Capturing July Musings and Reading Recommendations
I live on the West Coast. N. Korea just test-fired a nuclear missile that is supposed to be able to hit me.
This is not a hopeful sign.
That anyone has nuclear missiles is not a hopeful sign.
On a - maybe - happier note, I just got invited to join the board of the Lifeboat Foundation. Seems to be an attempt to be sure at least some of us escape before we collectively drown the planet in sunbeams. They do more than that, of course. There's a lot to talk about right now, and these folks seem willing to discuss hard subjects.
It's an odd place. Bill Joy (Sun Microsystems) and Ray Kurzweil have been arguing intelligently ever since Bill's article in Wired about the dangers of technologies. This argument was part of what formed my thinking about BUILDING HARLEQUIN'S MOON, the book I wrote with Larry Niven that deals with people's attitudes about technology. Bill and Ray have both won major awards from the Foundation. Sort of a situation where both sides of a debate are are largely correct and worth appreciating.
I'm looking forward to learning more about the work of the Foundation.
July Reading Recommendation:
Still listening to American Theocracy, and I'm enjoying that a lot. But I think it misses a few points. It's a good book that places current events well in the light of history. It suggests that America is on a precipice of pending change, and probably pending downfall for a number of good reasons, and compares our current state with other world powers shortly before they fell - the Dutch, Spain, and England. I generally agree, and have remarked more than one that our senate seems at least as corrupt as the one in ancient Rome just before it fell. Not all of them, mind you. But enough that the corrupt seem to be a majority. Look at the telecom bill that just came out of committee.
So we probably are poised for trouble. I think it will not be that simple. More than America stands of a weak precipice of over-extension, over-reliance on oil and other polluting technologies, and economies based on rampant consumerism and high debt. Much of the world is steeped in fundamentalist religious governance (including us to a bigger extent than I like) which blacklists scientific knowledge and progress. Science is, of course, not the only answer to our problems, and may cause some of it's own. But it doesn't matter what blind governments say or even what they fund. Not much. Companies and even individuals are learning more this very moment about genetics and nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
The whole world is at risk right about now.
I still recommend the book.