Links: Greatness and democracy, the nature epistemology, getting things done (or not), and more!

* “Make Blue America Great Again.”

* “Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy.” Me too.

* “Norris Numbers:” probably applies to writing too.

* “Intellectual Freedom and the Culture Wars.” Compatible with my experiences, unfortunately.

* The new Beowulf translation; if I were teaching high school students Beowulf, I’d use this one.

* From Ross Douthat: “The Case for One More Child.” I’d like to see more emphasis on land-use liberalization, but it seems sound overall.

* “The Denialist Playbook,” on the structure of spurious arguments against vaccines and other medical treatments. Why are chiropractors fonts of false health claims? Some are apparently still risking artery dissections in the neck that occur due to high-velocity movements.

* “Groupthink Has Left the Left Blind” and “Our Political System Is Unfair. Liberals Need to Just Deal With It,” both from the NYT and compatible with me in “The margins are narrow; why?” It’s funny seeing these pleas for intellectual freedom in the NYT, where the Tom Cotton op-ed got James Bennett canned; see James Bennet’s Resignation Proves the Woke Scolds Are Taking Over The New York Times for details about this unhappy event. I thought Tom Cotton wrong but also think ideas need debate.

* Beowulf, but Make It #Relevant (and Bro).

* “The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done,” which is really about the costs of email and the benefits of concentration. Cal Newport is the author, of this and of Deep Work, a favorite and recommended book.

* “Fissures in the Facade,” on China’s internal discontent, and “How One Obscure Word Captures Urban China’s Unhappiness.” If the U.S. were smart, we’d be trying to court the many smart, capable Chinese who wisely don’t want to stay in China. Instead, we’re doing the opposite. Turning people into Americans is one of our superpowers, and we should be using it. In somewhat good (?) news, “How Xi Jinping Blew It describes what appears to be China’s failure to re-make the international order while the U.S. has been leaderless at best and actively destructive at worst.

* Screed about how TV doesn’t demand attention, which is nominally a review of Emily in Paris; I’d say that, even if the prime contention is correct, then TV is returning to its previous form, and the late ’90s and ’00s were the outliers. Still, I can enjoy a solid rant.

* Against Lambda School’s placement rate claims. Doesn’t, however, I believe, deal with Lambda School’s fundamental alignment system.

* Open Street Maps is an important resource. The phone app is still not as usable as Apple or Google maps yet, in my experience, but it’s worth exploring.

* “Intellectual Freedom and the Culture Wars.” It’s interesting how, in seemingly every generation, new forces opposing free speech and free thought crop up.

* “ Revisiting March 2020: What Were Epidemiologists Thinking about Masks?

* “As internet forums die off, finding community can be harder than ever.” The centralization impulse proceeds.

* “More people with bachelor’s degrees go back to school to learn skilled trades.” This story is consistent with my own experience teaching undergrads. Too many people are doing weak undergrad degrees.

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