Re: What Samuel Johnson Can Teach Us About Separating Art from the Artist

I'm reminded of a visit to the SFMOMA some decades ago, where the docent spent a lot of time talking about an artist and the meaning this implied in a picture of apparently random color daubs and squiggles on a canvas. The art world seems to expend a lot of effort convincing the "uneducated" public about the worth of some art. And not for nothing are the inflated auction prices for art and artifacts by known creators, when the vast majority of amateur art or artisanship is equally good but by a no-name creator. Art is truly in the eye [and modified by the mind] of the beholder.

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Re: Vaccines. If Doctorow's numbers are even partway correct, it suggests that large national governments should ensure spending perhaps a $tn a year making vaccines for every variant of infectious viral disease that appears, so that quick testing and distribution can be applied to try to stop outbreaks early. Of course, this will always run into "vaccine hesitancy" and plain anti-vax opposition too. [Are some nations trying to eliminate themselves from the future - or is this an example of social Darwinism in action?]

Given that mRNA delivered in a variety of ways to generate antigens is a promising approach to treat a variety of diseases such as various cancers, such facilities could quickly produce the needed material for research, especially for the larger phase III trials.

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Re: What a Blue State Really Gets Wrong

Is this not a good example of 1st order thinking? As Mencken would say: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

If we were to take the solution - keep creating new [low cost] housing, this would simply maintain population growth in the state. Now if we didn't farm, then maybe the state has enough water (absent desalination) for say 100 million residents. The cost would be a landscape like exurban LA. We can see the issues of this sort of policy in Europe where room to expand is limited, or in China where the population 5-6x the US population.

At some point, there has to be population stabilization. In CA, we are seeing a rise in homelessness, and the US version of shanty towns cropping up outside cities like Sacramento. MIMBYism is clearly a problem in zoning, but I have seen first-hand plans to develop low-rise apartments in San Jose and the sort of problems that result from traffic and pollution. For Californians wanting to reside in Texas, I say, let them go. It is a Fool's Paradise that has an expiry date. To see Paradise ruined, just visit the Kona coast on Maui - wrecked by overdevelopment. Much of that done in the last 3 decades.

To remain livable, California needs to maintain more than just a few beauty sites. The population needs to stabilize. Farming needs to use far less land and water - the central valley is becoming a "hellscape" with health problems, dustbowl conditions as surface irrigation is restricted, and a farm population demanding more water for profits by building dams at taxpayer expense while destroying ecosystems by diverting every last drop of fresh water from natural watercourses.

Watch midcentury Hollywood movies of the Bay Area and it is clearly becoming hellishly crowded and far less congenial to live in unless you like that sort of living.

Now I don't know what the economically rational solutions are (as opposed to utopian), but clearly, constant development to increase low-cost shelter supply ahead of demand suffers from Jeavons paradox and clearly has a limit. Nth-order effects need to be considered as part of a rational, sustainable solution.

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