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Briefly Noted for 2021-01-21(a)

Summary:
Tom Snyder: The American Abyss https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html: ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true… Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People

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Tom Snyder: The American Abyss https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/magazine/trump-coup.html: ‘When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around.... Social media... supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true…

Haley Bird Wilt: The Consequences of Lying to People https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/the-consequences-of-lying-to-people: ‘Republican lawmakers misled millions of people into believing the results of a legitimate election could be overturned. Many of them viewed contesting the outcome as a relatively easy way to gain political currency among Trump supporters, knowing all the while that their efforts would have no real impact on who will be sworn into office in two weeks. The deception—primarily led by Trump, yet enabled by members of Congress—set the stage for the violence that unfolded at the Capitol Wednesday. Four people died.... The normally dry procedural affair of counting of the Electoral College votes was viewed by everyday Republicans and zealots alike as the place to make a final stand to overturn the election—even though elected Republicans knew the outcome would ultimately remain unchanged. As my colleague Jonah writes this morning, “Convincing people they need to prevent a coup when no such coup exists is a recipe for violence.” This was the energy that fueled the horde on Wednesday…

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BRIEFLY NOTED:

Joshua Gans: B.1.1.7 https://joshuagans.substack.com/p/b117: ‘B.1.1.7 has an advantage over older variants in infecting people when the mitigation strategies are in place. In other words, it is getting around them.... My guess is that the new variant can obtain more cases in certain settings—like workplaces that previously were able to keep transmission low—and then people carry the new variant home where fewer mitigations are in place and transmission occurs more easily there.... That means that the fight against B.1.1.7 requires the places that have been the most vigilant need more action. It is hard to know what that is.... The other option—and I will continue to beat this still live horse here—is ramping up testing…

Nora Caplan-Bricker: An Overlooked Novel from 1935 by the Godmother of Feminist Detective Fiction https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/an-overlooked-novel-from-1935-by-the-godmother-of-feminist-detective-fiction: ‘A new group biography establishes Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Gaudy Night” as a forerunner of works by Gillian Flynn and Tana French…

Annalee Newitz: What Ancient Roman Hospitality Workers Can Teach Us About This Moment in History https://thehypothesis.substack.com/p/what-ancient-roman-hospitality-workers

Ben Sasse https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/biden-cabinet-inauguration-gop-future: ‘Many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon. They can’t. The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about…

McKay Coppins https://uphill.thedispatch.com/p/biden-cabinet-inauguration-gop-future: ‘People who spent years coddling the president will recast themselves as voices of conscience, or whitewash their relationship with Trump altogether. Policy makers who abandoned their dedication to ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘limited government’ will rediscover a passion for these timeless conservative principles. Some may dress up their revisionism in the rhetoric of ‘healing’ and ‘moving forward,’ but the strategy will be clear—to escape accountability by taking advantage of America’s notoriously short political memory...

Acropolis Museum: Digital Museum https://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en/digital-museum: ‘The Acropolis Museum enters dynamically into the world of digital technology and opens new channels of communication with the public. The large number of applications that were developed under the programme “Creation of the Digital Acropolis Museum” showcases the multiple aspects of its exhibits, offers unique experiences in its galleries and creates a new, exciting world for kids and grownups alike. At the same time its new website captures in a contemporary way the Museum’s function and activities, provides multidimensional orientation and entertainment, renders all its collections open and accessible to the international community and forms an attractive environment, designed specifically for children…

Kiona Smith: This Is How Hominins Adapted to a Changing World 2 Million Years Ago https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/01/this-is-how-hominins-adapted-to-a-changing-world-2-million-years-ago/: ‘Jacks of all trades: And even if the earliest hunters and gatherers at Ewass Oldupa would have found later versions of the place totally alien, they would still have recognized the tools people used to survive it. For roughly 200,000 years, hominins relied on the same basic tools to tackle the bracken meadows beside the river, the patchwork of woods and grassland, the lush lakeshore, and the dry steppe. The chopping, scraping, and pounding tools of the Olduwan were relatively simple, but they were also incredibly versatile. According to Petraglia and his colleagues, Olduwan technology offered a basic, general toolkit that worked as well in a lakeside palm grove as it did on a dry steppe. Humans took over the world because we’re generalists, and generalists can adapt to nearly anything. Our early relatives clearly had the same advantage…

Sam Arbesman: Reinventing Book Publishing in the Tech World https://arbesman.substack.com/p/-reinventing-publishing-in-the-tech: ‘attempts to constantly reexamine and reinvent the democratization, distribution, and furthering of knowledge should be watched closely (and please let me know of other examples you are aware of!). For ultimately, publishers are catalysts of world-changing ideas…

John Maynard Keynes (1942): How Much Does Finance Matter https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-keynes-finance-matter.pdf...

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Governor Schwarzenegger's Message Following This Week's Attack on the Capitol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_P-0I6sAck&feature=youtu.be...

40 minutes: JaydenX: Shooting and Storming Of The US Capitol In Washington DC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfiS8MsfSF4&bpctr=1610381708

Gerard Baker (2020-11-16): Four Seasons Total Landscaping Isn’t Exactly the Reichstag https://www.wsj.com/articles/four-seasons-total-landscaping-isnt-exactly-the-reichstag-11605545752: ‘Trump’s shambolic vote challenges provoke cries of “coup” and the usual comparisons to Hitler…

Substack CEO Chris Best https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRJUNF5tHG4

Model Economic History Papers https://delong.typepad.com/teaching_economics/model-economic-history-papers.html

Congressional Record 2021-01-06 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/congressional-record-2021-01-06.pdf...

K. N. Chaudhuri (1968): International Economy in the Nineteenth Century: An Historical Survey https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-chaudhuri-india-1800s.pdf...

Economic History Society: The Long Run https://ehsthelongrun.net/

John Maynard Keynes (1924): A Tract on Monetary Reform https://delong.typepad.com/keynes-1923-a-tract-on-monetary-reform.pdf...

Colonial Williamsburg: Men’s Dress in the 1770s https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2875778182533255

Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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