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3 Things Vaclav Smil Might Say About How Higher Education Really Works


How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going by Vaclav Smil

Published in May of 2022.

The best book I’ve read this year about the future is Vaclav Smil’s How the World Really Works .

The irony is that Smil is an avowedly anti-futurist, repeatedly noting that he refuses to make predictions about the state of the world in 2030, 2050, or beyond.

What Smil does brilliantly in How the World Really Works is to use data to debunk the claims of both catastrophists and techno-optimists.

Despite what you might want to believe, the world is neither headed for a climate-change apocalypse nor a singularity-driven techno-utopia. Electric cars will replace gas-driven vehicles more slowly than we would desire, and we will have decades to come in which our energy needs are dependent on fossil carbon fuels. How the World Really Works is a terrific guide to understanding modern life’s energy and material underpinnings. The world is built on a foundation of ammonia (fertilizer), plastic, cement, and steel. Each of these materials is essential for the continuation and advance of civilization, and each requires enormous amounts of energy to produce.What How the World Really […]

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