Links: Fiction and dominance, conversations and ideas, what’s happening with fragility?, and more!

* “The Fiction of Winners & Losers,” by Tim Parks.

* Conversations and Ideas.

* China has squandered its first great opportunity to be a global leader and cement alliances. Unfortunately, the hostile U.S. posture means we’re ill-equipped to capitalize; we don’t even have TPP in place, which we should have had years ago.

* “Elon Musk, Blasting Off in Domestic Bliss.” Amusing but not especially informative.

* “Colleges Are Deeply Unequal Workplaces: As universities plan to reopen, they continue to overlook the concerns of campus staff.” Almost too obvious to post, but it’s observing given the amount of noise one hears from academics on the subject of “inequality.”

* “Riding an E-Bike Changed My Perspective on How We Get Around.” If you’ve never tried riding one, you should.

* “The Battle to Invent the Automatic Rice Cooker.” The Zojirushi “neurofuzzy” rice cookers are amazing.

* Publish & Perish, on the negative equilibrium academia has, in many respects, inadvertently settled into.

* A useful description of aspects of modern culture:

Schulman describes this episode in a book she wrote some years later, Conflict Is Not Abuse. The book’s central insight is that people experiencing the inevitable discomfort of human misunderstanding often overstate the harm that has been done to them — they describe themselves as victims rather than as participants in a shared situation. And overstating harm itself can cause harm, whether it leads to social shunning or physical violence.

Schulman argues that people rush to see themselves as victims for a variety of reasons: because they’re accustomed to being unopposed, because they’re accustomed to being oppressed, because it’s a quick escape from discomfort — from criticism, disagreement, confusion, and conflict. But when we avoid those uncomfortable feelings, we avoid the possibility of change. Instead, Schulman wants friends to hold each other accountable, ask questions, and intervene to help each other talk through disagreements — not treat “loyalty” as an excuse to bear grudges.

* “Women in Xinjiang shine a light on a campaign of abuse and control by Beijing.” What would you have done in the 1930s?

* The roots of wokeism, from Andrew Sullivan’s new system.

* “Make it now: the rise of the present tense in fiction.”

* Might buildings can 3-d print houses—even the roof.

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