On the details of conventional construction, Jesse does mix his historical memory with modern practice, and that's worth noting. It is a good thing that building codes have improved--though it also continues to be the case that they enforcement is less than vigorous in most places.
However, it doesn't take much perusing of citation-rich writing from building industry insiders, such as those at Green Building Advisors (https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/), to be convinced that today's standard practice is still far too slapdash and cheap. For what it's worth, the folks at GBA aren't radical natural-building types working on straw bale, cob, adobe, etc., but focus on more conventional materials and how to use them to greatest effect.
Repeated field research, as reported at GBA, has found that in much of today's construction, details are not completed with care--for example, that insulation (of any kind, including spray foam) and exterior wraps are not applied properly so as to eliminate gaps which result in air and moisture leakage. (See examples at http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/installing-fiberglass-right ; http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/all-about-wall-rot ; http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-blog/what-s-wrong-window-installation ; and http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-blog/what-s-wrong-insulation-job.)
The industry is, well, industrial... and while it might not be as slapdash as it was in the 70s and 80s, it still hasn't made the degree of improvements in quality that have happened, for example, in the auto industry over these same decades. And that's a serious tragedy worth pointing out, as Jesse does in a roundabout way with this article, because these houses will stand for another 50 or 100 or more years, leaking heat, growing mold, requiring repairs and basically being wastefully inferior products that compromise the future for a short-term buck.