Links: Writing before money, education and AI, the long game, and more!

* “Out to lunch,” a report on what being a write was like before anyone had any money: “Big money entered the British book world some years later, an American intrusion that upended the business – indeed turned it from the break-even passion of tweedy, literature-loving, mostly older men [. . .] into an enterprise dominated by accountants. Until then book writing was, with a few exceptions, small-scale and poorly paid. Publishing was not the corporate scheme Americans eventually made it, but still the cottage industry it had always been.” Maybe book publishing is going back to that. Maybe book publishing is already back to a version of that.

* “The future of education in a world of AI.”

* Are colleges finally re-discovering the virtues of free speech?

* “The Left, TikTok, and the World’s Biggest Police State.” I don’t think I’ve seen any good arguments, anywhere, for letting TikTok continue to operate in the U.S. under its current model. In addition, TikTok has major network effects but its core mechanics can be trivially copied (and already seem to have been, in the form of YouTube Shorts, Instagram’s Reels, and so forth).

* “US could soon approve MDMA therapy — opening an era of psychedelic medicine.” Better late than never. Banning MDMA by making it a Schedule I drug was a mistake when it happened and continues to be a mistake, and one that makes millions of people pay the price of our collective folly.

* “I personally named my house and business after Silmarillion references – I would have named my car after one, but I learned my friend had named her car after it first, and that Steven Colbert had also named his car after it, and it would be weird to have all these cars named ‘Vingilótë’ driving around. At this point I backed off.” Would it be weird, or too weird? From “Contra Kriss On Nerds And Hipsters.”

* Why aren’t we taking every Chinese refugee we can? Questions that should be more often asked.

* CATL claims mass production breakthrough of cells with 500 Wh/kg. I’d put a “maybe” on this one, but CATL is a real company, not a random research lab or a tiny company that’s big on press releases. If this turns out to be true, and the price reasonable, and there aren’t other gotchas, it’s a hugely important breakthrough.

* Rice cookers are great, underrated kitchen gadgets. I use mine all the time.

* “The Forgotten Drug Trips of the Nineteenth Century: Long before the hippies, a group of thinkers used substances like cocaine, hashish, and nitrous oxide to uncover the secrets of the mind.” The human fondness for intoxicating substances seems nearly infinite. I’ve been reading the book and it is perhaps too detailed, especially regarding Freud (material about him may simply be available), but it’s also good, interesting, and forgotten.

* Data > anecdote

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