Paul R. Josephson
From dirt bikes and jet skis to weed wackers and snowblowers, machines powered by small gas engines have become a permanent—and loud—fixture in American culture. But fifty years of high-speed fun and pristine lawns have not come without cost.
In the first comprehensive history of the small-bore engine and the technology it powers, Paul R. Josephson explores the political, environmental, and public health issues surrounding one of America's most dangerous pastimes. Each chapter tells the story of an ecosystem within the United States and the devices that wreak havoc on it—personal watercraft (PWCs) on inland lakes and rivers; all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in deserts and forests; lawn mowers and leaf blowers in suburbia. In addition to environmental impacts, Josephson discusses the development and promotion of these technologies, the legal and regulatory efforts made to improve their safety and environmental soundness, and the role of owners' clubs in encouraging responsible operation.
Synthesizing information from medical journals, recent environmental research, nongovernmental organizations, and manufacturers, Josephson's compelling history leads to one irrefutable conclusion: these machines cannot be operated without loss of life and loss of habitat.
Paul R. Josephson
In Totalitarian Science and Technology Paul Josephson considers how physicists, biologists, and engineers have fared in totalitarian regimes. Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin relied on scientists and engineers to build the infrastructure of their states. The military power of their regimes was largely based on the discovery of physicists and biologists. They sought to use biology to transform nature, including their citizens, with murderous effect in Nazi Germany. They expected scientists to devote themselves entirely to the goals of the state, and were intolerant of deviation from state-sponsored programs and ideology. As a result, physicists, biologists, and engineers suffered from the consequences of ideological interference in their work. Many lost their jobs; others were arrested and disappeared in prisons. In physics, this meant rejection of the theory of relativity, in biology in the USSR, the rejection of modern-day genetics.
In this revised, on-line edition, Josephson also analyzes the uses of science and technology in such authoritarian regimes as the Soviet Union, National Socialist Germany, North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and Cuba. He argues that politics plays an important role in shaping research and development in all countries, but nowhere with greater risk to citizens and the environment than in closed political systems.
Paul R. Josephson
In 1958 construction began on Akademgorodok, a scientific utopian community modeled after Francis Bacon's vision of a "New Atlantis." The city, carved out of a Siberian forest 2,500 miles east of Moscow, was formed by Soviet scientists with Khrushchev's full support. They believed that their rational science, liberated from ideological and economic constraints, would help their country surpass the West in all fields. In a lively history of this city, a symbol of de-Stalinization, Paul Josephson offers the most complete analysis available of the reasons behind the successes and failures of Soviet science--from advances in nuclear physics to politically induced setbacks in research on recombinant DNA.
Josephson presents case studies of high energy physics, genetics, computer science, environmentalism, and social sciences. He reveals that persistent ideological interference by the Communist Party, financial uncertainties, and pressures to do big science endemic in the USSR contributed to the failure of Akademgorodok to live up to its promise. Still, a kind of openness reigned that presaged the glasnost of Gorbachev's administration decades later. The openness was rooted in the geographical and psychological distance from Moscow and in the informal culture of exchange intended to foster the creative impulse. Akademgorodok is still an important research center, having exposed physics, biology, sociology, economics, and computer science to new investigations, distinct in pace and scope from those performed elsewhere in the Soviet scientific establishment.
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