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Sustainability without the hot air - free download  RSS feed

 
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David J MacKay died today. His wikipedia page detail his achievements.
Amongst other things he wrote 'sustainability without the hot air' which is available as a free download

http://www.inference.eng.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/sewtha.pdf

for those who don't wish to read the full thing, there is a 10 page synopsis here

http://www.withouthotair.com/synopsis10.pdf


It's probably required reading for anyone who is at all interested in how to replace fossil fuels as an energy source.
I like his down to earth style and his rigour. Here's a section of the book as an example.

I like to base my calculations on everyday knowledge rather than on
trawling through impersonal national statistics. For example, if I want
to estimate the typical wind speeds in Cambridge, I ask “is my cycling
speed usually faster than the wind?” The answer is yes. So I can deduce
that the wind speed in Cambridge is only rarely faster than my typical
cycling speed of 20 km/h. I back up these everyday estimates with other
peoples’ calculations and with official statistics. (Please look for these in
each chapter’s end-notes.) This book isn’t intended to be a definitive store
of super-accurate numbers. Rather, it’s intended to illustrate how to use
approximate numbers as a part of constructive consensual conversations.


I hope you'll find it as useful (and belief challenging!) as I did.
 
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