Life’s been a little busy recently. I’ve read a few things and meant to note them down, but haven’t had a chance till now. So, in no particular order:
It’s been a bizarre, and disappointing stretch in U.S. politics. Fallows’ Time Capsules feel re-assuring because of the sanity of his writing. He writes from the explicit viewpoint that what is happening is fundamentally different from what has come before. That in itself is re-assuring, and provides a useful counterpoint to a series of headline that can often feel like a bad acid drip. Also welcome is his consistent willingness to highlight false equivalence.
Worth reading if you want to keep on top of major US political developments without feeling your sanity leeching away.
An interesting reflection on how newspapers are responding to Trump. Credit to those who start from principles to reach a principled conclusion, rather than following a party line. Included that is credit to the Dallas Morning News.
This is an interesting piece, based off the work of Donald Hoffman. What if accurate perception of reality isn’t optimal in evolutionary terms?
Short answer: Going beyond the environmental carrying capacity, and unequal distribution and consumption of resources. An intriguing topic; NASA’s conclusion seems in line with the Jared Diamond thesis in Collapse, and doesn’t match the unusual but less compelling Tainter thesis that it has to do with diminishing marginal returns to social complexity.
Lee Drutman writing in Vox
Lee Drutman is an American political scientist. He’s written some excellent pieces over at Vox. They’re long, but well worth the read. Particularly, they’re great examples of taking theories from an academic literature where they’re well understood, and translating them for a broader audience, with a clear application and insightful analysis.
How race and identity became the central dividing line in American politics is a great read, about exactly what it says it is. Why race and identity will remain the dividing line in American politics for a while to come is a follow-up piece that looks at a slightly larger picture, based more on theory, to argue that unfortunately we’re likely to be in this situation for a while.
The good news, argues Drutman, is that as political coalitions realign, we’re likely to see less polarization.
A prescient piece from May argues that the need for a horse-race may drive unequal coverage of the campaigns.