Links: Tech changes culture, beyond the salacious, IKEA, pulp fiction, business, and more!

* “Sex and the Industrial Revolution,” though this has already made the blog rounds.

* “Beyond the Simply Salacious: Five Stories on Adultery,” though is it gauche to link to links posts? Tony Tanner’s Adultery in the Novel: Contract and Transgression also covered related grounds many years ago. It is striking how few modern works of criticism could be of interest to the general reading population.

* “Is the IKEA ethos comfy or creepy?” Both, though I have a special hatred of IKEA, plus an amusing-in-retrospect story that takes place in one. It relates to this: “Alan Penn [. . . ] conducted a study of the IKEA labyrinth and deemed it sadomasochistic.”

* “The birth of Pulp Fiction,” which is interesting for many reasons, one obvious one being between paperbacks and ebooks. I do think ebooks are vehicles for “for social and cultural enlightenment” and that they will further “de-provincialize the American public.” One can already see this in 50 Shades of Grey, for example, despite the bad prose. The intellectual elite is already mostly de-provincialized but political correctness and some related movements have re-provincialized large precincts of it.

* “On Triangl, maker of the ‘world’s [allegedly] hottest bikini’?” This is actually about making it in the apparel business and fulfilling customers desires.

* “Actually, Our Military Keeps Winning,” an essay contrary to current dominant narratives. If you aren’t reading James Fallows you should be! On New Year’s Eve we saw American Sniper, which was incredibly intense and whether it can be read as a pro- or anti-war movie probably depends on the viewer’s outside knowledge.

* People now move to the Southeast from California and the Northeast, not surprisingly since the Southeast is where the cheap housing is. While Californians and New Yorkers endlessly debate supposed income inequality they perpetuate it by forbidding new housing supply. I want to move to Austin or perhaps Denver. My parents left California for Seattle when I was a kid due to housing costs and crap schools, and now Seattle and environs are following California’s lead by pricing people out of the market. See Matt Yglesias.

* Behind the scenes of Australia’s prostitution boom.

Links: The will to power, Peter Watts, chairs, prostitution, empathy, Beowulf, and more

* “Many men still buy into a false definition of power: feeling obligated to earn money that someone else spends while we die sooner—5.2 years sooner. That’s not power. That’s being a prisoner of the need for love and approval.”

* An interview with Peter Watts.

* “Are you sitting comfortably?” Which reminds me, I need to post a review of the Herman Miller Embody.

* “Dead Media Ain’t Dead: NYT Strikes,” which is on marketing and many other subjects that normally don’t interest me but damn this is compelling.

* An examination of three books criticizing the Ivy Leagues; I am pre-disposed to like them, but see Derek Huang’s comment here.

* The Economist favors legalizing prostitution.

* “What is it like to be a hot girl?

* Beowulf and the tension between Paganism and Christianity, which is a major topic in Sexual Personae and still an unreconciled (and perhaps unreconcilable) force in contemporary life.

* The suburbs made us fat.

* Calling all sad clowns: David Weigel on fame and depression.

Links: Prostitution, Gladwell (these are not linked), parenting while poor, selfie-love

* “Study: Decriminalizing prostitution could drastically cut HIV infections,” which is sufficiently obvious that I almost don’t want to include it.

* Malcolm Gladwell:

Running teaches you about the inherent unfairness of the world. Two people can work exactly the same, in fact, one can be infinitely more devoted and train much harder and not do as well. An object lesson in how unfair life is.

The world is unfair but most people are better off treating it as if it is fair.

* A theory of where 50 Shades of Grey came from, with a strong emphasis on the word “theory.” I also think the pejorative connotations from the term “marketing” are going to fade over time, much as “sellout” was used derisively in the 1960s but by the 2000s could no longer be widely seen.

* “Another Challenge of Parenting While Poor: Wealthy Judges;” this sort of point is under-understood.

* “Without You I’m Nothing,” which has Paglian overtones for its intersection of culture and sexuality: “Rock stars are the gods of the last century.”

* “Selfie-Love,” by Clancy Martin of How to Sell fame; a friend from China told me that all Americans are hustlers, although she lives in New York, so her generalization may not be applicable to all ~300 million of us. Also, someone attempted to spit in my taxi the other day.

* The high cost of free parking.

* Little political drama is worth attending to, but this interview between the president and The Economist is interesting throughout. A sample:

The US security presence is always a source of ambivalence everywhere in the world. If we’re not there, people think we’re neglecting them. If we’re there, then they think we’re militarising a region.

Links: Wink Books, the LBR, prostitution prohibition and its effects, the LBR, and more

* Wink Books; “there should be a place that recommends and introduces books that belong on paper. There wasn’t one, so we created it: Wink Books. Wink is a website similar to Cool Tools that recommends and reviews one remarkable paper book each weekday.” I haven’t spent much time on it but the idea is promising.

* An interview with the brilliant Peter Watts, the same author whose assault was detailed in the last links post.

* “Is the LRB the best magazine in the world? The London Review of Books has become the most successful – and controversial – literary publication in Europe. Just what is Mary-Kay Wilmers, its 75-year-old editor, getting so right?” This article convinces me to subscribe; I’ve been a periodic New York Review of Books subscriber but I find too many (predictable) articles about politics and too few about books.

* The Numbers Behind America’s Mass Transit Resurgence.

* Bike parking in NYC.

* “In-Depth Report Details Economics of the Sex Trade;” the funniest thing is the way pimps are filling a niche created by prohibition.

* “The responsibility of adjunct intellectuals: Academics write for the public more than ever before but are hampered by precariousness of their profession,” which is almost too obvious to post but I like Corey Robin on Crooked Timber too much not to.

* Have liberal arts degree, will code.

* Someone found this blog by searching for “gandlaf sex,” which I find as puzzling as I hope you do.

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