Finding Life On Mars

Many of you have read my posts regarding my reading habits. The last time I went to the library, I made the mistake of looking at the non-fiction genre. It happens every time, I find an interesting nonfiction topic, and I buy into it. This time, the book is “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” I would be better served reading a book about finding intelligence on planet Earth. I picked it because it is short, 155 pages, and I am writing a story involving space travel. Maybe, just maybe, I will learn something.

Wrong. The first sixty pages were like reading a collection of doctoral theses on the biology involved with finding life in Martian rocks. The language is way too technical and boring. To liven my life, I began reading the second book I picked up at the same time. It is “The Secret to Happiness.” This is fiction, but the story involves dealing with depression and helping others. I finished the story in two days and loved it. Then I picked up the doctoral thesis collection to finish. I read another two chapters and decided I didn’t need, want, or enjoy this kind of education. I was about to close the book and put it into the take-it-back pile.

The little man sitting on my shoulder whispered into my ear, “Quitter.” Okay, I told myself I’ll read on, and I am glad I did. It is like the entire narrative changed gears and became interesting and understandable. The authors switched from discussing life outside of the world as a biological search to one of practical matters like all the space probes that have been sent on their way into space, and what we didn’t learn from them. Other than learning what not to do on the next space probe they have decided to get some real answers. The problem they have is that it takes so long for these space probes to get to their intended destination that many of the problems they are equipped to learn from are non-problems any more.

The final chapters have been a joy to read, but getting past the first pages was definitely a bore and a waste of time. The publisher could have saved a lot of money by not using the information.

I’ll give this book two stars.

Bootleg Gasoline?

A good blogging friend posted a question to one of my recent posts. What will happen if we buy a sixty thousand dollar car and the government outlaws the same in favor of electrics? Well, for one thing, Uncle Sam would never be able to do such a thing without starting a civil war. That is something the liberals would be very unhappy about because they would be the unarmed bad guys that we, the armed conservatives, would be shooting at.

Americans would improvise to keep their cars running. It occurred to me that in January 1920, the government passed a federal law prohibiting the sale of drinkable alcohol. The law caused a lot of pain to the population, and ‘we the people’ began to improvise by bootlegging alcoholic beverages. The government was put into a sad state of affairs because the citizens didn’t pay taxes on any of the booze they drank, or produced. This era also spawned a huge gangster industry that has never been completely eliminated, much like the drug industry today.

Prohibition lasted for thirteen years before Uncle finally cried Uncle, and Congress repealed prohibition. If it takes that many years to prohibit electric cars, the roadside will be littered with millions of these cars abandoned without charge. I hope to live to see the day. Americans, being Americans, would sadly innovate and carry gasoline-powered generators to run their charge-less cars. No doubt, they would be using 100-proof vodka to run the generators.