What could be more satisfying than a good read on complexity theory, land-use planning, energy return on investment, or competing economic paradigms? Warning: some of these posts raise the Wonkometer Alert needle.
On this site:
- Energy And Civilization: a review
Vaclav Smil’s latest book chronicles the role of changing energy technologies through history
- Fake News, Failing States, and Official Policy
Part One and Part Two of a look at Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence
- More than one way to fall off a cliff.
The Energy Cliff is an important concept in ecological economics. Should it be read as a historical phenemonon as well as a simple mathematical function?
- A renewable energy economy will create more jobs. Is that a good thing?
The 20th century fossil-fueled economic growth spurt happened not because the energy industry created many jobs, but because it created very few jobs.
- Accounting For Energy
A four-part series on the work of Vaclav Smil.
- Freight expectations
Neither dwindling oil reserves nor renewable energies will power our transportation system indefinitely. Does that mean a crisis is just around the corner?
- Does your city have a future?
In the past, as in the future, local ecosystem resources were the key to the economies of cities. A review of America’s Most Sustainable Cities & Regions.
- Can we afford the energy demands of “the fourth industrial revolution”? Don’t ask.
Perhaps it takes dual PhDs in Engineering and Economics to conclude that future availability of affordable energy is simply not a concern, while there is just no explanation for the stalling of productivity growth.
- A book to read while you’re stalled in traffic
A review of Road Traffic Congestion: A Concise Guide
- “Slower Traffic Keep Right”
Never mind the sign. On this typical stroad, slower traffic is the only kind of traffic.
- A neighbourhood expressway
The bike lanes and tight-radius roundabouts say “slow down”, but the road allowance is wide and straight like the space shuttle runway.
Some favourite sites:
- Strong Towns
A superb resource and organization, with daily posts on walkable and bikeable towns, genuinely conservative zoning codes, and development policies that won’t bankrupt the next generation.
A digest of articles on Energy, Economy, Environment, Food & Water, Society and Resources. A program of the Post-Carbon Institute.
- Low-Tech Magazine
Lucid discussion of technologies both old and new.
- The full text of Ivan Illich’s pioneering 1973 work Energy & Equity, which explains why high-speed transportation never lives up to its promise.
The per capita wattage that is critical for social well-being lies within an order of magnitude which is far above the horsepower known to four-fifths of humanity and far below the power commanded by any Volkswagen driver. – Ivan Illich