Links: Early work, some election talk, some privacy talk, deep thinking, and more!

* Paul Graham on early work: highly relevant to artists, too.

* The psychedelic election.

* Moxie Marlinspike and Signal. The number of people who care about privacy seems very small, but not zero, and Signal seems to convenience.

* “America Is Having a Moral Convulsion: Levels of trust in this country—in our institutions, in our politics, and in one another—are in precipitous decline. And when social trust collapses, nations fail. Can we get it back before it’s too late?” An important essay that I think under-emphasizes two important trends: legally-imposed housing scarcity and the student-loan racket. The former is important because it raises the cost of almost every household’s largest expense. The latter distorts incentives and ensures that colleges and universities get paid regardless of the quality of the product or the outcome of the customer. Yet both can be changed, if enough voters want them changed: we look for the villain, thrashing about angrily in the search, until we find a mirror, and see that the villain is us. Remember that the voter turnout rate 18 – 29 is about half that of people 60+, a consistent trend that ought to be further emphasized.

* Is geothermal energy happening? My impression is, or was, that only particular geologies are suited to geothermal energy, which limits its appeal. The fall in gas prices is interesting, though: I’ve worked on grant projects related to oil and gas companies deploying fracking and related technologies to geothermal power. If gas prices stay low, the temptation to shift towards geothermal, or least balance portfolios, will rise.

* Tyrants hate a plague.

* “Reopen the American Mind: In the midst of an existential crisis for higher education, is it even reasonable to expect the humanities to survive?” I’m surprised to see this argument in this venue, and The Closing of the American Mind is weird and dated in some ways (the jeremiad against rock music, for example), but, as the writers note, it’s prescient in others.

* “What to Do About Xinjiang:” an unusually substantive essay.

* “Is Deep Thinking Incompatible With an Academic Career?” On

* “I am an Uighur who faced China’s concentration camps.” See above regarding Xinjiang. Are you paying attention to the genocide?

* Seriously considering going back to desktop computers, for reasons of privacy, fairness, and security. Granted, I’m writing this on an iMac, which is not as open or secure as many other choices, like the cited System76 boxes. What’s the state of Linux desktop search, I wonder?

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