Sunday, July 25, 2010
Looks like a couple of interesting new books on major US engineering fetes:
The Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam are more than just icons of American engineering. They are Depression-era monuments that transformed not only California's physical landscape, but its social one as well. The bridge linked San Francisco to rural Marin County, hastening the consolidation of the Bay Area into a huge metropolis. The dam brought reliable irrigation to Imperial Valley farms, as well as drinking water and hydroelectric power to Los Angeles and other Southwestern cities, fostering their explosive growth.
Here's more from the LA Times.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Sounds suspiciously like Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, but also quite interesting.
The story told in Fur, Fortune, and Empire could be viewed as a compelling historical case study in why governments must regulate (assuming another such case study is needed after Wall Street’s terrifying shenanigans and BP’s oily behavior). For all its broad geographic and geopolitical scope, the fur trade was essentially what is known today as a “special interest,” accounting in 1833 for less than 2 percent of America’s exports. It was an extractive operation run by plutocrats like Astor who trafficked in a nonessential, luxury product by taking a resource that is seen today, at least, as belonging to society as a whole. But unfortunately Dolin declines to go there.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
This looks fascinating:
....Whether anguishing over American military interventions abroad or delivering jabs at Wall Street tycoons, this Twain is strikingly contemporary. Though the autobiography also contains its share of homespun tales, some of its observations about American life are so acerbic — at one point Twain refers to American soldiers as “uniformed assassins” — that his heirs and editors, as well as the writer himself, feared they would damage his reputation if not withheld.....