Unfogged Mobile

Pop Is Just Alright
Posted by Ogged on 09.25.17

Since we've reached the point where any rando can be president, we could do a whole lot worse than basketball coach (and probable former military spy) Gregg Popovich.

Gregg Popovich: 'We still have no clue of what being born white means.' pic.twitter.com/whTL7y4ktu

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 25, 2017

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Online bulk real estate speculation
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.25.17

J, Robot sends in this article, about how real estate speculators are terrible people who have no interest in the quality of life of the people in the community.

Despite earnest narratives about young homeowners working to rebuild American cities one DIY project at a time, many buyers in online tax sales are absentee real estate speculators buying in bulk. A Singapore businessman recently bought 414 properties during a single auction in Detroit; a Hong Kong billionaire named Jimmy Lai owns so many vacant houses in the city that they're known as "Lai-sores." At a Houston tax sale I attended in 2015, amid the crowd of mom-and-pop buyers--a young couple pushing a stroller, an old man in baggy camo shorts--veteran investors with briefcases full of cash stalked the bidding floor.

They're assholes. And it's really hard to figure out who owns the property.

In theory, tax sales are supposed to replenish city coffers and transfer vacant homes from delinquent owners to people who will actually improve the properties. But the mass purchasing of distressed homes by faraway investors is having the opposite effect. According to a case study of Cleveland by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, properties owned by out-of-state and high-volume investors are far more likely to remain empty, have delinquent tax bills, violate local building codes, and ultimately require demolition.


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Questions about Puerto Rico
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.25.17

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the scale of the crisis in Puerto Rico. How is communication being improvised? Are batteries available? What about gas? I see photos of people pulled over to use a single cell phone tower, which implies that their phones are charged, which could be done in one's car. Are there still numbers of people that have yet to be located? How far away are they from having stable access to drinking water and enough refugee center space?

Why isn't this a more major story? What kind of scale are we talking about here? How does this compare to Katrina?

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Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.24.17

How about an NFL kneeling thread? One of the fucking xfit trainers posted the following cartoon: liberal wanker is stepping all over the flag, and rambles on about the first amendment. Other person steps up with a confederate flag and the liberal snowflake cries, "waaah, that's different!" (I tore into him.)

Anyway, it seems to be blowing up.

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Guest Post - Mathematicians in the Agriculture News
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 09.23.17

Nick S. writes: Finding new things to worry about, but the article is very interesting:

Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton. Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world's oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them--increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn't work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat--but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. . . .

Heebie's take: It is a super interesting story and problem. He had trouble getting funding because his work was too out-of-the-blue for people to slot it into existing categories. But basically, they're finding that excess carbon makes the plants grow a lot, but with less nutrients and more sugar in them.

Once you hear it, it actually seems very intuitive - it's like the kudzu-ing of crops. The Walmart-ing of crops. The styrafoaming of crops.

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