Saturday, 28 January 2012

How Americans Can Solve the Energy Crisis in Ten Years

Energy, Convenient Solutions: How Americans Can Solve the Energy Crisis in Ten Years

by Paul McGoldrick

Energy, Convenient Solutions: How Americans Can Solve the Energy Crisis in Ten Years
by Howard Johnson, Published by Senesis Word
ISBN 13: 978-0-982-91140-2, softcover, 259 pp, $16.95, August 2010

It is not often that I am confused by a book before I even open it. The details above are accurate, but the book, with the same title, front cover, and author, is also listed as ISBN 13: 978-1-425-78922-0, published by Xlibris Corporation in January 2011 with a list price of $19.99 and a massive increase of pages to 380. Which is accurate? Well, the Senesis version is certainly the one that I have in front of me… and both publishers appear to be self-publishing operations.
The author of this book is a degreed (BS) chemical engineer from Purdue University (1949) who was brought up in the Midwest and worked in a family dentistry business, consulted for NASA and the US military, and retired in 2000 to write full time. His first novel Blue Shift was published by Winepress, a custom (vanity) Christian publisher.
Energy, Convenient Solutions aims to be a text that explains the origins and liabilities of fossil fuels and how they can be replaced with alternate sources. Nothing novel about that, of course, but there is a lot of repetition in what comes across as a series of essays that don’t really have that essential beginning, middle, and end logic that we are all supposed to write to. There are also rants that are disturbing coming from an engineer: “Hatred of Big Oil promulgated by leftist politicians and the media…similarly imaginary factors add to the price and subtract from the available supply of petroleum, in addition to the real problems of diminishing oil reserves.” This kind of outburst makes you question whether there is not some other agenda than alternative energy solutions. The Christian aspect is also, unfortunately, a theme in this energy text. I don’t have any problem, for example, with someone ‘damning the liberals’ as long as it is supported by fact and/or history, not mere ideology.
Johnson explains existing energy systems but each direction seems to end up going off at a tangent that doesn’t belong. I particularly get a jarring feeling when the hydrogen fuel cell is dissed multiple times in the text with no real scientific facts; or the continuation of the factually-lacking accusations of East Anglia scientists ‘cooking’ results in global climate change; or the arguments that global climate change (he insists in using the politically unsavory ‘global warming’ tag that almost always seems to be a right wing excuse) is actually good for us: “It is obvious that in the bigger picture and over the longer-range [sic], global warming would be quite advantageous for life on earth, even humans…Burn that oil. Burn that coal. Pump out that carbon dioxide!”
And how can any scientist or engineer write, “After realizing these facts, maybe Al Gore will write a new book titled, A Beautiful Truth that will tell the facts about global warming. Oh, but that just wouldn’t work with his liberal agenda, would it? The new American liberal politics trumps [sic] facts, science, and all other forms of truth. Shades of the old Soviet Union. This is especially true of all information showing the benefits [sic] of increased carbon dioxide and of global warming, whether related or not. Certainly, the degree of their relationship has not been established by anything other than anecdotal evidence.” This renders one quite speechless.
For a book that is intended to express scientific opinion the absence of any illustrations of any kind is not a positive; nor, to my mind, as readers are already well aware, is the use of incorrect scientific notations and units – oh, and no references of note. Even the comparisons made between conventional and electric vehicles completely ignore the complete energy chain in their production, use, and ultimate disposal.
On the Christian direction of the text (and how unchristian so many Christians in the United States seem to be in their opinions of others) the author goes into a lengthy diatribe about Islam, “Muslim beheadings [that is, presumably, beheadings by Muslims rather than of Muslims] and terrorism are nothing new. These emotionally driven fanatics have been committing these atrocities on any who would not convert to their faith since they first came on the scene in the seventh century…They are the ones who will eventually rule the world…Make no mistake. Their long-range plan is for your grandchildren to be taught only from the Koran under threat of the scimitar. That is if they manages [sic] to live through the takeover.” Who wants grandchildren now?
This book is inconsistent and quite disagreeable in many places. Yet there are points that should be taken seriously and a skilled editor with considerable goodwill from the author – which may well not be available – could turn the text into a practical, interesting, thought provoking dissertation of possibly one hundred pages.
I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to buy this book and I wouldn’t recommend my readers to do so either, but if you needed an add-on to get you into free shipping for another Amazon order, or a doorstop, you might opt for it. The $16.95 version, of course.

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