Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review of "Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention," by Oneeka Williams M. D.


Review of
Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention, by Oneeka Williams M. D., ISBN 9781684018413

Four out of five stars
 In this book the science is excellent and while the superpowers of the main character will appeal to the young reader, it does tend to diminish the perspective of science.  Dr. Dee Dee dynamo is an incredible young girl that arrives in Alaska to attend the Cordova Ice Worm festival. Ice worms are actual creatures that live in ice and find temperatures warmer than that of ice detrimental or even fatal. They cannot survive at temperatures above forty degrees Fahrenheit.
 After explanations about the life style of the ice worms, the growing issues of the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer as well as global warming are explained. The explanation of greenhouse gases and how they benefit Earth are very well done at a level that can be understood by the elementary school reader.
The consequences of a rising global temperature are discussed, including the consequences to the ice worms and other creatures adapted to Arctic conditions. Given her tremendous powers, Dee Dee Dynamo refreezes large sections of the ocean ice, solving the problem, albeit temporarily. With the help of her friends, Dee Dee Dynamo constructs a machine that filters carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
 My problem with the book is that very little ink is consumed in describing the realistic things that children can do to reduce their carbon emissions. That will work and until a real Dee Dee Dynamo emerges, is the only way to battle this global problem. Superpowers are an exciting plot device, but in this case the stakes are so high that their appearance diminishes what should be the real message.

Review of "Hitler’s Britain: What Hitler Had in Store for Occupied Britain," DVD version


Review of
Hitler’s Britain: What Hitler Had in Store for Occupied Britain, DVD version

Five out of five stars
 While this video engages in a major “What if?” alternative history, very little speculation is needed. Actual German documents are cited, but they are not needed to discern how the Germans would have treated the British had they been able to successfully invade the main British island.
 All one must do is look at how the Germans acted in the western countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Denmark. At first, the German soldiers behaved with utmost politeness towards the population as they incrementally brought them into the service of the Reich. Jews and other “undesirables” were identified, rounded up into concentrated areas and then, when the time was considered appropriate, sent to the extermination camps of Eastern Europe.
 The conclusions in the video are all plausible, because they happened in all other occupied countries. The most disturbing possibility is that England was conquered, the Soviet Union knocked out of the war, Germany develops a nuclear weapon with the means to deliver it to the United States and therefore the world becomes truly divided.
 The western hemisphere of North and South America would have become the American hemisphere of influence while Europe and some of Asia would be dominated by Germany. Japan would have controlled all east Asia and the battles over more territory would likely have taken place in Africa.
 This is a very good video, alternative history at its best. Plausible and likely if only a few events had turned out differently. The Battle of Britain, the defeat of the German Luftwaffe over England, was achieved by approximately 3,000 fighting men in the RAF. Therefore, the events depicted in this video easily could have happened.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review of "Ice Station Zebra," DVD version


Review of
Ice Station Zebra, DVD version

Five out of five stars
This movie features the tensions of the Cold War in a thriller where the viewer is not quite sure who is the good spy and who is the bad spy. A film capsule from a satellite has fallen from orbit and is at Ice Station Zebra, an otherwise obscure weather outpost in the Arctic. Garbled and incomprehensible distress signals are received from the station and the intelligence agencies of both the USA and USSR know that the film capsule is at the station.
 Rock Hudson is the captain of the nuclear submarine Tigerfish and his orders are to take a detachment of U. S. Marines and two dubious characters to Ice Station Zebra. One is a member of the British intelligence service and the other is a Russian. Both are supposedly working on the same side, but it is immediately clear that this is unlikely, although the viewer does not know which side the two are working with.
 Given the stakes, the Soviets are just as eager to recover the film capsule, so after some harrowing battles against the harsh environment of the Arctic and some internal fighting, the American side recovers the capsule. However, Soviet paratroop forces arrive and there is a standoff between the two commanders. Although both sides are willing to kill the other to achieve their objective, both sides are reasonable and not eager to pull the trigger.
 The lesson from this movie is one that was often lost in the hype of the Cold War. Both sides in the struggle generally followed a set of rules with a clear set of guidelines regarding their mission. First and foremost was to not let the other side gain a clear win. It is a story well told, with tension, uncertainty and a resolution that satisfies both sides and allows for each to claim a propaganda victory.