by Stan Cox ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2020
Convincing, painful, and a long shot—but better than the alternative.
A strictly science-based plan for effectively addressing the dire realities of climate change.
Geneticist and science writer Cox begins with bad news, although good news is rarely in evidence. Earth’s average temperature is now 2.2 degrees higher than in the pre–fossil fuel era. This may sound trivial, but it is anything but. A rise of another half degree will produce widespread human suffering, but we are on course for a catastrophic nearly 6 degree rise by 2100. Activists advocate the Green New Deal plan that cuts carbon emissions to zero through transition to an economy running on non-fossil energy. After expressing admiration, Cox adds that it won’t work. As he writes, the assumption that “renewable energy coming on line each year will be matched by an equivalent amount of coal-, oil-, or gas-fired capacity going off line” is wrong. So far, it’s mostly added to the total energy pool. It’s imperative that we stop using fossil fuels and ditch our obsessions with economic growth, new technology, and quick-fix (and ineffective), market-oriented approaches such as carbon taxes. Cox proposes to ban all mining and extraction, possibly after nationalizing the fossil fuel industries. More realistic than the average activist, he points out that clean sources can’t replace these in the foreseeable future, so the world will have to get along with less energy. Since the poor benefit under the Green New Deal, the burden will fall on the wealthy and upper middle classes, whose standard of living may drop to that of Denmark or Switzerland, nations that use half the energy of the U.S. Cox’s audience, deeply worried about global warming, may protest that his prescriptions seem unrealistic as well as political poison. Anticipating this, he delivers a blunt rebuttal: “Weaning ourselves off high levels of energy use now is good practice for a future in which a weaning is going to happen, like it or not.”Convincing, painful, and a long shot—but better than the alternative.
Pub Date: May 19, 2020
Page Count: 200
Publisher: City Lights
Review Posted Online: April 6, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
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New York Times Bestseller
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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BOOK TO SCREEN
A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.
The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.
In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.
Pub Date: April 25, 2023
Page Count: 320
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023
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