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Energy and Civilization

By Vaclav Smil
  • ISBN Code: : 0262338319
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Pages : 568
  • Category : Science
  • Reads : 580
  • Book Compatibility : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Pdf : energy-and-civilization.pdf

Book Excerpt :

A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. "I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. —Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts—from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

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Read Also This Books

Energy Transitions: Global and National Perspectives, 2nd Edition

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : ABC-CLIO
  • Book Code : 1440853258
  • Total of Pages : 282
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 460
  • Pdf File: energy-transitions.pdf

Book Short Summary:

This book provides a detailed, global examination of energy transitions, supplying a long-term historical perspective, an up-to-date assessment of recent and near-term advances in energy production technology and implementation, and an explanation of why efforts to limit global warming and to shift away from fossil fuels have been gradual. • Presents historical coverage of energy production, energy use, and key technical and economic factors that affect the currently unfolding transitions • Offers insightful analysis of energy transitions on both the national and global scale to explain the possibilities and limitations of the process • Supplies a critical appraisal of new renewable conversions that makes clear their advantages and potential benefits as well as their inherent unavoidable limitations • Enables general readers to gain an in-depth understanding of energy transitions from the perspective of an acclaimed scientist with expertise in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, technical innovation, and public policy

Energy at the Crossroads

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 026230368X
  • Total of Pages : 444
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 804
  • Pdf File: energy-at-the-crossroads.pdf

Book Short Summary:

An objective, comprehensive, and accessible examination of today's most crucial problem: preserving the environment in the face of society's insatiable demand for energy. In Energy at the Crossroads, Vaclav Smil considers the twenty-first century's crucial question: how to reconcile the modern world's unceasing demand for energy with the absolute necessity to preserve the integrity of the biosphere. With this book he offers a comprehensive, accessible guide to today's complex energy issues—how to think clearly and logically about what is possible and what is desirable in our energy future. After a century of unprecedented production growth, technical innovation, and expanded consumption, the world faces a number of critical energy challenges arising from unequal resource distribution, changing demand patterns, and environmental limitations. The fundamental message of Energy at the Crossroads is that our dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced not because of any imminent resource shortages but because the widespread burning of oil, coal, and natural gas damages the biosphere and presents increasing economic and security problems as the world relies on more expensive supplies and Middle Eastern crude oil. Smil begins with an overview of the twentieth century's long-term trends and achievements in energy production. He then discusses energy prices, the real cost of energy, and "energy linkages"—the effect energy issues have on the economy, on quality of life, on the environment, and in wartime. He discusses the pitfalls of forecasting, giving many examples of failed predictions and showing that unexpected events can disprove complex models. And he examines the pros and cons not only of fossil fuels but also of alternative fuels such as hydroenergy, biomass energy, wind power, and solar power. Finally, he considers the future, focusing on what really matters, what works, what is realistic, and which outcomes are most desirable.

Exam Prep for: Energy and Civilization

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  • Publisher : N.a
  • Book Code : N.a
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  • Pdf File: exam-prep-for.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Read and download full book Exam Prep for: Energy and Civilization

Power Trip

By Michael E. Webber
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Basic Books
  • Book Code : 1541644387
  • Total of Pages : 272
  • Category : Business & Economics
  • Members : 856
  • Pdf File: power-trip.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A global tour of energy--the builder of human civilization and also its greatest threat. Energy is humanity's single most important resource. In fact, as energy expert Michael E. Webber argues in Power Trip, the story of how societies rise can be told largely as the story of how they manage energy sources through time. In 2019, as we face down growing demand for and accumulating environmental impacts from energy, we are at a crossroads and the stakes are high. But history shows us that energy's great value is that it allows societies to reinvent themselves. Power Trip explores how energy has transformed societies of the past and offers wisdom for today's looming energy crisis. There is no magic bullet; energy advances always come with costs. Scientific innovation needs public support. Energy initiatives need to be tailored to individual societies. We must look for long-term solutions. Our current energy crisis is real, but it is solvable. We have the power.

Making the Modern World

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
  • Book Code : 1118697960
  • Total of Pages : 248
  • Category : Technology & Engineering
  • Members : 663
  • Pdf File: making-the-modern-world.pdf

Book Short Summary:

How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production as well as their dominant applications. The evolving productivities of material extraction, processing, synthesis, finishing and distribution, and the energy costs and environmental impact of rising material consumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with an outlook for the future, discussing the prospects for dematerialization and potential constrains on materials. This interdisciplinary text provides useful perspectives for readers with backgrounds including resource economics, environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrial organization, manufacturing and material science.

Energy

By Richard Rhodes
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Simon and Schuster
  • Book Code : 150110537X
  • Total of Pages : 480
  • Category : Technology & Engineering
  • Members : 522
  • Pdf File: energy.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A “meticulously researched” (The New York Times Book Review) examination of energy transitions over time and an exploration of the current challenges presented by global warming, a surging world population, and renewable energy—from Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes. People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. “Entertaining and informative…a powerful look at the importance of science” (NPR.org), Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford. In his “magisterial history…a tour de force of popular science” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Rhodes shows how breakthroughs in energy production occurred; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor. He looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming, and a population hurtling towards ten billion by 2100. Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw energy from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations, we arrived at where we are today. “A beautifully written, often inspiring saga of ingenuity and progress…Energy brings facts, context, and clarity to a key, often contentious subject” (Booklist, starred review).

When the Lights Went Out

By David E. Nye
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262288338
  • Total of Pages : 304
  • Category : Technology & Engineering
  • Members : 293
  • Pdf File: when-the-lights-went-out.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Blackouts—whether they result from military planning, network failure, human error, or terrorism—offer snapshots of electricity's increasingly central role in American society. Where were you when the lights went out? At home during a thunderstorm? During the Great Northeastern Blackout of 1965? In California when rolling blackouts hit in 2000? In 2003, when a cascading power failure left fifty million people without electricity? We often remember vividly our time in the dark. In When the Lights Went Out, David Nye views power outages in America from 1935 to the present not simply as technical failures but variously as military tactic, social disruption, crisis in the networked city, outcome of political and economic decisions, sudden encounter with sublimity, and memories enshrined in photographs. Our electrically lit-up life is so natural to us that when the lights go off, the darkness seems abnormal. Nye looks at America's development of its electrical grid, which made large-scale power failures possible and a series of blackouts from military blackouts to the “greenout” (exemplified by the new tradition of “Earth Hour”), a voluntary reduction organized by environmental organizations. Blackouts, writes Nye, are breaks in the flow of social time that reveal much about the trajectory of American history. Each time one occurs, Americans confront their essential condition—not as isolated individuals, but as a community that increasingly binds itself together with electrical wires and signals.

How the World Really Works

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Book Code : 0593297075
  • Total of Pages : 337
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 818
  • Pdf File: how-the-world-really-works.pdf

Book Short Summary:

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “A new masterpiece from one of my favorite authors… [How The World Really Works] is a compelling and highly readable book that leaves readers with the fundamental grounding needed to help solve the world’s toughest challenges.”—Bill Gates “Provocative but perceptive . . . You can agree or disagree with Smil—accept or doubt his ‘just the facts’ posture—but you probably shouldn’t ignore him.”—The Washington Post An essential analysis of the modern science and technology that makes our twenty-first century lives possible—a scientist's investigation into what science really does, and does not, accomplish. We have never had so much information at our fingertips and yet most of us don’t know how the world really works. This book explains seven of the most fundamental realities governing our survival and prosperity. From energy and food production, through our material world and its globalization, to risks, our environment and its future, How the World Really Works offers a much-needed reality check—because before we can tackle problems effectively, we must understand the facts. In this ambitious and thought-provoking book we see, for example, that globalization isn’t inevitable—the foolishness of allowing 70 per cent of the world’s rubber gloves to be made in just one factory became glaringly obvious in 2020—and that our societies have been steadily increasing their dependence on fossil fuels, such that any promises of decarbonization by 2050 are a fairy tale. For example, each greenhouse-grown supermarket-bought tomato has the equivalent of five tablespoons of diesel embedded in its production, and we have no way of producing steel, cement or plastics at required scales without huge carbon emissions. Ultimately, Smil answers the most profound question of our age: are we irrevocably doomed or is a brighter utopia ahead? Compelling, data-rich and revisionist, this wonderfully broad, interdisciplinary guide finds faults with both extremes. Looking at the world through this quantitative lens reveals hidden truths that change the way we see our past, present and uncertain future.

Emerging Dynamics: Science, Energy, Society and Values

By Loucas G. Christophorou
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Springer
  • Book Code : 3319907131
  • Total of Pages : 219
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 272
  • Pdf File: emerging-dynamics.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Emerging Dynamics: Science, Energy, Society and Values focuses on the impact of science, science-based technology and scientific values on present-day humanity and its future. The book advocates for a science willing to accommodate both human values and scientific facts. The four main subjects focused on throughout the text are: The overwhelming impact of modern science and science-based technology on virtually every aspect of human life Human values and their significance for science and society The need for mutual accommodation between scientific values and the traditional values of society The fundamental role of energy for civilization and society. The book cuts across scientific disciplines and looks at modern civilization through the knowledge provided by the physical, chemical, biomedical and other branches of natural science. The book is unique in its holistic approach, combining knowledge acquired by deduction, reduction-induction, and experimental scientific methods with knowledge acquired through history, philosophy, the arts, faith and cultural traditions. Modern civilization’s most distinct characteristics are due to science, science-based technology and energy. The role of energy in the sustainability of civilization and the impact of biomedical science on man are especially emphasized throughout this timely book, making a case for a hopeful future based on both science and values. A science guided in its applications by human values and a value system cognizant of the facts of science and willing to accommodate them

The Upside of Down

By Thomas Homer-Dixon
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Vintage Canada
  • Book Code : 0307375870
  • Total of Pages : 256
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 157
  • Pdf File: the-upside-of-down.pdf

Book Short Summary:

From the author of the #1 bestselling and Governor General’s Literary Award-winning The Ingenuity Gap – an essential addition to the bookshelf of every thinking person with a stake in our world and our civilization. This is a groundbreaking, essential book for our times. Thomas Homer-Dixon brings to bear his formidable understanding of the urgent problems that confront our world to clarify their scope and deep causes. The Upside of Down provides a vivid picture of the immense stresses that are simultaneously converging on our societies and threatening a breakdown that would profoundly shake civilization. It shows, too, how we can choose a better route into the future. With the immediacy that characterized his award-winning international bestseller, The Ingenuity Gap, Homer-Dixon takes us on a remarkable journey – from the fall of the Roman empire to the devastation of the 9/11 attacks in New York, from Toronto in the 2003 blackout to the ancient temples of Lebanon and the wildfires of California. Incorporating the newest findings from an astonishing array of disciplines, he argues that the great stresses our world is experiencing – global warming, energy scarcity, population imbalances, and widening gaps between rich and poor – can’t be looked at independently. As these stresses combine and converge, the risk of breakdown rises. The first signs are appearing in the wastelands of the Arctic, the mud-clogged streets of Gonaïves, Haiti, and the volatile regions of the Middle East and Asia. But while the consequences of denial in our more perilous world are dire, Homer-Dixon makes clear that we can use our emerging understanding of the complex systems in which we live to avoid catastrophic collapse in a way the Roman empire could not. This vitally important new book shows how, in the face of breakdown, we can still provide for the renewal of our global civilization. We are creating the conditions for catastrophe, but by understanding the underlying principles that make human and natural systems resilient – and by working together to put those principles into effect – we can still limit the severity of collapse and foster regeneration, innovation, and renewal.

The Measure of Civilization

By Ian Morris
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press
  • Book Code : 1400844762
  • Total of Pages : 400
  • Category : Social Science
  • Members : 217
  • Pdf File: the-measure-of-civilization.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A groundbreaking look at Western and Eastern social development from the end of the ice age to today In the past thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits—energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity—and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years—from about 550 to 1750 CE—when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.

Civilization and Its Discontents

By Sigmund Freud,SBP Editors
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Samaira Book Publishers
  • Book Code : 9387550133
  • Total of Pages : 136
  • Category : History
  • Members : 356
  • Pdf File: civilization-and-its-discontents.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Civilization and Its Discontents is considered Freud's most brilliant work. In it he states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world. It has been praised, dissected, lambasted, interpreted, and reinterpreted. Originally published in 1930, it seeks to answer several questions fundamental to human society and its organization—What influences led to the creation of civilization? Why and how did it come to be? What determines civilization’s trajectory? This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that instills perpetual feelings of discontent in its citizens. Freud's theme is that what works for civilization doesn't necessarily work for man. Man, by nature aggressive and egotistical, seeks self-satisfaction.

When's My Birthday?

By Julie Fogliano
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Roaring Brook Press
  • Book Code : 1250185866
  • Total of Pages : 40
  • Category : Juvenile Fiction
  • Members : 311
  • Pdf File: when-s-my-birthday.pdf

Book Short Summary:

In this enthusiastic celebration of all things BIRTHDAY, acclaimed author Julie Fogliano and award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson bring you the perfect birthday book! Join our excited narrator as she lists all the things that will make her birthday the BEST birthday. when’s my birthday? where’s my birthday? how many days until my birthday? i’d like a pony for my birthday and a necklace for my birthday. i’d like a chicken for my birthday. i’d like a ball to bounce and bounce. i’d like a big cake on my birthday with lots of chocolate on my birthday and lots of candles on my birthday 1,2,3,4,5, and 6! 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor Award When's My Birthday? is a School Library Journal Best Book of 2017, a Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2017, a Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2017, an NPR Best Book of 2017, a Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017, and a 2018 ALSC Notable Children's Book.

The Evolution of Culture

By Leslie A White
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Book Code : 131541855X
  • Total of Pages : 400
  • Category : Social Science
  • Members : 497
  • Pdf File: the-evolution-of-culture.pdf

Book Short Summary:

One of the major works of twentieth-century anthropological theory, written by one of the discipline’s most important, complex, and controversial figures, has not been in print for several years. Now Evolution of Culture is again available in paperback, allowing today’s generation of anthropologists new access to Leslie White’s crucial contribution to the theory of cultural evolution. A new, substantial introduction by Robert Carneiro and Burton J. Brown assess White’s historical importance and continuing influence in the discipline. White is credited with reintroducing evolution in a way that had a profound impact on our understanding of the relationship between technology, ecology, and culture in the development of civilizations. A materialist, he was particularly concerned with societies’ ability to harness energy as an indicator of progress, and his empirical analysis of this equation covers a vast historical span. Fearlessly tackling the most fundamental questions of culture and society during the cold war, White was frequently a lightning rod both inside and outside the academy. His book will provoke equally potent debates today, and is a key component of any course or reading list in anthropological or archaeological theory and cultural ecology.

China Witness

By Xinran
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Random House
  • Book Code : 140908843X
  • Total of Pages : 464
  • Category : Biography & Autobiography
  • Members : 427
  • Pdf File: china-witness.pdf

Book Short Summary:

China Witness is the personal testimony of a generation whose stories have not yet been told. Here the grandparents and great-grandparents of today sum up in their own words - for the first and perhaps the last time - the vast changes that have overtaken China's people over a century. The book is at once a journey by the author through time and place, and a memorial to those who have lived through war and civil war, persecution, invasion, revolution, famine, modernization, Westernization - and have survived into the 21st century. We meet everyday heroes, now in their seventies, eighties and nineties, from across this vast country - a herb woman at a market, retired teachers, a legendary 'double-gun woman', Red Guards, oil pioneers, an acrobat, a female general, a lantern maker, taxi drivers, and more- those whose voices, as Xinran says, 'will help our future understand our past'.

Crisis in the Red Zone

By Richard Preston
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Random House
  • Book Code : 0812998847
  • Total of Pages : 400
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 935
  • Pdf File: crisis-in-the-red-zone.pdf

Book Short Summary:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses and a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, told through the story of the deadly 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic “Crisis in the Red Zone reads like a thriller. That the story it tells is all true makes it all more terrifying.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction From the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, now a National Geographic original miniseries . . . This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child who likely had contact with a wild creature and whose entire family quickly fell ill and died. The ensuing global drama activated health professionals in North America, Europe, and Africa in a desperate race against time to contain the viral wildfire. By the end—as the virus mutated into its deadliest form, and spread farther and faster than ever before—30,000 people would be infected, and the dead would be spread across eight countries on three continents. In this taut and suspenseful medical drama, Richard Preston deeply chronicles the pandemic, in which we saw for the first time the specter of Ebola jumping continents, crossing the Atlantic, and infecting people in America. Rich in characters and conflict—physical, emotional, and ethical—Crisis in the Red Zone is an immersion in one of the great public health calamities of our time. Preston writes of doctors and nurses in the field putting their own lives on the line, of government bureaucrats and NGO administrators moving, often fitfully, to try to contain the outbreak, and of pharmaceutical companies racing to develop drugs to combat the virus. He also explores the charged ethical dilemma over who should and did receive the rare doses of an experimental treatment when they became available at the peak of the disaster. Crisis in the Red Zone makes clear that the outbreak of 2013–2014 is a harbinger of further, more severe outbreaks, and of emerging viruses heretofore unimagined—in any country, on any continent. In our ever more interconnected world, with roads and towns cut deep into the jungles of equatorial Africa, viruses both familiar and undiscovered are being unleashed into more densely populated areas than ever before. The more we discover about the virosphere, the more we realize its deadly potential. Crisis in the Red Zone is an exquisitely timely book, a stark warning of viral outbreaks to come.

Global Catastrophes and Trends

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262291622
  • Total of Pages : 320
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 127
  • Pdf File: global-catastrophes-and-trends.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at global changes that may occur over the next fifty years—whether sudden and cataclysmic world-changing events or gradually unfolding trends. Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a “fatal discontinuity,” a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance, including the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources and growing economic and social inequality. He also considers environmental change—in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change—and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming. Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria. Instead, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.

The Age of Wood

By Roland Ennos
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Simon and Schuster
  • Book Code : 1982114754
  • Total of Pages : 336
  • Category : History
  • Members : 560
  • Pdf File: the-age-of-wood.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A “smart and surprising” (Booklist) “expansive history” (Publishers Weekly) detailing the role that wood and trees have played in our global ecosystem—including human evolution and the rise and fall of empires—in the bestselling tradition of Yuval Harari’s Sapiens and Mark Kurlansky’s Salt. As the dominant species on Earth, humans have made astonishing progress since our ancestors came down from the trees. But how did the descendants of small primates manage to walk upright, become top predators, and populate the world? How were humans able to develop civilizations and produce a globalized economy? Now, in The Age of Wood, Roland Ennos shows for the first time that the key to our success has been our relationship with wood. “A lively history of biology, mechanics, and culture that stretches back 60 million years” (Nature) The Age of Wood reinterprets human history and shows how our ability to exploit wood’s unique properties has profoundly shaped our bodies and minds, societies, and lives. Ennos takes us on a sweeping journey from Southeast Asia and West Africa where great apes swing among the trees, build nests, and fashion tools; to East Africa where hunter gatherers collected their food; to the structural design of wooden temples in China and Japan; and to Northern England, where archaeologists trace how coal enabled humans to build an industrial world. Addressing the effects of industrialization—including the use of fossil fuels and other energy-intensive materials to replace timber—The Age of Wood not only shows the essential role that trees play in the history and evolution of human existence, but also argues that for the benefit of our planet we must return to more traditional ways of growing, using, and understanding trees. A brilliant blend of recent research and existing scientific knowledge, this is an “excellent, thorough history in an age of our increasingly fraught relationships with natural resources” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Natural Gas

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
  • Book Code : 1119012848
  • Total of Pages : 264
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 805
  • Pdf File: natural-gas.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Natural gas is the world’s cleanest fossil fuel; it generates less air pollution and releases less CO2 per unit of useful energy than liquid fuels or coals. With its vast supplies of conventional resources and nonconventional stores, the extension of long-distance gas pipelines and the recent expansion of liquefied natural gas trade, a truly global market has been created for this clean fuel. Natural Gas: Fuel for the 21st Century discusses the place and prospects of natural gas in modern high-energy societies. Vaclav Smil presents a systematic survey of the qualities, origins, extraction, processing and transportation of natural gas, followed by a detailed appraisal of its many preferred, traditional and potential uses, and the recent emergence of the fuel as a globally traded commodity. The unfolding diversification of sources, particularly hydraulic fracturing, and the role of natural gas in national and global energy transitions are described. The book concludes with a discussion on the advantages, risks, benefits and costs of natural gas as a leading, if not dominant, fuel of the 21st century. This interdisciplinary text will be of interest to a wide readership concerned with global energy affairs including professionals and academics in energy and environmental science, policy makers, consultants and advisors with an interest in the rapidly-changing global energy industry.

The Energy of Slaves

By Andrew Nikiforuk
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Greystone Books
  • Book Code : 1553659791
  • Total of Pages : 298
  • Category : Business & Economics
  • Members : 926
  • Pdf File: the-energy-of-slaves.pdf

Book Short Summary:

“A robustly researched and smoothly written overview of the many challenges confronting our devotion to fossil fuels” from the author of Tar Sands (Quill & Quire). Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world’s most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery’s ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion. In this provocative book, Andrew Nikiforuk, winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award, argues that what we need is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale. Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute “In his cautionary tale about the evils of oil . . . Nikiforuk makes his case for impending doom if we don’t mend our energy-spending ways.” —The Star “In this cogently argued book, Andrew Nikiforuk deploys a powerful metaphor. Oil dependency, he writes, is a modern form of slavery—and it’s time for a global abolition movement.” —Taras Grescoe, author of Shanghai Grand “A startling critique that should rouse us from our pipe dream of endless plenty.” —Ronald Wright, author of On Fiji Islands

Made in the USA

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262316757
  • Total of Pages : 280
  • Category : Business & Economics
  • Members : 340
  • Pdf File: made-in-the-usa.pdf

Book Short Summary:

An argument that America's economy needs a strong and innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates. “There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.” —Bill Gates In Made in the USA, Vaclav Smil powerfully rebuts the notion that manufacturing is a relic of predigital history and that the loss of American manufacturing is a desirable evolutionary step toward a pure service economy. Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates. Smil explains how manufacturing became a fundamental force behind America's economic, strategic, and social dominance. He describes American manufacturing's rapid rise at the end of the nineteenth century, its consolidation and modernization between the two world wars, its role as an enabler of mass consumption after 1945, and its recent decline. Some economists argue that shipping low-value jobs overseas matters little because the high-value work remains in the United States. But, asks Smil, do we want a society that consists of a small population of workers doing high-value-added work and masses of unemployed? Smil assesses various suggestions for solving America's manufacturing crisis, including lowering corporate tax rates, promoting research and development, and improving public education. Will America act to preserve and reinvigorate its manufacturing? It is crucial to our social and economic well-being; but, Smil warns, the odds are no better than even.

The World in a Grain

By Vince Beiser
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Book Code : 0399576436
  • Total of Pages : 304
  • Category : Nature
  • Members : 526
  • Pdf File: the-world-in-a-grain.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world--sand--and the crucial role it plays in our lives. After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other--even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. From Egypt's pyramids to the Hubble telescope, from the world's tallest skyscraper to the sidewalk below it, from Chartres' stained-glass windows to your iPhone, sand shelters us, empowers us, engages us, and inspires us. It's the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives--and our future. And, incredibly, we're running out of it. The World in a Grain is the compelling true story of the hugely important and diminishing natural resource that grows more essential every day, and of the people who mine it, sell it, build with it--and sometimes, even kill for it. It's also a provocative examination of the serious human and environmental costs incurred by our dependence on sand, which has received little public attention. Not all sand is created equal: Some of the easiest sand to get to is the least useful. Award-winning journalist Vince Beiser delves deep into this world, taking readers on a journey across the globe, from the United States to remote corners of India, China, and Dubai to explain why sand is so crucial to modern life. Along the way, readers encounter world-changing innovators, island-building entrepreneurs, desert fighters, and murderous sand pirates. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening work, one that is both unexpected and involving, rippling with fascinating detail and filled with surprising characters.

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

By Ian Morris
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press
  • Book Code : 1400865514
  • Total of Pages : 400
  • Category : History
  • Members : 889
  • Pdf File: foragers-farmers-and-fossil-fuels.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The best-selling author of Why the West Rules—for Now examines the evolution and future of human values Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris explains why. Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need—from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out not to be useful any more. Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels offers a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past—and for what might happen next. Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by classicist Richard Seaford, historian of China Jonathan Spence, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, and novelist Margaret Atwood.

On Decline

By Andrew Potter
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Biblioasis
  • Book Code : 1771963956
  • Total of Pages :
  • Category : Philosophy
  • Members : 497
  • Pdf File: on-decline.pdf

Book Short Summary:

What if David Bowie really was holding the fabric of the universe together? The death of David Bowie in January 2016 was a bad start to a year that got a lot worse: war in Syria, the Zika virus, terrorist attacks in Brussels and Nice, the Brexit vote—and the election of Donald Trump. The end-of-year wraps declared 2016 “the worst ... ever.” Four even more troubling years later, the question of our apocalypse had devolved into a tired social media cliché. But when COVID-19 hit, journalist and professor of public policy Andrew Potter started to wonder: what if The End isn’t one big event, but a long series of smaller ones? In On Decline, Potter surveys the current problems and likely future of Western civilization (spoiler: it’s not great). Economic stagnation and the slowing of scientific innovation. Falling birth rates and environmental degradation. The devastating effects of cultural nostalgia and the havoc wreaked by social media on public discourse. Most acutely, the various failures of Western governments in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the legacy of the Enlightenment and its virtues—reason, logic, science, evidence—has run its course, how and why has it happened? And where do we go from here?

Energy: The Fuel of Civilization

By Brian M. Holmes
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Holmes House Press
  • Book Code : N.a
  • Total of Pages : 68
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 962
  • Pdf File: energy.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Energy is the lifeblood of human society. You and I would not live in the advanced world that we live in without the abundant and energy-dense fuels that we now have available to us. In the 21st century, we have a wide range of energy sources that power our devices and that enable our technological advances and our increasingly middle-class population. As a result, we must not curtail energy-rich fuel sources for political or ideological reasons. Switching to unreliable, less efficient, more expensive energy sources before those alternatives are ready to "fill the shoes" of being primary energy sources in our personal lives and economy is ill-advised at best, destructive and self-defeating at worst. This book dives into the good and the bad regarding environmentally friendly energy sources and discusses all the energy sources we have available to us, conservation efforts, and the politics of energy. We also look at statistics regarding energy usage and production from the past, present and projections for the future. We even review possible future energy sources, including some "pie-in-the-sky" ones. Join the important discussion about energy and how our energy choices will shape our future.

Harvesting the Biosphere

By Vaclav Smil
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262312271
  • Total of Pages : 320
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 330
  • Pdf File: harvesting-the-biosphere.pdf

Book Short Summary:

An interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistoric hunting to modern energy production. The biosphere—the Earth's thin layer of life—dates from nearly four billion years ago, when the first simple organisms appeared. Many species have exerted enormous influence on the biosphere's character and productivity, but none has transformed the Earth in so many ways and on such a scale as Homo sapiens. In Harvesting the Biosphere, Vaclav Smil offers an interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistory to the present day. Smil examines all harvests—from prehistoric man's hunting of megafauna to modern crop production—and all uses of harvested biomass, including energy, food, and raw materials. Without harvesting of the biomass, Smil points out, there would be no story of human evolution and advancing civilization; but at the same time, the increasing extent and intensity of present-day biomass harvests are changing the very foundations of civilization's well-being. In his detailed and comprehensive account, Smil presents the best possible quantifications of past and current global losses in order to assess the evolution and extent of biomass harvests. Drawing on the latest work in disciplines ranging from anthropology to environmental science, Smil offers a valuable long-term, planet-wide perspective on human-caused environmental change.

Smart Green Civilizations

By Benita Sen
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  • Book Code : 8179933288
  • Total of Pages : 28
  • Category : History
  • Members : 135
  • Pdf File: smart-green-civilizations.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Did you know that as many as 7000 years ago, people who lived in the Indus valley practised rainwater harvesting? Not only that, this smart green civilization also used sun-baked bricks, which was an effective way to use solar energy. Familiarize yourself with the fascinating ways of this ancient civilization as Teri, our time-travelling explorer, goes back in time, to the Indus Valley.

Energy and Humanity

By Jami Hossain
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Book Code : 1527542424
  • Total of Pages : 241
  • Category : Technology & Engineering
  • Members : 773
  • Pdf File: energy-and-humanity.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Sometime around three million years ago, the first hominid walked on this planet. In the time which has elapsed since then, the descendant of this biped has evolved to reach the top of the food chain. Furthermore, it has manipulated other lifeforms and Earth’s resources in a manner that makes these entirely subservient to only one species, homo sapiens. In a period less than 0.007% of Earth’s age, man has dramatically altered both the biosphere and the climate. This text argues that intelligent manipulation of ‘energy’ is at the heart of human supremacy. Energy is intertwined in an intricate manner with everything that happens around us. From the very beginning, nearly three million years ago, up until today, the human race has evolved and progressed by gaining mastery and control over energy. This book presents an insightful description of the evolution of human civilization from an energy perspective, showing that ‘energy’ is the vehicle that has catapulted the human race to a commanding position on Earth. From rudimentary Stone Age tools to classical physics, from animal power to the steam engine, and from relativity and quantum theory to geo-politics and climate change, drawing upon multiple disciplines, it weaves a fascinating story of the history of “energy” in human civilization. It also discusses the “dark side” of energy, exemplified by climate change, pollution, and deforestation, which is compelling modern human civilization to once again go into an energy transition mode, as well as those forms of energy which can counteract such forces: renewable and smart energy and their associated innovations.

Money, Virtual Energy

By Octavian Ksenzhek
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Universal-Publishers
  • Book Code : 158112953X
  • Total of Pages : 212
  • Category : Business & Economics
  • Members : 113
  • Pdf File: money-virtual-energy.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Economic activity of humankind is considered in the book through the prism of fundamental physical concepts of Irreversible Thermodynamics. In the frame of such an approach the Economy appears as an immense global system, which performs work, necessary for functioning human societies, at the expense of dissipation of energy, both biological, provided with food, and technological, used for industrial and everyday needs. Money plays a fundamental role of virtual energy specific for economic processes, that makes possible mutual coupling of energy flows distinct in their nature. The author applies the concept of entropy of money and shows that it depends upon the degree of concentration of money. In turn entropy of money is shown to define attainable level of capability of money to perform work. An ambivalent role of inequality in income distribution in a society as a natural consequence of economic activity of humans and as a factor of its motivation is analyzed. Representing economy as a system driven by energy flows the author touches some conjugated global problems caused by developing economic activity of humankind, such as ecological ones. The considerations concerning the distinction between exogenous and endogenous energy as well as between heat-associated and substance-associated entropy seem to be very important.

Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts

By Vaclav Smil,Kazuhiko Kobayashi
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Book Code : 0262304465
  • Total of Pages : 244
  • Category : Political Science
  • Members : 855
  • Pdf File: japan-s-dietary-transition-and-its-impacts.pdf

Book Short Summary:

An examination of the transformation of the Japanese diet from subsistence to abundance and an assessment of the consequences for health, longevity, and the environment. In a little more than a century, the Japanese diet has undergone a dramatic transformation. In 1900, a plant-based, near-subsistence diet was prevalent, with virtually no consumption of animal protein. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Japan's consumption of meat, fish, and dairy had increased markedly (although it remained below that of high-income Western countries). This dietary transition was a key aspect of the modernization that made Japan the world's second largest economic power by the end of the twentieth century, and it has helped Japan achieve an enviable demographic primacy, with the world's highest life expectancy and a population that is generally healthier (and thinner) than that of other modern affluent countries. In this book, Vaclav Smil and Kazuhiko Kobayashi examine Japan's gradual but profound dietary change and investigate its consequences for health, longevity, and the environment. Smil and Kobayashi point out that the gains in the quality of Japan's diet have exacted a price in terms of land use changes, water requirements, and marine resource depletion; and because Japan imports so much of its food, this price is paid globally as well as domestically. The book's systematic analysis of these diverse consequences offers the most detailed account of Japan's dietary transition available in English.

Energy for Sustainable Development

By Md Hasanuzzaman,Nasrudin Abd Rahim
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Academic Press
  • Book Code : 012814646X
  • Total of Pages : 218
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 522
  • Pdf File: energy-for-sustainable-development.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Energy for Sustainable Development: Demand, Supply, Conversion and Management presents a comprehensive look at recent developments and provides guidance on energy demand, supply, analysis and forecasting of modern energy technologies for sustainable energy conversion. The book analyzes energy management techniques and the economic and environmental impact of energy usage and storage. Including modern theories and the latest technologies used in the conversion of energy for traditional fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, this book provides a valuable reference on recent innovations. Researchers, engineers and policymakers will find this book to be a comprehensive guide on modern theories and technologies for sustainable development. Uniquely covers Energy Demand, Supply, Conversion and Management in one complete reference Offers relevant information for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs on energy conversion, making it a key reference for study Includes extensive coverage that links energy conversion with efficiency and management through storage, savings, economics and environmental impact