Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us [NOOK Book]

Overview

What you need to know now about America's energy future

We all know America has an energy problem—even if we can't all agree on what, specifically, the problem is. Rising costs, changing climate, peak oil, foreign oil, public safety—the issues are complicated, the solutions even more so. In Before the Lights Go Out, Maggie Koerth-Baker finally makes some sense out of the competing agendas and reveals the practical, multifaceted plan that will save America's future.

"With spark ...

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Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us

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Overview

What you need to know now about America's energy future

We all know America has an energy problem—even if we can't all agree on what, specifically, the problem is. Rising costs, changing climate, peak oil, foreign oil, public safety—the issues are complicated, the solutions even more so. In Before the Lights Go Out, Maggie Koerth-Baker finally makes some sense out of the competing agendas and reveals the practical, multifaceted plan that will save America's future.

"With spark and brilliance, Maggie Koerth-Baker reveals the thrumming, secretive inner workings of the U.S. energy grid. The wizard behind the curtain turns out to be a bunch of guys in light blue dress shirts, drinking RC Cola and sweating out a surplus that's threatening to crash the western seaboard. Using the raw resources of carefully gathered facts and years of experience, Koerth-Baker builds a narrative that flows and illuminates like the river of electrons that I now understand to be electricity. In her capable and stylish telling, energy isn't just policy and data; it's people and history, happenstance and compromise. It's a fine, cracking read."
Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars

"Maggie Koerth-Baker is one of the most innovative science writers at work today. Rather than settling for cheap flash, she burrows deep into many of the biggest mysteries in science and technology and comes out with wonderfully clear explanations. In Before the Lights Go Out, she digs into perhaps the most puzzling—and urgent—stories of our time: Where are we going to get our energy from in future decades? Her investigations take us from the early days of firewood and coal to the cutting edge of smart grids and carbon capture, and leave us well-equipped to take on this great challenge of our civilization."
Carl Zimmer, contributing editor, Discover; author of Science Ink

"None of this stuff is, in and of itself, sustainable. Not coal, not nukes, not solar, not wind. But some combination of various systems, various compromises and improvements and treaties between mutual belligerents, taken together, hold out the promise of a world where we and our descendants continue to enjoy comfort and prosperity. This isn't a book about turning down the thermostat in the winter and putting on a sweater: it's a book about making houses that are better, that warm the rooms where people are and keep the heat in, and, in the process, cost us all less, reduce the pressure to secure oil through military adventurism, and begin to curb our atmospheric CO2 addiction. This is an optimistic book. Not a book that says it'll all come out all right, but rather a book that says that it might come out all right. It's a book we need to read."
Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118175590
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 375 KB

Meet the Author

Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net, one of the ten most popular blogs and the number one science blog in the world. A former editor for Mental_Floss, she has contributed articles to Scientific American, Discover, and other magazines. She is the coauthor of the Mental_Floss book Be Amazing.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Choice and Change 1

1 Making Apple Pie from Scratch 9

2 One in a Quadrillion 22

3 The Efficiency Paradox 36

4 The Emerald City 52

5 A Box Full of Lightning 67

6 Good and Good Enough 84

7 The View from Merriam’s Peak 102

8 The Take-Charge Challenge 121

9 The Olive Green Revolution 135

10 The Default Option 150

11 Home Fires 173

12 Bigger Little 186

13 Good Citizens of the Grid 211

Notes 226

Index 279

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Must read

    This book outlines the energy crisis in the US in terms that are reasonable and understandable. The path to energy as we know and the rut we are in today are outlined and pieced together in a somewhat anecdotal means, holding the readers attention. Definitely an attention grabber and an eye opener

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    Clearly written in plain language. The author lays out the big picture on energy and the environment with the reasons why seemingly disagreeing factions agree that we must do something.

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