In praise of Vaclav Smil

In my efforts to educate myself about how new technologies might impact on our economy and society, the author from whom I’ve learnt the most is unquestionably Vaclav Smil. Smil is a Professor in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba, but his writings cover the whole sweep of the interaction of technology and society. What I appreciate about his books is their emphasis on rigorous quantification, their long historical perspective and global span (Smil is an expert on China, among many other things), and their grounding in the things that matter – how we get the food we eat and the energy that underlies our lifestyles.

Source: Soft Machines.