One of the current terms for describing the contemporary world is “the Age of the Anthropocene,” meaning the” age of man” as a new geological age based on an unprecedented human ability to alter the planet. It is a useful and striking term, but I have always felt its shortcoming is that it reduces human history to a phase of natural history. Human domination of the globe is also a phase of human history and needs to be examined and understood in this dimension too. This point was made in a terrific review of The Triumph of Human Empire that appeared yesterday in Times Higher Education.
Newly published book
Now available from the University of Chicago Press.
BlogAugust 10, 2014My academic project for the summer does not involve writing anything: from that I can use a break. Instead I have been going through a pile of clippings and notes (both hard copy and on-line) accumulated while writing The Triumph of Human Empire. It is my mulch pile for some future crop. It’s mostly words, some numbers, and some... more»June 12, 2014Even–especially–in “our technological age,” which is so often equated with “our digital age,” it can be nice to see something you have written in hard copy, on paper. A hand-written letter, for example, or, in this case, the printed version of the da Vinci Medal lecture I gave last fall in Portland,... more»May 23, 2014I am honored to be part of this short film: http://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/50th/ It is part of an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of American History on The Mall in Washington, D.C. The history of technology has always had a creative interplay with the museum... more»May 8, 2014In April the BBC weekly program “The Forum” featured the theme of “uncharted,” with yours truly as one of three guests. It’s an intriguing topic for a world where we think everything is charted….until (for example) an airliner is lost with all aboard, not in space but somewhere on this planet —... more»