Reading & Signing: Maggie Koerth-Baker, author of BEFORE THE LIGHTS GO OUT


  • Categories: Literary
  • Event posted: Aug. 26, 2012
  • Last updated: Sept. 16, 2014

Event details

Megawatts and negawatts. Climate change and conversion efficiency. Solar farms and feed-in tarrifs. Peak oil and post-carbon. A bright and shiny future. The end of the world as we know it.

It’s easy to come away from daily news reports on America’s energy crisis with nothing but a bunch of new buzzwords to memorize and the vague sense that we’re all totally screwed. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Adding context and clarity to an increasingly polarized debate, Before the Lights Go Out is about how our energy systems really work today, and what we’ll have to do to keep them working in the years to come.

This isn’t about planting a tree, buying a Prius, and proving that you’re a good person. Economics and social incentives got us a country full of gas-guzzling cars, long commutes, inefficient houses, and coal-fired power plants out in the middle of nowhere, and economics and incentives will be the things that build our new world.

Maggie Koerth-Baker is science editor at, one of the most-read blogs in the United States with millions of monthly readers, and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Her column, Eureka, covers the intersection between science and culture. It appears monthly.

Koerth-Baker also works as a freelance science journalist whose work has appeared in magazines like Discover, Popular Science, and New Scientist, and on websites like Scientific American and National Geographic News.

The author of two books: Be Amazing, a tongue-in-cheek self-improvement guide written with the publishers of mental_floss magazine; and Before the Lights Go Out, Koerth-Baker's is new book about how our energy systems were built, how they work today, and how they will influence what we can and can’t do over the next 30 years.


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