Link Roundup #1

This is a collection of some of the best articles I’ve read in the last several months. Might become a semi-regular feature if people let me know they like it.

SpaceX is doing amazing things – I would argue they are making more progress in aerospace engineering than every other organization on earth combined. I saw Starbase when I took my family on a south Texas beach trip, and it was inspiring even before they got the launch tower to full height and stacked the most powerful rocket in history next to it (pictured).

Rome’s Basilica of San Clemente is built on the ruins of an older church, built on a Roman villa, built on the ruins of the Mint of the Roman Republic, with tunnels down to an ancient underground center of the Mithraic mystery cult. Fascinating history.

Culture wars are long wars – much ideological change is driven by generational turnover. Older people rarely adopt new ideas, but younger people frequently do, and the young always inherit power eventually. So to really change the culture, build a vision that can convince a generation of teenagers or college students, and then wait 40 years. (This is related to my previous post on persuasive art.) This blog, Scholar’s Stage, is consistently worth reading.

Why the Church Is As True As the Gospel – thought-provoking; it is easier for me to love the gospel as an intellectual system than to love the Church as an institution full of regular mortals, but both are true, and the institution is critical.

The nuclear flop explains why we can’t have cheap, clean baseload power. Radiation is not nearly as scary as most people think, and nuclear power plants are expensive primarily because they are over-regulated. This is a good review of a good book (which I also read); the book’s author Jack Devanney is working to build a next-generation nuclear plant in Indonesia, and if he succeeds it will change the world.

A great hit piece on U.S. COVID policy. It is is even worse than first appears, and ought to make you that much more skeptical about other government action.

Crazy Like Us – A book review discussing how concepts about mental illness significantly impact rates and experiences of mental illness.

Donor privacy matters for pluralism and religious freedom.

How Inevitable Is the Concept of Numbers? This article is interesting in itself, and also as a jumping-off point for Steven Wolfram’s work—he does interesting bottom-up thinking about math, physics, and the nature of the universe.

Many of these links came from Marginal Revolution, which is consistently thought-provoking.

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