book essay

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Instructions 

Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, is a series of essays on how science and technology have transformed our daily lives.  Using his book, write an essay (ten-page minimum) that answers all of the following questions:

1.  Clean (Ch.4) Johnson argues that one of history’s most challenging public health problems, especially for urban populations, has involved safely disposing of human waste and having reliable access to safe drinking water. 

a.  Identify the breakthroughs in the 19th-20th centuries that solved these problems for the 1st time in the U.S. and other western nations.

b.  Explain the consequences of the clean revolution for people in the 20th century.

c.  How did the clean revolution make the digital revolution possible?

2.  Time (Ch.5) Johnson discusses how, in recent times, new technologies have enabled us to measure accurately ever smaller units of time.

a.  Identify the innovations that made this possible.

b.  Explain the consequences of the time-keeping revolution.

c.  In what ways in the past 70 years have we also been able to measure ever larger periods of time?

3.  Light (Ch.6) Johnson discusses how, in the last two centuries, people have gotten access to more powerful and brighter sources of light.

a.  Identify the technologies that made this possible.

b.  Explain the consequences of the light revolution.

c.  What was the significance of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory?

Further Instructions:

a.  Your essay must be typed and double-spaced.

b.  Use Question-Answer format (that’s 9 short essays). 

c.  Use quotes and page citations for each chapter (essays that do not will be graded down).

d.  Your essay must be a minimum of ten pages (one page = roughly 24 lines of essay).

ØThere is no maximum limit on how much you can write.  A-range essays are usually substantially longer.  Write lots!

e.  All answers must come from the Johnson book.  Don’t use outside sources.

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