The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski free download

The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski free download

Description:

The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski free download.

Henry Petroski traces the origins of the pencil back to ancient Greece and Rome, writes factually and charmingly about its development over the centuries and around the world, and shows what the pencil can teach us about engineering and technology today.

I loved this book. No surprise, because several years ago I became aware of the differences in the way pencils write. I picked up a great pencil as a giveaway from a community college. It felt like satin gliding along the paper. I kept it tucked safely inside my desk where my students could not get it. The first of the book is thought provoking as it discusses how the pencil has been ignored. This book and the EVOLUTION OF USEFUL THINGS, causes one to pause and consider the important, overlooked items of our daily lives. Maybe a reader is left with a good life lesson. THE BOOK ON THE BOOKSHELF is my next read. One thing for sure, you have to have a bit of an engineering streak in you to hang on every word. Get ready for strange looks when you answer the question, “What are you reading now?”

Review

Like most other human artifacts, the common pencil, made and sold today by the millions, has a long and complex history. Henry Petroski, who combines a talent for fine writing with a deep knowledge of engineering and technological history, examines the story of the pencil, considering it not only as a thing in itself, but also as an exemplar of all things that are designed and manufactured.Petroski ranges widely in time, discussing the writing technologies of antiquity. But his story really begins in the early modern period, when, in 1565, a Swiss naturalist first described the properties of the mineral that became known as graphite. Petroski traces the evolution of the pencil through the Industrial Revolution, when machine manufacture replaced earlier handwork. Along the way, he looks at some of pencil making’s great innovators–including Henry David Thoreau, the famed writer, who worked in his father’s pencil factory, inventing techniques for grinding graphite and experimenting with blends of lead, clay, and other ingredients to yield pencils of varying hardness and darkness. Petroski closes with a look at how pencils are made today–a still-imperfect technology that may yet evolve with new advances in materials and design. –Gregory McNamee

 

Format: PDF

Size: 6.481 MB

 

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Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel pdf free download

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel pdf free download

Description:

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel pdf free download.

Read Dan Koeppel’s posts on the Penguin Blog.

In the vein of the bestselling Salt and Cod, a gripping chronicle of the myth, mystery, and uncertain fate of the world’s most popular fruit

In this fascinating and surprising exploration of the banana’s history, cultural significance, and endangered future, award-winning journalist Dan Koeppel gives readers plenty of food for thought. Fast-paced and highly entertaining, Banana takes us from jungle to supermarket, from corporate boardrooms to kitchen tables around the world. We begin in the Garden of Eden—examining scholars’ belief that Eve’s “apple” was actually a banana— and travel to early-twentieth-century Central America, where aptly named “banana republics” rose and fell over the crop, while the companies now known as Chiquita and Dole conquered the marketplace. Koeppel then chronicles the banana’s path to the present, ultimately—and most alarmingly—taking us to banana plantations across the globe that are being destroyed by a fast-moving blight, with no cure in sight—and to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world’s most beloved fruit.

The world’s most humble fruit has caused inordinate damage to nature and man, and Popular Science journalist Koeppel (To See Every Bird on Earth) embarks on an intelligent, chock-a-block sifting through the havoc. Seedless, sexless bananas evolved from a wild inedible fruit first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and was probably the apple that got Adam and Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden. From there the fruit traveled to Africa and across the Pacific, arriving on U.S. shores probably with the Europeans in the 15th century. However, the history of the banana turned sinister as American businessmen caught on to the marketability of this popular, highly perishable fruit then grown in Jamaica. Thanks to the building of the railroad through Costa Rica by the turn of the century, the United Fruit company flourished in Central America, its tentacles extending into all facets of government and industry, toppling banana republics and igniting labor wars. Meanwhile, the Gros Michel variety was annihilated by a fungus called Panama disease (Sigatoka), which today threatens the favored Cavendish, as Koeppel sounds the alarm, shuttling to genetics-engineering labs from Honduras to Belgium. His sage, informative study poses the question fairly whether it’s time for consumers to reverse a century of strife and exploitation epitomized by the purchase of one banana. (Jan.)

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Format: PDF

Size: 1.366 MB

 

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