Linky Friday #93: Ayn Rand Edition


[H1] Old Urbanist Charlie Gardner writes about mobile homes and the role they can play in increasing density, and Alana Semuels makes the case for trailer parks. And here is a map on where higher concentrations of trailers are.

[H2] I would never pay $3,000,000 for a house (much less a condo), nor do I have much desire to live in Kansas. But if these two things were indeed the case, I would be all over this. And not because I’m worried about a nuclear attack.

[H3] Also, from Michael Cain: 50 million square feet of underground industrial space is just cool.

[H4] If there is a person that washes rent-control beneficiaries more than this guy, I’d love to hear about it.

[H5] As micro-housing starts to take off in Seattle, neighborhood groups are flexing their muscle to put as much a halt to it as they can.

[H6] Maybe instead of micro-apartments, we need micro-micro-apartments! Featuring 86sqft apartments in Paris. Or, if you need something just a bit bigger, here’s a video on how you can fit 1100sqft into 420.


[C1] Ayn Rand wrote the novel Ideal in 1934, and it’s about to be published.

[C2] Mallory Ortberg writes of the glorious fashion of Ayn Rand.

[C3] I’m not a big fan of the cameos in Atlas Shrugged. I guess commercially it’s good for publicity, but like having Bill O’Reilly in Iron Man, it’s a bit jarring. It would be kind of cool if they were playing people that weren’t themselves (like Hannity appearing as a defender of the latest government initiative).

[C4] From aaron david: The true future of Video (and Music)

[C5] The methodology is kind of suspect, but it’s interesting to ponder the ramifications: Study shows whites think blacks are superhuman, magical.

[C6] Over at Hit Coffee, I write about the demise of the UAB football program.

[C7] From Glyph: The Alien Typeset of the Future!


[R1] CR Wiley argues that Shakers have liberaled themselves into oblivion.

[R2] James Loeffler argues that ur once thriving Jewish culture is on the decline. Or is it?

[R3] Harper’s goes undercover with a cult infiltrator.

[R4] A WWII veteran was given a Viking funeral by the coast guard.

[R5] Zoroastrians feed their exalted dead to vultures.

[R6] Ever wondered about the Mormons’ “magic underwear“? Well, they explain it in a new video.

[R7] Speaking of Mormons, at Hit Coffee I write about the legend of blood atonement and firing squads in Utah.


[Po1] According to Kevin Drum, the problem isn’t that the Obama administration and Democrats in general don’t fight hard enough. It’s the American public.

[Po2] Politicians often follow polls, but when they don’t they have the ability to actually help shape public opinion.

[Po3] Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explains the appeal of Ayn Rand.

[Po4] Bruce Frohnen ponders how conservatives should approach art. To “de-tilt” the political inclinations of the art and entertainment landscape, conservatives need to work harder at making better art and entertainment.

[Po5] From Saul Degraw: The Demise of the Southern Democrat.


[Ps1] New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova investigates the anti-Republican bias in social psychology. Where it comes from, how it occurs, and what can be done about it. A first-hand account from Jose Duarte.

[Ps2] Dr. Phi ponders the difference between responsibility and license.

[Ps3] The corrosive, traumatizing effects of high school.

[Ps4] Is idiocracy upon us? The Flynn Effect is allegedly in reverse.

[Ps5] E-reader readers recall the material about as well as paperback readers, except when it comes to collating the events.


[R1] Meet Millie and Clem Mintz, married for 75 years.

[R2] Men on OKCupid (mostly) adhere to the half-plus-seven rule, and women overwhelmingly do.

[R3] Jennifer Anghju Grossman gives tips on dating Objectivistly.

[R4] Breaking up isn’t what it used to be.

Latin America:

[L1] If you want to live the good life, head south to… Panama?

[L2] One of the shocking things, when I moved out west, was the lack of guard rails between you and some very steep falls. I was reminded of that when viewing these pictures of Bolivia’s death road, and its 15,000 foot fall.

[L3] ForeignPolicy looks at the Honduran charter cities.

[L4] In Brazil, there is a village of women looking for a few good men (who will play by their rules).

[L5] Remnants of Dixie remain in Brazil, where Conferederate expatriates set up camp after the Civil War. Here’s a video.


[V1] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Vitagel – Works with the body to form a clot sufficient to stop and artierial bleed in less than 10 seconds. Wow!

Clothes in Colonial Times
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When people complement you on your clothes
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99 thoughts on “Linky Friday #93: Ayn Rand Edition

  1. C1: I’m not sure of this is a good idea. When a work by a best-selling author isn’t published in the authors life time, it usually means that the author herself didn’t think it was that good.


    • She might have been wrong, though.

      But really, what does it matter? The Randies will inhale it like crack vapor and proclaim it “brilliant” and urge you to read it yourself with the intensity of a Moonie hawking a pamphlet at the airport.


      • What if Ideal represents a younger, more liberal Ayn Rand that was still ideologically influenced by the Soviet ideology? Would Randites like seeing their heroine praise the communal over the individual as the Ideal?


      • “younger, more liberal Ayn Rand that was still ideologically influenced by the Soviet ideology?”

        Rand was never influenced by Soviet ideology, she was always against the Bolsheviks, for both personal and ideological reasons. (though not pro-czar). This also came out before the listed date of Ideal.

        And I’m with Burt, her writing was passable before she got full of herself.


      • Probably not, but the rest of us might enjoy watching them come to grips with it.

        What’s to come to grips with? People tend to become aware of the problems with leftism as they grow older and wiser. Story at eleven. It’s a cliche. Multiple cliches. A twenty-year-old Republican has no heart, and a forty-year-old Democrat has no brain. A Republican is a Democrat who’s been mugged. Etc.


      • oh snap i know that guy. weird!

        anyway, i dunno, i was a professional typography nerd and had to keep it separate from my personal typography nerdisms, but i think it’s less nerdy than let’s say “thematic enthusiasms” in that i take “nerdy” to mean “impractical” or “not of practical use” whereas. that said, that would hinge entirely upon what one does with one’s professional life; if someone got paid to write fantasy or whatever, their enthusiasm would indeed be practical.

        actually, most of my issues with political enthusiasts revolve around their inability to understand they are, at best, fans of a thematic concept – and tools of the weavers of those concepts – rather than participants in a space opera. sports fans, in other words.

        sports bar ist kreig!


      • I wasn’t trying to dis typography nerds, and frankly, I appreciate enthusiasm itself, practical or not, about most anything, generally speaking.

        It’s just that, in that Moon one, there’s this…

        And that’s where I have bad news, I’m afraid. It’s not Eurostile. It’s not even Eurostile’s daddy, Microgramma. According to conceptual designer Gavin Rothery, it’s actually Microstyle.

        You’re probably wondering how to tell the three apart, right? Don’t worry – it’s trivially easy, as the big number two below will illustrate. Eurostile is in blue; Microgramma is in red; Microstyle is in green:


        I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. (For ease of blog post cross-referencing, I’m going to put my fingers in my ears and continue to call it Eurostile anyway.)

        ….which, don’t get me wrong, if that’s your job (or if you are a detective trying to ID the source of a ransom note) I totally get it; otherwise, that level of nitpickin’ detail just for fun is, not to put too fine a point on it, CRAAAAAZZZZYYYYY. It wasn’t until the internet that I realized there even WERE typography nerds. It’s very cool that something that so often goes unnoticed/unremarked upon/unconsidered gets all these things, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not a bit arcane and baffling to me; but that just means it’s not *my* particular flavor of nerdery.


      • Do you play Fallen London? ;-P
        If your eyes are as quick as the guy talking about Moon, well, you’ll see some quite interesting easter eggs? references? (I’m not quite sure what you say when multiple mediums take the same plot and roll with it…)


      • One typeface that makes me insane because I can’t find what it’s called or a complete set of figures (letters and numbers) for it is the typeface on the wheat penny. Assuming more exists than what is actually on the penny. Any suggestions for more info?


      • Brief googling of “wheat penny font” suggests it may be custom engraving, so maybe there is no complete character set?

        Sorry but I have no idea where to look for better answers…hopefully somebody else does.


  2. Po3: The analogy to LOTR is really strained. Yes, It has a medievalist worldview, but that’s its setting, not what it’s about. Tolkien denied both that it’s an allegory and that it’s in any way a portrait of the modern world. Atlas Shrugged, on the other hand, is explicitly a warning about where Rand thought the world was going, together with a solution to the problems it portrays, which was for her ideas to become the dominant ones.


  3. R2 Damn right. I’m in my mid to late 40s. Like I have much interest in someone under 30. Shesh, they usually don’t have much money and tend to be interested in crap i’m not. Other than being hot, after sex, all you hear is “like” this and “like” that. Pass. I will say that I’ve seen a lot of women in their 30s-40s listing that they’d date guys as low as 25 for “serious relationships” ;) Right……


  4. [C3] I think it would be cool to see Hannity playing a liberal pundit on TV too. You’ve got to imagine he would have fun doing it. Perhaps he could be persuaded to do it if he could wear an “evil Spock” beard.


  5. H2: I actually can understand how someone would want to pay 3 million dollars for a condo. I can’t understand why someone would want to pay 3 million dollars to live underground. It does make sense that the guy made his money on nightclubs though I guess. 3 Million dollars should come with a commanding view of the SF Bay, Mount Diablo, NYC, or some other great panorama or at least location, location, location.

    R1: I think it was really the no sex thing which is not very liberal. There were free love cults on the left in the 19th century. They usually had a Marxist bent. Garfield’s murderer was kicked out of a free-love cult.

    R2: I think this is very complicated. My view on being Jewish in New York is that there are so many Jews in the NYC-Metro area that people can take their Jewishness for granted. Jewishness has permeated New York. It is also important to remember that there is a lot of Jewishness in the general culture because Jews create and somewhat still dominate Hollywood and TV. If you are Jewish outside of NYC, you need to work on maintaining your Jewishness though even in a city like San Francisco which has a long Jewish history. There is also the idea that intermarriage constantly is eradicating Jews and Jewishness. I’ve certainly expressed fears about how it is seemingly impossible for Jews to combat the awe of Santa and “Christmas Magic.” I also do get annoyed at what I call Kitsch or Joke Judaism which seeks to reduce 5000 years of culture and history to cheap jokes.

    PO1: I generally think Drum is spot on here. The American public is probably not as conservative as the Tea Party wants it to be or as left as Thomas Frank wants it to be. LGM usually mocks Frank’s essays on the subject by calling it Green Lanternism or being “Leftier than Thou”. The problem is that there are probably select geographic pockets that are really as conservative as the Tea Party wants or as liberal as Thomas Frank wants but neither is enough to build a majority coalition. So if you big sorted yourself into super-liberal or super-conservstive land, you are going to be confused and disappointed. One of my big issues with my “anti-consumerist” crowd of friends is that I think they don’t understand why they are setting up the left to failure because they just surround themselves with other “anti-consumerists” largely.

    Po4: Bruce seems like a rather pompous fellow. Conservatives often impress me with the pomposity and constant talk of “tradition” (read: entrenched privilege). You can fill a Zepplin with the pomposity coming from the dude. Probably several. I think the American Conservative article is more spot on especially when they are bringing up Kirsch’s article from Tablet. There is a lot of small c conservatism out there in novels but it tends to get missed because political conservatives tend to hyperfocus on the aspects that are not for them. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer is about middle and upper class New Yorkers (largely Jewish) who meet at an arts-based summer camp as teenagers. Some become super-successful artists, others do not. There are two long-standing married couples that meet and fall in love at relatively young ages and stick with each other through thick and thin. That seems fairly conservative to me. I suspect that in the political conservative mind the novel is not seen as conservative because it is about Jewish New Yorkers with artistic pretensions. The same dynamic is played out in the odious and cancerous gamergate. The moronic gamergaters real complaint seems to be “Wahhh! People are making games that I don’t want to play and aren’t focused on violent machismo! Wahhh!!”

    Ps2: I am not sure I fully believe that responsibility is “paying your own way.” I think that is an ideal found very heavily in Anglo culture and not necessarily other places. I know a lot of people with serious trust fund money, I am talking millions of dollars or more. Some of them are party-hard decadents and most are pretty responsible people even if they do have a lifestyle that does not necessarily match their job income. I also think that there is something about the bubble aspect of a college campus that causes people to drink and party more and that there is not necessarily anything wrong with it. There should be an age when people get to have all that stuff spill out in a relatively safe manner. There is a lot of conservative pearl-clutching in this piece.


      • The link between liberalism and Shakerism seems to be a very strained analogy to make a broader point about equality and fertility. Human fertility is going down but is this really a bad thing in the long run? It can have some disastorous effects like what is occuring in Japan but if equality for women means a decline in fertility in all cases, do we really want to throw away the baby and the bathwater?


      • Frankly, Lee, if Japan didn’t have such a fished up legal and especially social posture towards immigration their declining fertility would be an unmitigated good.
        I can think of few better examples of instruments of mass human improvement than low fertility countries hoovering up immigrants to participate in their happy low fertility economies.


      • , Japan’s immigration policy is fished up but understandable to an extent. There never really was a singular American or Canadian culture. Even before our current multiculturalism, Canadian identity and culture always had an Anglo-Protestant and French-Catholic component. American culture always had a variety of expressions even during the very early days. This makes us better prepared to except immigrants than a country like Japan that was always more ethnically homogenous and culturally more united. Would a socially conservative Muslim teetotaler fit into the more libertine and very fond of alcohol Japan?


      • Maybe, maybe not Lee but France, England, Spain, Sweden etc… have acquired extensive immigrant populations and they all have national identities that are separate from young new world polyglot countries. Japan is rather distinct in her isolation and you can almost hear the wheels on that national experiment wobbling, you can see it in the weakness of the Yen.


      • I’d argue that all of the European countries that you mentioned are much more like the United States and Canada than Japan so accepting immigrants wasn’t too much of a stretch. England is the core part of the United Kingdom and is used to its own multiculturalism from having to work with Irish, Scottish, and Welsh identities with in its boarders. It also always had religious diversity in the way that Japan did not. Spain was united from several kingdoms and always had lots of regions with strong regional identities and cultures like Catalonia and Andalusia. France had some strong regional cultures despite having a state doing everything it could to create a homogeneous civil French identity. France has also long maintained that being French is civic identity rather than a blood identity. Even Sweden, the most ethnically homogenous and culturally least diverse of the above, never had “if your Swedish, you must do X or believe in Y” in the same way that the Japanese do.


    • “Conservatives often impress me with the pomposity and constant talk of “tradition” (read: entrenched privilege).”

      I can’t quite let that one go by without comment. Your “read” is entirely subjective and unrelated to the “write”. There were two article at the Po4 link; neither one mentioned “tradition” and I don’t see any trace of entrenched privilege in either of them. If you’re talking about conservatism in general, well, I don’t think you can make that argument either, but since you mentioned it in reference to these articles, what is your basis for doing so? At a minimum, don’t you think that your comment reduced all conservatism to privilege? Do you really think that’s fair?


  6. C5: I think social desirability bias plays a role here. A lot of people were probably thinking “Better say the black guy is superior so I don’t look like a racist.”


    • Restrictive zoning also works wonders. Its often better than rent control in preventing building and can turn a lively city into a giant suburb if mixed usage of land is not possible.


      • I truly don’t think that all land in MOST cities needs to be “multi-unit” (be this rowhomes, duplexes, or “skinny homes”). It’s okay to have some big homes, some smaller places with a backyard (ours has space for multiple chickens! Ahhh! Jewish zoning!)


    • , I don’t really see this as rent control. Its more like one man worked out a deal with the landlord where he gave up some of his rights as a tenant in exchange for low rent. Thats just normal business negotiations. Rent control has to come from government policy.


  7. H1,
    skinny homes seem just like rowhomes, except with a bit of a gap between them. I don’t see that they really “destroy housing values” in a neighborhood, anymore than having a few duplexes does. It keeps a neighborhood vital to have different levels of housing.


      • Come to Pittsburgh, I can show you rowhomes even in the best of neighborhoods. People want to live where their kids can go to good schools, and where the folks around them aren’t incompetent.

        I live in a community of savers — of people who skim and skrimp on other things so that they can live there.

        I’d rather live in a community of foxes, than with one of lions or sheep. Lions are assholes anyway.


  8. Ps5: One of the things that I used to be able to do with fiction in books was remember, at least vaguely, where on the page a particularly vivid passage was located (eg, it’s in the middle of the right-hand page). Reading on a tablet, that doesn’t happen. Possibly because I’m just getting fishing old and my memory doesn’t work as well. Possibly because I’ve learned at some level that it’s just not useful since with the epub software I normally use, where a passage falls on a page can depend on whether you flip to it from before or after (as well as other things like the font, spacing, whether hyphenation is turned on or off, portrait or landscape, etc).

    That said, I do almost all of my fiction reading on the tablet these days and I’m not about to go back. The add-ons are simply too good — search, dozens of books stuck in my back pocket, access to the Web without going somewhere else.


  9. Po4,
    That “Linkin Park” is a group of twits should be obvious from their name—yet another bit of reverse snobbery, with its intentional misspelling intended to seem “urban.”

    How racist is this guy, anyway?
    I’ll note he didn’t say they were trying to be “urbane”, nor that they were acting “lower class”. Somehow he feels that by concealing his true feelings, we’re not going to fucking notice his language.


  10. H5 – the article on microapartments, stood out for me. The pro side rolled out point after point: environmentalism, affordable housing, walkable neighborhoods, local business promotion and in counterpoint the anti side had only “they’re exploiting the rule” and most risably “people paid 500k for a single family house and then someone builds X many units next door.”

    My heart -bleed- for the person who dropped half a million dollars on a house and now has a lot of neighbors and is indignant about it. It is just aching.


    • North,
      H5 had other arguments (about heatisland effect, the need for trees, etc. all of which could be fixed with green roofs, mind). Of course there is the parking issue… [which means “getting crunched from poor student drivers”]. And there’s also the “You just cost me (really my bank) $200,000 on resale!” (obviously exaggerated, but a retail agent was willing to say it, nyah).


    • +a bunch

      Austin is currently undergoing a review of its districting, and it’s been enlightening to see how neighborhood associations, which are composed almost entirely of single-family home owners, behave in the face of the possibility that something other than single-family homes of equal or greater value might end up near their existing homes.


    • Funny thing is, doesn’t rising population density in a neighbourhood, leading to more thriving business, more walkability, more active and interesting street live, all tend to increase rather than decrease the property values of existing houses in the area?

      I’d love for some large apartment buildings to go up near my house – more people keeping the businesses down the road profitable, more people making it logical to fund the local library branch and increase transit service, more people to see and help out if someone from the old folks’ home has a fall…

      That said I would be less thrilled if the building went directly to the South of my house and shaded out the yard…


      • Depends. if “more active and interesting street life” turns your area into a party district, you get people barfing on your lawn, endless traffic jams, etc.

        Monocultures are bad in both directions.


      • Yes! My current neighborhood is about 70% renter, 30% single-family, with the two fairly segregated. What’s interesting to me is that, as a bunch of new apartment developments have moved in, a bunch of new businesses have moved in, walkability has increased many-fold, and property values have skyrocketed, for both the rental properties and the single-family homes. So the single-family areas have managed to keep mostly multi-family free, but have benefited from being surrounded by more and more mutli-family homes.


  11. But it was only in 2004 that a trio of economists thought to burrow a little deeper and discovered, based on a sample of thousands of white men in the U.S. and Britain, that it wasn’t adult height that seemed to affect their subjects’ wages; it was their height at 16. (In other words, two white men measuring five-foot-eleven can have very different earning potential in the same profession, all other demographic markers being equal, just because one of them was shorter at 16.)

    … alphas learn their personality early.


    • “This explains why adolescents are such notoriously poor models of self-­regulation”
      … this is not what research in the field of adolescents says, naturally. Tending towards risky behaviors, and sensation seeking is not the same thing.


    • “crudest common-­denominator stuff—looks, nice clothes, prowess in sports—­rather than the subtleties of personality”

      In short, confidence and charisma. Which is all about personality. It’s not raw looks — most supermodels look pretty plain in high school.


      • And the fun thing about all these kids, with the nice looks and clothes and good at sports (cooperation during competition?)? They’re boring. Because that’s part of what it means to be a people pleaser. Never doing anything controversial.


  12. “It’s also abundantly, poignantly clear that during puberty, kids have absolutely no clue how to assess character or read the behavior of others. In 2005, the sociologist Koji Ueno looked at one of the largest samples of adolescents in the United States, and found that only 37 percent of their friendships were reciprocal—meaning that when respondents were asked to name their closest friends, the results were mutual only 37 percent of the time. One could argue that this heartbreaking statistic is just further proof that high school is a time of unrequited longings. But these statistics also suggest that teenagers cannot tell when they are being rejected (Hey, guys, wait for me!) or even accepted (I thought you hated me). So much of what they think they know about others’ opinions of them is plain wrong.”

    … or it could just be that introverts tend to have closest friends, and extroverts have “magnets”, where one person is everyone’s “best friend” and the group organizer for a large group of people.

    … i should really read the study before saying this, though.


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