Links and Books, July 2022

Posted on 31 Jul 2022 by Steve Markham

Highlight of July was the Uintas backpacking trip. I did manage to read a bit, though.


  • Criticism of Criticism of Criticism. A rare article where the comments are worth reading (or, were worth reading at the time I saw them, afternoon of the 21st), mostly because they apply the concept to a bunch of different areas, from Christianity to Marxism.
  • TuringElect article on “The Republican Revolution” of 1994. “The death knell for the New Deal coalition wasn’t the civil rights movement. It was moderate Democrats’ inability to keep their distance from the national party.” (h/t ACX)


  • Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. I like it a lot. A good mix of conclusions I strongly agree with, and supporting evidence and reasons that I’m skeptical of, causing a lot of interesting thoughts.
  • The Many-Colored Land by Julian May. Recommended by a stranger on a plane. So far so good, but lots of world-building before we get to the action, and maybe too many characters are introduced before I start caring about any of them.
  • I finished Sagan’s Demon Haunted World from last month. It was great. Next up on my short list: The Three Body Problem, maybe Enfield’s Language vs Reality: Why Language Is Good for Lawyers and Bad for Scientists, and I’ll take another stab at The Dragon Reborn since Ren and Marshall both agree that book four (the next one after tDR) is where the series hits its stride.


  • “It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” –Robert Jackson (Supreme Court Justice)
  • “Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.” –Charles M Sheldon
  • There were dozens of quotable passaged in The Demon Haunted World. I collected some here.
  • “It’s just a matter of degree, right? Well, sometimes the matters of degree matter by a lot” –Sean Carroll [about visualizing or simulating the universe]
  • “There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation, and naming things. Oh, and off-by-one errors.”
  • Epitaph for a Waiter: “By and by, God caught his eye.” David McCord