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Randall

Albuquerque, NM, United States | Member Since 2007

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  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 232 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • A Brief History of the Future: A Brave and Controversial Look at the Twenty-first Century

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jacques Attali
    • Narrated By Alan Robertson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    What will planet Earth be like in 20 years? At mid-century? In the year 2100? Prescient and convincing, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future. Never has the world offered more promise for the future and been more fraught with dangers. In this powerful and sometimes terrifying work, Attali analyzes the past and pinpoints nine distinct periods of human history, each with its world center of power and prestige, and predicts what the tenth will bring by the end of this century.

    Randall says: "Worth your time if you are a student of the future"
    "Worth your time if you are a student of the future"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Brief History of the Future the most enjoyable?

    Part 1 was somewhat of a mad romp through history, with the author's particular spin, and Part 2 extended, somewhat, the lessons extracted from Part 1. This is a worthy approach.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Even though the 'lessons' were far from comprehensive, it is always good to get a new take in case one has missed something critical. Several of the 'lessons' were not things I had heard elsewhere nor thought of myself.


    What aspect of Alan Robertson’s performance would you have changed?

    The pacing was so slow I had to listen to the whole thing on 2X speed. That worked though.


    Any additional comments?

    Geography and associated geographic political power has always been important in providing the context in which ideas and industries have interacted in the past. This might prove, as the author suggests, to be a less important factor in the future, meaning that the story lines of 'future history' will not follow geographic political lines so much going forward. On the other hand, corporations, including insurance companies, are creatures of the geographic political power, and are likely never to rise to the level of, much less usurp wholesale in the way described in this audiobook, the powers invested in government. This is particularly true as the power of the rich (esp. corporations) to buy elections through marketing is weakened over time (as is all marketing efforts) due to the 'news noise' level of the internet. Couple this with the ability of anyone/everyone who is interested to get all of the sides of an issue rather than rely on 4th estate opinion leaders, and it will become more difficult over time for the few to dominate the many (at the moment the 2 party system in the USA is a key remaining factor in this domination).

    But that is just my take... buy the book and think about the author's approach and the limitations thereof and you will benefit. No book about the future is easy or light or has any possibility of being 'right', but most books represent a point of view that will itself be a factor. This book included.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Robert B. Laughlin
    • Narrated By Traber Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (17)

    In Powering the Future, Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we’ve ceased to use carbon from the ground. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm.

    john says: "No Nonsense"
    "Prepare to have green prejudices demolished"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Welcome to the Carbon Future, at least as far as energy for transportation is concerned. The author clearly and unequivocally sets for the case that carbon is an optimum store of chemical energy, and that we humans just better get our heads around that.

    I greatly respect the author's credentials and mastery of the subject, but I would have like a good deal more detail in various points. He seems to possibly be somewhat over focused on the pure energetics and doesn't allow for the fact that fuels come from a value chain with lots of factors... aggregation, processing, distribution, etc. And it's the 'output' of this process that determines the winner, not the fundamental nature of the product itself, although this is a very important part of the story. This is manifest in his doubts about the ability of bio sourced coal proxies (he names many, algae and miscanthus being a couple of the stronger competitors) to compete in a world where coal, as abundant as it is, naturally is getting more expensive to mine and transport while the bio side is busy moving up learning curves... such as for example the development of algae that 'produce' an oily product that will separate directly, so the algae itself can be left in it's watery, sunlit soup.

    All this is at the margin though, and the basic case, that we should plan to live in a world with a lot more, not less, fossil fuel burning, is compelling.

    This is not a book about the greenhouse effect and it's consequences per se, but I would certainly have enjoyed more from this author on this topic, as it is fundamental to understanding how the 'externalities'.... if any other than a warmer Siberia and Canada... will affect the costs implicit to the fossil vs. bio competition.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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