Posts Tagged ‘Stewart Brand’

Books for 10,000 years from now

February 21, 2015

The Long Now Foundation was created to engage in very long-term thinking.  One of its projects is a 10,000-year clock, which will tick one a year, bong once a century and strike the “hour” once every 1,000 years.

Another is to collect and store a library of essential reading, including a Manual of Civilization wing consisting of 3,500 books with information most needed to “sustain or restore” civilization.   The books are still in the process of being selected.


Here is a preliminary list of some of them.


The case for nuclear power

January 7, 2011

Stewart Brand, in this TED debate with climate scientist Mark Z. Jacobson, makes the case that the world needs nuclear power, at least for now.   Jacobson’s argument was that nuclear power is unnecessary because solar, wind and other renewable sources will provide all of the energy we need.  Brand’s answer is that solar and wind are too dilute and too variable, and only nuclear power can provide reliable base load electricity.

This will not last forever.  There are new technologies that should make it possible to stretch out our nuclear fuel for centuries at present rates of use. But at some point we will realize the vision in Al Gore’s Our Choice or something like it.  Wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy will be practical when there are advanced batteries and other devices to store the energy they produce, and an computerized continent-wide electrical Smart Grid to distribute it from where it is in surplus to where it is needed.  I don’t know of any reason to think this is impossible.  I just don’t count on it any time soon.

Perhaps environmentalists reason that by stalling nuclear energy and coal, they can force faster development of renewable energy.  I don’t think things will work that way.  For the near future we’re going to need all sources of energy – renewable, nuclear and (clean, we hope) coal.  I don’t know of any advocate of nuclear energy who advocates a moratorium on developing renewables.


Stewart Brand’s Pace Rule

April 11, 2010

Stewart Brand

In haste, mistakes cascade.

With deliberation, mistakes instruct.

Stewart Brand was founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and co-founder of the WELL computer network and currently is president of the Long Now Foundation.  The foundation’s goal is to achieve a long-term perspective by building a mechanical clock that will keep time accurately for the next 10,000 years.

Click on Stewart Brand for his home page.