Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vaclav Smil is brilliant

I know I usually write light and fluffy gaming stuff. This entry is a bit different. I am not a big fan of reading non-fiction. I generally find it too dry and at the mercy of the author's political affiliations. Having said that everyone needs to read some Vaclav Smill.

In 2010, the Economist, website declared the computer the most influential technology of the 20th century. Professor Emeritus Smil represented the opposition  in the online debate. I make my living with computers as a database monkey and have for decades but I have to admit his arguments for advances in agriculture won me over. The crux of his side of the argument was without the synthesis of nitrogen developed in the early 1900s we could not feed 85% of the 7 billion people on this planet compared to only feeding 66% of a much smaller population at the turn of the century.

He does not shrink from controversy either. He has stated in multiple papers and sources that alternative energies as we know of them are 50 to 60 years away from being our primary sources of fuel. He believes that conservation is the answer. He is living that way himself. 

I first heard about Professor Smil in an article on That sparked my curiosity and now I am hooked. I have linked the Wired article and Vaclav Smil's website publication list below. His papers in the list are short, sweet and he get right to the point. You might not agree with everything he says but his writing does make you think.

Back to gaming...Origins pre-registration is up!

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