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Without Hot Air

by Mel Starrs on May 6, 2009

in Book Review

David MacKay seems to be flavour of the month at the minute. I’m not sure whether it’s the Cory Doctorow review over at Boing Boing which triggered off this flurry of media awareness, as the book has been out for some time. Whatever it was, it worked. I’ve given up on remembering to read my digital version (downloaded from here) and bought the hard copy.

I might even review it (no promises – at the last count I have about 10 book reviews in various states of unfinishedness), but in the meantime some people who actually have posted reviews:

Chris Tweed

Derek Deighton

Best Foot Forward

And finally a great short video in which David himself explains energy use using the unit of a 40W lightbulb and cycles around in a rather dubious jumper.

  • http://www.terrainfirma.co.uk/blog.html Gareth Kane

    Interesting, but I’m not sure about this lightbulb stuff. Like many people he’s assuming that all energy has the same carbon intensity as electricity and all of it is either electricity or must be replaced by electricity. This is obviously not the case and may throw his calculations way out. I’ll have a look at the book and see if he takes these factors into consideration.

    Also – is there enough nuclear fuel for the world to go 100% nuclear as he suggests? Plutonium is a non-renewable resource just like any other.

  • http://www.terrainfirma.co.uk/blog.html Gareth Kane

    Interesting, but I’m not sure about this lightbulb stuff. Like many people he’s assuming that all energy has the same carbon intensity as electricity and all of it is either electricity or must be replaced by electricity. This is obviously not the case and may throw his calculations way out. I’ll have a look at the book and see if he takes these factors into consideration.

    Also – is there enough nuclear fuel for the world to go 100% nuclear as he suggests? Plutonium is a non-renewable resource just like any other.

  • Dave

    Gareth- all I can say is read the book before you jump to conclusions. MacKay is a clever guy and he addresses what you’re talking about. See for example http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c2/page_26.shtml

  • Dave

    Gareth- all I can say is read the book before you jump to conclusions. MacKay is a clever guy and he addresses what you’re talking about. See for example http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c2/page_26.shtml