The Rational Optimist by Mathew Ridley - A Short Review

I recently read The Rational Optimist by Mathew Ridley for a book dicussion group meeting. The book is wide ranging and covered much of human history. Of course the bulk of the book covers recent centuries and particularly current and near future. A main theme of the book is the role that trade plays in human cultural and intellectual development. Ridley discusses human trade, invention and why there is reason for a optimist view. Ridley tries to be careful not be be pollyannish.

Overall I enjoyed the book and give it a mostly positive recommendation. Why mostly positive? There are a couple of points where he gets some details wrong in the section discussing computers. These are minor points. A bigger problem is that I would have preferred if he had a better grasp and presentation of some of the positions he criticized. However given the scope of the work I can suggest that people read it and while noticing the small glitches look past them to his larger argument. Ridley has some points well worth considering.


Getting Caught Up

A couple of months have passed since my last entry. The primary reason was that I was preparing for and then on a trip to Australia which covered the last few days of August and most of September. Part of the tour of Australia was in some remote areas and internet access was not easy to find in some cases. Plus I broke my right arm so the last couple of weeks of the tour I was doing everything left handed. I have been back home for a bit over a week and getting over the jet lag and the arm is healing very well. There was no dislocation of the break so no pins, surgery, or cast; just using a sling which should end by end of October. Pain and discomfort are decreasing. So over the next few weeks I will try to get caught up on making my comments on the world at large.

I will start with a pointer to a
YouTube video called "It Get's Better"
which is a message of hope for LGBT youth. As a straight person I never had homophobic bigotry directed at me in school however I can still feel sympathy for those who have. And that is why I am mentioning this YouTube video; if you know an LGBT youth particularly in a small town or a social situation filled with bigotry pass along the URL:

Some people have complained that the video is too San Francisco centric. Well perhaps. But if someone is in a bad situation having the hope of San Francisco might be what they need. And if at some point they make it to San Francisco and decide San Francisco is just not right for them then they can move to another reasonable place to live such as Marin County or Silicon Valley.