September 2023

Tuesday, 26 September 2023

What if Xi Jinping isn’t that competent?

Noah Smith: “Once that kind of leader achieves absolute dominance of his organization, he often starts purging his own loyalists, because they’re the only ones who are available to purge.”


This is what Earth’s continents will look like in 250 million years

Jonathan O’Callaghan, Nature: “It’s also not certain where Pangaea Ultima will form. Farnsworth’s modelling assumes it will coalesce in the warm tropics, but other scenarios suggest that it could form on top of the North Pole, leading to cooler conditions where life might fare better.”


Monday, 25 September 2023

Our climate change debates are out of date

Noah Smith: “I hate to post this chart yet again, and I understand if you’re annoyed, but it might be the most important chart in the world”

The price of electricity from solar declined by 89% from 2009 to 2019. The price of onshore wind electricity declined by 70%. Each is now less than 75% the price of electrcity from gas, 38% the price of electricity from coal, and 26% the price of electricity from nuclear power (which is only getting more expensive)..


Tuesday, 19 September 2023

“Going shopping” is dead

Whizy Kim, Vox: “Retail workers underscore the value of recognizing cause and effect, and how top-line business decisions trickle down to affect the everyday experience of picking up a few things from the mall.”


I Came Out as Intersex in Front of the Texas Legislature

Alicia Roth Weigel, Politico: “Though statistically we’re as common as redheads (about 2 percent of the world’s population), our identity is erased not just from history books but even in the present day. … My body didn’t fit on the prescribed piece of paper needed to render my existence in the world as valid, so rather than adjusting the piece of paper, doctors ‘adjusted’ my body. … Euphemisms are helpful when trying to mask eugenics as necessary medical practice …”


Sunday, 17 September 2023

Tech’s broken promises: Streaming is now just as expensive and confusing as cable. Ubers cost as much as taxis. And the cloud is no longer cheap.

Alistair Barr, Business Insider: “AWS is set to start charging customers for an IPv4 address, a crucial internet protocol. Even before this decision, AWS costs had become a major issue in corporate boardrooms.”


Friday, 15 September 2023

A Huge Threat to the U.S. Budget Has Receded. And No One Is Sure Why.

Margot Sanger-Katz, Alicia Parlapiano and Josh Katz, The New York Times: “If Medicare spending had grown the way it had for much of its history, federal spending would have been $3.9 trillion higher since 2011, and deficits would have been more than a quarter larger, according to an Upshot analysis. The difference is more than could be saved by raising the eligibility age for Social Security or converting Medicaid into a block grant…. It’s so much money that almost no major legislation passed during this period comes close in scale.”