Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom [EPUB]
30 January 2017, 05:57
2016 | EPUB | 1.09MB
Over the past two centuries we have witnessed a wholesale replacement of most of the previous methods of conducting both business and daily life with new, technologically advanced, more efficient methods.
What exactly is progressive or efficient about this new arrangement is hardly ever examined in depth: if the new ways of doing things are so much better, then we must all be leading relaxed, stress-free, enjoyable lives with plenty of free time to devote to art and leisure activities. But a more careful look at these changes shows us that many of these advances are not weighing favourably in a harm/benefit comparison. The harm to the environment, society, and even to our own personalities, on an individual level, is plain to see, but is brushed off with hollow claims about efficiency and progress.
Shrinking the Technosphere guides readers through the process of bringing technology down to a manageable number of carefully chosen, essential, well-understood and controllable elements. It is about regaining the freedom to use technology for our own benefit, and is critical reading for all who seek to get back to a point where technologies assist us rather than control us.
Amazing Stories of the Space Age [EPUB]
27 January 2017, 22:56
2016 | EPUB | 16.26MB
Award-winning science writer and documentarian Rod Pyle presents an insider's perspective on the most unusual and bizarre space missions ever devised inside and outside of NASA. The incredible projects described here were not merely flights of fancy dreamed up by space enthusiasts, but actual missions planned by leading aeronautical engineers. Some were designed but not built; others were built but not flown; and a few were flown to failure but little reported:
A giant rocket that would use atomic bombs as propulsion (never mind the fallout), military bases on the moon that could target enemies on earth with nuclear weapons, a scheme to spray-paint the lenses of Soviet spy satellites in space, the rushed Soyuz 1 spacecraft that ended with the death of its pilot, the near-disaster of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the mysterious Russian space shuttle that flew only once and was then scrapped--these are just some of the unbelievable tales that Pyle has found in once top-secret documents as well as accounts that were simply lost for many decades.
These stories, complimented by many rarely-seen photos and illustrations, tell of a time when nothing was too off-the-wall to be taken seriously, and the race to the moon and the threat from the Soviet Union trumped all other considerations. Readers will be fascinated, amused, and sometimes chilled.
The History of Life: A Very Short Introduction [EPUB]
24 January 2017, 14:38
2008 | EPUB | 3.1MB
There are few stories more remarkable than the evolution of life on earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct guide to the key episodes in that story - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.
Beginning with an explanation of the controversies surrounding the birth of life itself, each following chapter tells of a major breakthrough that made new forms of life possible: including sex and multicellularity, hard skeletons, and the move to land. Along the way, we witness the greatest mass extinction, the first forests, the rise of modern ecosystems, and, most recently, conscious humans.
Introducing ideas from a range of scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and earth history, to geochemistry, palaeontology, and systematics, Michael Benton explains how modern science pieces the evidence in this vast evolutionary puzzle together, to build up an accessible and up-to-date picture of the key developments in the history of life on earth.