Is Carbon 'the Al Qaeda' of Elements?

September 23 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: General   Rating: 4

Carbon is a getting a lot of attention!

You’ve seen the references – carbon emissions, carbon footprint, carbon credits, carbon offsets, carbon calculators, carbon caps, carbon tax, low-carbon economy, post-carbon economy…

This should be a good thing for Eric Roston author of The Carbon Age.

Why is this an important book?

Let’s start with Steven Colbert who asked Eric Roston- Is carbon the ‘Al Qaeda’ of elements?

What is The Carbon Age?
An accessible story of carbon across the ages – from its universal origins to the first biochemical bonds formed with hydrogen, to its combustion in our gasoline gas tank, and a bright future with new nanoscale applications. Roston tells the story of carbon through the lenses of physical cosmology, geochemistry, biology, engineering, energy science, and above all else- how this element has shaped human societies.

Why read it?
I always speak highly of this book! But be prepared. The subtitle ‘How Life’s Core Element Has Becomes Civilization’s Greatest Threat’ is misleading. This is not a book about a crisis. Is not anti-carbon. Roston is not trying to shock you. He is trying to reach your head, not your heart. Roston does not avoid the seriousness of climate change, but does not fall back on simple strategies that avoid the complexities of carbon science.

Roston’s voice and perspective on carbon is fresh. He is incredibly balanced in his delivery, and the undertones of how the carbon age story ends are optimistic. But the first step in addressing the challenges of this Industrial Age’s massive release of carbon into the atmosphere is to understand how it got there- and why chemical bonds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are so important to society. All this is delivered in under 250 pages!

[Continue – on my reaction to ‘The Carbon Age’ and the importance of chemical energy, time and biology.]

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Sony's New Reader Marks Another Step Toward Hand-held Digital/Text Convergence

October 03 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 3

The latest edition of Sony’s Reader, the PRS 700, marks another significant step forward in the race to replace traditional paper books with easy to use digital counterparts.

Sporting a six-inch interactive touch-screen display the new model allows readers to flip pages with the slide of a finger. In addition, readers can easily search terms within a document or book, create notes using the virtual keyboard and highlight text with the included stylus pen.

Five pre-set text sizes are available so readers can find the one most comfortable for them.

Expanded memory offers enough capacity to store about 350 average digital books. By using a removable memory stick, that number can be upped to thousands of books and documents.

The new PRS-700 will be available next month for about $400 just in time for a holiday shopping season that may not respond all to well to the relatively high price. At the same time, it appears to be the closest thing to a paper book killer to hit the market so far.