The near-meltdown of Fukushima, the upheavals in the Middle East, the BP oil rig explosion, and the looming reality of global warming have reminded the president and all U.S. citizens that nothing has more impact on our lives than the supply of and demand for energy. Its procurement dominates our economy and foreign policy more than any other factor. But the "energy question" is more confusing, contentious, and complicated than ever before. We need to know if nuclear power will ever really be safe. We need to know if solar and wind power will ever really be viable. And we desperately need to know if the natural gas deposits in Pennsylvania are a windfall of historic proportions or a false hope that will create more problems than solutions.
Richard A. Muller provides all the answers in this must-listen guide to our energy priorities now and in the coming years.
©2012 Richard A. Muller (P)2012 Tantor
"An informative, comprehensive discussion of important economic and environmental issues." (Kirkus)
This is a very accessible collection of executive summaries of current energy technologies and science. From coal to solar, algae ethanol to fuel cells, and all the other current energy technologies/resources, he provides objective and very interesting analyses of each technology from the viewpoints of science, economics, and the environmental ramifications of each.
The author includes a very well documented section on global warming that will please neither right wing nor left wing partisans, but which is very enlightening.
He approaches each topic as a comparative cost benefit analysis, first from a current state of the science standpoint, followed by a global economic analysis.
What I really appreciate is that he states very clearly his sources for every piece of data in his calculations. So anyone can go and evaluate the data and repeat the same calculations independently.
I found the level of detail just perfect. It was just enough to keep me very interested and focused, but not so much as to bog down. A high school graduate with basic chemistry and physics classes in his background could easily follow most of the science and everyone can gain great insights into the economic and environmental/political aspects of each topic.
I highly recommend this to everyone who wants a solid objective understanding of the energy issues that are in our headlines and affecting our lives every day.
I've also listened to Muller's book "Physics for Future Presidents," which I loved, and this one is just as good. Muller always presents all valid sides of controversial topics, uses all the evidence to arrive at the most logical conclusions, and them states them as his opinions. This should be required reading for both the right and left sides of the political spectrum.
I liked best the topic because of its importance. It needs more debate and this is a great forum for educated debate. I would like other writers on this topic to take up argument with Muller.
I liked least the uneven approach to the alternatives. Shale gas and small nuclear plants seemed to be receiving a lot of positive comments. I was left with lots of unanswered questions about these.
I think Muller's arguments about solar are outdated. He should reconsider visiting the efficacy of solar as a dynamically improving technology perspective.
I liked his explanation as to why hybrids are better than electric. But why no criticism of the 'cash for clunkers' program? An outrageously waste of energy to replace so many cars.
I would like to have seen an introduction to the topic that contained a section on the relative importance of fossil fuel consumption versus other environmentally damaging impacts
It inspired me to seek out more information on this topic
I was feel Muller's main aim of this book was to convince airheads that shale gas is cool.
Muller presents a scientist's view about a broad range of energy topics. He backs up his conclusions with data and reasoning. The narration is fine but not exceptional.
This is a fresh view, on a topic that seems to confuse many.
Some of the conclusions are surprising, e.g., about plug-in hybrids; but Muller explains his assumptions, and the conclusions seem to derive rather solidly from them. Perhaps some of those assumptions are mistaken, but at least they are clearly called out; Muller himself admits that shale resources are far greater than he had realized just a few years ago.
The overall organization is well thought out - so, even though there is an accompanying PDF, the narrative is clear from the audio alone.
A good book which gives a balance perspective on energy. Does not have a PDF download which is referenced in the audio.
I would have left out the section on what energy is. I am familiar with physics so when he was talking about symmetries and spatial and time translations I understood. The average perso would get nothing out of this chapter.
Abolish nuclear weapons!!!!
Richard Muller teaches the "most popular course at UC Berkeley". His video course "Physics for Future Presidents" on Youtube is outstanding. So is this audiobook.
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