Links: Typewriters, generational conflict, yoga and Houellebecq, MacBooks, and more!

* Call it a comeback: Typewriters attracting new generation of fans.

* “The Old Are Eating the Young.” And the young don’t realize it and/or aren’t voting appropriately to it.

* “There is no ‘Thucydides Trap,’” on China and many other topics. Here is another piece on similar topics: “Are China and the United States Headed for War?” The answer is “Probably not,” but on the other hand countries have historically done stupid, counterproductive things for no good reason.

* “Nobody Will Make Us Do Yoga: A Conversation with Michel Houellebecq.” As weird and hilarious as you’d like it to be.

* “Air Force budget reveals how much SpaceX undercuts launch prices.” Wow.

* “Mini-review: The 2017 MacBook could actually be your everyday laptop.” I may switch my laptop to one, but I also have an iMac.

* “Why Fathers Leave Their Children,” yet it oddly never mentions financial incentives or child support—a bizarre oversight, even in a short piece.

* “The U.S. has forgotten how to do infrastructure.”

* When pop stars have Instagram, they no longer need record labels.

* Fundamentals in fiction and the question of obligations.

Links: Maryland comedy, car sharing, the structure of politics, sexuality, and more!

* “Battle over bare-breasted women brews at one of Maryland’s busiest beaches” Likely SFW, as it’s in the Washington Post, and one gets the sense the writer had a good time with this one. The illustrative photo included shows a seagull, alas. When we fight over this maybe things are pretty good because we have time to worry about the dangers(?) of bare-breasted women on beaches.

* “Automakers Race to Get Ahead of Silicon Valley on Car-Sharing.” Good news all around.

* “How Insurance Companies Can Force Bad Cops Off the Job.” A novel approach to a serious problem.

* “Why Sacrifices by the Rich Won’t Fix Social Welfare;” points rarely made. Notice:

If we look at the overall fiscal position of the U.S. federal government, we are spending beyond our means and the future will require some mix of spending cuts and tax increases. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office: “To close the gap solely by raising revenues would require a revenue increase of about 33 percent, and maintaining that level of revenue, on average, each year over the next 75 years.” I would submit that revenue increases of such magnitude are unlikely or perhaps even impossible, and thus any new spending will have to come out of other government spending. In other words, for better or worse, we’ve already committed to spending that tax increase on the wealthy that you were planning to use for other purposes.

* “Get Congress Back to Legislating, Not Just Budgeting: Yuval Levin, an expert on the budget process, explains how a congressional power grab in the ’70s led to paralysis today.” Again, not the sexiest or most fun piece, but it is essential for understanding what’s amiss in government today.

* “Congressman Is Hit in Multiple Shooting;” maybe something like this is what it will take to get gun control back on the agenda, since Congress may become much more interested in it if Congresspeople have a personal stake. We’ve already somehow decided as a society that routine mass shootings, including mass shootings of children, are just, you know . . . something that happens.

* Pornhub is the Kinsey Report of our time? (At New York Magazine and likely SFW.)

* “Why Ethereum is outpacing Bitcoin,” noting that I don’t understand Ethereum well.

* On “Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between) — Cindy M. Meston David M. Buss.”

Links: Tour de raunch, so-called online lives, the California turn, and more!

* “Tour de Raunch: A brief history of sex in American fiction.” Oddly, we seem to have found ourselves in a kind of new prudery, which is, like the old prudery, also mixed with prurience.

* “A deep dive into why Wi-Fi kind of sucks.” There is an old saying: People who know wireless, choose wired. Ethernet cables are extremely cheap and in most apartments there’s no reason not to run them.

* Silicon Valley: A reality check.

* The NIMBY challenge.

* “My So-Called (Instagram) Life.” Expect to see more of these. The gap between what people show in public (or “public”) and how they actually feel may be growing.

* “Dark Futures: What happens when literary novelists experiment with science fiction.” Has the distinction ever been neat?

* “Elon Musk’s tunnel plan is surprisingly outdated—and bad.”

* Washington State, New York, and California form climate alliance.

* “When the Left Turns on Its Own,” especially on campus; oddly, we also saw versions of this in the ’90s, with Alan Sokal being one prominent example. Alas, though, current campus disruptors would have to sit in class or read to learn about this history.

* “Higher Education Seeks Answers to Leaner Years

Links: Zafón, the extinction of the teen sex comedy, nuclear war, electric bikes, romance, and more!

* “The bestselling literary sensation you may struggle to name,” on Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Here are some of my posts on him.

* “The Internet Killed the Teen Sex Comedy: Movies about horned-up teenagers were a Hollywood staple in the ‘90s and ‘00s, but the internet has rendered them all but extinct.” I wonder if that’s true.

* “ We’re Edging Closer To Nuclear War” and almost no one is talking about it.

* An electric bike is not cheating: How it could replace cars for millions of people.

* “Romance is dead – how sex killed the love song: Pop hits are now less likely to be about love than at any time since the 1960s. But wasn’t love always a euphemism for sex, anyway?”

* “Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down.” This is good news!

* “What a Conservative Sees From Inside Trump’s Washington,” more interesting than it sounds and more interesting than the usual.

* “Books are superior to TV” (better than the usual but you already probably know as much if you’re reading this).

Links: The Boring Company, boredom, marriage and writers, Screw Wisdom, personal essays, and more!

* “Elon Musk’s Boring Company Begins First Tunnel.” I predict it gets bogged down in NIMBYism and “Just say no” California politics but hope that it doesn’t.

* “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.” In other words, China is doing the sort of stuff the United States used to. When you read this piece think also of Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.

* “Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russian Officials.” The stories only get weirder; when will impeachment follow?

* “Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations,” yet another John le Carré-esque piece.

* “How Researching the Science of Boredom Prepared Me for Marriage.” Unexpected!

* “Is an open marriage a happier marriage?” There is much here for novelists to ponder. See also “The sex plot: a discussion for novelists and readers.”

* “Mercedes-Benz Energy pairs with solar company to sell batteries, rooftop panels.” Good news for competition with Tesla. It’ll be interesting to see if most car companies morph to energy and transportation companies.

* “Humans Accidentally Created a Protective Bubble Around Earth.” Very cool.

* “Screw Wisdom: In a bold new memoir of female middle age, libido obliterates the usual clichés,” by Laura Kipnis (a good sign) and on Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning, among other things.

* “Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea;” don’t say you weren’t warned.

* The personal essay boom is supposedly over.

* “ Will McMorran recommends the best books on the Marquis de Sade,” a very good piece and note that I haven’t read much de Sade, maybe because I’m lazy: “The 120 Days is essentially unreadable in every possible way. Unreadable in the sense that it’s hard to read, unreadable in the sense that it’s upsetting to read, and unreadable also in the sense that it’s difficult to decode.”

Links: Measuring atheism, housing and the good life, free speech, Laura Kipnis, and more!

* “How many American atheists are there really?” The question is not that interesting in and of itself but the methodology is fascinating, hilarious, and worthy of Kahneman and Tversky!

* (Possibly NSFW): “American Apparel’s Creative Director Explains the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ Campaign: Iris Alonzo on the controversial advertisement’s mission.” Improbable!

* (Also conceivably NSFW): Sex letters from famous authors, including Joyce, Proust, and others.

* “I Am Cancer,” on another angle of the eviction system; see also Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted.

* Japan shows the way to affordable mega cities.

* “The Arrogance of Blue America,” overstated to be sure but also not the usual.

* “2017 Could Prove to Be a Turning Point for Plug-In Hybrids;” this is extremely important news because plug-in hybrids are an easy bridge between gas- and electric-powered cars.

* “Canada fought the war on science. Here’s how scientists won.” Oddly (maybe? or “normally”), people trust individual stories and anecdotes more than data.

* “Colleges Think Women Having Sex Is Dangerous. Laura Kipnis Says They’re Wrong.”

* Crisis or Stasis?

* The books that made writers want to write.

* “College students aren’t the enemies of free speech,” which ought to be pretty obvious, except:

Part of what’s going on here could come down to preference intensity and opportunity. By which I mean that college students who are in favor of expanding restrictions on free speech might feel relatively more strongly about it than do their pro-free-speech peers, and they have highly visible opportunities to express those views by attempting to no-platform speakers they don’t like, or responding assertively to instances of perceived administrator insensitivity.

In other words, a noisy minority may get all the press—as I wrote in “Ninety-five percent of people are fine — but it’s that last five percent.” Don’t mistake the minority for the whole!

Links: Western Civ, smartphones and culture, free speech, “American War,” and more!

* “The crisis of Western Civ.”

* “Smartphones Are the New Cigarettes.” See also me from 2012, “Facebook and cellphones might be really bad for relationships.”

* “The French, Coming Apart,” a surprisingly deep article about Christophe Guilluy.

* “Solarcoaster: The Promise and Pitfalls of Rooftop Solar Jobs.”

* “Free speech, but not for all?” A very bad academic trend.

* The new novel American War depicts 2075 and a nightmarish vision of America’s future.

* “Why doesn’t ancient fiction talk about feelings?” Interestingly, neither does Elmore Leonard or modern pornography.

* “Can China Replace the West?” No. Note that the piece is more intelligent than you may assume from the title. Also, when in doubt keep an eye on immigration and emigration rates; people who vote with their feet are much more compelling than those who do with their voice!

* “ The siren song of homogeneity.” Looking over this links post, I realize that most of it is about deep thinking about political patterns. Which is maybe appropriate, given Brexit and Trump.

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