You are previewing Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper.
O'Reilly logo
Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper

Book Description

In the face of today’s environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods. That same desire is fostering unprecedented prosperity, greater liberty, and yes, better environmental protection.

Utilizing on-the-ground reporting from Ottawa to Panama City and Pittsburgh to Bakersfield, Bryce shows how we have, for centuries, been pushing for Smaller Faster solutions to our problems. From the vacuum tube, mass-produced fertilizer, and the printing press to mobile phones, nanotech, and advanced drill rigs, Bryce demonstrates how cutting-edge companies and breakthrough technologies have created a world in which people are living longer, freer, healthier, lives than at any time in human history.

The push toward Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is happening across multiple sectors. Bryce profiles innovative individuals and companies, from long-established ones like Ford and Intel to upstarts like Aquion Energy and Khan Academy. And he zeroes in on the energy industry, proving that the future belongs to the high power density sources that can provide the enormous quantities of energy the world demands.

The tools we need to save the planet aren’t to be found in the technologies or lifestyles of the past. Nor must we sacrifice prosperity and human progress to ensure our survival. The catastrophists have been wrong since the days of Thomas Malthus. This is the time to embrace the innovators and businesses all over the world who are making things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. List of Graphics, Tables, and Photos
  7. Author’s Note
  8. Introduction: Moving Beyond “Collapse Anxiety”
  9. PART I: The Push for Innovation, Its Consequences, and the Degrowth Agenda
    1. 1. Panama: Digging a Faster Cheaper Way to Travel
    2. 2. The Trend Toward Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper
      1. The Brain
      2. The Printing Press
      3. The Vacuum Tube
      4. The AK-47
      5. The Haber-Bosch Process
      6. The Diesel and the Jet Turbine
      7. The Telescope and Microscope
      8. The Pearl Street Power Plant
      9. The Roller-Cone Drill Bit
      10. Digital Communications
    3. 3. Never Have So Many Lived So Well
    4. 4. Back to the Past: The Push for “Degrowth”
      1. SIDEBAR: Bill McKibben’s Energy-Starvation Plan
  10. PART II: Our Attosecond World: How We Got Here, Where We’re Going, and the Companies Leading the Way
    1. 5. Angstroms and Attoseconds
    2. 6. How Our Quest for Faster Drives Innovation
    3. 7. Faster Lighter Doper
      1. SIDEBAR: Tour de Doper
    4. 8. The Engines of the Economy
      1. SMALLER FASTER INC.: Ford Motor Company
    5. 9. From ENIAC to iCloud: Smaller Faster Computing
      1. SIDEBAR: The Incredible Shrinking Circuit
      2. SIDEBAR: “Green” Computing Can’t Power the Cloud
      3. SMALLER FASTER INC.: Intel
    6. 10. From LP to iPod
    7. 11. From Kublai Khan to M-PESA
      1. SMALLER FASTER INC.: Safaricom
    8. 12. Density and the Wealth of Cities
    9. 13. Denser Cheaper Food Production
    10. 14. The Faster the Bits, the Freer the People
      1. SIDEBAR: Smaller Lighter Cheaper Phones
    11. 15. From Monks to MOOCs: Faster Cheaper Education
    12. 16. Smaller Faster Cheaper Medicine
  11. PART III: The Need for Cheaper Energy
    1. 17. The Faster the (Drill) Bits, the Cheaper the Energy
      1. SIDEBAR: We’re Running Out of Oil . . .
    2. 18. The Tyranny of Density
      1. SMALLER FASTER INC.: Clean Energy Systems
    3. 19. Smaller Faster and the Coal Question
      1. SIDEBAR: India Is Not Going “Beyond Coal”
      2. SIDEBAR: GOOG < Coal
      3. SMALLER FASTER INC.: Aquion Energy
  12. PART IV: Embracing Our Smaller Faster Future
    1. 20. Getting Energy Policy Right 211
      1. Reject Wind and Biofuels
      2. Wind Energy’s Incurable Density Problem
      3. SIDEBAR: Debunking the Big Fibs About Wind and Solar
      4. Biofuels are “A Crime Against Humanity”
    2. 21. Climate Change Requires N2N (N2N is SFLDC)
      1. SIDEBAR: We Need to Reduce Gas Flaring
    3. 22. Embrace Nuclear Green
      1. SIDEBAR: Make Atoms for Peace a Reality
    4. 23. SX Smaller Faster: Why the United States Will Dominate the Smaller Faster Future
    5. 24. Conclusion: Moving Past Fear
  13. APPENDIX A: SI Numerical Designations
  14. APPENDIX B: Energy and Power: Units and Equivalents
  15. APPENDIX C: Gravimetric Power Density from Humans to Jet Engines
  16. APPENDIX D: Five Leaders in Online Learning
  17. APPENDIX E: Wind Energy’s Noise Problem: A Review
  18. APPENDIX F: Areal Power Density Data for Sixteen Wind-Energy Projects
  19. APPENDIX G: Major Players in Nuclear Energy
  20. Notes
  21. Select Bibliography
  22. Index