solve for equilibrium

The culture that is San Francisco solve for the equilibrium

A man threw his body onto a self-driving car — a GM Cruise AV — causing a car vs. pedestrian collision at the 16th and Valencia intersection earlier this month, the DMV reported Wednesday.

Operating in “autonomous mode,” the Cruise AV was stopped at a green light, facing northbound on Valencia, waiting to make a right turn onto 16th Street as pedestrians crossed.

Suddenly, a man ran across Valencia Street against the “do not walk” sign, shouting, and struck the left side of the car’s rear bumper and hatch with his entire body. This is all according to a report the self-driving car manufacturer must file with the DMV in the event of a collision.

The man sustained no injuries, but the car did. It suffered “some damage to its right rear light,” according to the report.

Here is the full story.

Solve for the Italian-Libyan equilibrium

Failing to stem the tide of refugees arriving Europe, Italy and the rest of the European Union have agreed to pay Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), the UN-backed interim government that is struggling hold control of the country, to keep them from arriving in Italy and instead put them into detention camps in Libya.

The accord signed Feb. 3, provides for Italy to pay €220 million ($236 million) to the Libyan coastal guard and provide training to help them catch the vessels—primarily rubber dinghies. The Libyan coast guard will be charged with sending the boats back to Libya and putting people into camps. The political instability of Libya is such that there would be little guarantee of the conditions in which the migrants would be kept, according to Arjan Hehenkamp, general director of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Here is one story.  In Libya they understand the Coase theorem:

A security source in Libya spoke to Associated Press late last month saying: “Yesterday’s traffickers are today’s anti-trafficking force.”

I believe the size of the Coasean payments will rise.  If Libya is paid to halt migrants, and finds this a satisfactory or indeed even profitable arrangement, they also will act to…boost the supply of potential migrants.  “Producing potential migrants” will at some point become one of their more significant economic sectors.  And the larger the number of bottled up would-be migrants, the more Italy and/or the EU will pay to stop them.

Yet what is Italy otherwise to do?  I find it striking how underreported this story has been.

Solve for the equilibrium

In the place of U.S. support, Japan has offered to step in.

“Japan is the only state willing to help India in its Indian Ocean project to develop islands there,” said Abhijit Singh, head of the Maritime Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi think tank. The reason, he added, is that other nations—notably the U.S.—consider offering such help too provocative to China.

Here is the full WSJ story.

Solve for the equilibrium

In the latest example of marketers entering the living room, Burger King will release television commercials on Tuesday that are intended to prompt voice-activated smart speakers from Google into describing its burgers — after the 15-second spots end.

A video from one of the fast-food chain’s marketing agencies showed the stunt in action: “You’re watching a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich,” the commercial’s actor says. He continues, “But I got an idea. O.K. Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Prompted by the phrase “O.K. Google,” the Google Home device next to the TV in the video lights up, runs a search and states its ingredients.

Here is the story, via the excellent Michael Rosenwald.

Solve for the (drone) equilibrium

A Patriot missile – usually priced at about $3m (£2.5m) – was used to shoot down a small quadcopter drone, according to a US general.

The strike was made by a US ally, Gen David Perkins told a military symposium.

“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot,” he said.

Patriots are radar-targeted weapons more commonly used to shoot down enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles.

“Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles,” the general said.

Here is more, via Ray Lopez.

Addendum: The Chinese are experimenting with a radio wave gun to bring down drones.

Solve for the equilibrium are British people really like this?

The first self-driving cars to be operated by ordinary British drivers will be left deliberately unmarked so that other drivers will not be tempted to “take them on”, a senior car industry executive has revealed.

One of the biggest fears of an ambitious project to lease the first autonomous vehicles to everyday motorists is that other road users might slam on their brakes or drive erratically in order to force the driverless cars into submission, he said.

This is why the first 100 self-driving 4×4 vehicles to be leased to motorists as part of a pilot scheme on busy main roads into London will look no different than other Volvos of the same model, said Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader at Volvo Cars. The scheme will start in 2018.

Americans wouldn’t talk this way:

One driver interviewed for the survey said: “I’ll be overtaking all the time because they’ll be sticking to the rules.”

Another said: “They are going to stop. So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip around.”

Here is more, via Michelle Dawson.

Addendum: Via Anecdotal, here is an Australian perspective:

Well, I am here to tell you: that’s OK. We’ve all had it drummed into us from infancy that humans bullying cars = bad.

But we can’t let our bourgeois notions of propriety in auto-human interactions stop us from letting out our inner Johnny from Karate Kid.

We must, rather, get on with the vital and necessary work of bullying, haranguing and insulting these contraptions every chance we get. Because I cannot stress this enough: these cars must not be allowed to develop self-esteem.

From another corner of the world, I can tell you that Kiwis do not drive as politely as they talk.

Solve for the equilibrium don’t forget to check your email

In early October, the [German] district government informed Sumte’s mayor, Christian Fabel, by email that his village of 102 people just over the border in what was once Communist East Germany would take in 1,000 asylum seekers.

His wife, the mayor said, assured him it must be a hoax.

Here is the NYT article, you will note that Herr Holger Niemann is enthusiastic about the new development; he is the lone neo-Nazi on the local town council.  By the way, the town has no stores, they had to install more pumps in the sewer system, and if I understand the article correctly Sumte has no permanent police presence.

At lunch lately we have been arguing how many immigrants can be taken in without seeing political backlash and eventually immigration reduction.  We’ll soon be seeing more data.

Solve for the equilibrium

Most people assume a degree in the arts is no guarantee of riches. Now there is evidence that such graduates also rack up the most student-loan debt.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of new Department of Education data shows that median debt loads at schools specializing in art, music and design average $21,576, which works out to a loan payment of about $248 a month. That is a heavy burden, considering that salaries for graduates of such schools with five or fewer years’ experience cluster around $40,000, according to PayScale.com.

The story is here.  And here is some sad news in particular:

New York’s Manhattan School of Music had the second-highest median debt load, at $47,000. Graduates with up to five years’ experience earn an average of $42,700, according to PayScale.

Which school is number one?:

Among the 4,000 colleges and universities in the federal database, the Creative Center in Omaha, Neb., a for-profit school that offers a three-year bachelor’s in fine arts, had the highest average debt load, at $52,035. Median pay for graduates of the school with five or fewer years’ experience is $31,400, according to PayScale.com.

I say that’s a school in future financial trouble.

Solve for the equilibrium

An environmental entrepreneur whose plan to dump iron in a patch of the Pacific Ocean was shelved four years ago after a scientific outcry has gone ahead with a similar experiment without any academic or government oversight, startling and unnerving marine researchers.

…The entrepreneur, Russ George, said his team scattered 100 tons of iron dust in mid-July in the Pacific several hundred miles west of the islands of Haida Gwaii, in northern British Columbia, in a $2.5 million project financed by a native Canadian group.

The story is here.

Solve for the equilibrium

The job categories projected to grow over the next decade include nursing, home health care and child care. Of the 15 categories projected to grow the fastest by 2016 — among them sales, teaching, accounting, custodial services and customer service — 12 are dominated by women. These are not necessarily the most desirable or highest-paying jobs. But they do provide a reliable source of employment and a ladder up to the middle class. It used to be that in working-class America, men earned significantly more than women. Now in that segment of the population, the gap between men and women is shrinking faster than in any other, according to June Carbone, an author of “Red Families v. Blue Families.”

From Hanna Rosin, here is more.  And:

More important than the particular jobs available, which are always in flux, is a person’s willingness to adapt to a changing economy. These days that usually requires going to college or getting some job retraining, which women are generally more willing to do. Two-thirds of the students at the local community college are women, which is fairly typical of the gender breakdown in community colleges throughout the country.

Here is a description of one equilibrium:

The former Russell [a now-closed manufacturing firm] men are sometimes categorized by people in town as one of three types: the “transients,” who drive as far as three hours to Montgomery for work and never make it home for dinner; the “domestics,” who idle at the house during the day, looking for work; and the “gophers,” who drive their wives to and from work, spending the hours in between hunting or fishing.

The article is interesting throughout.  The new Hanna Rosin book is here.

Solve for the equilibrium

Here is the short video.  Here is text with photos and another video.  Five Ukrainian women, in an Ukrainian art museum.  They are sleeping, or rather pretending to sleep, dressed up as Sleeping Beauty.  Men come along and kiss them, on the lips, with each man allowed only one kiss.  They have all signed legally binding contracts.  If a woman responds to a kiss by opening her eyes and “waking,” she must marry the man.  The man must marry the woman.

Who will kiss?  When do eyes get opened?

The museum gives out free breath mints.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Daniel Lippman.

Solve for the equilibrium

…the Romney campaign went up with an ad just days after the Ryan pick, hitting Obama on the $716 billion figure.

“You paid into Medicare for years: every paycheck. Now, when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare,” the ad says. “The Romney-Ryan plan protects Medicare benefits for today’s seniors and strengthens the plan for the next generation.”

How the GOP ticket talks about Medicare is vitally important in Florida in particular, a competitive swing state with a high retirement-age population. Ryan is visiting the state for the first time today since he was named to the ticket, and will go to The Villages — billed as the largest retirement community in the world — with his mom.

But instead of wading into the policy details with which Ryan is most comfortable, Republican strategists said it would be far smarter for the Wisconsin lawmaker to focus on the Obama move to remove money from the Medicare trust fund and portray Republicans as the program’s savior.

The article is here.  You can try a second exercise, called “Solve for the Equilibrium Ten Years from Now.”

Solve for the equilibrium

Scott Sumner on the eurozone, wise throughout:

The eurozone excludes Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Switzerland. That’s a fairly affluent group of countries.  The eurozone is shaped roughly like a pyramid, with Finland on top, and a wide base stretching from Portugal to Cyprus on the bottom.  Most of the weight if a pyramid lies in the bottom half, which in the case of the eurozone is mostly lower income countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta…

The pyramid structure I referred to earlier is likely to get much worse as the eurozone grows over time.  And it seems to me that here you have a massive adverse selection problem.  Because of Abraham Lincoln, affluent states like Massachusetts can’t suddenly decide they want no part of our fiscal union, and would rather just reap the benefits of our large single market.  But Switzerland, Norway can and did make that choice.  Britain almost certainly would, and both Sweden  and Denmark might as well.  In contrast, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia would like nothing more than to join such a union.  And all the likely future expansion of the EU is into areas further east, and much poorer than even Greece and Portugal.  Places like Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine (a country nearly the size of France) Belarus, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Moldova (the saddest place on Earth—even the name is depressing.)  And did I mention Turkey?  Indeed why not Russia at some distant point in the future?

Please solve for the equilibrium

That’s what some environmentalists said they feared when Planktos, a
California-based concern, announced it would embark on a private effort
to fertilize part of the South Atlantic with iron, in hopes of
producing carbon-absorbing plankton blooms that the company could
market as carbon offsets. Countries bound by the London Convention, an
international treaty governing dumping at sea, issued a “statement of
concern” about the work and a United Nations
group called for a moratorium, but it is not clear what would have
happened had Planktos not abandoned the effort for lack of money.

Here is the whole story.