Technology

Cool It:The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming

Date Reviewed

‘Cool it’ by Bjorn Lomborg is another in the long line of global warming and related books. I had been led to believe by his detractors that he was a “denier”. I did not find that to be the case. He says that global warming is occurring and it is mainly caused by CO2 produced by human activities. He is even suggesting a 4.5 F temperature increase this century.

War; How Conflict Shaped Us

Date Reviewed

 

Margaret MacMillan's “War; How Conflict Shaped Us” is an extraordinarily information dense 270 pages.

That wars are good for us is a more likely conclusion for this book than the hackneyed 'war is hell'. While the Canadian historian doesn't say it is more one than the other, she gives space to both, but seems to favour that it has ultimately been more beneficial, at least the way it has played out so far with the technology available.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions we have and the Breakthroughs We Need

Date Reviewed

 

The name of the author, 'Bill Gates', will do as much to sell the book as the subject and material. But his renown as an entrepreneur and technological innovator coupled with his philanthropy should not detract from his well-earned expertise demonstrated across many fields.

 

It is not the specialty of official education and career, but more akin to that of a well-informed journalist. He has an ability to read and absorb huge amounts of complex material readily, such that he brings much knowledge to any interview with experts.

 

The Fate of Food: What we'll Eat in a Bigger Hotter, Smarter World

Date Reviewed

 

 

The reader is soon disabused of the idea that 'The Fate of Food: What we'll Eat in a Bigger Hotter, Smarter World' by Amanda Little is about the pros and cons of different menus.

 

In fact it is indirectly about food and really about modern hi-tech agriculture and the twists and turns it could take going forward.

 

The looming pressure effecting it is climate change, particularly heat and disrupted water supply.

 

Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Date Reviewed

 

This book urges readers to beware, but not despair about the threats, dangers and complexities that accompany the rewards of the expanding opportunities of pervasive data.

 

Then the author proceeds to go though the history of reasons to despair and then some suggestions for how the dangers may be mitigated.

 

Although two authors are credited for the book, the entirety is in the voice of Smith, a lawyer by training and the president of Microsoft.

 

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

Date Reviewed

 

 

Many years ago in one of my university courses, the professor prefaced his presentation of an essay with, “I am a retailer of knowledge. This writer is a primary producer of knowledge.”

 

I am not certain, but I think it was an essay by the political economist Joseph Schumpter. By about the sixth read through, I had tamed the piece to a 'difficult read'. Before that it was mostly opaque, with ideas I hadn't encountered and words I hadn't seen used in that context.