What I've been reading, featuring cardiac and social network problems

  • “I need Squirrel Hill to return to its right size.”

  • A brief history of artificial hearts, which I learned are not nearly as well-developed as I had thought; they are described as “[challenging] the binary characterization of therapeutics as either successes or failures.” It reads like some of the middle chapters of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s excellent history of cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies”, in that it has a practitioner framing the egos and recklessnesses of researchers as driving medical advancement:

“In the old days of medicine… that’s the way these guys did things. It was, ‘Well, I have an idea, and I’m the one that knows best, and by golly, I’m going to do it.’ And did that advance the field? Maybe. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely not.”

“While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.”

  • The restraint of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • A very peculiar review of a book. What kind of book? Well, it’s 1153 pages long, it interrupts itself midway with a 400-page essay on young Adolf Hitler, it’s the sixth volume of a series and takes place in the real-life aftermath to to the first volume, and beyond that, its readers can’t seem to agree on any more specific a descriptor.

“I believe [the book’s readers] cannot tell you whether they think it is good or not either, but also that they all agree it exercises a certain fascination that keeps you reading. This fascination is what a proper reviewer would have to analyse. Otherwise, you are reduced to the status of the art teacher, moving from pupil to pupil and saying, this part is really good, there is something wrong with the anatomy of this figure, there’s something missing in t he lower left part of the picture, that part has an interesting colour combination, etc. I’m afraid I will have to do that too, since I agreed to review this book.”

  • AskReddit: “No-longer-deaf people of Reddit, what’s something you thought would have a certain noise but were surprised it doesn’t?” The top answer has been deleted but had expressed surprise the sun doesn’t constantly make a background humming sound.

    • “I had a friend who was surprised to find out that people have different sounding voices.”

    • “I had a deaf girl ask me if ice cream made a sound when it melted.”

  • The pre-midterms NYRB long-form on Nancy Pelosi

  • Get well soon, Caris LeVert

  • No relevant link here, but the new movie in the Harry Potter spinoff series comes out this weekend and has the title “Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald” despite apparently not featuring any titular fantastic beasts. Also screening this week is the sequel to the movie adaptation of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, which has the full title of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story.”

    OK, one link here: