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Pierluigi

TORINO, Italy | Member Since 2004

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  • 2 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 292 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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  • Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Richard Heinberg
    • Narrated By Edward Dalmas
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Peak Everything addresses many of the cultural, psychological and practical changes we will have to make as nature rapidly dictates our new limits. This latest book from Richard Heinberg, author of three of the most important books on Peak Oil, touches on the most important aspects of the human condition at this unique moment in time.

    A combination of wry commentary and sober forecasting on subjects as diverse as farming and industrial design, this book tells how we might make the transition from The Age of Excess to the Era of Modesty with grace and satisfaction....

    L. A. Loman says: "Okay for those new to peak resources"
    "Pessimism and anti-progress stance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author seems to be actually anticipating a time when energy sources are exhausted so that we can go happily back to the nice world of auld, where people would be born, live and die in the same hamlet and would plough the earth with oxen and be happy with it.

    He therefore bends all data so that it seems inevitable that we get there. So the book in the end is neither enjoyable, because of the slanted views fo the author, nor even informative, because it is definitely not an objective review of hard facts.

    2 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Orrin Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    This book shows that the quantitative mathematical models policy makers and government administrators use to form environmental policies are seriously flawed. Based on unrealistic and sometimes false assumptions, these models often yield answers that support unwise policies. Writing for the general, nonmathematician reader, the authors begin with a riveting account of the extinction of the North Atlantic cod on the Grand Banks of Canada.

    Bill says: "Interesting, useful...but..."
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's about useless arithmetic, but I think it is a pretty useless book too... I personally found it very boring and repetitive.

    The concept in a nutshell is: don't trust mathematical models for complex systems, they can be twisted and bent to produce pretty much any result you want them to produce. Politics often gets in the way. In itself, not a bad topic altogether, but the examples it provides are dealt with ineffectively, with the same concepts repeated on and on and a lot of irrlevant material making things worse.

    The authors also claim that less sophisticated models, which provide "qualitative" rather than "quantitative" predictions are better than complex ones and more useful. I have a hard time agreeing with this statement. Being an engineer, I've seen plenty of oversimplified models which simply could not capture the essence of certain phenomena and in the end completely failed to reproduce reality, even at the "qualitative" level.

    Even though some interesting information is present in this book, it is buried within a lot of redundant and often irrelevant material and in the end there is no really useful recommendation that comes out of this book, except for a generic caveat againts making important decision based on mathematical "models" that can be wrong or misleading for a number of reasons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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