End of Lockdown

The Fall is finally here. We’ve been outside since breakfast. First, we went on a long walk to our local nature preserve, and now Klara is sleeping under the staircase in the backyard.

We had almost no COVID lockdown, but every year we experience a May-October weather-related lockdown. We sit sadly indoors, with our ACs cranked up to the max, staring out of window at the burned-out lawns.

Now that we are finally out of captivity, we can’t force ourselves to go back inside.

Good Mistake

I gave a dictation to my beginner Spanish students last week. One sentence was, “I like my friends because they are fun.”

As I dictated the sentence, I saw that students weren’t liking it. Some started whispering among themselves. There was a couple of eye rolls.

“What?” I asked. “Is the sentence difficult?”

An uncomfortable silence that greeted my question was suddenly interrupted by a student who said, “I’m sorry, professor, but ‘I like my friends because they are diverse ‘? That’s weird.”

Other students began to nod.

Turns out the students mistook the Spanish “divertidos” (fun) for “diversos.” But I didn’t mind the mistake because it taught me something important.

Human Greatness

I know everybody likes these images of how terrible destruction in Ukraine is healed and things are getting rebuilt, so here’s one more:

It’s very pleasing to a healthy human brain to see order appear in place of chaos and observe the results of human ingenuity and hard work. Such images tap into our survival instinct and make us feel stronger by reminding us of the greatness of the human intellect and spirit.

Trump + Biden = ?

Last Friday, the Biden administration issued a bombshell, in the dry bureaucratic language of export control regulation. In an interim final rule filed by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, a set of rules called the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) were amended “to implement necessary controls on advanced computing integrated circuits (ICs), computer commodities that contain such ICs, and certain semiconductor manufacturing items.”

In plain English, it was a kneecapping of the Chinese tech industry, depriving it of the advanced chips—and the means of making them—vital for everything from smartphones to self-driving cars.


Wow, folks. Of course, we have to thank Trump for starting the trend and normalizing nation-state protectionism but this is taking it so much further (and yay to that):

The Trump administration, for its part, targeted Huawei Technologies Co. and its fellow Chinese telecom ZTE Corp. with what were at the time unprecedented sanctions. The Biden administration has essentially expanded those measures to the entire Chinese tech sector,

There are very clear continuities between the Trump and the Biden administrations. Both are radically different from the Bush and Obama administrations. Both are enormously more pro-nation-state than Bush and Obama. They are still not even remotely as pro-nation-state as I’d like them to be but the shift is stunning.

There’s so much screeching and propaganda on social media that you’d think Trump and Biden were from different planets. People buy into the hype, get emotionally invested, and don’t see what’s under their noses. Remember COVID? How did their policies differ? They didn’t. Leave it all to the states, don’t do any federal mandates, and wrap things up whenever possible without intruding on the states’ decisions in any way. The Trump policy flowed so smoothly into Biden’s, nobody noticed a change.

Unfortunately, both are intensely bad on immigration but that seems unavoidable at this moment.

I’m observing this with great interest because if the US sticks with the nation, that’s a mega important development.