Source: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2017/06/09/cheap-books-random-thoughts/

The following random thought will eventually become a more carefully written blog post, but I want to get this out there sooner than later.

Mention electric cars, or solar panels, or any other kind of thing a person might buy and deploy to reduce their Carbon footprint.

Mention that to enough people and some wise ass will eventually come along and tell you how wrong you are. About how electric cars are worse for the environment than gas cars because bla bla bla, or how solar panels are worse for the environment than burning natural gas because of yada yada yada.

I guarantee you that in almost every case, said wise ass is either using bogus arguments they learned form the right wing propoganda machine and that they accepted uncritically, or they are working with two year old information or older.

The electric car, or electric bus, or what have you, is very often, most of the time, and in the near future, always, the better option. If you are reading this sentence and don’t believe me, let me tell you now that your argument from incredulity does not impress me.

I’m particularly annoyed about the anti-electric bus argument. Electric busses already usually pay for themselves well before their lifespan is up using today’s calculations, but a machine designed to run for decades is going to be in operation years after we have almost totally converted our power system over. If you are a state or school board or something an you are currently working out the next five years of planning, there is a chance you may be thinking now about buying a bus that will be in operation in the 2050s. Are you seriously thinking about buying an internal combustion vehicle for that? Are you nuts?

Anyway, that was that thought. Now, for your trouble, a book suggestion. Have you read “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John Le Carré? In some ways this is Le Carré’s best novel, but it is also totally different than all his other novels, in that it is short, a page turner, quick, not detailed. It is like he wrote one of his regular novels then cut out 70% of it. If you’ve never read Le Carré and you read this, don’t expect his other novels to be the same. They are all great, but they are also denser, longer, more complex, demand more of the reader.

I mention this because right now you can get the Kindle edition of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for $1.99. I’ve not read this novel in years, but I think I’m going to get this and add it to my growing collection of classics on Kindle, which I may or may not eventually read.

By the way, there was a movie.

Two other books, both sciency, both cheap in Kindle form, I’ve not read either one, but maybe you know of the book and are interested.

Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Saint Phocas, Darwin, and Virgil parade through this thought-provoking work, taking their place next to the dung beetle, the compost heap, dowsing, historical farming, and the microscopic biota that till the soil. Whether William Bryant Logan is traversing the far reaches of the cosmos or plowing through our planet’s crust, his delightful, elegant, and surprisingly soulful meditations greatly enrich our concept of “dirt,” that substance from which we all arise and to which we all must return.

Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.