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  • Atomic Accidents

  • A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima
  • By: James Mahaffey
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,180
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,095
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,090

From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A NUCLEAR POINT OF VIEW

  • By CHET YARBROUGH on 01-05-15

Great lessons for Systems Engineers and Analysts!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-11-16

What made the experience of listening to Atomic Accidents the most enjoyable?

I need to begin by saying I have a degree in electrical engineering and have been trained to "think like an scientist/engineer" for all of my adult life.

This book was obviously written by a scientist. It is well researched and well written, but not overly technical. Even more important than those attributes, it is written by a great story teller. Dr. Mahaffey does a wonderful job explaining what went wrong in a number of accidents, including ones that having nothing to do with atomic energy. His vignettes have a subtle sense of humor -- like "uh-oh" when a sequence of seemly independent and relatively minor decisions by operators/engineers come together and result in a very bad outcome. This is why I think this book should be required reading/listening for anyone involved in the field of systems analysis. Whether airplane accidents, nuclear accidents, or countless number of other accidents, it often comes down to several small decisions made along a longer path, often with a human thinking "this is obviously the right thing to do," that add up to a disaster.

I especially enjoyed his conclusion as to the cause of the infamous SL1 reactor accident. I have never bought into the Army's semi-official conclusion of murder-suicide, but Dr. Mahaffey's conjecture that it was a practical joke gone terribly wrong seems right on the money to me.

A few other thoughts worth noting that every reader needs to evaluate for themselves after listening to this audio book: 1) it's very unfortunate that the world has advanced so very far technologically over the past 60 years and yet current commercial nuclear reactor design is largely based on research and engineering done on the 1950s and 60s; 2) the fact that governmental agencies, whether the US, USSR, Japanese, or others, have always striven to hide information about nuclear accidents from the public has only created distrust among it's citizens, as opposed to being fully transparent (this does not just apply to nuclear accidents, of course); 3) Mahaffey's recommendation to compare the data about the ill health consequences of coal-based power generation or the hazards of other industries such as asbestos mining compared to modern-designed nuclear power plants need to followed up by everyone. Unfortunately politics and money will get in the way of doing this.

In summary, this book was both thought provoking and a great listen that kept me fully engaged mentally. Highly recommended. BTW, and this should definitely NOT be an afterthought, Tom Weiner does a very nice job as narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Burning Room

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,594
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,963
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,940

In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not up to par

  • By Patroo on 11-07-14

Hopefully the last book Welliver ever narrates

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-03-15

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Titus Welliver?

Len Cariou, Dick Hill, Michael McConnohie...

Any additional comments?

Man, is Titus Welliver bad in his role as a narrator. Remember the teachers in school who always made you fall asleep, ever when the subject matter was interesting? He's just like that, with little tone or inflection from sentence to sentence, and rapidly reading important stuff just the same as the unimportant. He must have been bored with doing this, there's just no other explanation. I knew I would finish the book -- it is a Harry Bosch novel after all -- but it was a much less enjoyable listen because of Welliver.

  • Digital Fortress

  • By: Dan Brown
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,882
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,251
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,264

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage, not by guns or bombs, but by a code so complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Meh...

  • By Amy on 06-19-04

Not for the technically knowledgable

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-06

The publisher says "In this fast-paced, ***plausible*** tale..." Well hardly! The plot is so rife with technical errors and inaccuracies about cryptography and computer systems that it's painful to listen to. You can't stay focused on the story, because just when you've managed to forget about the last glaring error, another is introduced. Dan Brown clearly didn't consult with any experts for this story. He confuses bits with bytes, doesn't understand how e-mail works nor what computer viruses do, and on and on. I never made it to the end of the book, and that's a first for me with one of Audible's books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful