2018 Q4 reads
The Power by Naomi Alderman: Flips the power balance between genders. A mind trip in the same league as the writings of Ursula K. Le Guin.
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan: The book is pretty positive about psychedelics overall, which makes me a bit suspicious, because Listening to Prozac was also very positive back in 1993, and now they say Prozac is little better than a placebo.
The Way of Men by Jack Donovan: If you liked Fight Club, you will love this. For example:
In the future that globalists and feminists have imagined, [there will only be] more apologizing, more submission, more asking for permission to be men. [...] There can only be more counseling and sensitivity training. [...] There will definitely be more taxes. There will probably be more Byzantine sexual harassment laws and corporate policies and more ways for women and protected identity groups to accuse you of misconduct. There will be more micro-managed living, pettier regulations, heavier fines, and harsher penalties.
The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray: About Muslim immigration into Europe. Written in the wake of the refugee crisis from a few years ago. The book seemed a bit alarmist at times, so I wanted to fact-check some of his stats. The result was a mixed bag:
p142: "In 2006 the British Medical Association reported that at least 74,000 women in Britain had been subjected to genital mutilation" and p226: "130,000 women in Britain [have] suffered this barbaric treatment." Sadly this seems to check out (source 1, source 2: 66K, source 3: 103K + 24K + 10K). Note the misleading phrasing: Many of these women suffered FGM in their home countries before moving to Britain, where it is illegal.
p312: "the Vienna Institute of Demography confirmed that by the middle of this century a majority of Austrians under the age of 15 would be Muslims." I found the source; see appendix 2. The claim is true in only two "migration = Muslim" scenarios, which assume "the share of Muslims among migrants increases linearly up to 100% in the period 2026-31". This is a pretty extreme assumption used as an illustration, not a prediction AFAICT. ("This scenario illustrates the relative influence of immigration of a specific group on the overall religious composition of the country.")
- Tweak the Vote from Radiolab (about ranked-choice voting)
- In the No, also from Radiolab (consent is stranger than you think)
- 27: The Most Perfect Album from More Perfect (listen for yourself)
- The Gun Show, also from More Perfect (the history of the second amendment is stranger than you think)
Cool stuff online:
- The Coddling of the American Mind (on why trigger warnings may be hurting more than they help; also: learn some CBT, people!)
- Sort by Controversial from Slate Star Codex (I wish I could write like this)
- The Parable of the Talents, also from Slate Star Codex (on forcing yourself to do things, vs. discovering the things you're good at that take zero willpower)
- Archipelago and Atomic Communitarianism, also from Slate Star Codex (on exit rights, freedom of association, and allowing society to fracture into subcultures)