Links: Writers and media, private-school hypocrisies, the fear of ideas, and more!

* “Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene:” Detailed, hilarious, amazing.

* “Beware of Books! A new moralism is gripping the literary world, treating grownups like children.” I’m surprised more writers don’t decide to market themselves as “the writer they don’t want you to read.” It’s also possible that the most interesting material is being self-published, leaving the big publishers with conformism.

* “Hackers, Mason Jars, and the Psychedelic Science of DIY Shrooms.”

* The Dr. Seuss thing is really about bad and over long copyright, which is probably a better framing than the usual. t

* Moore’s Law for everything, by Sam Altman, a very useful and interesting piece, but, as often happens, I’m struck by the fact that we can’t really get to some of the low-hanging fruit today, like dramatically liberalizing zoning laws. We could have a much less expensive world right now, but we don’t, for purely legal and political reasons. Let me also lay out a slightly pessimistic case: AI continues to do cool things at the margins, yet, like nuclear fusion power plants, it’s always a few years away from transformative effects. We keep getting it almost working right, but not quite getting there, and so the true transformative potential is much further out than appears right now. I’d like Sam’s vision to be the correct one.

* Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals, from 2015 but anticipates the last six years.

* “‘We’re going to lose fast’: U.S. Air Force held a war game that started with a Chinese biological attack.” Notice: “[T]he Pentagon was largely distracted fighting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for two decades.” Let’s hope the saber rattling remains saber rattling. But, also, “European countries send warships to South China Sea in Beijing pushback.” So who knows? Let’s not find out.

* Bryan Caplan on social desirability bias (SDB) and other matters.

* “Oregon Is Blazing a Psychedelic Trail: A very promising mental health experiment is taking shape in the West.”

* “Measuring Teaching Quality Higher Education.”

* Scenius, or Communal Genius.

* “The Substack controversy’s bigger story.” Also, in separate Substack news: “Writers who can command a paying audience have heretofore been significantly underpaid. That points to the real reason why the media has reason to fear Substack: it’s not that Substack will compete with existing publications for their best writers, but rather that Substack makes it easy for the best writers to discover their actual market value.”

Links: What’s happening with colleges, with China, with class, and with secrets

* Symbolic Gestures Won’t Advance Social Equity: What wealthy colleges could do if they actually cared about helping the poor. In general, the amount of verbiage that is virtue signaling, versus the amount of concrete action, should be noted.

* Apple works with China—but not the FBI.

* “A Modest Proposal For Republicans: Use The Word ‘Class.’” An interesting idea but most vitally an interesting diagnosis.

* “Sex Tapes, Hush Money, and Hollywood’s Economy of Secrets.” Not on precisely the same subject, but “Nude selfies: are they now art?” also appeared, and is primarily interesting for the venue in which it’s published.

* Longfellow and the Decline of American Poetry.

* “The Upzoning Wave Finally Catches Up to California.” Great news that deserves greater attention.

* Well-done review of the new Philip Roth biography, which avoids lots of the typical boring stuff. I still think Roth has lots of excellent sentences but his novels are under-plotted and often dull for that reason. I used to like them better.

* “Howling in Unison: A new book detailing the psychic conflicts in the Soviet Writers’ Union is a cautionary tale as much as a remarkable history.”

* “Is This the End of French Intellectual Life? The country’s culture of argument has come under the sway of a more ideological, more identity-focused model imported from the United States.” Is the United States per se the problem, or is it something about the Internet itself?

* Have universities abandoned their commitment to free thought and the exchange of ideas? See also Academic Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to free thought and expression.

* “On Being Blacklisted.”

* “What Is Happening to the Republicans?” Detailed and not stupid.

* Everyone Is Beautiful and No One Is Horny.

* “As Mushrooms Grow in Popularity, a Radical Mycology Movement is Emerging: In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms explores fungi’s role in nutrition, food security, ecological healing, and medicinal sovereignty.”

* Google’s new certificate programs and the college degree.

Links: Extreme vaccine success, the change in stance towards nuclear power, modern censorship, and more!

* Israeli vaccination data shows the mRNA vaccines perform incredibly well. The end is in sight.

* “I Tracked Down The Girls Who Bullied Me As A Kid. Here’s What They Had To Say.” If I taught high school I’d assign this essay to students.

* “The Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power,” in the New Yorker, and perhaps the canonical-but-accessible article on this subject for the skeptical. Michael Shellenberger is good on Twitter, too. This is perhaps indicative of modern culture and problems: “Nuclear power was associated with radiation, which, like pesticides, could threaten that web.” The phrase “associated with:” we’re thinking about metaphor, not about data.

* Description of parent pushing back against “critical race theory” (CRT) in their kid’s school.

* On how campus administrators push universities to act like corporations, among other things. Thefire.org has many interesting takes on culture and academia.

* “The cultural ‘myths’ that affect parenting:” not a great title and some flaws, but overall compatible with The Anthropology of Childhood.

* On the peculiarities of modern censorship culture, but also the history of censorship.

* “Story Time With Titania McGrath,” extremely amusing.

* The Guardian‘s middlebrow take on “sending nudes.”

* The Framework laptop: a truly modular and modern laptop, it would seem, although I’d think they should offer it pre-installed with Linux. Maybe their contract with Microsoft forbids that. Still, an admirable effort.

* “Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State.” And yet widespread condemnation of Disney and others remains curiously absent, almost as if parochial concerns suck up much of the cultural air in the U.S.

* “The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages:” “one hopes,” I would add, but I’m not sure the argument is true.

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