* “Think binge drinking is bad among students? Try going to a faculty party sometime.” This hits a point that I often make: teenagers and adults often want to do the same things, for the same reasons.
* “Demography Is Rewriting Our Economic Destiny,” an underappreciated and significant issue; this can be read profitably in tandem with Bryan Caplan’s Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think.
* Welcome to paradise, on legalized prostitution in Germany.
* “Decades-long Arrest Wave Vexes Employers: Companies Struggle to Navigate Patchwork of Rules That Either Encourage or Deter Hiring Americans With Criminal Records;” if a third of Americans have arrest records something is seriously wrong with our society.
* “The Department of Labor’s “American Apprenticeship Initiative” (AAI) Shows Some Forward Thinking by the Feds” is the rare Grant Writing Confidential post likely to interest Story’s Story readers too.
* The new Michel Houellebecq novel, which is of course self-recommending.
* Purity of Essence: One Question for Nell Zink, author of The Wallcreeper, which I ordered based on the interview:
Whatever I was writing at the time, I knew there was no market for it and never would be, because there’s never a market for true art, so my main concern was always to have a job that didn’t require me to write or think. So after I got out of college I worked construction, mostly. I waitressed some in winter. I was a very excitable waitress, but management valued me for my strange talent of taking drink specials seriously. They would order us to sell fuzzy navels at lunchtime, and I would obediently sell twenty fuzzy navels while the other waitstaff ignored them. My life changed forever in 1989, when a friend of my mother’s shanghaied me into taking the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s test of clerical aptitude. Apparently 98.9 percent was an unusual score. As I recall, it was a test of visual acuity and short-term memory involving long sequences of numbers. I started getting these blind, cold-call job offers in the mail from places like the Defense Logistics Agency. Working full-time in construction was really wearing me out.