Painting by Numbers: How to Sharpen your BS Detector and Smoke Out the “Experts” Jason Makansi; Illustrations by Elena Makansi. (Layla Dog Press. $12.95 paper; $5.99 Kindle.) Numerical models surround us, telling us what to buy, which politicians to believe, and even when to change the oil in the car. We accept this because we are a fact-minded people, and numbers don’t lie, right? Wrong, says author Jason Makansi. Numerical models are as unreliable as the humans who design them. At best, they lack sufficient error analysis; at worst, they are replete with uncertainty, exaggeration, and bias. Makansi is uniquely qualified to address this subject; as an engineer turned technical writer he’s an expert at interpreting the writing of scientists, stripping out faulty information and stress-testing for prejudice. He offers the benefit of his decades of experience in the form of twelve commandments for numerical skeptics, followed by how-to’s for their practical application. This is a smart book, designed to protect us from being manipulated by data; it’s not only informative, it’s also highly readable. In addition to three other professional books, Tucson resident Jason Makansi writes and publishes fiction, and has recently completed his first novel. A Sicilian-American Comedy By Joseph J. Corso, Jr. (Legas Publishing. $14.95 print, $5.99 Kindle) Ten-year-old Girolamu Tommaso’s first mistake was investigating the disturbing noises emanating from his parents’ bedroom. His second mistake was telling the wrong people about the illicit encounter he observed there between his mother and the local priest. The result was Sicilian-style retribution for the scandalous couple and a one-way ticket on a steamer bound for New York for Girolamu, his mother’s curse upon him ringing in his ears. So begins the saga of the Tommasos, which follows four generations of a family on both sides of the Atlantic, bound by love and sharing long-held resentments, jealously-guarded secrets, and reconciliations, usually over a big meal. The drama takes place against a background of the movies, music and popular culture, occasionally punctuated with illustrations from the author’s collection. A