Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The World Without Us

Right now I am reading the New York Time's best seller + Time Magazine's #1 Nonfiction book of 2007, ‘The World Without Us’ by Alan Weisman. It contains all of the things that fascinate me: people and their reactions to the world, nature and how hard humanity must fight to maintain what they have created, architecture, history, and the environment - all tied together. I'm really loving it and don't want it to end.

The book takes into consideration what the world may be like if humans ceased to exist due to a virus outbreak or some other unforeseen catastrophe. While it may sound like a doomsday type of book, it's really more of a reality check and an interesting look at how nature rules the world.

I love that the author is creative and well researched. He writes with both scientific and investigative styles, but it's never dull. He intertwines some interesting things that are my favorites: Gaudi, Varosha - the dilapidated and deserted resort in Cyprus, building things to last, and subway systems... and that's only the beginning of the book.

I'm amazed with his theory that despite nature taking over, bronze statues would still remain for over 10 million years. That would definitely make people from the bronze age and artists that continue using this old medium to feel as though the contributed to the memory of mankind.

Another interesting point according to Turkish civil engineer, Mete Sözen, who now works at Purdue University in Indiana, is that Istanbul will experience a major earthquake in the next 30 years. That prediction was made in 2005, so I should say 27 years. Since the city grew so fast and wasn't built well it would suffer immense devastation.

I majored in Art History and am very interested in places like this and of course Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine sanctuary and museum. It's one of the few structures that is predicted to remain, in part because Mimar Sinan's architectural skills. I really want to see it before any natural disasters occur. I've been telling Stefan we need to make it to Istanbul and now I know it's more pressing.

Lately I really fear with oil coming to an end that technology may have to regress since it's necessary in making current machines function. When I think about the things that were achieved without tons of technology, but sheer man power, like the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China, I am just amazed. It will be interesting to see in my life time how humans are forced to cope with things.


Abby said...

Matt and I just watched a documentary about this! It was so interesting! Like what would happen to our pets, zoo animals, the subways, etc. Apparently London would sink!

Emily said...

Thanks for the tip Abby... was it called Life after people?

I am going to have to catch it on slingbox.