Links: The intellectual foundations of American democracy, parking costs, more on “Mate,” Neil Strauss of “The Game” is back, and more

* “American democracy is doomed;” don’t attend too much to the clickbait headline, but this may be the most important thing you read all day, week, or month.

* Parking costs are eating our housing.

* Robin Hanson on Mate, and also Tyler Cowen on Mate (see also me on Mate, though note too that I was the precise target audience for this book when I was younger).

* Why aren’t America’s ports automated? Short answer: Unions.

* “How Tasteless Suburbs Become Beloved Urban Neighborhoods.”

* “America: Abandon Your Reverence for the Bachelor’s Degree: Many high-school graduates must choose between two bad options: a four-year program for which they’re not academically or emotionally prepared, or job-specific training that might put a ceiling on their careers.” This should by now be obvious, and I argued the same in “Taking Apprenticeships Seriously: The need for alternate paths.”

* “Soldiers of Reddit who’ve fought in Afghanistan, what preconceptions did you have that turned out to be completely wrong?” The answers are fascinating throughout and demonstrate the total folly of trying to impose democracy on a country that in some respects resembles many “countries” of 3,000 years ago than countries of today. Sample:

I’d have to say this is not a perception but rather a culture shock. I was never part of any interrogations but I was told that some of the Taliban we had been fighting believed we had force fields that were causing their weapons, most notably RPGs, to not hit us.

It had nothing to do with skill of the user or the weapons capabilities. They actually believed our technology was that superior.

And a follow-up:

One of the guys in my unit was monitoring enemy radio traffic with an interpreter. They were flying around a Raven, and listening to the chatter about it. The conversation went something like this:

“Where do they find pilots to fly such a small plane?”

“They have trained mice to fly them, you fool!”

* Neil Strauss, who wrote The Game, is back with a new book and publicity for said book: “Neil Strauss: ‘My thinking was: If this woman’s going to be naked with me – I must be OK. It doesn’t last.’ His book The Game made him a fortune, but left Neil Strauss in treatment for sex addiction. Ten years later, he’s a changed man.” Here is another review / discussion on Slate. Here is a post in which I discuss The Game.

I’m not convinced “sex addiction” exists. I did pre-order The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships.

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  1. Pingback: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot « The Story's Story

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