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Or Is It The Same Hand?

Posted by Ogged
on 04.13.18

Good size, great reflexes, but the fact that it doesn't understand the glass is why it's in there, and she's out here.

On the other hand.


 

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Friday good and bad

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.13.18

Things that are bothering me:
1. All these federal lifetime judges getting appointed who will ruin people's lives for decades.
2. The census, the general underfunding and undercutting, and citizenship question. Kriston has particularly written well about this.

Things I'm enjoying:
Pokey is nearing the end of his first year of dual language. So I've spent the year reading Spanish children's books with him. What a perfect way to learn a language: read books intended for kids learning their mother tongue. You get context clues, you get the most common constructions of phrases, you get a perfect sampling of easy-ish mainstream vocabulary, etc. My own Spanish has come rushing back. It's so, so, so much better than the traditional old school version that I had in high school: next we learn how to conjugate all the irregular verbs. Next we learn how to put direct objects in the grammatically correct locations in the following situations. etc. It was an IB curriculum and I didn't walk away empty-handed, but I never could understand anything that was said to me in conversation. (To be fair, I haven't heard any extra Spanish spoken by a native speaker this past year compared to last year, so that probably hasn't improved.)


 

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Guest Post -

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.12.18

JRoth writes: I don't know how interesting the specific issue at hand will prove, but at the least it can provide a springboard from a broader housing policy discussion.

My specific issue is about this article claiming that there was never an excess of housing built during the bubble. It's an intriguing, and not entirely implausible claim, given that certain high-demand places like SF and NYC never built many units.

BUT, I see at least two claims that seem flatly contradicted by the associated charts:

1. Figure 3 "When including all types of units, this measure also suggests that nothing out of the ordinary was going on before the financial crisis. The number of housing units added during the boom was only slightly above the long-term average."

This goes with a chart showing that construction of units was above the long term average in almost every year between 1994 and 2005, with a peak fully 50% higher than average. I don't understand how anyone can look at that chart and draw that conclusion, but once he says it, he treats it as a baseline fact the rest of the way. This gives me great pause.

2. Figure 8 "But from 2005 to 2008, the number of new homes approved in Phoenix dropped faster than net migration was dropping. Housing supply had reacted remarkably quickly to shifting demand. Even as housing starts were collapsing, rents were rising, as they were in most cities at the time."

This is a chart that shows new housing permits well above net migration every year, including post-bust. At the peak of construction, net in-migration is below 35,000 households while new construction is creating 60,000+ units. Again, the disconnect between the chart and the claim is stark and, to me, inexplicable.

So is the Mercatus Center some sort of bullshit? I got the link from Yggles, whom I generally trust not to spread bullshit, but he's a fanatic on housing policy and generally links to anything that supports his position.

And if I'm right that these basic claims are bullshit, is there anything of value left in the article? I tend to put this in D^2's "Liar's Estimates" category, but don't want to be too dismissive. Certainly it seems likely that the "housing overhang" explanation was too pat, but if it is, can't that be proved with non-ridiculous assertions?

Heebie's take: I think this is super interesting and would like to read the article and have a nice take, but I think it's better for me to just throw this up there and show up later in the comments.


 

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fakebook bullshit

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.11.18

Apparently the largest BLM page on Facebook was fake? It was run out of Australia by some white guys. (There's autoplay video at that link but it seems to be the original story.) I can't tell if the implication is that it's connected with Russian meddling, or if it was an opportunistic grifter or what.

The page consistently linked to websites tied to Ian Mackay, a National Union of Workers official in Australia. The union represents thousands of workers across various industries.

Like, are BLM activists legitimately planning events on this page and using it constructively, even though the person behind it is fraudulent and stealing fundraiser money? Or was there content created in order to sow discord and create strawmen? Is the union legit or corrupt or both or what?

Also how 'bout this raid on Michael Cohen's office, right? When does the dam break and apolitical people feel a shock and everything is crashing down?


 

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There Are Two Kinds...

Posted by Ogged
on 04.11.18

On the train, some people lower themselves politely onto the seat, and others plop their odious, oblivious asses down so hard they bounce the person already seated, who was probably in restful reverie, into the air.


 

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Guest Post - The Greater East Asia Fuck-You-And-Your-Topsoil Sphere

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.10.18

Mossy Character writes: China has built and is building a huge number of dams on the Mekong.*

a joint report [PDF] revealed that "The flow of sediment/nutrients in the Mekong has already been reduced by 70% due to the Chinese dams built on the Lancang [upper Mekong] in China." Sediment is critical to the health of the river and essential for the replenishment of the delta in Vietnam.
Said delta is shrinking.** It contains 18 million people and ~3% of world rice production. From that same report:
If all the dams proposed for the LMB [Lower Mekong Basin] are developed, including mainstream dams (the full hydropower development scenario), it is estimated that about 96 per cent of the sediment load will be trapped.
China has also set up its own Mekong-management organization, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism:
The LMC was proposed, framed, and set up by China in 2016 as a rival organization to the long-established Mekong River Commission (MRC)
[...]
"the LMC is a way of showing that China only plays by its own rules. It creates fait accompli by building dams upstream to the detriment of downstream countries, and then sets up its own governing body."
[...]
But so far the LMC framework does not provide any defined space for critical debate over damming the Mekong. Its rival, the MRC, facilitates discussion, consultation, equal partnership of member states, and provides for some recognition of a role for civil society. All that is conspicuously lacking in the LMC.
*China isn't the only actor. All states on the river are building dams, but China is doing the most, both domestically and downstream, and sometimes fucking over locals.
**Of course it isn't just dams. Subsidence in the delta is dominated by groundwater extraction (some hair-raising reading in there).

Heebie is takeless!


 

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Trauma

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.09.18

Junot Diaz's essay on being a rape survivor is worth reading. (Via the other place.)

Clearly the trauma around being a male victim of sexual abuse is different than being a female victim of sexual abuse. There is a fair amount of social support and narratives in place for women victims that doesn't yet exist for male victims. It makes me suspect that #metoo and all the LGBT activism and feminism is laying a foundation for what someday could be a more authentic version of MRAs - heterosexual boys and men who are the victims of the patriarchy and who have to figure out a way to reconcile their straight male identity with their anger. I don't know how widespread the abuse of boys and men is, though, and if it would pick up any of the universality of #metoo and LGBT movements with their respective groups.


 

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The beef with beef

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.09.18

The case for sustainable meat:

Let's start with one of the most repeated statistics used to argue for reduced meat consumption: the claim that 100,000 litres of water are required to produce each kilo of beef - which is a staggering 1000 times more than what is needed to produce a single kilo of wheat....But cows typically drink only 50 litres of water per day, which leads to a figure of 200 litres per kilo or just 0.2 percent of Pimental's value. How did the agronomist create such a monumentally inflated figure?
Astonishingly, Pimental included all of the rain that fell on the land on which the beef was reared, ignoring the fact that that rain would have fallen whether cattle were there or not. To inflate his alarmist balloon even further, Pimental used the most extreme rainfall figure he could get away with - for ranch cattle which roam over much larger areas than typical European herds. After patiently dismantling many different authors' statistics, Fairlie concludes that, "The amount of water consumed by a beef cow appears to be a function of your political position."

It's really tempting to buy it, because it solves a lot of cognitive dissonance I feel around eating meat.


 

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