- Read: Skyrocketing [flood insurance] premiums have angered and worried residents across flood-prone states such as Louisiana…”How is that fair, that we’re just going to say that the price of insurance is going to cause you to have to move away?” ¡That’s the fucking point of high prices, amigo! To help you see that it’s important to move AWAY from risk.
- Read about the “complications” (=money) of cleaning up oil and gas equipment from the North Sea. Will CCS rescue them? Only on paper. Will government subsidies help? Not really, given they are already 75% of the costs!
- Read of the failures as higher ed faces GPT
- Melatonin is not “harmless.” Read how kids are overdosing on gummies filled with [zero to too much] melatonin.
- Online sellers are ending free returns as costs skyrocket and (physical) competition wanes. Will paid returns lead to lower sales? More accurate product descriptions? Read this.
- Read: Brussels (!) is moving away from cars to favor more bikes!
- Read: A tech-optimist turns pessimist: The Mindset (“the way Silicon Valley technocrats think”) is about a strategy of acceleration without a destination…these solutions usually involve finding new resources, exploiting them, selling them, and then disposing of them so more can be mined, manufactured, and sold.
- Watch and weep: Home owners associations can get out of hand.
- Read: (Internet) rankings are getting out of control, they are gamed, and some people take them too seriously. Time to return to word-of-mouth?
- Think: Is your health worse because you’re eating (ultra) processed food?
Category: Worth Your Time
- Listen to this discussion of the “end” (next phase) of digital media, which sometimes includes journalism.
- Read about the struggles of street vendors in cities where temperatures are hitting 48C at sunrise (that’s 118Freedum units). Climate chaos hits the poorest the hardest.
- Read about the complexities of recycling buildings (“circular” seems to mean going around in circles, trying to figure out what to do…) Related: A con man helps companies steal $1 billion from the US government via fraudulent green tax deductions.
- Read about a writing tutor’s delusional failure to understand how GPT will take his job. Related: Listen to how GPTs will make out lives better — unless a model helps us understand otherwise.
- Listen to the author of Paving Paradise, i.e., how parking destroyed LA and other US cities.
- MSG is better for you than salt?!? Read on.
- Listen to a young female data scientist helping people get out of jail safely, and on time.
- Read about San Francisco’s Doom Loop (everyone’s leaving because everyone’s leaving)
- Read about the tire supply chain’s complexities.
- AI won’t take our jobs. It will force us [“knowledge workers”] to compete in generating filler “content.” Welcome to more crappy writing.
- Listen: Care Work in the United States Has Been Broken for Years
- Read: Smarter parking policies will help drivers… and everyone else
- Read: The Great Electrician Shortage: Going green will depend on blue-collar workers. Can we train enough of them before time runs out?
- Listen to Eliezer Yudkowsky on the Dangers of AI — I think there’s a lot of truth here, but I think it’s going to be more like a cancer than a heart attack.
- Read How to Build (And Destroy) a Social Network (by taking away prestige — something far more valuable than Musk and Trump realize. Case in point: AI is about to make social media (much) more toxic.
- Read (and apply?) the Viking laws for battle, business and community [no idea if these are real]
- Read: Faulty Memory Is a Feature, Not a Bug
- Lolz… This AI summary of my recent talk (taken from the audio) is not just full of typos but also mis-interpretations. Zoom-AI is not going to take over the world, it’s just going to confuse a lot of people:
David Setland is a professor at Lyon University College who teaches in governance, economics, and development nature. He has a Phd in agriculture and resource economics from California University of California and has worked in various countries including Canada, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and the US. He is known for his work on water scarcity and governance. In this talk, he discusses how he got involved with the Ostroms and how they got involved in urban governance. David analyzes spatial data from Amsterdam to understand how the city manages parking. In 1992, Amsterdam voted to remove 4,000 illegal parking places to make the city nearly car-free. This led to the creation of Audulu, which is the Dutch call for nearly car free parking. David is discussing the high cost of parking in Amsterdam. He explains that parking is expensive because 80-90% of parking spaces are taken, so residents have to pay for them. He recommends that parking be more expensive so that people find other ways to get around. David gives an overview of the situation in Amsterdam and how the city is trying to improve the bike-car ratio. Ilkhom asks a question about the number of parking permits and how they are being used. David explains that the permits are for people who have a lot of parking and that the city does not have a strategy for reducing them. Haller and David discuss the process of selecting and managing parking permits in Amsterdam. They discuss the pros and cons of a centralized, institutional parking system and the possibility of a neighborhood-based system where residents and business owners negotiate who gets a permit to park.
H/T to TJ
- This guy’s story of walking around the world in seven years echoes my five years of travel — except I got help from trains, busses and an occasional plane 😉
- Swearing Is More Important Than You Think. Fuck yeah!
- Read: Many public crusaders are private reactionaries, e.g., “help the poor but don’t build housing in my neighborhood”
- Read how the EU’s “Covid recovery fund” (its real purpose is sustainability, just as the IRA in the US is not really about inflation) is being used to “stimulate” reforms that are either (a) already done or (b) legally required.
- Read: Globalisation now means “hustlers” in rich countries hiring (virtual) personal assistants in poorer countries (e.g., Philippines) to handle their crap.
- Watch Lubach [in Dutch] on the agro-businesses that are behind (“astroturfing”) opposition to scaling down The Netherlands’s intensive agriculture. Related: Climate town on how “expiration dates,” which have no legal definition, lead to consumers — and worse, markets — throwing away millions of tons of edible food.
- Watch this forester explain plantation vs old-growth forest ecosystems
- Learn from The Economist‘s clear definitions of economic jargon
- Read about the collapse of public transportation in US cities (hint: land developers).
- Cities are experimenting with converting commercial/office space to residential spaces, which requires more than installing kitchens (neighborhoods anyone?). At the same time as remote work empties those buildings, younger workers (and esp. non-white-men) losing the benefits of working alongside their elders. The “water cooler” does have an important role.
- Read: There’s Exactly One Good Reason to Buy a House (to socialize)
- Listen to Anand Giridharadas on how to re-connect divided groups
- Listen to So Much of the World Economy Has Been Going in Reverse
- Listen to The psychology behind the apocalyptic anxieties creating a surge of billionaire preppers
- Read: Group chats are now the most powerful (disruptive) force on the internet. Funny, as they represent a decentralisation relative to social media, so they should be less disruptive…
- Listen to How to improve our lives (and the world) by improving the quality of our disagreements
- Listen for some hints on how to organise your digital workflow
- The Rich are Different: The psychology behind the apocalyptic anxieties creating a surge of billionaire preppers
- Read about the dietary virtues of ice cream (!)
- Read: ‘Overemployed’ Hustlers Exploit ChatGPT To Take On Even More Full-Time Jobs
- Consider this:
H/T to CD
- Read: The US leads the world in weather catastrophes due to “unlucky geography” and bad policies.
- Watch how dyslexic brains work
- Read: How should we respond to the crisis of local news? Subsidize access.
- Read: What really happens when we send back unwanted clothes?
- Listen to a British comedian explain why the real issue is not race but class.
- Read how some bloggers took on China’s surveillance-industrial complex.
- Watch (and learn) how China’s demographic transition is not going that well.
- Read how the presence of mobile phones messes up our concentration.
- Read about an initiative to redesign US neighborhoods for people instead of cars. Related: Cities aren’t doomed by remote work. They are, as ever, evolving.
- Read: The “tide is going out” with tougher financial conditions, and we’re starting to see “who was swimming naked.” Many frauds, it turns out.
- Listen to how the Netherlands fought back against cars, to prioritize bikes — and also save kids’ lives
- Read: Flash Pack wants to “to create one million meaningful friendships” by taking Millennials on expensive vacations. Interesting.
- Read an interview with a guy who’s been around bitcoin for awhile.
- Read how Chicago reporters, 40 years ago, uncovered a mass of corruption in the city’s inspectors by opening a sketchy bar and then waiting for the bribe requests.
- Listen: Wanna help poor neighborhoods? Open businesses there.
- Read how to wash pesticides from fruit… but you may not need to.
- Read: When I grew up, a “racist” was defined as someone who gave a shit about another person’s skin color or ethnicity…. Now, anyone who didn’t give a shit about skin color was a racist.”
- Read how Esalen — the psychonaut hippie retreat in California — contributed to the end of the Cold War
- Read: Is Silicon Valley a capitalist parasite? (Nope, Marxists are still off the mark.) Should influencers unionise to fight for profits from IG and TT? (They can try, but they have zero market power while entry is free and organising “wannabe’s” from around the world is too tough.)
- Start ups are “democratising” real estate investment (“invest from as little as $50!”), which will not be good for potential buyers or renters (more demand ==> prices up).
H/T to DPG
- Watch: How Young YouTube Millionaires Are Lying To You
- Watch: So, yes, delivery drones are an amazing idea (now working!)
- Listen: Whelp, there’s an American start up promising to geo-engineer the Earth, quickly and for profit. What could go wrong?
- Read: Venice’s MOSE (anti flood) barriers are working, even if they are 10+ years late and way over budget. The real question is how long they will be effective, since they are now needed far too often.
- Read: Nature bats last (vol #281): Tulare Lake returns to California’s Central Valley (and the Spring melt has not even begun!)
- Read: If It’s Advertised to You Online, You Probably Shouldn’t Buy It: “Products shown in targeted ads were, on average, roughly 10 percent more expensive than what users could find by searching online… and more than twice as likely to be sold by lower-quality vendors.”
- Read: Shell knew about climate change in the early 1970s but promoted the use of coal instead of trying to avoid disaster.
- Listen: Erik Hoel on the Threat to Humanity from AI (good insights!)
- Read: GPT will have all our data, but will it make any sense?
- Read: GPT can help people level up?
Two MIT economics graduate students, Shakked Noy and Whitney Zhang, ran an experiment involving hundreds of college-educated professionals working in areas like marketing and HR; they asked half to use ChatGPT in their daily tasks and the others not to. ChatGPT raised overall productivity (not too surprisingly), but here’s the really interesting result: the AI tool helped the least skilled and accomplished workers the most, decreasing the performance gap between employees. In other words, the poor writers got much better; the good writers simply got a little faster. The preliminary findings suggest that ChatGPT and other generative AIs could, in the jargon of economists, “upskill” people who are having trouble finding work. There are lots of experienced workers “lying fallow” after being displaced from office and manufacturing jobs over the last few decades, Autor says. If generative AI can be used as a practical tool to broaden their expertise and provide them with the specialized skills required in areas such as health care or teaching, where there are plenty of jobs, it could revitalize our workforce. Determining which scenario wins out will require a more deliberate effort to think about how we want to exploit the technology. “I don’t think we should take it as the technology is loose on the world and we must adapt to it. Because it’s in the process of being created, it can be used and developed in a variety of ways,” says Autor. “It’s hard to overstate the importance of designing what it’s there for.”
I’m not holding my breath on this potential upside.
- Read about the teething problems of recycling solar panels
- Read: The Brilliant Inventor Who Made Two of History’s Biggest Mistakes (inventing leaded gas and CFC refrigerants)
- Read: Drug dealing (and dangers) multiply as fentanyl’s spread leads to more lethal doses.
- Read: The good side of the Colorado’s drought is the resurfacing of Glen Canyon’s beauty
- Read: Your “recycled” grocery bag is only recycled on average.
- Read: The Great Salt Lake is dying of excessive irrigation
- Listen for some advice (I like “don’t act on anger for 24 hours”)
- Read: Don’t use your smarts to create a life of increasingly difficult challenges at a cost to family, friends, passion and community.
- Read: America’s “patriotic” 1920 shipping law impoverishes the country
- Read: Why is inequality so bad in America? Middle class subsidies
- Listen: In a noisy, tumultuous world, how can we find inner peace?
- Watch: A reminder (from 2012) of the vast difference between the inequality that Americans want, what they think it is and what it actually is (far worse). And it’s only gotten worse since then (with perhaps a small decrease in recent years due to low unemployment and rising wages).
- Read: Science and religion can be complements rather than substitutes
- Read: The Welsh government has stopped a project to build another car bridge, because the government’s policy is to reduce driving. That is how you do it!
- Read: So people are falling out of love with Airbnb…
- Read: South Korea’s women are turning from men to “political lesbianism.”
- Read: Governments defining “cybercrime” to fit political goals are making us all more vulnerable.
- Read: “Tech bro” influencers — nextgen, get-rich-quick conmen
- Read: Will the Seine be safe for swimmers in the 2024 Olympics?