Links: The glue tools, the nature of information, and more!

* “The Campaign to Shut Down Crucial Documentary Tool youtube-dl Continues – And So Does the Fight to Save It.” I use YouTube-dl routinely, with the “-x” option to grab audio-only.

* “Love Is Love: Workplace Edition.” With a caveat like “Self-referential warning: If this post is true, then it is not safe for work (NSFW). Otherwise, you have nothing to worry about,” how could you not be intrigued?

* Putin and the dictator trap. Information and information quality matter.

* Will China’s growth slow—and will the country never catch the U.S. in per-capita terms? Maybe. If a person predicts enough things, some of them will turn out to be true, and the others will be quietly forgotten.

* “How Intel Financialized and Lost Leadership in Semiconductor Fabrication.” Like Boeing did before them. There is a good essay on the value of in-house expertise that is congruent with this. I did see an Internet commenter observe that Intel lost leadership in semiconductors simply because they tried a bunch of stuff to continue die shrinks and none of them worked, while TSMC mastered extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, and the “financialization” aspects is secondary at best. I don’t know which view is right.

* “Why Are Scholars Such Snitches? The university bureaucracy has been hijacked for political grudge matches and personal vendettas.” Consistent with my anecdotal observations. Matt Yglesias is optimistic about higher education, while noting that the number of 18 year olds is dropping, and that likely explains much of higher ed’s challenge. I’m struck by the difference between what Internet autodidacts think about education versus what providing education to actual, normal 18 year olds feels like. * Sam Altman thinks US college education is nearer to collapse than it appears. Maybe; I’d be curious to see numbers and dates attached to that comment.

* “It’s 70 degrees warmer in Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted.” World response: indifference. There are only about 13,000 ClimeWorks subscribers. What should that tell us? In addition, consider “Climate politics for the real world,” which reflects the sort of things I’ve been saying. At the same time surveys and the media claim concern about the climate, everyone is (or rather “was”) buying trucks and SUVs. What should we infer from that?

* Why America can’t build quickly any more.

* “Petty Thieves Plague San Francisco. ‘These Last Two Years Have Been Insane.’” I’d have thought we’d already see a backlash, but not yet, apparently.

Links: Velocity, online moderation, and the fate of the future

* Some reasons to work on productivity and velocity.

* “Confessions of a Pornhub moderator.” More funny than insightful.

* “Scientific Funding Is Broken. Can Silicon Valley Fix It?

* If you dislike the behavior, consider changing the incentives. Note: “This is particularly distressing as a leftist; in 21st century America ‘the left’ has been utterly hollowed out by posturing children brandishing communist history they haven’t read and rapacious professional ‘organizers’ who sell books about poor Black people so that they can get rich enough that they never have to interact with poor Black people again.” Also from Freddie: “Sneer if You’d Like, But Engineered Solutions Are a Lot More Plausible Than Behavioral Change in 2022.” That’s what I perceive too, which is “the world as it is” rather than “the world as I’d like it to be.” Yes, it’d be nice if we quit buying massive quantities of vanity pickup trucks and SUVs, but all indicators in the last decade or more point in the opposite direction, which is why companies like ClimeWorks are so important. ClimeWorks has only 13,000 subscribers right now: what should that tell you about how serious most people who talk about climate change really are? We’re collectively reaching the stage where behavioral change solutions, like building out subways and nuclear power infrastructure, are in the past, and engineered solutions are what we’re left with. There seems to be too much “let’s imagine an ideal world” thinking and too little “with what we have, and who we have, how can we make important changes now?” thinking.

* “Time Is Running Out to Avert a Harrowing Future, Climate Panel Warns.” But hey, we don’t want to build out nuclear power infrastructure because of NIMBYs, and we’ve got pickup trucks that we need to drive to the grocery store and park. See the links immediately above as well.

* “As the Tanks Rolled into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War.” Speed counts.

* The New Yorker on ketamine for depression. Nothing new there to anyone who has followed the progression of ketamine as a therapeutic, but the venue is notable.

* “8,000 Years Ago, 17 Women Reproduced for Every One Man: An analysis of modern DNA uncovers a rough dating scene after the advent of agriculture.” How should you update any of your mental models?

* Biology and human behavior is a better title than the one given, which is overly culture war.

* Elon, SpaceX, and Ukraine. Technology changes politics more than vice-versa.

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