Links: The nature of stories and loneliness, and more!

* “You should have kids,” says Richard Hanania, in what may be a contrarian take, at least among intellectuals or “intellectuals.”

* “The Red Pill Prince: How computer programmer Curtis Yarvin became America’s most controversial political theorist.” The article isn’t a takedown, apart from the extent to which Yarvin’s ideas take themselves down. I’ve observed that social media seems to allow people to write or film their own fiction, disguised as “fact,” and he seems to be doing that; apart from the history of individuals ruling countries showing that such a structure works poorly at best over time, the present Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates neatly the way monarchy doesn’t work. Yarvin has a story, composed partly from facts and partly from fancy, and the story is compelling enough to spread, but “compelling enough to spread” is not the same as “correct.”

* “How Everyone Got So Lonely: The recent decline in rates of sexual activity has been attributed variously to sexism, neoliberalism, and women’s increased economic independence. How fair are those claims—and will we be saved by the advent of the sex robot?” It’s interesting and peculiar to me, the extent to which the school system and parents misallocated emphasis regarding particularly important skills, like the ability to relate to and get along with other people.

* “Hollywood Has No Idea What to Do With the Erotic Thriller: Streamers are struggling to reboot a genre that died too young.” I tried watching Deep Water, and it was incoherent; I’d try to start with basic coherence, plot, and character. It’s also hard to be both woke and transgressive. Pick one!

* “The Horror of Bucha: Russian invaders are now treating the entirety of the Ukrainian population as combatants, as dirt to be cleansed.” We’re paying the cost of failing to build out nuclear energy over the last 20 years: we’ve been funding evil petro states, from Saudi Arabia to Russia.

* “By Any Other Name: The story of my transition and detransition.” Sad, and perhaps common. The writer, “Helena,” says that she wore “Joggers, basketball shorts, and hoodies. Ugh, I cringe just thinking about it. So not my style, but I wanted people to think I was a boy. I believed once the testosterone transformed my body, I could be more creative with my outfits.” The number of men who are interested in being “more creative with [their] outfits” seems not to be large. The degree to which Reddit and Tumblr provide medical and life advice is scary; she seems to have been someone who didn’t know enough to know how little she knew, or how little those around her knew.

* In academia, supply and demand win yet again! I wrote about this dynamic back in 2016.

* “Once Again, Environmentalists Are Sabotaging Climate Progress.”

* Beans are good.

* Open.ai’s DALL•E 2 art generator is amazing. Is AI really happening?

* “Scott Alexander on Dictator Book Club: Xi Jinping.”

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