BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-06-08 Tu

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...


Brad DeLong: Meanwhile, what is “world reimagined” & why haven’t I watched it yet?

Gautam Mukunda: Well it’s a podcast so you can’t watch it, but if you listened I think you’d love it! Season 2 launches on Tuesday with Rob S. Kaplan. We should get you on! We’ll have Noah Smith and Betsey Stevenson later this season, as well as John Dickerson and Stan McChrystal (among others). I should of course have included a link. Oops: <>.

Brad DeLong: Amateur!

Gautam Mukunda: Very much so. Still learning. So far literally every single guest has been a friend of mine but, luckily, that covers some pretty interesting people. I’d particularly point you to this one from last season: <>. Changed my view of climate change completely… 

LINK: <>


One Video:

Engadget: EUV: Lasers, Plasma, & the Sci-Fi Tech that Will Make Chips Faster <>

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality

Very Briefly Noted:


Equitable GrowthData Infrastructure for the 21st Century: A Focus on Racial Equity: ‘Large… racial divides in income, wealth, employment, and other markers of economic well-being… have a tragic human cost…. Pay discrimination, barriers to wealth accumulation, and other forms of systemic racism prevent people from developing and fully deploying their human capital. The Biden administration has… an Equitable Data Working Group. Across many domains, federal data collection and reporting can be improved to better reflect the diversity of our economy. These improvements could then guide policymakers in implementing more finely tuned policies to address the legacy of systemic racism and the differential impacts of recessions and other economic shocks on communities of color. This event will convene a panel of academics to discuss some actionable areas of policy where the Biden administration could take steps to increase the quality and utility of economic data disaggregation and how these steps will lead to better policy outcomes. Please direct questions related to event content to Computational Social Scientist, Austin Clemens…

LINK: <>

Brackety JackAbsent Gods, Absent Catastrophes: The Sharing Knife and The Lord of the Rings: ‘A separate people, taller and grimmer… descended from different stock, they inherit a lifelong, unthanked task of battle, expending greater lifespans in patrolling and defending all against an ancient preternatural evil, only to be repaid with dark suspicions… and wilful ignorance of their nobility and sacrifice. Nomadic and martial, ruthlessly disciplined, and deeply attuned to their horses, they have astonishing field-, wood-, and warcraft, and the knowledge and capacity to heal in ways that seem mystical to ordinary people—with whom they do not intermarry. And they possess weapons that can kill preternatural evil as ordinary weapons cannot. Every word applies equally to Lakewalkers and Dúnedain, and this is not imitation but critique, for there are also pointed differences, and the Lakewalkers’ struggle is by far the bleaker…. The Dúnedain, that is, struggle in hope, buoyed by received wisdoms promising deliverance and assisted by beings and artefacts of ancient, sometimes preternatural provenance; Lakewalkers, contrariwise, struggle without hope of deliverance, knowing a single failure will end the world, and their only artefacts of power are worked from their own bones and sacrifices…. Nor do Lakewalkers have any certain knowledge of the past that led to their present, even their legends being fragmentary…. Bujold has repeatedly confirmed that she was consciously engaging with Tolkien’s masterwork and the subgenre it created…. In a discussion on Jo Walton’s Tor blog in 2009, someone complained that The Sharing Knife did not have a proper ending, because evil was not ultimately defeated, and Bujold, rather (I imagine) banging her head on her desk, replied: "Not only was [the Ultimate Defeat of All Evil] not the story I was telling, it was the story my entire 1600 page story was arguing against…. There is a trick to deliberately thwarting reader expectations—you have to deliver in the end something as good or better…. Which is harder than it sounds—those narrative habits are so ingrained because they work, over and over. And over…

LINK: <>

Jeet HeerContra the Covid Contrarians: ‘58 per cent of Americans now believe the virus originated in a Chinese lab (up from 49 per cent last year). More startlingly, 24 per cent of Americans (including 39 per cent of Republicans) believe the virus “was created in a laboratory and released on purpose.” With these poll numbers, we can see the seeds of a future war being planted right now… Politically motivated rhetorical sleight of hand is well underway, with the Cottons of the world using supposition to imply not just Chinese governmental negligence but vast war crimes. And centrist contrarians will have helped make that connection happen…

LINK: <>

Steve M.Noonan: Everyone Is to Blame for the Rise in Right-Wing Conspiratorialism Except Right-Wingers: ‘Peggy Noonan has just published “an attempt to get at some of what’s behind conspiracism”… QAnon… the belief that Donald Trump… will soon be reinatated as president. First she blames human nature, as well as the nature of life in America… “woke” mainstream-media newsrooms… those who implemented measures to reduce the spread of COVID–19 that Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott didn’t like… The Transgender Menace… corporate progressivism, and activist progressivism… “the elites”… technology…. But she never blames the people who are spreading the conspiracy theories. Trump isn’t at fault. Her employer, Rupert Murdoch, isn’t at fault. The rest of the right-wing media isn’t at fault. Conspiratorial Republican politicians aren’t at fault. The people who write and retransmit QAnon posts and election-theft propaganda aren’t at fault. We made them believe this stuff, with our woke atheist transgender elitism. We made them concoct this nonsense, we made them spread it, we made them consume it. They didn’t want to. But we’re so awful that they had no choice!… This is her happy place—blaming us for everything. It’s every other establishment right-winger’s happy place, too, which might be why so many of them want to dump Trump and the conspiratorialists. The establishment right knows it can’t defend QAnon or Trump, so it wants them to go away, at which point everything bad in the world will be our fault again…

LINK: <>

Adam GurriOn Those Who Hate Twitter But Cannot Quit It: ‘Twitter is a viper’s nest… a black hole which draws all intelligence, curiosity, and spontaneity to their oblivion. To speak earnestly on Twitter is to invite mockery and a sudden outpouring of contempt from total strangers…. I have made more friends through Twitter than any other place, physical or digital. Beyond this close circle of friendship are those looser ties with people who I gain much from, through the simple joy of conversation. And the audience I have built, however modest, around myself and around Liberal Currents, I owe to Twitter more than any other scene…. But antagonism is more likely than agreement, for antagonism draws a more energetic response, from the one replied to or their followers. And of course, the quote-tweet putting a hostile frame on the quoted tweet is one of the most common paths to that promised land, going viral. Twitter’s specific mechanics certainly bear a great deal of blame for this state of affairs, and its caretakers have by and large only made matters worse with each update…

LINK: <>

CiceroBooks—Loyal, Forgiving Friends: ‘Know that since I got back to the city, I have renewed my relationships with my old friends—by which I mean my books. It is not as if I avoided their presence because I was judging them, but because they filled me with shame. For I believe that since I submitted myself to events with the most turbulent and faithless companions, I had insufficiently obeyed my books’ commands. But they have pardoned me. They welcome me back into that ancient communion and they tell me that you were wiser than I was because you persisted in this practice. But this is how I have achieved an understanding with them and why I think I am right to hope that should I see you again it will be easy for me to manage whatever is happening and whatever threatens in the future…

LINK: <>

Jeet HeerIs the GOP War on Democracy Self-Defeating? - The Time of Monsters: ‘The attacks on Kemp were usually coded in cultural and moral terms. Speaking about Steve Forbes, a Kemp-like optimist, Pat Buchanan in 1996 said, “It’s big rock candy mountain conservatism. They think economics is the answer to everything. You’ve got violence in the cities: Cut taxes and put enterprise zones in there and everything’s going to be fine, and it’s not. There’s a much broader dimension to America’s crises: It’s moral, it’s social, it’s economic, it’s spiritual.” If you believe that the purpose of politics is, at core, to preserve a white American identity that you perceive to be under threat (from moral, social and spiritual enemies), then simply electing Republicans with the help of more non-white voters isn’t something you’re interested in. A broader Republican party will, from this point of view, be less loyal to the historical America, the white-dominated America, that the political right wants to defend. If that is your starting point, then shrinking the electorate is in fact the only way to go. A multicultural Republican party would be a defeat. As Buchanan understood, politics isn’t just about policies. It’s also about mood. Kemp’s sunny, up-beat conservatism didn’t appeal to people whose worldview has a darker, more pessimistic bent, people for whom America’s changing demographics represent not opportunity but the end of their way of life. Can anyone deny that Buchanan’s somber outlook is more popular on the right than Kemp’s cheerfulness? Who, now, even remembers Jack Kemp?…

LINK: <>

Leave a comment

(Remember: You can subscribe to this… weblog-like newsletter… here: 

There’s a free email list. There’s a paid-subscription list with (at the moment, only a few) extras too.)