Linkfest 2021-01-15


Why America is haunted by Ancient Rome

Historian Tom Holland [not Spiderman] correctly identifies the current moment as roughly equivalent to the time when the Gracchi were murdered.

Working Off-Grid Efficiently

The voice of experience with relying on solar power and spotty wifi to conduct business.


Woo for its own sake

Scott Locklin has harsh but fair things to say about the acquired personality traits of programmers, and how this mindset keeps programming, and programmers, from achieving greater things.

The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

A really sad example of the kind of person who exemplifies the cluster of traits that Locklin lampoons above. A sad, broken man who starved himself to death.

West Hunter: Books 2020

Whenever Greg does his annual book thread, I have a pretty high number of books I’ve either read, or I now want to read.

Railways could double as a tool for probing Earth’s shallow crust

Turning noise into signal.

Moderna believes it could update its coronavirus vaccine without a big new trial

Peter Marks at the FDA has indicated that the 60,000 patient Phase III trial wouldn’t be needed in case Moderna deployed an altered mRNA sequence for their vaccine. This is great news, and it overlaps with ideas I talked about in my piece for Ordinary Times, Senator Warren’s Office of Drug Manufacturing. At least in theory, mRNA vaccines could be a platform, with the only thing changing being the mRNA sequence, which would mean


The Long View: Tribe and Empire

John J. Reilly reviews Patrick E. Kennon’s Tribe and Empire [Amazon link], which might be something like the Deep State’s interpretation of Toynbee. Kennon argued that what this world needs is fewer elections and more bureaucrats.

Soulminder by Timothy Zahn Book Review

For all my love of adventure fiction, this is a great example of social science fiction. Social science fiction explores the consequences of a technology on society, and I think Zahn does so brilliantly in this loosely linked set of stories following the inventor of a technology that can capture your soul as you are dying.