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    Re: "Taking the Stars"
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2006 Dec 4, 22:48 -0500

    Dear George,
    You wrote:
    > Clearly, Alex and I have differing views about
    > "Taking the Stars" by
    > Peter Ifland, and he is perfectly entitled to his.
    > It would be interesting to learn,
    > then, whether there are particular
    > aspects of that book that cause it
    > to fail Alex's value-test.
    The book indeed contains many excellent pictures.
    Some of them show rare instruments you do not
    see frequently in museums or on E-bay.
    And I do not deny its high quality as a picture book.
    Sort of an annotated museum catalog.
    But the text contains very little interesting
    information. Did you really LEARN much from this book?
    Well, I learned something, mostly about various
    weird artificial horizons
    (many of them probably were never tested)
    and air sextants.
    These topics are of secondary interest for me.
    As I said, I did not expect much from the very beginning
    because I read in the past some papers of this author,
    and on my opinion they are quite superficial.
    Almost every time some numbers are mentioned in the book,
    the text becomes... well, let me say incomprehensible.
    For example:
    "Modern machines can divide a circle into 360,000 units
    or 1/100 arcseconds with a precision of 10 arcseconds
    in a full scale".
    (see page 66) And this is only one example.
    Sorry I did not mark such places on the margins when I
    read the book, there are many such examples.
    Again, I don't say that the book is "bad".
    I just said that this was not the sort of book I was
    looking for...
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