Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday Morning Links

  • The Sierra de Guadalcanal straddles the Extremadura-Andalucía border, and the village and valley of Guadalcanal are on the Andalusian side. The name went to the Solomon Islands in 1568, and, in 1942, into the vocabulary of everyone on earth who was even faintly aware of the events of the war in the South Pacific. Alburquerque, northwest of Mérida and close to Portugal, lost an “r” on its way to New Mexico. In the sixteenth century, Chile was known as Nueva Extremadura. The place-name itself—Extremadura—is pretty much the same in Latin and in Spanish: the outermost hard place. [McPhee]
  • But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College. In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do. [NY Times]
  • Driving down the mountain, I had a grin on my face that you couldn’t have wiped off with a baseball bat. My own truck was the one I drove back to Tucson that day. I came back to the U. of A. compound a few days later with my friend and we convoyed with his truck back home. It was curious that the telescope crew never did come back to check on me during my 5 days on the mountain, nor did they call Susan to give her a report. That’s okay, I couldn’t have done what I did without their help. One day I sat down and calculated that the total amount of snow I had shoveled would have filled 14 full-sized dump trucks. Thankfully, I didn’t sustain any injury. The Forest Service had never heard of anyone else pulling a stunt like that, shoveling their truck out to take it home. To this day, I detest shoveling snow with a passion, and I will never put myself in a position again where I have to do it. Oh yes, one more thing – if you’re somewhere and it starts to snow, make sure you have an exit plan and leave even sooner than you think you should. [Desert Mountaineer]
  • Must finish by 6:30 P.M. to catch the Rothorn train down from the ridge on the far east side, or walk a punishingly steep 5,400-plus-foot descent back to civilization, a hike that you will probably have to do by yourself, because Dan and Janine are nice but not necessarily psyched on sacrificing their knees on a downhill hike of several hours because you’re slow. [Outside]
  • Three weeks later, we found a quarter-acre of raw land near Pat’s tiny off-grid in the Cascades. It was a sloping meadow of ferns a short walk from the Skykomish River, festooned with mature Douglas fir, big leaf maple, and cedar. We put down an impossibly low offer of $3,000, certain the sellers wouldn’t take it seriously. If they accepted, we’d consider it a sign from the universe. [Outside]
  • I love the Grand Canyon. Even before I ever went on a river trip, I’d seen enough to enamor me on a couple backpacking trips and Rim-to-Rim jaunts. River trips, though, were at least a week, at minimum—and at least two weeks if you wanted to see the whole thing. I was sure it was great, but with two weeks, you could go a lot of places on Earth. Why keep going back to the same place over and over? Kevin Fedarko, former Grand Canyon river guide and author of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, has talked about the two rivers you experience on a river trip in the canyon: The Colorado River that is a constant as you boat down it during every day and camp next to it every evening, and the “river of stars” between the canyon walls that you look up at from your sleeping bag at night. Add to this the luxury of camping on river trips: you have the solitude of a backpacking trip, but the ability to pack almost anything you want to bring, because the raft is carrying your stuff. [Semi-Rad]
  • Cinchonism is relatively rare in the United States both because of the low incidence of malaria and because of the use of the newer antimalarial drugs when indicated. I think it worth while to present to your readers the following unusual reaction because of the increase in popularity, at least in the east, of the drink "gin and tonic." I saw a 43-year-old man in consultation who had a seven week history of tinnitus and hearing loss. He had consulted an otologist, who found bilateral diminution in hearing, and a neurologist, who suggested the diagnosis of bilateral angle meningioma. Because of the history of daily ingestion of seven to eight drinks per day he was sent for a medical evaluation prior to further workup for neurosurgery. [jama]
  • Alas, if Trump has an intuitive grasp of white suburbia’s id, he has no feel for its superego. Making it impossible for poor people to move to your town — and thus, lay a claim on your local tax dollars, or the time and attention of your kid’s public school teachers — clearly has some appeal to left-leaning suburbanites. But being confronted with the fact that this is what they are doing when they oppose new construction — let alone, that by doing so they are effectively entrenching racial segregation — has no appeal to this voting bloc. NIMBY liberals want racially exclusionary zoning policies wrapped up in rhetoric about historical preservation, not Trump’s garish branding. In fact, by ripping off liberal NIMBYism’s Jane Jacobs mask — and revealing that it was actually Old Man Racism all along — Trump likely did more to advance the cause of neighborhood desegregation than that of his own reelection. A variety of euphemisms — and the fact that zoning laws are a form of government regulation — have helped liberal NIMBYs reconcile their political identities with their reactionary housing politics. Trump has now made that task more difficult. Meanwhile, among liberal homeowners who’d previously lacked strong views about local housing debates, Trump’s intervention could be a catalyst for pro-inclusive-zoning voting behavior and civic engagement. The president has already demonstrated a gift for mobilizing Democrats against regressive policies they’d previously abided (or even supported). [nymag]
  • What is the point of a November election in one-party states such as California, New York, et al.? If #BecauseEmergency is sufficient reason to cancel what used to be Constitution rights that had some value (e.g., the rights for young healthy people to receive an education, assemble and socialize, go to work, etc.), why isn’t #BecauseEmergency sufficient reason to cancel a valueless right (to vote in a non-primary election in a non-swing state)? [PhilG]
  • Today, America's five largest companies by market capitalization are all well-known technology and internet businesses: in descending order, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), and Facebook. Historically, being one of the top companies by market cap has been a contrary indicator, both for the company itself and for the industry to which it belongs. In 1980, right before a decade-long decline in oil prices, six of the top ten were oil companies. In 2000, at the peak of the dotcom bubble, six of the top ten were computer and internet companies. I think history will repeat and that none of today's Big Five will grow enough to justify its current market cap. So I want to lay out the risks, as I see them, of investing in these companies and popular tech stocks in general. [y0ungmoney]


CP said...

Historian Edward J. Watts’s book The Final Pagan Generation is a startling account of how the world of pagan Rome declined rapidly during the fourth century, even though all the outward signs were relatively normal.

Imagine a school like the Canadian Catholic one above, but set in fourth-century Rome. Now imagine it is a school whose purpose is to educate young Romans within an ethos that instructed them also in piety towards the gods of Rome. What if that school instead made all the motions of teaching the old religion, but in truth was faking it, and even taught the precepts of the new religion? And what if deep down the parents of these young Roman children didn’t really care about this, but rather wanted their youth to gain whatever knowledge they needed to succeed in what Roman society was becoming? How likely do you think it would be that these Roman schools would successfully transmit the faith to the next generation?

That’s what Christians in 21st century America are facing. We are living in the 8:20. We are a post-Christian civilization, but most people haven’t yet realized it. Those who do must busy themselves making preparations for keeping the light alive through the long night ahead.

J.P. said...

FYI, "Nemets" on Twitter did a thread excerpting Watts's book:

CP said...


Have you read any of the "Mystery Grove" books?

J.P. said...

No, I've seen a few tweets from them but haven't bought anything. It's good that they're republishing old stuff though.

Anonymous said...

You quoting New York Magazine?

They are Left of the lunatic fringe.

See ya.