Links: Falling birth rates, book reviews as book reviews, space dust, and more!

* “The Secret Lives of Fungi.”

* “A Radical Proposal: Book reviews should review books: Give us more judgement, more opinions and more criticism.” Sure, why not?

* What happens to all that space dust hitting the atmosphere? “An international team found that rooftops and other cityscapes readily collect the extraterrestrial dust in ways that can ease its identification, contrary to science authorities who long pooh-poohed the idea as little more than an urban myth kept alive by amateur astronomers.” We really are all made of stars.

* “Exclusive: Tesla’s secret batteries aim to rework the maths for electric cars and the grid.” Maybe. It does seem that nickel and low-cobalt batteries are coming. The second-life systems are also hugely impressive: one rarely appreciated reason to pick electric vehicles is that their batteries can be repurposed for grid storage when the car itself reaches end-of-life. Over time, “Millions of used electric car batteries will help store energy for the grid,” which sounds good to me.

* Why are American kids treated as a different species from adults? See also Bringing Up Bébé by Druckerman.

* The novel isn’t central the cultural conversation anymore. Why? That said, I think the novel will appeal to people who find a lot of video boring—although that might be a declining segment of the population.

* HN commenter on Huawei’s practice of stealing source code and technology.

* Colleges are deluding themselves. I wonder how Lambda School is doing? Separately, in 2018 one person wrote: “Modern universities are exercises in insanity?” Maybe, although this one is missing a lot, too.

* “If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs.” Many good lines in this one. Here you all are, too! Making blogs happen.

* “Door dash and pizza arbitrage.” Unexpectedly hilarious.

* Beware of underpriced drugs for covid-19 treatments. Or, put another way, “We must be willing to reward value because today’s prices send signals to future market participants.” Capping profits today means fewer efforts tomorrow: this is a repeated game, not a one-off game.

* Benefits of cutting out sugar.

* U.S. birth rates fall to record low. These articles never mention the way U.S. housing prices have outpaced inflation for years, due to parochial land interests wielding local zoning to increase the value of their property, and the failure of states or the federal government stepping in to stop this practice. At the same time, healthcare costs are bizarre and unpredictable: a few years ago, it cost me a random $4,500 to fix a minor problem on my toe, and none of the podiatrists I talked to were willing to give me a cash fee quote. All of them were deeply interested in my deductible and making sure I hit it. I’d like to see mandatory price transparency in healthcare, but almost no one is pursuing that policy, to the detriment of all of us.

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