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We have all seen films in which a few post-apocalyptic survivors fortuitously include a technological wizard capable of cobbling together life-saving and civilization-rebuilding machinery in a jiffy. Of course, viewing these movies, we can't help wondering how long we ourselves would survive in such precarious situations. The answer, according to scientist/author Lewis Dartner, is not very encouraging. Most of us, he notes, lack even the basic knowledge of the fundamentals of technology, much less the ability to reconstruct it from scavenged parts. In The Knowledge, he presents a fascinating course in the basics of getting humanity back on its feet.