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This book has the following quote from Octavia Butler at the beginning:
All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you...

And that pretty much sums up the basis for this book. Ainissa Ramirez looks at eight different inventions or, in some cases, combinations of inventions and describes how they changed humans. Some of the information is fascinating such as the story in the first chapter about Ruth Belville who took a pocket watch to Greenwich to have its time authenticated and then went around London passing on the correct time to businesses and individuals. Everyone, of course knows the story of how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone but the first telephone switchboard was invented by an undertaker name Almon Strowger. This then led to the development of transistors and silicon chips. But for every development life as people had known it was changed, and not always for the better. Now that more and more data can be stored on small chips, our privacy is increasingly at risk.

The frontispiece of this book promised that Ramirez would showcase little-known inventors--particularly people of color and women but I didn't really find that was so. Overwhelmingly the people she wrote about were white men and the pictures accompanying the text show only one woman scientist who also happens to be black. There are other books about women and people of colour who have made great contributions to science. Let this one be about what the subtitle promised: How Humans and Matter Transformed one Another.
 
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gypsysmom | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 28, 2023 |
Really interesting and wide ranging. Gave me so many more subjects and events I want to now read about.
 
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beentsy | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 12, 2023 |
This exploration of moments in history through the lens of material science is a very interesting perspective, well-researched and informative.

Yes, there are a few comments on causality and conclusions I don't fully agree with, but that's the same for any commodity history and they are far outweighed by the value of the history that is included. I'm curious how one could say so much about a few sentences on the effect of texting on modern language while completely ignoring the section about Polaroid in South Africa. Curious.
 
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Kiramke | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 27, 2023 |
In this book, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez tells us stories of invention and innovation.

There are several problems with this book. First, the notion that technology changes society isn't new or surprising. And I noticed several errors, including the population stats stated for Chicago, the date of the introduction of the telegraph and more.

It's a bit lightweight. But I think it is a powerful book for inspiring young people to explore technology and think about putting things together in new ways. She does this by telling stories of past innovations, and story telling is a powerful means of teaching and inspiring.½
 
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LynnB | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 8, 2022 |
Interesting book with lots of stories showing man’s ingenuity and the impact of their inventions on our lives. My tiny quibble is that there is really no through line here; stories are always interesting but sometimes only tangentially related. Nonetheless.
 
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PattyLee | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 14, 2021 |
A good look at how we have failed our children with the current educational system that makes schools focus on teaching to the test, specifically the standardized ones given to students each year. It further exposes the fact that this has been made even worse by removing much of the science from the tests, which in turn causes schools focused on these tests to eliminate science programs from their curriculum. And what causes schools to focus on the tests? The fact that their financial packages are directly tied to it.

Ainissa Ramirez uses all of this information to show how we are failing to produce the next generation of children who can take us to the moon, or cure the worst diseases. We simply do not have enough children going into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields to fill the needs our current technological society needs. While they are busy texting away on their smart phones, too many of them have no idea how they really work under the plastic shell.

But, while Ainissa notes that removing the focus on standardized tests will be difficult to do and require much effort, there are things we as a society can do now to counter the effects. She goes on to set out a list of things we can do to show kids that science is exciting.

If there is one point of the book I disagree with, it would be where Ainissa mentions paying teachers based on performance; I fear that that would actually continue to focus on the standardized tests.

If you have kids and care about their future this is a must read book.
 
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speljamr | Dec 29, 2013 |