Links: The mistakes of relying on cars, a man with a big library, publishers and literature, and more!

* Was the automotive era a terrible mistake? Yes it was.

* “Satellite Images Show Vast Swaths of the Arctic On Fire.” What could go wrong?

* “Farewell Richard Macksey, legendary polymath and ‘the jewel in the Hopkins crown’ (1931-2019).” 70,000 books! Check out those pics!

* “Why the ‘Weird Internet’ of the GeoCities Era Had to Die.” Did it have to, though? Or did we all choose new and easier spaces, myself included?

* Did publisher consolidation change literature? The original title of this piece is bad, so don’t rely on it.

* Robert Caro’s Working. Good book, good article—it highlights his anti-theoretical, anti-generalizing nature, which I’d not thought explicitly about.

* College might have gotten easier: time spent studying is down but GPAs are up. The article touches research areas that have been out there for years.

* “‘Unsex Me Here’ and Other Bad Ideas. We have nothing to lose except our long-ago lost sense of proportion.

* “The Robot Apocalypse Has Been Postponed.” Its absence may also explain some of our current economic, social, and political malaise. Hear also the first episode of The Portal, Eric Weinstein’s podcast; Peter Thiel is the first guest and has much to say about economics, malaise, and, surprisingly, violence.

* “The Hollywood Three Tries to Save Western Civilization.” Lots of political commentary congruent with what you read here, in Jonathan Haidt, and so on. You don’t persuade people by yelling at them or conveying that you’re more morally pure than they are.

* “Sleeping Through the Alarm: With virtually no democratic oversight and over 6,500 missiles in the United States alone, the use of nuclear weapons is almost inevitable. So why is it so hard to think about nuclear war?”

* “Please Touch Me: Has intimacy gone so far out of style that it’s poised for a comeback?” It’s like no one asks about the costs of social shifts happening among small sectors of the intelligentsia.

* “‘The Era of People Like You Is Over’: How Turkey Purged Its Intellectuals.” Short on Turkey.

* “The Charney Report: 40 years ago, scientists accurately predicted climate change.” And our response has been anemic ever since. By the way, “In the US, wells being drilled ever deeper as groundwater vanishes.” I wonder why groundwater is vanishing? Also, “Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought.”

* New books about walking, one of them on 36 writers and walking. I already favor walking, so this is not for me.

* “Helen Gurley Brown Only Wants to Help“—from 1970. Has a lot changed, or not so much?

* ITER, the World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Experiment, Clears Milestone. For background, see “Star in a Bottle” from 2014.

* “Immigration Officials Snatch 9-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Heading To School, Hold Her For 2 Days.” Things are great in this domain, right?

One response

  1. The Medium article about the “weird Internet” was thoughtful and well-intentioned, but the writer betrays his age with sweeping statements like this: “Ask any web developer how they first got interested in coding, and they’ll probably tell you something about hacking HTML and CSS together to build an Angelfire page, a GeoCities website, or a killer Myspace profile.”

    Ask my friends, the first generation of web developers, and they’ll tell you they got their start customizing one-line, dial-up BBSes, or modifying programs they had to type in from magazines in the 1980s, or they got their start on Vax and Unix systems on their college campuses after hooking up with like-minded kids at computer “user group” meetings. I appreciate his nostalgia, but the writer of that piece hasn’t given enough thought to the roots of the early Internet in what was once a seriously fringe culture of odd young men whose obsession with computers was inexplicable to most of society. It wasn’t going to stay “weird” once huge corporations and mainstream society glommed onto it.


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