Links: The humanities crisis (measured), China’s history, lots about fires, Immigrant, Montana, and more!

* “Mea culpa: there *is* a crisis in the humanities.” Note that it’s also possible for lots of bad trends, like postmodernist nonsense, to endure for some period of time, but to eventually weaken the structure sufficiently for it to collapse. A system can endure a lot of strain before it gives way. People began calling the 2009 housing crisis as early as 2003 and 2004. People have been calling the crisis in the humanities for longer, but it may now finally be on us, in measurable ways.

* Why Was the 20th Century Not a Chinese Century?: An Outtake from “Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century.” Probably my favorite essay from this batch.

* Meet Brad Sewell, Campaign Furniture Founder and CEO. Overall, Campaign seems like an underrated company, though this interview is not very good. See also my essay, “Does Ikea enable mobility?

* Four or five times I ignored links to “The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow,” figuring the target is too easy and the essay would be stupid (I’ve read plenty of vapid profiles)—but I was wrong and the article is hilarious. Like “Frank Sinatra has a cold,” this may be a pinnacle example of the genre. The writer, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, deserves accolades for this. Looks like she hasn’t done any books. She should.

* “The childless, aging future.” Pretty depressing, seen like that. Another example of lost connections, perhaps.

* “The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature.” Interesting science journalism, but also: “Whether or how Furey’s work connects to string theory remains to be puzzled out. So does her future. She’s looking for a faculty job now, but failing that, there’s always the ski slopes or the accordion.” Perhaps it is not such a good idea to go to grad school. Or perhaps experts know something that didn’t make it to the article.

* Epistocracy: a political theorist’s case for letting only the informed vote.

* “How did the end of the world become old news?” Sample: “Last week, wildfires broke out in the Arctic Circle, where temperatures reached almost 90 degrees; they are still roiling northern Sweden, 21 of them.”

* “Erotic Exploration in Immigrant, Montana.” Not quite a novel I want to read but likely a novel some of you want to read.

* “The most relaxing vacation you can take is going nowhere at all.” Reading is underrated, hectic vacations overrated.

* “TSA is tracking regular travelers like terrorists in secret surveillance program.” Vile.

* “Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back.”

* Immigrant girl hides in auto shop after escaping from Florida detention facility; owner turns her in anyway. We might want to think about the kind of country we’re living in. I try not to post many outrage links, but sometimes it’s worth doing.

* SpaceX’s Secret Weapon Is Gwynne Shotwell.

* As California burns, many fear the future of extreme fire has arrived.

* Peter Thiel interview.

* Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.

* How to write a book without losing your mind. I think “losing your mind” is a feature, not a bug.

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