Links: The electric scooter, the comfort college, stamina succeeds?, and more

* “The rise of the electric scooter.” Which is awesome and underrated in the media.

* The rise of the comfort college. Depressing and consistent with my classroom experiences. Strangely, the New York Times Book Review just published a letter to the editor on related subjects.

* Does poetry have street cred? Does it just need to focus on being more structured and less boring?

* Are too many people going to college? It’s strange that these ideas aren’t also more common.

* Apple stacked the app store with its own products. If there’s a monopoly problem in tech companies right now, it’s almost certainly with Apple, not with the usual suspects.

* “The One Thing No Israeli Wants to Discuss.” The contemporary discourse around the Middle East is frequently missing precisely this history—it’s as if someone is trying to understand some aspects of contemporary American politics without mentioning 9/11.

* Universities say they want strong academics and diversity, but they really want rich kids. I can only say that I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this cafe.

* Stamina succeeds?

* Why industry is quietly going green. Amusing and counterintuitive.

* “Malaria breakthrough as scientists find ‘highly effective’ way to kill parasite.” This is likely to be bigger news than anything else you read this month, if it’s true.

* Food innovation news.

* “Why Are American Homes So Big?” A lot of them are too big and located in the wrong places.

* The rush from judgment. Views rarely heard, except sometimes from Bryan Caplan.

Links: Real-life rules, active learning, Germans and nudity, group novels, and more!

* “Why It’s So Hard for Young People to Date Offline.” Where there is a shortage, there is an opportunity.

* Active learning works, but students don’t like it. Matches my anecdotal experiences in teaching.

* “Camille Paglia: A Feminist Capitalist Professor Under Fire .”

* Literary prizes, sales, and popularity, somewhat quantified.

* “When Did College Turn So Cruel?

* Germans like nudity. Nudism nudity.

* Can you write a novel as a group? I don’t see why not. This is also not related to the group issues in the link immediately above.

* Bicycles can help save the planet and improve our cities.

* “‘Father Is Surgeon,’ ‘1 Mil Pledge’: The Role of Money in USC Admissions: Emails in college admissions cheating scandal show the role donations played in decisions to accept students.” This one has a lot of comeuppance and schadenfreude. One lawyer “in the admissions-cheating scheme has argued that parents donated to USC as part of a standard admissions practice that was actively encouraged by USC.” Seems really plausible to me: the whole thing reads a bit like the mafia being pissed off that amateurs are elbowing into its turf, or a branch of government elbowing into the mafia’s turf. There’s just so much comedy in this story. Remember the link about how did (some parts of) the college system become so cruel? This is part of the story, and it’s a story about the behavior of the schools themselves.

* Walter Mosley on quitting the writers room. Has one of the great all-time lines in it.

* “How ancient poetry can revitalise our erotic imaginations.” Maybe.

* Edward Luttwak from 1994: “Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future.” Had I read this ten years ago I would have found it absurd. No longer.

* Room with a viewer: How TV became president. Most of the blame on Facebook and other Internet platforms seems misguided, relative to the importance of plain old TV.

Links: Satellite internet, epistemology many ways, the penny-book business, Houellebecq, and more!

* Satellite Internet companies could save consumers $30 billion per year. Seems optimistic, as terrestrial companies will have to drop their prices, but competition is always welcomed.

* “The Info War of All Against All.” The re-litigating of epistemology is an interesting effect of the Internet.

* “The Provocations of Camille Paglia,” which is an overview of her work.

* “Secret Memos Show the Government Has Been Lying About Backpage.” You can trust the government.

* A penny for your books. From 2015 and still charming.

* Please add RSS support to your site, if it’s not got it already. There is much bleating online about privacy, platform diversity, etc., and little action towards improvement. This is a concrete action step that can be taken.

* “Michel Houellebecq, France’s Master Of ‘Materialist Horror’.” A better title than it sounds. I’m reading Rene Girard and keep thinking of Houellebecq.

* “How to review a novel.” Some fine points, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the reviews that are intelligent, but also personal and idiosyncratic. Many reviews manage to do the one or the other.

* A history of the “political” novel. Most sad but accurate is the second half of the essay, which discusses how the novel’s loss of centrality to the culture also means politicians (correctly) don’t feel they need to respond to novels. I have been annoying my literary friends by pointing out that decades of Philip Roth’s humanist and often political novels have brought us to McConnell-Trump—although this point would have scanned differently in 2011.

* Why housing is so expensive, from an unusual source.

* “What Happens When You Don’t Pay a Hospital Bill.” It’s astounding to me that we don’t better and further regulate hospital biling practices.

* Flight Shame: The Climate Hazards of Air Travel.

* “‘The Great Scattering’: How Identity Panic Took Root in the Void Once Occupied by Family Life.”

* Progress Studies, Some Initial Thoughts.

* Is Life Worth Living After 75? Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel Doctor Says No.

* The long-forgotten history of how carmakers invented jaywalking, and in the process stole the streets from humans.

Links: The summer of grammar, keep your politics/religion to yourself, epistemology many ways, and more!

* The long hot summer of grammar. My kind of summar. Summer, I meant; the spelling may be weak, but the grammar goes on.

* Woman spends tens of thousands of dollars getting an MFA: “I’m Emptying My Bank Account to Go to Columbia.” It would be a decent idea to teach financial literacy in school, including the “follow the money” principle.

* Google Doesn’t Want Staff Debating Politics at Work Anymore. Personally, I can’t imagine why.

* How the great truth dawned. On Russians, literature, religion, and other ideas of interest. Probably can’t be digested in a single reading, and that’s a positive.

* Analyzing Trinitite: A (Radioactive) Piece of Nuclear History.

* “Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder: Our willingness to share content without thinking is exploited to spread disinformation.”

* “Bureaucrats Put the Squeeze on College Newspapers: The corporatization of higher education has rendered a once-indispensable part of student life irrelevant, right when it’s needed the most.”

* The neo-puritan revival. A weird trend to my thinking.

* Perhaps related to the link immediately above, “‘Luxury beliefs’ are the latest status symbol for rich Americans

* The info war of all against all.

* “ Standing Up to the Moral Outrage Industry: What we can learn from how Yale handled Sarah Braasch and the ‘napping while black’ incident.” I’d also note that there’s usually something amiss with someone who is a 44-year-old graduate student.

* “Software was eating the world — now landlords are eating everything.” We can more easily change laws than develop technology that doesn’t yet exist, however.

* The long game of research.It’s easy to forget how hard knowing things really is, especially in the immediate gratification attention economy.

Links: Childhood’s nature, life science progress, the culture of culture, the comedy of WeWork, and more!

* “We Have Ruined Childhood: For youngsters these days, an hour of free play is like a drop of water in the desert. Of course they’re miserable.” Freedom itself is weirdly out of fashion today, it seems.

* “How Life Sciences Actually Work.” Much more interesting, detailed, and important than you think from the headline.

* Once Upon a Time…Film Critics Became Joyless—A Review. This is me on Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

* Sources of sex appeal that have some basis in the literature, although I would want to carefully check the methodology and reproducibility of all those studies before drawing any real conclusions.

* Land of the free, on the history of American nudism. Not prurient, if that is important to you.

* WeWork appears to be a comically bad business, as a potential investment.

* “American cities need to phase out cars.” More of the obvious.

* Why is Joe Rogan so popular? Better than a lot of the commentary on the subject, but still missing important pieces.

* Seattle rents drop as housing supply substantially rises.

* “The answer to ‘Will you mentor me?’ is no.” See also me on these subjects. Stephen Wolfram also has thoughts.

* How the Daguerreotype Started a Victorian Black Market for Pornography in London.

* How ancient poetry can revitalise our erotic imaginations.

* Even Columbia can’t get its English PhDs gigs.

Links: How to put more money in people’s pockets, on reading, beauty in books, and more!

* Reforming Land Use Regulations. This is one way to put more money in your pocket.

* “Evidence increases for reading on paper instead of screens.” This is not the final word, but it may sway those of you who are debating whether you should ban screens from class, or whether you should hold class in person or online.

* Can small-scale nuclear fusion reactors work?

* Megan McArdle on the absurdities of “affirmative consent.”

* “Survey: Americans have more confidence in Amazon than government or press.” Observation: delivering packages and web services is difficult but also conceptually simpler than epistemology, and arguably the press is delivering epistemology, even though no one says as much. As for government, expectations seem unreasonably high, but, also, we need to work much harder at figuring out why infrastructure is so damn expensive. If most cities could reliably build subways at Nordic costs we’d all love “the government,” or at least local government.

* Re: the above, see also Tyler Cowen’s Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.

* How ‘safety first’ ethos is destabilizing US society.

* O Oberlin, My Oberlin. On the recent scandal. See also Big Business and that article about trust in Amazon from a few links above.

* The population bust.

* “The battle cry of the politically homeless: Anyone moderate with a brain and anything to lose has largely gone silent.”

* “Are Health Administrators To Blame?“, for either high health care costs or high education costs? Doesn’t look like it, though that’s a popular narrative, for obvious reasons. And there are lots of unsourced, attractive-looking graphs on the Internet that blame administrators.

* “In praise of pretty books.” Agreed, and the Thor Power Tools decision is why we have so few pretty books today. As I understand the situation, prior to Thor, publishers could print up a bunch of books and take some kind of depreciation deduction as they sat around in warehouses. Now, publishers apparently can’t do that, so publishers are strongly incented to sell everything they can in a given year. Consequently, cheap books become more attractive.

* Is line editing a lost art? No.

Links: English in Europe, social media in America, the nature of language, and more!

* “America’s social-media addiction is getting worse.” No word on America’s novel-reading addiction.

* Relatedly, “The Last Great American Novelist: Toni Morrison and the fate of fiction in an age of distraction.”

* “Death of the Neighborhood Bar.” See also me on The Great Good Place — Roy Oldenburg. Most regulators don’t seem to think about social connection and fabric, or the connection of both to licensure.

* “Don’t Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari review – the truth about language.” Annoyingly, this one won’t be published in the U.S. until January. Pre-ordered.

* “Copenhagen has taken bicycle commuting to a whole new level.” I’m jealous of their clean air and pleasant streets.

* The Suicides in South Korea, and the Suicide of South Korea.

* “Do You Want My Garbage?” “There is a fine line between respecting others’ right to their bad taste, and opting to participate in it.”

* “The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech.” Lots of things I suspect are incorrect in this one, but the takeaway may be that Yale seems like an unpleasant place to be. So why not go somewhere else, somewhere that is not consumed with bizarre status rituals? Unless you’re on scholarship, in which case it’s likely worth putting up with.

* “As Student Debt Rises, Teens Are Rethinking the College Experience.” Lots of anecdote, little data.

* Big Money Starts to Dump Stocks That Pose Climate Risks.

* Amazon and publishing. None of the other players did anything about this and none of them have the technical teams, experience, or culture to match Amazon. This is another example of software eating the world.

* Was email a mistake? On synchronous vs asynchronous communication and many other topics. I may put this one in my email signature.

* The Power of a Community College.

* “Why solar and wind aren’t enough.” The only plausible energy source compatible with global climate change is nuclear.

* “Parlez-Vous Anglais? Yes, of Course. Europeans speaking perfect English sounds like good news for native speakers, but it may also be a threat.” Good news, says I. And if we can’t compete with their English BA courses, we deserve to lose.

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