Category Archives: Book Reviews

Fewer People, or More?

Could it be possible? For years I’ve been reading about the complications of a growing population. How large numbers of people strain resources and create pollution. How too many are condemned to live in poverty and “food insecurity.” How we live where we’re not supposed to — in floodplains and on barrier islands to be

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Do We Bathe Too Much?

What would you think of someone who hasn’t showered in five years? Meet James Hamblin. He occasionally gets his hair wet, but some time ago he quit using soap (except on his hands), shampoo, antibiotic deodorants, and similar personal-care products. And he hasn’t showered in five years. He doesn’t recommend this lifestyle for everyone, but

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All Lives Should Matter, Part II

On July 7th, I first wrote about how all lives should matter, but they never have, illustrating my point by listing six instances of massacres of Black communities in this country between 1898 and 1923 (https://www.bobwelbaum-author.com/all-lives-should-matter/). Today, I’m making the point that systemic racism wasn’t always violent, but has been part of the fabric of

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Measuring Our Economy

Are we in a recession? The classic definition is “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” (Google) Certainly the GDP falling by a heart-stopping 9.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020 got everyone’s attention. But what

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The Economics of Slavery

If you are running a business, you would want to closely track your assets. How can you improve productivity? How can you increase an asset’s value? At what point does the cost of maintenance exceed the return? These are all important questions. Now, what if these assets you are tracking are people? Or, more accurately,

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Taking Love Too Far

I realize this is not a good topic for the middle of a quarantine, but is it possible to show too much love? Apparently so. Our bodies are very complex and anything can go wrong. For example, the current PBS show “The Gene: An Intimate History” by documentarian Ken Burns (https://www.pbs.org/show/gene/) is exploring some genetic

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The Origin of Quarantine

In the course of being quarantined and following everything that was happening around the world, I ran across some interesting explanations for the origin of the term itself. The actual  word “quarantine” is derived from the Italian quaranta, meaning “forty.” It is traced back to the language of Venice, Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries. During

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So What If It Isn’t Real?

“Only God Can Make a Diamond” makes a good advertising slogan, but it’s no longer true. Now diamonds can be made in a laboratory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_diamond). But should synthetic diamonds be considered real? How many romances have broken up because the diamond wasn’t natural? Or if you see an animal skeleton in a natural history museum,

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