Author: David S. Abraham
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2015-10-28
Our future hinges on a set of elements that few of us have even heard of. In this surprising and revealing book, David S. Abraham unveils what rare metals are and why our electronic gadgets, the most powerful armies, and indeed the fate of our planet depend on them. These metals have become the building blocks of modern society; their properties are now essential for nearly all our electronic, military, and “green” technologies. But their growing use is not without environmental, economic, and geopolitical consequences. Abraham traces these elements’ hidden paths from mines to our living rooms, from the remote hills of China to the frozen Gulf of Finland, providing vivid accounts of those who produce, trade, and rely on rare metals. He argues that these materials are increasingly playing a significant role in global affairs, conferring strength to countries and companies that can ensure sustainable supplies. Just as oil, iron, and bronze revolutionized previous eras, so too will these metals. The challenges this book reveals, and the plans it proposes, make it essential reading for our rare metal age.
Author: Jeremy Black
Release Date: 2011-08-18
Genre: Social Science
A thought-provoking and important book that raises essential issues crucial not only for our past but also the present day. In this panoramic history, Jeremy Black tells how slavery was first developed in the ancient world, and reaches all the way to present day and the contemporary crimes of trafficking and bonded labour. He shows how slavery has taken many forms throughout history and across the world - from the uprising of Spartacus, the plantations of the Indies, and the murderous forced labour of the gulags and concentration camps. Slavery helped consolidated transoceanic empires and helped mould new world societies such as America and Brazil. In the Atlantic trade, Black also looks at the controversial area of how complicit the African peoples were in the trade. He then charts the long fight for abolition in the 19th century, including both the campaigners as well as the lost voices of the slaves themselves who spoke of their misery. Finally, as Black points out, slavery has not been completely abolished today and coerced labour can be found closer to home than is comfortable.
How will your life change when the supply of tantalum dries up? You may have never heard of this unusual metal, but without it smartphones would be instantly less omniscient, video game systems would falter, and laptops fail. Tantalum is not alone. Rhodium. Osmium. Niobium. Such refugees from the bottom of the periodic table are key components of many consumer products like cell phones, hybrid car batteries, and flat screen televisions, as well as sophisticated medical devices and even weapon systems. Their versatile properties have led manufacturers to seek these elements out to maximize longevity, value, and efficiency, but not without a human price. In addition to explaining the chemistry behind rare earth metals, Rare delves into the economic and geopolitical issues surrounding these “conflict minerals,” blending tales of financial and political struggles with glimpses into the human lives that are shattered by the race to secure them. In the past decade, the Congo has been ravaged by tribal wars fought to obtain control of tantalum, tungsten, and tin supplies in the region, with over five million people dying at the crossroads of supply and demand. A burgeoning black market in China, Africa, and India is propped up by school-age children retrieving and purifying these metals while risking their lives and health in the process. Fears of future political struggles inside China, the world’s largest supplier of these metals, have already sent the United States, Great Britain, and Japan racing to find alternative sources. Will scientists be able to create lab substitutes for some or all of these metals? Will Afghanistan be the next big supplier of rare metals? What happens when the limited supply runs out? Whatever the answers, it is clear that our modern lifestyle, dependent on technology, is far from stable. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Gus Gunn
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2014-01-06
Mankind is using a greater variety of metals in greater quantities than ever before. As a result there is increasing global concern over the long-term availability of secure and adequate supplies of the metals needed by society. Critical metals, which are those of growing economic importance that might be susceptible to future scarcity, are a particular worry. For many of these we have little information on how they are concentrated in the Earth’s crust, how to extract them from their ores, and how to use, recycle and dispose of them effectively and safely. Published with the British Geological Survey, the Critical Metals Handbook brings together a wealth of knowledge on critical metals and provides a foundation for improving the future security and sustainability of critical metal supplies. Written by international experts, it provides a unique source of authoritative information on diverse aspects of the critical metals, including geology, deposits, processing, applications, recycling, environmental issues and markets. It is aimed at a broad non-specialist audience, including professionals and academics working in the exploration and mining sectors, in mining finance and investment, and in mineral processing and manufacturing. It will also be a valuable reference for policy makers concerned with resource management, land-use planning, eco-efficiency, recycling and related fields.
Author: Robert Colvile
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: 2016-05-17
The Great Acceleration is an energizing account from a brilliant new writer of how our society is speeding up--and why we should embrace it. In this revelatory study of modern living, Robert Colvile inspects the various ways in which the pace of life in our society is increasing and examines the evolutionary science behind our rapidly accelerating need for change, as well as why it's unlikely we'll be able to slow down . . . or even want to. Exploring theories surrounding the effect of this speed on our minds and bodies, Colvile reveals how, contrary to gloomier predictions, living in a faster age might be beneficial for us, both physically and mentally. In addition to the universe of social media, he examines the opportunities that faster communication and operation could bring to everything from music, film, and books to transportation, politics, and government. Comparing developments in cities and villages, advanced economies and underdeveloped countries, East and West, The Great Acceleration explains how the positives outnumber the negatives and, if this acceleration is truly inevitable, why we should rush to embrace it.
It's July and it's 94 degrees Fahrenheit. What do you do? Blast the air conditioning. It's a modern miracle of convenience and cooling. How did it happen? Sal Basile's narrative history traces the origins one of the machines we take for granted. It's a contraption that makes the lists of "Greatest Inventions Ever"; at the same time, it's accused of causing global disaster. It has changed everything from architecture to people's food habits to their voting patterns, to even the way big business washes its windows. It has saved countless lives . . . while causing countless deaths. Most of us are glad it's there. But we don't know how, or when, it got there. It's air conditioning. For thousands of years, humankind attempted to do something about the slow torture of hot weather. Everything was tried: water power, slave power, electric power, ice made from steam engines and cold air made from deadly chemicals, "zephyrifers," refrigerated beds, ventilation amateurs and professional air-sniffers. It wasn't until 1902 when an engineer barely out of college developed the "Apparatus for Treating Air" a machine that could actually cool the indoors and everyone assumed it would instantly change the world. That wasn't the case. There was a time when people "ignored" hot weather while reading each day's list of heat-related deaths, women wore furs in the summertime, heatstroke victims were treated with bloodletting . . . and the notion of a machine to cool the air was considered preposterous, even sinful. The story of air conditioning is actually two stories: the struggle to perfect a cooling device, and the effort to convince people that they actually needed such a thing. With a cast of characters ranging from Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Nixon to Felix the Cat, Cool showcases the myriad reactions to air conditioning some of them dramatic, many others comical and wonderfully inconsistent as it was developed and presented to the world. Here is a unique perspective on air conditioning's fascinating history: how we rely so completely on it today, and how it might change radically tomorrow.
In 2004, Kentaro Toyama, an award-winning computer scientist, moved to India to start a new research group for Microsoft. Its mission: to explore novel technological solutions to the world's persistent social problems. Together with his team, he invented electronic devices for under-resourced urban schools and developed digital platforms for remote agrarian communities. But after a decade of designing technologies for humanitarian causes, Toyama concluded that no technology, however dazzling, could cause social change on its own. Technologists and policy-makers love to boast about modern innovation, and in their excitement, they exuberantly tout technology's boon to society. But what have our gadgets actually accomplished? Over the last four decades, America saw an explosion of new technologies – from the Internet to the iPhone, from Google to Facebook – but in that same period, the rate of poverty stagnated at a stubborn 13%, only to rise in the recent recession. So, a golden age of innovation in the world's most advanced country did nothing for our most prominent social ill. Toyama's warning resounds: Don't believe the hype! Technology is never the main driver of social progress. Geek Heresy inoculates us against the glib rhetoric of tech utopians by revealing that technology is only an amplifier of human conditions. By telling the moving stories of extraordinary people like Patrick Awuah, a Microsoft millionaire who left his lucrative engineering job to open Ghana's first liberal arts university, and Tara Sreenivasa, a graduate of a remarkable South Indian school that takes children from dollar-a-day families into the high-tech offices of Goldman Sachs and Mercedes-Benz, Toyama shows that even in a world steeped in technology, social challenges are best met with deeply social solutions.
Author: Terry R. Bacon
Publisher: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Business & Economics
"Terry Bacon breaks down the sources of power and influence at a very granular level, allowing readers greater insight into both sides of the `Midas Touch'---use and abuse."--- Rahm Sitaraman, EAG Franchise Leadership Development Director, Coca-Cola --
Author: Adam Tanner
Release Date: 2014-09-02
Genre: Business & Economics
The greatest threat to privacy today is not the NSA, but good-old American companies. Internet giants, leading retailers, and other firms are voraciously gathering data with little oversight from anyone. In Las Vegas, no company knows the value of data better than Caesars Entertainment. Many thousands of enthusiastic clients pour through the ever-open doors of their casinos. The secret to the company's success lies in their one unrivaled asset: they know their clients intimately by tracking the activities of the overwhelming majority of gamblers. They know exactly what games they like to play, what foods they enjoy for breakfast, when they prefer to visit, who their favorite hostess might be, and exactly how to keep them coming back for more. Caesars' dogged data-gathering methods have been so successful that they have grown to become the world's largest casino operator, and have inspired companies of all kinds to ramp up their own data mining in the hopes of boosting their targeted marketing efforts. Some do this themselves. Some rely on data brokers. Others clearly enter a moral gray zone that should make American consumers deeply uncomfortable. We live in an age when our personal information is harvested and aggregated whether we like it or not. And it is growing ever more difficult for those businesses that choose not to engage in more intrusive data gathering to compete with those that do. Tanner's timely warning resounds: Yes, there are many benefits to the free flow of all this data, but there is a dark, unregulated, and destructive netherworld as well.
Author: Mark C. Taylor
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2014-10-28
Genre: Social Science
We live in an ever-accelerating world: faster computers, markets, food, fashion, product cycles, minds, bodies, kids, lives. When did everything start moving so fast? Why does speed seem so inevitable? Is faster always better? Drawing together developments in religion, philosophy, art, technology, fashion, and finance, Mark C. Taylor presents an original and rich account of a great paradox of our times: how the very forces and technologies that were supposed to free us by saving time and labor now trap us in a race we can never win. The faster we go, the less time we have, and the more we try to catch up, the farther behind we fall. Connecting our speed-obsession with today’s global capitalism, he composes a grand narrative showing how commitments to economic growth and extreme competition, combined with accelerating technological innovation, have brought us close to disaster. Psychologically, environmentally, economically, and culturally, speed is taking a profound toll on our lives. By showing how the phenomenon of speed has emerged, Taylor offers us a chance to see our pace of life as the product of specific ideas, practices, and policies. It’s not inevitable or irreversible. He courageously and movingly invites us to imagine how we might patiently work towards a more deliberative life and sustainable world.
Author: Robin Hanson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016
Robots may one day rule the world, but what is a robot-ruled Earth like? Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or "ems." Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human. Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks. Some say we can't know the future, especially following such a disruptive new technology, but Professor Robin Hanson sets out to prove them wrong. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science, and economics, he uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems. While human lives don't change greatly in the em era, em lives are as different from ours as our lives are from those of our farmer and forager ancestors. Ems make us question common assumptions of moral progress, because they reject many of the values we hold dear. Read about em mind speeds, body sizes, job training and career paths, energy use and cooling infrastructure, virtual reality, aging and retirement, death and immortality, security, wealth inequality, religion, teleportation, identity, cities, politics, law, war, status, friendship and love. This book shows you just how strange your descendants may be, though ems are no stranger than we would appear to our ancestors. To most ems, it seems good to be an em.