Books I read in 2016

Last year was my lowest year in ten years for amount of books read.  To be honest, I was working through textbooks and FreeCodeCamp learning to code, which took away from my reading time.  Still, there were a lot of interesting books on this year’s list!
1.) 4th Generation Warfare Handbook – William S. Lind and Gregory A. Thiele


4.) Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft – by Elizabeth Bear and Greg Bear et al.


11.) Gorilla Mindset – Mike Cernovich




15.) The Circle – Dave Eggers
16.) Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – P. W. Singer and August Cole


17.) The Cartel Hit (Mack Bolan the Executioner #438) – Mike Linaker, Don Pendleton (Series Creator)
19.) The Tournament – Matthew Reilly
21.) Scarecrow Returns – Matthew Reilly
22.) Progression – Sebastian Marshall


23.) Abyss Deep (Star Corpsman #2) – by Ian Douglas
26.) Bitcoin for the Befuddled – Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer


28.) Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire – John Jackson Miller et al.
29.) Re-read GIS for Dummies – Michael N. DeMers
30.) The Blood of Gods (Emperor #5) –  Conn Iggulden




32.) Head First Mobile Web – Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby
33.) The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi


34.) Public Health 101: Healthy People – Healthy Populations – Richard Riegelman, Brenda Kirkwood
37.) Planet of Slums – Mike Davis
38.) Proxima – Stephen Baxter


39.) There Will Be War Volume X – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
40.) JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford

Math 101: An Occasional Series

Six years ago I was laid off from an engineering job, and I decided it was time, after 16 years in the field, to review some of the fundamentals that I had forgotten in the intervening time.  One of my co-workers, before I left, had been working with his daughter on Algebra using the site Purple Math.  I also read James Gleick’s book Chaos at that time, and that got me interested in doing a little exploring.

I started by reviewing geometry, algebra, calculus, and differential equations using the The Easy Way series.  I checked them out of the library and this led me to reading some of the other books on the shelves there. I came to realize that there was a whole world of mathematics that I really had no idea existed, especially after I made the attempt to read a math paper from arXiv and realized that I had no idea what the first paragraph was saying.  Hilbert Spaces?  Riemannian Geometry? Topological forms? Rings? Lie Groups?  What were these things?  More importantly, why had we not studied those in school?  They were interesting, much more interesting, than the calculations that I had to master in high school and college.

In any case, I’ve found that math is also important in programming, both for solving problems like the permutations program that I covered recently, as well as others.  It’s also important for designing algorithms, and so on.  Logic is a part of mathematics and is the basis for all computer programs.

So what I’d like to do in this occasional series is look at some of the concepts I come across in the course of learning to program.  I figure the first couple will look at permutations, and some basic set theory.  I will also look at the trials and tribulations I am having of learning to put math equations in LaTeX for my blog posts!

Books I Read in 2015

I’m a little late on this one – Usually I put it up in January, but never late than never!

It seems like I read less this year than in previous years, but a lot of what I was doing was working through coding exercises.  Also, we moved in the middle of the year, and a whole lot of bad stuff happened too.  At one point I was working two jobs.  So, life happening plus less time to read combined with working through coding textbooks meant this year was anemic when it came to books.  Still, I hope you find some value in the list below. There are books on history, international affairs, religion, mathematics, epidemiology, and of course, many fiction books.


3.) Vengeance (Rogue Warrior #12) – Richard Marcinko
9.)  GIS for Dummies – Michael N. DeMers
11.) There Will Be War Volume 1 (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
14.) Blowback (Vanessa Pierson #1) – Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett
15.) Men of War: There Will Be War Volume II (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
16.) The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate – Scott D. Sagan & Kenneth N. Waltz
17.) The Art of War: A History of Military Strategy (Castalia House ebook version) – Martin van Creveld
19.)  El Borak and Other Desert Adventures – Robert E. Howard
21.) There Will Be War: Volume III Blood and Iron (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
23.) GIS: A Visual Approach – Bruce E. Davis
25.) Rough Justice (Sean Dillon #15) – Jack Higgins
27.) A Darker Place (Sean Dillon #16) – Jack Higgins
28.) Wesley for Armchair Theologians – William J. Abraham
32.) Full Force and Effect (Jack Ryan #10) – Mark Greaney (Tom Clancy)
34.) There Will Be War Volume IV: Day of the Tyrant  (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
35.) Why Homer Matters – Adam Nicolson
39.) Founders (The Coming Collapse) – James Wesley, Rawles
44. The Martian – Andy Weir
45.) Treasure of Khan (Dirk Pitt #19) – Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
46.) Finding Zero – Amir D. Aczel
48.) End of the Earth: Voyaging to Antarctica – Peter Matthiessen

Monday recap – Python, Trapezoidal Method, SQL, Samantha Powers…

Today started out frustrating, although it wasn’t a bad day. It took me three hours to figure out the trapezoidal method of integration, because none of the descriptions I could find were very clear. I coded it up in Python – The annoying thing being, that I’m learning Python concurrently. This is all for a class in Nonlinear Dynamics, one of the big tools for complexity science. The next thing I need to do is learn to plot the results; for now, I am copy-pasting into Excel and letting it create a chart. Sadly, such tutorials as there are on the web do not allow me to get up and running quickly for plotting the graphs I need. I’ll just add it to the list…

I also read through a chapter of SQL (database language) on scripts. For our semester project, I have decided to create a fictitious library that will use my not-fictitious collection of books. For this week’s assignment, we need to create a script that is logical for our business; I’m pondering what that might be for my library.

Finally, reading. I’m working my way through Samantha Power‘s book on Genocide. It’s painful reading, mainly because of the inaction of the United States on the subject over the years. I don’t know what the answer is; I’m not a huge fan of R2P (Responsibility to Protect). But inaction doesn’t seem to be a good answer either.

That’s all for today. Below is the Python code I wrote for the Trapezoidal method for a Simple Harmonic Oscillator.

g = input(“Enter X Sub 0: “)
Xsub0 = float(g)
h = input(“Enter V sub 0: “)
Vsub0 = float(h)
B = input(“Enter Friction (B): “)
friction = float(B)
g = input(“Enter Gravity (g): “)
gravity = float(g)
m = input(“Enter Mass (m): “)
mass = float(m)
k = input(“Enter Spring Constant (K): “)
KConstant = int(k)
t = input(“Enter time step (del-t): “)
deltaT = float(t)
e = input(“Enter end time: “)
endTime = float(e)

i = 0.0
Xnow = Xsub0
Vnow = Vsub0
while i <= endTime:
      vprime = gravity – ((friction/mass) * Vnow) – ((KConstant/mass) * Xnow)
      vODE = vprime
      xODE = Vnow
      vectorX = deltaT * xODE
      vectorV = deltaT * vODE
      XNew = Xnow + vectorX
      VNew = Vnow + vectorV
      Xone = XNew
      Vone = VNew

      vprime = gravity – ((friction/mass) * VNew) – ((KConstant/mass) * XNew)
      vODE2 = vprime
      xODE2 = VNew
      vectorX = (deltaT * .5) * (xODE + xODE2)
      vectorV = (deltaT * .5) * (vODE + vODE2)
      XNew = Xnow + vectorX
      VNew = Vnow + vectorV

      Xnow = XNew
      Vnow = VNew

      ###print(“X at ” + str(i) + ” is ” + str(XNew) + “\t\t\t” + “V at ” + str(i) + ” is ” + str(VNew))
      print(str(XNew) + “\t\t\t” + str(VNew))
      i += deltaT