I tend to do most of my reading and research over the Winter, once the day length shortens enough that I don’t feel too tired to study after a day working outside. The pattern has changed this year, and I’ve recently had the chance to get a batch of reading underway. My own feeling is that if we want to replace our current system of food production, heavily reliant on fossil fuel, but want to avoid the sheer hard work of subsistence agriculture, then we have to use our imagination, and our intelligence. Now the military version of intelligence is ‘information that has been processed’, and so with that in mind, our ‘intelligence’ depends on an input of information, and a reasoning/evaluation phase, in order to come up with something that is useable. Much of what I read online, falls into two categories. The ‘I’ve just found out about XXXXXXX and here are some links to other sites that tell you all about it’ category is very common, and I tend not to read any further. The second ‘popular’ category is the ‘ this is what I’ve done today/this week/since my last post’ type. Most of what you find falls into one of these categories, including quite a bit of what I write. Of more interest are the sites that point out the unusual stuff. Not weird and wonderful, but new ways of doing things. I usually read these, even if they don’t relate to what I’m doing now, because there is normally something that I can use, or at least consider using. The most valuable sites are those where the writer is either doing something completely new, or unusual, or is writing about direct observations (information) and interpreting that into something useful (creating intelligence).
One thing that many of these sites do, is to review/list useful books, and many of the books that I’ve read recently have come from a recommendation online, or have been listed on a useful website, or blog.
Having checked my account with a major online retailer, I was shocked to see that in 2011, I had bought 47 books for myself, and had read almost all of them. I didn’t calculate how much I’d spent, nor did I check back to see what I’d bought September to December 2010. That figure does not include library books, nor books from second hand bookshops, nor online reading.