The Knowledge - How to rebuild our world after an apocalypse

It is early morning of the first day of the first month in the year of 2017. This is the year where Donald Trump, you know the guy who cannot control his Twitter account, gets his tiny little fingers on the nuclear button. Suddenly a world disaster such as a collapse in world economy, the dismemberment of UN,
d EU or even a nuclear war seems more likely than ever before. I sincerely hope that Mr Trump will be the best President he can ever be. But in case he is not, and we are heading for the Apocalypse, this book is definitely the book you need. 

Lewis Dartnell is a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester, in the field of astrobiology and has won several awards for his science writing. Which is completely understandable. This is a very interesting take on the topic of how to survive after a world wide apocalypse. There are lots of books on the topic of survival catastrophies such as this list of top 15 books. But the majority of them deals with a local event where you as an individual have to survive an accident and get back to civilization again. You know get away from immediate threat, first aid, navigation, building a shelter, making a fire etc. Very much like the Boy Scout handbook

This book is something completely different. Its a guide on how to rebuild our society from scratch. It tells the reader how to go from basic survival to rediscover all the knowledge and technology that underlines our society. How do we grow enough food for everyone? How do we make soap? How do we get metals out of bedrock and how can we make the tools we need? What about basic chemistry to making alkalines or acids? What technology do we need to reinvent to be able to perform basic medicine?

Those of you who have played the epic computer game Civilization by Sid Meier*, will be familiar with this way of thinking. What technology will I need to invent and what do I need to research to be able to maintain my cities? In many ways this book feels like the guide book to the tech tree of real life! 

It starts off with a bit of apocalypse porn, which obviously is entertaining. Dartnell goes off and discusses what kind of disasters could hit us, and what impact they would have. Then goes into chapters such as agriculture, food and clothing, materials, medicine, and how to power our technology. 

Eventually you as a reader realize that this book is a love story of technology and science. How exactly did we get to where we are today? It also describes really how little each and every one of us really knows about everything around us. 

An interesting and scary example of how interconnected we are today concerns the simple pencil. Very few people, if any, are able to construct a pencil from scratch. And by scratch I mean not only cutting down the trees, collecting the graphite and making the paint, but also making the tools you need. And even making the tools to make the tools you need.

The last chapter is about the importance of the scientific method, and how utterly dependent we are on empirical studies of the world around us. And to study the world properly we need to have instruments for precise measurements. Not to mention units to count the measurements. weight, time, volume, length etc are all be essential measurements for us to be able to deal with our surroundings and each other. 

I certainly learned a lot from this book. The word broadcasting, for instance, is the name of the sowing technique where the farmer walks around with a bucket and throws out seeds in a semicircle a handful at a time. Who would have thunk it?  

If you are at all interested in the history of science, technology and not to mention increasing your chances of surviving the apocalypse of Mr. Trump, I suggest you pick up this book. I loved it!

You should also check out the authors webpage The Knowledge, follow on Twitter: @knowledgeciv or even watch his excellent TED-Talk on the subject.

"These fragments I have shored against my ruins."
 - The Waste Land, T.S. Elliot

Rating: 6/6

#science #technology #LewisDartnell #Theknowledgebook #apocalypse #survival 

* If you havent played the computer game Civilization you should certainly get cracking as soon as possible. Awesome game that certainly taught me a lot about world history, science and many other things. I think Ive played this game for more than 20 years in one way or another. One of my all time favorite computer games! 

2 kommentarer

Victoria Larsen

01.01.2017 kl.12:54

Jeg hper du hadde en fin feiring. Godt nytt r! :-)


09.01.2017 kl.01:49

Really good to see that you have posted more and continued your work since I met you last passover. Wish you all the best!

Please visit youtube.com/ministryofee :)

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, Notodden

Im interested in the natural world and normally read books about science such as biology, our evolutionary history, astronomy, and general popscience. I occasionally dabble in archeology, philosophy, ancient history, and world religions too. To mention a few interests. Ive also been interested in Diving, Kayaking, and Triathlon for years. Have also done all kinds of martial arts for more than 10 years. Ive now been working for the Norwegian Humanist Association (Human-Etisk Forbund) since 2012.