WBH Weekly Digest 2023-07-21: Hand-drawn

WBH Weekly Digest 2023-07-21: Hand-drawn
We Were Soldiers Once...and Young

Yes, it has been two weeks, but I insist it is still a weekly digest.

The Courageous Life and Death of Rick Rescorla, a 9/11 Hero
The Vietnam veteran helped save hundreds of lives on September 11th, before he was swallowed by the South Tower collapse. “For Rick Rescorla, this was a natural death,” his best friend said—a hero’s end.

When I visited the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan, I made sure to look up Rick Rescorla. The Twitter thread I got this from made sure to mention other members of Rick's Morgan Stanley security team who also died helping others escape: Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Rick Rescorla was already famous for fighting in the Battle of Ia Drang, and for being featured on the cover of Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway's book about it.

The Birth-Weight Pollution Paradox - Marginal REVOLUTION
Maxim Massenkoff asks a very good question. If pollution reduces birth weight as much as the micro studies on pollution suggest, why aren’t birth weights very low in very polluted cities and countries? Figure 1, for example, shows birth weights in a variety of highly polluted world cities. The yello…

I've been skeptical of the current PM 2.5 air quality standards, and I'm skeptical of the ginned-up controversy about gas stoves and indoor air quality for the exact same reason: I don't think the models used are predictive of what will happen if you reduce the measured concentrations of those things in the real world.

This is a very general phenomenon, you will see the same thing in manufacturing. If you do a root cause analysis and make some change, usually the long run data is not as dramatic as the planned experiment. The world isn't a planned experiment. Real world health outcomes aren't an RCT. Air pollution isn't whatever was done here.

This requires closer attention by anyone who wants to use data to change the world.

An argument that Mayan civilization shares a common trajectory with Chinese civilization.

I'm obsessed with the visual storytelling in this video, and how well the synthwave music goes with it.

I liked it so much I bought the Blu-ray for Redline off of Amazon. I hadn't heard of Redline before, but like Miyazaki's 2008 Ponyo, it is one of the last wholly hand-drawn animations. Some of the early Pixar work had the same kind of attention to detail that can be found in Ponyo or Redline, but the trend has been away from that.

Speaking of which, check out this commercial for Murphy's Irish Stout.

The Hunt for Red October – Kairos – By Brian Niemeier

Brian Niemeier offers a great retrospective on a great movie adaption of a great book, Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October. We don't talk a lot about Clancy anymore, the fate of authors who get too popular, but I think that a truly comprehensive history of 9/11 should include Clancy's influence on the popularity of the American military and intelligence agencies, and how that made the Forever War possible.

This story in SF Weekly about Operation Midnight Climax is the kind of thing that would be too fanciful for a book, but absolutely happened. Tom Clancy's novels didn't do a great job of grappling with the sordid weirdness the CIA was consistently involved in.

Have you read Dune lately?

Contra The Social Model Of Disability

Scott's writing is always too wordy for me, but I've been thinking a lot about this subject, and the nice thing about Scott's wordiness is that he exhaustively documents that yes, the people who advocate for the Social Model of Disability really do believe it, and want it to be adopted by everyone and change the world to match what is in their heads.