Late last year, I went to watch Stephen Emmott’s one-man show, Ten Billion, at the Royal Court Theatre in London. It was the most depressing evening I’ve had in a long time – until I set aside time a few weeks ago to read Emmott’s book of the same name. That proved to be an even more depressing experience.

Stephen Emmott is a smart guy. He’s the Head of Computational Science at Microsoft Research, and heads up an interdisciplinary team of scientists in Cambridge that spans anything vaguely sustainable, biological, computational and much else besides. When it comes to crunching and interpreting ...


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