Links: Short books, free thought, unfree devices, male contraception, Google’s politically correct monoculture, and more!

* “In praise of short books.” No argument here. I’d rather write, “In praise of books that are the right length for their material,” which may be short (Rapture is short) or long (Cryptonomicon is long).

* Math journal editors resign to start rival journal that will be free to read.

* “Apple and other tech companies are fighting to keep devices hard to repair.” It’s not hard to understand why.

* Ninni Holmqvist’s novel The Unit imagines a dystopia for the childless.

* “Why We Can’t Have the Male Pill: A condom alternative could be worth billions. What’s taking so long?”

* “Why I left Academia: Part I.” This is an impressively brazen and horrible story and maybe the worst I’ve heard. One of the (many) reasons not to go to grad school in the humanities is that a single person can so easily halt or retard your progress. That’s rarely if ever true in the rest of the working world.

* “Trump’s Fledgling Presidency Has Already Collapsed.” Seems overly optimistic to me.

* “Modern American elites have come to favour inconspicuous consumption.” Seems like conspicuous precision is an improvement on conspicuous consumption.

* Google promotes and enforces politically correct monoculture, although the headline is different. Or maybe no one comes out looking good. It’s disappointing to read so few sentences like, “I think it’s really important to discuss this topic scientifically, keeping an open mind and using informed skepticism when evaluating claims about evidence,” even if I’m not sure the evidence is as strong as claimed at the link.

One response

  1. The academic story is harrowing, but I suspect that the professional world abounds with managers who take advantage of their underling’s naivete. The thing is, all you need to do is quit and find another company or industry. With academia, this is not as easy. On the other hand, depth of knowledge is rarely valued in the professional world (Phds in computer science earn somewhat less than those with merely master’s degrees).

    With regard to short books, schools are more likely to assign (and require to purchase) a shorter book. From the author’s point of view, now more than ever it is crucial to have a steady stream of products coming out to reinforce your brand. It doesn’t make much sense to work on a 2-5 year project, when you can do one in a single year.

    On a related personal note, I’ve rearranged my priorities so for the next decade that I’ll be publishing on average one ebook a year. They’re not all short novellas, but I’ve adopted the perspective, what projects can I do in 1-2 years?


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