Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All
May 29, 2019
“While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
“To stir the masses, to appeal to their higher, better selves, to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal of mutual kindness and good will, based upon mutual interests, is to render real service to the cause of humanity.”
– Eugene V. Debs
The Sun Sets In The West And We Settle In The West
- “GO WEST, YOUNG MAN, GO WEST” was an expression that first appeared in the Terre Haute (Ind.) Express in 1851. It still resonates today.
- New population estimates for cities and towns released by the Census Bureau last week show that between 2017 and 2018 the Southern and Western regions of the US continued to have the nation’s fastest-growing cities.
- Phoenix, AZ saw the biggest jump in population in 2018 with more than 25,000 new residents, bringing its total population close to 1.7 million. A Brookings Institution demographer said: “Phoenix is a good example of a city that is growing from a combination of immigration from abroad, domestic migration of seniors and old people from the North, and the spread of migrants from increasingly pricey coastal California.”
- Other cities in the top 5 with the largest increases include San Antonio, TX (20,824), Fort Worth, TX (19,552), Seattle, WA (15,354) and Charlotte, NC. (13,151).
- Other fast growing in the South were Austin, Frisco and McKinney, all in TX; Jacksonville and Miami, in FL.
- Fastest growing cities in the West were San Diego, CA; Denver, CO; Henderson and Las Vegas in NV.
- Columbus, OH was the only Midwestern city in the top 15. New York still leads all American cities with 8.4 million residents. (NPR)
Additional Reads on Demographic Changes in the USA
- As Employment Rises, African American Transplants Ride Jobs Wave To The South (NPR)
- The College Dropout Crisis (NYT, $)
- Why America Can’t Solve Homelessness: As the face of homelessness changes, politicians cling to limited policy ideas and quick fixes. (HuffPost)
- How the baby boomers wrecked the economy for millennials: A Wall Street Journal columnist and I disagree about what went wrong. (Vox)
- The New Secession: Residents of the majority-white southeast corner of Baton Rouge want to make their own city, complete with its own schools, breaking away from the majority-black parts of town. (The Atlantic)
Left A Good Job In The City, Workin’ On The Farm Every Night And Day
- Africa has about 65 percent of the world’s most arable uncultivated land, but imports $35 billion of food annually, thanks to undeveloped distribution networks, poor roads, fickle water supplies, and aging farmers.
- Today a growing number of young, college-educated Africans want to professionalize farming, which includes fighting the stigma of its traditional association with subsistence living and poverty.
- These agricultural entrepreneurs — “agripreneurs” — are intent on applying scientific approaches and data-crunching apps to increase yields and demonstrate that farming can be profitable.
- Some joining the trend have left cushy professional jobs in the city, like one young lawyer who, a few years back, discovered the onion he had bought in a local market had been imported from Holland. It was an epiphany. He thought: “How can we have all this land, good weather, a lot of water bodies, but we still are importing onions?” Two years later he started a farm growing a variety of fruits and vegetables; he also helped to found TrotroTractor, an app that lets farmers who once tilled by hand locate and rent shareable tractors. (NYT)
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Monkeys
- Large-scale deforestation is destroying natural habitats for India’s monkeys, resulting in the fragmentation of groups and causing them to move toward rural and urban areas in search of food.
- According to Iqbal Malik, a primatologist and environmental activists based in New Delhi, rhesus macaques live in troops, have closely-bonded familial groups, and are a generally harmless and peaceful species.
- But violence among rhesus macaques “mostly emerge from cases of chaotic fissioning, breaking of groups and separation of mothers and infants.” So many cases of aggressive behavior have been reported, including incidents of monkeys killing people, that a program of trapping, sterilizing and releasing them was introduced. However, while the number of rhesus macaques declined, incidents of violence did not.
- Malik believes poor execution of the program — trapping individual monkeys and separating them from their tribes — disrupts an intricate communal bond and actually has the unintended effect of making the monkeys more aggressive. (Gizmodo)
The Great Huawei Cyberwar
- Huawei’s Yearslong Rise Is Littered With Accusations of Theft and Dubious Ethics: Chinese giant says it respects intellectual property rights, but competitors and some of its own former employees allege company goes to great lengths to steal trade secrets (WSJ, $)
- Huawei Ban Threatens Wireless Service in Rural Areas: Many small carriers depend on inexpensive equipment from the Chinese company. Now they must rethink expansion plans, and perhaps replace existing gear. (NYT, $)
- Hobbling Huawei: Inside the U.S. war on China’s tech giant: For months, Australia warned the United States about the destructive capacity of 5G technology. Now, America is aggressively campaigning against Chinese telecom champion Huawei, fearful Beijing’s domination of 5G could be used for espionage and sabotage. (Reuters)
India’s Most Powerful Man
- I’ve Reported on Modi for Over a Decade. His Hindu Nationalist Ideas Will Be Even More Dangerous Now (Time)
- Modi Won Power, Not the Battle of Ideas: The Hindu nationalists were victorious. What does that say about India? (NYT, $)
- An Indian Political Theorist on the Triumph of Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalism (The New Yorker, $)
- How Trump Wins Next Year: What’s happened in India and Australia is a warning to the left. (NYT, $)
- Where Modi’s Victory Isn’t What It Seems: In this far corner of India, insouciant party-hopping is the rule. (NYT, $)
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Feel The Bern Or Feel Him Earn?
- Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist who stumps for single-payer health care and free college. He has the image of a scrappy advocate for the little guy, someone who is exceedingly “frugal.” He continues to castigate rich people, “the 1 percent” who own way more assets than everybody below them.
- However thanks to years of careful planning, middle-class striving, real estate upgrades, a best-selling book, and socking away money into an array of investment funds and retirement accounts, the three-home-owning 77-year-old millionaire who once said he had “no great desire to be rich” has become one of those wealthy people against whom he has so unrelentingly railed. Just don’t call him ‘the millionaire socialist’ to his face. (Politico)
- How Much Political Experience Does It Take to Be Elected President? (NYT, $)
Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All
- In Outliers: The Story of Success, published in 2008, Malcolm Gladwell examined the factors that contribute to high levels of success. He frequently cited the so-called “10,000-Hour Rule,” which stated that to master something, one needed to practice it correctly for that amount of time —i.e. master “specialization.”
- But in David Epstein’s new book Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World, the argument is made that this theory of specialization only applies to a limited number of skills, say, like playing chess. For most people, and systems, the world is not a place where specialization is truly beneficial. Epstein believes specialization leads to myopic thinking, and what most people need instead is range. Epstein provides some striking anecdotes and evidence to support his theory.
- For example, he contends that one contributing factor to the financial collapse of 2008 was that “[l]egions of specialized groups optimizing risk for their own tiny pieces of the big picture created a catastrophic whole.” (NPR)
- The Comeback of the Century: Why the book endures, even in an era of disposable digital culture. (NYT, $)
- Wired’s 14 Must-Read Books of Summer (Wired, $)
- The book that changed my mind: Matt Haig, Emily Maitlis and more share their picks: As the Hay festival begins, authors reveal the books that have transformed the way they think (Guardian)
- Comic Books Saved My Life: I know, I know. I’m rolling my eyes too. But they did. (NYT, $) We love comic books and graphic novels.
- Donald Trump Jr. Gets a Book Deal (NYT, $) And More Than 25 Years After “Private Parts,” Howard Stern Has Another No. 1 Best Seller (NYT, $)
Breaking Down Psychiatry
- The APA Meeting: A photo-essay (Slate Star Codex) This was one of our favorite articles we read this month. And is fascinating especially when coupled with this piece: The Troubled History of Psychiatry: Challenges to the legitimacy of the profession have forced it to examine itself, including the fundamental question of what constitutes a mental disorder. (The New Yorker, $)
- The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs: Millions of Americans have taken antidepressants for many years. What happens when it’s time to stop? (The New Yorker, $)
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