ENERGY AND CIVILIZATION A HISTORY MIT PRESS

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Energy And Civilization

Author : Vaclav Smil
ISBN : 9780262338318
Genre : Science
File Size : 89.86 MB
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"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.
Category: Science

Enriching The Earth

Author : Vaclav Smil
ISBN : 0262693135
Genre : Technology & Engineering
File Size : 74.19 MB
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The compelling history of the long-sought discovery of ammonia synthesis and its vital role in the modern industrial world.
Category: Technology & Engineering

Environmental Refugees

Author : Günther Bächler
ISBN : UOM:39015034905979
Genre : Disaster victims
File Size : 23.38 MB
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Category: Disaster victims

Oil

Author : Gavin Bridge
ISBN : 9780745661377
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 48.33 MB
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Oil pulses through our daily lives. It is the plastic we touch, the food we eat, and the way we move. Oil politics in the twentieth century was about the management of abundance, state power, and market growth. The legacy of this age of plenty includes declining conventional oil reserves, volatile prices, climate change, and enduring poverty in many oil-rich countries. The politics of oil are now at a turning point, and oil's future will not be like its past. In this in-depth primer to one of the world's most significant industries, authors Gavin Bridge and Philippe Le Billon take a fresh look at the contemporary political economy of oil. Going beyond simple assertions of peak oil and an oil curse, they point to an industry reordered by global shifts in demand towards Asia, growing reliance on unconventional reserves, international commitments to reduce carbon emissions and a growing campaign for fossil fuel divestment, and violent political struggles in producer-states. As a new geopolitics of oil emerges, the need for effective global oil governance becomes imperative. Highlighting the growing influence of civil society and attentive to the efforts of firms and states to craft new institutions, this fully updated second edition identifies the challenges and opportunities to curtail price volatility, curb demand and the growth of dirty oil, decarbonize energy systems, and improve governance in oil-producing countries.
Category: Political Science

Creating The Twentieth Century

Author : Vaclav Smil
ISBN : 9780195168747
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 83.46 MB
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The two pre-World War I generations encompassed the greatest innovative period in history. Technical inventions of 1867-1914 & their rapid improvement & commercialisation created new prime movers, materials, infrastructures & information means that provided the lasting foundations of the modern world.
Category: Business & Economics

Growth

Author : Vaclav Smil
ISBN : 9780262042833
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 81.43 MB
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A systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations. Growth has been both an unspoken and an explicit aim of our individual and collective striving. It governs the lives of microorganisms and galaxies; it shapes the capabilities of our extraordinarily large brains and the fortunes of our economies. Growth is manifested in annual increments of continental crust, a rising gross domestic product, a child's growth chart, the spread of cancerous cells. In this magisterial book, Vaclav Smil offers systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations. Smil takes readers from bacterial invasions through animal metabolisms to megacities and the global economy. He begins with organisms whose mature sizes range from microscopic to enormous, looking at disease-causing microbes, the cultivation of staple crops, and human growth from infancy to adulthood. He examines the growth of energy conversions and man-made objects that enable economic activities—developments that have been essential to civilization. Finally, he looks at growth in complex systems, beginning with the growth of human populations and proceeding to the growth of cities. He considers the challenges of tracing the growth of empires and civilizations, explaining that we can chart the growth of organisms across individual and evolutionary time, but that the progress of societies and economies, not so linear, encompasses both decline and renewal. The trajectory of modern civilization, driven by competing imperatives of material growth and biospheric limits, Smil tells us, remains uncertain.
Category: Political Science

The Republic Of Nature

Author : Mark Fiege
ISBN : 9780295804149
Genre : History
File Size : 66.92 MB
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In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/
Category: History

Thinking About Things And Other Frivolities

Author : Edward Farley
ISBN : 9781630871345
Genre : Religion
File Size : 47.59 MB
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This memoir records the story of the author's personal journey toward a life of university teaching and probes that story in reflective essays on a variety of subjects. One group of essays has to do with the characteristic activities and institutional setting of a professor. Other essays explore ways of experiencing the world as mysterious, beautiful, and tragic. One piece offers a rather somber account of current ways in which the American experiment in democracy is in peril. Scraps of what looks like an intellectual autobiography are scattered over the pages of the narrative, recalling the puzzles that gave rise to a number of writing projects. In a way this is a book of paradoxes and antitheses. Janus-like, it faces toward the past and the future. It offers generalized convictions and specific observations, treats both the ordinary themes of life experience and tangled esoterica, and presents both the experiences of an individual and an analysis of educational institutions. As a whole, the book invites readers to join the author in thinking about things.
Category: Religion

The Measure Of Civilization

Author : Ian Morris
ISBN : 9781400844760
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 20.38 MB
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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.
Category: Social Science

The Vegetarian Crusade

Author : Adam D. Shprintzen
ISBN : 9781469608921
Genre : Cooking
File Size : 39.40 MB
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Vegetarianism has been practiced in the United States since the country's founding, yet the early years of the movement have been woefully misunderstood and understudied. Through the Civil War, the vegetarian movement focused on social and political reform, but by the late nineteenth century, the movement became a path for personal strength and success in a newly individualistic, consumption-driven economy. This development led to greater expansion and acceptance of vegetarianism in mainstream society. So argues Adam D. Shprintzen in his lively history of early American vegetarianism and social reform. From Bible Christians to Grahamites, the American Vegetarian Society to the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Shprintzen explores the diverse proponents of reform-motivated vegetarianism and explains how each of these groups used diet as a response to changing social and political conditions. By examining the advocates of vegetarianism, including institutions, organizations, activists, and publications, Shprintzen explores how an idea grew into a nationwide community united not only by diet but also by broader goals of social reform.
Category: Cooking