Tuesday, October 4th, 2022
As Descarte completed his Discourse on the Method I wonder if he had an inkling it would come to this, from “What Trans Health Care for Minors Really Means” by Tyler Santora at mainstream medical reference website WebMD:
For adolescents who are assigned female at birth, top surgery can be performed to create a flat chest. The Endocrine Society states that there is not enough evidence to set a minimum age for this type of gender-affirming surgery, and the draft of the updated SOC recommends a minimum age of 15. “Usually, for a [person] assigned female at birth, the chest tissue continues to mature until around 14 or 15,” Inwards-Breland says. “What I’ve seen surgeons do is after 14, they feel more comfortable.” If, though, a person is started on puberty blockers followed by hormone therapy from a relatively early age – around 13 – they will never develop breast tissue and wouldn’t need surgery to remove it.
Steve Jobs said: “Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and is the great achievement of Western civilization.” Implicit in his statement is that it can be unlearned. As an intellectually inquisitive teenager in the 1980s I would have scoffed at the notion that religion serves to keep us rational. But the evidence suggests that it does, and without its drumbeat the fever dream of linguistic chimeras can drive us surprisingly mad surprisingly quickly.
Friday, August 26th, 2022
Great interview at Berkeley with alum and local Oakland boy Craig Federighi [Dec 2019].
Wednesday, June 29th, 2022
In The Atlantic, a beautifully—if overly politely—written piece on family estrangement, the sting is in the head; no doubt to get it past the young
censors editors, the author has expunged all mention of religion and therefore duty from his discussion, save in this first line, which encompasses all that follows: “Sometimes my work feels more like ministry than therapy.” Author Joshua Coleman is a practicing therapist and prolific author. Looking around, his fee per webinar on the topic is $25. And he’s also a tv composer!
Anyhoo, the plot thickens, and my suspicions are correct: while he squeezed them out of the text body, he shoehorned in his convictions at the very edges as frames; look at this 1-star Amazon review of his book by one Acer Girl:
He fails to recognise how the nuclear family itself is being redefined and gay/lesbian parents are becoming more accepted, so it is rather inevitable that people will start to place less emphasis and importance on blood ties alone – so I really don’t understand the alarmism he tries to create around this. Above all, what I found really demoralising is his attack on one of the founding principles of western civilisation – autonomy and individual liberty. People’s right to live their lives in whatever way they wish and to associate and disassociate with whomever they wish. He claims this right should be policed.
And the final piece in the puzzle: he himself has been cut off by his own daughter! Estrangement is an underly-noted fault-line in the post-religious West; whether to honor or cast off the 5th commandment to honor one’s father and one’s mother — that has become a question.
Thursday, June 16th, 2022
So Marc Andreessen’s interview with Tyler Cowen is making some waves because he seemed unable to justify Web3 (see tweets from Ian Bremmer, and, more predictably caustically, Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Personally I think Andreesse ha’s made the case better elsewhere, for instance, saying that if the internet had originally had a money layer then we’d never have had spam. But for me, as the developer of a new RSS reader, I was more interested in Tyler’s question about RSS:
Tyler Cowen: Do you still use an RSS reader?
Mark Andreessen: I do. This is actually an exciting moment on that topic for those of us who love these things. I use Feedly, which I like a great deal. It’s a guy. The guy who does it is a guy who used to work for us, a wonderful guy. I think it’s a great product and the inheritor of the now-lost Google Reader, the ruthlessly executed Google Reader.
This is talking about books, but Substack — one of our companies — has a new reader. It’s primarily for reading Substack. It basically is recreating, in my view, the best of what Google Reader had. That’s the other one that is getting a lot of use right now. I use both of those.
TC: Why does RSS at least seem to be so much less important than before?
MA: RSS is one of those things. I would say this gets into a broader, overarching, huge debate-fight happening in the tech industry right now. Internet got built on two models, which are diametrically opposed.
So Marc Andreessen uses Feedly and Substack! I wonder why both. I also want to know which reader TC uses — I seem to recall him saying that he does use one. The man seems to reply to hoi polloi — maybe I’ll ask him.
Incidentally I was surprised that this was not one of the better Conversations with Tyler. It didn’t really warm up into a good actual converation. For instance, I’d have thought MA would have asked TC, the world’s most renowned information omnivore, which RSS reader he uses. MA came across as a bit robotic, whereas I hadn’t gotten that impression from him before.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
So it seems that video gaming positively impacts childrens’ intelligence
We analyzed 9855 children from the USA who were part of the ABCD dataset with measures of intelligence at baseline (ages 9–10) and after two years. At baseline, time watching (r = − 0.12) and socializing (r = − 0.10) were negatively correlated with intelligence, while gaming did not correlate. After two years, gaming positively impacted intelligence (standardized β = + 0.17), but socializing had no effect.
Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
Matt Stoller explains how one company, Varsity Brands (owned by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital), sucks life out of the American heartland with its grotesque monopoly on cheerleading.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
Ross Douthat in his typical perfect way essays on American childbearing in the really nice magazine Plough.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
It’s telling that in their respective theatres — the Middle East, Europe and Eurasia — the prime strategic directive for liberal bulwarks Israel, Britain and the United States is to block aspiring authoritarian hegemons.
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
Nusseibeh’s central thesis (well, secondary thesis, the primary implicit one being that the Palestinian people should all along have appointed both his Dad and then him their oh-so-reluctant leaders) I too have felt almost in my bones: that Israelis and Palestinians are natural allies. Or, more accurately, that there’s a natural affinity which will enable us to be powerful allies if and when we ever get over our admittedly fundamental conflict.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
The future is real but the past is all made up.
Logan Roy in Succession, Series 2, Episode 8
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
This Gates Foundation presentation on global inequality is clear, straightforward, well-written, nicely illustrated with animated graphs, and surely worth the time of anyone who can access it.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2019
How the rich differ, according to the currently-popupar Big Five psychological framework. More conscientious, less neurotic, less agreeable, more extravert, and more open to experience.
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Sunday, November 11th, 2018
It All Adds Up
Bellow is meaty to pick up on any topic; we’re confident in the arms of a leading novelist. His tributes to old friends read the richest, even though impressionistic, more journalistic pieces such as his coverage of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signing are also satisfying.
Friday, May 11th, 2018
“The Moment” is an occasional column/blog by novelist Amit Chaudhuri in The Paris Review.
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Vincent Gallo Sings by one Vincent Gallo. “I know what I look like. It’s certainly not how I would have made myself look. Don’t blame me.”
Monday, March 12th, 2018
In the search for an interesting riff on Black Panther, Teju Cole, photography critic at The New York Times Magazine starts it up, complete with dueling translations of Rilke’s “The Panther”.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Monday, March 5th, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, hidalgos and Iagos, may it please you to join Andrew Klavan on this sharp essay through racism and religion via Shakespeare.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Another Tim Ferriss Show link, this time a joyful 2-hour interview with Terry Crews, artist, athlete, movie actor, taboo-dispeller, celebrity, self-help book aficionado.
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
If we huff and chide them, they soon come not to mind it, and get a self-reliance; and if we indulge them to folly, they learn the limitation elsewhere.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, on children, in Representative Men
Sunday, September 11th, 2016
Among the lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children is to encourage effort rather than praise ability.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Not only isn’t the Israel Broadcasting Association listing the names of the child fatalities from the Gaza bombings but refusing to let B’Tselem pay for an ad doing so. And the Attorney General has upheld the decision. This seems to me a mistake. We must fully own these deeds.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Hanna Rosin writes on the iPad and young children. The beginning could have appeared anywhere, the middle in any number of magazines, the end in only a small handful. And a rather relevant topic at the moment in this house, where Good Morning is spoken as “Where the iPad gone!”
Monday, May 21st, 2012
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
The loss of play time to adult-directed activities is making children anxious and depressed.
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
Monday, March 8th, 2010
Monday, January 5th, 2009
Tony “socialist, anti-Zionist, anti-racist” Greenstein has images of child victims of the Gaza bombings that should be viewed.
Monday, September 22nd, 2008
Tuesday, August 19th, 2008