Links: The dating / casual sex “apocalypse,” Scandimania!, photography, technology, cameras, and more

* “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse,'” and, already, the first rebuttal. The lack of the words “revealed preferences” in the first article is revealing about the writer’s priors. I read “Dating Apocalypse” as comedy.

* Stop the Scandimania: Nordic nations aren’t the utopias they’re made out to be.

* Interview with Stephen Wolfram on AI and the future, interesting throughout, note especially this:

One of the things I was realizing recently—one of the bad scenarios, for me, looked at from my current parochial point of view—is maybe the future of humanity is people playing video games all the time and living in virtual worlds. One of the things that I then realized, as a sobering thought: looked at from 200 years ago, much of what we do today would look like playing video games, as in, it’s a thing whose end, whose goal, is something almost intrinsic to the thing itself, and it doesn’t seem related to—it’s like, why would somebody care about that? It seems like a thing which is just taking time and putting in effort; proving mathematical theorems, why would people care about that? Why would people care to use endless social media apps, and so on, and why would people care to play Angry Birds?

* Similar to the above: “The Next Wave,” on the end of Moore’s Law, its implications for science and everyone, and much more. The most important recent link I’ve posted, though admittedly not as funny as the “Dating Apocalypse” link.

* “The Suicide of the Liberal Arts;” maybe, though I’ve never found The Iliad compelling.

* That’s Not Funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke.

* “Sony a7R II: A Brief Review,” though this camera is far too expensive for normal people. Normal people are better served by Sony’s a6000. Whoever names and markets cameras should be fired: everything about the naming conventions is a confusing hodgepodge.

* “The age of loneliness is killing us;” overly polemical in my view and yet I see the trends described in my own life and my family’s life.

The inequality that matters II: Why does dating in Seattle get left out?

In “Amazon is killing my sex life: The tech boom in Seattle is bringing in droves of successful, straight single guys — all of them insufferable,” Tricia Romano writes about how she “wasn’t going to be able to get it up for a boring tech dude” and says that “as Amazon grows, the number of (boring) men grows too.” In Palo Alto, men “had money, but they were boring.” Meanwhile, “On the dates, they flash money around.” By now you sense a theme. In Romano’s narrative—which I don’t entirely buy, but let’s roll with it—these guys could make an effectively infinite amount of money and that money in her view wouldn’t improve their dating prospects. They are yuppie losers to a refined writerly sensibility.

Romano doesn’t make an interesting connection to national income inequality. By now much of that argument is well-known, and Piketty’s Capital is one surprisingly famous take, though I am a bleacher skeptic. Still, there is a lot of media noise around income inequality, perhaps in part because media people tend to congregate in very expensive cities like New York and L.A., where making six figures can feel genuinely middle class and where the proximity to the stupendously wealthy invites invidious comparisons.

Nonetheless, Romano’s article should be required reading for anyone who writes about or inveighs against inequality in purely financial terms. In the U.S. there are many different status ladders and finance is only one. For many, like Romano, it’s not even the most important one.

Income is not the only thing that one can choose to optimize and indeed of the guys I know the ones who get or seem to get more / better women tend not to be the richest. Artists or the artistically inclined tend to have lower income but higher-seeming satisfaction. The “seeming” qualifications are important because it’s hard to tell from the outside what someone really feels, but in the absence of better measures I tend to accept what appears on the surface.

Elliott Rodger, the guy who murdered half a dozen people at UCSB, apparently “Led A Life Of Luxury” but still felt like he couldn’t get laid. Clearly there were many things wrong with Rodger, but money did not alleviate those things. He was on the right side of monetary inequality and the wrong side of dating inequality.

I don’t have a major point in this except to note that there is a (media) obsession with income inequality. That obsession tends to gloss other status ladders and other things people value. Some kinds status can also convert into money: certain kinds of fame, for example. Attractive women can earn supernormal wages through stripping or prostitution; I’m not arguing those are desirable life choices but they are viable options for some people and not others. There are still some strength- and endurance-based jobs that guys find within reach—think commercial fishing and fracking.

I’m focusing on sex in this post but that is merely a salient one and there are others, like academia. Romano probably values being a writer more than making a lot of money. In “Taxing a Professor’s Privilege,” Megan McArdle writes about how job guarantees are financially valuable even if that value isn’t traditionally measured in dollars (she also wrote the post that gave this post its title: “The Inequality That Matters“).

If those guys Romano dated imbibed the messages that a) their earnings matter tremendously to women and that b) being at the top of the financial heap matters most, then they’ve presumably misallocated resources. They’d be better off with less time working at Amazon and more time reading Starting Strength and hitting the gym.

Romano’s post doesn’t sit alone. It’s got a similar vibe to “I Got Shipped to California to Date Tech Guys,” which sounds like the beginning of a romantic comedy but is really a jeremiad about what it seems to be about.

To be sure, everyone seems to like to complain about dating, so maybe everyone, everywhere, complains all the time. For most of my life I’ve heard straight women complain about men and straight men complain about women. The specifics of the complaints change but the complaints themselves remain.

Finally, as with so many modern social issues this is tied into building restrictions and real-estate issues, since many guys who are exciting but not rich presumably can’t afford to live in Seattle. Seattle and many other areas (New York, L.A.) could improve both dating prospects and finances through increasing the supply of housing, as Matt Yglesias argues at the link, but they choose not to.

Links: Drunk idiots, helping guys with sex and women, the great douchebag non-mystery, Japan, and more

* “On the Positive Features of Drunken Idiots“—another response to the Flangan frat piece; mine is “If you want to understand frats, talk to the women who party at them.”

* Tucker Max: “It’s Time To Help Guys Understand Sex, Dating And Women, Part 1.” I needed this book when I was 14.

* “One big reason we lack Internet competition: Starting an ISP is really hard.” If I had Zuckerbergian money I’d fund ISPs.

* “Judge says prosecutors should follow the law. Prosecutors revolt.” File this as another example of insiders being unhappy when they’re held to the same standards everyone else is.

* “Is an internship worth more than majoring in business?” I’ve often expressed skepticism about majoring in business: How many large companies want someone who knows generic “business?” What is a random 22-year-old going to know about someone’s business that a person working in said business for 20 years isn’t going to know already?

* A hilarious anti-Game of Thrones screed. I find the books uneven but not quite as bad.

* “The Great Douchebag Mystery,” solved, or, “People respond to incentives.”

* “What Does the Book Business Look Like on the Inside?” Apparently it’s about as crazy as it looks from the outside.

* How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better, which seems like it should be stupid but isn’t; has craftsmanship returned as a value?

Links: Ads, antibiotics, Paul de Man, Pages, and more!

* The unbelievably brilliant ad campaign by Eat24, a food delivery service: “How to Advertise on a Porn Website.” Note that this is safe for work, provided you don’t work in a religious organization or elementary school.

* The most important piece and yet likely to be the least read: “We’ve Reached ‘The End of Antibiotics, Period.’

* “The Many Betrayals of Paul de Man,” or, why it is sometimes impossible to separate the work from the life.

* Pages 5: An unmitigated disaster.

* “Why women lose the [late] dating game: Bettina Arndt listens to the other voices in this debate: the men.”

* “How Texas lost the world’s largest super collider,” a story that is really about the dysfunction and misplaced priorities of American politics.

* Seattle wants gigabit broadband, Mayor McGinn wants to deliver it.

Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Questionable Journalism

Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Female Empowerment is a somewhat dumb article about women who earn more than their partners, or who earn enough to apparently “scare off” guys with inferiority complexes or generalized fear; I started laughing when I read this bit: “Ms. Domscheit-Berg, who is also active in the European Women’s Management Development International Network, has three bits of advice for well-paid women: [. . .] And go after men who draw their confidence from sources other than money, like academics and artists.”

I sent this to a couple friends, one of whom replied, “Perhaps men are simply afraid of someone named Ms. Domscheit-Berg. I bet she yells Achtung! in bed….. just saying.”

Besides, who really cares if one’s partner earns more, as long as you yourself are doing real work (that might, of course, just be the artist in me). The quality of one’s life is seldom measured in dollars, or dollars alone.

Bernard Prieur, a psychoanalyst and author of “Money in Couples,” says men who earn less than their partners struggle with two insecurities: “They feel socially and personally vulnerable. Socially, they go against millennia of beliefs and stereotypes that see them as the breadwinner. And the success of their partner also often gives them a feeling of personal failure,” Mr. Prieur said in the November issue of the French magazine Marie-Claire.

I suspect a couple of things: 1) that, to the extent this is a real problem and not another bogus trend story in the New York Times (well-documented at the link), the women involved aren’t unhappy about money, per se, but that they feel like they’re dating a guy who’s too much of a beta for them. 2) The guys involved are not actually worried about money, per se, but about something else, and are using money as an excuse for something else.

The “bogus trend story” issue, however, is a real one, because the most conspicuous absence in this article is data. Katrin Bennhold writes, “There is a growing army of successful women in their 30s who have trouble finding a mate [. . .]” but cites no evidence that this is true. So romance might be alive, but journalism, on the other hand. . .

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