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  • Vaclav Smil's books are amazing.

  • They give you a very deep understanding

  • of how civilization is developed.

  • Here in this book, "Numbers Don't Lie"

  • he's boiled it down into

  • 71 Things You Need to Know About the World.

  • This is the most information he's ever put in a book,

  • and yet probably the most digestible.

  • A great one is about batteries.

  • He explains to keep the electricity system reliable

  • is going to be very hard

  • if we only have weather dependent sources

  • like solar and wind.

  • He gives examples like Tokyo

  • and what needs go on with batteries

  • and how little change in batteries there's actually been.

  • But it's nothing like microchips,

  • which sometimes confuses us to think

  • that exponential improvement can just show up everywhere.

  • One of those facts that you just have to go;

  • That's wild, I wouldn't have expected that.”

  • is the reduction in alcohol consumption.

  • That was stunning to me, and you know,

  • when I was reading this thing,

  • I said to people,

  • Hey, how much wine people were drinking in 1850, versus 2020?”

  • Just to guess.

  • So drinking is pretty constant from 1850 to 1950,

  • but French wine consumption

  • is now a third of what it was in 1950.

  • That's amazing to me.

  • I mean, wow!

  • What happened there?

  • Was life just so bleak?

  • Here's another one.

  • The whole thing about humans

  • that came down from the trees

  • to chase grass-eating animals.

  • Our endurance comes from two-legged running

  • and the ability to sweat,

  • and that that allows us

  • to run down these rich sources of protein,

  • that allow our brain to develop,

  • to enhance the social behaviors

  • that make us even more effective

  • at being hunter-gatherers.

  • It's just super novel, and kind of unusual.

  • You will love a lot of these numbers.

  • I unabashedly recommend this book.

  • It'll give you a framework to think about things.

Vaclav Smil's books are amazing.

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B1 US consumption wine drinking bleak endurance exponential

My favorite author’s most accessible book to date

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    洪子雯 posted on 2021/08/03
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