Links for April

Returning after a week away, a post on links I read in the last month or so.

These are links I found interesting; I don’t necessarily agree with everything in them, no can I vouch for the absolute reliability of their content (though I will try not to post links that seem actively unreliable!).

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1. How dire US life expectancy has got. A series of brilliant graphs and stats showing the sharp fall in US life expectancy. For me, the most shocking stat was that 1 in 25 US five-year-olds – that’s one per class – will die before they’re 40.

2. Social media is a major cause of the mental illness epidemic. One of many of the great pieces in this series by Jonathan Haidt – I encourage you to read the others. This is one of three links on the mental health crisis, which I think is one of the great unaddressed social issues of our time.

3. The kids are not OK. Another post on the same theme.

4. Why are young liberals so depressed? Haidt also discussses this, but for sake of variety, a different author covering how the mental health crisis seems to be strongly linked to political views.

5. A History of Groomer Politics. I found this a very interesting historical account of how public perceptions of morality changed, or did not change, on various types of sexual orientations and behavious – including that paedophile groups enjoyed a brief period of being welcomed by the Pride movement, before being firmly rejected as gay rights began to gain more ground. I don’t agree with everything here, but do agree with his core premise that current social changes make paedophile-acceptance less likely, rather than more, which is clearly a good thing, whatever else we may or may not think of those changes.

6. The Vanishing. A haunting piece about how Jewish people are seeing a sharply decreased presence in large areas of American life, as a consequence – the piece argues – of the shift by many institutions to recruiting or selecting by background and identity, rather than on merit.

7. How the person in charge of the Battle of Britain believed in fairies. Most of this piece is paywalled (though Ed West is always worth reading), but it’s linked for the part which isn’t, which talks about how the Air Chief Marshall responsible for RAF Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain believed in fairies and thought he could communicate with the dead. We have lost something in our ability to tolerate high levels of eccentricity in public life.

8. How at least one Malian fleet attempted to cross the Atlantic in the 14th century. I wonder if this will be like the Vikings, where when I was young, it was considered highly speculative that they’d discovered North America, but now we have archaeological evidence of settlements. On the other hand, unlike the Vikings, we appear to have no evidence that any ships actually returned, which means the ships being lost at sea has to be a reasonable possibility.

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