Links: Using money better, electing people better, understanding reality better, and more!

* “How the US Can Stop Wasting Billions of Dollars on Each Transit Project.” Speaking of that, San Francisco’s Central Subway opens today, after 13 years of active construction and around $1.6 billion spent to extend the subway 1.7 miles. At those prices and speeds, we’re never going to get substantial, desperately needed infrastructure improvements.

* “The plan to save America by killing the partisan primary.” Good.

* Taiwan prepares to be invaded. And, along the same lines: “Why Japan Is Gearing Up for Possible War With China” (Bloomberg). If we build and acquire warfighting gear using the same principles we use to build subways, we’re going to have real, big problems. There are people working on this problem, but, with the Dept. of Defense being the only major prospective client, much depends on that client.

* “Democrats’ Long Goodbye to the Working Class.” Which seems bad.

* “How Australia became the world’s greatest lithium supplier.” Many people wrongly project lithium shortages by looking at existing, proven lithium reserves, while not attending to the fact that higher lithium prices drive more exploration, and make previously uneconomical lithium sites economical.

* What you hear about “Meta” (the company that used to be called “Facebook”) may not align with reality. The company’s share price is down, but much of what you’ve read is a continuation of the bogus media takes that spun up in November 2016. Notice that my post is from 2018. I personally am not a big user of Facebook products, including Instagram, but the media view on them has been consistently wrong for six years.

* An overview of concrete forming technology.

* Are the twin woke and MAGA fevers breaking? One hopes.

* An essay on Colette. I started a few of her novels and found them boring, and likely to be of chiefly historical interest.

Links: The ills facing “creative” writing, medical news, chips and China, and more!

* “Who killed creative writing?” is the title, but also, notice this: “I have known several published authors who, struggling on the midlist in mid-career, have gone back and gotten MFAs for the sole purpose of securing a teaching job. These authors had often published multiple books and been celebrated in their time.” The economic basis for writing books, which has always had its challenges, is perhaps weaker than ever.

* Why don’t doctors study the clitoris? From the NYT.

* Human challenge trials are a good idea.

* “Was Jack Welch the Greatest C.E.O. of His Day—or the Worst?” A story reminiscent of the ones about the guys from McDonnell Douglas who financialized Boeing and destroyed a great company in the process.

* We should have COVID nasal vaccines.

* Actual mental illness is not a meme.

* Chips and China. Also: “How China Lost America,” which is a framing one doesn’t see much, but perhaps should.

* “Nobody Seems to Have an Answer for Propaganda Posing as Local News.” Which is another way of saying: “No one has a way to make local news make money.” And that’s been true for at least a decade, and likely longer.

* Philip Roth and American manhood. Not exactly how I’d frame it, but more interesting than the usual.

* “China’s weapons acquisition cycle 5-6x faster than the United States — ‘We are going to lose’ if we don’t change.” Speed matters.

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