Vaclav Smil

Energy and Civilization - A History

333.7909 SMI Beaverton Library 2017

Index skimmed. I might check this out again if I need some of the data, but more likely I'll use original sources.

Invention and Innovation

A Brief History of Hype and Failure

600 SMI Beaverton Library 2023

Read whole book. Perhaps should have read something else.

A useful counter-opinion to Vaclav Smil is (well, was) Hans Rosling and his Gapminder Foundation (which still is).

My own opinion is that our Sun produces 3.8e26 watts, the Earth's biosphere harnesses about 2.8e15 watts with photosynthesis, and 8 billion 20-watt human brains use 1.6e11 watts. Seems like there is plenty of room for improvement, as opposed to doing the same dumb things that kill us in a few parts per billion of the universe's lifespan to date. Yes, we try all the stupid things first, and there are MANY stupid things to try, but occasionally we fail to fail.

Pessimistic? Optimistic? Which is more likely to fail to fail?

VaclavSmil (last edited 2023-08-18 10:54:19 by KeithLofstrom)