Links: Competent elites, romantic expectations, what we didn’t get, and more!

* “Competent elites,” a view not heard frequently.

* “We Expect Too Much From Our Romantic Partners.” Seems accurate and underrated to me. Also: “Does the mate-switching hypothesis explain female infidelity?

* Read Houellebecq To Free Your Mind.

* “What we didn’t get:” on science fiction, history, and other matters.

* “ “Peer review” is younger than you think. Does that mean it can go away?” One hopes that it is at least heavily modified, although given the present ossification of academia I am not optimistic.

* “‘I Hate Everyone in the White House!’: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is ‘Unraveling.'” I have no idea whether this is true, but it seems plausible.

* “Some thoughts on how we might get from where we’re at now to a Second Civil War.” Probability is still extremely low but higher than I’d have estimated it one year ago. Note the authorial bonafides as well; this does not seem to be written by a crank.

* “How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian’s donation on a stupid football scoreboard.” It does seem too nicely symbolic of modern universities.

* “The Minimalists Want You to Be Happy With Less.”

* “What Allan Bloom Got Right.”

* “Why Are Millennials Wary of Freedom?” I can’t tell if this is me simply getting old and grumpy (or simply retaining lifelong grumpiness), but I do notice that students don’t like to be told to think for themselves or use their discretion. Some of that is probably from bad training in schools, but is all of it?

Links: Vegas, Paglia, Jung, Dan Brown, and more!

* “Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting.” Depressing and likely true.

* “Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner’s Legacy, Trump’s Masculinity and Feminism’s Sex Phobia,” which may be read as the opposite view of Ross Douthat in “Speaking ill of Hugh Hefner.” She also has an interview with Jordan Peterson. Sorry to post a YouTube link but I could not find an audio-only link. You can use Video Lan Client to strip the audio for easier listening.

* “Jung and the Trumpian Shadow.”

* Related to the two preceding links, “Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it.” My reading is pretty standard-issue and uncharitable (“hypocrisy”), but you may find more depth here.

* In the last links post I mentioned Dan Brown, but this may be the best thing ever written about him:

The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was mired in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

* “Does literary studies have a future?” Probably! But de-politicizing it some would help.

* “Why Gun Control Loses, and Why Las Vegas Might Change That.” One hopes, yet the first link argues the opposite.

* “Feminism and the problem of supertoxic masculinity.” Ignore some of the stupider stuff about feminism and capitalism and pay attention where the essay begins, “The hypothesis I would like to advance is that this social domestication of masculine tendencies has made our society more vulnerable to the rare cases of men who escape the filter of social opprobrium.”

* Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle: Science, Commerce, Freedom, and the Origins of Modernity.

Links: John McPhee, carbon levels, housing, statistical artifacts, and more!

* “The Mind of John McPhee.” His new book Draft No. 4 is excellent in part because it is so idiosyncratic. I also don’t write like him.

* “Speaking ill of Hugh Hefner,” not my views but interesting throughout.

* “Alarm as study reveals world’s tropical forests are huge carbon emission source.” Note: The most vital things happening right now likely don’t involve the NFL.

* “How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state.” Isaac and I have been writing about this elsewhere, too, in ways that will thrill policy wonks.

* “Sex, Lies, and Videotape: What’s the celebrity sex tape worth today?” Note that it’s from The Baffler, so it may not be what you first assume. Likely SFW as well.

* “Why electric airplanes within 10 years are more than a fantasy: Startups plan to make hybrid airplanes, and eventually purely electric ones.”

* “Don’t buy the idea teens are having less sex until you take a closer look at the data.” Does “sex” include “oral sex?” The answer changes the way the data are interpreted. If you read Jean Twenge’s book iGen, remember this.

* “‘Nobody’s in Control:’ Republican strategists have come to the unnerving conclusion that no one in their party. . . has absolute influence over the unruly populist movement.” This at least makes sense; like many of you I’ve been trying to make sense of what’s been going on and mostly failing.

* “The World According to Dan Brown,” and this helps explain why his novels are so badly written: “This is the kind of fiction I would read if I read fiction.”

On Las Vegas, briefly

In 2012 James Fallows wrote, “The Certainty of More Shootings.” As of October 2, this mass-shooting database lists 273 mass shootings in 2017. The policy response to mass-shootings has been indistinguishable from zero. After the Sandy Hook shooting, pundits observed that if we’re willing to tolerate the massacre of small children, we’re basically willing to tolerate anything. They seem to have been right. Now at least 50 are dead in Las Vegas.

It’s easy to blame “politicians” but politicians respond to voters. I fear that “The Certainty of More Shootings” is going to remain distressingly relevant for years, maybe decades, to come. I bet Fallows wishes that it could be relegated to a historical curiosity.

Even The Onion has a perennial for gun massacres: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

Links: Dug decriminalization, what’s wrong with higher ed, HGTV’s uncanny valley, life and context, and more!

* “Top medical experts say we should decriminalize all drugs and maybe go even further.” It seems the current approach is ineffective at best and is more likely to be actively harmful, so a new method is in order. Or, rather, a new-old method, because drug laws didn’t come into being until the late 19th Century.

* “How Harvard helps its richest and most arrogant students get ahead,” more probably, some of what’s amiss in education today. It’s the administration response that seems most outrageous; still, I do think about my own writing, in “Ninety-five percent of people are fine — but it’s that last five percent.”

* “The body’s own fat-metabolism protects against the harmful effects of sugar,” or so it seems.

* “Is your state road system broke? Then hit up. . . the Prius drivers!” An example of misguided policy and failing to think about the bigger picture.

* “Facebook’s Harm Is Taking Life Out of Context.” Seems plausible to me.

* “Is there a Rawlsian argument for redistribution as a form of social insurance?” A brilliant post, do read the whole thing, and note that I have thought this before, albeit phrased differently: “In fact what I observe is people taking the status quo, and its current political debates, as a benchmark of sorts, and choosing sides, yet without outlining the “stopping principles” for their own recommendations.” And I have succumbed to this as well!

* “A 400-year story of progress: How America became the world’s biggest economy.”

* “The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump.” Better than the headlines.

* In Alabama, “Democrats ought to invest in Doug Jones’ campaign against Roy Moore: He’s a longshot, but it’s time to take a stand.” Absolutely. Seemingly no one is attending to this.

* HGTV is a never-ending fantasy loop. Look deeper, and it gets pretty ugly. A weird, fascinating article. I imagine the people on these shows finishing their “perfect” houses, and after the wine is drunk and the camera crew has left, they’re looking at each other, realizing that they don’t even know the person sitting across from them, thinking, “Now what?” What happens when you discover that a house or remodel cannot fill the void in your soul?

* “On Echopraxia by Peter Watts.”

Links: The end of the American era, synthetic leather, the sound of silence, and more!

* “How Trump Is Ending the American Era.” We could also say, “How voters are ending the American era.” If voters are dumb enough to be bamboozled, maybe we deserve neither peace nor prosperity.

* “Chelsea Manning: The Dystopia We Signed Up for.”

* Martin Amis: ‘I miss the English.'” Many of his more recent novels have been tedious but Money is still amazing.

* Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk. Good news is underrated.

* Why Koreans shun the suburbs.

* “Cheaper, Lighter, Quieter: The Electrification of Flight Is at Hand.” Maybe.

* How the media’s “get Clinton” effort led to Trump (a rephrasing of Paul Krugman’s tweet). 2016 was and is really a media failure story.

* As electric motors improve, more things are being electrified.

* “The Sound of Silence:” “There’s too much downside in sharing any opinion that could easily be misinterpreted online. Even facts are dangerous to share if they don’t align with what people want to believe.” Interestingly, the same is true in schools, which is part of the reason so much of school is so drearily tedious.

* “How to Read a Chocolate Bar Label to Buy the Best Chocolate.” Surprisingly useful. Chocosphere is the most useful online retailer for chocolate.

Links: Self-driving cars, software, music, pile it high, and more!

* “GM and Cruise announce first mass-production self-driving car.” Wow.

* The demon haunted world: How modern software enables all kinds of cheating in all kinds of domains.

* “How Local Housing Regulations Smother the U.S. Economy;” nothing here that regular readers don’t know, but the venue is of great interest.

* “Was Charlottesville a Turning Point for the ‘Alt-Right‘?” The Oklahoma City Bombing was a similar turning point in the ’90s: when anti-government rhetoric becomes “blowing shit up,” the rhetoric is no longer so acceptable and the stage after rhetoric and after voting is very bad. Someone on Twitter (I forgot who—apologies) pointed out that the extreme left in the ’70s lost steam when it started blowing shit up as well.

* Music is sex, a podcast on Slate and thus presumably SFW. Seems kind of obvious, though.

* “Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes;” Hollywood is apparently angry that fewer people are seeing shitty movies. But Rotten Tomatoes has been around for a long time; what else has changed recently?

* “Impeaching Trump is a long shot. There’s another way to protect the country.” This would at least be an improvement.

* “Forager v Farmer, Elaborated.”

* “The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy: At many schools, the rules intended to protect victims of sexual assault mean students have lost their right to due process.” Who could have predicted

* “Pile it high: Singapore’s prefab tower revolution.” It’s possible to dramatically lower the cost of construction itself.

* “The story of Quillette,” which I’ve been wondering about.

* “Why Teachers Need Freedom.” Seems obvious to me.

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