Assorted links

Comments

You "meteor video" link actually links to a fake -- it's a video of a subterranean gas leak in Turkmenistan, I think.

Yeah, that video is a fake. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Door_to_Hell

"The Door to Hell is a natural gas field in Derweze (also spelled Darvaza, meaning "gate"), Ahal Province, Turkmenistan. The Door to Hell is noted for its natural gas firing which has been burning continuously since 1971, fed by the rich natural gas deposits in the area. The pungent smell of burning sulfur pervades the area for some distance."

proactivity is dead? Ok, that's a fake.....post the "right one" http://youtu.be/4ZxXYscmgRg

Yes, that is a great one and one of the assorted "real one" videos I had already posted a link to below.

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There are, however, some pretty spectacular videos of the fireball streaking across the sky and the massive sonic-boom created by it, complete with glass raining down from shattered windows. For an assortment of them, see: http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/02/15/breaking_huge_meteor_explodes_over_russia.html

And a lot more videos here: http://say26.com/meteorite-in-russia-all-videos-in-one-place

There are a couple videos from inside offices that are pretty startling.

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Fixed, thanks...

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Re #2: The issue of exploding housing costs is common among many coastal cities. Although it's nice to come across this data. I believe Matthew Yglesias has written on this topic a bit (The Rent is Too Damn High). I believe that multiple issues are in play and exploding housing costs are more complex than just supply and demand.

First, in many built-up cities like New York or San Francisco we have already harvested the low hanging fruit (thanks for the metaphor). Open land is scarce if not non-existant so the only place to build is up. Highrise construction is more expensive and translates into higher housing prices. However, there is still a large gap between the market rate for housing and the cost-to-build new housing in NYC and SF. This suggests that we have policy issues affecting the increase.

My theory is that the byzantine/extremely cumbersome process of building new housing stock (due to height limits, historical building protections, environmental impact reviews, density zoning, inclusion of subsidized housing, etc) create a de facto regulatory quota on new housing. Without debating value of these policy options, this quota on new housing doesn't run parallel to demand. Any new housing developments that do get through the door are almost always luxury condos.

This is actually a really good summary. I generally avoid +1 because sometimes a post is worth more than 1, but +1.

What is never mentioned is that these costly regulations are a substitute for a Pigou tax on congestion since they obviously constrain living in these already highly desirable cities. I believe these costs have never been taken into account when considering optimal gas or congestion taxes in these major cities.

Two things I'm not clear on:

(1) If you want to tax congestion and driving, why not do so? (obvious political reasons aside)

(2) As density increases and people are allowed to live closer to work, won't net driving fall? It would seem that the model of "live in the suburbs, drive to the city to work" is strictly worse as EVERYONE drives to the city. Living in the city your options will be strictly better (drive, or bus, or bike, or walk).

Higher density generally means more congestion and longer travel times. New York has the longest average commute time in the country, both because its roads are so congested and because that congestion (and the lack of parking space) forces so many commuters on to public transportation, which is slow and inconvenient. Walking and biking are also too slow for most commutes, biking can be dangerous on busy urban roads, and both are uncomfortable in bad weather or extreme temperatures.

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NYC is less densely populated than in the earlier parts of the 20th century (I'm not sure about 1940, which was the baseline in the article). Perhaps we are willing to pay more for less density.

Perhaps rich people are willing to pay to keep poor people out of their neighborhoods, yes.

A longer commute to work is a cost, but people are clearly willing to pay that cost to live in suburbs less densely populated that the urban core. Are we going to start blaming suburbanites for making their communities too expensive or for preventing large apartments from being built next to housing developments?

Obviously yes, since they achieve that through oppressive local zoning laws.

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People generally dislike noise, litter, pollution, crowding, congestion, loss of privacy, loss of property value, loss of mobility, loss of greenspace, and other problems caused by unrestricted development. That's why they support zoning laws to limit those problems .If you think zoning laws are "oppressive" you're free to lobby and vote to repeal or change them. I doubt you'll be very successful, though.

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4. Wouldn't it be funny if the solution to global warming was greening the arctics? It would be like an O.Henry story.

What the article is most likely talking about is photobioreactor carbon sequestration with sunlight of the same type that a company like Algenol is proposing. There are so many problems with the idea that going into them would be like writing a book, but suffice to say that you still need sunlight as an input, and the space to collect that sunlight isn't costless. Even without the temperature regulation that it would require (I believe Algenol needs at least 80 degrees F water to grow their algae), the amount of primary productivity per acre would be extremely low above the arctic circle, not to mention the fact that the area gets effectively zero sunlight. You'd also need massive concentrated point sources of carbon dioxide to route their (cleaned) stack gas into this system, probably requiring a lot of compressor energy as well.

Although promising despite its drawbacks, you are highly unlikely to see viable algae PBR carbon dioxide extraction anywhere outside of +/- 30 degrees N/S of the equator.

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This is not the recent 'Russian' meteor video. Actually, this is the Flaming Crater of Darvaza (Turkmenistan) .

More here https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Flaming+Crater+of+Darvaza&oq=Flaming+Crater+of+Darvaza&gs_l=youtube-reduced.3...45546.45546.0.45997.1.1.0.0.0.0.206.206.2-1.1.0...0.0...1ac.1.OkNX8Ozg3CQ

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Re porn @#3: note how the girls end up working in porn are close to the North Hollywood CA scene (or can easily commute to it) with the Texas twin cities and south FL being exceptions. Also the absence of condoms and HPV/herpes not mentioned in the article, further, how the real lucrative action is in private web cams is not mentioned, nor the average quitting age (is it like models, late 20s?). Also incomes (girls make more than boys I've read) should be mentioned. But it was interesting. I don't envy them, especially now with free porn online (pirated and otherwise).

All that is mentioned. Average starting age for women: 22. Average years in the business: 3. Incomes: 4x as much for women than for men.

"Average starting age for women: 22. Average years in the business: 3."
Same as the NFL.

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Funny, but I'm a good speed reader but must have missed that...anyway, the link is now dead...maybe the author pulled it since too much traffic from prying eyes like MR readers! 404 Not Found

I read it in an all-text cached link that I had to Google

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To clarify, women got paid 4x as much as men, but I believe that was per shoot. The article also mentioned the guys tend to do many more shoots- fewer men in the business.

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The average US woman is 5'5" and weighs 165 lbs?

Jeebus, we are fat!

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The link for #3 went dead. Perhaps too many google searches for deep porn crashed the server?

Thank you google cache!

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:2qEpGddgWagJ:jonmillward.com/blog/studies/deep-inside-a-study-of-10000-porn-stars/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

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@#4 - tell me now there's a "Great Stagnation"?! Not. "These are exciting times in Virginia".

The thesis of the Great Stagnation doesn't preclude a lot of great ideas. It indicates the great ideas we do get don't enhance productivity as well as the great ideas from 60 years ago.

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Markets in everything: Magazines going digital (in this case, related to the SI swimsuit issue).

The best line is at then end. "Of the top 25 magazines last year, only one did not see falling circulation, and that was AARP." Brutal.
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/si-swimsuit-issue-is-10-of-time-s-revenue-5loIFClHTOehB2K0a7UC_A.html

It had occurred to me that MR has become the real time version of The Economist. I would guess the overlap between MR readers and Economist readers is strikingly high.

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Here's a working cache for #3:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://jonmillward.com/blog/studies/deep-inside-a-study-of-10000-porn-stars/&hl=en&tbo=d&strip=1

And here's a Reddit with links to the images stripped out in the first link:
http://www.reddit.com/r/sex/comments/18jx7j/ive_spent_the_last_six_months_analyzing_the/

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Fourth-generation reactors and nuclear-waste recycling

Nuclear reactors that are much more fail safe and use the existing nuclear waste as a fuel source is a big technology win.

"Fourth-generation technologies, including liquid metal-cooled fast reactors, are now being deployed in several countries and are offered by established nuclear engineering companies."

On the other hand, OH NO DE NUKLAR IS VARY SCARY has broad demographic appeal.

According to every president since Carter (at least - and he sailed on a nuclear boat!) it's nucular, I wish they would just think NewClear and get it right. Embarrassing themselves on TV seems to be their strong suit.

While GWB was clearly a member of the "nucular" club, I always heard engineer Carter say something like: "nukiuh" or "nukier". (He always seemed in a hurry to get through the word's nettlesome enunciation.)

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Medical innovations will probably look at least in part like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oB4kATABBbU

I really liked his discussion on the enormous waste in bad treatments, ineffective, inappropriate and harmful drugs.

There are a lot of exciting ideas in that list of innovations 2013.

Could it be that another factor causing the 'Great Stagnation' is enormous entrenched interests? What kind of innovation would it take to stop that? Think of the riches that would be freed for the development of new technologies if we could get rid of the barnacles on the ship of state and the rent seekers in the corporate board rooms!

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Re: #2: I am very surprised in that long article he fails to consider rent control/stabilization as a reason that "free market" rents have increased so much. About half of NYC's apartments are effectively taken out of circulation by rent regulations. Some are even used as pied-a-terres by wealthy tenants who have held on to them for years.

Compare this with Houston's essentially free market in housing - no zoning laws, no rent regulations of any sort.

A still better comparison would have been to show the increase form 1940-1980 versus 1980-present. Obviously rents have zoomed up in the last 30 years but I suspect barely budged, after adjusting to inflation, from 1940-1980. The reason is that as NYC lost population during that period, the difference in price between rent regulated and non regulated apartments wasn't that much when people were leaving the city in droves and vacant apartments could easily be found.

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There's one thing the porn star database didn't bother to mention, and that's because the answer would be obvious in every single case. God damn it.

Huh?

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