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Gas prices, oil sands, fracking and the Canadian pipeline have all thrust energy back into the headlines. Politicians posture, eco-alarmists protest and those global warming fanatics continue to predict the end of the world as we know it. If you are tired of the hype and disinformation, if you really want to understand energy—where it comes from, how it works and how much of it the world has—then you need a copy of The Energy Gap. In this follow-on to The Resilient Earth, Hoffman and Simmons address the world's energy questions with the same wit and erudition displayed in their previous work. Even better, in honor of April 15th, tax day in the US, you can now download a copy of The Energy Gap for free from Amazon.
The Resilient Earth Press is giving the gift of knowledge to everyone vexed by or just interested in the subject of energy. Between April 15 and 19 the Kindle ebook version of The Energy Gap is available as a special promotion down load for five days only. Be sure to get your copy before it returns to the regular price. Here is the write-up from Amazon:
Humans have a trait that distinguishes us from all other species: the ability to use fire. We turn on a switch and light comes into our homes. With the turn of a key, vehicles take us where we want to go. We adjust a thermostat in our homes to make us warm or cool. These are everyday events we hardly think about. It took centuries of vision, science and engineering to achieve this comfort-point in our long evolutionary journey. Today, an average person lives better than kings lived several centuries ago. As we revealed the facts behind global warming in our last book, The Resilient Earth, we take the same tack in out latest work, The Energy Gap. In its pages, we present the hard science and engineering that will close a looming energy gap for our country and the world. There is also a warning. If we chose the political route, the activist route, the human race will slide backwards for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. If we choose the correct path, as revealed in The Energy Gap, our species will continue its forward march towards a brighter future for all on Earth.
The original book, a trade paperback (6x9) published in 2010, contained 400 pages, 201 illustrations and more than 180 references. The hard copy version is still available for a list price of $19.99. The newly reformatted ebook version contains the entirety of the original text. Intended for a general readership audience, TEG contains many diagrams, charts and pictures, and a wealth of information. In it, all forms of energy are examined, including fossil fuels, nuclear, and alternative energy. Here is an example illustration showing which nations have the greatest reserves of natural gas:
This is not just a book about current energy policy, it is a book about the amazing discoveries and inventions people have made while building our global, high-tech world. You will find interesting facts and historical tidbits such as:
- Cooking, made possible by the mastery of fire, helped make us human.
- The Chinese used bamboo to construct gas pipelines thousands of years ago.
- The true meaning of the term SCRAM.
- The first electric hybrid car was designed by Porsche, in 1901.
- Wind power is deadlier than nuclear power, and solar is even worse.
- The United States is the world's largest producer of geothermal energy.
- Energy savings from "smart grid" technology are less than changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- There are new nuclear reactors that do not run on uranium or plutonium.
- Environmentalists are blocking the use of solar and wind power.
These, and hundreds of other useful facts, are presented in the pages of The Energy Gap. In this updated version many formatting problems in the previous ebook edition have been corrected. Most tables have been turned into images so they are no longer mangled; footnotes, which previously were crammed into the text haphazardly, have been moved to the references section; a usable table of contents is present at the end of the book; and, most noticeable, many of the illustrations are now in color, a feature that the print version does not have.
Written in an accessible style with interesting stories and anecdotes, this is not a boring text book. As one reader said: “The authors, Hoffman and Simmons, should be running the US Department of Energy. Just like their last book, The Resilient Earth, where they started with the beginning of Earth and took us on a journey of how, when and why our planet's climate is what it is today, their new tome, The Energy Gap, takes a similar course with insightful vignettes of history, science and engineering as they relate to energy.”
Here is the table of contents listing the titles of the various chapters:
Chapter 1 The Energy Gap
Chapter 2 Sweat, Steam, Oil and Atoms
Chapter 3 Powered By Ancient Sunlight
Chapter 4 Coal
Chapter 5 Oil
Chapter 6 Natural Gas
Chapter 7 Wind
Chapter 8 Solar
Chapter 9 Other Sources of Green Energy
Chapter 10 Nuclear Power
Chapter 11 New Types of Reactors
Chapter 12 The Nuclear Future
Chapter 13 The Transportation Conundrum
Chapter 14 The New Energy Grid
Chapter 15 Conservation & Efficiency
Chapter 16 The Politics of Energy
Chapter 17 Closing the Energy Gap
Chapter 18 A Future So Bright
Appendix A: US Energy by Source
Appendix B: CEC Levelized Energy Costs
Appendix C: EIA 2030 Predictions
Appendix D: History of Technology
Appendix E: US Energy Policy Timeline
Within these chapters wide ranging topics are addressed, like ethanol & biodiesil, hybrid automobiles, renewable energy, thorium fueled reactors, the smart grid, improved efficiency and conservation. Here is a sample from Chapter 2 — Sweat, Steam, Oil and Atoms:
A mournful wind howls across the frozen wastes, as it had for nearly 100,000 years. Inside a cave, a small band of Homo sapiens huddles before a fire that casts dancing shadows on the uneven rock walls. Clothed in the skins of animals and clinging together to share each other's warmth, they draw what comfort they can from the flickering fire burning in the crude hearth. Beyond the mouth of the cave float yellow eyes in the blackness—a pair of wolves, perhaps yearning to become part of this strange pack of primates who seem to have stolen the secrets of light and warmth from the gods themselves.
This scene could have taken place in any of the scattered caves bordering the vast northern ice sheets of the great Pleistocene ice age. Beginning some 120,000 years ago, the last glacial period of that ice age was just one of many times that Earth's climate grew ever colder, causing extensive year round ice sheets to expand, claiming lands that are now temperate and inhabited. Prehistoric people—people indistinguishable from modern humans—lived through that frigid time aided by instinct, hunting skills, cooperation and by using the one thing that separates humans from other species on Earth. That thing is not the use of tools or even speech: it is the use of fire.
The argument of when primitive man started using fire in a controlled and deliberate way is unsettled. Some estimates go back as far as 1.5 million years ago,i others place that milestone of human development only 200,000-300,000 years in the past.ii,iii Most scientists accept widespread human usage of fire 125,000 years ago, during the last interglacial warm period and just in time for the ice's resurgence.
Some scientists think that the use of fire was so important that it actually made modern humans possible. Harvard University primatologist Richard Wrangham has attributed the evolution of Homo sapiens to the availability of cooked food. Man's habit of heating food breaks down starches and proteins, in effect predigesting them, allowing humans to spend less energy on digestion. Dr. Wrangham contends that without cooking, the human brain—which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy—could not be kept fed. Pre-agricultural man confined to raw food would have starved to death.
Fire not only warmed our ancient ancestors and cooked their food, it also helped shape their tools. For at least 72,000 years—and perhaps as long as 164,000 years—humans have used fire to help shape stone into more useful forms.i Heat treatment enabled the manufacture of more efficient tools and may have played a key role in helping early humans to spread rapidly from Africa into the colder, more hostile environments of Europe and Asia. Fire was intimately tied to human technology and industry since before the dawn of civilization.
Regardless of when man first mastered fire, it was the defining moment in our species' existence—humans were no longer limited by the strength of their own bodies, the power of their muscles and the energy contained in the food they consumed. Humans had taken the first steps in harnessing the power of the Sun, stored in chemical form in the fiber of plants. Eventually we would discover vast reserves of energy hidden in deposits within Earth itself, almost as though they were placed there for when humanity was ready to make use of them. Without this energy our civilization would not exist.
Today, mankind faces a worldwide crisis stemming from a lack of affordable, reliable, ecologically clean energy. In developed nations energy prices rise and fall as if on a roller coaster. Developing nations clamor for more cheap energy while their cities choke under burgeoning clouds of pollution. At the same time, nations that control the world's reserves of petroleum and natural gas wield the threat of a supply cut as a weapon. The energy that makes our modern world possible, the energy that made our species possible, now threatens to be our undoing—the world has developed an energy gap.
The Energy Gap presents history, technological fact, economic reality and a plan for the future. This free download offer only lasts through April 19th so don't delay. Get your copy today!