Paul Graham, “Why Nerds are Unpopular” – from the article: Alberti, arguably the archetype of the Renaissance Man, writes that “no art, however minor, demands less than total dedication if you want to excel in it.” I wonder if anyone in the world works harder at anything than American school kids work at popularity. Navy SEALs and neurosurgery residents seem slackers by comparison. They occasionally take vacations; some even have hobbies. An American teenager may work at being popular every waking hour, 365 days a year.
“Survivor” (a review of the book Mockingjay) – from the article: After Katniss’s daring acts of battle, and all varieties of exhaustion and physical disfigurement, her team of stylists is constantly trying to “remake her to Beauty Base Zero” — the way she would look if she got out of bed looking “flawless but natural.” In other words, the books offer a brutal meditation on how absurd and bloody and prurient our worst impulses are for a generation that is interested in the outcome of “America’s Next Top Model.”
Megan McArdle, “The Return of No-Money Down” – from the article (quote from CNBC): It’s called Affordable Advantage, and it allows first-time home buyers in four states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Idaho and Wisconsin) to get essentially no-money-down loans that are then sold to Fannie Mae. It requires $1000.00 down, but the couple profiled in the piece received a grant, and ended up paying just 67 cents for a $115,000 home.
Emory Rowland, “Digg’s Fail” – from the article: I am not a top 100 poweruser but I have had a number of news stories make the front page thanks to my friends’ diggs. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this Digg change. I invested time in developing friendships, virtual backscratching, voting, commenting, etc and it-the thing I came there for-goes away. And, by the hand of the owner and creator of it all. This masochistic, self-destructive tendency has always bothered me about the site I invested so much time in.