Friday assorted links


3. Are Americans reading less literature?

I originally mentioned this here, but I read fewer books than I did because there is so much good nonfiction on the Internet. Combining MR,, Longreads, and a couple of others with Instapaper and a Kindle is a really good reading experience, and because I read more that way I also read less via other means.

The best literature (broadly defined) is still singular, but I have trouble finding really great stuff, though I am always seeking it, and writing about it when I find it.

What's the size of the Harry Potter effect? I'd say also 2-3 ppts?

This is also true for me, but I'm not sure if the shift is cognitively healthy. Anecdotally it feels like my attention span is impaired from a decade ago. Even a long form blog entry is still significantly shorter than a mid-size book. Plus it's easier to stop in the middle, keep the tab open, then read something else. I'd like to read more books, but too often before bed, I just grab the iPad.

I think there's an analogy between food and information. Much like modern agriculture the Internet's an amazing advanced. Living in a state of persistent information shortage is only a few levels above being a state of persistent nutrient shortage. But we're evolved for a deficit of those things, not a surplus. Like diabetes and heart disease, I think there's going to be a crop of unintended consequences that we can't foresee.

"1. The celebrity Z-list (NYT)."

No Zombies? Fail!

I fell for the clickbait. It's possible to have something interesting to say about z-listers and the nature of celebrity, but that article did not do so. It was essentially a list of people who most of us haven't heard of, or would need to be reminded about who they are -- and for good reason because these people are not worth thinking about nor reading about.

Yet that article went on and on. So there we are, with the reporter taking time to write about them and readers taking time to read about them. It's the journalistic equivalent of having the government hire people to dig holes and then fill them in, pointless and unproductive. If they're z-listers and not worth writing about, then the NYTimes shouldn't write about them (and I'm sorry that I took the time to read about them).

Yoga is reactionary:

"Modi’s plan to change India and the world through yoga angers religious minorities"

2. Given Noah Smith's explanation of Japan for Westerners: Japan is a collection of rocks with some human beings on it. That's the vast majority of what you need to know. why, for the love of God, should anybody who wants to know about Japan listen to his book recommendations on the subject? Except filling Smith's pockets, that is.

"explanation of Japan for Westerners: Japan is a collection of rocks with some human beings on it. "

And isn't it?

Noah Smith's understanding about Japan is about as wrongheaded and hilarious as the way we lampoon Asian conceptions about American culture.


What percentage of people that practice yoga in the West think about yoga in political terms?

I would think roughly all of them. It is part of the counter-culture, well, it was back in the Sixties anyway, and so inherently anti-Western in its political orientation.

I would imagine a fair few people still take it to get even with their fathers.

You don't get out much. Now it's all about tight abs and asses.

Are no economics journals published by Elsevier?

#3 Is this blog literature?

Tyler and Alex are too modest, so...

There's even a shout out to the commentariat.

#2 What about " The Enigma of Japanese Power" by Karl Von Wolferen?

#4. Neo-liberal yoga can be combated with Goat Yoga (in Oregon of course):

OTOH, she's charging a fee for these yoga classes with goats, so it may be entrepeneurial and neo-liberal after all.

It reminds me that scene in the movie Four Days in September (O Que é isto Companheiro) when the armed urban guerrila invades the bank to take money for their cause and tell the terrorized clients and workers: "It is not a robbery, it is a revolutionary expropriation!"

Maybe she is not a entrepreneur, maybe she is a freedom fighter.

The fact that Noah Smith thinks that it's correct, and probably even good, that Japanese grandparents way of thinking is as alien to the youth of Japan as America's grandparents are to the current generation shows that a) he doesn't really understand any country in Asia and b) the West is in sad shape.

But I suspect future conflicts between China and Japan which are just around the corner are going to teach Generation Y, Z, and Alpha just how clued in their grandparents really were.

"But I suspect future conflicts between China and Japan which are just around the corner are going to teach Generation Y, Z, and Alpha just how clued in their grandparents really were."

Evidentlynif their grandparents had killed all the Chinese, the Chinese woukd not making trouble around. But lest us forget, Americans had a certain role on the Japanese stopping killing, torturing, raping, etc. The Chinese.

4. Postmodern drivel, which really ought to be considered quite passé by now. I dislike having to cover it.

«Contemporary claims about yoga’s counterhegemonic status often rely on exaggerated notions of its former “purity” and “authenticity,” which belie its invented and retrospectively reconstructed nature. Rather than engaging in these debates about authenticity, ...»

Well, at least sounds like a refutation of the "cultural appropriation" talk..

very good blog, I congratulate them as they do, congratulations

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