Linkfest 2022-11-18: Solar Snakes

I am reminded of Frederik Pohl’s The World at the End of Time or Fenton Wood’s Nightland Racer.

AZCentral: Saudi firm has pumped Arizona groundwater for years without paying. Time to pony up

Former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt and former State Land Commissioner Robert Lane turn up a shady sounding deal allowing a Saudi-owned firm to pump groundwater for alfalfa growing without paying for it.

NPR: How Almonds went from Deadly to Delicious

Think of it as evolution in action.

Project Syndicate: Leaked Data Show China’s Population Is Shrinking Fast

All official data from the People’s Republic of China is best treated with a grain of salt, but this leak combined with some interesting numbers that came out from many local governments that couldn’t hit mandatory COVID vaccination targets because they were based on inflated populations paints a pretty dire picture of Chinese demographics.

The Long View 2004-05-31: The Great Evangel of the Terrorist Leeches

Having just referred to Europe as a gerontocracy, let me hasten to add that I realize that reports of The Death of the West are exaggerated. It may well be that the human race as a whole is approaching an age of steady or, more likely, gradually declining population. Certainly it is the case that the West is not alone in facing the difficulties of the demographic transition:

The Most Populous Nation Faces a Population Crisis (Joseph Kahn, New York Times, May 30, 2004)

...Barring a radical shift in social policy, China is on course to age faster than any major country in history, as its median age soars from about 32 today to at least 44 in 2040.

China will mature more in the next generation than Europe has over the past century, according to data compiled by the United Nations. It will have to grapple with the same age-related fiscal, social and productivity challenges of countries with several times its per capita income.

Put another way, China will get old before it gets rich.

I frankly don't know how remediable this problem is. In the case of China, demographic collapse seems to be a product of government fiat, so maybe a change in policy will fix matters. However, much the same started to happen in the old Soviet block, which had no interest in population control. In Europe, and even the US, birthrates are influenced by official policy, but you have to wonder whether those policies are the cause of cultural change or its symptoms.

Compact Mag: MacIntyre’s Flight from Politics

French political philosopher Pierre Manent pens an incisive critique of Alasdair MacIntyre.

Forbes: Facebook Made This 29-Year-Old Rich; War Made Him A Billionaire

Palmer Luckey is a fascinating character: an engineer’s engineer building outlandish contraptions in his house, the man who realized that software had advanced enough to overcome the hardware flaws of VR tech dating back to the ‘60s as a kid.

Pillar Catholic: New Catholic med school draws inspiration from Padre Pio

If we hope to restore sanity to the medical profession, a cadre with firm grounding in Catholic principles can serve as leaven.

USA Today: Hot dog feud: Sam's Club lowers hot dog combo to $1.38, making it cheaper than rival Costco

This is serious business, as this famous quote from Jim Sinegal illustrates:

“If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out,”

With Both Hands: The Reservist

The greatest burden falls on those who make it home.