Links: Zoning and the quality of human life, great art, the institutional climate, and more!

* David Brooks: “How We Are Ruining America.” Notice that residential zoning restrictions are number one. Improve that and you get a lot of secondary and tertiary improvements “free.”

* “The Obsessive Art and Great Confession of Charlotte Salomon: Painter, auteur, enigma, murderer. The work of the German Jewish artist, killed in the Holocaust, has long been overshadowed by her life and times.” Article by Toni Bentley of The Surrender fame.

* “A Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell: Revisiting Brown v. Board.” Extremely interesting and contrarian in an intelligent way that shows many familiar things in a light I’d never considered.

* Does a secret yearning for monarchy and hierarchy attract us to Game of Thrones?

* “The planet will be too hot for humans much sooner than you think.” Yet seemingly almost no one is paying attention, or voting as if they are paying attention.

* “What Russian journalists think about how American reporters cover Putin and Trump.”

* Underreported Chinese investment in U.S. industries; not an overtly contrarian piece but definitely one that shows the complexity behind typical headlines and assertions.

* “As opioid overdoses exact a higher price, communities ponder who should be saved.”

* “As companies relocate to big cities, suburban towns are left scrambling.” I’m a city person, and while I understand why some people would want suburban towns in theory, I’ll never want to live in one.

* “Jane Austen, Emma, and what characters do.”

* Should community colleges abolish mandatory algebra classes? I’m admittedly 50/50 on this one, leaning towards “no” yet simultaneously aware that I took no real math classes as an undergrad. This question is also hard because the real question underlying it is, “What is education for?” And that brings us towards questions of signaling versus skill acquisition.

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