Links: The writer-obsessive, escape from the ivory tower, and more!

* On the many facets of Danielle Steel.

* A cyclical theory of subcultures.

* Argument that China “can’t” afford to invade Taiwan, which is interesting, apart from the fact that many countries that couldn’t “afford” to invade their neighbors nonetheless did so anyway. Russia can’t afford to invade Ukraine and yet has done so.

* “Why the Chair of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission Thinks The US Government Is Preventing a Real Investigation Into the Pandemic.”

* “Escape from the Ivory Tower,” which concerns the inhumanity of many humanities professors and departments. Perhaps one could links it to an article on why it is not effectively possible to write academic satires any more. You may have thought the Sokal Text affair was unfortunate, but compare it to this!

* “MeToo killed Game of Thrones; Nobody wants a sexless prequel.” Maybe: I guess we’ll see, but I think the dreary, incoherent final two seasons were the bigger problem.

* Book about the homogeneity of writing and sensibility from MFA programs.

* Good and humane essay on Philip Larkin, though with a bad title, and I admire this line: “The greatest writers will always be those who have suffered dully all the wrongs of man, and yet remain alive to a greater wisdom and beauty beyond what they could afford themselves.”

* “Hispanic Voters Are Normie Voters.” Sanity is good.

* Colleges engage in extensive price discrimination.

* “Milwaukee Tool Raises the Bar with New USA Factory.”

Links: The need for sunlight, modular homes, batteries, and more!

* “Vantem Global Builds Modular Homes Out of Energy-Efficient Panels.” They look good, and housing construction has been stubbornly resistant to efficiency improvements.

* “The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China.” Maybe we shouldn’t do that.

* “Skin exposure to UVB light induces a skin-brain-gonad axis and sexual behavior.” It’s in Cell and thus SFW.

* “Sensitivity Readers Are the New Literary Gatekeepers.” Which can’t be helping fiction sales: we used to make fun of the Soviets for insisting on doctrinaire art. Now, big publishers insist on it, which is particularly odd given the vitality of gatekeeper-free Internet writing.

* Has Technological Progress Stalled?

* A Canceled Cancellation at the University of Michigan: “The University of Michigan Medical School just took a bold stand for academic freedom.” I’ve noted many negative examples but think it useful to also cite some positive ones.

* A plan to tax the very large endowments of some universities.

* The national housing shortage is likely in the four to twenty million range.

* “Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals.” The first paragraphs are consistent with previous actions and yet still horrifying.

* “‘The Literary Mafia’ Review: People of the Book.” Jews, books, and ideas.

* An essay against Puritanism, though that’s not the title the author uses. It’s a rant.

Links: The possibility of progress, Google’s regressions, abundance, and more!

* The NYT finally figures it out: “Why It’s So Hard to Find an Affordable Apartment in New York: There simply aren’t enough places to live, a crisis decades in the making and one that poses a threat to the city’s continuing recovery.” They could’ve learned about supply and demand a few decades ago, but “late” is better than “never.” Perhaps anti-market bias led to the paper’s long-running habit of blaming anything and everything else.

* Lowercase Capital wants carbon removal and storage startups. Their call is also a decent overview of some descriptions of where things stand now. I’m a Climeworks subscriber.

* Rob K. Henderson on his experience teaching at the University of Austin, a school focused on open inquiry. That “open inquiry” is an unusual specialization today seems notable.

* “A Russian Sociologist Explains Why Putin’s War Is Going Even Worse Than It Looks.” Maybe.

* Someone on Twitter wrote something like: “Boomers spent decades prohibiting the construction of anything except single-family houses lament that they now can’t find anything but single-family houses as they try to downsize now.” Parochial zoning hurts us all, eventually.

* “He made a joke about land acknowledgements. Then the trouble began: When Professor Stuart Reges exercised his free speech rights, the University of Washington retaliated. So we’re suing the school.”

* “Why Study the History of Mathematics/Science?

* Google has good, in-house desktop Linux.

* “Apple warns suppliers to follow China rules on ‘Taiwan’ labeling.” Remember: with Apple, 1984 won’t be like 1984. No word on what’s happening in 2024.

* “The High-Stakes Race to Engineer New Psychedelic Drugs.” It appears that the purpose of the race is primarily to find patentable drugs, because those are the only ones worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars on to get them through the FDA maze.

* “Why do we so consistently underestimate progress?

* Argument that Google’s search results are now bad, which resonates with me: just now, I was trying to figure out whether there are still consistent problems with MacOS Monterey and Spotlight, and most of the results were blogspam.

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