Links: Outing club is outing no more, electric buses, housing, and more!

* “Medicare will require hospitals to post prices online.” This is really good and important news.

* “Penn State’s 98-Year-Old Outing Club Is No Longer Allowed to Go Outside,” which is congruent with Jean Twenge’s iGen along with everything you’ve read about absurdity in American colleges. In “What happened to the academic novel?” I posited that academia is now too absurd to be satirized. Johann Hari’s excellent book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions has a chapter devoted to how exposure to nature is critical for human well-being—and now Penn State is apparently banning just that (at least in an organized form).

* “Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry.” It’s always nice to get unalloyed good news.

* “How Much Is a Word Worth? Declining pay for freelance writers hurts more than just the quality of the prose.” Many people have asked why I don’t freelance for magazines or do similar work in narrative nonfiction. This is why.

* “Promiscuous America: Smart, Secular, and Somewhat Less Happy.” But I don’t buy it: this relies on the General Social Survey. I don’t know if it’s conducted via phone or questionnaire response, but we do know that people lie, a lot, about this subject. See for example “Truth and consequences: using the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences in self-reported sexuality,” though there are many other studies in this vein. I’m also not sure what “happy” really means; some argue that it really means being free from anxiety.

* Democrats’ housing problem.

* Why failing to recycle electronics leaves gold mines untapped.

* “The myth of an ending: why even removing Trump from office won’t save American democracy.”

* “Don’t buy the MacBook Pros even on sale, in my opinion.” I returned a 12″ MacBook because of the absurd size of its trackpad. Otherwise a great machine, but maybe I also avoided keyboard issues. It seems to me that 2015-era Macbook Pros are going to become (or have become) golden-era machines.

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