Saturday, November 30, 2019

3 Books on Current Dangers and What We Can Do About Them

I was thinking about the books that I've read this year. One theme is commonplace dangers. Not the dangers of a terrorist threat. Not the dangers of a car crash or airline flight--the chances of those are still very small. These dangers are online, in animals, and in the future of our environment.

Online Dangers
In Future Crimes by Marc Goodman, we see the dangers that lurk online for us all. Stolen money out of our accounts, hacks that lock us out of our devices, etc. are so common now. I was talking with a friend about problems that my parents had with their computer fraud and he described the exact same situation with his parents. It's all over and will continue to be all over.

This book has some super intense descriptions of criminal activity. You probably should skip the section on how organized crime uses and makes money from online sex trafficking.

But Goodman explains what can happen with technology and some simple and easy ways to stay safe online.

Health Dangers
David Quammen describes how and why diseases leap from animals to humans in Spillover. This is fascinating as he explores diseases we've all heard of like flu, HIV, and Ebola. But also explores lesser known diseases like Henta.

It's not fear-mongering kind of book, just a clear-eyed description of how and why diseases infect and spread. This is a normal part of life and could be a big deal like it was in 1918 with the Spanish Flu or the 20th century with HIV.

Climate Change Dangers
In Falter by Bill McKibben, we see how climate change might play out. I like McKibben's writing, and I love how he finishes this book.

*If you don't believe that climate change is real, then this book isn't for you. And I have nothing to say about that.

It feels like Mckibbon is all doom and gloom and that there is no hope. But he turns at the end to two reasons for hope. He explores technologies that are making a difference and can make a huge difference around the world.

It actually makes me hopeful.

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The common theme running through these three books is that the world is dangerous, but we are not powerless and don't have to live in fear. That is a helpful message.

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