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Uber for retirees: from cinemablend. I was waiting to see how this movie would "do" at the box office. We enjoyed it. It's all about how an old person like myself, who loves cross-country road trips and has no criminal record, can make a gazillion dollars for one's friends and family by transporting illegal contraband, specifically cocaine, across the country. When finally caught, the "mule" can live out his days in a low-security prison with no cares or responsibilities with free medical care for the rest of his life, and thus no burden on his family. Based on a true story. It completely changed my attitude on drugs and open borders.
The Book Page
What a Bunch of Crap
The Book Page
What a Bunch of Crap
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari, c. 2015. First published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011. A New York Times bestseller. Recommended by everyone, including Bill Gates and Barack Obama. Author: a PhD in history from the University of Oxford.
A few weeks ago our oldest granddaughter was telling me how one of her teachers was talking about the "agricultural revolution" as a fantasy and that, in fact, the "agricultural revolution" left humankind more worse-off than what they had as foragers and hunter-gatherers. I thought the instructor was an idiot, but I didn't say anything negative. I continued to listen to Arianna's theses and arguments.
And then here it, almost verbatim, from Sapiens by Harari, pp. 78+, exactly what Arianna was saying. I am not convinced. But I am thrilled that this suggests to me that her instructor is well-read, and, in fact, has probably read this book and this is where he/she is getting some of his/her ideas.
It also means this is a great resource book for Arianna for this particular class and this particular author. Despite the fact that the book is pathetic; a bunch of crap. This is the author's theme, found on page 415 in the afterword:
Unfortunately, the Sapiens regime on earth has so far produced little that we can be proud of. We have mastered our surroundings, increased food production, built cities, established empires and created far-flung trade networks. But did we decrease the amount of suffering in the world? Time and again, massive increases in human power did not necessarily improve the well-being of individual Sapiens, and usually caused immense misery to other animals.It's a great resource book as long as Arianna is capable of critical thinking.
Again, from the author: Unfortunately, the Sapiens regime on earth has so far produced little that we can be proud of.
I had my wife read that passage; she agreed. I must be missing something.
- Carnegie libraries across the US
- vaccines eradicated smallpox, tetanus, and polio
- art by Monet
- the Bible, the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Aenied, Shakespeare
- the iPhone
- the Kentucky Derby
- Olga Kern and the Santa Fe Orchestra
- life expectancy and quality of life
- Neil Armstrong
- the Rolls Royce
- We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
- cowboy boots and cowboy hats
- equal rights for women
... by the way, I wonder whether the author would say the #1 cause of death worldwide is one of the good or bad things related to Sapiens?
I was quite curious to see what he had written on the shale revolution. It's a very, very good section and was very interesting to read. But he is completely wrong on tight oil/unconventional oil/shale oil. From pp. 522+:
The economic viability of fracturing, or fracking, tight hydrocarbons, like its ecological impact, is the source of much debate.
By its nature, fracking often calls for much more drilling that conventional oil or gas to obtain an equivalent production in the long run. It only releases hydrocarbons through restrained passageways. Tight oil and gas production usually collapses after a few months (or a couple of years in the best cases) and the well becomes a "stripper," a marginal well that isn't very productive.
To provide a high extraction level, it is therefore necessary to continuously drill new wells. Many experts critical of fracking see this as a fatal economic vulnerability. But the production of gas and oil from tight resources has not stopped escalating, advancing in great strides toward, and exceeding peaks that have been considered irreversible since the 1970s. Perhaps the oil industry is simply in the process of losing its exceptional status, of becoming a normal industry, clamoring, like the coal mines, for a constant investment flow in order to maintain production, whereas drilling conventional oil guaranteed a fortune for many years.Readers of the blog, and those following the Bakken closely, are seeing something completely different. Oil companies are drilling way fewer wells in the Bakken than eleven years ago but are setting higher production records every year. In one respect the author is correct: perhaps the oil industry is simply in the process of losing its exceptional status, of becoming a normal industry ... that's exactly where the Bakken is now -- as predicted by Rolfstad many years ago -- that the Bakken is now in its manufacturing phase, and like an automobile company needs continued cash flow to build automobiles. What's so unusual about that?
If you hate Big Oil; if you are a fan of Peak Oil -- a theory that is obviously no longer viable; if you believe that solar and wind energy is free, and can completely supplant fossil fuel, this is the book for you.