File Size: 33359 KB
Print Length: 490 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press (May 16, 2017)
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Typically the beginning is terrible. This individual shows four graphs to illustrate scaling relationships, none of which have intelligible scales. I received an advance uncorrected copy, so perhaps some of the issues will be remedied in the final version, but the flaws run deeper than typographic.
Almost all the charts have log-log scales, even though are branded in three different formats--scientific notation, exponent only or integer. There's an old saying that everything appears linear in log-log plots. The reason that even a huge deviation in ratio of vertical to horizontal variable will look small if the number of the vertical variable is large. For example, the graph of " quantity of patents" versus " population" shows ratios that range between about 5 patents for each capita to 200. No one would say that shows some universal law is in operation. But the vertical scale runs from population of 10, 1000 to 3. 2 billion, 4. 5 orders of magnitude, and that dwarfs the variation in us patents per capita so things look linear. Standard record tests do not show linearity.
Another problem with this chart is there is no explanation showing how either variable is described. You can't speak about level in isolation from what is being measured. It's true you will find a citation to the original work (although not a very helpful one). But it transforms out that does not support the linearity the author of book claims, the whole point of the chart is to show that larger metropolitan areas have more patents for each capita than smaller ones, and states explicitly that the relation is non-linear. So the chart in the book is not only misleading by construction, it conveys the wrong idea.
Another chart shows quantity of heartbeats per duration of " animals" versus weight. It looks constant, because the number appears to be about 35 million to 150 mil, nevertheless the vertical scale works from 100 to one trillion. " Animals" transforms out to be a few selected mammals (whales are listed twice with different values). If you go to the paper, the writer emphasizes that the interest with the deviations from the typical relation shown by the animals on the chart; the graph and or chart only shows the standard creatures. So far from a universal continuous in characteristics, we find that a subset of mammals happen to have values inside a factor of five, with other mammals and non-mammals exterior that range, but missing from the chart even though the vertical axis is scaled to allow for them.
A better chart shows metabolic rate versus weight (here labeled " mass" despite being the same scale as the prior graph). This consists of selected mammals and birds, and really does illustrate rough linearity in log-log space. But here the key interest with the slope of the line as opposed to the linearity. Metabolic rate boosts not linearly with size but at about the 3/4 or maybe 2/3 strength. This is key, because a lot of things also go up with powers of mass and people disagree on which ones of them are essential for setting the metabolic rate.
Finally, there is a chart purporting to exhibit that net income and assets of companies are linear in log-log room with quantity of employees. This particular is plainly nonsense. Technology companies often have thousands and thousands of dollars of net income per employee, and few assets, while retailers provide an order of magnitude lower profits per employee but much higher assets. Presently there are companies that own and lease things with huge assets and few employees, and service companies that own nothing but a few desks and computers with many employees. It turns out if you read the notes at the back of the book that the 22 points are actually averages of over 30, 1000 companies (by the way, page, chapter and determine numbers are wrong in the notes, but I actually assume this will be corrected before publication). Therefore all the chart informs us is when you average over large numbers of companies of different types but similar size, you get similar relations of employees to income and resources as the average for large numbers of companies of a different size.
It's not merely the charts. Also in the first few web pages, the author is hyperventilating about the " dramatical rate of urbanization" that has grown the proportion of US residents who are now living in cities from 4% 200 years ago to many of these today and is an " impending tsunami with the potential to overwhelm us. " A few seconds reflection shows the absurdity of that. When the urbanization rate is dramatical, and has increased by a factor of 20 in 200 years, then in 15 years we'll be at 100% and the " tsunami" will stall.
Now I know most people think " exponential" means fast, but most theoretical physicists, and certainly the creator, know better. It just means that the rate of increase is proportional to the level. Nothing in the physical universe is exponential and fast. Things may start out exponential, like a fire that spreads faster the bigger it expands. But that fire eventually uses up available energy and oxygen and goes out. Urbanization in the US since 1790 suits a near perfect Gompertz trend with an annäherungslinie at about 83% (that doesn't mean I anticipate urbanization will stabilize at 83%, drawing curves from the past is an unhealthy way to predict the future, but at least a curve that fits the data is better than the one which is plainly inconsistent with the data). Gompertz trends frequently give reasonable fits to data, exponential curves never do for very long.
Another wildly false terrify sentence is, " That is just relatively recently that we have become mindful of around the world, long-term environmental changes, limitations on energy, water, and other resources, health and pollution issues, stability of financial market segments, and so on. " Take those one at a time. Global heating started in the mid-1970s, before that the Earth was cooling (you could push it back to the 1950s, but the 1955s were cooler than the 1940s; note that Now i'm not saying greenhouse exhausts were not affecting the global temperature before 70, just that the World was not warming overall). It was not only noticed immediately, before clear statistical evidence of the trend emerged, it had been predicted long before.
People have always been aware of " limitations on energy, water and other resources, " and our supply of resources is far greater than at any time in the past. Health? People didn't know about sickness and death until recently? Pollution? The ancient Romans griped and sued about gravioris caeli and infamis aer, and Seneca published “No sooner had I actually left behind the oppressive atmosphere of...[Rome] and that reek of smoking cookers which pour out, along with atmosphere of ashes, all the poisonous fumes they’ve gathered in their interiors whenever they’re started up, i noticed the change in my condition. ” Pollution has been a major political problem in Europe for nearly 1, 000 years. Individuals have known about lack of stability in financial markets so long as there have been financial markets, every expansion of markets since has recently been accompanied by periods of instability and crisis.
After all this, only my respect for the creator kept me going. Typically the book gets quite a little better when it simply leaves off the foolishness of the beginning and covers specific matters with accuracy and insight. Nevertheless, I was overall disappointed by the book. It is repetitious and bloated. It will try to cover too many matters and relate them all to each other, often in strained ways. It mixes solid research with report studies and outdated speculations. The notes are not as helpful as they should be, few of them have any explanation, many are just names of authors or books without clue about how exactly to find the specific support for the cited claim. There is not a clear distinction between patterns that occur for mathematical reasons--things like Fibonacci numbers, inverse square laws and regulations, Gompertz trends, fractal climbing and power laws--versus numerical patterns that result from top down constraints. There is a great deal of first-rate material as well, but difficult manufactured well.
Overall, I would suggest this book to people who are amply trained in these subjects, with the endurance to wade through on overlong and repetitious publication for the good components. The author is the undeniable world expert a few of these things, and they are very important things to understand. Readers who are new to these ideas are probably be misinformed, although probably amused. Readers who are not patient should look for an improved exposition., In about three words, excellent, necessary, and inspiring.
Scale is about order where we see just chaos. It should be read together with Synchronize: How Order Emerges Coming from Chaos In the Galaxy, Nature, and Daily Lifestyle . You should try this one first.
Incidentally, Geoffrey West has a Ted conference on the topic that I saw, in fact, before reading the book. However as is customary, the book is superior, even necessary because it expands in every direction the matters he or she touches at the convention room. I would say that the conference is more focus in the theme of cities as organisms. The book is the road you have to follow before arriving there. And the journey (the book is an amazing one) is full of little details and several perspectives that are to be added one by one up to the last chapter, where you see the whole picture.
Yet before getting there, the book has to answer several questions. The main one is enunciated at the very beginning (page 7): " How do we ensure that our human-engineered systems evolved only over the past ten thousand years, can continue to coexist with the natural natural world, which evolved over billions of years? " And much more important: " Could we maintain a lively, modern society driven by ideas and wealth creation, or are we meant to become a world of slums, conflict, and devastation? "
Full of examples and ideas, the work makes you look on your own, to review some videos, articles, papers, and, as always, a few other books. In fact, inspired by Scale I bought also The Death and Life of Great United states Cities by Jane Jacobs. A typical.
This is a Santa Fe Institute hot matter so this is more than mere academia, is surfing on top of wave. Typically the book was published this year and my hunch is that it will continue to be present for several more. Typically the seek out " universal laws and regulations of growth, innovation, durability, and the pace of life in organisms, metropolitan areas, and companies, " is definitely beginning. The math is the same as usual currently we have computer simulation, and we can do experiments in a level never imagined before.
When you are interested in how the world works in a large scale, this is the book. Every week approximately a million people leave the countryside to the city. Yes, each week. Can you imagine? Almost all those huge nodes, linked to each other are configuring a net so vast and thick, that individuals need something more than just keeping accounts. Here enters scale, showing that size matters, every single types occupies a distinctive niche in accordance its scale --including us all, of course. So, if the scale, meaning the position of an affected person or a super-organism (as cities) with respect, for instance, to the consumption of energy, represents an order, well, we have been dealing with the possibility of finding a law or laws that tell us how this works, what we can expect for future years, what we should see when critiquing the past, an so on. The point is " that the dynamics, growth, and organization of animal, plants, human social behavior, metropolitan areas, and companies are, in fact, subject to similar generic laws. " That is why the book is so impressive and which why you need time to digest all this information page by webpage.
It takes a week to read it, but after that it will be with you. You won't neglect it because it changes the way you start to see the city, your city. And so doing is leaving behind all those crazy ideas that try to clarify through rhetorical means why the cities are so big and why they fail (like Santiago de Chile, during the previous winter when it leaped out of electricity).
Nicely, a deserved and everlasting five stars book., Western world has written a book truly interesting. The complexity is entried from many years in the common language of the science. The key most important and important for understanding that, it is the fractal model. It is a sufficient argument for one approach between biology, informatics and economics. This particular lecture allows to find the true secret of all that: the " auto-similarity". And we can understand as the complexity model works in the more simple arguments, but also in the more difficult. It is the " expertize" of the author which gives us the way for knowing those new aspects of modern quality. Also the concepts of " network" and " size" are decisive why that idea could work.
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