Friday, 21 August 2015

Book Review: The End of Doom

The End of Doom, by Ronald Bailey.

It's a recent book, just published in the past month or so.  The catchy title?  Well....Bailey sits down and does a complete review of the all the doom enthusiasts of the past forty-odd years.  These are the people who preached doom and gloom over the rivers, the lack of food, the progression of society, etc.

The quotes are there, and the dismal failures of the doom players.  I'd say out of five-hundred doom quotes.....Bailey will safety say that roughly five predictions did come true (although for oddball reasons which had nothing to do with the original concept of the doom predictor).

Toward the last part of the book, Bailey sits down to talk about breeder reactors.  Very few people grasp the complex nature but the simplicity of the breeder operation.  Around 2010, I spent several hours on some weekend reading up on this developmental type nuclear reactor and was amazed at the technology and innovation situation that we'd gained.....then dumped because of doom enthusiasts.  Bailey covers this, and if you wanted a simple 100-line introduction to breeder reactors.....this book is the best around at doing that.

All of this said....Bailey does come to inform you in chapter six that he's somewhat in agreement with climate change.  He will note that some doom enthusiasts have screwed up the science and turned it into a difficult topic for the public.  What he will get to eventually....is that we have technology, cutting edge ideas, and ways to solve the problem without involving vast changes to the economy....which he indicates the bulk of alarmists and doom enthusiasts are more into chaining capitalism than fixing the issue.

Some sidenotes.....it's a heavy-science book and you won't be able to read the book over a weekend.  It would be an excellent reference book to have around when discussing cancer causes or health issues which got into the doom chatter.  I wouldn't recommend it for a high school kid, and it might be a difficult book for first or second-year college kids to absorb and digest.

I'd generally say after reading it.....if you were fairly skeptical about things before you read the book....you've probably intensified your skeptical nature by twenty percent after wrapping up the End of Doom.

Your Friendly Post Office

Around 1920, in this charged up era of prohibition and alcohol issues....the US government passed a law that said that the Post Office system could not ship or transport alcohol, period.  For roughly a hundred years.....that law has been in place.

I noted this week in the Wall Street Journal....a piece which touched on the Post Office and alcohol issue.  The current commissioner of the Post Office system wants the law repealed.  He's kinda added up numbers and indicates that they could generate at least fifty million dollars in income if they could pick up and deliver beer, wine or booze.   There's at least two Senators who will push it but no one is sure about this passing.

For a hundred years, the Postal system has protected our morality and virtues.  At least, that's what the intention of the original law was all about.  The prohibition era lasted roughly thirteen years.  What can be said is that the saloon negativity did come to an end, but private and personal usage of alcohol continued on, and within twelve months....a large segment of American society were continuing their drinking habits.  Oddly, no one said a word about the Postal law and no one made any attempt to repeal it.

Today?  Well....thirty-three states have some form of county or city prohibition still in effect.  Seventeen states dictate that no county or city can attempt a limit on alcohol without state consent, which is usually impossible to gain.

Alabama has three entire counties still dry, with twenty-odd counties considered 'moist' (meaning some city has gone wet but the overall county is dry.  About every two years now.....more towns in Alabama go 'moist', so the prohibition tendency is slowly dying off.

The problem with the Post Office idea?  There will have to be some office hired within the agency which monitors wet and dry situations, and sets the standard.  You probably won't be able to ship nine-percent beer to a number of states or cities.  You probably won't be able to mail directly to some guy's house (meaning you have a note to come by the Post Office with an ID to pick up your booze).  And you won't be able to ship to any county or city which is dry.

This profit idea?  I just don't see many people logging onto Amazon and ordering up wine or booze via this method.  But I could see some intellectual guy sitting on his patio in Alabama and desiring the fancy taste of a Seattle-brewed beer (like Stoup's green beer).  You log on and order a six-pack on Wednesday night, and by Saturday....Clarence....your mail-guy.....puts the note in your box and you drive over to pick up your Stoup's beer.  That night.....you sit and talk excessively to your buddy over a bar-b-q and a green beer about the essence and marvelous taste of the green-tinted beer.  Then your buddy will mention that Stoups has a whiskey-barrel aged beer with nine-percent alcohol.  In seconds, you will log on and order a six-pack of that barrel for next weekend.

Maybe after five years, guys might adapt and be drinking all kinds of custom beers and the big five beer companies will finally admit they can't compete with the micro brewery operations.

All of this.....thanks to the Post Office changing the rules.