I bristled when I saw the title, but bought the book in association with my own talk to Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) on “Hacking Humanity.” I’ve put the book down glad I did not give up in the early pages, and thoroughly impressed by the author, clearly among the smartest of skeptics.
Although I was suprised to find no mention of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) which is striving for openness but still appears to have an unnerving patina of weather change and earthquake triggering potential–in my uninformed view. I’d love the author’s informed opinion on HAARP.
What the author does provide in this book is a totally superb overview with multiple drill-downs of what is now called “geoengineering.” Geo-systems are not in this book, and that is the greatest flaw with any contemplation of geo-engineering–you cannot engineer what you cannot understand.
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book on our planet’s future
April 13, 2009
Review by Future Watch Rider
Book by James Loveluck
Lovelock merits our attention because he has been proven right in predicting grim events. Indeed, Lovelock’s grim views have in some ways been too optimistic in light of the speed with which the global environmental situation has been declining.
I think his views in this book are too pessimistic but Lovelock is a creative original thinker about science who does not fit into neat categories. He has infuriated a lot of his fellow environmentalists with his advocacy of nuclear power. He does so because he sees the huge size of the gap between what is needed and what exists. For example, President Obama has promised to “double” the percentage of renewable energy America uses in a few years. It sounds great….. until you realize renewable energy is less than one percent of America’s energy now. (Meanwhile, renewable energy is being very badly hurt by the global economic crisis.) Optimistic predictions about a “boom” in renewable energy over the past 20 years by various environmental advocates have turned out to be pie in the sky. It hasn’t happened. Hopefully, it will happen now. However, according to predictions of the International Energy Agency, the share of the world’s energy coming from coal, the worst form of energy, is going to go up, not down by 2020. This is why Lovelock also supports research on making coal less disastrous although it’s never going to be “clean” as claimed by the coal industry and its millions of dollars in advertising. (Some environmental purists have also attacked him for this.)
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most important — certainly the most thought-provoking — book in years
October 22, 2009
Review by Jesse Kornbluth
Book by Stewart Brand
I was interviewing George Soros as the Dow rapidly shed 300 points and crashed through the 10,000 level.
“Is this it?” I asked.
Soros shrugged — a very calm reaction from an investor who might have seen his portfolio shrink by hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.
I lost much less that day, but I had a different reaction — panic. The thing to do, I concluded, was to trade my beloved Classic 6 in Manhattan for a self-sustaining house in the country. Ten acres would suffice, as long as they had decent water, land suitable for a large garden and enough sunlight for the solar panels.
I bought a URL for the web site I planned to launch: […]. This was no back-to-the-land hippie retreat. I would be stepping into the smart future: small town/rural purity (Woodsmoke) with the 21st century benefits of a fast Internet (Broadband) and Amazon.com’s free shipping.
Given all that, you will understand that I was quite stunned to read “Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto” — by Stewart Brand, creator of the 1960s and 1970s classic, the “Whole Earth Catalog” — and discover that the last place its author would have me go is back to the land.
REPOSTED to end Russian spammer constant hitting on former URL.
Best Possible Starting Point for Executives & Students
October 20, 2009
This book is a gem. It is a rare book that I would recommend equally to senior executives and students thinking about a career path, but this is such a book. I agreed to review this book for the publisher and received a free copy. I’ve known the author since the early 1990’s when the U.S. Government first tried to learn how to do commercial intelligence, calling it Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). They still don’t get it, for the same reason most executives don’t get it: arrogance, ignorance, and a complacency that comes from having too much money and not enough accountability.Before laying down my notes, let me first place this book squarely in the top twelve books in English. This is the one I would recommend to anyone as a starter, followed by:
Unfortunately the timing of the release could not have been worse, coming as it did the same week the Washington Post launched its series Top Secret America, detailing just how immense and intrusive the nation’s national security apparatus has become, an economic boom for Washington seen as increasingly dangerous by many on both the left and right.
Jonkman acknowledged the help of “thousands of people” in delivering Version 1.0 of the software, which was immediately fisked by Martin Roesch, creator of Snort, who called it a cheap knock-off funded with taxpayer dollars.