Manic Links for Monday

July 18, 2022

Just some stuff:


Nice piece on Adorno’s Minima Moralia. “The task of Minima Moralia is to assist us in seeing the redemptive surplus that lies unrealised at the interstices of everyday experience.”


Why is there a form of “Old Arabic” from the Syrian/Jordanian desert among the graffiti of Pompeii?  A mystery solved, perhaps.


Really great podcast with Jack Tannous, author of Making of the Medieval Middle East, about his book and the idea of “ordinary believers.”


Great half-hour long interview with Leszek Kołakowski, especially where he is asked (this is from 1987) whether the dissident activities of writers, labor unions, and the Roman Catholic church, may well be able to “challenge Communist rule.”


Very interesting piece about West Ford, an enslaved man who may be George Washington’s son, or at least a cousin/nephew?



“Thanks to this data, the researchers were able to outline major demographic shifts that took place between about 80,000 and 20,000 years ago. As far back as about 50,000 years ago, people from different regions of the continent moved and settled in other areas and developed alliances and networks over longer distances to trade, share information and even find reproductive partners. This social network helped them survive and thrive, the researchers wrote.”

After about twenty thousand years ago, humans stopped roaming, and became more local.


This is interesting:

“Overall, the trends depicted here reinforce the impression that the pandemic disruption has somewhat—though not massively—reallocated tech activity among cities. Some of the data suggests tech could be on the brink of spreading out, prompted by remote work. Specifically, the continued growth of the rising star metro areas—as well as the accelerated job growth of dozens of other metro areas during the pandemic—suggests the possibility in the coming years of a genuine adjustment of tech’s highly concentrated geography.

However, what is equally striking is the persistence of the sector’s superstar geography. Since 2010, the geography of the sector has remained highly skewed, with its activity and growth concentrated into a short list of large, mostly fast-growing hubs on the West Coast and the Boston-Washington, D.C. corridor. Even amid 2020’s pandemic disruptions, these eight superstar metro areas still slightly increased their share of the nation’s tech sector employment, and housed 38.4% of all U.S. tech jobs.

In short, the tech industry still remains more a “winner-take-most” affair than one in which the “rest” of the nation’s tech ecosystems are truly rising—although intriguing signals point to possible decentralization. The question now is whether the recent dispersed tech growth forecasts a major shift, or is instead a temporary disruption.


Good report on “the evolution of global poverty," how extreme poverty is shifting its geographic center, for reasons of governance and demography—away from East and South Asia towards Africa, and how “these trends point to the emergence of a very different poverty landscape. Whereas in 1990, poverty was concentrated in low-income, Asian countries, today’s (and tomorrow’s) poverty is largely found in sub-Saharan Africa and fragile and conflict-affected states.”


A good piece about a previous era of major media, framed as a review of a memoir about working with Grayson Carter, apparently a relatively famous editor at Vanity Fair in the 90s and 2000s. The real value of this piece becomes palpable for me at the end, with the quote about Philip Rahv, thinking of his little journal Partisan Review as more of a movement than a publication. That seems smart to me. And still relevant.


Take care!