Links: Chestnut trees, oil’s collapse, Adam Tooze, writing, and more!

* “A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before.” It’s also possible that Rising CO2 Levels May Trigger Cognitive Impairment. If you haven’t, get an Autopilot home CO2 monitor. My bedroom, when the door is closed, will routinely exceed 3000 ppm CO2—and sometimes 4000 ppm. For reference, humans evolved in an environment of around 220 – 240 ppm. Cognitive decline may set in as soon as 1000 ppm. Have you ever been in a meeting and felt your head start to swim by the end? It might not just be boredom: it might be all the CO2 in the room. Bring your CO2 monitor and be the hero your organization needs.

* Can genetic engineering bring back the chestnut tree? If so, that would be great news: chestnuts produce lots of cheap food and good wood.

* “Oil’s Collapse Is a Geopolitical Reset In Disguise.” Good. If we hasten the move to electric vehicles, low prices could be sustained indefinitely.

* The Early Days of China’s Coronavirus Coverup. If not for Chinese censorship, the rest of the world might have been much better prepared.

* Adam Tooze interviewed on many subjects, including:

the historically unusual decision to have a high-cost lockdown during a pandemic, why he believes in a swoosh-shaped recovery, portents of financial crises in China and the West, which emerging economies are currently most at risk, what Keynes got wrong about the Treaty of Versailles, why the Weimar Republic failed, whether Hitler was a Keynesian, the political and economic prospects of various EU members, his trick to writing a lot, how Twitter encourages him to read more, what he taught executives at BP, and his advice for visiting Germany.

You’ve seen him appear here before.

* The politics of information: Much deeper and more profound than it may at first appear.

* “It’s time to take UFOs seriously. Seriously.” My default bet is still that the recent Navy videos were released deliberately, as part of an underlying (dis)information campaign. But the probability of UFOs being aliens has gone up—from what to what, I can’t quite say, but “up.”

* “World’s Largest Producer of Rubbing Alcohol Can’t Manufacturer Hand Sanitizer.” I don’t want to do a lot of the outrage pieces, but this is indeed outrageous.

* “Our bookless future.” You’ve probably seen similar, but here’s another sample. “Twilight of the Books,” from 2007, is also a fine version of this basic idea.

* “The coming disruption to college.” A bit too rant-y and overstated, but he’s got a point, no? Tyler Cowen also think the crisis on campus is here to stay. The extent to which international students subsidize U.S. higher ed is also well-known in the business and poorly known everywhere else.

* “When Did Humans Become a Burrowing Species? Digging into our drive to tunnel, bore, and head underground.”

* “The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet: At 22, he single-handedly put a stop to the worst cyberattack the world had ever seen. Then he was arrested by the FBI. This is his untold story.” The story is bonkers and amazing, and it’s also waiting to made into a movie.

* Megan Abbott on writing and Dare Me: “I’m not fast. People think I am because I have a lot of books, but I just don’t do anything else.” I watched the TV version of Dare Me and found it pallid compared to the book: the book is narrated from Addy’s perspective, and Beth looms large in Addy’s view. In the TV show, they both seem like angsty, conceited, ridiculous teenagers—not scary or powerful but ridiculous.

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