HoST Fall 2010

Tues/Thurs. starting at 4:00 in Babio 203

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Week of 11/30 and 12/2

Assignment 13

Industrial Revolution &

Gunpowder to Fertilizer

                           Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Workers collect guano on Isla GuaĖape off Peru, which conserves the resource to

prevent depletion. Guano's status as an organic fertilizer has increased demand.




If you didn't read Pollan's "This Steer's Life (Power Steer)." from last week, read it.


Read in McClellan and Dorn: Chapter 14, “Timber, Coal, Cloth, and Steam” [Chapter 13, “The Industrial Revolution” in older editions]. 16pp


Look at this animation of the Newcomen Steam engine: 

          Question: If you were to quit boiling water in this engine and just open up all the valves, what position would the piston assume in the cylinder?  Take a good look at how this works. 


Read Leigh pp. 74-86 from Chapter 3: Leigh-Ch3-Worlds_Greatest-5.4MB.pdf 12pp

       Malthus is very important in setting the stage for Darwin. Here is a clearer breakdown of the map on p. 83: Nitrate-Borders-1879-84-204KB.pdf. I made it into a before and after comparison of the borders between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. Notice how Chile (light blue) expanded, and Bolivia and Peru shrank.


Read this article from the New York Times: Romero-NYT-GuanoPeru-428KB.pdf  4pp





Look over Chapter 6 in Bown, just to get an idea of what it was about.  Then…Read Chapters 7 and 8.  40pp


Read these short pieces: Andrew Ure: The Philosophy of the Manufacturers, 1835 and Friederich Engels: Industrial Manchester, 1844


Look Over Chapter 15 (Legacies of Revolution) in McClellan and Dorn (Chapter 14 in old editions).  Closely read a few parts that interest you.


Final Exam will be a take home exam and will be due, via email, on Dec. 21st at noon.  I'll post the exam on the web site on the 19th at noon.  It will be a lot like the midterm, but you will be able to use any resource you want.  However, unlike the midterm, you will have fewer choices about what questions you answer.

Final Projects: I'll discuss them in class, but here is the basic idea.  I'd like you to write up an abstract that gives a clear overview of your project.  If you are making something (a model, a machine, a movie, an animation, etc.) I'd like you to include some sort of representative illustration or similar with the abstract.  The abstract should be no more than a page long.  This is due next Wed. via email.  I will penalize late entries.


The final project itself is due on Dec. 21 at midnight.  It needs to be emailed to me on or before midnight on the 21st.  Please try to keep your files small, if at all possible.  If your projects are largely constructions (videos, audio files, animations, models, etc.) then your accompanying essays can be as short as 3 or 4 pages of double-spaced text.  If your project is all essay, then it should be 6 to 8 double-spaced pages. All of you need to make it historical in some way.  All of you need to have at least 3 real, smarty-pants sources (JSTOR articles, actual books, or similar).  You may also use other sources in addition to these three.  Cite all sources and add annotations to the citations if you have something interesting to say. 


Advice: If you made something, describe issues that you learned as you did it.  Try to think like a person from the period you are studying.  Analyze yourself.  What are the strengths or weaknesses of your understanding of your topic.  Always walk the reader through any alternative media like pictures or videos or sounds.  Don't just present this stuff without talking/writing about it. If you do a video (or similar) and use a script, this script can be your essay part, or at least some of the essay part. 


More Advice: Ask me questions!  Email me with questions.  I might even be able to get you some sources.  But ask me questions.

Citations to the regular readings:


Bown, Stephen R. A Most Damnable Invention : Dynamite, Nitrates, and the Making of the Modern World. 1st ed. New York: T. Dunne Books, 2005.


Leigh, G. J. The World's Greatest Fix: A History of Nitrogen and Agriculture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.


McClellan, James E., and Harold Dorn. Science and Technology in World History : An Introduction. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.


Romero... you figure out this citation.


Long and Short Essays:

At this point you should know what to do.  Feel free to use any of the extra materials from previous classes to beef up your long essay. 


Look into the Club of Rome and their book, The Limits to Growth, in relation to Malthus's argument that population growth will outrun available resources.


Maybe use some of the optional news articles I've been posting for the past few months. There are some good ones below...


If you are interested in doing a longer essay on manufacturing and working conditions in the Industrial Revolution, maybe look at one of these sets or both...

Set 1:

A. ChildLabor_And_FactoryGirl-968KB.pdf

B. Observations on the Loss of Woollen Spinning, 1794


Set 2:

A. Women Miners in the English Coal Pits

B. The Life of the Industrial Worker in Ninteenth-Century England


Short history of the Crystal Palace and World's Fair of 1851: link






Optional News items of interest.


Malkin- Growing a Forest, and Harvesting Jobs -NYTimes-11/22/10

Environmentally Stable Forestry in Oaxaca.



                              Librado Romero/The New York Times

A tablet bearing a rough sketch of a square and its diagonals.

Rothstein- Masters of Math, From Old Babylon-11/26/2010

Pythagorean theory before Pythagoras.




:::::Images:ScreenShots:Picture 33.jpg

Spiny neuron, 2009. Electron microscopy grants researchers and clinicians access to a universe that is too small to be detected using light-based microscopes. This photomicrograph was obtained by scanning a beam of electrons across the sample while a detector kept track of electrons bouncing off its surface, betraying the specimen's outer shape. It shows a soma with dendrites radiating from it.

Credit: Thomas Deerinck and Mark Ellisman

Zuger-An Odyssey Through the Brain-NYTimes-11/29/2010



Tierney-Murder! Intrigue! Astronomers?- NYTimes- 11/30/2010

Tycho Brahe's Murder?  Perhaps you should write the script?



Harris and Neuman-Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations-NYTimes- 11/30/2010

and also look at Pollan's OpEd on this topic: A Stale Food Fight


The Miracle Toilet

Nicholas D. Kristof reports from Haiti about toilets

that aim to address the sanitation problems that lead to cholera,

while also providing fertilizer to help farmers.

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