recently added

Explaining Affirmative Action to a Martian

A satirical conversation where an earthling tries to explain affirmative action to a neutral martian. Hilarity ensues.

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Emerging Markets/BRICs underperformed during the last two decades despite economic growth. Rekenthaler claims its because "Emerging-markets countries have treated their insiders much better than they

My thoughts: Most of the economic growth in BRICs was from China. But I assume the funds were weighted away from China. Misses that S&P500 is actually heavily invested in emerging markets. Gist still sounds reasonable though


High Hopes Hop into a time machine, journey to 1999. Much seems familiar ...

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Neuralink enables a monkey to play video games

Previously, the monkey was trained to play the game with a joystick. During that process, a Neuralink device was connected to the monkey's brain and collected training data. That training data was then used to understand the monkey's intent in a later trial with the joystick unplugged. In ...

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Teachers Union President on pressure to reopen schools: "Jews are now part of the ownership class" they "now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it"

This last force has generated criticism of teachers’ unions, such as Weingarten’s, for exercising outsized force in the lives of American families. Why should the teachers union in San Francisco or Los Angeles, for example, get to overrule the wishes of families who want their children in school?

“American ...

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something

Democratic presidential hopeful Klobuchar proposes revamping EPA ethanol rules - Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-klobuchar-idUSKCN1SV0B6 Complete

A Bay Area developer wants to build 4,400 sorely needed homes. Here's why it won't happen - Los Angeles Times

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-small-city-controls-big-housing-project-20170728-story.html?outputType=amp Complete

Fwd: Investors Are Buying More of the U.S. Housing Market Than Ever Before - WSJ

https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-are-buying-more-of-the-u-s-housing-market-than-ever-before-11561023120 Complete

All Stories by Yascha Mounk - The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/author/yascha-mounk/ Complete

Slow FI: You Only Live Once (YOLO) | The Fioneers

https://thefioneers.com/slow-fi-yolo/ Complete

Common Facts Unknown Outside an Industry

https://twitter.com/mykola/status/1198719315589160960 Complete

Can we think about politics from Blair onwards in one chart? and what it means for Blue Labour

http://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2019/12/can-we-think-about-politics-from-blair.htmlSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Complete

Implicit bias trainings are used to fight racism, but IAT science is flawed — Quartz

https://qz.com/1144504/the-world-is-relying-on-a-flawed-psychological-test-to-fight-racism/ Complete

[Josh Blackman] 150 Law School Deans ask ABA to require "every law school [to] provide training and education around bias, cultural competence, and anti-racism"

https://reason.com/2020/08/02/150-law-school-deans-ask-aba-to-require-every-law-school-to-provide-training-and-education-around-bias-cultural-competence-and-anti-racism/ Complete

everything!
Financial Independence

FIRE Calculator

Early retirement calculator with good visualizations and lots of control over the syntax

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Good interview on the 4% rule

Goes into detail about where the 4% rule comes from. When was the worse case scenario for retirees (not the Great Depression!), and how the Schiller-Ratio changes the 4% rule

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REIT 199A Deductions

Until the end of 2025, REIT distributions come with a 20% deduction on federal taxes, lowering their effective tax rate by ~2-5%. It sounds like the deduction will apply to ETFs and mutual funds too.

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Financial Education: Little Long Term Impact?

Educating people on finance has little long term impact.

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Investment firms forecast of longterm US equity returns in 2021

BlackRock is most optimistic predicting 5% real returns. GMO most pessimistic at -5.7% (https://www.gmo.com/americas/research-library/waiting-for-the-last-dance/). Morningstart Investment Research predicts -.1% nominal returns on US equities

Kind of odd that they get such different estimates considering they probably all know each others data and methodologies.

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Tiny Driller Skyrockets 959% After Reddit Craze Spreads to Oil

(Bloomberg) -- An obscure company that employs five people and appears to produce negligible amounts of oil and natural gas from some wells in Appalachia became the latest Reddit-fueled day-trading craze, soaring nearly 1,000% to become a $128 million company in a matter of hours.

New Concept Energy Inc. got ...

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Online-Trading Platform Will Let Investors Bet on Yes-or-No Questions: Sequoia, Chuck Schwab are among those backing Kalshi, which plans to launch in March

An online-trading startup that aims to let people wager on questions about future events ranging from economics to the weather to public health has raised $30 million from an array of prominent investors including venture firm Sequoia Capital and discount-brokerage pioneer Charles R. “Chuck” Schwab.

Kalshi Inc. expects to launch ...

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Old websites

Nixon News Features

School to pick new logo to replace Knight

Nixon School is about to change their logo from the Nixon Knight to an anonymous hero or thing. The new logo will be decided by none other than the children and teachers of Nixon! The kids will draw pictures and enter them ...

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Marcell sites
Charles Sites

calcud.com

Sadly does not host old QBasic games

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real estate

The Long-Run Dynamics between Direct and Securitized Real Estate by Elias Oikarinen, Martin Hoesli, and Camilo Serrano 2011

There is a lot of debate about how effective securitized real estate (REITs) is as a substitute for direct real estate (buying property), and over short time scales the two do not track each other very well. This paper investigates the question of whether "the NAREIT [index for securitized REITs ...

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NY Times Rent vs Buy Calculator

Don't know if its been updated for the new tax law

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Paper simulating impact of housing policies on welfare

DSGE model simulating different housing policies in New York. Despite click-baitey title "rent control" in the paper is actually defined as AMI setasides - a percent of housing should be set aside for people below an income threshold and are limited to a certain housing size. Overall the paper finds both ...

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Report: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

"When you have a bejeweled, buckle-shoed duke willing to pay 11 or 12 times the asking price for a block of renovated brownstones—and usually up front with satchels of solid gold guineas—hardworking white-collar people who only make a few hundred thousand dollars a year simply cannot compete," Kennedy ...

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Wealthy, Older Tenants in Manhattan Get Biggest Boost From Rent Regulations - WSJ

WSJ analysis using US census data that finds biggest discounts for regulated rents are in Manhattan, about $3000 for an unregulated apartment and $1400 for a regulated one. The discount in Queens was only 8.6% and in Brooklyn 16.7%. Affluent renters get the biggest discounts. Top quintile regulated ...

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Reddit post on trying to be a landlord

Spent lots of time researching properties, taking classes on how to landlord, and only buying when he thought it'd beat 8% returns.

Ended up making $45,914 on my initial investment of $48,873 after holding for 4 years. But spent 696 hours on the project. If you value ...

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Berlin implements rent freeze/rollback, formula to determine rents, activists agitate for expropriation

Government freezes rent for 5 years and creates a rent cap. Rent cap is $4.30 per square meter for older apartments with few amenities, and as much as $10.90 for newer apartments with better amenities. Current rent in central Berlin is $12 per square foot. Will be allowed ...

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The Total Return and Risk to Residential Real Estate

Piet Eichholtz, Matthijs Korevaar, Thies Lindenthal and Ronan Tallec† November 12, 2020 Abstract We estimate total returns to rental housing by studying over 170,000 handcollected archival observations of prices and rents for individual houses in Paris (1809–1943) and Amsterdam (1900–1979). The annualized real total return, net of ...

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The Total Return and Risk to Residential Real Estate

Piet Eichholtz, Matthijs Korevaar, Thies Lindenthal and Ronan Tallec† November 12, 2020 Abstract We estimate total returns to rental housing by studying over 170,000 handcollected archival observations of prices and rents for individual houses in Paris (1809–1943) and Amsterdam (1900–1979). The annualized real total return, net of ...

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Real Estate
Corporate ETR

Double Irish arrangement

Many major US multinationals, esp. in tech / bio use increasingly sophisticated tax arrangements involving offshore corporations to pay ETRs often as low as 0-3% on foreign profits. TCJA allows relatively straightforward arrangements to provide approximately an 11-12% ETR on foreign profits for companies based wholly in the US or with ...

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GOP Sen Marco Rubio takes aim at stock buybacks, an issue under attack by Democrats

The plan, unveiled Tuesday, would eliminate the preferential tax treatment of share repurchases as a way to discourage that behavior. Instead of falling under the capital gains rate, they would be taxed as dividends, which are subject to a wide range of rates.

Under the plan, any money spent by ...

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Marco Rubio wants to tax stock buybacks like dividends
Election 2020

Interview with LA Mayor Garcetti, who almost decided to join the primaries

Very humorous, articulate and likeable throughout. Hope he runs in the next cycle

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Friends google doc on how "take our country back" for the 2020 election

Full article saved below

How to help take our country back in 2020

The best way of stopping the Trump administration We need to unseat Trump (obviously) We need to pick a Democratic candidate that both energizes the Democratic base (so they vote) as well as appeals to more moderate ...

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Large Majority of New Hampshire Democrats Prefer Death by Meteor Than to See Trump Win Again

Which of the following outcomes would you prefer occur on November 3, 2020? 38% Donald Trump wins re-election 62 A giant meteor strikes the earth, extinguishing all human life

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Detailed poll on Bloomberg approval after second term

Highlights

(1) 1/3 blacks support stop-and-frisk. 2/3rds opposed. Hispanics narrowly approve (2) Overall seems like people thought he did average (3) Said they would not vote for him for a third term (4) Thought education got worse under him

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42% say Trump better suited to create jobs, 32% say Biden, widening Trump's lead from 6 to 13 points

According to the poll, 45% of Americans said Trump was better suited to create jobs, while 32% said Biden was the better candidate for that. That pushed Trump’s advantage over Biden in terms of job creation to 13 points, compared with the Republican president’s 6-point edge in a ...

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Tara Reade record of being manipulative, positive Biden comments

(1) Harriet Wrye, landlord. Frequently forgived rent/was kind. When husband died needed to sell property. Reade demanded money to leave (2) Volunteered at ranch with Hummer. Asked to hide car there to avoid repo. Stole $1200 of services by using vet on her personal horse (3) Chung, landlord. Moved ...

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538 Election Forecast

Right now they think Biden has ~70% chance of winning

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Trump vs Biden campaign on plastic straws

Private health insurance and fracking aren't the only things Phony Kamala Harris wants to ban. She also wants to outlaw plastic straws -- the only kind that work!

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Primary candidates

All About Pete - Progressive attack on Pete Buttigieg

Really boring take down of Pete Buttigieg talking about how they don't trust anyone whose resume is too polished and he doesn't show an appropriate appreciation for the downtrodden. For instance, in his autobiography he doesn't mention homeless people at Harvard square.

Probably the best reason to ...

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Team Warren's Agriculture Plan

Argues consolidation in the farming sector is reducing farmers take home pay. She'd reverse mergers and prevent vertical integration of agriculture firms and prevent foreign ownership of farmland.

No mention of agricultural subsidies.

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Kamala Harris renter relief plan

Rental credit for people who spend over 30% of their income on housing. Seems like a bad idea to me

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Biden touching women interview

An interview by the first woman to publicly accuse Biden of being too touchy. More women are coming forward. She says shes doing it so that Biden won't become the candidate, because she wants to draw a sharp contrast with Trump.

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Hickenlooper op-ed lauding the spirit but attacking the specifics of the "green new deal"

The resolution sets unachievable goals. We do not yet have the technology needed to reach “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” in 10 years. That’s why many wind and solar companies don’t support it.

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Harris proposes taxing companies for gender wage gaps

Companies would face a 1 percent profit fine for every 1 percent wage gap that they allow to exist in their ranks. The fines would total $180 billion in the first decade, according to the campaign‘s projections, with smaller takes in later years as companies come into compliance. The ...

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Pete Buttigieg comes out against identity politics

Buttigieg said he is not drawing “equivalencies between the different patterns of exclusion in this country,” [...] But he argued that an obsessive focus on identity would create walls between communities that would ultimately leave the nation “divided and carved up.”

"We have a crisis of belonging in this country," that ...

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Good history of Bloombergs original primary victory

Apparently, it was seen as a longshot then too. Bloomberg was a lifetime Democrat and Democrats outnumbered Republicans 5:1 in NY. But when it became clear that he couldn't win the Democratic primary he secured the nomination of the Republican and Independence Part instead. The first through standard ...

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Dow breast implant case spotlights Elizabeth Warren’s work helping big corporations navigate bankruptcies

Warren was part of the legal team for a Dow subsidiary which wanted to limit claims for damages from its silicone implants (my reading is so Dow Chemicals itself wouldn't be liable).

Her campaign said that she was “a consultant to ensure adequate compensation for women who claimed injury ...

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Economics

Summers/Sarin estimate a wealth tax would raise $25-$40 billion, well below Saez/Zucman's $187-$212 billion

Their estimate is based on scaling the estate tax into a wealth tax. The existing estate tax is a wealth tax levied at the time of death. If 2 percent of wealthy families experience a death...each year, then the current 40 percent estate tax should roughly be the equivalent ...

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Labor mobility increase after student debt forgiveness

People who pseudo-randomly had their student debt forgiven increased their 3-year earnings by $4k and had greater job/geographic mobility than those who didn't

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Intergenerational mobility is similar on both sides of the Canadian border

Suggesting a cultural rather than institutional component to intergenerational mobility. Of course, could just be a reflection of racism in the blacks in the South. And fewer blacks in that area

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GDPR After One Year: Costs and Unintended Consequences - Truth on the Market Truth on the Market

GDPR compliance costs within companies were very high. It also impacted new companies: Startups: One study estimated that venture capital invested in EU startups fell by as much as 50 percent due to GDPR implementation. (NBER) Mergers and acquisitions: “55% of respondents said they had worked on deals that fell ...

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Min wage and migration

Low income workers tend to go to migrate to areas where the minimum wage hasn't been raised.

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Overview of whether a "wealth tax" would be constitutional, author is biased against it being constitutional though

Essentially Congress is only allowed to lay "direct" taxes on income and a wealth tax is probably income.

The relevant parts of the constituion which states “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census." The 16th Amendment then allows congress “to lay and ...

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Warren camp floats wealth tax on assets >$1 million to help fund medicare-for-all

Under Pollin's proposal part of the funding for medicare-for-all would come from a 0.38% wealth tax on wealth above $1 million. In addition he proposes redirecting existing funding, imposing a national sales tax (with exemptions for low-income households) and a $600 billion annual “gross receipts” tax on businesses ...

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Have billionaires accumulated their wealth illegitimately (economist article)

The Economist estimates about a third of billionaire wealth comes from billionaires who engage in rent-seeking behaviour. Aggressive view of rent-seeking, for instance Zuckerberg's wealth counts as rent-seeking wealth.

Estimates by William Nordhaus found that innovators only capture about 2% of the wealth they create.

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Saez wealth tax won't reduce capital tax because of foreign savers

A potential concern with wealth taxation is that by reducing large fortunes, it may reduce the capital stock in the economy—thus lowering the productivity of U.S. workers and their wages

However, these effects are likely to be minimal in the case of a progressive wealth tax for two ...

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Roosevelt Institute economists testimony on rent control

His testimony isn't crazy, but my gut feeling is it isn't an accurate reflection of the literature either. Filed under the Roosevelt Institute being a succesful counterbalance to Cato and helping to politicize the field.

I'd also file this under the need for theoretical underpinnings rather than ...

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Lecture notes with unified treatment of instrumental variables and rubins casual model

https://www.stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/uADA/12/lectures/ch23.pdf https://www.stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/uADA/12/lectures/ch24.pdf

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Salesforce creates "AI Economist"

Uses reinforcement learning to solve for the optimal tax policy in an agent-based world. Tax policy ends up with a tax policy that isn't progressive but has substantial transfers. Outperforms other frameworks

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Triffin dilemma

Claims that the country whose currency is the global reserve must produce an extra supply of it, thus creating a long lived trade deficit for that country.

Currently that currency is USD, and the United States does indeed have a long running trade deficit, as predicted by this claim.

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Will Studying Economics Make You Rich?

Students who barely met the GPA threshold to major in economics earned $22,000 (46%) higher annual early-career wages than they would have with their second-choice majors. Access to the economics major shifts students’ preferences toward business/finance careers, and about half of the wage return is explained by economics ...

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Opinion Polling

Polls on voting rights for felons

Democrats are divided on full voting rights (all felons including those in jail voting). But most Americans want more rights than there currently are.

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Morality of Randomized Trials

About half of people specifically don't like that randomized controlled trials are random.

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Primary voters second choices shows identity politics is more important than ideology

Survey of peoples second favorite candidate broken down by their first choice. I would have expected second choices to follow ideological lines. So Warren supporters would switch their support to Sanders if Warren dropped out because he's also on the socialist side of the spectrum.

Instead second choices break ...

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April Fools!

The Left-Handed Whopper

Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty ...

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San Francisco is terrible

Mission community group opposes project to construct housing on parking lot

The project calls for 56 residential units, 18 percent of which are considered to be affordable. But Scott Weaver, an attorney who volunteers for local activist groups like USM, called the project’s affordability component “ridiculously low,” and criticized the project for potentially exacerbating traffic and infrastructure issues in the ...

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SF can't spend Prop C revenues, but is still collecting the tax

The tax is being collected from businesses “but the controller is not authorizing the use of those funds given the litigation risks. So funds are sitting in a bank account while people in our streets suffer.”

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People are pooping more than ever on the streets of San Francisco

In 2011, just over 5,500 reports were logged by the San Francisco Department of Public Works; in 2018, the number increased to more than 28,000.

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Property taxes much higher for new owners than old owners. Thanks Prop 13

Property tax bill for median valued home is $12k for a median valued home vs $6.6k on average See appendix table 7

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IPO tax proposed

Restores 1.5% payroll tax rate for stock based compensation

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Seattle actually builds housing and rents are starting to decrease

The Seattle area approved 25% more housing than the Bay Area. Vacancy rate is at 10% and rents are decreasing. I don't understand why rents aren't decreasing faster if the vacancy rate is 10%

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San Francisco proposes "IPO tax" on eve of Uber offering - Axios

San Francisco voters this November will be asked to approve a corporate tax increase on stock-based compensation from 0.38% to 1.5%.

By some giant coincidence, this will retroactively apply to exactly to date of Uber’s IPO.

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SF rent control board was only supposed to last 15 months

If I'm reading this correctly also file under 'nothing promised to be temporary actually is'

his ordinance shall be in effect for 15 months. During this time, a Citizens' Housing Task Force shall be created to conduct a further study of and make recommendations for, the problems of housing ...

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Menlo Park considering request from council member and deputy mayor for building moraterium

Would ban construction of new office space and large housing complexes

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SF ballot vote on "CEO tax" to impose payroll tax on companies where CEO pay is over 100x the median employees

Would impact Comcast, BoA, JP Morgan, Chipotle according to the city economist. Would not impact large tech companies

Supervisor Haney quote

“We need systemic change and we need some additional revenue to do it,” he said. “So we’re going to ask voters for both.”

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SF construction costs now highest in the world

Up to $416 per square foot. US imposed tarrifs have increased the prices of raw materials: 17% for steel rebar and 30% for steel beams. Skilled labor shortage

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$600,000 to paint over a mural

Regardless of the politics involved in getting rid of the George Washington killing American Indians mural, I'm amazed at how it could possibly cost $600,000 to paint over it. Or maybe the reporting on the cost is inaccurate or misleading?

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Another article about $600,000 mural removal

Looks like it's 13 panels. So $45k per panel.

'The unanimous vote instructed district staff to develop a plan to paint over all 13 panels of Victor Arnautoff's "Life of Washington" mural, which is expected to cost some $600,000 and take more than a year to implement ...

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Sacremento housing costs increasing - lets use our succesful SF playbook to solve the problem

Rents in the city have risen 45% in the past seven years. This vaulted the city from the 45th most expensive metro area to the 11th. Fortunately, Sacramento tenant advocates aggressively responded to the crisis by collecting 44,000 signatures to qualify a rent control and just cause eviction measure ...

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SF Restaurant Leaders Sound Alarm on Industry Crisis at City Hall Meeting

Good article with lots of examples. Don't understand how both minumum wage/health care regs can be too onerous and they have trouble retaining employees.

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Possible motive PG&E shut off power because of bankruptcy liability

If they're liable for a fire now the current bankruptcy proceedings won't apply to it

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Scare piece on SF homeless problem

Journalist describes how terrible SF homeless problem is. Some highlights:

The city relentlessly sends the message that drug use is not only acceptable but fully expected. Users dig for veins in plain view on the sidewalk; health authorities distribute more than 4.5 million syringes a year, along with Vitamin ...

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NYTimes on SF and California homeless problem

Same topic as the scare piece, this time from a real journalist. Raises similar problems like open drug dealing and poop on the streets. Generally liberal/left wing crowd is getting more angry with homeless people.

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Op-Ed on Chavez by lead candidate for SF DA

Second, no term limits does not mean monarchy; it does not even mean Chávez for life, unless he keeps winning elections. He will still have to be re-elected every six years, and under Articles 72 and 233 of Venezuela’s Constitution the opposition can revoke his mandate in the middle ...

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The guy who hosted Berlin Ping Pong wants to open an arcade, but is being held up in discretionary review

He currently is using the site for his arcade repair business and occasionally rents it out for events. But he wants to convert it into an arcade.

Oritz, a member of United to Save the Mission and the Cultural Action Network (Latino/gay activist groups) filed a discretionary review to ...

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After operating in SF for a year Skip denied scooter permit due to typo in application

Skip was disqualified because it scored a 1 in the safety category. That sounds shocking and worthy of disqualification. But Dastoor maintains — and a reading of the company’s application shows — a lot of information was included about the safety of Skip scooters. It’s just that the company did ...

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Planning Commissioner in trouble for buying out tenants without informing them of their rights, alleges conspiracy

Planning Commisioner Richards and a business partner bought a property and bought out tenents but failed to give them the legally mandated disclosures and had other planning code violations. City is now revoking his planning permits and Richards is suing the city alleging a conspiracy to punish him for previous ...

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PG&E negligence

WSJ did FOIA requests to get details about PG&Es maintnence. Very detailed wrt age of the lines. Actions they took which weren't in accordance with consultant recommended best practices etc

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SFPD Chief: Restaurants and Cafes That Refuse to Accept Cash Are Breaking the Law

San Francisco Police Department Chief Bill Scott said that businesses that refuse to accept cash are breaking the law. “The ordinance about accepting cash is still active,” Scott said Monday. “It has not been suspended. And I want to remind everybody what the spirit of that is — this is about ...

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ex SF Building Inspection commissioner charged with bank fraud by the FBI

Modified checks made out to DBI to a misspelling of his name "RoDBIgo Santos"

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UC must immediately drop use of the SAT/ACT for admissions and scholarships, judge rules

“The barriers faced by students with disabilities have been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has disrupted test-taking locations, closed schools and limited access to school counselors,” Seligman wrote. The “historic decision puts an end to racist tests that deprived countless California students of color, students with disabilities, and ...

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Satellite picture of CA smoke

Realtime http://mp1.met.psu.edu/~fxg1/PSUGOES_SW/loop180v.html

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Board of Supervisors passed resolution condemning anti-semitism. Retracts resolution hours later

The resolution, “Condemning Antisemitic and Homophobic Attacks on Senator Scott Wiener,” was greenlit early in the meeting in the ensuing hours, a tough debate over the city’s $14-billion budget transpired, during which Stefani criticized the budget proposal and ultimately voted against it. . Supporters of the resolution, including Wiener, suggested ...

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Titles of propositions in CA are decided by the Attorney General. 10 lawsuits around biased names

Becerra’s decision in May to sue Uber and Lyft over worker classification issues created a conflict. Their lawsuit says the title and summary prepared by his office is “infected with the contagion of bias and hostility radiating from the Attorney General’s [Unfair Competition Law] lawsuit.”

Here’s the ...

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Rampant shoplifting leads to seventh Walgreens to close in SF since 2019

A recent trip to the store revealed aisle after aisle of empty or near-empty shelves. Beauty supplies appear to be a favored target. When a clerk was asked where all the goods had gone, he said, “Go ask the people in the alleys, they have it all.” No sooner had ...

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London Breed attends French Laundry one day after Newsom

Breed took a few days off after Election Day and joined seven others the night of Nov. 7 to celebrate socialite Gorretti Lo Lui’s 60th birthday, Breed’s spokesman Jeff Cretan confirmed. The party of eight dined in the same kind of partially enclosed room with a ceiling and ...

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Chron story on "permit expeditor" and Board of Sup response

This process is broken and corrupt. Being a "permit expediter" should be obsolete, as no one should be able to game the system. A lot more needs to be done.

We will not be satisfied until everybody loses

Does Melgar need a city permit to build a gazebo in her ...

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School committee continues recommending renaming Lincoln, declines renaming Chavez

At the same time, labor leader Cesar Chavez didn’t make the list, despite his feelings toward undocumented immigrants, who he called “wetbacks” and other derogatory names. He encouraged his supporters to report them to the authorities for deportation.

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SF DSA book club reading Mao's "On Contradiction and Practice"

If you’re a DSA SF member, join us on Wednesday, 1/13 at 6:30-8:30 PST for a session of Red Star Caucus’ new weekly education program, Red Start. We’ll be reading On Contradiction and On Practice by Mao Zedong!

Read and discussion foundational socialist texts with ...

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SF bans intermediate length tenancies

The law establishes and heavily restricts a new type of rental called Intermediate Length Occupancy (ILO), defined as leases between 30 days and one year. These rentals, which were legal before, will now require City permits

San Francisco has banned leases ranging from one month to one year on all ...

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Castro district hires private armed security as reported burglaries increase 76% year over year

Reported burglaries increased 76% year-over-year between March 10 and through the first three weeks of 2021 in the police district that includes the Castro and Mission neighborhoods, according to figures from SFPD

Late last month the CBD launched a program contracting the Patrol Special Police (SFPSP), a private, city-chartered armed ...

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Bernie's mittens: A lesson for S.F. high school students in subtle white privilege

Three weeks ago I processed the Capitol insurrection with my high school students. Rallying our inquiry skills, we analyzed the images of that historic day, images of white men storming through the Capitol, fearless and with no forces to stop them. “This,” I said, “is white supremacy, this is white ...

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Bernie's mittens: A lesson for S.F. high school students in subtle white privilege

Three weeks ago I processed the Capitol insurrection with my high school students. Rallying our inquiry skills, we analyzed the images of that historic day, images of white men storming through the Capitol, fearless and with no forces to stop them. “This,” I said, “is white supremacy, this is white ...

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BoE member attacks student newspaper coverage, gets facts wrong

Accuses student newspaper of posting a petition and minimizing a zoombombing incident. Was actually reading an unrelated twitter feed (!?!)

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Board of Supervisor member has racially/gender explicit criteria for endorsements

I have a system for endorsements and this is it: I will support the most progressive candidate always, except if that candidate is a cis hetero white man, in which case I will instead support in this order, the most progressive: Black man Black woman Person of Color Gay person ...

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San Mateo County sponsors anti-racist math workshop

.KATU coverage of the curriculum https://katu.com/news/local/debate-emerges-over-racism-and-white-supremacy-in-math-instruction

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Calls for SF BoE member to resign over tweets claiming Asians "use white supramicist thinking to assimilate and get ahead" and are "house n****g"s

Original source https://twitter.com/recallsfboe/status/1372753629573128206 Most of the board of sups have called for her resignation. Not clear to me why she would. Kind of interesting to me how

(1) Most of this was known ahead of time so why is this news (2) How little effort ...

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Board of Sup OpEd: Closing JFK drive in GG Park is "recreational redlining"

The history of redlining in America has impacted communities of color for decades. San Francisco is no exception. The recent special order to close off John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park is an example of recreational redlining: the discriminatory practice of denying public recreation and access to people ...

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Everything is closing

RIP KFOG

Becoming sports radio

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Fat Slice Pizza is closing, parent company of Berkeley Farms files Chapter 11

UC Berkeley-adjacent institution Fat Slice Pizza announced via its website that “after 34 years in business, we are closing our doors permanently.” The news comes after two liquor license suspensions for serving booze to minors and eight months without a profit. Manager Chris Pisarra tells Berkeleyside, “we’re done,” meaning ...

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Ryowa Ramen in Mt View closes

Current owner bought the business in 2015, says rising minimum wage ($16/hr in Mt View!) and competition are forcing him to close. Last day is Feb 29th.

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Mountain View businesses reeling as gyms, hair salons are suddenly forced to again shut down

Other personal care businesses got the bad news early. Sherin Lee, owner of the downtown Face-N-Body beauty salon, said much of the services she provides are expressly prohibited in the county's reopening plans. Nail and hair salons got the green light, but it turns out that things like eyelash ...

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Credit Karma moves HQ from SF to Oakland

“Covid hit and we started to have to make some harder decisions around financials in general,” Colleen McCreary, Credit Karma’s chief people officer, told CNBC. “We decided to make the call now to consolidate into Oakland. It was going to be something over time we’d probably be getting ...

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Levi Strauss puts up 100k of office space for sublease

In July, Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI) reported a net loss of $364 million in its fiscal second quarter and said it was eliminating about 700 jobs.

Levi Strauss has occupied the complex since 1981 and currently leases 354,797 square feet there.

The city's office vacancy rate ...

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SFMTA could lay off 1,226 employees

According to its latest budget update, SFMTA is facing a staggering shortfall of $68 million this fiscal year and $168 million in fiscal 2022. It may have to lay off large numbers of workers in addition to cost-saving measures it has already enacted, such as a hiring freeze on about ...

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VC fund survey of startup shows dramatic jump in virtual first companies

Bay Area shares peaked in 2014 at 75%, reduced to 50% in 2018, latest <1/3rd. A third of companies will choose fully remote post-pandemic. 42% of founders if they'd start today would choose remote first vs 24% would choose the Bay Area.

Not clear to me if this ...

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Mils College 'pivoting', will no longer accept no freshmen

The 169-year-old Mills College, one of the few women's colleges in California, announced Wednesday it's shifting from a degree-giving college to an institute promoting women's leadership.

After fall 2021, Mills will no longer enroll new-first year undergraduate students and it will likely confer its final degrees in ...

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SF Iron closing, going virtual

Hi,

My name is Josh Garza, the owner of SF Iron. I’m sending you this email because, in some way large or small, you’ve contributed to the SF Iron community. This past year has had a significant impact on the gym and unfortunately, we’re going to be ...

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Computer science

What your computer does while you wait

A good summary of where performance bottlenecks are on modern computers. Even though the article is over ten years old, it holds up pretty welll.

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Regular Expression Matching Can Be Simple And Fast

Russ Cox's classic article from 2007 describing how to write a fast regex algorithm, with a simple 400 line implementation.

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Elementary OS

A nice Linux UI, borrows a lot from macOS

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Fresh Air interviews of tech people

  • Steve Jobs 1996: https://freshairarchive.org/segments/steve-jobs-future-web
  • RMS 1991: https://freshairarchive.org/segments/software-and-copyright
  • Bill Gates 1995: https://freshairarchive.org/segments/bill-gates-future-information-highway
  • Linus Torvalds 2001: https://freshairarchive.org/segments/computer-programmer-linus-torvalds
  • Larry Page/Sergey Brin 2003: https://freshairarchive.org/segments/google-founders-larry-page-and-sergey-brin

via https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20434992 which ...

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Made by my coworkers

http://ilovedocumentation.com/ maybe this is a Tom Sawyer move. Also...not secure

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How to do code review like a human (slides, presentation)

  • Review <500 LOC per hour
  • Settle style arguments with a style guide
  • Let computers do the boring parts
  • Be generous with code examples
  • Never say “you”
  • Frame feedback as requests, not commands
  • Offer sincere praise
  • Aim to bring the code up a letter grade or two
  • Handle stalemates proactively

Also ...

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Exploding Stanford CS enrollment, diversity/inclusion, professor exodus

Undergraduate enrollment in the computer science (CS) department at Stanford has quintupled in the past 10 years. As former CS department chair Alex Aiken once put it in a newsletter, expansion “has varied only between ‘rapid growth’ and ‘very rapid growth.’” This trend is paralleled nationwide. Between 2009 and 2015 ...

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Luminati, a proxy service

This is a pretty cool (but expensive) service for proxies in the cloud. The main use case is for scraping, to get new IP's as the target service bans your existing IP's. They have data center IP's, which are (I assume) just AWS IP's, but the ...

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A Plan for Spam (2002)

Paul Graham describes a way to use Bayesian filtering to make an effective spam blocker

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React JS lifecycle methoods

Useful reference for React JS framework

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Langserver

A protocol for editors/languages to do autocompletion, jump to definition, etc. Has emacs support among many many other editors, as well as a huge list of languages.

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CSS3 grid reference

Useful reference on CSS3 properties

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telefork()

This seems like a really cool idea/hack: fork a process onto another machine over the network.

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Bitcoin halving 2020: First halved (6.25BTC) block

Bitcoin halving occurs once every 4 years, cutting bitcoin production in half. This is the first block with a 6.25BTC reward, down from 12.5BTC before.

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GPT-3 language model

  • 175 billion parameters
  • Performs comparably to specialized models on tasks it is not specifically trained for

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The IRS offers a $625,000 bounty to anyone who can break Monero and Lightning

The announcement defines the initiative’s primary objectives as helping IRS Criminal Investigation, or CI, special agents to trace transactions — including identifying wallets, transaction dates and times — and amounts transferred. The agency hopes to use the tools to predict the future transactions of flagged addresses. The final products must also ...

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‘A Million Random Digits’ Was a Number-Cruncher’s Bible. Now One Has Exposed Flaws in the Disorder.

A 1955 Rand Corp. book had a reputation as the go-to source for figures used by pollsters, analysts, researchers; engineer Gary Briggs has ruined it

He started by looking at how Rand collected a million digits. Douglas Aircraft Co., instrumental in Rand’s creation, provided a simple machine that registered ...

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Excel error caused COVID reporting inaccuracies in the UK

What COVID numbers SHOULD have said: Excel bungle masked daily cases hitting 11,000 as Boris Johnson admits he has 'no idea' how many of patients' contacts could be infected - and furious blame game erupts between PHE and testing tsar Dido Harding

Latest daily coronavirus figures show 22,961 new ...

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Machine learning/ranking

Notes on ICML conference - empahsis on RL

Conference highlights

  1. Lots of great work on off-policy evaluation and off-policy learning (see, for instance, work by Hanna et al. [35], Le et al. [49], Fujimoto et al. [26], Gottesman et al. [32], and talks in Section 6.3). These problem settings are really important, as I (and many others ...

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Machine Learning - A Probabilistic Perspective

Looks like an above average ML book. Pointer from https://katbailey.github.io/post/gaussian-processes-for-dummies/

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RecSys Conference

Try to go for the free flight baby

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Automatic algorithmic affirmative action, by Ashesh Rambachan and Jonathan Roth

There's a concept that human bias might be built into ML systems. Rambachan and Roth model look at the classes of cases where this bias is in-built by the ML-algo selecting its own training data. And sees if the bias is reinforcing or self-correcting.

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AlphaStar: Grandmaster level in StarCraft II using multi-agent reinforcement learning

"TL;DR: AlphaStar is the first AI to reach the top league of a widely popular esport without any game restrictions. This January, a preliminary version of AlphaStar challenged two of the world's top players in StarCraft II, one of the most enduring and popular real-time strategy video games ...

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Paper motivating feed ranking positional effects as a two sided search problem

Each item has category utility and idiosyncratic item utility. User knows both distributions but not the realized. Two sided search

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Hyperparameter fitting

Bayesian hyperparameter optimization with simulations

Does a combination of offline A/B testing and simulations to fit hyperparameters. eg 20 parameters. Run 10 experiments to fit the 20 parameters

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Efficient tuning of online systems using Bayesian optimization

Scales better than grid search with increases in the parameter space

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Instrumental Variables for Neural Networks

Also see https://medium.com/teconomics-blog/machine-learning-meets-instrumental-variables-c8eecf5cec95

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Gaussian Process tutorial

I like the python tutorial component

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Objective Functions

Long term objective functions for recommendation systems

Methodology to predict long term user impact based on shortterm AB tests. Used at Google to suggest a reduction of ad load and increase in ad quality to reduce ad blindness

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Counterfactual evaluation of learning systems

Haven't read the paper yet. But I'm interested in learning how to handle off-policy learning. eg you train classifier on dataset X0 which was produced by a previous classifier. The classifier will now select a distribution different than X0. How will that impact the error?

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Diversity Functions

Calibrate Recommendations: Calibrates recommendations across topics based on the users historical propensity to choose

Haven't read the paper yet, but seems like a very simple idea. If historically user watched 70% horror movies and 30% romance than 70% of recommendations should be horror movies. Ranking systems might be overly biased towards the highest propensity to choose type item

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People sure like to organize
Programming

arc paste alternative for github

‎Phil Dibowitz‎ to Ex-Facebook Engineering

I was missing arc paste in my GitHub workflow, so I contributed a gist subcommand to the GitHub's hub CLI a while ago. A new version was just released which includes it..

somecommand | hub gist create --public

hub gist create <file1> <file2>

hub gist ...

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Good posts on mocking in Java

Static mocking: https://lkrnac.net/blog/2014/01/mock-static-method/ Constructor mocking: https://lkrnac.net/blog/2014/01/mock-constructor/

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Article on the value of async-communication in workplaces

Studies https://hbr.org/2019/08/is-it-time-to-let-employees-work-from-anywhere show that working from home is more productive than working from the office. Authors speculates that's because it enabled 'deep work' instead of 'shallow work.

Like any of these articles its largely hand-wavey. But at least it has lots of links to ...

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Retrieval

Facebook AI Similarity Search

With FAISS, developers can search multimedia documents in ways that are inefficient or impossible with standard database engines (SQL). It includes nearest-neighbor search implementations for million-to-billion-scale datasets that optimize the memory-speed-accuracy tradeoff. FAISS aims to offer state-of-the-art performance for all operating points.

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Death of Retail

Toys R Us bankruptcy disrupts toy industry

Toy makers are reducing their product line and the average size of their products. Overall there was a 2% drop in toy sales since last year

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Market Concentration and Hollywood

Thought-provoking piece on how market-power is changing what gets produced in Hollywood. I really wanted to like the piece. I'd feel more creditable if I take the anti-monopoly side on issues more often. I don't like most new movies. And in general I'm sympathetic to the idea ...

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Harbinger "zip-codes"

If households in these zip codes adopt a new product, this is a signal that the new product will fail.

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Bay Area Housing

Studies on IPO impacts on housing prices

UCLA study claims filing "large" IPOs can increase housing prices by 3.7% in a 10 mile radius of the companies HQ. Zillow study estimated that for every 10 FB employees in a census track home prices grow 1.3% faster per year compared to neighboring counties

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SB50 in Palo Alto

SB50 story from Palo Altp perspective, with a photo and caption featuring Vice Mayor Adrian Fine

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Effects of SB35

The Cupertino Vallco development was approved partly because of this bill, according to this article. That is a really nice development with lots of restaurants + housing near the Apple campus. It also seems like exactly the type of development Cupertino would hate and never develop (dense 4-5 story apartments).

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California's 13.3% Tax On Capital Gains Inspires Move Then Sell Tactics

California's 13.3% marginal rate on capital gains combined with up to 20% federal capital gains tax and 3.8% Obamacare tax (or in some cases up to 39.6% if it can be counted as regular income) for 37.1% marginal tax favors leaving the state and establishing ...

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Return of Rent Control: New Research Shows Benefit of Decades-Old Affordable Housing Approach

The new research debunks conventional economic wisdom, finding evidence that rent control does not lead to an overall decline in the quantity of housing. The research also finds that the overall positive impact of rent control – reducing inequality and providing a source of stability for households who face a decline ...

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SF Planning Commission Report on SB 50

Discusses possible interaction with other ordinances. Concludes that it might (or might not) supersede HOME-SF which offers local density bonuses which include 20-30% of units on-site as affordable.

Peskin introduced BF181216 to formalize how SF can deny demolition projects. If something is eligible for SB50 it seems likely that HAA ...

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Housing development fights viewed as segregation

This article looks at anti-development policies as a form of segregation, arguing that terms light "neighborhood character" are really just ways to enforce segregation without a racial vocabulary. They look a Connecticut in particular. It sounds like a lot of their issues are similar to what the Bay Area faces ...

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Japan builds a lot of housing

Over the last 20 years, Tokyo itself has had about the same rate of population increase as London. A nice locality apparently relatively near the centre has had faster population growth than San Francisco.

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Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices

The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan’s capital offer lessons to other world cities?

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of ...

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Under construction 4+1 apartment complex in Santa Clara on fire

Serious fire reveals problems of using wood as a building material.

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Here’s how Atherton became the Bay Area’s most expensive city for housing — by far

The town’s ascendance stems largely from its single-family zoning, 1-acre-minimum lot sizes, flat land, streamlined permits and changing buyer demographics — which have translated into soaring house sizes and skyrocketing prices.

The median price of a home sold in Atherton in the first half of this year was nearly $8 ...

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Startup Predicts Housing Prices, Offers Downside Protection

  • predicts areas desirable to purchase a house using a variety of signals
  • in the event you buy in a suggested area, covers your downside risk, and gives you 80% of the upside profit (claims the funds deposited with a third party, at least up to like 20%) for 3 years ...

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Judge rules Los Altos violated state housing laws in blocking downtown project

tl;dr: SB35 requires projects that meet zoning must be approved, and Los Altos was in violation

A proposed five-story development in downtown Los Altos must proceed after a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge found the city violated Senate Bill 35 and other state housing laws in denying the ...

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Redfin open source tableau visualizations

Migration calculator https://public.tableau.com/profile/redfin#!/vizhome/MigrationAnalysisbyRedfinQ2-2019/MigrationMap

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Palo Alto designates a parking lot for people living in cars/RVs

They can house 12 vehicles in the parking lot near the Baylands. There will be an on-site portable shower. Neighboring Mt View has five such lots.

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FB friends' survey on covid impact

Friend made a FB survey for his friend group about covids impact on them

(1) 30% predict they'll wfh permanently after covid (2) 19% of friends reported a loss of income. 15% of those in tech (3) 31% have already left SF

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Oakland is building more housing than SF

Oakland built 6,800 houses this year, compared to 4,700 in SF. Oakland population is half of SF population. Article says this growth is a result of zoning policy and removing parking requirements.

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USPS data on SF change of addresses during the pandemic

Data provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) recorded a mere 22,042 address change requests originating in San Francisco between March 1 and October 31 2019, compared to a whopping 124,131 over the same period in 2020.

In March through October 2020, USPS reported 75,796 change ...

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Startups

New startup regulator in SF

San Francisco will create an Office of Emerging Technology, where tech companies can pitch their services so The City will no longer be taken by surprise and have to scramble to address impacts of the businesses.

In recent years, San Francisco has struggled to keep up with tech companies and ...

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DuckDuckGo bang commands

Examples:

!sr [name of subreddit] - much faster than “reddit.com/r/[name]” !r - Reddit !w - Wikipedia !cache - get Google’s cache of a page !hn - HN Search !godoc - Search godoc.org for documentation on a Go package. Your favorite language is probably represented

Catering to power users is a good ...

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ADL open letter to advertisers to boycott FB

(1) Ads often show up next to posts from hate groups (2) Hate groups often show up in FB recommendations (3) FB demotes ads with "somewhat true" statement that "trump bailed out wall street and not main street" (4) FB allows opeds that question the predictive power of climate models

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ex-FB employee's article on angel investing retuns

Got some big hits (reddit). He estimates public market returns would have been 3. Conservative estimate of angel returns is 3.6. "Realistic" estimate is 6.86

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Gig Economy

Old poll on prop 22 shows voters have positive view of Uber

When prompted with full wording of prop 22 53% would vote yes, 27% no, including 49% of Biden voters would vote yes.

When asked if drivers should be classified as employees or contractors 56% say contractors.

19% of voters are aware of AB5. But when explained 49% of voters approve ...

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AB5 preventing sub work in consturction sites (from YIMBY chat)

I just did 1099's. Ab5 is garbage. I work in school construction. 70% of revenue happens in summer. My subs like to pickup residential work during year. Some are specialty contractors in other trades. Some subs of subs (tiered subs). Ultimately there is a rash of bad labor legislation ...

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Liquidity Events

Long run returns on IPOs

From 2001-2014 the 3 year buy-and-hold returns at the IPO closing price equalled that of the market as a whole (+22%). But from 1980-2000 they did worse. See table 18.

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Average post-lockup price change is small

On average less than 5%. See also https://www.seeitmarket.com/much-ado-about-ipo-lockup-expirations-data-and-stats-14211/

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Self-Driving

Musk predicts self-driving cars by 2020 thinks other industry leaders have wrong approach

Musk argues that LIDAR is expensive and vision will be good enough. Article has interesting details like how much the cost of LIDAR is falling

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Corporate Structure

8 years after IPO insiders still own majority of voting right, majority of voting regular shareholders want change in board representation

  • Zuckerberg and other insiders control 58 percent of Facebook’s voting power through a special class of shares carrying 10 times the voting power of standard shares.
  • Vote to seperate CEO/chairman role. At 68 percent from outside investors. In 2017 had 51%

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Leaked Zuck Q&A on why he likes to have corporate control

Would have been fired for refusing to be bought out by Yahoo. And reducing video content on FB (shortterm revenue hit, better serves customers). Is more able to focus on long-term value.

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Rideshare

Bird cost structure

Revenue per ride; ~$4 Deprecation: ~$1/ride. Each scooter costs ~$600 to make/transport. Depreciation is also time-based and occurs when stolen Insurance: ~$.25/ride Charing: ~$.90/ride Repair: ~$.40/ride

All of these numbers seem to be decreasing overtime as their fleet is transitioning from general purpose scooters to ...

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Via selected to run to manage school bus routing

Via, the leading provider and developer of on-demand public mobility, was selected by the New York City Department of Education to provide a revolutionary school bus management system for the nation’s largest school district. “Via for Schools” will be the first integrated, automated school bus routing, tracking, and communication ...

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Life Hacks

Enable Incognito Detection Blocking in Chrome

For those sweet sweet NYTimes articles

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Nurture vs Nature Graphs

Estimates of a Nature Vs Nuture Decomposition of Cognitive Performance By Age, Socio-economic Status. For those in higher Socio-economic groups and adults, genetics are by the far stronger source. Controversy for lower Socio-Economic Groups. Potential relevance to parenting effort related to long term outcomes.

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Very detailed laptop/smartphone review site

I like the text questionnaire for the laptop search where you say what's important for you

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Free library based streaming service with more classic movies

For instance, has the Critereon Selection which I don't think is available on Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime

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Book recommendations by famous people

For instance by Sheryl Sandberg or Joseph Stalin

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Beta Blocker Anxiety Usage

"According to one survey, nearly three-quarters of musicians have tried beta blockers to stave off nerves" I've subsequently asked a musician I know, and this pretty much exactly accorded with the people they closely worked with.

Also: "A 2016 review of the literature found that there’s no evidence ...

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Impact of TV on Kids

  • Caplan claims tv watching is large net positive because it reduces the cost of having kids and is essentially free. He argues the negative impact on say IQ is ultimately fairly minimal, based off evidence from twin studies.
  • http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv presents some of the ...

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What Every Man Should Know About Having a Heart Attack

Good overview about how to respond if someone has a heartattack. Big takeaways for me

(1) After calling 911 the next most important thing is to give them an asprin which helps thin the blood (2) All big office buildings and gyms will have defabrilators handy (3) New state of ...

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How to Make a Thousand Bucks an Hour

Potentially high returns on reevaluating recurring expenses (bank, insurance company etc) periodically. Suggests forming "Optimization Councils" with friends to do socially.

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Casper Mattress ratings from CR

Curious about Casper because they have all the podcast ads. Looked up the CR review of them.

Casper mattresses are sold mostly online, with free shipping, though the company also has two showrooms in New York City and Los Angeles. Although you can’t try out the mattress in most ...

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Tips on how to breath more effectively

I guess if it works its great

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Training hikes Bay Area

Best training hikes in the bay area

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How to adjust your bike brakes

Good step by step guide

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Argues people pursue optionality too much in life

Consulting for optionality etc. Article doesn't actually say that much

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Good review of Decathlon bikes

Think the expensive road bikes built for comfort sound good. Wonder how they compare to just plan hybrids

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How to Have Impossible Conversations

Somehow didn't find it an easy read. The general gist seems to be that changing peoples minds is hard and the goal should be just to instill doubt so they slowly change their minds

Strategy

(1) Avoid delivering facts. Peoples beliefs are tied to their social identity. So delivering ...

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Wisdom of the inner crowd - single person making multiple estimates leads to better predictions

we propose the following strategy: combine people’s first estimate with their second estimate made from the perspective of a person they often disagree with. In five pre-registered experiments (total N = 6425, with more than 53,000 estimates), we find that such a strategy produces highly accurate inner crowds (as ...

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Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being

toread

There is increasing interest in the “economics of happiness”, reflected by the number of articles that are appearing in mainstream economics journals that consider subjective well-being (SWB) and its determinants. This paper provides a detailed review of this literature. It focuses on papers that have been published in economics ...

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Relationships

Traffic-test relationship test + A Feeling of home

(1) Traffic-stop test. If you're carpooling with a friend you root for more traffic because you enjoy spending time with them. Requires a sense of humor match. Other person should be fun. Respect for other persons way of thinking. A decent number of common interests. Otherwise a lot of ...

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The Normal Bar - survey data on relationships

Intriguing premise, (unscientifically) surveying people to get a sense of how their relationship is faring so you can get a benchmark of where your relationship stands. Data presented verbally so its difficult to digest and retain. Mostly a depressing picture of relationships slowly decaying over time (decrease in holding hands ...

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Wired for Dating advice

Using pop-science was a bit of a silly conceit, but the book was surprisingly okay. It had good exercises for what to think about for every stage of dating (what are you selling, what are your stengths, what are you looking for, after a chapter how did that change what ...

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Sam Harris book on lying

Sam Harris book arguing that you should never lie. I'm not pro-lying but overall not very convincing. He has a few various claims

(1) It takes a lot of mental effort to keep track of lies. But if you say the truth it takes no effort. But later he ...

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Happiness

Lottery vs paraplegic study testing adaptation theory of happiness

Very famous study.

Lottery winners varied dramatically in their winnings. 7 won <$100k, while 7 won $1 million, 8 won between 300-700k.
Designed to test the adaptation theory of happiness. Very interesting idea. I'd like to see followups, the results seem mixed.

Key results are lottery control was ...

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Relationships
Sleep

Podcast on effectiveness of sleep trackers

Having trouble finding the papers referenced in the podcast. But sounds like Jesse Cook did studies on commercially available sleep trackers to see how they compare to actual sleep studies (with perhaps an undrepresentative sample of the population). In the last couple of years they went from having a 30 ...

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Health Care

High cost of FDA compliance for generics leads to higher prices

The complexity and cost of completing a generic-drug application has also grown enormously. In 2003, when I began working at the FDA, we estimated that it cost less than $1 million for a firm to file a generic-drug application. A drug would have to fetch about $10 million in annual ...

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17 pharma companies accused of multiyear effort to "fix prices and divide market share" for generics

Accused of using social events to plan tax hikes. Metadata shows a flurry of phone calls before price increases. However, there have been similar lawsuits in the past

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Therapy on the Cheap?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be done effectively via software.

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CO2 making us dum

Seems plausible that CO2 levels in many everyday locations are high enough to affect thinking.

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How Sugar Changes Taste In Fruit Flies

Maybe sugar causes weight gain mainly because of decreasing sensitivity to sweetness.

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Forced to Divorce: Americans With Disabilities Must Pick Marriage or Health Care | Fast Forward | OZY

Divorce is sometimes used to work around Medicaid eligibility requirements.

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Effectiveness of Dental Visits

"The Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association's (AHHA) most recent evidence brief [6]) suggests that dental check-ups should be conducted once every 3 years for adults, and 1 every 2 years for children. It has been documented that dental professionals frequently advise for more frequent visits, but this advice is ...

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Does anything beyond toothbrushing and mouthwash work? (Not much)

Pretty much all home dental care has little, weak evidence in its favor.

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Fish Oil Doesn't Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Cochrane Review of fish oil consumption for CVD prevention found almost no effects, after analyzing 79 randomized controlled trials.

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Taking Probiotics Reduces Ear Infection Rate

Cochrane review of probiotics consumption found: "One‐third fewer children not prone to acute middle ear infection who took probiotics experienced acute middle ear infections compared to children not taking probiotics. " .

Evidence Quality: "The quality (or certainty) of the evidence was generally moderate (meaning that further research may change our ...

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Effects of Stretching (Wikipedia)

-Stretching doesn't prevent soreness. -"Stretching does not appear to reduce the risk of injury during exercises, except perhaps for runners.[12] There is some evidence that pre-exercise stretching may increase athletes' range of movement." - "both of these types of stretching have been shown to have a positive impact on ...

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Effects of Stretching

Article with a fair amount evidence concluding: "So stretching is good for … stretching" - claims there's virtually no practical benefit to stretching beyond increased flexibility, which itself isn't very useful

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I hope your identical twin doesn't have diabetes

Take two monozygotic twins, one with diabetes, the other currently without. What's the probability the one without contracts it? "The observed rates of concordance for Type II diabetes at 1, 5, 10, and 15 years follow-up were 17, 33, 57, and 76%, respectively." and "The concordance rate for any ...

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Generic drug prices decline 80% from 2007 to 2016

Out of pocket expenses decline less though (50%). Not sure how this squares with anecdotal claims around extreme price increases and anti-competitive behavior

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Studies show benefits of intermittent fasting

Study finds benefits to intermittent fasting for lowering blood pressure and weight loss. It claims that if the digestive process runs continuously, it is not good for your health. Additionally, it claims the release of insulin prevents the body from killing off old, unhealthy cells.

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Peer effects are 40-70% as large as self-effects in health outcomes during US navy training

The increase in obesity over the past thirty years has led researchers to investigate the role of social networks as a contributing factor. However, several challenges make it difficult to demonstrate a causal link between friends’ physical fitness and own fitness using observational data. To overcome these problems, we exploit ...

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Impact of Violence In Media

The wikipedia article on research regarding effects of viewing violence in the media. Large camps are in violent disagreement. - The american academy of pediatrics (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/5/1222) claims "More than 3500 research studies have examined the association between media violence and violent behavior; all but ...

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International comparison of health systems

(1) The most striking thing is how much of an outlier the US is in terms of GDP devoted to healthcare. Mandatory spending at 8.5% of GDP is similar to other countries. But then "voluntary" spending is an additional 8.8%, similar to most other countries total spending.

Probably ...

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Weekend vs Weekday Surgery

An argument that surgeries seem to be significantly more dangerous on the weekends. One potential cause being more skilled surgeons not working then. There's plenty of evidence arguing no effect, but some counter arguments are that these tend to be with smaller sample sizes and have various flaws. One ...

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Cancer Treatment Effectiveness

Argues that there has been little progress in cancer treatment in the last 30 years. Obviously, though, people are willing to pay a lot of money for a little extra potential life.

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Federal Reserve Cuts Rates by Half Percentage Point to Combat Virus Fear

Fed session for emergency coronavirus rate cut was fittingly done without any risk of viral exposure.

"The action was approved unanimously Tuesday morning after the rate-setting committee met by videoconference on Monday night."

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Trump Has Given Unusual Leeway to Fauci, but Aides Say He’s Losing His Patience

The president has become increasingly concerned as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has grown bolder in correcting his falsehoods about the spread of the coronavirus.

President Trump has praised Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as a “major television star.” He has tried to demonstrate that the administration is giving him free rein ...

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Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, faces a torrent of false claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.

At a White House briefing on the coronavirus on March 20, President Trump called the State Department the “Deep State Department.” Behind him ...

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2% of tested in Mission census track have coronavirus

2% tested positive, vs .18% in SF overall. 1.4% of residents, 6.1% of workers. 95% of infected were Latino, even though they were 44% of the population. 75% were men. 53% of those who tested positive had no symptoms.

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Scientists Say Lithium Should Be Added to Drinking Water to Prevent Suicides

A new study published in the 'British Journal of Psychiatry' finds a link between lithium in drinking water and lower suicide levels

The report states: “These findings, which are consistent with the finding in clinical trials that lithium reduces suicide and related behaviours in people with a mood disorder, suggest ...

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Neuralink enables a monkey to play video games

Previously, the monkey was trained to play the game with a joystick. During that process, a Neuralink device was connected to the monkey's brain and collected training data. That training data was then used to understand the monkey's intent in a later trial with the joystick unplugged. In ...

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Personal health

Knee pain alternatives to surgery

Knee pain is mostly caused by osteoarthritis; the most common form of arthritis and is caused when the cartilage, which cushions joints, becomes injured and worn. Cartilage has no pain receptors, so injuries go unnoticed until much of the cartilage has worn away and the joint is damaged.

Artificial knees ...

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Comparison of different countries' infection curves

Western countries and Japan. US is 11.5 days behind Italy. Japan is special

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Secular differences in the association between caloric intake, macronutrient intake, and physical activity with obesity

Between 1971 and 2008, BMI, total caloric intake and carbohydrate intake increased 10–14%, and fat and protein intake decreased 5–9%. Between 1988 and 2006, frequency of leisure time physical activity increased 47–120%. However, for a given amount of caloric intake, macronutrient intake or leisure time physical activity ...

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Coronavirus

Impact of flu shot on other respiratory virus infections (2012)

Results show 4.4x elevated risk of contracting a non-influenza respiratory virus after a flu shot. Flu shot reduced influenza rate by about 40%. They don't specifically call out coronaviruses, but presumably they would fall under the "other respiratory virus" category.

Small study (n=115), so 95% confidence interval ...

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Rollup of coronavirus contact tracing studies

(1) https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-2671

Looked at setting of infection (household, hospital, public transit, workplace) and type of carrier (asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe). It found that 10% of household contacts go the virus, compared to around ~0.1-1% for the other settings (hospital, public transit, workplace ...

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Mixed evidence on effectivenss of wearing facemasks

Review of a few RCT that show weak to no evidence of effectiveness. Speculate on downsides as well

Third, at the microsocial level, the argument might be made that encouraging uptake of face masks might lead to reduced compliance with other measures, due to the false sense of security presented ...

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Vitamin D treatment effective for Covid patients

Randomized study of n=76 patients, 50 assigned to Vitamin D group and 26 to standard care group. Of Vitamin D group, 2 were admitted to ICU, none died. Of standard care group, 13 were admitted to ICU and two died.

Based on their analysis, p < 0.001 that ...

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Oxford vaccine faces setback

(1) One participant in Oxford vaccine trial developed symptoms of "transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disease caused by inflammation of the spinal cord". They are pausing the trial to determine if this is caused by the vaccine or not. (2) Previously, a participant in the Oxford vaccine trial developed multiple ...

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No evidence of manipulation of Chinese COVID-19 data using Benford’s Law

Only looks at Jan through March in China. People think there might be manipulation post lockdown

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Russian vaccine scientists learn copy+paste commands in Excel to generate beautifully symmetric vaccine data

There are patterns in the points for the individual patients that repeat, in almost every figure in the paper.

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Stanford open letter condemning statements by Hoover fellow Dr Atlas

To prevent harm to the public’s health, we also have both a moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered by Dr. Scott Atlas, a former Stanford Medical School colleague and current senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford ...

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'Confounding': Covid may have already peaked in many African countries

One explanation for virus not behaving as expected could be previous exposure to other infections, experts tell MPs

The coronavirus pandemic has peaked earlier than expected in many African countries, confounding early predictions, experts have told MPs.

Scientists do not yet know why, but one hypothesis is the possibility of ...

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Interview with Scott Atlas, target of the Stanford "Dear Colleagues" letter

The interview is from June, about 50 minutes, part of the "Uncommon Knowledge" series. His high level points:

(1) Whereas covid has cost 800,000 lost years of life, lockdown costs 700,000 lost years of life per month, totaling 1.5 million lost years at the time of the ...

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Study Finds Most Restaurants Fail Within First Year Of It Becoming Illegal To Go To Them

At press time, Coleman advised restaurant owners to raise at least $10 million to $15 million in additional funding if they wanted to survive the next year.

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Seemingly impossible claim by smart person about how easy it is to fix coronavirus

Frankly I do not understand this Administration. If President Trump simply tweeted, "FDA: Free the tests!" and "CDC: tell people to get tested" this thing could be over in weeks. We could reach herd immunity with a low contact rate alone, and reastaurants, schools, universities, airlines, could require test results ...

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Nasal spray to stop covid

Findings In this controlled in vitro laboratory research study, test media infected with SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated complete inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by concentrations of PVP-I nasal antiseptic as low as 0.5% after 15 seconds of contact, as measured by a log reduction value of greater than 3 log10 of the 50 ...

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Sweden spared surge of virus cases

Sweden remains relatively open. Has only 14 patients under intensive care. Sweden has reported 30.3 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, compared with 292.2 in Spain, 172.1 in France, 61.8 in the U.K. and 69.2 in Denmark, all ...

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Trump and wife Melania test positive for COVID-19

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, upending the race for the White House.

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Virologists have no idea why Eastern Germany has lower coronavirus deaths than East Germany

Speculation includes

(1) East Germans follow the rules more than West Germans (2) Less international travel (3) Depopulated (4) Population is older and they're more cautious (5) Hit later so more time to prepare (6) East Germans hug less

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Epidemiology scientists sign "Great Barrington Declaration"

Initiated by Dr. Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), Dr. Sunetra Gupta (Oxford) Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford), and signed by a number of other scientists and doctors. Some highlights:

[we] recommend an approach we call Focused Protection

Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to ...

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Officials admit White House official policy is herd immunity

In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.

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CDC Pandemic Mitigation Guide

They split pandemics into 5 categories:

Category 1: <0.1% fatality rate, <90k deaths Category 2: 0.1%-0.5% fatality rate, 90k-450k deaths Category 3: 0.5%-1% fatality rate, 450k-900k deaths Category 4: 1-2% fatality rate, 900k-1.8M deaths Category 5: >2% fatality rate, >1.8M deaths

Lockdown ...

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Coronavirus vaccine development and deployment

There are four strategies to making a vaccine:

  1. Dead virus vaccine: take a live virus, kill or weaken it somehow, and use that. This is the oldest method of developing a vaccine.
  2. Subunit vaccine: uses a small part of the virus to provoke an immune response. These can be produced ...

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Defense of Trumps coronavirus record

The U.S. case fatality rate, for instance, compares favorably with that of other Western countries. Rather than relying on inaccurate, incomplete public health measures, we should look at the concrete steps that the Trump administration has taken. Early on, the administration covered the basics. When it looked as if ...

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England imposes 1 month of lockdown

Closes all pubs, restaurants, barbers/salons, "non-essential" businesses. Schools and colleges to remain open. No mention of public transit, but I assume that will also be open. Starts Nov 2nd, planned to go for 1 month.

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Comparison of influenza type A and B with COVID‐19

Meta-analysis.

Highlights: - 540 articles included in this study; 75,164 cases of COVID‐19 (157 studies), 113,818 influenza type A (251 studies) and 9266 influenza type B patients (47 studies) - Most of the patients with COVID‐19 had abnormal chest radiology (84%, p < 0.001) in comparison to ...

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Danish n=6000 study on masks

Danish study exploring if if masks help the wearer avoid infection. Randomizes trial, n=6000. Does not appear to address question on impact to infection rate.

Results not available, the authors claim they are waiting for a journal “brave enough” to publish the results.

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Masks correlation with coronavirus cases and deaths in US states

I ran an analysis that compares the date of mask mandates with cases and deaths for coronavirus. No statistical analysis, but the charts and output strongly suggest a correlation

Script output:

cases_total_before 0.16330318584574205
cases_total_after  0.11865204705545934
death_total_before 0.00608007236280604
death_total_after  0.003947986949385576

Charts:

  • Averages: https://i.imgur.com/zMoutEQ ...

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L.A. megachurch pastor mocks pandemic health orders, even as church members fall ill

MacArthur is a conservative evangelical-to-fundamentalist preacher. He is very influential in certain circles. Excerpt of article below.

“There is no pandemic.”

The words from the white-haired pastor echoed inside the cavernous megachurch in Los Angeles.

It was Aug. 30, only 18 days after L.A. County public health officials had ...

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Trump doubles down on no-lockdown

First public remarks since election:

I will not — this administration will not be doing a lockdown. Hopefully whatever happens in the future — who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell — but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown... This administration will ...

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Biden covid co-chair says no lockdown

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a co-chair of Joe Biden's coronavirus task force:

I don't think that this is [about] a lockdown or not locking down ... The way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending ...

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Are Outdoor Gyms the Future of Fitness?

Called Equinox + In the Wild, this gym is completely outdoors. Treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing and weight machines are all under a tent, as is a fitness studio. Bathrooms are in a well-equipped trailer, and the locker room is a sleek black lean-to. Hand sanitizer stations dot the turf-field grounds, as ...

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SF re-employment jumps 24k driving unemployment rate down to 7% vs 2% pre-pandemic

The trend was roughly the same across the other eight Bay Area counties, with the unemployment rate across the East Bay dropping from 9.2 in September to 8.0 percent in October and the blended unemployment rate in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties dropping from 7.0 to ...

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Study in Italy concludes outdoor transmission unlikely

They took air samples and measured the amount of coronavirus in them using some kind of PCR test. I think this was already widely assumed, despite outdoor mask mandates from various authorities.

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Coronavirus circulating in Italy as early as Sept 2019

Study from National Cancer Institute (INT) of Italy:

  • The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019
  • 11.6% of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020 had developed coronavirus antibodies well before February
  • Four cases dating back to the ...

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Collateral Global -- Collection of negative impacts of lockdown policies

From the same group that published the Great Barrington Declaration. Most results are from the UK, I think because one of hte authors if from there. A random selection:

  • A model projects ~3300 cancer deaths over five years for breast/colorectal/lung/oesophageal cancer (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc ...

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epidemiologists-virus-survey

How 700 Epidemiologists Are Living Now, and What They Think Is Next

They are going to the grocery store again, but don’t see vaccines making life normal right away.

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Survey estimates 22% of full work days will be from home post-pandemic compared to 5% pre pandemic

We provide evidence on five mechanisms behind this persistent shift to working from home: diminished stigma, better-than-expected experiences working from home, investments in physical and human capital enabling working from home, reluctance to return to pre-pandemic activities, and innovation supporting working from home

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Small caps catch up with large for 2020

Russell 2000 low was -42% YTD in March, was lagging large cap. But on Nov 9th hit 0% growth YTD. Now has caught up with the S&P 500 at about +13% YTD.

That’s even though stocks overall have grown pricier relative to their earnings. The Russell 2000 traded at ...

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Vaccine shipments start

Federal officials on Saturday said 145 distribution sites are expected to receive the vaccine on Monday, another 425 sites will get the shot Tuesday and the remaining 66 sites on Wednesday

Roughly 2.9 million doses are going out in the first shipments

Officials caution that the initial supply is ...

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Southern California ICU beds at 0% amid COVID-19 surge

Hospitals across California have all but run out of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients

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Pfizer/US vaccine deal

Feds reached deal to secure 100 million more does of the Pfizer vaccine in addition to the initial 100 million doses. Has the option for 400 million more from Pfizer. Contracted an addition 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Sounds to me like between the two they have 400 ...

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California relaxes limits on nurse to patient ratios

"We need to temporarily — very short-term, temporarily — look a little bit differently in terms of our staffing needs," said Gov. Gavin Newsom, after he quietly allowed hospitals to adjust their nurse-to-patient ratios on Dec. 11

Since then, 170 hospitals, mainly in Southern California, have been operating under the new pandemic ...

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CDC database to look up adverse vaccine reactions

Covid vaccine has 1,100 adverse reactions so far. Most common are headache, nausea, etc. No recorded deaths from the vaccine. Of the adverse reactions, 17 are listed as "life threatening" and 2 are listed as "permanent disability"

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openyourdamnwindows.com

We can think about coronavirus-transmission if it were passive smoking (but far more deadly). We already know how to visualise this (we have a good mental picture of the way smoke moves) and understand how to mitigate it (distance, fresh air). But too many people misunderstand how the virus spreads ...

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Commerical real estate is dying in Mt View and Palo Alto

Many commerical tenants are not paying rent or have re-negotiated lower leases. Offices are sitting idle. No clear end or recovery in sight. Official vacancy rate is 15%, but real rate is likely higher. Lots of doom and gloom.

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Experts believe covid will remain endemic even after vaccinations

A new consensus is emerging among scientists, according to Reuters interviews with 18 specialists who closely track the pandemic or are working to curb its impact. Many described how the breakthrough late last year of two vaccines with around 95% efficacy against COVID-19 had initially sparked hope that the virus ...

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Early evidence that vaccines stop asymptomatic spread

https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/real-world-evidence-confirms-high-effectiveness-pfizer https://www.authorea.com/users/332778/articles/509881-single-dose-bnt162b2-vaccine-protects-against-asymptomatic-sars-cov-2-infection?access_token=-hDTQsMUXcCPSpdZV_Lmpg

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EU diplomats send UK nastygrams amid vaccine rollout fallout

"You might feel very happy on your little island when you are all vaccinated, but your island might feel very small when you cannot leave it because your neighbors are not vaccinated," one senior diplomat told CNN.

"The perception that the UK is rolling out so fast while the EU ...

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World

France harassment law hands out 447 fines in first months

French courts have issued 447 fines in the eight months since the "outrages sexistes" law against street harassment was passed in August 2018, allowing fines from €90 to €750 to be issued on the spot without a lengthy and difficult formal complaint process. [Street harassment is generally considered to be ...

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How Finland avoided a homelessness crisis

Apparently the key is to give them free housing and tailored support services and to involve the community. Eliminating homelessness has strong support in Finland, and per a BBC article, "the average minimum winter temperature in Helsinki is -7C".

Including information from other sources, it looks like about 80% stay ...

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Boris Johnson passes planning reform "must do the politically difficult things as soon as possible"

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and Chancellor Sajid Javid have been quietly preparing a major overhaul of the system that gives permission to build to liberate up significant new space. Top of the list of major changes to the law is allowing developers and homeowners to build upwards, adding up to ...

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Trump authorized option to kill Soleimani if Iran killed Americans 7 months ago

Previously Bolton and Pompeo had urged Trump to assisanate Soleimani in retaliation for Iran shooting down an American drone. Trump refused at the time, claiming it would only be an option if Iran killed an American.

Kataib Hezbollah has been attacking bases housing Americans. Its widely believed they take direction ...

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Article summarizing how unimportant the middle east is in the world economy besides oil

(1) ME and Africa was 2.4% of American multinationals revenue. For Europe its 5% (2) ME is 2.3 million out of 86 million sold cars (3) American bank trading in the ME is equal to .2% of their assets

But its the second largest arms market after the ...

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In wake of Brexit a United Ireland is still unlikely in the shortterm

For the first time Irish nationalists have won more seats than Irish unionists. Conservatives are also moving away from UK-nationalism and towards English nationalism. And with a larger majority don't rely on unionists votes in the shortterm.

However, Sinn Feinn has seen a vote decline in favor of more ...

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Johnson letter to Strugeon on transferring power to hold a referendum to Scotland

Finally a world leader whose handwriting I can get behind.

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Coronaviris (COVID-19) map

A map showing the outbreak by location and over time

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Covid helps London maintain clearing house role even post-Brexit

Eurex has 19% of the Euro derivative market, LSH still has the rest. Rules which would favor Eurex have been put on hold due to covid. Lawyers said banks will not move positions from London to Frankfurt voluntarily because of costs and complexity at a time when they are firefighting ...

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Pope: Market capitalism has failed in pandemic

“The fragility of world systems in the face of the pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by market freedom,” he wrote. “It is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at ‘promoting an economy that favours productive diversity and business creativity’ and makes it possible for ...

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Great Chain of Being

Hierarchy of life, according to medieval Christian philosophy.

  1. God
  2. Angelic beings. Pure spirit, without physical bodies. Able to reason, love and imagine.
  3. Humans. Share attributes of superior beings (reason, love, imagination) and inferior beings (physical form).
  4. Animals. Have sense, can move.
  5. Plants. Can grow and reproduce. Lack senses and movement ...

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EU pushes for access to AstraZeneca vaccine from UK plants

AstraZeneca, which partnered with Britain’s Oxford University to develop its vaccine, said last week it would cut supplies to the EU in the first quarter, with an EU official saying that meant the EU would receive 31 million doses in the period, or 60% less than initially agreed, due ...

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Biden, Iran won't reenter negotiations unless other side adheres to accord first

Over the past 18 months, Iran has responded to President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018 and the reimposition of sanctions on Tehran by gradually violating key provisions of the nuclear deal. In January, Iran said it had restarted enrichment of uranium at 20% purity. A week ...

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Pope Francis Removes Conservative African Cardinal From Vatican Post: Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea is often mentioned as a possible future pontiff

ROME— Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah as head of the Vatican’s office for liturgy, removing an outspoken conservative and possible future pope from the ranks of Vatican leadership.

The Holy See Press Office announced Saturday that Cardinal Sarah had stepped down. No successor has been ...

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Biden admin limits drone strikes

The military and the C.I.A. must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant American ground troops, like Somalia and Yemen. Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met ...

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Children born out of wedlock significantly increased globally since 1964

Chart compares the percent of children born out of wedlock across different countries, in 1964 and 2014.

In the United States, the number increased from about 7% to 40%. There is a large racial difference, with whites at 30% and blacks at 70% in 2014. They were at around 3 ...

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Israeli Arab protest demanding more police protection

At least 24 Arab citizens of Israel have been shot dead this year, mostly by unknown assailants from within their towns and villages. The shootings, most often crime and gang related, have become a defining issue for the 21% minority ahead of a March 23 national election.

The largest expression ...

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China agrees to $400B deal with Iran

  • China will invest $400B in Iran over 25 years
  • Money will be used for banking, telecom, ports, railways, health care, and more
  • In exchange, China gets regular and heavily discounted supply of oil from Iran
  • Possible military and intelligence sharing as well

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"Homage to a Government", Philip Larkin poem, 1969

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home For lack of money, and it is all right. Places they guarded, or kept orderly, Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly. We want the money for ourselves at home Instead of working. And this is all right.

It’s ...

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China-US Great Power Rivalry

China Cannot Weaponize Its U.S. Treasury Bonds - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Argues that China can't use its purchase of treasuries as leverage over the US. For China to reduce treasury purchases it has to either reduce savings or make equivalent savings. In either case, the author argues that the US would not have a change in its capital account flows ...

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Tweetstorm claiming that China's social credit system is overhyped

Don't find it convincing. But claim is that China won't use it as a tool of oppression because they already have other ways to oppress

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Chinese military reforms to win "peripheral" conflicts

In response to the Gulf War China has changed its military goals from winning mainland land wars towards being beating the US in "local wars under high technology conditions". Military spending has increased 83% in the last decade (in real terms). Xi has also shifted the spending from the military ...

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Evolution of the role of ideology in China

Talks about how ideology is becoming more important again in China, but the ideology has no content beyond the Party is good. Money quote

Nor do I think that this tactical flexibility and ideological emptiness mean that China is no longer actually “socialist.” There is a lot of useless debate ...

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'You prepare for war': how one U.S. firm tried escaping Trump's China tariffs

Account of the 'trade wars' impact on China, through the eyes of Sloven a supply-chain outsourcer vetern. A survey by AmCham shows that a third of American firms are considering shifting some production outside of China. Sloven thinks Chinese firms lack the expertise to find new markets and are just ...

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Chinese surveillance spreads

Can't read this. But supposedly China is now using the surveillance techniques used on Uighers on people we'd consider Chinese (maybe there are slight ethnic distinctions I don't know about from the chinese gov'ts pov)

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Pakistan elite regrets economic deals with China

Chinese investment in Pakistan involve Chinese firms using Chinese equipment paying Chinese workers to build facilities for natural resource extraction. End product might not be worth the debt

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Clinton signs Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China (Oct 2000)

Contemporary CNN summary: http://www.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/10/10/clinton.pntr/

This act permanently normalized trade relations with China. It also allowed China to join the WTO, which lowered their tariffs significantly and allowed them access to sell goods in the US market. Previously, under the Nixon ...

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The China Cultural Clash

Points out the uneven ("completely unfair!" as Trump would say) relationship between US and China on trade. China bans American companies for free speech, and monitors the statements of all their employees. Meanwhile, US does not retaliate or enforce similar standards for China, and Chinese startups are allowed full access ...

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China suppresses (tiny) local Jewish population

Then, in February 2018 – just about a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced a revolutionary “New Era” for China’s hardcore, atheistic regime – an intense crackdown on all of China’s religious believers was launched.

Sadly, the carefully tended little Kaifeng Jewish center was not overlooked. During a raid ...

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China arrests 5 Huawei employees who alleged in private WeChat group that Huawei evaded Iran sanctions

And in the case of the jailed employees, Mr. Li and Mr. Zeng said, the police appear to have arrested them in part to stop them from speaking out about Huawei’s activities in Iran.

News of Mr. Li’s detention set off a wave of anger at Huawei in ...

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Last big domestic mfg of N95 masks offered contract with fed'ral gov't before lockdown, ignored

Factory town used to produce 9/10 medical surgical masks used in the US. Bown/Reese bought the plant believing a market remained for a dedicated domestic manufacturer of protective gear. Seeked a "warm base" contract. The government would pay a premium to have masks manufactured domestically, but his company ...

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EU sanctions top Xinjiang camp officials, China retaliates. First EU sanctions since 1989

Accused of mass detentions of Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China, those targeted by the EU included Chen Mingguo, the director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau...Others hit with travel bans and asset freezes were: senior Chinese officials Wang Mingshan and Wang Junzheng, the former deputy party secretary in Xinjiang ...

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It isn't easy being Jeremy Corbyn

Shadow Brexit Minister criticizes Corbyn's response to anti-semitism in the labor party, is sacked for her supposed anti-semitic framing

Troll level Corbyn is much more subtle than Trump

Lady Hayter, Labour’s deputy leader in the Lords, was stripped of her shadow cabinet position after she attacked Corbyn’s inner circle and its critical response to a BBC Panorama programme investigating antisemitism complaints within the party. “To compare the ...

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Polls say you won't win

Reporter: Polls say that you won't win Spokesman: The polls said we wouldn't win last time Reporter: And you didn't

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SNL-isg skit on Corbyn

"I've talked to every anti-semite in the Labour party and I told them in no uncertain terms...tone it down a bit now will you"

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China

Amidst criticism of bureaucracy Xi launches war on 'formalism'

Grass-roots cadres often find themselves members of more than a hundred WeChat messaging groups, the Xinhua agency said in a December commentary lamenting the spread of “formalism” online. Rather than speaking to ordinary people to understand their needs, some officials focus on how to document and publicize their work to ...

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San Francisco is okay

Twenty percent of Mission residents commute by bike

Approximately 19,000 city residents commuted to work by bike in 2017. Census tracts with the highest percentage of residents who commute to work by bike are in the Mission, with some tracts reporting approximately 20 percent of residents commuting to work by bike

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Uber and Lyft are the ‘biggest contributors’ to San Francisco’s traffic congestion, study says - The Verge

Uber and Lyft are the ‘biggest contributors’ to San Francisco’s traffic congestion, study says - The Verge

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40% of Bay Area residents believe they can become wealthy within a decade

According to the survey, Bay Area residents believe it takes an average $4.0 million in personal net worth to be considered “wealthy” in their area. That’s more than 40 times the actual median net worth of U.S. households.

More than half of Bay Area residents are optimistic ...

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President/Secretary of TWU Local 250A op-ed opposing dockless bike companies in favor of "Bay Wheels" (Motivate/GoBike)

The dockless micromobility industry forces low-income people to fight over the pennies paid to contractors for recharging bike and scooter batteries overnight. Meanwhile, its scooters clutter streets, block wheelchairs and create a public nuisance. Jump, one of the biggest dockless bike-rental companies, is now owned by Uber, a company with ...

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‘Life-changing’: Why some San Franciscans are crazy about electric unicycles

“Are you from the future?” passersby call out as Kevin Grandon glides along San Francisco streets on a $2,000 electric unicycle, his primary mode of transportation.

Grandon, 34, is among a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts who ride battery-powered, one-wheel devices that resemble props from Cirque du Soleil ...

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Commission to consider options for easing up on ‘Palo Altans only’ rule in Foothills Park

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan McCauley has formed an ad-hoc committee to look into ways to open up Foothills Park to all. On Tuesday, he presented some potential options for opening the park, including:

• limiting access on weekends and holidays to Palo Altans only and allowing everyone else to access ...

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Neoliberal YIMBY DCAA Candidancy

Neoliberal YIMBY who I've met asking for donations to win a DCAA (democratic endorsement committee seat). Super-focused on appealing to a certain type of techie. Saying that lobbying for pro-housing policies will have a great ROI for improving peoples lives.

Seems like a polarizing pitch that can easily get ...

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Prefabricated 110 unit building erected in Oakland in 10 days

All the pieces were made and assembled in a factory in Vallejo and trucked to the construction site. Workers still need to stitch together the modular units. "It would take a year to build an entire project from the podium five levels down to this point," said Holliday.

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SF is rated America's fittest city by Mens Health

Although San Fran doesn’t have the highest good-health score (Madison took that one) or the lowest obesity percentage (Denver beat it out), it has the top activity score

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AB 2147 would expunge felon volunteer fireighter records so they can become firefighters after getting out of prison

The bill doesn't stop with just letting former convicts legally fight fires. There are more than 40 occupations in California where people with criminal records are shut out of occupational licenses. A.B. 2147 will allow these former prisoners to work on getting licenses in these other careers, though ...

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1992 alt group thread on Silicon Valley being too pricey

From what I understand, the shine is rubbing off. The cost of housing is ludicrous, and companies are fleeing to places like Arizona. But you still can't throw a silicon wafer in Cupertino without hitting an Apple facility.

I think it's fair to say that Silicon Valley is ...

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Despite reports, pro-Trump protesters in San Francisco's Twitter HQ nowhere to be found

Police officers and reporters swarmed Twitter's heavily-barricaded headquarters Monday morning, and even a couple of counter-protesters carrying "impeach Trump" signs.

But the pro-Trump mob that was expected to descend into San Francisco following the permanent banning of President Donald Trump on his preferred social media platform was nowhere to ...

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Everything is not closing

Waymo looking to lease 60-80k square feet in SF

Waymo is looking for 60,000 to 80,000 square feet of office space, sources familiar with the company's real estate strategy have told me. The search comes as the city experiences a glut of space available for sublease as office users shift to remote work policies.

In September ...

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Everything is not closing
Banana Republic Economics

India back to same cash usage as before demonetization

Not sure if that's the right criteria for success. Since I think the goal was to crack down on corruption/tax evasion from high denomination notes

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In first decisive Caribbean navel battle in 75 years a Venezuelan patrol boat is sunk by a Portuguese cruise ship

The Resolute, en route to Curaçao, a Dutch island in the Caribbean, had been drifting for a day in international waters near La Tortuga, a Venezuelan island. At midnight it was approached by the Naiguatá and ordered to come into port. As the Resolute contacted its head office for instructions ...

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Overview of the Governor’s 2021-22 Budget

California's budget was unexpectedly positive in 2020 due to a bunch of IPOs. Interestingly, the governor's proposed budget explicitly acknowledges it as a windfall. Naturally, the proposal is to spend most of the windfall as quickly as possible.

The Governor’s $15.5 Billion Windfall Comparing LAO to ...

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Environmental Destruction

A Message for Children About Climate Change (Scott Adams)

He's still a good writer. Maybe he's a bit glib. But I agree with his point that adults (hopefully) learn the media is out to scare you. But children don't know it yet.

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Countries plan to produce about 50% more fossil fuels than required for the 50% pathway

Report looks at projected fossil fuel production instead of consuption. By 2040 should reduce to ~15 GtC02/yr. Promised production is 35. Projected is 40. Worldwide coal production is already well above the required 2 degree level. Oil is slightly higher. And gas is slightly lower.

Not 100% from skimming ...

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Commission supports expanding access to Foothills Park

Seeking to grant more visitors access to Palo Alto's scenic and exclusive Foothills Park, the city's Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday threw its support behind a pilot program that would open up the site to non-residents.

The policy, which the commission has developed over the past year ...

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Historic buildings destroyed at Big Basin Redwoods State Park “Heartbreaking” loss at California’s oldest state park, fate of redwoods unknown

In a devastating loss for one of California’s most venerable parks, the historic park headquarters, the nature center, campgrounds and other structures at Big Basin Redwoods State Park have been reported destroyed in the raging wildfires currently burning through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The status of the ancient redwoods ...

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Winter Heating or Clean Air? Unintended Impacts of China’s Huai River Policy

Air quality in China is notoriously poor. Ambient concentrations of Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) 1981–1993 were more than double China’s National Annual Mean Ambient Air Quality Standard of 200 mg/m3 (Xiaohui Bi et al. 2007) and five times the level that prevailed in the United States before ...

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Biden plan to end fossil fuel subsides unlikely to succeed

Tax breaks are estimated at $15-20 billion/year. An example tax break is 'intangible drilling costs' that allows producers to deduct the majority of the cost of drilling new wells. The percentage depletion tax break which allows independent producers to recover development costs of declining oil gas and coal reserves ...

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Biden admin appoints "Science Technology and Society" graduates to key posts

In a statement, a CEQ spokeswoman said Flegal will be tasked with developing “equitable and just policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote technological advancement, and support job creation in the manufacturing and industrial sector.”

Her appointment signals a new approach to climate policy under President Biden. Where past presidents ...

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Climate Change

xckd climate change comic

xkcd explains climate change in context of "the earth's temperature has changed before" climate denier argument

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Climate change city analogue mapper

Predict what the climate will be like in 2080. New York will be like northeastern Arkansas. San Francisco will be like coastal Los Angeles. Seattle will be like Portland, OR. Los Angeles will be like far southern Baja California. San Diego will be like... Westmont, CA (part of greater LA ...

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Outside of the box carbon capture methods

(1) https://projectvesta.org/

Speeds up the natural cycle of volcanic ash capturing carbon. Would mine Olviline a volcanic substance which naturally reacts with atmospheric carbon to form bicarbonite which when on a seashelf gets absorbed by the Earth's crust which I guess we have an infinite ability to ...

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Collection of newspaper articles with incorrect climate predictions

Fun to read. Though for a 60ish year period its not many articles. And I'm not sure if its actually a lot of alarmism by normal media standards. A lot of them are from Ehrlich.

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YIMBY slides arguing that carbon pricing is "necessary but not sufficient"

Thought-provoking presentation which reads quickly so no real need to summarize. I think its correct that to the extent there's a shared infrastructure (eg a smartgrid) its probably better just to agree to upgrade the grid rather than come up with an obscure pricing plan. Also, measurement for carbon ...

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Twitter threads on why carbon taxes aren't sufficient

And https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1176920336660451329?s=19

Claim is its hard to choose a price for carbon. Carbon taxes exempt agriculture and other important sectors/push activities to where carbon taxes are lower. And using subsidies its cheap to subsidize a completely green technology and get something which ...

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EU Renewable Target ==> Big Increase in Burning Wood

The EU has a 20% renewable target by 2020. Biomass accounts for two thirds of that target, and half of that is wood/wood products.

In practice, unclear if burning wood is carbon neutral. In addition, destroying forests is bad for other reasons (though in Germany supposedly comes from managed ...

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China carbon emissions over double USs

Mostly because of coal. 94 vs 14 qbu. Building one coal plant per week.

Though counterpoint from the comments

This kind of charts about emissions per country/region is misleading. They are based on the location of production, while the location of consumption would be more relevant. By relying increasingly ...

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Good review of the accumulating evidence of global warming from an initially skeptical reporter

One of the most serious articles I've seen explaining the latest research on counter arguments on the severity of carbon emissions on global temperatures. For instance

(1) Do climate models actually have predictive value. An unpeer-reviewed study claims the IPCCs 1995 models (https://eartharxiv.org/ahq4p) were accurate. A ...

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Climate change scenario simulator

A neat tool that lets you try out climate change scenarios. You can set different levels of coal/oil/natgas/renewables and see how it would impact warming over the next 100 years, and how it compares to the current status quo.

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Australia repeals carbon tax

Australia passed and then repealed a carbon tax in 2014. The tax was at the rate of $22/tonne (USD). Their prime minister called the tax "useless and destructive".

For comparison:

  • The California's cap and trade program has a price of $15/tonne
  • Carbon capture costs are around $100 ...

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Climate change goals by country

Shows each country's progress towards targets for carbon emissions. No countries are doing enough, according to their analysis (except Morocco).

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Trillion Trees

This is the Trump plan to address climate change, apparently

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Carbon capture tech that doesn't require external mechanical force to capture the air

The “mechanical tree” is a novel geometry that is agnostic to wind direction. Each one contains a stack of sorbent-filled disks. When the tree-like column is fully extended and the disks spread apart, air flow makes contact with the disk surfaces and the CO2 gets bound up. During regeneration, the ...

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Air quality

Air Pollution Reduces IQ, a Lot

Chess players make more mistakes on polluted days: “We find that an increase of 10 µg/m³ raises the probability of making an error by 1.5 percentage points, and increases the magnitude of the errors by 9.4%. The impact of pollution is exacerbated by time pressure. When players ...

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CA wilfire vs China normal day carbon monoxide map

Is carbon monoxide an interesting pollutant caused by wildfires?

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Biblical archaeology

James Kugel: Professor of Disbelief. Esteemed scholar discusses irreconcilability of modern Biblical scholarship with orthodox theology.

Kugel, however, seems underwhelmed when I ask him how he remains an Orthodox Jew. “The only way to square this circle is the traditional way,” he explains while furrowing bushy eyebrows.... Or, as he wrote in the closing pages of How to Read the Bible: “My own view… is that ...

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Reddit thread on Mark S. Smith, the Catholic counterpart to Kugel

Mark Smith several books about how Judaism emerged gradually out of polytheistic Ancient Near Eastern religion.

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Blog post summarizing some of Mark Smith's work on the origination of monotheism

Ancient Near Eastern polytheism -- Ugaritic literary culture. Oddly enough Mark Smith's view on the development of Judaism as a monotheistic religion sounds vaguely like the narrative Nietzsche came up with. This blog post seems to be by someone who lost his faith?

'At Ugarit, El presided over a divine ...

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Former evangelical perspective on historical criticism

There's a tendency in some circles to ignore "weird" stuff in the Bible that might raise difficulties with traditional evangelical theological views. Peter Enns is a biblical scholar who got fired in 2008 from his job teaching at a prominent evangelical seminary. In this post, Enns argues that serious ...

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Blog on Biblical Scholarship

Blog of one of the mods of r/academicbiblical.

Many extremely well-sourced, popular biblical theories for Old and New Testaments. Examples include: - Golden calf in exodus was actually representing Yahweh (weird!), just representing a rival priesthood to the Levites. - Melchizedek was an immortal, no-parent high priest just like Jesus in ...

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Middleton's book that supposedly inspired Gibbons to convert to Catholicism

Middleton basically argues that Protestants reject Catholic 'miracles' by questioning the reliability of the witnesses. But if they applied the same standards to Jesus' miracles they'd reject them too. Gibbons credited this work for his (temporary) conversion to Catholicism. But according to Wikipedia recent scholarship suggests he made up ...

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The failed reforms of Akhenaten and Muwatalli

During his reign, Pharaoh Akhenaten tried to make Egyptian religion more monotheistic. The change didn't take, and were reversed after he died. Something similar happened with Pharaoh Muwatalli as well.

The failed reforms of Akhenaten and Muwatalli Itamar Singer In his fifth regnal year Akhenaten founded his new capital ...

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Pharaoh Akhenaten's religious reforms
Automation

Firsthand account of Amazon warehouse job

Random HN describes a Kafkaesque job at an Amazon warehouse. The automation cannot come soon enough, he says.

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Trailer for Obama's "American Factory" on Netflix

The Obamas are making a documentary about factor workers called "American Factory." The storyline follows a factory in Ohio that was closed in 2008 during the recession. A Chinese company Fuyao is re-opening a factory there, but the new shop is worse than the old one. The pay is lower ...

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EconTalk on mismeasurments around manufacturing trends

(1) Measuring manufacturing employment is tricky. Manufacturers now use temp workers to man assembly lines. Even if they do the exact samething as fulltime workers they're still counted as 'service' workers.

I wonder if it was always hard to classify workers. Or if this is somehow an example of ...

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Rise of the Dollar General

An overview of the rise of Dollar General stores. They are beating Walmart and Amazon in smalltown rural America. Amazon deliveries there are slow as they're outside major markets. They have very aggressive pricing and go to places where Walmart isn't willing/interested in going. Most of the ...

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Summary of low cost grocer Aldi's business model - has grown to 1800 stores

Aldi is about 15% cheaper than Walmart according to Wolfe Research. Aldi has both fewer SKUs and a higher proportion of private label brands. Has smaller stores. And aggressive staff-cutting by having customers bag their own groceries, have return carts etc. One interesting optimization is having multiple barcodes on products ...

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Costco vertical integration of rotisserie chicken

The % of chicken that's eaten whole has trended downward for a long time. Producers have responded by growing larger chickens disrupting rotesserie chicken supply chains. Costco has refused to increase prices and instead is entering into the chicken growing business.

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Mitt Romney: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

Romney argues we should not bail out automakers in 2008. He paid politically for this opinion in the 2012 election.

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Concrete block stacking startup

This startup ("Energy Vault") is attempting to do energy storage by stacking giant concrete blocks. Their CEO claims it's 15% of the cost of similar lithium ion battery setup. Their main competition still is lithium ion batteries, and the costs on those have declined by over 80% over the ...

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Lithium ion battery cost trends

Lithium ion battery costs are down 87% over last 10 years, from $1,100 per kW hour in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019

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Gigafactory

Tesla's factories which produce, among other things, lots and lots of lithium ion batteries

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Use trade deficit over time

General trendline is increasing, with a giant decrease in 2008 as a result of the recession

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Fed Treasury Operations

This site gives a daily update of Fed purchase/sale of Treasury securities

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Fed Treasury Operations

This site gives a daily update of Fed purchase/sale of Treasury securities

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NY Times review of the laptop fad

The limitations come from what people actually do with computers, as opposed to what the marketers expect them to do. On the whole, people don't want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the ...

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Disposable income +$1 trillion in 2020, spending down $500 billion

This is relative to stock market valuation of $36 trillion. Residential real estate ~$160 trillion

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Target date funds flows turn negative in 2020

-$6.7 billion in 2020 versus +$59.7 billion in 2019.
Assets still reached a record $1.58 trillion at EoY 2020 vs $1.38 trillion EoY 2019 Returns averaged +15% for aggressive funds, +9% for conserative Vanguard biggest decrease in flows, from +$30 billion to +$3 billion Withdrawal fees ...

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Morningstar predictions/framework for temporary vs permanent industry trends from covid

Examines a list of historical episodes (world ware 2 and rationing, world war 2 and female labor force participation, 1970s oil sock, 9/11 air travel, hong kong/asian/spanish flus) to try to figure out how important habits, fear vs sunk costs are for shocks translating into permanent behavior ...

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17% of chief executives plan to cut back on offices, down from 69% in the last survey in August

March 2021 UK survey

Just 31% of businesses expected their operations to return to normal this year, while 45% expected a return to normality in 2022. However, just under a quarter of firms said the pandemic would permanently change their operations.

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Emerging Markets/BRICs underperformed during the last two decades despite economic growth. Rekenthaler claims its because "Emerging-markets countries have treated their insiders much better than they

My thoughts: Most of the economic growth in BRICs was from China. But I assume the funds were weighted away from China. Misses that S&P500 is actually heavily invested in emerging markets. Gist still sounds reasonable though


High Hopes Hop into a time machine, journey to 1999. Much seems familiar ...

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Remote work

Dropbox sells building for $1.08 billion, second largest RE sell in SF history and highest price per square foot

Owner Kilroy Realty said Monday it has agreed to sell the 750,000-square-foot property for around $1,440 per square foot, the highest price per square foot in city history. The four-building complex at 1800 Owens St. is branded as the Exchange.

Kilroy Realty declined to name the buyer. A ...

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Electric Cars (EVs)

Tesla Model 3 production tracker

Bloomberg tracker of estimated Tesla Model 3 production

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Oil industry tries to kill EVs (again)

Some lobbying efforts by oil industry to kill the electric car (again):

  • Lobbying to stop utilities from building charging stations in convenient places like shopping malls
  • Lobbying congress to cut/eliminate EV subsidies
  • Lobbying state lawmakers to impose fees on EVs (argument is they don't pay gasoline tax)

The ...

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California state agencies to no longer buy gas-powered sedans, GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota vehicles

Starting immediately, California will no longer buy solely gas-powered sedans, shifting instead to hybrid and electric vehicles. Additionally, starting in January, California will no longer purchase vehicles from automakers who haven't cut a deal with CARB to lower emissions.

Following the EPA and NHTSA revoking California's authority to ...

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Tesla "CyberTruck"

Maybe they know something I don't...

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California bans gasoline car sales starting in 2035

To combat pollution (bad air quality) and climate change

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US Politics

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact - Wikipedia

States attempt to sidestep the constitution to institute a popular vote

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Study find Obama to Trump voters primarily motivated by race/immigration concerns

UC Riverside study attempts to understand Obama to Trump voters. They conclude that they were more motivated by race and immigration concerns than economic marginality.

To measure economic marginality they compared survey respondents income to their surrounding area.

To measure race and immigration concerns they used a questionnaire.

They found ...

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Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be, researchers say - News @ Northeastern

Quoting selectively from the article

Since 1996, there have been 16 multiple victim shootings in schools, or incidents involving 4 or more victims and at least 2 deaths by firearms, excluding the assailant. Of these, 8 are mass shootings, or incidents involving 4 or more deaths, excluding the assailant.

Four ...

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Impeachment endgame

TDLR. We should get higher ranking officials, especially Bolton to testify under oath. Idea that its too slow to bring this the court is probably not true. Legal argument that they can't be compelled to testify is weak.

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Speculation that Schumer is afraid of Osacio-Cortez primarying him

Redistricting might mean Osacio-Cortez will lose her seat, in which case she could run for Schumer's senate seat. Speculation that Schumer's vote against USMCA was to protect himself in that event. But he also voted against NAFTA.

With Osacio-Cortez's star power I'd be suprised if her ...

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Dept Homeland Security and US Marshells use ununiformed officers to detain protesters

Federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security have stormed Portland’s streets as part of President Trump’s promised strong response to ongoing protests. Local leaders expressed alarm at news of Pettibone’s detention and echoed calls for the feds to leave that have ...

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New York MTA faces $10 billion budget deficit

This $10 billion compares to a total budget of $19 billion in 2019. They are asking for a $32 billion federal bailout.

There will be a general theme of many (mainly blue state) interests counting on full Democratic control of the federal government to handout bailouts in next year’s ...

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Santa Clara county list of candidates running for 2020 Nov 3rd election

Includes federal, state, and county level candidates. Of the various congressional and state races, 2 of 13 have two democrats as the choices.

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Chait piece claiming overwhelming gains from charter school, explains new opposition from Left

Biden floated the names of fierce critics of charter schools, including the ex-president of the country’s largest teacher union and the former dean of the Howard University School of Education...Then, in a surprise move, Biden formally tapped Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s education chief — a nonideological pick

Charter schools ...

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Rioters numbered at 8k, capitol police 1.4k

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving was concerned with the "optics" of declaring an emergency ahead of the protests and rejected a National Guard presence. He says Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger recommended that he informally request the Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.

Mayor Muriel Bowser ...

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Weather Underground, a 1970's violent political activist group

The Weather Underground was active in 70's. They were opposed to the Vietnam war and carried out political attacks and bombings. Some acts included blowing up a statue, throwing Molotov Cocktails at the house of a Supreme Court justice, setting off a bomb on the Senate site of the ...

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Excerpts from Trump's speech before riot

Trump: "It's a pure theft. Our election was over at 10 o'clock in the evening. We're leading...by hundreds of thousands of votes. Then...all of a sudden..."

Trump: "If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election"

Trump: "So, lets march down Pennsylvania Avenue ...

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Chamath for Governor

He says:

California is a mess — it's too expensive, our teachers are underpaid, and our schools aren't good enough.

Platform:

  • 0% State Tax
  • $70,000 Teacher Salary
  • Be friendly to tech
  • School vouchers
  • ISA model instead of student loans
  • $2k airdrop cache for newborns

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Ted Cruz CPAC speech smorgeborg of freedom-soundbites

Listen to William Wallace, and let me tell you, the media here looks at the men and women gathered here, at the young people gathered here, as dangerous radicals. This is the Rebel Alliance and Vader and the emperor, and let’s be clear, they’re not your father, are ...

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Biden plan to raise $1.8ish trillion with combo of higher capital gains, higher corporate taxes, and higher income tax rate for the top bracket

The biggest-ticket item would raise the corporate rate from 21% to 28%. That's worth $730 billion over 10 years, Impose a global minimum tax on profits from foreign subsidiaries: $550 billion. Tax capital gains as regular income for the wealthy and tax unrealized capital gains at death: $370 billion ...

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Rust Belt

Profile of an unemployed autoworker in the midwest

This NY Times profile follow Rick Marsh, who got laid off by GM after 25 years at a plant in Ohio. It describes his emotional turmoil, and the impact it has on his family, a wife and a daughter with cerebral palsy. They are angry and disillusioned with politicians, and ...

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Polarization

American views of economy now driven by partisanship not vice versa

See https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/640-width/images/print-edition/20190525_USC955.png

Historically presidential approval ratings were strongly correlated with the economy, but under Obama/Trump that relationship broke down. They suggest that it might be because partisans change their view of the economy based on which party ...

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Argues much of political polarization is driven by the choice set of political candidates

Very multi-pronged argument

(1) Rates ideology of candidates based on the sources of their donations. Show candidate pool is more ideologically divided than before. If in simulation most moderate available candidates always won polarization would still have increased by 80%

(2) Claims moderates would win if they did run. Uses ...

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After Trump's election judges appointed by Democrats became more likely to against student due process protections

According to the article before the mid 2018s judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans ruled in favor of campus due process about equally. But afterwards universities prevailed 19 out of 26 decisions. Source data here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1d_PSqO8eZGmw9ybh45DTeD4I7NGpLF8zajoQRAK3Frk/edit#gid=0v. City Journal might be misleading ...

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CEO donations lean Republican, though large-cap CEOs are more divided

Classifies CEOs into Republican vs Democrats based on the partisan leanings of PACs CEOs donate to. Finds Republicans significantly outnumber Democrats. Though its more even among women CEOs and large-cap CEOs. Unfortunately their industry classification is hopelessly outdated (doesn't include a tech sector, does include bus mfg). Energy is ...

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Sen Cotton saying 'be better'

In politics the left & the right are constantly copying each others most obnoxious phrases/turns of tongue. Here Cotton says 'be better' which is a patronizing phrase I usually associate with the left

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Populism in Canada is regional

Not an endorsement. Argues that because Canadian national identity is built around not being America and America is currently populist Canada won't become populist as a whole. But there will be regional populist parties.

Interesting tidbit

A recent Environics Institute survey found that the proportion of Canadians who said ...

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Jump in Republicans who believethe president would operate more effectively if less encumbered by the courts/congress jumped 16%

Jump was led by conservative republicans who went from 26 to 52%. Moderate Republican views were unchanged. Democratic support for that statement dropped from 29 to 16% since 2016

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Survey: How our divided social networks explain our politic

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of white Americans report that their core social network includes only people who are also white. Close to six in 10 (56 percent) black Americans have social networks composed entirely of people who are also black. Less than half of Asian Americans (39 percent) and ...

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Media

Graph showing dramatic increase in 'woke' language by the NY Times recently

Full twitter thread: https://twitter.com/DavidRozado/status/1134037358096130048/photo/1 Timeline tool: https://media-analytics.op-bit.nz/timeline

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Audit suggests Google favors a small number of major outlets - Columbia Journalism Review

20 news sources account for more than half of article impressions. The top 20 percent of sources (136 of 678) accounted for 86 percent of article impressions.

CNN: 10.9% NY Times: 6.5% WaPo: 5.6% Fox News: 3% BBC: 2.4%

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Twitter thread mocking NY Times article on Dutch "dropping" of children

Supposed Dutch tradition of dropping children in the woods and having them find their way back. Unclear to me if people are mocking it because its an uncommon tradition or because its just much less dramatic than the New York Times makes it sound.

Comments from the article

As a ...

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Transcript of NY Times townhall on editorial standards

Controversy seems to be around their headline "Trump Urges Unity Against Racism" after recent gun shootings. The headline was factually correct but people are critical because it doesn't capture his slow movement on gun control and his past incitement. It sounds like lack of additional context in the headline ...

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Google now blacklist

Blacklisted sites for 'Google Now' (realtime news). Mostly looks like scam sites (mispelled version of drudge report). The main exceptions are Glenn Beck, American Thinker, and FrontPage Mag which are more polemic sites. Seems like if you can coordinate people you should just get our ideological bedfellows to press 'hide ...

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Tweet on NY Times tracking cancellation of subscriptions

Everything is metric driven. Not really sure what the backstory is here. Mudslingers implying that a NY Times reporter is using subscription cancellations to influence editorial decisions?

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Leaked transcript of Atlantic discussion about firing Kevin Williamson

Transcript about editorial post-mortom on firing Williamson after activists released a transcript that he argued arbortion should be treated like homocide.

I don't think the shift in debate can be completely about inclusion insofar as say Goldberg was around the Atlantic for a long time and thought Sulliven was ...

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Dem strategist raised $25 million to create "for profit" newspapers to create targeted ads on Facebook

She's creating digital newspapers in six swing states (Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) to "deliver the facts favorable to Democrats that she thinks voters are missing, and counter right-wing spin."

For instance the Copper Courier (https://coppercourier.com) "Real local news on issues that matter to ...

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YouTube makes more than CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC combined

$15 billion for YouTube, $5 billion for CBS

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Fox News runs digitally altered images of "Capital Hill Autonomous Zone"

Mostly looks like they did a mashup of 4 different getty images on their frontpage. Seems kind of artistic to me. Misattributed an image from a Minniapolis incident to Seattle

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Bari Weiss resignation letter from the NY Times

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels ...

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Weak evidence that NY Times wanted to cast Scott Alexander in a negative light

On July 1st, a Bay Area attorney whose Twitter bio reads “Into Stoicism, engineering, blockchains, Governance Econ, InfoSec, 2A,” tweeted, “Some inside sources tell me @CadeMetz is running around asking if @slatestarcodex meetups were ‘all white men’ and whether ‘commenters were trying to recruit people into white supremacy.’ Words cannot ...

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New York Times Narratives

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked ...

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Gender Equality

US Soccer wage inequality - WSJ finds womens soccer makes more money than mens

Relevant to an Equal Pay Lawsuit filed by the Womens US Soccer term. Their pay and perks is significantly lower than that of the mens team, despite bringing in more money. Haven't looked into it closely.

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Far Left

WaPo hearsay on "Green New Deal" originally being 'how-you-change-the-entire-economy-thing' not a 'climate thing'

Chakrabarti [Osacio-Cortez's chief of staff] had an unexpected disclosure. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Ricketts greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing ...

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Fun article on school board hearings about "controlled choice" school selection in Brooklyn

Account of hearing on "controlled choice" in Brooklyn. Scrapping aptitude-based admission criteria and requiring each school to have at least 52% of their students come from households that speak a language other than English at home, live in temporary housing, or qualify for reduced price school lunches.

Pretty entertaining throughout ...

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Proposed Seattle K-12 math 'ethnic studies' framework

See also https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/10/11/seattle-schools-lead-controversial-push-to-rehumanize.html

More recently, some scholars, most prominently Rochelle Gutiérrez at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, have begun advocating for a “rehumanizing” of mathematics, which places dynamics such as race and oppression at the center of conversations about math ...

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Publishers and booksellers refuse to publish more conservative books, for instance many independent bookstores reportedly refuse to publish Cameron's autobiography

He argues that the industry’s “definition of pluralism can often be narrow and metropolitan” – while publishers have largely recognised the need to increase racial diversity in the industry, attitudes towards political diversity are more complicated. “There are certain kinds of narratives that most of the industry is reluctant to ...

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Ro Khanna defends endoresement of Cenk

Sanders endorsed progressive "Young Turk Cenk Uygur who has made misogynistic comments in the past

"Obviously, the genes of women are flawed," Uygur wrote in a 1999 post, according to a blog found by The Wrap. "They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as ...

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American Leftists Believed Corbyn’s Inevitable Victory Would Be Their Model

Collection of articles heralding Corbyn's inevitable triumph as a model for the Democratic party. The most mainstream one

“Jeremy Corbyn’s Success is a Model for American Progressives,” by James Downie, Washington Post, June 2017

“Corbyn’s success provides a model for U.S. progressives in 2018, 2020 and ...

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Questionnaire of political positions of DSA backed challenger to Scott Weiner

  1. What do you see as the most important short-term and long-term solutions to SF’s homeless crisis? What can you do in your office to help end homelessness?

Homelessness ends with a house. We can remain in gridlock about zoning policy, but as Our City Our Home showed us, most ...

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DSA candidate flier attacking Scott Weiner

(1) Its funny that someone who's never been employed attacks Weiner for being a 'career politician' isn't that exactly what she's aspiring to?

(2) What's the best rejoinder for 'corporate democrat'. In the Reagen era it might have been 'limousine liberal' but that's dated. Maybe ...

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SB330 preventa demolishing rent controlled apartments unless equivalent units are built

Preciously demolishing rent controlled was a common way for landlords to unload them

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"I am definitely not the next [Ocasio-Cortez]. I am me." | MetaFilter

Metafilter is very critical of the DSA opponent of Scott Weiner

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Article that is skeptical of the importance of "cancel culture" as described by Harpers letter

[T]here has been an increase in the kinds of people who have the liberty to become academics, an increase in number and types of areas of inquiry academics are at liberty to investigate, an increase in the kinds of methods academics are at liberty to use in their research ...

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Kennedy quote free speech

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."

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McWhorter discussion on how to name third wave anti-racism

Thinks social justice warrior is too mean. Religious insults the actual religious. My observation

(1) Not clear why opponents of third wave anti-racism cede the word anti-racist. Why don't people like McWhorter also use that label? It seems like if you believe the label is more important than the ...

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"Master Bedroom" becomes "Primary Bedroom"

The term is supposedly racist. Ironically, the article itself reveals that the term originated long after the end of slavery:

“The first thing we did was Google the phrase and expect to find some dark history of why it was called ‘master bedroom,’” said Mr. Conlon. “But no, it’s ...

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Alphabet Workers Union

We will ensure Alphabet acts ethically and in the best interests of society and the environment. We are responsible for the technology that we bring into the world, and recognize that its implications reach far beyond Alphabet. We will work with those affected by our technology to ensure that it ...

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n this amicus brief, the ACLU,...argue that California’s blanket demand for tax documents identifying the major donors to nonprofit organizations infringes the First Amendment right to associational p

Was looking for examples of the ACLU defending people whose views the ACLU disagrees with. Took some digging but found this example

When the government discloses associational information to the general public, it increases the risk that supporters of unpopular groups will be subjected to threats, harassment, and reprisals. Because ...

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*Sigh* our political moment

Invisibillia Podcast on Deep Brain Stimulation

Here's the conclusion of a mostly stimulating piece

The military is aggressively pursuing these technologies. And in fact, DARPA - the arm of the Defense Department that developed the prototype for the Internet - has funded advances even since Megan's stimulator was put in six years ago. There are no ...

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ACLU: Menstrual prduct sales tax is is a denial of the equal protections clause of the constitution, lack of tampons in mens restroom is a problem

The constitutional argument is straightforward. Any law that targets one sex — or one race, or one religion — is inherently discriminatory. In the context of the tampon tax, for example, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky harkened to a famous remark by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that a tax on yarmulkes is a ...

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Constitution

50s court case ruled that denying tax-exemptions for constitutionally protected speech is unconstitutional. Idea of such tax rules are increasingly floated by democrats

1952 California denied tax exemptions to groups that advocated for overthrowing the US gov't. Court ruled that its the same as a fine

[A] discriminatory denial of a tax exemption for engaging in speech is a limitation on free speech…. To deny an exemption to claimants who engage in ...

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USA Today editorial board switches to supporting impeachment of Trump

The current board has made no secret of our low regard for Trump’s character and conduct. Yet, as fellow passengers on the ship of state, we had hoped the captain would succeed. And, until recently, we believed that impeachment proceedings would be unhealthier for an already polarized nation than ...

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Gun violence
Is this corruption?
Separation of Powers

Executive branch refuses to comply with judicial decisions

The underlying case is about immigration. An undocumented immigrant, Jorge Baez-Sanchez, was subject to removal, but federal courts decided that he was eligible for a special visa and could remain in the United States. The executive branch declared the decision invalid, and refused to comply.

While the particular case is ...

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Police

Podcast on IV study which finds 10% increase in police reduces crime by 7.5%

Used 911 calls in neighboring beats as an instrumental variable for police presence in Dallas (cops would be moved to a neighboring precinct to deal with the emergency). Considered unusually complicated for an economics paper since it involved what they consider big data, joining multiple datasets, and dealing with geolocations ...

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Debate on resolution "there is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist"

Rafael Mangual on the negative was unusually haughty for a debate. Several times he didn't use his entire time. And he declined to ask his opponent (Balko) any questions. Mangual came off as extremely confident and Balko came off as increasing bewildered and resorted to dark comments about Mangual ...

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On Chicago's South Side, some violence-weary residents open to federal investigators

Eight of 10 people Reuters interviewed in wealthier and safer areas on Chicago’s North Side opposed any form of intervention from Trump, saying federal officers could fan tensions in the city and would not address underlying issues such as unemployment. The view was often more nuanced on the South ...

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Older Engelwood leaders tell young protesters to leave

“We’ve been doing this, we’ve been fighting for Black lives and against crime and violence,” Harris said. “Our organization since 2003 have put young men and women into construction jobs. We’ve changed lives…we got young men and women here who never had a job in their ...

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Counsol faults Chicago prosecutor in dismissal of Smolett case

A court-appointed independent counsel on Monday found Chicago prosecutors abused their discretion and may have violated legal ethics by dropping charges that former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett falsely reported he was attacked.

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Chicago progressive DA has lower conviction rate and trial rate than predecessor

Dropped all charges against 29% of felony defendants vs 19% for predecessor. Most dramatic shift is aggreviated assault of police officer (4% dropped to 8%), narcotics (35% to 54%) and escape (4% to 34%). Foxx’s office dropped 1 out of every 4 of those Class X drug cases, compared ...

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After crime plummeted in 2020, Baltimore will stop drug, sex prosecutions

Mosby announced that the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus. And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. While violent crime and homicides skyrocketed in most other big ...

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Nonviolent misdeamoner prosecutions lead to a large increase in probability of new criminal complaint within two years

We leverage the as-if random assignment of nonviolent misdemeanor cases to Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) who decide whether a case should move forward with prosecution in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.These ADAs vary in the average leniency of their prosecution decisions. We find that,for ...

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Conservatives

Republican donations surge despite corporate boycott after Capitol riots

If anything, the biggest backers of Trump’s false election-fraud narrative - such as Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene - have been rewarded with a flood of grassroots donations, more than offsetting the loss of corporate money. And contributions from both small donors and rich individuals looking ...

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Rah rah America!

Reasoned defence of Fahrenheit over Celsius

Argues that Fahrenheit better captures typical temperatures experienced by people while avoiding negative numbers and decimals

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yuXccn http://pills2sale.com/ levitra nizagara

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Political commentators

The curious case of Ron Unz The former publisher of The American Conservative is a case study in contrarianism gone haywire

Contrarianism begins, by and large, with the valid conclusion that many of the ‘facts’ that we are told — by politicians, or the media, or academic and religious institutions — are less than wholly true. You begin to question other aspects of conventional wisdom. There is nothing wrong in this. Yet your ...

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Randy Shaw predicts that Boudin will fight Tenderloin crime because he's a "true progressive" who "ran an avowedly political campaign"

Sounds like his prediction might be more making lemonade out of lemons than a sincere prognostication.

Many predict that because Boudin is a strong advocate of de-incarceration who won't prosecute Tenderloin drugdealers. Outgoing DA Gascon-who is in the same political camp as Boudin-was soft on crime in the Tenderloin ...

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Caplan win bets about the EU collapsing, but debate if he won on a technicality

Steyn made a prediction that the EU would collapse by 2020. Caplan then made a bet with him that no member would leave by 2020.

People claim he should concede because of Brexit. Caplan refuses.

when experts make barely incorrect predictions, they tend to plead bad luck (“I was almost ...

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Megan Mcardle questions demographics leading to an emerging democratic majority

(1) Majority-minority breakdowns assume anyone with "mixed-blood" is not "white." If everyone with one white parent is considered white, we'd count the US as 75% "white" in 2050 instead of <50% "white". Furthermore the label "white" might become more inclusive.

(2) The young are more liberal than older people ...

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David Frum predicts if Sanders is selected he'll lose

Bernie Sanders is a fragile candidate. He has never fought a race where he had to face serious personal scrutiny...Sanders had benefited from “an unwritten compact between Sanders, his supporters, and local reporters who have steered clear” of writing about Sanders’s personal history “rather than risk lectures about ...

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“The steaming pile of shit theory” on 2020/Trump/Biden/Sanders

Paul Begala, one of Bill Clinton’s earliest and most loyal strategists, offers a metaphor to explain how the Biden team views the ideological divides in the 2020 race:

“You’re sitting down for breakfast and there’s a steaming pile of shit on your table and you say, ‘Can ...

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Randy Shaw "democrats will never select Biden March 3 will "solidify support for Sanders"

The Democrats are not going to nominate Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders. That only makes sense to the Never Trump Republicans and Democratic “moderates” out of touch with Democratic voters. Biden’s South Carolina success undermines Bloomberg’s reason for running and will cost the billionaire votes on March 3 ...

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Cop In The Hood blog

Interesting perspective from an ex-cop, now law professor. Even handed and good analysis of police shootings, police activity, etc.

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Quality Policing podcast

From the author of copinthehood.com. Is no longer active, but worth listening to a couple episodes.

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Principles of Newspeak (Orwell)

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism.

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Tyler Cowen argues that cancel culture won't take over everything

So what to make of the apparent growing strength of cancel culture and affiliated movements? Here is the fundamental point: With the rise of social media and low-cost communications, virtually everything that can be said, will be said.

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Plastic

People eat at least 50,000 microplastic compounds a year

Study findings: - Analyzed 15% of calories consumed a day - Based on data from previous study examining America diet, and then extrapolated - Estimated consumption is 50,000 microplastic compounds per adult, and 40,000 per child - Bottled water conaint 22x microplastics compared to tap water (130,000/yr for bottled water ...

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Forum piece on microplastics in Monterey Bay

Didn't take notices after I listened to it, but vageuly remember it was an above average podcast. Key things I actually recall. What makes microplastics bad is bad particles stick on them. And they trick critters into thinking they're full. The reason it was hard to know microplastic ...

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Recycling: What Is It Good For?

An argument mainly about the superiority of landfills over recycling. I think it overstates the case a bit, and the sources are not amazing, but still feels a step up from common levels of understanding on the topic. The popular mechanics article in citation u) gives a somewhat more favorable ...

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Tech Companies

FTC definition of a monopoly

Courts do not require a literal monopoly before applying rules for single firm conduct; that term is used as shorthand for a firm with significant and durable market power — that is, the long term ability to raise price or exclude competitors. That is how that term is used here: a ...

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WSJ finds large proportion of safety violations in Amazon third party marketplace

Print version here https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dangerous-products-on-amazon-11566596575. WSJ bought and tested a large number of third-party products on Amazon. Found a high proportion of products that violated federal regulations like lead content of paint of fall tests. Even for branded products look-a-likes will cut corners and be sold.

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Matching in Google's internal labor market

Google implemented Chameleon a deferred acceptance job position matching algorithm

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House Judiciary committee letter to Apple on competitive practices investigation

This is seems like a very broad request, and the specifics they ask for reflect a good understanding of tech issues.

  • Explanation for why certain parental control apps were removed from the App Store. Context is that these apps directly compete with Apple's parental control offering.
  • Request for the ...

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Kickstarter employees unionize

The final vote was 46 for the union, 37 against. It's not clear from the article what their demands are, but one issue they talk about is whether or not to allow a certain project ("Always Punch Nazis") on the site.

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2013 report on San Diego taxi drivers

(1) 90% are lease drivers (2) Median wage is $5/hour (3)

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Prop 22 modifying AB5 for rideshare: 41% yes, 26% no, 34% undecided

For those currently a rideshare driver the yes is 71%. Overall numbers don't make sense to me though, since not a rideshare driver is against

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Twitter Censors R2-D2 For Sharing Hacked Death Star Plans

Rebel scum across the galaxy are up in arms after Twitter suspended the account of astromech droid R2-D2 for apparently sharing stolen Imperial plans vital to the survival of the Rebellion. According to sources close to the droid, he has been unable to post anything to Twitter since his suspension ...

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Unilever ends FB boycott

Some boycott participants, including VF Corp.’s North Face, Heineken NV and Pernod Ricard SA, returned to Facebook after July, while others extended their boycotts, calling Facebook’s moves up to the point insufficient. Coca-Cola Co. , which halted all social-media advertising in July but did not formally join the “Stop ...

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SEIU petitions Supreme Court to overturn prop 22

1) Article 14 of the state constitution says the Legislature has "plenary power, unlimited by any provision of this Constitution to create and enforce a complete system of workers' compensation, by appropriate legislation", including things like workplace safety and medical care for injured workers. Prop 22 restricts the Legislature from ...

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China Blocked Jack Ma’s Ant IPO After Investigation Revealed Likely Beneficiaries

Several factors behind blockage of Ant IPO: Ant's business model arguably takes advantage of state-owned banks by passing on financial risk to state-owned banks while capturing fintech profits/valuation boost. Kind of like if PayPal offered banking services but was underwritten by too-big-to-fail banks and the US government would ...

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Book reviews

A Brief History of Fighting Ships

Overview of navel technology, battles, and strategy during the Napoleonic wars. Interesting throughout. I had no clear preconception of naval battles in that era, but I was surprised that manoeuvring before battles could take days and the actual shooting could last a day. Another interesting tidbit is that Ships of ...

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Snarky judges

Judge roasts PETA for being a half-hearted "friend" in monkey copyright case

PETA filed as a friend of a monkey "Naruto" claiming that Naruto owned the copyright to a photo. Then when PETA was losing the case PETA tried to settle. Typically its routine to accept such settlements. But the judge refused this time claiming among other thing that PETA was betraying ...

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Justice Stevens dissent on Prop 13 uses term "squires" to refer to existing landholders

Proposition 13 has provided these successful investors with a tremendous windfall and, in doing so, has created severe inequities in California's property tax scheme. [n.2] These property owners (hereinafter "the Squires") are guaranteed that, so long as they retain their property anddo not improve it, their taxes will ...

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[Eugene Volokh] Just Pay the Traffic Ticket, Dude …

Not actually a snarky judge, but an amusing court case. Doctor gets stopped for speeding. Makes excuse that he was late for a medical emergency. Ends up getting sentenced for preparing fraudulent evidence. Unclear to me why the police went through so much effort to nail this guy but they ...

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[Eugene Volokh] Is Rejecting Someone Because of His "Jewish Blood" Race Discrimination Under Title VII? National Origin Discrimination?

Not snarky. Employment law bars discrimination based on race or religion. Converted Jew was not hired because of his "Jewish blood." In the 19th century the Supreme Court considered Jews a race but doesn't think they're a race today. So no banned discrimination was found by the court ...

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Did PETA Name the Right Macaque in Its 'Monkey Selfie' Lawsuit? - VICE

Carol Berman, who has Ph.D students associated with the Macaca Nigra Project, wrote in an email that "I can say with confidence that the monkey in the full body photo is a juvenile male," pointing out that there is "a round pink spot in his crotch which is the ...

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Professor defends the idea of anachoristic viewpoints when disciplined for sexist/gay unfriendly type views

I just think its funny that when told his views are more 18th century. He defends himself by saying that the point of philosophy is to be able to think independently of the current societal norms

but we need to confront exactly what we are dealing with in Professor Rasmusen ...

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To say that the Court finds the motion puzzling is to do a disservice to puzzles everywhere

Second, the Court cannot fathom what injury could arise from the public disclosure of something that Plaintiff's counsel paid a newspaper to make public. Indeed, other than to allow some sort of Weekend At Bernie's style caper, the Court cannot envision a reason to keep the tribute private

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Race

[David Bernstein] Is Someone of Recent Gibraltarian Origin "Hispanic?"

"Gibraltar is and has been under British rule since 1718; the culture there is mixed, the official language is English and the law is based on English Common law. Although Spanish is widely spoken the Gibraltarian way of life is predominantly British." The department therefore determined that Lagrua was not ...

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SoHo debate on whether the government should act to reduce housing segregation

Particularly interested in this debate because Rothstein is a big name in the YIMBY movement. He was a bit of a killjoy, decrying the opening comedy act as racist and saying he wouldn't have come if he knew about it.

The bias of the audience also showed, they began ...

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Judge who handled Smollett case doesn't receive backing of Dems' Executive Committee

Last July, Toomin appointed Dan Webb as a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the Smollett case after all of Smollet’s charges were dropped. In a scathing ruling, Toomin noted “unprecedented irregularities” and referred to Smollett as a “charlatan who fomented a hoax.”

The committee met last week ...

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Lowell HS before Prop 207: Chinese-Americans needed 66/69 to get in, whites and other Asians 59/69, blacks/Hispanics 56

A substantial number of Lowell students leave the school each year because they feel burned out or believe transferring elsewhere will bolster their grade-point averages and their college-admissions prospects. Because black and Hispanic students are the most likely to leave, and Chinese-Americans usually stay, the school's attrition patterns hinder ...

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Op-ed by King's wife opposing Prop 206

Who would have thought, 33 years after my husband, Martin Luther King Jr., uttered those words that their meaning would be distorted by supporters of the California Civil Rights Initiative, which would eliminate state affirmative action plans.

My husband unequivocally supported such programs. He did indeed dream of a day ...

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Connecticut magnet school closes over fines for not meeting its white/asian quota

Birks said one of the reasons Creed was selected for closure was because it has failed to meet its racial isolation quota for years and was regressing; whereas the state mandates schools must be at least 25 percent black and Hispanic or 25 percent non-black and non-Hispanic, 91.2 percent ...

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Nasdaq filed a proposal with the SEC to require firms to explain why they lacked two "diverse" directors

“Nasdaq’s purpose is to champion inclusive growth and prosperity to power stronger economies,” said Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq. “Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders; we believe this ...

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Biden's White Guy Quota

Sort of funny article discussing how many white men Biden should pick before running out of quota for white men

Of the 14 people Biden has picked for Cabinet-level posts thus far, nine are people of color and seven are women. Five of them are Black, including Vice President-elect KAMALA ...

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Mt View school district report on choice schools and equity

This report was prepared by a consultant hired to review "equitable access to choice schools." Some notable parts:

  • Endorses the use of "weight lotteries" which give preferential access to poor families
  • Asians lumped together with white families, do not count towards "diversity." This likely lumps Indians with East Asia
  • Choice ...

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Sacremento School District promotes racial affinity groups to facilate "racial awakening"

Racial Affinity Groups offer a structure of inquiry and can address many needs. They support us in exploring what has been forbidden, forgotten, and unhealed. For example, in Racial Affinity Groups, white people can discover together their group identity. They can cultivate racial solidarity and compassion and support each other ...

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Piers Morgan and Alex Beresford debate Meghan Markel on GMB

According to Piers Morgan, Meghan Markle made two accusations of racism in the royal family:

  1. She claims some high royal (one of the other Princes) made comments and/or asked questions about the baby's skin color
  2. She claims the queen was denying the title of "Prince" to Meghan's ...

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Lawsuit challenges HS admission challenge on "prextextual" grounds, the first time affirmative action has been challenged in that way

Last week, a group of primarily Asian-American parents filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of new admissions policies at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Fairfax, Virginia. The case could end up setting an important precedent: While there are many such pretextual discrimination rulings in cases ...

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Vermont gives "BIPOC" special vaccine eligibility privileges

If you or anyone in your household identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, all household members who are 16 years or older can sign up to get a vaccine….

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Teachers Union President on pressure to reopen schools: "Jews are now part of the ownership class" they "now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it"

This last force has generated criticism of teachers’ unions, such as Weingarten’s, for exercising outsized force in the lives of American families. Why should the teachers union in San Francisco or Los Angeles, for example, get to overrule the wishes of families who want their children in school?

“American ...

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Explaining Affirmative Action to a Martian

A satirical conversation where an earthling tries to explain affirmative action to a neutral martian. Hilarity ensues.

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Articles I don't like

ProPublica piece on professors who 'make more than a thousand bucks per hour peddling mega-mergers'

PropPublica piece on how economic consultants are paid large sums to come up with economic analysis that favours mergers, and sometimes the predictions in these analysis are incorrect. Article gives a misleading impression, the government hires the same economists/consulting firms to do their own analysis. The economic analysis of ...

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Krugman defense of very high marginal taxes

Article was recommended to me by Google News. Krugman uses economic theory terms in a very unstandard way - as in might fail econ 101 way. I don't see what's the point of having a Nobel prize in economics as a columnist if they're going to obfuscate rather ...

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The Class War of Fare-Dodging Crackdowns | The New Republic

Last December, the Washington D.C. Council voted to decriminalize fare evasion, against the wishes of Metro leaders, who warned that the move would produce “significant safety and financial consequences.” Four weeks later, the Metro announced that 2018 had been the lowest year for crime in the system since 2000 ...

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Vox double header

I heard Matt Yglesias speak and he was actually pretty good. So when Google started recommending Vox articles in my feed I decided to give them a shot.

(1) Why the Alt-Right Likes Rome: No idea what's going on here. They never quote the alt-right or give an example ...

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BI piece on how 401ks don't work well for saving for retirement if you don't put money in them

A mistake that I admit I made with my 401(k) was not putting in enough money to make a dent in saving for retirement.

Once I remembered that it existed, I rolled my 401(k) into my SEP IRA and now have just one retirement fund to manage, check ...

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SF things to check out

Restaurants

Fondue Cowboy: https://www.yelp.com/biz/fondue-cowboy-san-francisco Willkommen: beer garden in the Castro Pawn Shop: 'secret' bar with Spanish tapas https://www.theinfatuation.com/san-francisco/reviews/the-pawn-shop. Wine, no cocktails Nihon Whiskey Lounge: Abhishek recommendation Tonga Room:...

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Classes/Lectures

Kardishian Free Conversation Club: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2019-07-18/kardashian-free-conversation-club every 3rd Thursday Socrates Cafe: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2019-07-15/socrates-cafe Anchor Steam Tour: https://www.anchorbrewing.com/brewery/tours Bike classes: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-san-francisco-bike-kitchen-607127349 Civic Kitchen: https://www.civickitchensf.com/calendar/

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Merc piece on SF things to do, some of them I didn't know about

Beaux water temple, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, Grengangelo museum, bonsai tree, berkeley botonical garden

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Stanford Intro to Robotics class

See also https://www.indconstructionforum.com/2019-cife-forum.html

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South of the Border
Books to read

The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity

Upcoming back on the divergince between China and Europe with an emphasis on how the barbarian "shadow empires" influenced their political development. I think the interplay between civilization and the periphery is underappreciated and fascinating. So should be an interesting read.

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MR best non-fiction books

MR book recommendations

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Uban Planning

Shade in city design

Cities used to be designed from the bottom up to tame extreme temperatures, especially in warmer regions. In Yemen’s Old Walled City of Shibam, the “Manhattan of the Desert” combines narrow streets with tall buildings to trap cool air...vernacular architecture in the U.S. was often designed around ...

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Op-Ed urging independent funding for Caltrain

The plan includes a vision of how electrified service levels should grow over the next 20 years. It includes an estimated 5.5 lanes worth of commuter traffic onto Caltrain instead of Peninsula highways. Train frequency would grow from five trains per hour to 12 per hour, with an express ...

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LA affordable housing costs more than median market rate

$1.2 billion housing bond was approved 3 years ago. Not a single unit has been produced. Costs have overrun by $100k per unit over past predictions. At an average cost of $531,373 per unit building costs of many of the homeless units will exceed the median sale price ...

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Tokyo Metro profit is ~$560 million on $4 billion revenue, looks to IPO and expand overseas in softening domestic market

Apparently most of Japans rail/transit operators are private not public; with the largest company making $10 billion in revenue. Hong Kongs MTR is also for-profit and has a head start expanding into mainland China and to four international markets.

The two companies were about the same size in terms ...

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Fasting

Alternate day fasting study shows reduced fat loss, decreased aging markers

I didn't fully read the study, but it seems like the highlights are:

  • Study was performed on non-obese, middle-aged individuals for 6 months
  • Found improvements in a number of areas, including:
  • Reduced body fat
  • A pro-aging molecule ("amino-acid methionine") as depleted on fasting days
  • Another aging related molecule (" sICAM-1 ...

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DIY Projects
Sports

State of Climbing Report

7.7 million US participants, 4.4% of Americans climb indoors. Indoor is 58% men, 42% women. 82% white. 65% between 19-35. Spend $169 million on gear. 478 climbing gyms. Average visit is 2.3 hours. Outdoors majority of accidents on ascent. Biggest cause is slip on rock/ice (50 ...

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Tiger Woods Was Driving About 85 M.P.H. in a 45 M.P.H. Zone When He Crashed The stretch of road where Woods crashed in February is known for speeding and crashes.

Tiger Woods was speeding when he crashed his sport-utility vehicle in February, reaching speeds of more than 80 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone on winding road near Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Villanueva said Woods was traveling between 84 and ...

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Democrats Suck

California passes law to force Uber, DoorDash etc. to hire employees

Currently Uber/DoorDash/etc. workers are considered independent contractors. A new law passed in California would force the companies to reclassify them as employees. This could result in a complete overhaul of how these companies operate, since they'll need to pay benefits and additional taxes. On the flip side ...

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Podcasts on AB5

Forum podcast mostly features a legal expert Dubal and a representative of the National Federation of Independent Business. Chronicle podcast (https://projects.sfchronicle.com/tools/podcasts?show=itsallpolitical&id=30285aa0-d59b-11e9-abc3-b3cbcd4e4475) features a Postmates represenative and union rep.

Both were pretty good. My takeaway here is that AB 5 is just carving ...

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California Housing Legislation Highlights

The 'Faster Approvals' part is super disappointing imo. SCA 13 is the best. Along with ADU bills. AB 1483 and maybe AB 1110

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Out-migration and reduced work halves the marginal tax increases revenues in CA - study claims

Only abstract is available

Drawing on the universe of California income tax filings and the variation imposed by a 2012 tax increase of up to 3 percentage points for high-income households, we present new findings about the effects of personal income taxation on household location choice and pre-tax income. First ...

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California Bans Insurers From Dropping Policies Made Riskier by Climate Change

But California, like many states, gives regulators the power to reject those requests. And the state forbids insurance companies from setting rates based on what they expect in future damages. Insurers are allowed to set rates only based on prior losses.

Ricardo Lara, California’s insurance commissioner, said he’s ...

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California $222 billion budget

Some highlights from the article:

  • Newsom asked for $1.4 billion for homeless services. He wants to turn public property into "emergency" housing for homeless and deploy 100 camp trailers
  • $100 million grant program to offer $20,000 stipends to teachers who agree to work in low-income schools for at ...

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Strange Bedfellows

Kochs defend Sillicon Valley

It makes sense that they'd be aligned on this issue, but still funny to see Koch's defending super liberal SV.

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RAND Corporation goes woke

Confederate Statues Symbolize Role of Racism in America

by Thomas S. Szayna

Confederate generals demonstrated their military skills for a cause—the retention of slavery—that was immoral and widely seen as such already in the mid-19th century. As an analogy, German generals in World War II, such as Erich ...

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New York Fed goes woke

Federal Reserve Bank of New York posts anti-racist statement on its front page.

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Psychology

The 4 tendencies

A quiz for 4 tendencies in terms of what motivates people. There are two axis:

  • External vs. internal motivations
  • Maintaining vs. ignoring motivations

The 4 tendencies are: - Upholder: Maintains both internal and external motivations - Obliger: Maintains external motivations, ignores internal - Questioner: Maintains internal motivations, ignores external - Rebel: Ignores both internal ...

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Of endangered species and California Republicans

Interview of (R) San Diego Mayor Faulconer

Pro-choice, pro gay marriage Republican. Topics

(1) Reduces homelesness in San Diego even as it increased in SF Bay Area and LA. Have to have action. Built safe-parking etc. But also has Orwellian "right to shelter" policy. If there is a free bed in homelesness shelter have to sleep in ...

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Petition to recall Gavin Newsom

They have 700k signatures so far, out of 1.4M required for a recall. They likely need to hit 2M signatures to clear the valid signatures requirement. They have until March 17 2021 to hit their target.

The text from their official petition:

The grounds for this recall are as ...

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53% of voters still support prop 13, 19% against

All demographics in favor except 'very liberal.' Bay Area region is most against (46% for, 30% against). 78% of voters think high taxes drive businesses out of the state.

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Polling on Newsom suggests decreased support, safe from recall

PPIC time trend; likely voters (https://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/time-trends-likely-voters-0121.pdf): pre-pandemic wa43% approve, 29% approve, 21% no opinion. Approval spiked to 64%, declined to 42%. Disapproval up to 43%. Everyone now has an opinion PPIC cross tab, likely voters (https://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/crosstabs-likely-voters-0121.pdf ...

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Faulconer tries to cultivate moderate image, but has had Trump ties in the past

Faulconer took some risk in endorsing Issa, a persistent harrasser of ex-President Barack Obama while Issa chaired the House Government Operations Committee through much of the last decade.

Then there was an appearance by Trump on Fox News last June, just after Faulconer visited the Oval Office. “(Faulconer) was just ...

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March PPIC Poll: 40% would vote to recall Newsom, in line with 38% who voted against him

(1) 45% say CA is doing a good or excellent job of vaccine distribution. Up from 28% in Jan (2) Dems have 22% lead in voter registration vs 9% lead when Davis was recalled (3) Men would vote 50 to 46% for the recall. Women 31 to 64% against (4 ...

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Non-scientific Patch poll 51% would support the recall, 47.7% against

Some 43 percent of those who weighed in were Democrats, 22.7 percent were Republicans, 25.2 percent were of the independent party and 9 percent did not identify with a common party.

"Newsom was way too conservative with the reopening of public schools; he should've mandated they open ...

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I Agree With Trump (!)

China threatens unspecified retaliation for ban on their tech companies

Possibilities include banning Facebook, Twitter and Google in China. Oh wait.

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Trump blocks proposed CDC guidelines for post-lockdown

Some reasonable stuff in there:

  • Encourage employees who are sick to stay at home.
  • Implement flexible sick leave and other flexible policies and practices,such as telework, if feasible.
  • Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash and wash hands afterwards

But some of it pretty ...

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Twitter adds counterarguments to Trump's tweets

Trump tweeted something about California mail in ballots, and Twitter manually added some counter arguments to it.

In this case I actually think Trump is in the right:

  1. The thing he's criticizing is a very legitimate thing to criticize (Newsom mails ballots to everyone in California). Regardless of which ...

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NY Times article describes antifa behind violence

Many of the business owners on Capitol Hill agreed: Much of the violence they saw and the intimidation of their patrons came from a group these business owners identified as antifa, which they distinguished from the Black Lives Matter movement. “The idea of taking up the Black movement and turning ...

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Trump Sucks

Air quality has been decreasing in US since 2016

After steady decline over 10 years, fine particulate matter in the air spiked upwards following 2016. We can't know for sure but obvious guess would be Trump policies.

Another article tracks a longer window: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/19/climate/us-air-pollution-trump.html

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Trump gives speech saying we're keeping Syrian oil

But we have now tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners under tight supervision. And now we want the countries in the region to police their own borders. We don’t want to be a policeman, in this case, of two countries that haven’t gotten along for centuries. But we ...

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Trump insider likens Trump as a "father figure" for Kim. Trump thinks Obama was dumb for not talking to Kim

From Amazon synopsis looks like its a sympathetic journalist too (https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Trumps-White-House-Presidency/dp/1546085858)

"'It’s a father thing,' Kushner observed. 'You can see from these letters that Kim wants to be friends with Trump, but his father told him never to give up the weapons. That ...

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Trump fires twin brother of impeachment witness as retaliation

Also a war veteran, not related at all to impeachment AFAIK

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Trump says coronavirus is NBD

33 various quotes of Trump saying coronavirus is not a problem, under control, will go away in April, will die in warm weather, etc.

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Personal finance

Incentive pay compensation applies to a wash sale

You are an employee of a corporation with an incentive pay plan. Under this plan, you are given 10 shares of the corporation's stock as a bonus award. You include the fair market value of the stock in your gross income as additional pay. You later sell these shares ...

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Why Childcare is So Expesive

The Census Bureau has found that child-care expenditures rose more than 40 percent from 1990 to 2011, during a period when middle-class wages stagnated. Since the 1990s, child-care costs have grown twice as fast as overall inflation. In California, the cost of a typical day-care center is now equal to ...

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Blind thread on eng salaries

Facebook E5

  • 180/625/50 (2016, E5)
  • 170/500/100 (2017, E5)
  • 175/450/50 (2017, E5)
  • 175/480/75 (2017, E5)
  • 190/600/70 (2017, E5)
  • 185/600/100 (2017, E5)
  • 185/1000/100 (2017, E5)
  • 190/500/120 (2017, E5)
  • 175/250/0 (2017, E5)
  • 200/550/50 ...
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levels.fyi compensation report

Total comp ranges from low $200k to $900k for software engineers, depending on level. $200k is entry level, $900k is top level principal engineers (~3% of Google). Most SWE's will probably level out at around $400-500k as a "Senior Software Engineer"

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Four out of every seven common stocks that have appeared in the CRSP database since 1926 have lifetime buy-and-hold returns less than one-month Treasuries

Four out of every seven common stocks that have appeared in the CRSP database since 1926 have lifetime buy-and-hold returns less than one-month Treasuries. When stated in terms of lifetime dollar wealth creation, the best-performing four percent of listed companies explain the net gain for the entire U.S. stock ...

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Good mega backdoor roth article

Probably a million of them out there. But I liked this one well enough

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Equity risk premium approach to deciding if market is overvalued

Uses a forward looking approach to impute an expected future equity risk premium. Concludes S&P is overvalued by 12%. Further breaks down into 4 scenarios

Low interest rates, earning expectations met ==> undervalued by 20% | earning expectations not met: overvalued by 20% Slowly raising interest rates, earning expectations met ==> ...

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Roaring Kitty (u/DeepFuckingValue) testimony to House Financial Services Committee on Gamestop stock

Gives his life story, and his interest in the stock. Seems like a reasonable guy.

  • Was working on his own startup and doing stock trading to make a living for a while
  • Recently took a stable job at Mass Mutual
  • Believed in the long term prospects of GameStop, thought they ...

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What is the safe withdrawal rate? Lower bond yields argue for a lower rate, but low inflation for a higher rate

It should be clear by this point that the only answer to the “right” number for sustainable withdrawal rates is both vague and unhelpful: It depends. But we can make some educated guesses to test a plausible scenario. There’s no question that lower bond yields don’t bode well ...

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The Internet

The psychology of trolls

Random blogger consistently replies to trolls

Do you see how unexpected this interaction is? It’s so bizarre, it almost defies belief: Someone sends angry emails, you respond with compassion, and they instantly change. What’s happening here?

Of the trolls I write back to, more than 50% eventually end ...

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David Bowie talks about Internet's significance in 1999

Very prescient. Interviewer thinks of the Internet as just a new form of content distribution, David Bowie views it as completely revolutionary.

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Everything is just fine

Economist article skeptical of income inequality narratives

Pastebin link to get around paywall: https://pastebin.com/print/B7eZpVus

Article doesn't have a single argument, but rather general skepticism on various narratives around income inequality:

  • Estimates for inflation adjusted median wage growth are difficult to do, and over the 1979-2014 period they range from -8% to +51 ...

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11% decline in out of pocket drug spending in the US, led by declining generic prices

Generics are 80-90% of prescriptions. From 2008 to 2016 a basket of generics declined in price by 62% (http://lab.express-scripts.com/~/media/PDFs/Drug%20Trend%20Report/ExpressScripts_DrugTrendReport_Highlights.ashx). BLS survey claims out of pocket spending on drugs decreased 11% from 2013 to 2018.

Of course, for out-of-pocket comparisons we ...

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California Independent System Operator CAISO (electric power system operator) has a surprisingly good mobile app called "ISO Today"

IPhone also: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/iso-today/id596881268

Monitor California ISO power grid conditions, prices and renewable production, receive alerts and track calendar events with this free mobile application. ISO Today brings the world of energy data and news to your fingertips.

New features: • View grid status and ...

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Sitting member of Congress writes technical twitterstorm critical of hydrogen technology

Congressman's tweetstorm does a fairly detailed (for Twitter) analysis of hydrogen as an energy carrier. Basic (correct) analysis is that round trip storage efficiencies are better for batteries than for hydrogen, and that hydrogen-as-energy-carrier has several other disadvantages (lack of infrastructure, slow technological progress) that make it likely to ...

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Elon Musk Tweets

100x100 mile solare square to power all of US

Elon Musk claims (with link to calculations) that you could power all of US with a 100x100 mile square of solar panels.

I created this image here for visualization: https://i.imgur.com/g56osPo.png

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Contemporary primary sources

Wikileaks US cables

This leak didn't contain any major revelations or bombshells

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Republican gerrymandering operative docs ("The Hofeller Files")

Daughter of a Republican operative working on gerrymandering dumped a bunch of his documents on Google Drive. I think it will take a little time for people to dig through it and digest.

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Murdered Women

Husband kills wife during 2 year custody dispute

Nanny grew suspicious when 10 paper towel rolls disappeared overnight, and the wife did not respond to text messages or calls. This case is distinctive because they are charging the husband even though they couldn’t find the body.

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Adnan Syed convicted of murdering Hae Min Lee

Wildly popular podcast about the murder of high school senior Hae Min Lee

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Pregnant woman murdered, baby cut out of her body by two other women from a FB group

Chicago. 19 year old woman was the victim, murdered were 23 and 24 year old woman who lured her to their house with a FB post for some free clothes/stroller. The baby was in critical condition after being cut out of the womb, and the ambulance came to rescue ...

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Mollie Tibbetts murder

24 year old woman murdered while jogging. This one became politicized because the murderer was an illegal immigrant, despite the families please that it not be made into a political story.

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Two teenagers murdered while hiking

They took a grainy video of the guy who killed them because they were suspicious. The police released a brief video clip and some audio, but so far no one has been able to identify the mruderer. Reddit/social media has found a number of suspects, but police haven't ...

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Covid 19

Social isolation can be more effective than quarantine under some assumptions

If people escape the quarantine it becomes just as bad in the non-quarantine area. Which makes islolation more effective. Extremely stylized

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CDC guidelines for putting on/off masks

Sounds impossible or really hard. Mostly involves washing hands a ton. Putting mask in ziplock bag while its off is a good idea

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Arnold Kling is skeptical of vaccine, gives 25% chance we will be as fearful of the virus in a year as we are now

His point seems to be that the disease incidence among both the placebo and the vaccinated is lower then the overall population. So the results might not be representative (I'm more hopeful)

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Small pharmacies key to W Virginia's early vaccination lead

For one thing, West Virginia has been charting its own path to vaccine distribution. All 49 other states signed on with a federal program partnering with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care and assisted living facilities. But those chain stores are less common in West Virginia, so the state ...

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CDC insiders believe eviction moratorium exceed their authority, upset over political pressure

Behind the scenes, though, some CDC officials have expressed trepidation about the policy. The CDC is reluctant to have the administration use the public health agency’s authority to extend the moratorium again, according to a federal health official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share an ongoing ...

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Coronavirus

South Korean method for managing coronavirus

Summary:

  1. Lots of testing. 40x the US per capita
  2. Lots of testing early, before giant outbreak
  3. Retrace steps of infected patients via transaction data, apps, etc
  4. Symptom monitoring, eg. temperature check monitors in hotels
  5. Symptom checks for all incoming travelers

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Lockdown/social distancing was Bush's idea from 2006

According to this article, the first mention of the phrase "social distancing" occurs in 2006 in The New York Times:

If the avian flu goes pandemic while Tamiflu and vaccines are still in short supply, experts say, the only protection most Americans will have is “social distancing,” which is the ...

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Oxford vaccine press info

  • Techincal name is ChAdOx1
  • ChAdOx1 is based on an adenovirus, which is another virus that causes mild upper respiratory tract infections
  • Previously tested on flu, chikungunya, Zika and another coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
  • Testing for MERS completed a phase I clinical trial. It was safe and induced strong ...

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Red Rock cafe in Mt View may close

They are trying to raise $300k on GoFundMe, currently have a little under 10% of that. The money would be used for some sort of corporate restructure.

Their revenue is down 65%.

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Germany: 45 officers injured at Berlin rally against coronavirus curbs

Berlin police said dozens of officers were injured — and three were hospitalized — while dispersing some 20,000 people protesting anti-pandemic measures. Many participants dismissed the coronavirus as a "false alarm."

Some 45 police officers were reportedly injured in Berlin on Saturday as they tried to break up a large gathering ...

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NYTimes Sucks

Breonna Taylor coverage: NYTimes vs. USA Today

NYTimes:

Shortly after midnight on March 13, Louisville police officers, executing a search warrant, used a battering ram to crash into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African- American emergency room technician. After a brief confrontation, they fired several shots, striking her at least eight times.

USA Today:

Taylor ...

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Bitcoin

GBTC vs BTC premium

GBTC is the stock symbol of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, a bitcoin holding company. This website tracks the % premium to buy bitcoin via GBTC compared to holding it outright.

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OCC authorizes a US bank to provide bitcoin custody services

This letter is addressed to an un-named bank providing an interpretation of existing laws. It interprets these laws as permitting banks to provide custodial services for bitcoin:

Providing such services is permissible in both non-fiduciary and fiduciary capacities. A bank that provides custody for cryptocurrency in a non-fiduciary capacity would ...

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Bitcoin Stock-to-Flow model for pricing

Attempts to value bitcoin using stock to flow formula.

  • Stock = existing available supply of a scarce resource (gold, bitcoin, etc.)
  • Flow = annual production of that resource

SF = stock / flow

The author uses this to calculate a SF value of 62 for gold, 22 for silver, and 25 for bitcoin at ...

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MicroStrategy Adopts Bitcoin as Primary Treasury Reserve Asset

MicroStrategy purchased 21,454 bitcoin at a total price of $250 million. This is part of their new capital allocation strategy. The CEO says:

Our investment in Bitcoin is part of our new capital allocation strategy, which seeks to maximize long-term value for our shareholders,” said Michael J. Saylor, CEO ...

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Interview with CEO of company that bought $500M in bitcoin

He goes through his reasoning for why they took their $500M corporate treasury and put it all in bitcoin:

(1) Inflation is a vector, not a scalar. He buckets inflation into four groups: deflating goods (eg. computer chips, most mass produced goods, most digital goods), stable goods (eg. branded paper ...

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Spreadsheet tracking GBTC purchase on weekly basis

Someone maintains this spreadsheet which tracks how much bitcoin Grayscale Bitcoin Trust purchases on a weekly basis. They note the total amount, and also compare it to the % of total new bitcoin mined that week.

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Square Inc invests $50 million in bitcoin

This is 1% of their corporate treasury, 4,709 bitcoin.

"We believe that bitcoin has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future," said Square’s Chief Financial Officer, Amrita Ahuja. "As it grows in adoption, we intend to learn and participate in a disciplined way. For ...

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Bitcoin Treasuries

A list of public and private companies that hold bitcoin in their corporate treasuries.

Many of them are companies directly involved in cryptocurrencies and related technologies, or investment funds.

At this time, the companies on this list account for 3.7% of the total bitcoin supply.

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Denver startup turns oil well emissions into cryptocurrency, wins millions in VC

A Denver startup is creating cryptocurrency using the natural gas at oil wells, aiming to mint a fortune while eliminating most of the wells’ harmful air-polluting emissions.

Oil companies, which often don’t have a way to sell natural gas from remote wells, reduce flaring of the gas into atmosphere ...

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Coinbase CEO tweet thread on proposed private bitcoin wallet regulations

US Treasury Secretary is proposing KYC regulations on private (self-hosted/self-custodial) bitcoin wallets. These would require companies like Coinbase to verify the identity of bitcoin addresses they transact with, which is currently not done. Coinbase CEO outlines some objections to this proposal.

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Bitmex liquidation bot

Tracks liquidations on Bitmex, a bitcoin derivatives exchange which allows up to 100x leverage. It also adds funny comments to the big liquidations. This is a $10M short position on BTC/USD that got liquidated a day ago:

https://twitter.com/BXRekt/status/1342432488547897344

Liquidated short on XBTUSD: Buy 10 ...

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Blockchain financial analysis

This site (signup required) uses blockchain analysis to produce financial signals on bitcoin. Some interesting charts:

  • Miner outflow can give an estimate of if/when miners are selling coins on exchanges. This is a negative signal, as it indicates large sells. You can see in the chart that price drops ...

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Twitter account reporting large bitcoin/cryptocurrency transactions

Tweets transactions over a few million USD. This one from last week is for $496 million: https://twitter.com/whale_alert/status/1355944712327344132

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Tesla buys $1.5 billion bitcoin (10-K)

From 10-K filing:

In January 2021, we updated our investment policy to provide us with more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity. As part of the policy, which was duly approved by the Audit Committee of our ...

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MicroStrategy borrows another $600 million to buy bitcoin

The yield on the bonds is not available yet. The company previously converted it's $500 million treasury into bitcoin, then borrowed $600 million to buy bitcoin, and now is borrowing another $600 million to buy more bitcoin.

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Political/national security perspective on bitcoin

Interview with Luke Gromen, who has an investment company. Discussion of political/national security aspect of bitcoin is interesting.

Some high level points:

  • Success of bitcoin would undermine the dollar hegemony
  • Political implication of shift to bitcoin: undermines ability to fund the military and social services
  • IMF research hows 3 ...

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India plans to ban bitcoin

India is planning to ban bitcoin. Unlike Chinese bans, this ban would include a ban on possession, with a 6 month grace period to liquidate assets.

This would be the first time a major country has banned bitcoin possession. The ban would apply to all crypto assets, presumably including altcoins ...

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Education

2017 article on EPA funding

Ravenswood Elementary spends $15.5k per student vs $11.4k at Mountain View, $17.9k at PAUSD, $25k at Woodside. EPA spending was $10.7k before the local funding changes. So far test scores haven't improved much.

Also touches on the Tinsley (busing) initiative. Poverty. And need to share ...

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Private schools are indefensible - The Atlantic

Elite private schools are all about donor money. They are very good at teaching. They are better than public schools (even very wealthy public schools). They propagate generational inequality. They account disproportionately for the feeders into elite colleges. They are working on racial inequality, with some success, and recently some ...

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Econ

Fed announcement that it will eliminate reserve requirements

This is the official announcement from March 2020 that the Fed is ending reserve requirements. I don't think reserve requirements were a limiting factor on lending before this announcement.

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Replication market: about half of papers don't replicate, people are good at forecasting what won't replicate, non-replicable studies get cited as much as replicated studies

These numbers include very simple/obvious results. Economics does the best with 2/3rds of studies replicating. A unique weakness of economics is the use of absurd instrumental variables. Education does well, though often the claims are trivial. Results based on interaction effect 10 points less likely to

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Doorbell cam captures moment Paul Milgrom finds out he has won the Nobel prize for economics – video

US academic Robert Wilson had to walk across the street at 2am to deliver the news to his fellow Stanford University colleague Paul Milgrom that the two had won the 2020 Nobel prize for economics.

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China Creates its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

A cyber yuan stands to give Beijing power to track spending in real time, plus money that isn’t linked to the dollar-dominated global financial system

By James T. Areddy April 5, 2021 10:48 am ET

A thousand years ago, when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now ...

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Ethereum

Overview of Ethereum Design

Good overview of the overall Ethereum architecture, and the building blocks they use.

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Maker protocol

An impressive system built on top of Ethereum that produces a digital asset that is soft pegged to the USD using an incentive system.

The core system allows any user to mint Dai tokens using other crypto assets as collateral. The Dai tokens are debt, and are analogous to US ...

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Money Printer Goes Brrrr

Former and current Fed officials speculate on direct cash transfers to Americans

Julia Coronado (former economist for Fed’s Board of Governors): Congress would grant the Federal Reserve an additional tool for providing support—say, a percent of GDP [in a lump sum that would be divided equally and distributed] to households in a recession. Recession insurance bonds would be zero-coupon securities ...

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Mt View airdrops $1M locally, on top of previous $2.6M airdrop

The money is coming from Federal CARES act:

  • $500k for local rent payments
  • $250k for zero interest loans to local business (some say it should be grants instead of loans)
  • Previously, $2.6M had been allocate for rent payments, of which $1.9M has been disbursed

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$100M Santa Clara county loan program for small business

Proposed by Joe Simitian and Susan Ellenberg. Details of the program are TBD.

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Money as Debt

47 minute documentary about the history of money, and how banks create money through debt. Lots of political overtones and cheesy background music/animations, but interesting and thought provoking nevertheless.

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ECB increases it's Pandemic Response Programme to €1.85 trillion

Initial program announced in €750 billion, then increased to €1,350 billion in June, now increased to €1,850 billion.

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What Happened in 1971?

A series of intentionally provocative charts from a bitcoin proponent about 1971 move off gold standard

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Congress approves $900B in stimulus spending along with $1.4T "omnibus" spending

Stimulus includes:

  • $166B for direct payments, with $600 to everyone making under $75k and another $600 per child
  • $120B unemployment aid, people will get $300/week through March 14
  • $325B for small business, expected to cover 3 months of payroll
  • Two year tax break for business meals which the article ...

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Biden calls for multiple trillion $ stimulus

“It is necessary to spend the money now,” Biden told reporters. “The answer is yes, it will be in the trillions of dollars, an entire package.”

He claims people are waiting in cars for miles to get food:

“People are lined up for miles in their automobiles waiting to get ...

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Biden $1.9T stimulus proposal

  • $1400 cash payments to people under an income threshold
  • Additional 6 months of $400/week unemployment payments
  • $170 billion for schools to reopen
  • Raise minimum wage to $15/hr
  • $440 billion for states and cities
  • $160 billion for vaccination, testing, and other virus related spending
  • Payment of $4000 per child ...

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r/wallstreetbets GameStop shenanigans

r/wallstreetbets has collectively decided to pump GameStop (GME) stock in a battle with shortsellers at hedge funds. Over the last week or so the stop price of GME is up 3x with no change in fundamentals. This user (u/DeepFuckingValue) purchased 800 call options on GME call options and ...

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Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement

Excerpts:

On virus and the economy:

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the ...

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Apple issues $14 billion 40 year bond

Apple is issuing $14 billion worth of 40 year bonds, at treasuries + 96 basis points. The 30 year Treasuries are at 1.84% currently, so Apple's offering would yield 2.8%. Apple has $196 billion in cash and $112 billion in total debt.

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Federal budget deficit $2.3 trillion in 2021

This does not include the stimulus bill which spends another $1.9 trillion.

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Biden: first time in my career that there is a consensus among economists left, right, and center...Now is the time we should be spending. Now is the time to go big.

This is the first time in my career — and as you can tell, I’m over 30 — the first time in my career that there is a consensus among economists left, right, and center that is over- — and including the IMF and in Europe — that the overwhelming consensus is: In ...

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Yield Curve Control

Yield curve control is a central bank policy where they set target yields for specific bonds, and executes market action to target that price. This contrasts with current policy of the Fed, where they buy a fixed amount (~$100B) of treasuries each month, and does not target specific rates on ...

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Senate passes $1.9 trillion stimulus bill

Money printer printed:

  • $1,400 for every person making under $80k, couples making under $160k
  • $350 billion in funds for states and local governments. This includes $26.3 billion for the state of California, and $14.9 billion for cities governments in California.
  • $128.6 billion for schools
  • $19 billion ...

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The End of the Dollar Hegemony (Ron Paul, 2006)

Ron Paul declares the end of the dollar's dominance in 2006.

He goes into some history and describes countries that conquered others to obtain gold, and used that to finance their armies and conquer more. He says these countries suffered from moral decline, and ended up failing. He contrasts ...

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Life Extension

Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

Allegorical story that uses a dragon-tyrant as a stand in for death, to explore the implications of life extension/immortality technology. The author invents a world ruled by a dragon-tyrant, where the citizens of the world must send regular human sacrifice to the dragon every year. The citizens pick the ...

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Why I Hope to Die at 75

The author discusses why he doesn't want to live past 75. He is currently healthy, but doesn't want to live many years disabled and infirm.

  • From 1998 to 2006, the number of functionality disabled American men over 60 rose from 28% to 40%. Functionally disabled means they fail ...

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Smoking’s Long Decline Is Over Slide in cigarette sales stopped last year amid Covid-19 lockdowns and health concerns about e-cigarettes

By Jennifer Maloney Updated Jan. 28, 2021 10:58 am ET

The decadeslong decline in U.S. cigarette sales halted last year as people in lockdown lit up more frequently and health concerns around e-cigarettes caused some vapers to switch back to cigarettes.

Before the pandemic, U.S. cigarette unit ...

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Lifetime distribution of health care spending in the United States (2004)

This study uses data from Blue Cross of Michigan and Medicare to estimate lifetime health care spending, and how it is distributed.

It finds that average lifetime spending is $316k per person (higher for women, lower for men). About 60% of that money is spent after age 65. For people ...

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Lifetime distribution of health care spending in the United States (1980)

Another study on health care spending over a lifetime. This study is from 1980.

It found that persons over 65 accounted for 29% of health care spending. On a per-capita basis, persons over 65 spent almost 3x more on health care per year than persons aged 19-65.

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Econ Rap Battles

Marx vs. Mises

Rap battle between Karl Marx and Ludwig von Mises

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Keynes vs. Hayek, Rd. 1

Rap battle between Lord Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, Round 1

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Russian Politics

Russian dissident Alex Navalny publishes video about Putin's $1B palace

Putin has a secret $1B palace in Russia that is funded by corruption. This video by Alex Navalny goes into detail about how it's funded, shows drone photos from the outside, and uses a blueprint they acquired/verified from one of the architects to do a 3D reconstruction of ...

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Money Printer Doesn't Go Brrr
Progress

mRNA vaccine against maleria patented

Current vaccine is only 30% effective. Malaria inhibits t-cell memory. The mRNA vaccine produces the proteins without the virus so seems to get around that (bad summary)

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Honda first car company to sell certified level 3 self driving car

The launch gives Japan’s No.2 automaker bragging rights for being the first to market, but lease sales of the level 3 flagship Legend would be limited to a batch of 100 in Japan, at a retail price of 11 million yen ($102,000).

The Legend’s “Traffic Jam ...

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Woke Mob

Six Dr Seuss books cancelled

The books are:

  • "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" (a character described as “a Chinaman” has lines for eyes, wears a pointed hat, and carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice)
  • "If I Ran the Zoo" (two characters from “the African island of Yerka” are depicted ...

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Families sue Mt View Catholic School for incorrectly accusing their kids of blackface

Two former students of Saint Francis High School had photos taken of themselves in acne treatment face masks. This photos were mis-represented as blackface on Instagram. The school told to boys to withdraw, or face expulsion.

This event also triggered a woke mob of about 50 or 100 people to ...

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[argument] Cancelling Dr Seuss worse than updating childrens book because part of a campaign to demote Dr Suess>

There is nothing new about revising or even shelving published works in deference to concerns about racism and other bigotries...In Victorian England...Charles Dickens changed some language in reprints of Oliver Twist to cut down on references to the villainous Fagin as "the Jew" after a correspondence with a ...

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First Amendment lawsuit against "privilege exercise" in Las Vegas school

Defendant was asked to fill out his identities on a google document and label them as oppressive or oppressed and was taught that his religion was "oppressive" and needed to be "unlearned." Class ended in "tumult' when students objected to her "derogatory, race-based labeling" and the teacher "terminated the discussion ...

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California Politics

"Understanding the California Ethnic Studies Curriculum" talk by the Jewish activist community

Community round table by Jesse Gabriel (chair of the CA Jewish caucus), Shekhina Larks (Jew of Color), Sarah Levin (Executive Director for JIMENA, Jews Indigenous to the Middle East....).

Said they did a great job. Removed anti-semitic content from the first draft (quotes about throwing Jews to the sea, quotes ...

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Biden is Old

Biden stumbles and falls while going up stairs to Air Force 1

He stumbles, and then falls while climbing the stairs. They are claiming it was windy.

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Taiwain/China conflict

"Decade of Concern" for US military and corresponding window of opportunity for China

Author claims 2020's are a dangerous transition period for the US, and therefore offers China a good window of opportunity for military action to conquer Taiwain.

The author claims military spending can be bucketed into 3 main categories:

  1. Research: developing new technology
  2. Procurement: buying new military equipment based on ...

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