Daily Deals: The Coldest Winter and Nanosaur 2

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean WarToday Amazon offers The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam just for $1.99

David Halberstam’s magisterial and thrilling The Best and the Brightest was the defining book about the Vietnam conflict. More than three decades later, Halberstam used his unrivaled research and formidable journalistic skills to shed light on another pivotal moment in our history: the Korean War. Halberstam considered The Coldest Winter his most accomplished work, the culmination of forty-five years of writing about America’s postwar foreign policy.

Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu River and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures-Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. At the same time, Halberstam provides us with his trademark highly evocative narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order. As ever, Halberstam was concerned with the extraordinary courage and resolve of people asked to bear an extraordinary burden.

The Coldest Winter is contemporary history in its most literary and luminescent form, providing crucial perspective on every war America has been involved in since. It is a book that Halberstam first decided to write more than thirty years ago and that took him nearly ten years to complete. It stands as a lasting testament to one of the greatest journalists and historians of our time, and to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicles.

Some words about the Author

David Halberstam was one of America’s most distinguished journalists and historians. After graduating from Harvard in 1955, he covered the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, then was sent overseas by the New York Times to report on the war in Vietnam. The author of fifteen bestsellers, including The Best and the Brightest, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting at the age of thirty. He was killed in a car accident on April 23, 2007, while on his way to an interview for what was to be his next book.


Nanosaur 2Nanosaur 2 is a game for your Kindle Fire.

Every once in a while, a mobile game comes around and knocks your socks off with its incredible graphics, intense action, and fascinating story. Nanosaur 2: Hatchling, a stunning 3D app for Android, is definitely one of those games.

Once Again, Dinosaurs Rule

The year is 4122 and human beings are history, wiped out by a terrible plague of their own making. An intelligent species of dinosaurs known as Nanosaurs now rule the Earth. But Nanosaur society is threatened by inbreeding, so they send one of their species back 65 million years to retrieve unhatched eggs. He returns with the eggs, which the Nanosaurs plan to use to increase genetic diversity and save their species from certain extinction.

Dinosaur Coup

But things don’t quite go as planned. A rebel group of dinosaurs is bent on destroying Nanosaur society and seizing control of Earth for themselves. They steal most of the eggs and take them back to their own planets. The rebels’ goal is to turn these hatchlings into warrior drones that will then be used in an epic battle for power.

But one egg is left behind. When this hatchling emerges, he is tasked with destroying the rebel bases and recovering the precious eggs for the good guys. Will he succeed? That’s up to you.

Air Attack

It’s a dangerous mission. As the hatchling, you must swoop through the air, dodging and shooting at enemy dinosaurs as you search for the eggs. Avoid hitting other dinosaurs, trees, or the ground, lest you die a horrible death. (You’ve got multiple lives and can collect more during the game.) The app’s smooth tilt controls make flying easy and fun. The better flier you become, the easier it is to gather up the eggs and avoid your enemies.

Locked and Loaded

You’ll have quite an arsenal to help you in your daunting quest. Sonic screams, blasters, fragment grenades, and heat-seeking missiles are just some of the weapons you can employ to eliminate the competition and clear the way for egg-gathering. They fire back, though, so be careful–they’ll even jump up to bite you if you fly too low!

Your weapons aren’t unlimited, nor are your other resources. While picking up the eggs, make sure to snag the many power-ups along the way, including more weapons, health points, fuel, and shields.

Beautiful Visuals

Written descriptions of this game’s 3D graphics cannot nearly do them justice. (See the screenshots.) As you navigate through the planetary landscapes, you will actually see the trees and obstacles coming at you, enemy dinosaurs running and leaping, and bullets whizzing by. The luminous wormholes, which you must use to send eggs back to Earth and to advance through the levels, look genuinely otherworldly.

Combined with a compelling story and challenging gameplay, Nanosaur 2: Hatchling is a game you will play again and again. With three unique worlds to conquer, it won’t be easy to overcome the odds and beat this game. Don’t give up, hatchling–the very survival of your society and species hangs in the balance.

Note: Nanosaur 2 is a rich, graphics-intensive game requiring a large file download. Using a Wi-Fi connection is highly recommended.

Amazon Kindle Smartphone Rumor Spreads

According to people with knowledge of the situation, Amazon is planning to bring out their own smartphone to compete with Apple’s iPhone line.  A Bloomberg revelation provided that information recently.  The idea of a Kindle phone is something that has been touched on here before, particularly during the days leading up to the formal announcement of the Kindle Fire when anything seemed possible.  It is increasingly likely that this is going to be the next stage of Kindle growth now that a tablet presence has been established.

The Kindle Fire gives the retail giant a foothold in portable electronics in a way that even the Kindle eReader couldn’t accomplish.  The Kindle built its own market and basically kicked off the previously minimal eBook industry.  The Kindle Fire proved that Amazon was both willing and able to enter into an existing device market and hold their own.  In addition to building up consumer trust, it helps get things ready to enter into an even more competitive market.

Selling a smartphone is not likely to be a simple task, even for Amazon.  This is not a company known for passing any large amount of control to their partners.  While it is standard practice for carriers to demand custom devices, it is hard to imagine a Kindle phone going that way.  The whole point of Amazon’s hardware development is to lock people into a fairly closed loop of media services provided by Amazon and nobody else.  Allowing carrier customization would seem likely to dilute their own branding somewhat.

This move would also open the company up to any number of patent disputes.  It doesn’t matter whether they manage to acquire a large patent portfolio to defend against infringements, though sources indicate that this is exactly what is happening already, lawsuits over mobile devices are the norm rather than the exception right now.

On the plus side, the fact that Amazon already has a well-received fork of the popular Android OS will help them get off the ground.  Despite running on Google’s software, the experience provided by the Kindle Fire is sufficiently unique to make it stand out.  A similar effort released in a smartphone would provide an attractive alternative to the competition.

It would also greatly expand the potential user base for Amazon’s Appstore for Android, which many users find preferable to Google Play’s less carefully policed app store already.  More users would naturally add additional pressure for app developers who might be on the fence about signing up with Amazon so far.

Since we have no more solid information aside from comments by “people who should know”, this can’t be taken too seriously.  It would definitely be a smart move in some ways, but the added expenses from carriers, legal defenses, and assorted other problems particular to the mobile communications industry would make it difficult for Amazon to continue maintaining their policy of providing ridiculously low prices on all their hardware.

Would a Kindle phone sell well?  Probably.  Would it sell well enough for it to be worth the investment?  It’s too early to tell, though Amazon seems to be considering the possibility.