American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 16:32
RH Audio | 2010 | ISBN: 0307737462 | MP3@64 kbps | 23 hrs 33 mins | 646.86 MB
From best-selling historian H. W. Brands, a sweeping chronicle of how a few wealthy businessmen reshaped America from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an industrial giant.
The three decades after the Civil War saw a wholesale shift in American life, and the cause was capitalism. Driven by J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and others like them, armies of men and women were harnessed to a new vision of massive industry. A society rooted in the soil became one based in cities, and legions of immigrants were drawn to American shores.
H. W. Brands' American Colossus portrays the stunning transformation of the landscape and institutions of American life in these years. Brands charts the rise of Wall Street, the growth of a national economy, the building of the railroads, and the first sparks of union life. By 1900, America was wealthier than ever, yet prosperity was precarious, inequality rampant, and democracy stretched thin. A populist backlash stirred.
American Colossus is an unforgettable portrait of the years when a recognizably modern America first took shape.
Tamerlane: Conqueror of the Earth [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 16:18
Audio Connoisseur | 2007 | ASIN: B000QFBSSC | MP3@64 kbps | 9 hrs 19 mins | 257.79 MB
Sweeping out of Central Asia in the last half of the 14th century came the Tatar armies of Timur, known as Tamerlane in the West, and one of history's supremely gifted military leaders.
With consummate skill, Tamerlane cobbled together a kingdom from the tattered leftovers of various Mongol fiefdoms. He then enlarged that fiefdom into a large and menacing power in the center of Asia. But when the mighty Mongolian empire decided to crush out this upstart rival, it was too late.
Tamerlane not only defeats the Mongols, but goes on to vanquish the Persians, the Indians and the mighty Ottoman Turks in successive wars. It was one of the most astounding developments imaginable, doubly so because of its swiftness and decisiveness. And at the time of his death in 1405, Tamerlane was on his way to invade and subdue China with an army of 200,000.
Ruling from his fabulous capital of Samarkand, he was a fascinating, controversial, and contradictory tyrant. He was both a destroyer and a builder, a barbarian and a cultured gentleman. He was ostensibly Muslim, but was the scourge of Muslim states, who vilify him to this day. The Tatar empire at his death approached the dimensions of the earlier Khans of Mongolia, yet it melted away immediately after his passing.
In yet another superb historical work, Harold Lamb brings the mighty Tatar leader to vivid life and shows how this ruthless commander used his superior intellect and magnetic leadership to overcome one obstacle after another. Tamerlane was truly one of the most remarkable personalities ever to emerge from the steppes of Central Asia.
Between the Alps and a Hard Place [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 16:01
Regnery Publishing | 2012 | ASIN: B007O2RZPU | MP3@64 kbps | 6 hrs 48 mins | 188.05 MB
Realpolitik and Moral Blackmail.
In Between the Alps and a Hard Place, Professor Angelo M. Codevilla reveals how the true history of the Swiss in World War II has been buried beneath a modern campaign of moral blackmail that has accused Switzerland of secretly supporting Nazi Germany and sharing culpability for the Holocaust. Codevilla—who practiced real-life, hardball foreign policy as an intelligence adviser in the U.S. Senate—offers a primer on the realities of power politics, using the Swiss experience in World War II to illuminate the workings of the balance of power, military deterrence, economic leverage, and subversion.
But more, he exposes how current American leaders are ignoring the realities of international affairs by putting domestic politics and political payoffs ahead of the national interest.
In the context of World War II, Codevilla shows how tiny Switzerland successfully fended off an Axis war machine thirty times its strength and simultaneously made itself available as a lifeboat to Jewish and other ethnic refugees. The Swiss recognized that military power is the foundation of international relations, and they deterred a Nazi invasion by keeping their country more valuable to the Germans as a free nation than as a conquered one.
Codevilla documents how the anti-Swiss campaign offered no evidence for its shocking claims but still managed to shake down two of the largest banks of a friendly power for $1.25 billion. The campaign set a terrible precedent, whereby a powerful domestic interest group—and major donor to the Clinton-Gore administration—harnessed the power of the U.S. government to grossly distort history and secure a financial windfall. In the process, the larger interests of the United States were subverted for the sake of a favorite domestic constituency of the ruling party.
Between the Alps and a Hard Place is both thrilling World War II history and an exposé of the shameful selling of historical truth and American foreign policy for political gain.
Angelo M. Codevilla is a professor of international relations at Boston University. He has been a U.S. Naval officer, a U.S. Foreign Service officer, a senior staff member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and a senior research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His books include Informing Statecraft, War: Ends and Means (with Paul Seabury), and The Character of Nations. He lives in Dubois, Wyoming, and Wayland, Massachusetts.
The Story of Stuff [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 15:46
S&S Audio | 2010 | ISBN: 0743599152 | MP3 VBR V6 | 12 hrs 05 mins | 349.38 MB
How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health - and a Vision for Change We have a problem with Stuff. With just 5 percent of the world's population, were consuming 30 percent of the world's resources and creating 30 percent of the worlds waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need three to five planets!
This alarming fact drove Annie Leonard to create the Internet film sensation The Story of Stuff, which has been viewed over 10 million times by people around the world. In her sweeping, groundbreaking book of the same name, Leonard tracks the life of the Stuff we use every day where our cotton T-shirts, laptop computers, and aluminum cans come from, how they are produced, distributed, and consumed, and where they go when we throw them out. Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, The Story of Stuffis a landmark book that will change the way people think and the way they live.
Leonard's message is startlingly clear: we have too much Stuff, and too much of it is toxic. Outlining the five stages of our consumption-driven economy from extraction through production, distribution, consumption, and disposal, she vividly illuminates its frightening repercussions. Visiting garbage dumps and factories around the world, Leonard reveals the true story behind our possessions why it's cheaper to replace a broken TV than to fix it; how the promotion of "perceived obsolescence" encourages us to toss out everything from shoes to cell phones while they're still in perfect shape; and how factory workers in Haiti, mine workers in Congo, and everyone who lives and works within this system pay for our cheap goods with their health, safety, and quality of life. Meanwhile we, as consumers, are compromising our health and well-being, whether it's through neurotoxins in our pillows or lead leaching into our kids food from their lunch boxes and all this Stuff isn't even making us happier!
Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 15:31
Tantor | 2010 | ISBN: 1400167337 | MP3 VBR V6 | 7 hrs 14 mins | 202.72 MB
In Plenitude, economist and bestselling author Juliet B. Schor offers a groundbreaking intellectual statement about the economics and sociology of ecological decline, suggesting a radical change in how we think about consumer goods, value, and ways to live.
Humans are degrading the planet far faster than they are regenerating it. As we travel along this shutdown path, food, energy, transport, and consumer goods are becoming increasingly expensive. The economic downturn that has accompanied the ecological crisis has led to another type of scarcity: incomes, jobs, and credit are also in short supply. Our usual way back to growth—a debt-financed consumer boom—is no longer an option our households, or planet, can afford.
Responding to our current moment, Plenitude puts sustainability at its core, but it is not a paradigm of sacrifice. Instead, it's an argument that through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can actually be better off and more economically secure. And, as Schor observes, Plenitude is already emerging. In pockets around the country and the world, people are busy creating lifestyles that offer a way out of the work-and-spend cycle. These pioneers' lives are scarce in conventional consumer goods and rich in the newly abundant resources of time, information, creativity, and community. Urban farmers, do-it-yourself renovators, Craigslist users—all are spreading their risk and establishing novel sources of income and outlets for procuring consumer goods. Taken together, these trends represent a movement away from the conventional market and offer a way toward an efficient, rewarding life in an era of high prices and traditional resource scarcity.
Based on recent developments in economic theory, social analysis, and ecological design, as well as evidence from the cutting-edge people and places putting these ideas into practice, Plenitude is a road map for the next two decades. In encouraging us to value our gifts—nature, community, intelligence, and time—Schor offers the opportunity to participate in creating a world of wealth and well-being.
Talk Sexy to the One You Love [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 15:18
Harper Audio | 1999 | ASIN: B0000546GG | MP3@128 kbps | 1 hour 30 mins | 82.14 MB
It's easy to talk sexy in the locker room or powder room, but much harder in the bedroom. People often get tongue-tied and embarrassed when they try to talk honestly about sex. According to sex therapist Dr. Barbara Keesling, nothing is more exciting than talking sexy to the one you love and having him or her talk sexy to you. The right words can start a fire, and the wrong words can put it out. This program is for anyone who wants to heat up his or her lovemaking. You'll learn to ask for what you really want and to say how you really feel, and discover a more enjoyable, fulfilling, and electrifying love life.
The Duchess [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 04:34
Tantor | 2009 | ASIN: B002SQ4GVS | MP3@64 kbps | 15 hrs 36 mins | 425.03 MB
Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana's public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day.
With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.
I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 03:44
Audible | 2010 | ASIN: B004GK3CNW | MP3@128 kbps | 10 hrs 44 mins | 590.03 MB
The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we can't seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, Never good enough! and What will people think?
Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance, we might think its because we admire perfection, but that's not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are real; we're drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance.
There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what, and how were supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism, and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.
Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we're all in this together.
As Dr. Brown writes, "We need our lives back. It's time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection - the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives."
Dr. Brené Brown is a professor and vulnerability researcher at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Because vulnerability is at the center of many thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, her research topics cover a broad range of emotions and experiences, including shame, courage, and authenticity.
Brené writes, “In our culture, vulnerability has become synonymous with weakness. We associate vulnerability with emotions like fear, shame, and scarcity; emotions that we don’t want to discuss, even when they profoundly affect every aspect of our lives.
To reduce our feelings of vulnerability, we wake up every morning, put on our game face, and rarely take it off - even at home. We use invulnerability as a shield to protect us from uncomfortable emotions and struggles with anxiety and self-doubt. But invulnerability has a price.
Vulnerability is indeed at the core of difficult emotions, but it is also the birthplace of authenticity, courage, joy, love, belonging, accountability, innovation, inspiration, creativity, and spirituality. When we avoid or shut down vulnerability, we lose access to the experiences that give purpose and meaning to our lives. If we want to change the way we live, love, parent, teach, lead organizations, and build communities, we have to start with a conversation about vulnerability - this is where our story begins."
Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and fear, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions: How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness?
How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
Brené has won numerous teaching awards, including the College’s Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2008, she was named Behavioral Health Scholar-in-Residence at the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. Brené’s work has been featured on PBS, NPR, and the Oprah and Friends Radio Network, and her articles have appeared in Self magazine, Elle magazine, and many national newspapers. She is also a frequent guest on radio shows across the US and she has given two TEDx talks on her vulnerability research. Most recently, Houston Women Magazine named her one of “The 50 Most Influential Women of 2009.”
The 4% Universe [Audiobook]
06 July 2012, 03:06
BS Audio | 2011 | ISBN: 144176948X | MP3@96 kbps | 10 hrs 07 mins | 417.56 Mb
The story behind the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics
In recent years, a handful of scientists have been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only 4 percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, our books, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown.
Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of how scientists reached this cosmos-shattering conclusion. In vivid detail, he narrates the quest to find the "dark" matter and an even more bizarre substance called dark energy. The scientists involved in this search--Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess--shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts.
But these scientists were not all working together. The 4% Universe offers an intimate portrait of the bitter rivalries and fruitful collaborations, the eureka moments and blind alleys that fueled their search, redefined science, and reinvented the universe. Drawing on in-depth, on-site reporting and hundreds of interviews, Panek does for cosmology what others have done for biology, sports, and finance: He tells a fascinating story that illuminates the inner workings of a particular (and in this case, particularly unfamiliar) world.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our view of the cosmos is profoundly wrong, and Copernicus was only the beginning: not just Earth, but all common matter is a marginal part of existence. Panek’s fast-paced narrative, filled with behind-the-scenes details, brings this epic story to life for the very first time.
Interview with Richard Panek
Q: What is the "four percent universe"?
Panek: It’s the universe we’ve always known, the one that consists of everything we see: you, me, Earth, Sun, planets, stars, galaxies.
Q: What’s the other 96 percent?
Panek: The stuff we can’t see in any form whatsoever. At a loss for words, astronomers have given these missing ingredients the names "dark matter" and "dark energy."
Q: What are dark matter and dark energy?
Panek: If you find out, book yourself a flight to Stockholm.
Q: So nobody knows? We're not talking about "dark" as in black holes?
Panek: No. This is "dark" as in unknown for now and possibly forever.
Q: Well, then, what do astronomers mean by "dark matter"?
Panek: A mysterious substance that comprises about 23 percent of the universe.
Q: And dark energy?
Panek: Something even more mysterious that comprises about 73 percent of the universe.
Q: Okay, 73 and 23 add up to 96 percent, which does leave a four percent universe. But if we don’t know what dark matter and dark energy are, how do we even know they’re there?
Panek: In the 1970s, astronomers observed that the motions of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, seem to be violating the universal law of gravitation. They’re spinning way too fast to survive more than a single rotation, yet we know that our galaxy has gone through dozens of rotations in its billions of years of life. Galaxies are living fast but not dying young—a fact that makes sense only if we say that there’s more matter out there, gravitationally holding galaxies and even clusters of galaxies together, than we can see. Astronomers call this substance dark matter.
Q: And the mysterious dark energy?
Panek: In the 1990s, two independent teams of astronomers set out to discover the fate of the universe. They knew the universe was born in a big bang and has been expanding ever since. Now they wanted to know how much the mutual gravitation among all this matter—dark or otherwise—was affecting the expansion of the universe. Enough to slow it down so that the universe would eventually grind to a halt, then collapse on itself? Or just enough that the expansion would grind to a halt and stay there? In 1998 the two teams came to the same conclusion: the expansion of the universe isn’t slowing down at all. In fact, it’s speeding up. And whatever force is counteracting gravity is what they call dark energy.
Q: Do astronomers have any clue as to what dark matter and dark energy might be?
Panek: Yes and no. As for dark matter, they think it might be one of two subatomic particles, but physicists have been looking for these particles for thirty years and still haven’t found them. As for dark energy, they don’t even have an idea of what it might be. They’re still trying to figure out how it behaves. Does it change over space and time or not? If they can answer that question, then they can start to worry about what dark energy is.
Q: If astronomers themselves don’t know what dark matter and dark energy are, why should people believe that they exist?
Panek: Scientists like to quote a saying of Carl Sagan’s: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Many astronomers in the 1970s strongly resisted the idea of dark matter until the evidence became overwhelming. And even the two teams of astronomers that discovered the evidence for dark energy in 1998 resisted the idea until they could no longer come up with another explanation.
Q: Sounds like science is a pretty straightforward process of discovery and follow-up.
Panek: Straightforward, maybe. Pretty, no. As I show in The Four Percent Universe, the discoveries involved a lot of behind-the-scenes rivalries that sometimes turned ugly—rivalries that continue to this day. But in a way, these rivalries have been good for the science. When scientists who would like nothing more than to prove one another wrong wind up agreeing on a weird result, their peers can’t help but take the result seriously. Astronomers hate to say it—they’re as superstitious as anyone else, and they think they’ll jinx their chances—but there are Nobel Prizes at stake here.
Q: So this is real. Astronomers actually believe that 96 percent of the universe is "missing"?
Panek: Yes. They call it the ultimate Copernican revolution. Not only are we not at the center of the universe, we’re not even made of the same stuff as the vast majority of the universe.
Q: What now?
Panek: Nobody knows! And for astronomers, that’s the exciting part. Again and again, at conference after conference and in interview after interview, I’ve heard astronomers say that they can’t believe how fortunate they are to be scientists at this point in history. Four hundred years ago, Galileo turned a telescope to the night sky and discovered that there’s more out there than the five planets and couple of thousand stars that meet the eye. Now astronomers are saying that there’s more out there, period—whether it meets the eye or not. Lots more: the vast majority of the universe, in fact.
Q: If this revolution is such a big deal, why haven’t we heard about it?
Panek: Because it’s just beginning. Only in the past ten years have scientists reached a consensus that what we’ve always thought was the universe is really only four percent of it. Now they feel that figuring out the missing 96 percent is the most important problem in science.
Q: Will finding answers make our lives better? What’s the payoff?
Panek: On an immediate, day-to-day, price-of-milk level, nothing. But Galileo’s observations starting in 1609 completely changed the physics and philosophy of the next four hundred years in ways nobody could have anticipated. As I argue in The Four Percent Universe, this new revolution is going to have the same kind of effect on civilization. The fun is just beginning.
The Economist Audio Edition [July 7th - 13th, 2012]
06 July 2012, 02:45
English | MP3@48 kbps | 6 hrs 47 mins | 150.3 MB Mb
The audio edition contains word-for-word recordings of all articles published in The Economist, read by professional broadcasters and actors. It is ideal for anyone who wants to listen to articles while travelling, exercising or just relaxing.
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by "The Economist Newspaper Ltd" and edited in London. It has been in continuous publication since James Wilson established it in September 1843. As of summer 2007, its average circulation topped 1.2 million copies a week, about half of which are sold in North America. Consequently it is often seen as a transatlantic (as opposed to solely British) news source.