Links: Carbon removal, the boomer world, the nature of free speech and thought, and more!

* “Charm Delivers Stripe’s Carbon Removal Purchase Ahead-of-Schedule.” One of these stories that might turn out to be hugely important but that aren’t widely foregrounded.

* How might we react to definitive proof of alien intelligent life? Our reaction might be muted, if it continues to be somewhat plausibly deniable radar and infrared footage, or perhaps some decades-old alien craft material. Most people’s problems are immediate and concrete, and they’re not going to be alleviated by this news.

* “Millennials are stuck in the world boomers built: The conservative case against the baby boomers.” Someone who takes the rise of TV and decline of print literacy seriously: “One thing I did in the research for this book was to go back and read all of the doomsayers at the time of the TV revolution who said that raising a generation glued to their screens was going to scramble their brains and make them stupid. [. . .] I think most of their dire predictions have been vindicated.” “Twilight of the Books” is great, it came out in 2007, and I don’t think I’ve seen it, or some of its main ideas, cited since.

* “The Disintegration of the ACLU,” something that I have, sadly, noticed: I’m not a member any more.

* “The Gatekeeper: Krugman’s Conversion,” a title that doesn’t do justice to this article about many topics of interest in the last 30 years.

* “Why a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a catastrophe for China and the world.” That said, World Wars I & II were both highly preventable catastrophes that occurred anyway, and China is now ruled by a single dictator who can dictate its invasion policies. There are differences and history doesn’t repeat itself, but the similarities should worry us, as should the intrinsic brittleness of a single, flawed person with so much consolidated power.

* How people get rich now, by Paul Graham.

* “Why has no one made a better Goodreads:” a point annoying for being possibly true.

* “It’s Time To Translate Shakespeare—Into Contemporary English.” Strongly agree.

* Maybe the things that appear to be UFOs, are just drones and blimps. On the other hand, some of the eye-witness reporting by pilots would presumably not be susceptible to such misinterpretation. See also the piece above about how we might react to definitive proof of aliens.

* On Ari Emmanuel, inspiration for Entourage character Ari Gold.

* Why are many institutions and businesses leaning left, even as the population as a whole is fairly balanced? A more interesting-than-typical answer.

* What went wrong in Game of Thrones, and how what went wrong led to the show’s disappearance from the culture.

* “1969 vs. 2021,” some highlights: “it was easy to be pro free speech when it was hard for extremists to get control of a newspaper or a TV station. It turns out that a more democratized media environment has a lot of people longing for central control and suppression” and “I think that in 2020, just as in 1968, the public longed for a lowering of the political temperature.”

* Ross Douthat on “The Two Crises of Conservatism,” which seems accurate to me; that said, one could have written a similar essay in pretty much any of the last five years.

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