Tuesday, 1 January 2019

What I've Been Reading, November and December 2018

Links

Miscellaneous

Collapse

Responding to Collapse,

A Paradise built in Hell, The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster
I'm borrowing the title of Rebecca Solnit's book (link) for this section of links. There is a deep human need to come together in crises to take care of each other. Contrary to the horrific picture of typical reactions to disaster painted by the "disaster mythology", in fact communities often come together to help themselves in the most extraordinarily positive ways.

Peak Oil

Climate Change

Economic Contraction

Energy

  • Why Batteries Die, by Alasdair Wilkins, Medium—Science
    "How Batteries Work & Why They’re So Frustrating"

Agriculture

Before jumping to the erroneous conclusion that this section was paid for by Monsanto, stop for a moment and understand that organic agriculture/food is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies on fear to get people to buy its products. Millions of dollars are spent to convince you that non-organic food is dangerous. In fact both conventionally grown and organic foods are about equally safe. Sadly, neither method of agriculture is even remotely substainable.

Gardening

Food

Genetic Engineering

Before jumping to the erroneous conclusion that this section was paid for by Monsanto, stop for a moment and understand that organic agriculture/food is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies on fear to get people to buy its product. Millions of dollars are spent to convince you that non-organic food is dangerous. In fact both conventionally grown and organic foods are equally safe. Sadly neither method of agriculture is even remotely substainable.

Practical Skills

Politics

Dancing on Graves

It really irritates me when an evil politician dies and even his enemies speak well of him. I think it is important to be honest at this time of visibility. Metaphorically, I danced nthe graves of Margaret Thatcher and Rob Ford. I'll take a moment hereto do the same for George H. W. Bush.

Secession

  • What the Effects of Brexit Will (Really) Be, by Umair Haque, Medium—Eudaimonia & Co.
    "Is Brexit the Most Bafflingly Self-Destructive Act in Modern History?"
    I had some doubt as to whether this one should go under Collapse or Secession.

The Scientific Consensus

Science Based Medicine

Lacking an Owner's Manual

The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.

Gender

There is No God, and Thou Shall Have No Other Gods

I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I am an atheist, but I may not have made it clear that I think any sort of worship is a bad thing and that believing in things is to be avoided whenever possible. Indeed, I do not believe in believe itself. That's what the "Thou shall have no other gods" is about—it's not enough to quit believing in whatever God or Gods you were raised to believe in, but also we must avoid other gods, including material wealth, power and fame.

Intelligence

  • Material intelligence, by,
    "The chasm between producers and consumers leaves many of us estranged from beauty and a vital part of an ethical life"
    The term "material intelligence" is new to me, but at spending most of my life as a tradesman, the concept is not.

Refugees and Migration

Poverty, Homeless People, Minimum Wage, UBI

Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence

Books

Fiction

Non-Fiction

  • Resilient, by Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson
    How to grow an unshakable core of calm, strength and happiness.
  • Food Politics—What Everyone Needs to Know, by Robert Paarlberg
    This book does a good job on presenting the facts and the current scientific consensus on many subjects related to food. As such, many people will be unhappy with some of what it has to say. The only thing I found questionable was the author's skepticism about Malthus and this idea that someday there will be too many people to feed. Seems obvious to me—just because we've scraped by so far doesn't mean we'll always be able to.

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