20 June 2007

Tom Standage on Little Atoms

On this weeks show Richard Sanderson and Neil Denny will be talking to Tom Standage, the business editor of The Economist. He started his career as the Science and Technology Editor at the Guardian, and has written several books which merge popular science and history including "The Victorian Internet", "The Neptune File" and "The Mechanical Turk".

He says of his books "I think the right attitude to new technologies is to regard them with historically-informed scepticism. My approach is
intended as a sort of antidote to the scourge of mindless product stories: when something new comes along, I like to point out that it
isn't new at all. This isn't quite as gratuitous as it sounds; it is quite often possible to learn useful lessons from history, particularly the history of technology".

His latest book is "A History of the World in 6 Glasses" in which he explores a notion that six drinks in history - beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola - could be seen as technological catalysts in
advancing culture.

The presenters of Little Atoms have been known to enjoy the odd drink or 2, so like to thnk that their regular forays to the pub are worth it!



Blogger patrick said...

Must say I particularly enjoyed this week's broadcast. Tom Standage's book sounds very interesting. I like the idea that only beer made a farming life bearable!

11:43 pm  
Anonymous dave said...

Only beer makes any life bearable. My guess is that it would be well under 3% as a workday beverage (kids got to share it too until the hard stuff came along and ruined everything). Beer preserved water the same way cheese preserved milk, of which very little would be consumed fresh in the absence of chilling methods.

Sake too became big business, the origin of some of modern Japan's giant industrial corporations and maybe a contributor to Japan's success in adopting capitalist technique. Booze is good for you, in moderation. And it's even better with tea. The others I can live without.

10:39 am  

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