Links: Writing pseudonymously, the life of the mind, the life of Mars, chickpeas, and more!

* “Why You Should Write Pseudonymously.” I’m failing at this, obviously.

* “The Bleak Job Landscape of Adjunctopia for Ph.D.s.” Obvious, and not much has changed since 2012, when I offered my contribution to the extensive “grad school is bad” literature.

* Mitch Daniels has frozen Purdue’s tuition—at less than $10,000—for seven straight years. The fundamentals of Baumol’s Cost Disease plus the prestige and status-seeking enterprise means that improvement will be hard.

* Inside Elon Musk’s plan to build one Starship a week—and settle Mars.

* Why the US sucks at building public transit. If we could get better at this, we could slash many households’s transit costs and thus free up more money for anything and everything else.

* “My life with Oliver Sacks: ‘He was the most unusual person I had ever known.’

* More on the novel’s suppose ddecline. As long as people wonder about the human condition, I think there will be a place for the novel. But a lot of current literary culture is overly PC, rarefied, and disconnected from reality and from the human condition.

* “Why Japan is obsessed with paper.” I have complained periodically about American publishers not being obsessed with paper at all, and the crappy paper quality used in most books. The New York Review of Books books are among the notable exceptions.

* “In the Future, Everything Will Be Made of Chickpeas.” One hopes. An Instapot helps.

* “What the ‘meat paradox’ reveals about moral decision making:” Something that I have wondered about.

* On writers block. I don’t know that it’s real, but people say it’s real. More often I worry about “people block,” that is, people who continually try to bombard a writer or would-be writer with text messages, poorly timed chitchat, and that kind of thing.

* “The Accusations Were Lies. But Could We Prove It?” More on Title IX madness. These stories are not so different than the ones implied by Francine Prose’s novel Blue Angel. It’s like the people who set up these systems never thought to learn from the centuries of effort expended on setting up existing legal systems that strive to balance rights of the accused with rights of the accusers.

* No SARS-CoV-19/coronavirus talk in this batch, which might seem strange, but from what I have seen you can get all you want of that and more pretty much everywhere, so I’m going to do some of the things not being done elsewhere right now. I don’t have much novel to add: The CDC’s early behavior around testing and testing certification is appalling, as is the response, or non-response, from the Executive Branch. But these reactions are obvious for anyone who has been paying attention. Twitter, oddly, comes out looking good: the Cassandras who are usually wrong with their vaguely conspiratorial statements and insinuations were right, and early.

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