Reading List Oct 4th - 11th
I was trying to keep up with what I read in the last week on Friday mornings, but it turns out Friday mornings are crazy. Sunday mornings, not so much.
First up, some light reading about the Pandemic.
The short answer is: The majority of neurotypical kids will be able to socialize just fine, even if we’re still wearing masks in a year.
Even in an overdispersed pandemic, it’s not pointless to do forward tracing to be able to warn and test people, if there are extra resources and testing capacity. But it doesn’t make sense to do forward tracing while not devoting enough resources to backward tracing and finding clusters, which cause so much damage.
Related: ‘What are we so afraid of?’
I read a lot of stories about Eddie Van Halen, who passed away this week. As a guitarist, I think the appeal of Van Halen was that he was one of a very, very small number of guitarists who could make a rhythm part as interesting as a lead. Hendrix was the other guitarist who could do that.
But by the late nineties, bands like Van Halen—who mostly eschewed profundity in favor of uncomplicated pleasure —were being supplanted by the more brooding and introspective rock music emerging from Seattle. Grunge was a pointed rebuttal to hedonism and excess. The eradication of joy was collateral damage.
After the economy collapsed in 2008, we were told to get off the path entirely, to think outside the box but still inside the system. Ambition was no longer limited by traditional power structures. Don’t let yourself be defined by the role you have in someone else’s company—create a new role at your own company. Social media allowed us to carve out our own identities online, and quickly we all became managers of our own “brand.” We had to monetize our brands. We started to hear the adjective “entrepreneurial” all the time to describe what our aims should be, even those of us who just wanted to create, who cared very little about managing the business side of creating.
Of these values, the environment is the hardest circle to square, since even the greenest blands are hell-bent on growth. If the best thing an individual can do for the planet is have fewer children, then surely the genuinely eco-entrepreneur might wonder whether the world really needs a Wi-Fi controlled smart oven ( June ), or a Bluetooth-enabled coffee mug ( Ember ).
Posted: October 2020