The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm

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How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch?

If our technological society collapsed tomorrow what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors? What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible?

Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized. Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest—or even the most basic—technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be. If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, or even how to produce food for yourself?


Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances. The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can’t hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it. But Dartnell doesn’t just provide specific information for starting over; he also reveals the greatest invention of them all—the phenomenal knowledge-generating machine that is the scientific method itself. 


The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world.

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About the author

Dr. Lewis Dartnell is a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester and writes regularly for New ScientistBBC FocusBBC Sky at NightCosmos, as well as newspapers including The TimesThe Guardian, and The New York Times. He has won several awards, including the Daily Telegraph Young Science Writer Award. He also makes regular TV appearances and has been featured on BBC HorizonStargazing LiveSky at Night, and numerous times on Discovery and the Science channel. His scientific research is in the field of astrobiology he works on how microorganisms might survive on the surface of Mars and the best ways to detect signs of ancient Martian life. He is thirty-two years old.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 17, 2014
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780698151659
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Essays
Social Science / Disasters & Disaster Relief
Technology & Engineering / Engineering (General)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"This is teaching at its best!"

--Hans Camenzind, inventor of the 555 timer (the world's most successful integrated circuit), and author of Much Ado About Almost Nothing: Man's Encounter with the Electron (Booklocker.com)

"A fabulous book: well written, well paced, fun, and informative. I also love the sense of humor. It's very good at disarming the fear. And it's gorgeous. I'll be recommending this book highly."

--Tom Igoe, author of Physical Computing and Making Things Talk

Want to learn the fundamentals of electronics in a fun, hands-on way? With Make: Electronics, you'll start working on real projects as soon as you crack open the book. Explore all of the key components and essential principles through a series of fascinating experiments. You'll build the circuits first, then learn the theory behind them!

Build working devices, from simple to complex You'll start with the basics and then move on to more complicated projects. Go from switching circuits to integrated circuits, and from simple alarms to programmable microcontrollers. Step-by-step instructions and more than 500 full-color photographs and illustrations will help you use -- and understand -- electronics concepts and techniques.

Discover by breaking things: experiment with components and learn from failure Set up a tricked-out project space: make a work area at home, equipped with the tools and parts you'll need Learn about key electronic components and their functions within a circuit Create an intrusion alarm, holiday lights, wearable electronic jewelry, audio processors, a reflex tester, and a combination lock Build an autonomous robot cart that can sense its environment and avoid obstacles Get clear, easy-to-understand explanations of what you're doing and why
«Una mirada fascinante a los principios básicos de las principales tecnologías que sostienen la sociedad contemporánea».
Wall Street Journal

Una pandemia incontrolable, el impacto de un meteorito, o quizá una guerra nuclear; por el motivo que sea, el mundo que conocemos ha desaparecido y los escasos supervivientes deben comenzar de cero. ¿Cuáles son los conocimientos fundamentales necesarios para reconstruir nuestra civilización?

Tras recoger lo poco lo poco que queda, ¿cómo se puede empezar a producir lo esencial? ¿Cómo cultivar alimentos, generar electricidad, preparar medicinas o extraer metal de las rocas? ¿Se puede evitar una nueva edad oscura y aprovechar los atajos para conseguir de nuevo el desarrollo?

La vida en las sociedades contemporáneas nos han desconectado de los procesos básicos que nos sostienen, así como de las elegantes premisas científicas que permiten aprender las cosas por uno mismo.

Abrir en caso de apocalipsis es un viaje de exploración, un libro que explica todo lo que hay que saber acerca de todo lo que nos rodea. Una guía rápida para reiniciar la civilización que transformará nuestra comprensión del mundo, y nos ayudará cuando este ya no exista.

La crítica ha dicho...
«Un maravilloso compendio de los conocimientos que hemos olvidado. El libro más inspirador que he leído en mucho tiempo».
Peter Forbes, Independent

«Un libro extraordinario, una lectura estupenda incluso si la civilización no desaparece. Si lo hace, será la biblia del nuevo mundo, y Dartnell su profeta».
The Times

«Una fascinante historia de la ciencia y la tecnología».
Steven Poole, The Guardian

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