Having recently quit my job, I have more spare time than I used to. A surprising amount of it has been dedicated to reading longer-form articles, mostly about politics and society, but only mostly. I miss my job but I sure have enjoyed the chance to stretch out my mind in new directions. There are plenty of things in the world that need more than a thousand words to talk about. Anyhow, here is a set of lightly-annotated links that people who still have jobs almost certainly won’t have time to read all of. But maybe one or two will add flavor to your life.
Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine, by Peter Beinart, assumes the death of the two-state option for Israel/Palestine, and takes its time arguing for the only plausible long-term alternative: Some sort of unitary state in which the citizens are equal whatever their religious heritage, be that state multinational, federal, or contonal. Deep, important, stuff.
Tuning for beginners and (especially) Extra stuff on tunings by, uh, I’m not sure who actually, delivers a horribly-typeset crash course on the mathematics of music. Pretty fun for the (quite a lot of) people who are interested by both.
Trivium is the link-blog of Leah Neukirchen, “Just another random shark-hugging girl”, which gleefully pokes around the deepest, darkest, dustiest corners of software tech.
Battery energy storage is getting cheaper, but how much deployment is too much? by Herman K. Trabish, is an exemplar of my growing fascination with energy economics. In particular storage. The path to an all-reenewables energy ecosystem is pretty straightforwardly visible, except for storage infrastructure. This helps.
In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both. Ouch; maybe the most important thing written about the current plague that doesn’t actually instruct on how to save myriads of lives. Covid is shining a harsh, harsh light on lots of things we’ve been ignoring but shouldn’t have.
Richard Rorty’s prescient warnings for the American left. Sean Illing in Vox walks through Rorty’s taxonomy of American progressivism. There’s lots for almost anyone to disagree with here, but the Left needs to think about how it thinks about culture and class and, you know, get its freaking story straight. I think this might be helpful.
What About the Rotten Culture of the Rich? is by Chris Arnade, the guy who wrote the book about the American underclass, as interviewed in the Macdonaldses of the flyover zones. He’s hard to classify politically, and the points here about the moral bankruptcy, and damaging effects, of ruling-class behavior, have been made elsewhere. But they’re made very well here.
When a tyranny falls, maybe justice will be applied to its collaborators. In History Will Judge the Complicit, Anne Applebaum takes a very indirect route to considering how this might apply after November 2020.
It was gold, by Patricia Lockwood, is about Joan Didion. You might not know who Ms Didion is and still enjoy this, because Ms Lockwood is a fabulous writer; certain sentences should be framed in gold and hung in major galleries and museums. She had a book in one of the recent Booker long or short lists, which is on my must-read list.