Links: Bookstores, cars, the online economy, sexual economics, humanities, and more!

* Waterstone’s, the U.K.’s biggest bookstore, is thriving. What could Barnes & Noble learn from it? A lot, evidently.

* “You can have millions of views on YouTube and still be broke.” People often have misconceptions about my finances. 99% of my income comes from consulting or teaching, and even within that split 80% or more comes from consulting. The so-called “new economy” is still, frequently, a brutal place to actually make actual money.

* “Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars, And Car Makers Can’t Figure Out Why: Driving numbers are down for younger people and the auto industry hasn’t found a way to respond. It’s because they don’t understand why millennials could possibly not want to drive.” This describes me but not, interestingly, my siblings.

* “Drunk with Power: What was Prohibition really about?” See also my post on Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

* I’m not a mathematician yet this report on the ABC Conjecture and a workshop on it fascinates.

* “Why won’t guys grow up? Sexual economics.”

* “Rise of the humanities: Professors worry about the ‘crisis in the humanities’. But more people than ever, especially women, are studying them.” Except Mandler should look in the graphs that are part of Louis Menand’s The Marketplace of Ideas, which show the number of humanities majors as being essentially flat. He does note, “[R]elative to business, both the sciences and the humanities have fallen behind since 1971, and the sciences much further.” But the humanities haven’t grown, and they haven’t grown intellectually. The job market for humanities PhDs is terrible, and there have been no real “public” humanists since Harold Bloom. Today the public intellectuals are almost all Edge.org-type social scientists and scientists. Think Steven Pinker.

* Something I hadn’t considered:

So, you know, our moral intuitions and indeed our laws today are that you shouldn’t discriminate against someone because of their race, because of their gender, their sexual preference or other issues. But for odd reasons, it’s perfectly OK to discriminate against someone because they were born somewhere else. You can, in fact, put up walls and machine guns and prevent someone from moving simply for the reason that they were born somewhere else.

2 responses

  1. On the humanities, it’s true that Bloom is basically the last famous pure humanist, but someone like Zizek is basically working in the humanities (philosophy, film criticism, lacanian psychology) and becoming famous through it. It’s just it’s not a humanist humanism, but a kind of post-modern humanism.

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