I invite Legal Insurrection readers to pour an ice cold brew and celebrate “Human Achievement Hour”, slated to start today at 8:30 pm local time.

The event is promoted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute; its website offers the background on today’s festivities:

  • Human Achievement Hour is the counter argument to Earth Hour, which is an event where participants symbolically renounce the environmental impacts of modern technology by turning off their lights for an hour…
  • Symbolically or not, Earth Hour does little to protect the environment and is a misguided effort that completely ignores how modern technology allows societies around the world to develop new and more sustainable practices that help humans be more eco-friendly and better conserve our natural resources.
  • Instead of looking to the “dark ages,” as Earth Hour might suggest, Human Achievement Hour promotes the idea that we should be looking to technology and innovation to help solve environmental problems..

CEI would like supporters to share their favorite human achievements on Twitter using @ceidotorg and #HAH2015. There is also a Facebook page for the event.

In homage to the ancient Egypt, chemistry, and free enterprise, my selection for Top Human Achievement 2015 is…. beer!

The related inventions of bread and beer are speculated to have been the impetus for humanity’s ability to develop technology and build civilization. Egyptian texts from 1600 BC contain 100 medical prescriptions calling for beer, and if an Egyptian gentleman offered a lady a sip of his beer they were engaged.

San Diego is the epicenter of the American craft beer industry. Interestingly, this development is tied directly to new social media technologies.

A democratization (Beer Democracy and Open Source Brewing) of beer began in earnest during the late 1970’s by homebrewers. It was then that better beer began its journey, championed by individuals and not corporate strategies. Homebrewers began learning how to make the beer types they could no longer buy. A few homebrewers started their own small breweries, the first new breweries to open since prohibition began in 1923. A revival had begun. Beer drinkers learned to appreciate these new “microbrews.” The term microbrews has since evolved to “craft beer;” particularly from small and independent brewers (see What is Craft Beer). There are now 1,829 small and independent craft brewers in the USA.

The revival of American beer of the past 30 years is a phenomenon attributable to one of the first (if not the first) “open-source” collaborative experiences in modern history. The community of homebrewers, beer enthusiasts and craft brewers made the pioneers of the democratization of process. It is only anecdotal knowing that Steve Jobs was a member of the “Homebrew Computer Club,” from which the seeds of the Mac Computer would emerge (visit Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be).

This year, I also have an honorable mention. My second pick is the spacecraft Philae, which has landed on a comet 300 million miles away…in part, in hopes that mankind can learn enough about them to prevent mass extinction by comet impact sometime in the future. Talk about climate change!

As an added bonus, this choice will tweak those “Earth Hour” drama queens who berated Dr. Matt Taylor, one of the project scientists for that mission, for his press conference shirt selection.

About the project, Taylor says:

“The opportunity to work on Rosetta was huge and I cannot begin to describe the excitement associated with this mission. It really is just so cool. Previous missions have only flown past comets. For the first time we will fly with the comet and actually land on it! The Rosetta mission is a breakthrough in space science and exploration and really demonstrates what international collaboration can achieve.”

My colleagues at Canto Talk suggested i-phones (which have helped document and publicize citizen protests worldwide) and airplanes (a major target of climate histrionics), which are also great choices.

However you decide to pay tribute to the human innovations that have helped people, make sure it involves a fun drink and something politically incorrect!

[Featured Image – Youtube, The Craft Beer Channel]