Linkfest 2022-10-28: The World Island

I spent many happy hours playing TF2.

The Catholic World Report: Anatomist of the Catholic collapse in France and beyond

I’d love to see the data from this French sociologist’s study on Mass attendance and other measurables in the wake of Vatican II.

Mackinder’s World Island

By Halford J. Mackinder - "The Geographical Pivot of History", Geographical Journal 23, no. 4 (April 1904): 435.. Originally from nl.wikipedia; description page is/was here., Public Domain,

First Things: The Morality of a Strategy of Denial

America’s foreign policy needs to reorient. In my book The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, I lay out what this approach should be. It is a strategy designed to prevent any power from dominating one of the world’s critical regions, especially its most important—which is now Asia. The argument is that if Americans are to be genuinely secure, free, and prosperous, we cannot allow any state to become so predominant that it could control our economy and thus undermine our liberties. China’s dominance over Asia, and the global preeminence it would very likely produce, ­poses by far the most serious threat of this outcome. Consequently, our foreign policy—and, as a vital part of that, our defense strategy—must prioritize denying China’s achievement of hegemony over Asia.

The Long View: Permanent Interests

This is a short essay by John, now nearly 20 years old. It bears recollection now. Would that John had remembered this wisdom in the run up to the Iraq War:

The fundamental reality is that Earth is Eurasia. The important parts of Eurasia are its extremities. The rest of the world's territory is important only as it relates to the ancient civilizations that exist on the supercontinent's eastern and western ends. America is endangered if either of these peripheries becomes aggressive, or falls under the control of a hostile power of the interior. Preventing these things from happening is what American statecraft and armed forces exist to do. Everything else, absolutely everything else, is optional.

The important bits of this essay:

  • Any fixed goal of statecraft is not as good as a willingness to respond to objective circumstances
  • The "international community" is an American invention, made possible by victory in WW2
  • Not all things are possible to all countries at all times

The Pulp Archivist has a great Twitter thread on what was happening in publishing immediately after World War II.

Astounding was a successful genre magazine in the post-WW2 period, with an average circulation of 50-60k per issue. This placed it on par with that last gasp of the Gothic, Weird Tales. By far, the winner was Amazing, with a circulation of 200k, buoyed by the Shaver Mystery.

Women's magazines were starting to take off in the 1940s and 1950s, to the tune of 500k in circulation per issue. That's 10x more for the average genre pulp, and twice Amazing and the hero pulps.

In an amazing display of sexism, ignoring the women writing, editing, reading, and drawing for the pulps, Street & Smith closed nearly it's entire pulp line on the presumption that women would no longer read women's magazines if it was known that S&S also published boyish pulps.

Civil Engineering Source: How are ancient Egyptian and modern American road construction linked?

The first manufactured road to exist was part of the manufacture of one of the pyramids in Egypt. They had to bring in limestone blocks of about a meter to 2 meters in size from about a hundred kilometers away from the pyramid. And they did it by making a road from the quarry to the Nile and floating the blocks down. And they built another road from the wharf to the pyramids. And that road still exists as the oldest road we have in existence, from about 2,500 B.C. The limestone blocks required a lot of work to move; they probably rolled them on logs.

After that, there were roads built in Mesopotamia in the Fertile Crescent, places like Babylon and Baghdad. And those roads were mainly built for processional reasons, to serve the temples and make the emperor more impressive, rather than for day-to-day use as a pavement. And some of those still exist. A few of them were destroyed in the recent crises in that area, but several of them still exist. And Nebuchadnezzar, whose name is often quoted in the Bible, he is quoted as saying his father built one of the roads that would exist forever.

Twitter user Whyvert shows us how responses to the World Values Survey have changed in the last decade.

Open Culture: 1950s Pulp Comic Adaptations of Ray Bradbury Stories Getting Republished

“EC Comics writer-editor Al Feldstein combined two science-fiction stories he’d read into a single tale, adapted it into the comics form, and assigned it to artist Wally Wood,” writes J. L. Bell at Oz and Ends, apparently “working on the belief that stealing from two stories at once wasn’t plagiarism but research.”

Bradbury’s response came swiftly: “You have not as of yet sent on the check for $50.00 to cover the use of secondary rights on my two stories THE ROCKET MAN and KALEIDOSCOPE which appeared in your WEIRD-FANTASY May-June ’52, #13, with the cover-all title of HOME TO STAY,” he wrote to EC. “I feel this was probably overlooked in the general confusion of office-work, and look forward to your payment in the near future.”

radbury’s “reminder” resulted in not just payment but a series of legitimate adaptations thereafter. His other stories to get the EC treatment include “A Sound of Thunder,” “Mars Is Heaven,” and the classic “There Will Come Soft Rains…” All of these stories are included in Fantagraphics’ new single-volume Home to Stay!: The Complete Ray Bradbury EC Stories

The Federalist: It’s Time To Save Literature From The Woke Publishing Industry

Fiction is an overlooked but essential part of our culture, comprised of often more powerful stories due to the limitations of reality being absent. And if publishers and literary agents won’t give these people their fair shake, readers that care about nurturing the next generations of great authors have a sacred duty. We’re going to have to go out of our way to find and promote the brilliant works the publishing industry doesn’t want us to read, and make sure that politicized books and stories they are trying to foist on us will be judged accordingly

With Both Hands: The Calydonian Boar Hunt

My book reviews are my own contribution to saving literature from humorless scolds.