

Bat-Mitzva and Bar-Mitzva book lists


Here’s an update, with the 40 titles I’ve typed into a Listmania list at Amazon.com. I’ll probably need a 2nd list for the rest.
Books for 13 year olds. “Today, I am an adult, and I take my place…”

“For Bar mitzvah or Bat mitzvah I used to wonder what to give, then I realized I had a list of books in my head that I’d found illuminating and helpful to have read as a young person. Books to return to as you grow into adulthood, books to provide a guide, a commentary, and perhaps, an inspiration. Books I gave to high school graduates, and camp counselors at my son’s summer camps. I’d have been pleased to get any of them, and I’m honored to give them, in turn.”

1. The Periodic Table by Primo Levi
“Unique and magical, a chemist’s life, each chapter centered on one element and its relationship to the author and those around him. Mercury, Lead and Carbon are imaginary, the rest autobiographical. My favorite chapter is the story of the chemists at lunch, and the slice of onion in the linseed oil.”

2. The Caine Mutiny: A Novel by Herman Wouk
“A detailed dissection of a failing organization and the price it extracts. Not to mention a great novel. (The typhoon made my hair stand on end when I was a kid) I give this book to people in crazy organizations (most organizations are crazy…). I have never read a better description of where the distress and responsibility fall when things aren’t working right.”

3. The Maltese Falcon (Crime Masterworks) by Dashiell Hammett
“Hammett’s best, not withstanding the Charles’ of The Thin Man (and the movies it gave birth to…). All the elements are familiar, and yet the way it unfolds is riveting. The writing is gripping, laugh-out-loud funny and timeless. The subjects are honor, duty, loss, romance and having to get up every morning and get on with your life. Because “..a man … has to do something.””

4. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking
“This is it – how we know what we know, only one equation, and as readable and instructive now as ever. Hawking’s ability to express himself against the challenges of his own body is beyond my words. This book is so clear, and starts with a wonderful joke. I was overseas the first time I read it, and his contrast of Einstein and Aristotle gave me courage to get the job done.”

5. Emma (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen
“One of those remarkable books which seems dauntingly long when you start and far, far, too short by the time you’ve finished. Emma, of good family and comfortable circumstances, trys to help her friends by matchmaking. The results are far from what anyone wants, complication and crisis compound on each other. But all is made well. Her own match is concluded in the sweetest way.”

6. The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins by Alan Walker
“This terrific book focuses on the Nariokatome Boy, a 1.6M yr old Homo Erectus’ skeleton. Kamoya Kimeu found the first pieces, Alan Walker and Meave Leakey assembled them, the scientific descriptions were published by Walker. The Boy is most complete Homo Erectus skeleton so far. Like us. But not us. Pat Shipman, Walker’s wife, is gifted writer. The story is his, the voice hers.”

7. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Penguin Modern Classics) by Malcolm X
“I read this book in 1971 and I found it electrifying- Brother Malcolm X plumbed the depths and climbed the heights and had his life torn from him just as it seemed his greatest work was beginning. The hell of segregated America is something we must never forget. How one man educated himself out of prison and became a national leader is always worth knowing.”

8. The Hominid Gang: Behind the Scenes in the Search for Human Origins by Delta Willis
“A great how-they-did-it adventure, led by Richard and Meave Leakey, Kamoya Kimeu, etc. Kimeu is a treasure in his own right, worth meeting. Willis was with the expedition as they, Alan Walker, etc, found the Nariokatome Boy, a 1.6M yr old Homo Erectus skeleton. She also covers friction between the Kenyan team and the Institute for Human Origins (from Berkeley), who found “Lucy” in Ethiopia”

9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
“Pirsig wastes no time. You need a thin aluminum shim for your top of the line BMW motorcycle. Do you buy expensive shim stock from the BMW dealer, or snip a piece of essentially the same thing from an empty beer can? Pay someone to think for you, or call it yourself and accept the consequences? What *is* high quality, how do you define or apply it? A great story too!”

10. When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson & S. J. McCarthy
“Written by a noted natural science reporter and a once-enfant-terrible of Freudian Psychology, is very readable and not always comfortable. Elephants are not the only species here. Animals feel and express emotions; cases to cite don’t hurt.
Full disclosure: S. J. McCarthy is a personal friend of mine. my admiration of her writing has been verified in double-blind tests.”

11. To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition by Harper Lee
“Some people can’t stop writing books. Harper Lee had one book to write. Her love of her father and the story she wanted to tell is worth more than the whole production of many other writers.
Atticus Finch’s story wasn’t leading straight to Rosa Parks, Brown Vs. Board of Education or the Voting Rights Act of 1964. Low-key person-by-person didn’t get the job done. But it wasn’t a coward’s path.”

12. The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll

13. The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan
“A landmark book, explaining the often unrealistic conventions of military history, as far back as Julius Caesar and as close as the Charge of the Light Brigade. He then describes three notable battles in the history of England and Great Britain, and what the typical soldier would have experienced. Keegan’s account of the first Battle of the Somme is heartbreaking.”

14. Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague De Camp
“A wonderful (filled with wonder) history of engineering in the long ago and far away. From the Tigris/Euphrates and Nile civilizations to Leonardo, who De Camp rightly points out, was the last of the ancients- wise, but secretive, not pubishing during his lifetime or after. Not a specialist book on any area or culture, its a guided tour by someone who loves the subject.”

15. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

16. Fate is the Hunter by Ernest Kellogg Gann

17. Funny Money by Mark Singer

18. A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm by Stanley G. Crawford

19. The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman

20. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (P.S.) by Matt Ridley

21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

22. Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway (Classics of War) by Walter Lord
“The best kind of history, built of quotes from 350 survivors, 250 from the US and 100 from Japan. How code breaking, courage, luck and sacrifice stopped the Japanese conquest of the Pacific. A human tragedy, triumph and a victory that comprised 1/3 of what Winston Churchill called “The Hinge of Fate””

23. Rising From The Plains by John McPhee

24. Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo by Eric Hansen

25. Assembling California by John McPhee

26. The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee

27. Young Men and Fire by Norman MacLean

28. Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage) by Neil Shubin

29. The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler

30. The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature by Loren C. Eiseley

31. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

32. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition by Edward R. Tufte

33. Synapsida by John C. McLoughlin

34. Five Equations that Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics by Michael Guillen

35. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

36. A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell

37. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

38. Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys by Michael Collins

39. The Prince (Bantam Classics) by Niccolo Machiavelli

40: Ultramarine: Poems by Raymond Carver

Buy a copy for your brother. Read one of the poems to him.

I think I’ve bugged more of my friends and family with Carver’s masterpiece, “The Car”, from this book, than with any other poem I’ve ever read. More than “Howl”, more than “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “McCavity the Mystery Cat” or “Greed and Aggression”. There are teaching guides for middle school teachers to use this one as an exercise. Find it. Read it. Make up your own verses. Make up your own poem when you’re driving somewhere with your family. I’ll come back and edit in an excerpt, but trust me, you need this book, as a gift if nothing else.

When I bought my brother a copy and stopped by his house and read him, “The Car”, he laughed and looked thoughtful, his wife squeezed his hand. and he paused, at the end, after,

“… Car of my sleepless nights.
My car.”

and then he said, “‘The car I struck with a hammer.’ ‘The car I struck with a hammer.’ The car I cut to pieces with an oxy-acetylene torch !”

See?

Yeah, there’s sadness here too, but there’s a LOT of that tough heart that people, not just men, need to have to get by in this world. The first poem is called “What You Need To Paint” and lists (from a letter? a notebook?) things a well regarded fine art painter recorded. Brushes, Colors. And then the zinger, that gives the whole thing life: “The ability to work like a locomotive”.

Its what we all need. Raymond Carver had it, and its beautiful to listen to, to watch, to live up to in your own life.

So buy this one for your brother, or sister, or someone who YOU love, who can work like a locomotive, when its required.

You won’t be sorry.

41: Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boats Codes, 1939-1943 by David Khan

—=== Original Post: ===—
Its that time of year again, so beside a check, its time to pass around books that I think are worthwhile to those who are learning how to take their place in the wide world

Last year I put “The Prince” by Machiavelli into the hands of a couple of Benjamin’s classmates, JG and JB. Dunno if either read it. Both boys and Benjamin had been talking politics, so it seemed like a natural. I also gave JB a copy of “Carrying the Fire” by Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins.

JG did have an actual Bar Mitzva and by way of celebration, I gave him:
The Periodic Table – Levi
A Brief History of Time – Hawking
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Pursig (His dad noted this approvingly – “ah”, he said, “Pursig? Well, its not depressing like ‘Lila'” and I said, “Now he takes his place…” or something similar.
The Maltese Falcon, Hammett
I’ve also got a copy of
“The C Programming Language” for him.
He’d probably enjoy “The Curve of Binding Energy” too.

For JB I’ve got:
The Face of Battle – Keegan
Brazen Chariots – Crisp
and not-yet delivered:
Assembling California – McPhee

For SL I’ve got:
When Elephants Weep – Mason and McCarthy
The Fallen Man – Tony Hillerman
or
The Thin Man – Hammett
For this child and the next, both girls, I need books with a strong female character/voice. Sue Hubbell, Jane Goodall, Pat Shipman, Delta Burke… Obviously fiction such as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Anne of Green Gables or Little Women would be appropriate, but at least some is likely to have been given… Neither Kinsey Milhone in “A is for Alibi” or in “Shooting the Boh” are quite right for 13 year olds. This is harder than it looks. “October Sky” has been recommended for an inspirational teacher who is an unconventional woman who inspires the author. His mother also has a strong role. Good suggestions, from a woman who’s son is all over the submarines, tanks, airplane books used to read. She also says she was big on Judy Blume at age 13. I’ve certainly seen Judy Blume’s books, but haven’t read any yet. Probably ought to, and October Sky too. We had a copy once…
How could I have not included
“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee?

For HM I’ve got:
Genome – Ridley
Assembling California – McPhee – both sent today via Ben. Maybe “Rising from the Plain” would be better, with so much coming from the geologist’s mom’s diary. I think a Sue Hubbell and/or Pat Shipman needs to follow.
5/13: Added When Elephants Weep – Mason and McCarthy
The Fallen Man – Tony Hillerman

For GS I’ve got
Assembling California – McPhee, and I need a couple more-
I’m thinking The Period Table – Levi
Fate is the Hunter – Gann
All Creatures Great and Small – Herriott

for GM I’ve go little beyond good intentions, yet

For MG I’m getting another copy of
The Periodic Table

For the school’s library I donated
“Fighting On Two Fronts”
“Autobiography of Malcom X” by Halley,
“Animal Farm” by Orwell

Sitting here burning a hole in my bookshelf are give-away copies of

“Desert Solitaire” – Abbey,
“A Garlic Testament”, – Crawford
“Robinson Crusoe” – Defoe
Your Inner Fish – _______
“The Curve of Binding Energy” – McPhee
“The Wisdom of the Bones”, – Shipman & Walker

I’ve got between one and several copies of

“The Curve of Binding Energy”,
“The Periodic Table”,
“Bloods”,
“The C Programming Language”,
“The Wisdom of the Bones”,
“Your Inner Fish”
“Broadsides from the Other Orders”,
“A Country Year” and
“Waiting for Aphrodite”

on order and presumably making their way to get there.

I realize I need more female voices. I’ve received some suggestions, along the lines of young adult fiction with strong female characters:
Judy Blume
Mercedes Lakey
M Pierce (not the other Pierce)
Earthsea (Not U. K. LeGuinn’s Earthsea Trillogy)
Ibbod
Harper Lee writes from a young girl’s perspective, and if “To Kill A Mockingbird” isn’t quite in the’ books for girls’ zone, neither is The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank, who is also an undeniable girl.
Besides Hillerman, Hammett, Chandler and Conan-Doyle, Rita Mae Brown’s mysteries, written with her cat Sneaky Pie, are said to be child-friendlly and female voiced. I picked one up for a look through at the library sale.

I need to add
“Young Men and Fire”
“Fate is the Hunter”
“The Simple Art of Murder” – Chandler
“Incredible Victory” – Lord.
And more

Alphabeticly, by title, this all and some other old favorites adds up to:

The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Hailey
A Brief History of Time – Hawking
Brazen Chariots – Crisp
The Cuckoo’s Egg – Stoll
The Curve of Binding Energy – McPhee
Desert Solitaire – Abbey
The Face of Battle – Keegan
The Fallen Man – Hillerman
Fate is the Hunter – Gann
Funny Money – Singer
A Garlic Testament – Crawford
Giant Squid – Ellis
Genome – Ridley
Huckleberry Finn – Twain
Life on the Mississippi – Twain
Incredible Victory – Lord
Little Women – Alcott
The Maltese Falcon – Hammett
The Phantom Major – Cowells
The Periodic Table – Levi
Pride and Prejudice – Austin
Rising From the Plain – McPhee
Robinson Crusoe – Defoe
Sense and Sensability – Austin
Stranger In the Forest – Hansen
Taking Wing – Shipman & _____
The Thin Man – Hammett
To Kill A Mockingbird – Lee
Waiting for a Ship – McPhee
When Elephants Weep – Masson & McCarthy
The Wisdom of the Bones – Shipman & Walker
Young Men and Fire – _______
Your Inner Fish – _______
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Pursig

Now that’s a list of old friends!
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