* “Why is everyone so boring?” A question from Robin Hanson, which implies an unusual perspective.
* This is not a good system for publishing books people want to read. Maybe it’s a good system for certain kinds of in-group signaling, but it’s a poor one for actual readers.
* If the above is not too much already about the book business, see “Anatomy of a Book Cancellation.” I appreciate both because it feels like it’s become harder and harder for me to find anything worth reading in newer books, and I’ve been trying to figure out if the fault is mostly mine. Why do I find myself reading and citing so many Substacks and so few books? These two links indicate that the problem is not primarily me but in what used to be called the intellectual world. As Nigel Bigger, the author, writes: “Why are adult senior managers in publishing houses—as in universities—so willing to indulge the illiberal clamoring of their junior colleagues?”
* Actually, vaccines remain a triumph; don’t let the media’s negativity bias convince you otherwise.
* “As a US Navy fighter pilot, I witnessed unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP).” And he says: “Objects demonstrating extreme capabilities routinely fly over our military facilities and training ranges. We don’t know what they are, and we are unable to mitigate their presence.”
* “US Cities Are Falling Out of Love With the Parking Lot: California and many local governments are scrapping requirements that once made cars the center of the urban landscape.” If self-driving cars are almost “here”—and they might be—we won’t need many parking spaces.
* Argument that the nuclear power industry is the problem, not the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Not convinced, but it is an argument. And, also, an unlikely argument that we’re at the dawn of nuclear energy abundance.
* “The Approaching Disintegration of Academia,” according to one writer, who ignores that many of the problems cited go back decades, and yet the system grinds onwards, protected and cosseted by a web of regulations and subsidies.
* Is woke-ism winding down? I prefer the question framing to the statement framing.
* On declining construction productivity.
* Some schools are banning smartphones. Smart.