What I'm reading 9/17-9/24


The Stations of the Meritocrat Cross

  • "More, though, I just worry for these kids and for our future with them. We're winding our young people up so fucking tight... Sometimes I think the great American rite of passage is when you go from a youth full of Ritalin to an adulthood full of Xanax."


  • "It is sharpened on its working edge and often on one side, for use as an axe."

I rode with an ice road trucker to the Arctic Circle. Here’s what it was like

  • "This is the greatest trucking job in the world," Mustang told me. "No traffic, no stoplights, just trucking. You see bears and critters and water."

  • "Alaskan truck drivers call it 'the Dalton.' They also all know it is exactly 414 miles."

Journalism fails miserably at explaining what is really happening to America

  • "What we call the Republican Party is barely a political party in any sense of the word, but a dangerous antisocial movement that has embraced many of the tenets of fascism..."

64-Bit Bank Balances 'Ought to be Enough for Anybody'?

  • "We may not be able to intuit how big a 128-bit integer is. Not merely twice the 64-bit; it’s actually 2^64 times bigger!"

John McCarthy's collection of numerical facts for use in elisp programs

  • "This file was made for my own (John McCarthy, jmc@cs.stanford.edu) use, and I wasn't thinking of other people when I did it. Therefore, some of its feature may be obscure. It contains a lot of units conversions and also astronomical facts that I needed for some research on moving Mars to a more temperate location."
  • (setq J (* 1.0 kg (expt m 2) (expt sec -2)))

What Mitt Romney Saw in the Senate

  • "Shortly after moving into his Senate office, Romney had hung a large rectangular map on the wall. First printed in 1931 by Rand McNally, the 'histomap' attempted to chart the rise and fall of the world’s most powerful civilizations through 4,000 years of human history. When Romney first acquired the map, he saw it as a curiosity. After January 6, he became obsessed with it."