Links and Books, October 2021

Posted on 31 Oct 2021 by Steve Markham


  • Humorous review of WWII shows on the History Channel
  • Shark Pool: Official Trailer. Content warning: lots of girls in bikinis. It’s from 2011, but came on my radar again recently in the context of COVID, which makes it both sad and funny.
  • A brief history of schooling in America. Excellent read. Made a connection between BSA and one-room-schoolhouses that I had never noticed before, even though I have noticed both in Scouting and in reading Little House with the kids how good it could be to have students teaching each other.
  • Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism” from 1945. It’s long, but interesting and related to my on-going curiosity about whether things are worse than ever, or if actually I’m comparing to an unusual time in history (1950s-1980s USA) and things are usually pretty much as good/bad as they are now.
  • The 1517 Fund’s Invisible College. 1517 is a VC firm backing people without indulgences from the church of higher ed college degrees. The Invisible College is a $50k investment to do STEM research with the objective of being ready for startup funding (~$250k) after 4-6 months. I find this fascinating.
  • DIY double-slit experiment Worth watching to the end, where he sets up an interference pattern for a single photon that emphasizes QM over classical physics. I love that people are doing this themselves with COTS equipment. You don’t need a PhD or a million dollar lab to get deep into spooky QM effects.
  • Ryan Peterson Saves the Supply Chain. The Zvi writes up this tale emphasizing a couple of things. 1) How to be more persuasive (concrete problem, concrete proposal for solution, no blaming, and in fact providing cover for those who let it get so bad). 2) That even with a persuasize piece, few people expected the problem to be solved. 3) The optimistic story that government responded and things got better. 4) The pessimistic story that the news didn’t report on the optimistic story (except one WaPo article).


  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. I finished it, having started it last month. It was great, and if there wasn’t a 6 week wait for Hero of Ages I’d have finished book three by now, too.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. Another book I finally finished. It was a strange book, as expected, but I liked it a lot.
  • The Practical Stoic by Ward Farnsworth. This was great. I intend to buy it to have as a reference.
  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. It didn’t come in time for the road trip, but it did finally come. I’ve only just started it, but so far I’m liking it.
  • These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Finished the series with the family again. It’s always fun. Then we started…
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by JK Rowling. Even Camille enjoys the first part. I wonder what she’ll do once we get to Hogwarts. She identifies as anti-HP.


  • “It was a nice break from everything.” Livae Nanjikana. What does it say about the state of things right now when almost starving to death while lost at sea for a month is a nice break. (h/t Morning Brew)
  • “Busy hands are a great help to being cheerful.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, These Happy Golden Years