Links and Books, January 2022

Posted on 31 Jan 2022 by Steve Markham

Brrr. It’s cold here.


  • Reality is Very Weird and You Need to be Prepared for That. The history of scurvy, and an assertion that many things might be like that.
  • Joshua Greene on Mindscape. My favorite bit of this was the notion of trusting your moral intuition on selfish vs us-ish problems, but using moral reasoning for inter-group (us vs them) problems. Because, “they” won’t have the same intuitions.
  • Carl Sagan on Greenhouse Effect in 1985. I wasn’t listening super carefully, but I didn’t hear anything that doesn’t still apply today, 37 years later. That’s discouraging to me in a way, but I included the link mostly as a rebuttal to people who think the climate scientists are changing their models all the time. No, they aren’t, and the basics were well-established a long time ago. Climate scientists are fine-tuning their models all the time.
  • Bill Maher on Nat’l Divorce. It’s Maher, but mild language by his standards.
  • Medicine isn’t all that helpful? “While the study saw large effects on hospital insurance purchases and on hospital visits, when looking at 82 health outcome changes over a five-year period the study authors “cannot reject the hypothesis that the distribution of p-values from these estimates is consistent with no differences. (P=0.31)” That is, they saw no net effects; people who got more medicine were not on average healthier.”

Books (and a movie, this month)

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I started it last month. Still working on it. It’s long.
  • The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker.
  • Movie: Stranger than Fiction. I saw some list of actors breaking typecast, which included this non-comedy by Will Ferrell (and Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, others). Loved it. Recommended. I don’t have a regular “movies” section on the blog. Not because I don’t watch movies, but because I so rarely see one I would recommend to others.
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I loved Mistborn so I’m trying Stormlight. It took several hours into the audiobook to get sucked in, but I’m enjoying it and intend to finish all 45 hours.


  • “If there’s one thing I know, it’s women and covert ops.” “That’s two things.” “No, grasshopper. No, it’s not.” RED 2