* “I’ve bludgeoned you with statistics in order to make a point: Pessimism about our future is unwarranted.” And, also: “If there is one lesson from the events of the past year, it is that open societies such as ours have an ability to adapt in a way that closed societies simply do not.” We have advantages and it seems that freaking out about what’s happening enables us to course-correct—which is one of those advantages. Did you know there’s an RSV vaccine from Moderna that appears to work—as do several other vaccines? Next winter’s respiratory virus season may be considerably better than this winter’s, and that’s great.
* “U.S. Moves to Bar Noncompete Agreements in Labor Contracts.” One of these very important policies that, like zoning reform, seems boring but is actually vital. It’s also consistent with the “optimism about the future” point, above.
* “The Truth about Demographic Decline:” most people want more kids than they feel they can afford to have. This is another instance of exclusionary American housing policy creating scarcity in many domains, including this one.
* “Exxon made ‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s: Oil company drove some of the leading science of the era only to publicly dismiss global heating.” We’ve had a pretty good idea that what has happened, would happen, and yet there’s a lot of chaff and dishonesty in the intellectual air.
* Battery-powered appliances sound very good. I have an (expensive) Breville induction stovetop that plugs into a standard 120V socket and it’s amazing. The gas stovetops are now essentially unused. The induction stove is so much faster than a gas stove, and I can’t imagine many people going back to gas, if they don’t have to. The culture-war stuff around these issues is mostly stupid. Focus on cooking, not signaling.
* “The energy crisis and Europe’s astonishing luck.” We’ll know more countries are serious when they break ground on nuclear reactors.
* Epistemological arguments about what “lying” is, among other interesting things.
* “So much of popular culture now offers a quite unexciting vision of what your mind and language might be capable of. I found [John Dunne] a brilliant antidote to that, a bulwark against a kind of anti-intellectualism.”
* “How DEI Is Supplanting Truth as the Mission of American Universities.” Depressing and detailed. Then again, regarding the link immediately above, it says: So much of popular culture now offers a quite unexciting vision of what your mind and language might be capable of.” It seems one could say something similar of universities today, but now people who are interested in what the mind and language might be capable of can find each other online, which wasn’t true not so long ago. Universities used to be among the few places one could find people interested in ideas. Here are some ideas about improving the climate in universities.