A lively, captivating investigation into the infrastructure that makes society possible
In our daily lives, we're surrounded by wires, pipes, utility poles, cell phone towers, and myriad other infrastructure that facilitates almost everything we do. Even though these systems are essential, when was the last time you gave them much thought? In On the Grid, Scott Huler sets out to understand all of the systems that shape our society - from transportation, water, and garbage to the Internet coming through our cable lines.
A mesmerizing and hilarious narrative, On the Grid is filled with amazing insights, interviews, and stories that bring an overlooked but indispensable subject to life. You'll never look at your day the same way again.
©2010 Scott Huler (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I was recommended this book by Audible after listening to the great book "The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm" by Lewis Dartnell. I love books about infrastructure, survival, or "how things work". This book discusses the everyday infrastructure needed to supply an every day home like the author's home with utilities such as power and water. Though there are interesting tidbits in there like how land surveyors place metal in the ground on properties 100 years ago that served as guides, the issue is that the author talks more about his journey getting to the knowledge of how things work than about the knowledge itself. I figured that in the audio version you're missing out on valuable pictures and diagrams which couldn't be transitioned well in audio-form, but upon research I was wrong, even reviews of the text version have the same complaint.
At the end of the day, it's not a bad listen. Especially if you don't have an especially long list of other books to check out. It's like the filler episodes of Walking Dead. Nothing mind blowing but enough to get you between. The audio storyteller was very good.
One note of potential inaccuracy: The author mentions the AC/DC war of currents between Thomas Edison and Nicholas Tesla and how Edison went as far as electrocuting an elephant with AC power to show how dangerous it was. This was particularly fascinating as I've never heard it before. I did some research on this and the story is semi-true however, according to Wikipedia (with backed up references): In popular culture Thompson and Dundy's execution of Topsy [the elephant] [...] claims the film depicts an anti-alternating current demonstration organized by Thomas A. Edison during the War of Currents. Historians point out that Edison was never at Luna Park and the electrocution of Topsy took place 10 years after the War of Currents.
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