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Links and Bits from the back half of 2018 – Connor Waldoch – Medium

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This year got *busy*. I started off strong, writing at least 1–2 times a week for the first few months of the year. Then I got engaged, my fiancé finished grad school and got a full-time job, we started house hunting (which was mostly a tedious grind in which we were powerless), and eventually entered the endless loop of home+yard renovation and reconfiguration. We also picked a wedding venue/caterer/etc. while living a 7–8 hour drive from the actual location, and have been generally gearing up for that event later on in 2019.

Around June I started keeping a list in my notes app. A list comprised mostly of interesting links, a few thoughts, the roughest of data sketches, perhaps the ghost of a post title. Typically I didn’t have time to immediately read the entirety of whatever the link was to, I wasn’t ready to learn a cool new tool, or I planned on fleshing out a thought later. Most of the interesting things I saw in the last 6 months didn’t end up on this list (for example, some things that won’t appear are basically any articles I loved in the New Yorker, simply because I tend to consume those on the spot without making a note to read them later), but it still ended up at 99 odds and ends. In end-of-the-year fashion I’ve gone through and looked at each and every one, then categorized them all here.

The Categories

  • Tools and Useful/Interesting Data+Reports
  • Urban Design, Transit, Housing, etc.
  • Interesting Non-Categorized Reads
  • Modern Economics Papers, Reports, and Writing
  • Historical Economics Papers, Reports, and Writing
  • Energy and Environmental
  • Trump and Modern Politics
  • Internet Miscellany
  • Books (That I haven’t read)
  • Ideas

Tools and Useful/Interesting Data+Reports

Urban Design, Transit, Housing, etc.

Interesting Non-Categorized Reads

Modern Economics Papers, Reports, and Writing

Historical Economics Papers, Reports, and Writing

Trump and Modern Politics

  • Bloomberg, on M&A: Is the Justice Department Ready for Prime Time This Time?
  • Politico: Judge’s ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to ‘dark money’ groups. This seemed really important to me at the time, but as a great example of how crazy news is at the moment, I’ve completely forgotten to follow up.
  • Twitter: The rambling narcissist.
  • Dissent Mag: When the Farce is the Tragedy. “I am arguing that the danger did not start with Donald Trump, but was building while he was still a national joke. Nor will the danger of a democracy-threatening crisis end when he leaves office. The 2016 Republican primary campaign clearly demonstrated that the GOP base, informed and egged on by the media machine, has the power to deliver the nomination to whoever can best appeal to its worst instincts.”
  • NYRB: It Can Happen Here. One of those great, winding New York Review of Books double review in which the author (Cass Sunstein) weaves together interesting threads from these books on the slow, then sudden Nazi-ification of ordinary German life with disintegration of democratic norms today.
  • Twitter: Noah Smith on the failure of three conservative pillars in the early 2000s.
  • Twitter: Senator Warren explains why John Kelly called her an, “impolite arrogant woman”.
  • The Nation: Thinking Like a Conservative (Part Five): Epistemology and Empathy (Rick Perlstein). “Have you ever noticed how many conservatives cannot believe a sane, sincere, intelligent person could disagree with them? That’s a central component of the right-wing mind.”
  • These Are the Bad Times. “ Try Turkey. Turkey still has elections. It also locks up hundreds of thousands of people in prison for their political positions or their social status. It went through an attempted coup and cracked down with martial law. Living under Turkish conditions — an authoritarian democracy, but certainly not the Nazi regime — would be an awful fate for Americans. We got a meaningful glimpse of the possibilities when the Turkish president’s security detail jumped off and beat up peaceful protesters on American soil last year. The Trump administration dropped the charges against most of them later on.”

Internet Miscellany

Books (That I haven’t read)


  • Yelp data voter index
  • The shockingly narrow pipeline for Supreme Court Justices and the institution’s positions as a largely reactionary body.
  • Does the brief increase in crime/murder correlate with internal urban displacement due to the high point of a reversed migration pattern?
  • List of things that last longer than they used to: Steady improvement — Light bulbs (but not originals), Hard drives->SSDs, but all less than magnetic tapes Cars? Hvac? Divergence (High and low ends, Walmart and rei, no sears or kohl’s) — Clothes? Shoes? Shortened obsolesence — Phones? Although maybe we just use them more now. Appliances in general I guess? Houses are the shrugging emoji in this thought I guess, so disparate.
  • 3D printing LiDAR, but no color 3D printers in the feasible cost range yet 🙁
  • People are stupid, SUV sales, fuel economy, oil prices, etc.
  • home sales, sqft squares, total prices, compare regions

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