Saturday assorted links

1. MIE: “The San Francisco air quality is so bad that Uber drivers are selling masks out of their cars.

2. When do botox appointments surge?

3. NIMBY vs. disability rights: “Historic Old Town Building Would Look ‘Horrible’ With Accessible Garage For Teen In Wheelchair, Neighbors Say.”

4. Transgender Instagram (NYT).

5. An IVF/IQ test.

Comments

#5 seems like a milder/gentler slant on eugenics? Some states have a prenatal genetic screening for Mother's over 35, which detect major birth defects. I did IVF and produced 8 embryos, 7 of which are frozen. Per recommendation of our fertility doctor, we chose the largest embryo, presumably measured by meiotic/mitotic activity and lack of embryonic "mosaicism". Our fertility doctor labeled him "the leader of his clan" because he was the most robust. He is now 2.5 years old and started reading this summer. Science fiction minus the fiction.

It's a fine line. Speaking also with some experience there is a difference between having to make a choice to select because the total number are far too many to safely and successfully bring to term, and someone who has one which would make it to term but doesn't have the requisite IQ.

Yes in IVF there are innumerable choices and fine lines, the implications for humanity and science are mind-boggling with new and weird decisions for moms to make The article offers a pretty cursory review of IQ, but I guess that's another evolving area full of its own worms.

Our ethical intuition did not evolve to make decisions in this area, so probably we will never be able to decide on the ethics of it all. Remember when we are discussing ethics and morality - it is our rational brain trying to rationalise the results of the irrational module in our brain that controls how we interact with other humans.

I think this is one area where the irrational module in our brain that wants our children to be as successful as possible will win. So we will decide that it is ethical to too modify your child's intelligence and other attributes like beauty to make them superior to other people. Unless other people with less access to this technology can mobilise to stop it to avoid being competed out of existence. But it seems to me to be too hard to do that when money is involved.

"Science fiction minus the fiction."

But not minus the horror.

he Times reported that following an introductory address by King Hussein of Jordan, Shukeiri told delegates that "Palestinians had experienced 16 years' misery and it was time they relied on themselves and liberated Palestine from the Israelis"

"What’s more, if these embryos all share the same biological parents, they are unlikely to show much variation in their polygenic scores for various traits."

It's interesting that it's considered perfectly ethical to select a sperm donor (or even natural mates) based on the donor's heritable characteristics like height and intelligence, yet selection by testing embryos seems to be verboten. Donor-selection is arguably more effective (more variation across donors than across embryos from the same biological parents) and closer to eugenics (only allowing certain parents to reproduce).

One could argue against embryo selection based on the notion that fertilization is what yields human rights, but that would go against the principles that lead to abortion legalization. Besides, as gifted mom points out, many embryos are already never implanted, so we clearly don't believe that embryos have a right to be brought to term.

Suppose we developed a test that could determine that if a couple conceived (naturally) during a given month the child would be more
or less likely to be high IQ vs. some other month. Would it be unethical for the couple to adjust their sexual behavior based on that test?

Animals behaving in ways that maximize the odds of their offspring's success, generating a hereditary feedback loop? I think there's a name for this process.

#3 http://www.wistv.com/2018/11/16/department-justice-files-federal-lawsuit-against-town-irmo-over-carport/
As Irmo, South Carolina goes so too does Chicago:
"In late October, the Department of Justice sent the town a proposed settlement agreement, alleging it violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant a zoning variance to a longtime resident who said she is permanently disabled."

There should not be "special rights" but equal rights. If a disability allows you to break a law or get around a low or a regulation then everyone should be able to do it. Probably the single most abused accommodation is the disabled parking. Mosat of the permits were gotten by lying and even with that being said most of the permits are used by family members who aren't disabled. I actually saw a disabled person use the disabled parking a week ago. It wasn't a first but it has been years since I saw that. Mostly it's teens using their mothers car and she isn't disabled just fat and coerced her doctor to sign the forms.

You are 'free' to become disabled. So you too can then 'enjoy' the disabled parking spots. You also might find that sometimes an able bodied significant other will be the driver.

Yeah I can't because I'm too honest.
Obviously it would be easy enough to spot an able-bodied driver chauffeuring a disabled person around, so sorry, that isn't what is happening.

Sure there has to be some abuse. But I don't believe that you follow these people around? I am not disabled right now. If I parked in a disabled spot to pick up my disabled wife, how would you see that?

Well of course I don't see all of those who park in handicapped spots. But like anyone I see it many times, perhaps a couple hundred times a year. IF it is rare, maybe once or twice a year, that I see an actual visibly handicapped person then the conclusion that it is misused a lot is true. If I see young people jump out and walk quickly to the store it is reasonable to conclude that they are using someone elses handicap sign.

OK. I've just never seen that. I admit I don't look too closely as it is not my business. But my impression though has been that most are not young and spry.

Handicapped parking spaces are proof in a number of ways that modern American society is completely non-sensical. Everyone, sound or crippled, needs physical exercise.

When a person is seriously injured in an accident or the victim of a stroke, as soon as they are able therapists put them on a regimen of exercise that's meant to increase their mobility as much as possible to its former state. Then, when they're released back into the world, they're not expected to do so much as totter over to the front door of the supermarket from the third row of the parking lot. In reality, the physically impaired should be required to walk further than everyone else.

If handicapped parking actually does make sense there aren't nearly enough spaces reserved for the physically compromised. We can't know for sure but it seems highly likely that on many occasions a cripple won't be able to find an empty handicapped parking spot. What then? Do they wait, car idling, further away in the lot until an empty handicapped space appears? Do they return home and put their business off until a later time. Do they go to a different business in a less popular area where handicapped parking is more available? This a greatly unrecognized problem.

Here it is folks, the most moronic opinion of the day.

For those who have an access to Nature, here is the link to the original paper : https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0147-3

Much better than the general newspaper summary, of course. So they tested their predictor on samples that they did not use to establish their predictor: "All scores are based on the results from a meta-analysis that excluded the prediction cohorts."

These scores are defined this way (I would need some time to digest it):
"We measure prediction accuracy by the ‘incremental R2’ statistic: the gain in the coefficient of determination (R2) when the score is added as a covariate to a regression of the phenotype on a set of baseline controls (sex, birth year, their interaction and 10 principal components of the genetic relatedness matrix)."

And they obtain predictive accuracy of 7-10% for their predictor for cognitive ability and 11-13% for educational achievement. However I find this worrisome: "controlling for all the demographic variables jointly, the score’s incremental R2 is 4.6%". Those variables are age and sex.

So this is certainly an interesting work, and again the point is not to prove that cognitive ability is in part genetic (everyone honest knows this), but to determine to what extent we are currently able to make accurate predictions of cognitive ability form the genome. And on this I find the scores quite weak. Moreover, at this level, there is avery possible problem of correlation vs cause. For example it is possible that, without they knowing it, their predictor measure the ethnic origin of the individual (Scandinavian, Italian, Jew, Scottish, etc.) and that all of its (low) predictive power comes from a purely cultural correlation between this ethnical origin and cognitive ability or educational achievement. Then their predictor would have some predictive power on the groups of all white americans,a s they observe, but none on the group of all embryos of a same couple, and would be useless for the purpose of choosing one among those embryos.

That was about #5, and the very recent Tyler's and Alex's posts on the same subject.

Tell me, how did you calculate in advance that 10% was 'quite weak'? Did you work out the numbers before dismissing it? Or did you just move the goalposts?

As for your cultural correlation concerns - those concerns are already dealt with. The individual GWASes typically recruit from specific ethnicities within a country, they throw out ancestry outliers, the 10 PCs you mention control most of the remaining population structure, and the equivalent of demonstrating predictive power on 'the group of all embryos of a same couple' has been done repeatedly since at least 2013 on pairs of siblings. So it is not possible and they are useful.

I don't know what was the goal past, but if 50% of variance in the number of years of education is genetic as we often hear (e.g. on the comments of this blogs, in the posts of yesterdays), than 10% is only a small part of it. But I was more concerned by the figure of 4% after controlling for certain demographic variables, and not mainly by 4% in the absolute, but that it is quite lower than 10%. This suggested to me the thought "and if they control for more demographic variables, will the score drop to 0%".

Now it is clear I misunderstood in part what they were doing. In fact, as I said, I didn't get "on a set of baseline controls (sex, birth year, their interaction and 10 principal components of the genetic relatedness matrix)". I still do not understand "their interaction" (interaction between sex and birth year? what does that possibly mean?), but I now understand (I believe) thanks to you what the 10 principal components are doing here. So these ten principal component of the correlation matrix of the full genome of people certainly contain any information you can extract from the genome about their original ethnicity, and
since they control for that, this removes by concern about this type, and many other types, of correlation/cause problems.

Okay, but then I understand even less why the figures drops to 4% when you control for demographic variables (other than those encoded in the genomes, so).

The 4.6% refers to how much the genetic predictor can predict *after* using mother's education, father's education, marriage, income, and a direct measure of cognition (a verbal test). Obviously, when you include variables like 'adult intelligence' or parents' education, you are implicitly measuring a lot of the genetic potential of each individual (their genes come from their parents, of course, and measuring their phenotypic adult intelligence which is genetically influenced is going to measure partially how well they did at education). and the raw genetic predictor doesn't work as well as it has become partially redundant. That it predicts at all after including those genetically and educationally-informative covariates shows that it's still picking up a lot of the genetics.

Okay, got it. Thanks.

> However I find this worrisome: "controlling for all the demographic variables jointly, the score’s incremental R2 is 4.6%"

Someone with also ran mentality. In 100 meters sprint a 0.1% diff might separatate the gold and silver medal winners.

> it is possible that, without they knowing it, their predictor measure the ethnic origin of the individual

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2018/07/Polygenic_score_scatterplot_for_EA3/8fb62f688.png

More disinformation. Look hard on the labeling on the y-axis: "Years of Education Controlling for Sex, Birth Year and Ancestry".

> Then their predictor would have some predictive power on the groups of all white americans,a s they observe, but none on the group of all embryos of a same couple, and would be useless for the purpose of choosing one among those embryos.

Naive childish ignorant assertion. "none" ?? The SJWs claim that there are no races. Yet their inner latent reasonings are still in mutually exclusive black and white exclusive logics. Genes that most of one group have do not mean that other groups are devoid of that. PGS metric based on one group might not be as accurate when applying to another group but they are better than no information. Normal IVF procedure produces about 9 embryos per treatment of which only 2 or 3 will have to be selected. Do you prefer to toss a coin for that??

> In 100 meters sprint a 0.1% diff might separatate the gold and silver medal winners.

Apples and oranges. It is not deterministic here.
An embryo with a good Predictor will have a slightly higher probability to end up with more years of education (or better IQ) than another
embryo of the same IVF with a bad score. I am too lazy to compute it exactly but that should just a few % more chances.

> "Years of Education Controlling for Sex, Birth Year and Ancestry".

No, in their definition of the score of their predictor (recalled above), they don't use ancestry. That is, they don't ask their ancestry to their subjects and put it in their data. Instead, as explained by Rick Hyatt, they control for the 10 main principal components of the genetic correlation matrix, which acts indeed very probably as an excellent proxy for ancestry, and for many other variables as well.

> No, in their definition of the score of their predictor (recalled above), they don't use ancestry. That is, they don't ask their ancestry to their subjects and put it in their data.

So genetic ancestry is not ancestry?? Part of the data are from UK Biobank which are only from British with same ethnic parents and grand-parents. with detailed coding.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0579-z/tables/4

https://media.springernature.com/lw900/springer-static/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs41586-018-0579-z/MediaObjects/41586_2018_579_Tab3_ESM.jpg

http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ukb_genetic_file_description.txt

heterozygosity.pc.corrected | numeric |Heterozygosity after adjusting for ancestry using principal components. This metric was used to identify outliers based on heterozygosity and missing rates (het.missing.outliers). See genotype QC documentation for details.
in.white.British.ancestry.subset | (0/1) (no/yes) | Indicates samples who self-reported 'White British' and have very similar genetic ancestry based on a principal components analysis of the genotypes. See genotype QC documentation for details.

However Lee et al used only those with various European ancestries. Genetic ancestry data are more accurate than self-reported ancestry data (which are also available). Outliers were removed. Read Lee's FAQ,

Appendix 1: Quality Control Measure

In our study we were extremely careful to correct for population stratification as much as possible. At the outset, we restricted the study to individuals of (various) European ancestries. As is standard in GWAS, we also controlled for “principal components” of the genetic data in the analysis; these principal components capture the small genetic differences across ancestry groups within European populations, so controlling for them largely removes the spurious associations arising solely from these small differences.

Genotype data and imputation.
Additionally, we excluded individuals that do not satisfy the following criteria: ... (v) the individual is not an ancestral outlier. (could be phrased better than this).

Estimation of LD patterns.
We restricted the set of genetic variants to 1,211,685 HapMap3 SNPs, because these SNPs are generally well -imputed and provide good coverage of the genome in (various) European-ancestry individuals.

Principal components.
It is important to take a number of steps to minimize the risk that an observed association between the outcome of interest and the polygenic score is due to unaccounted-for population stratification. A score is stratified if its distribution varies across members of different ancestry groups. Absence to control for differences in ancestry can severely bias estimates of effect sizes, since members of different groups may vary in the outcome of interest for environmental reasons.

Variable Description
FID Family identifier <---***
IID Individual identifier
...

So the results can only be meaningful discussed with the overhang of ancestry separated. You turn around and asserted that Lee et al do not use ancestry. Your tail is wagging your head.

3. The center house in the street view photo has a visible window air conditioner. Those things weren't around in 1890. Similarly, the streets are full of late model automobiles rather than horses and buggies. A plastic trash bin and a plastic pissoir are also seen. How about a little consistency here?

In the era when these historic buildings went up they weren't historic. They were new and contained state of the art technology. They replaced log cabins and tar paper shacks. The log cabin residents had enough common sense not to object.

I think you would see less historical preservationist maximalism if modern builders had demonstrated the ability to consistently construct buildings and neighborhoods with craftsmanship, aesthetics, human-scale charm, and coherence significantly outclassing historic buildings. They have had many opportunities to do so, but as Tyler has discussed, there seem to be a number of mysterious forces working against this, despite apparent demand (as judged by real estate prices in historic districts, tourism, etc.) So while you can usually put WiFi in an historic building, building on the aesthetic qualities of these neighborhoods seems to be much more challenging, for whatever reason.

That being said, I don't why creating an aesthetically pleasing and stylistically complementary wheelchair ramp and garage is a big hurdle, with a little imagination. And this goes for many older buildings that seem to suffer from incongruous accessibility features.

"craftsmanship, aesthetics, human-scale charm, and coherence," are ascribed to historic buildings because we're used to them. When they were new, I'm sure people hated masonry 4-story buildings for failing at all of those traits.

Nope. The rich and fashionable paid for and chose to live in the most modern buildings, 100-150 years ago.

(With a few exceptions, typically those so rich they wished to differentiate themselves from those who could merely afford a large new house, by having a large ancient one. Or a large one made even more expensively by hand by some Morris disciples.)

Some buildings we like today are converted from what was housing for the poor... which was obviously less luxurious, but still the most modern thing was preferable to the other options.

It's interesting that in many US cities, old warehouses, factories, mills, and tenements have often transitioned to be among the pricier housing arrangements in their areas. According to a friend, one of the trendiest apartment complexes in Durham is located in an old Tobacco factory. Imagine what the factory owners would think if they could see that now. So it's not just that people like historical buildings because only the nicest have survived, as some claim - there seems to be an across the board decline in some qualities of construction. It seems to be a bizarre coordination problem - the market can't seem to deliver what people want all that well, on the neighborhood/urban design level - perhaps because of the challenges of coordinating across multiple building projects or with transportation - and on an individual building level - perhaps because of the relative cost of labor or short term incentives. This seems to apply across the spectrum of zoning stringency, at least in the US. Maybe less so somewhere like Japan.

Having taken my first degree in urban geography, I'd like to say that Milinda nailed it. If modern buildings were any good, we'd prefer them to old ones. I live in an 1893 house (at considerable expense and inconvenience to me and my family) because, having been sort-of brought up to modern standards, it is vastly superior to anything modern that you can buy for a comparable price. The ultra-rich can, of course, buy anything they want, including replicas of old structures built with all the latest conveniences, so that's what they do.

In what way is your 1893 house vastly superior to anything that you can buy modern for a comparable price? Are the plumbing, heating and other mechanical systems the original ones? Does the house still have gas lights? How well insulated is it?

If you're talking about appearance, and that is what you're talking about, the superiority of your house is entirely subjective. The modern mechanical and electrical systems that have been installed over the years are what make it liveable, not the appearance.

There's also an element of survivorship bias. Houses in 1893 were, on the whole, terrible. Those that were kept around for the next 125 years were the best of the best.

That's not the point. The NIMBY concern is that newer houses don't have the same aesthetic as their Victorian predecessors. It would have been just as logical for the owners of the tar paper shacks and log cabins that once made up 19th century cities to disallow the construction of imposing brick or stone structures in their neighborhoods that would make their homes look like hovels. However, historical preservation societies didn't exist at that time, people being sensible.

Not whose point? Larry has some magical belief in the good old days, and he's wrong about that. I wasn't trying to address every aspect of the problem in three sentences.

Building aesthetics, like many very important things in economics and life, are rather subjective, but the point is that there seems to be a sizable unmet demand for certain types of building aesthetics, one that is not being adequately met by the market. Maybe this apparent demand is illusory, entirely manufactured by a very tiny but abrasive minority (I have not heard a good argument for this being the case ), but if not, historical preservation seems perfectly rational, as it is the only apparent means of soothing this demand without putting up a significant amount of money.

The advantages of new structures over, say, 19th century structures, do not seem so great as going from yurt to brick as to make preservation ridiculous on its face. In some less-subjective respects, including certain kinds of durability, some older structures may even have the upper hand.

No, the point isn't that demand isn't being met, it's that people that admire older houses don't want the owners of those houses to modify their appearance, even in an attempt to make the house more liveable.

#1 references Klein non-ironically. Close that page.

#5 really looking forward to the race between us being able to edit for intelligence vs. screen for it. One leads to a wide spread increase in intelligence across the population (at least for middle/upper middle class and up) the other one leads to an increase only at the 1% and up part of the population, with increasing gains over time. Exciting!

There is no race. Look at the per-allele effect sizes for IQ or other complex traits, and the number of CRISPR edits possible. Selection is ahead, and the gap will only grow with time as the existing methods improve and brand new methods of selection become available.

Selection means almost all gains go to the richest.

I don’t mind. But it is interesting.

Not necessarily. There are diminishing returns to most traits. 1 IQ point is more useful to the dumb than the smart. There are traits besides intelligence as well. Selection is vastly more useful to someone who is an APOE carrier than someone who is not. Poor people have elevated risks of diseases, especially mental illnesses, and benefit more than rich people who already have near-zero rates. If half the people in your family are crazy, selection will have enormous gains and if no one in your family is crazy, all selection can do is reduce an already tiny risk by a tiny amount which is only a tiny bit useful. Or consider criminality: crime hurts the poor most of all and so they benefit the most from anything reducing it. So, it is possible selection will benefit the rich disproportionately, especially if virtue-signaling types can ban it in the USA ('baptists and bootleggers'), but it's also possible it'll benefit the poor more (especially if subsidized, as any cost-benefit analysis would indicate is a fantastic idea).

#2 After age 30.

1. Oh no, there are greedy speculators profiting from scarcity by a providing a convenient service. Stop them! Free lunches for all!

#3 Man, that's just despicable the way they're treating that family.

#4 - I know this is an impossible debate nowadays but I think we are doing a disservice trying to normalize what is clearly some kind of mental issue. This is not about being mean or nice, and I can guarantee that I feel sympathy for their suffering. But this is not normal and yes, there is a definition of normal as far as mental health and behavior is concerned. We should be working on getting these kids to get help and not trying to dance around the issue.

Why kind of help? The same kind of help the communities opioids are swalling whole are getting?! Let us be blunt: Americans do not care about their neighbours. They just care about preying on the weak, the helpless. As President Bolsonaro pointed out, the American system is rotten and decadent.

It's not an impossible debate. It may be impossible to change some people's minds.
The real problem with the debate is that the debate is being funded by a few deeply misguided wealthy zealots such as the Pritzkers, not to mention that at this point there are economic incentives for certain groups.
But as far as the average person who is watching and listening to all this - the argument against this nonsense is very very worth making.

I set a very high bar for interfering in other people's lives - whatever my own personal views on the particular matter. A good example is base jumping - objectively it is very dangerous and I certainly would never want to do it. And I have to believe that someone who does like it have some kind of mental difference to regular people. But I would not stop anyone doing it.

yes the word is "normative". For various reasons we have lost confidence in traditional norms, and right now we're happy to embrace any self definition. The people in that NYT story are clearly disturbed, and worthy of our pity, but I would be surprised if the best thing long term is doubly down on their weirdness.

Like, what do you care? Even if you were right, which I honestly doubt, kinda not your problem. Just move on m8, let them kids be happy.

four aces, four aces, four fingers .025, le minimum, 07692307692, *.025 0.00192307692. 1923, Rainbow trout is introduced into the upper Firehole River, in Yellowstone National Park, United States. Combined attendance of the 1992 world series .259697
Ying and Yang found.

#1 Who's complacent?

#4 Nothing will convince me that the psychological normalization of transgenderism will not be viewed in 100 years as a terrible malpractice of epic proportions. That it will be viewed in the same way we view lobotomization today. Heck, it may not take a hundred years....

Re: #4, depends on how their biotech goes generally really. Gene manipulation (probably overstated per generation but cumulatively quite a lot) and more ability to manipulate and graft will probably change things a lot.

If 100 years hence people have a lot more latitude to change their bodies, and it's done more frequently, I can't see "And no reverse sex characteristics please, sex characteristic confirming modifications only" being the rule that sticks (just as more plastic surgery, body modification and manipulation of appearance generally probably increased the rate of transgender dressing and treatments). Though their framework for the psychology of it will be quite different.

It's the only condition of which I'm aware that is treated by indulging the person's inversion of reality. Also, it's the only medical treatment of which I'm aware with no actual scientific theory or method behind it.

So, not long ago, when the old national security dude announced he was a lady after all, due to his finding his ownself irresistibly sexy in women's clothes - autogynephilia, they called it - which despite its apparent solipsism was a habit he indulged in sex clubs for the like-minded (he didn't say whether a similar passion had ignited in him for doing dishes, crafting, and caring for the very young and the elderly - but maybe game theorizing war was woman's work all along, never you mind, Virginia Woolf) .... anyway, somewhere amid that was linked a long summing-up, a decade or two old, of some psychiatrist or academic's life's work: the study of homosexuality - inter alia, gay (or gay-considered) mannerisms. On the (then-thought-related) subject of men who wish to morph into fancy women, and be viewed as women, he had a theory that they were not men conflicted about being gay (which indeed made little sense) but rather effeminate gay men who wished for straight men to be attracted to them. I think. Something like that. Or maybe it was their wish for someone anyone to be attracted to them; according to this fellow, gay men themselves are not attracted to the effeminate.

He didn't entertain the idea that these men-who-would-be-ladies were really women, mentally (he didn't deal with the small subset of those with birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities, IIRC).

This erstwhile expert may well have completely changed his views on the subject. They certainly didn't sound very woke.

Reminded of this, when I recently encountered a nervous-seeming young man attempting - to the perhaps disappointing indifference of the many other young people about - to present himself as a girl, his eyes casting about everywhere for his effect on people, or the combined effect with his companion, another boy: he was not terribly successful at the illusion, but not overly campy either. At least until, having no recourse other than to call him by the name on his ID, I so called him; and then he gave a faint moue and defiantly threw his hands onto his hips and thrust out his pointy little chest ... in a way that I have never yet, seen an actual woman to do.

This is narcissism, whatever its source. It's not a medical problem. Not really a problem at all if it the general edict to be as kind to one another as possible in the face of all our manifold foibles. The question is whether we can keep this straight in our minds before going off the deep end about it. Perhaps a moratorium on the word "disorder" would be a start.

Just look at Gary, Indiana.

William Nangle, executive editor of The Northwest Indiana Times, said he did not see a conflict of interest in a news media company’s playing a lead role in a development initiative by orchestrating redevelopment coverage and seeking investors. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/us/05cnccowboytown.html

The NYT does not have on word on Marine Corps veteran who served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars, Gary, Indiana Police Chief Thomas Houston and two Sgts being arrested, the former dying in prison.

Talk about a blue wave.

#3. I'm glad the Block Club Chicago people are carrying on with their reporting. They've been good at showing the NIMBYs at their self-refuting worst.

Also, what happened to owning property? It is worse than communism that your nosiest neighbors could prevent you from using your property as they see fit because they think your use is bad to look at. At least under communism, you know well enough that you don't own it.

Your use and aesthetics impact the value of the surrounding property. Also, there are trespass issues regarding odors and runoff.

There's like a centuries-old jurisprudence on this. Do you own any real estate?

#1) "one driver was spotted selling N95 respirator masks for $5 apiece. That’s significantly above market rate."

I wonder how market prices can differ from market prices.

"Right now you can buy a 10-pack of similar masks for about $13 Amazon [sic]. But considering the masks are sold out at many local stores,..."

So, the price at which one can actually buy masks ($5) is not the "market rate", but the price which leads to shortages ($13 for 10) is?

"some could argue there’s a sinister aspect to profiting from the chaos of environmental catastrophe"

Yes, when people need masks, the "sinister" people are the ones actually supplying masks. [\sarcasm]

Restaurants also sell wine at significantly above market rate. Like, approximately double. Yeesh.

[I am aware we are more or less agreed here]

Sometimes you feel like a (populist) nut, sometimes you don't.

The price-gouging: agree with BC, plus that feeling, that bittersweet sorrow, when .... you realize you're going to read/watch the same price-gouging piece over and over until the last hour.

Now, the Citgo sign, from the other day: so the elite shoves Pop Art down our throats for forty years, and worse than that, sanctifies graffiti; and we dutifully empty our pocketbooks in the museum shop, bolstering the staying power of the Warhol in their portfolios; and don't get me started on "Learning From Las Vegas" (also because, to my sweetest chagrin I would mostly be cribbing from James Howard Kunstler) ... and then when people say, yeah, we like that old sign, it's something we share - actually it's kinda, you know, iconic or whatever to us - lawtalking UVA guy has the nerve to tell us why that's impossible?

Every time I've ever been to San Francisco there has been a contiuous sea breeze coming from the Pacific Ocean. It's hard to see how there could be any cleaner air in North America. Do people need masks for salt spray or fog or something?

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