Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Doubt Factory

I kind of got in the groove reading "General Theory" - read 8 chapters and was thinking about forging ahead and reading the final 6. But then, needed a break. I went back to the unread books in the Kobo app on my iPad - currently down to 19 books! I decided on "The Doubt Factory" by Paolo Bacigalupi. It is a YA novel - and I know this for sure because the central character is a teenage high school girl, and part of the plot is her getting a boyfriend.

She starts out being pretty annoying, a smart but spoiled 1%er child in a private academy. But the subject matter quickly becomes very topical and important. Her father is 1 of the 2 principals of "The Doubt Factory" - a PR firm that specializes in "product defense". They are the masters of sowing doubt via paid experts and other techniques to keep harmful products on the market for as long as possible to squeeze out just a little more profit - "delay = $$$". The father's firm is very happy to work in the shadows, but it is targeted for exposure by a lovable group of young misfits all of whom have lost family to products that The Doubt Factory helped keep on the market.

I read this in 1 day, so it is definitely a page turner. Lots of action and explosions, should make a great movie. Paolo is performing a really valuable service in exposing young adults to this topic. He and Cory Doctorow are both Bards of the Revolution. And unlike "Hunger Games" or "Divergent", both of which have vague future dystopias, their works are based on aspects of our modern world that are for the most part spot on.

In a nice piece of synchronicity, Greenpeace has just this weekend outed a major academic climate denier for having taken payment from the fossil fuel industry for "scholarly" articles denying anthropogenic climate change. Nice!

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