Links: The need to build, the need for leadership, book banning, and more!

* “The New Numbers on [New] Music Consumption Are Very Ugly.” Perhaps calling it “music consumption” is also ugly, relative to “listening to music?” Plus, music is not really “consumed:” it remains after it’s listened to.

* Argument that Twitter and social media aren’t the real problems bedeviling institutions. Not exactly my view—I’m closer to Haidt, I think—but interesting.

* Why can’t America build passenger trains? But, in good news, we may see NEPA reforms in the fall, which are likely necessary if we’re going to build the stuff we need.

* “College financial aid is a sham based on what colleges think families will pay.” Obvious, and yet not widely acknowledged as such. It does seem like more people that there is a lot of paying for the party and other kinds of problems going on in higher ed.

* On the global leadership deficit.

* “Corporate wokeness keeps falling short when it comes to China.”

* “Florida started penalizing bureaucratic delay. Housing permits spiked.” Some states are serious about human flourishing and livability; some aren’t. Rhetoric and reality often differ, too.

* An argument that the Russian economy is imploding.

* “Is It Worse to Ban a Book, or Never Publish It?” Which links notably to “The Many Faces of Literary Censorship: Censoriousness on the left increasingly joins moral panic on the right.” But, that said, I think the simple issue is that publishing books is being pushed aside by social media, a secular process that doesn’t seem to be slowing.

* Is everything—that is, everyone—getting old? Note:

There is one last possibility: that part of what we’re seeing is measurement error. If actors are getting older and the music we listen to is getting older, it may be because TikTok stars, Twitch streamers, and Roblox creators aren’t being counted among entertainers, even if they have a similar-sized audience. One thing that drags down the average age of Fortune 500 executives is when tech startups with young founders go public, but many of those startups don’t have the revenue to qualify for the Fortune 500, even if their market cap puts them in the S&P.

Some fields are rife with change and activity, while others are bureaucratic and sclerotic. I’m struck by how, for example, Robert Maynard Hutchins became the president of the University of Chicago at age 29 (don’t worry, this didn’t happen recently). Today, startups and tech seem to be the only places that judge on merit first and age later, if at all.

* Some peculiarities in a Dept. of Energy funding announcement, which is probably not of interest to most of you but may be to a few.

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