freesnowman

Children have an innate fear of plants.

The Star Trek economy.

A movable city! I’m not sure of the practical utility, but pretty awesome all the same.

Romania is building a new kind of nuclear reactor while Austria is worried about regulation and restrictions with its wind power industry.

Dallas Cowboys owner uses a flipphone. Money is getting tight in the Himmelreich-Truman household and I’ve been considering going back to a regular phone and using the smartphone on WiFi.

Ezra Klein explains the importance of full employment.

As per usual, reading this list of things that workers at chain restaurants refuse to eat makes me hungry. Great point about the Big Mac, though. This, on the other hand, makes me never want to eat the food discussed.

Smart street lights may save energy. Imagine, of course, what robocars will do.

The anti-communist propaganda posters of the 20th century were pretty awesome.

I can totally buy the notion that Seattle is becoming the next tech capital. It already has lots of jobs and its economy is rocking. The fact that we can attribute this to affordability, though, is kind of problematic. Because it’s not, really, except by the standards we choose our elite cities in such a way that we can easily price out large numbers of people.

The Pacific Standard has a really good piece on the rise and fall of Intrade, and its CEO.

MSG has long been denigrated as unsafe and all that, perhaps unfairly so. Interestingly, MSG shares significant commonality with umami, one of the latest “in” foods.

“Despite the recent growth of big city downtowns, there is no widespread shift toward dense, urban living. Instead, the long term suburbanization of America continues.”

Something I didn’t know: Slovak was once a hotbed of libertarianism. Dalibor Rohac explains how that came to be, and how Slovak lost its libertarian streak.

Nameberry presents some of the top names from 1962 that are due for a comeback. I’ll be honest: There are some pretty good names in there.

The decline of oil.


Category: Newsroom

About the Author

Will Truman (trumwill) is a southern transplant in the mountain east with an IT background who bides his time taking care of their daughter while his wife brings home the bacon. You will probably be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.

20 Responses to Linkluster Two-For-One

  1. Peter says:

    Of those vanished vintage names at the link, one that will never come back anytime soon is Homer. The show would have to be off the air for many years. Giving a kid that name would be tantamount to child abuse.

  2. Because it’s not, really, except by the standards we choose our elite cities in such a way that we can easily price out large numbers of people.

    Seattle is decidedly cheap by say NYC standards too, but it’s never going to be Sunbelt city cheap due to the geography of the area. Lake Washington and Puget Sound restrict bridge crossings and takes up sizable chunks of space, while the mountains hem in how much eastward the metro area can spread. Within the city, it’s difficult to build new housing, not just due to regulation, but due to the fact that local residents can shoot down any proposal to bring in larger density housing for fear that it will ruin the character of the neighbourhood that they moved to. It’s also the same issue that caps residential construction in San Francisco.

    “Despite the recent growth of big city downtowns, there is no widespread shift toward dense, urban living. Instead, the long term suburbanization of America continues.”

    It’s fueled by the fact that you have suburban jurisdictions that are easy to deal with, along with lots of cheap land for office parks and cheap housing. You don’t see that level of development in established suburbs. Hell, I have a Republican run town government that seems to be against anything that isn’t a Walgreens or senior condo. Yet, they wonder why their less than professional white and blue collar adult children leave and never return or stay in their basements.

    • trumwill says:

      Yeah, Seattle (to its credit) actually does much of what it can to be affordable, but it’s hemmed in by coast and mountains. The Bay Area and NYC don’t do everything they can to remain affordable, to say the least, but even if they did, they’d still be awfully expensive. (You’d, at the least, run the risk of supply-induced demand.)

      Which is all, to me, good reason not to have our centers of economic activity in such places to begin with. A lot of these places sprung up due to pretty natural reasons, but these days, it might make more sense for more corporations to park in greater-greater Austin, Jackson, and other places that can expand in all four directions.

      • David Alexander says:

        “The Bay Area and NYC don’t do everything they can to remain affordable”

        Most of the built up areas have built up, so unless you want to live in exurban areas at the fringes of the area, then there isn’t any more room unless we move to denser forms similar to Canadian suburbs. It’s easy to build in Austin when there’s very little development in the way, while in NYC, development near the core would rezoning and tearing down existing units. Of course, you’d argue that more people should move to Austin, but what’s the point if they end up living in some suburb far outside of town that isn’t near the positive qualities that make Austin desirable? You’ll just end up with wonky demand issues where people get priced out by people who can pay market rates for areas that people want. NYC isn’t expensive just because there are few units, but because there’s a demand for those units in the first place.

        • trumwill says:

          I continue to read about a lot of resistance to development in both of those cities, which is why I don’t think they’re doing what they can. That and the fact that Manhattan is actually significantly less dense now than it has been for much of its history. (I’ve also seen some pushback in Seattle, but my impression of the place is that it’s significantly more pro-development than the others.)

          The point of developing in Austin is that you can have more of a multipoint metropolitan area in multiple direction. Round Rock to the north, San Marcos to the South, more development to the east and west. You’re not hemmed in and things remain affordable for the same reason that DFW is a whole lot more affordable than Seattle despite the fact that it’s much larger. Austin and DFW and cities like that have their own problems, but that’s the kind of layout that would be preferable.

          Ideally, you’d have a place without SF’s geological limitations and resistance to development on the basis of “character”, and without DFW’s resistance to density (the problem not necessarily – or not just – being a desire not to live in a dense community, but of objecting to the building of dense housing and other land-use regulations (parking requirements, for instance) that inhibit density.

        • The point of developing in Austin is that you can have more of a multipoint metropolitan area in multiple direction.

          I think that’s the general issue that you’re going to have with people who are going to argue for stricter land control policies. While you may see a benefit to that, others would argue that it simply reinforces what they consider to be poor land use policies that reinforce auto-centric transportation. In other words, you’ll get more office parks and suburban housing and large arterials and freeways.

          FWIW, an interesting comparison may be a city like Ottawa, Canada where the original attempts to control sprawl failed with development happening outside of the planned greenbelt, but there’s been little desire to have much in the way of far-flung exurban development. OTOH, there’s Calgary which is growing rapidly, and there’s considerable growth in single family homes, but the development patterns are dissimilar to that of any equivalent in the US, and there’s high transit usage*. Of course, I like Calgary’s development patterns, but I’m biased, and I suspect you may feel differently.

          *Canadians are more apt to ride transit, especially buses, but Albertans drive around in big pickup trucks too despite $5/gal gas.

        • That and the fact that Manhattan is actually significantly less dense now than it has been for much of its history.

          It’s interesting that you bring that up because Manhattan’s population peaked in the early 1910s, but the development of the subway network made it easier for Manhattan’s population to spread outward, not just within Manhattan as Harlem was still somewhat rural in that era, but also to much of the outer boroughs of the city. Manhattan was dense primarily with immigrants living on top of each other, but by Occidental standards, NYC as a whole is one of the most dense cities on earth and that’s even when one counts the myriad numbers of single family homes, large parks, and the de facto unbuildable land on Staten Island that was a former dump.

          At a glance, NYC is less dense than Paris, but more dense than London, Berlin, Stockholm, and Madrid. San Francisco is nearly as dense as those cities I listed. Even when broken up into boroughs, with the exception of Staten Island, all of the boroughs are more dense than those cities, and Manhattan by itself is actually dense than Paris.

        • trumwill says:

          Let’s say that I am being far too harsh with SF and NYC. That they are doing everything they can given their geographic and geological constraints.

          That kind of backs my point. Which is that it’s better to have important cities in places that do not have those geographic and geological constraints. No matter what the settlement patterns are, the land is generally more affordable where you have more room for it.

          I am primarily interested in affordable living here, which unhemmed places tend more towards.

        • Which is that it’s better to have important cities in places that do not have those geographic and geological constraints.

          It’s interesting that you note this as you have Washington, DC which has high real estate costs, but less in the way of restrictions, but the real estate costs are still high compared to the Sunbelt. And DC isn’t *that* centralized. OTOH, there’s Philadelphia which still has high costs compared to the Sunbelt but lower than other Northeastern cities, less issues with geography, a weaker rail transit system, and even a downtown core that’s somewhat weak compared to NYC. It’s almost as if there’s more money slushing around the Northeast compared to other regions of the country, and more people willing to bid up the price of housing.

          As for having important cities in other places with out constraints, it’s admittedly too late in some cases due to legacy issues. It’s hard to break up the stranglehold that some cities have over certain aspects of the economy, even with the promise of cheap housing and low taxes in other places.

      • Peter says:

        Interesting you mention Jackson. Southwest Airlines recently announced that it’s ending service to the city, which isn’t the sort of thing Southwest often does. The fact that a discount airline can’t make a go of it, in a metropolitan area of almost 600,000 that’s well over two hours from the nearest major airports, does not speak well to Jackson’s economic prospects.

        • trumwill says:

          That’s interesting about SWA. I mentioned Jackson because I’ve actually been under the impression that it’s a place with potential even if a place with baggage. I know a few (liberalish) people who have moved there and really like it.

        • Peter says:

          From what I’ve heard, Jackson’s government is trying to tout the city as a welcoming place for artists and musicians and other counterculture types, sort of a downscale, warm-weather version of Williamsburg. Jackson’s cheap real estate is the major inducement. It’s better than nothing, but isn’t the sort of growth that would make Jackson a prosperous city.

        • I think Jackson, MS suffers from the fact that it’s in Mississippi. Even Austin, Texas as a concept doesn’t sound as icky as moving to Mississippi. Even if the city is welcoming, it’s stuck with the stereotype of the state.

  3. David Alexander says:

    “it might make more sense for more corporations to park in greater-greater Austin, Jackson, and other places that can expand in all four directions.”

    In other words, places where the weather sucks even more? :-p

    • trumwill says:

      Alas, not everywhere can have the wonderful weather of Seattle…

      • Alas, not everywhere can have the wonderful weather of Seattle…

        Seattle doesn’t get hurricanes or tornadoes, and the bad snow storms aren’t that bad in the scheme of things, so when combined with the somewhat softer winters and not as hot summers, it actually doesn’t come across as a bad place to me. Texas and other parts of the Southeast may have sunny and mild winters, but the summers are too hot and long for my liking, and the higher risk for hurricanes and tornadoes are a bit disconcerting.

        • trumwill says:

          Hurricanes are okay. At least you have some warning that they are coming. Tornadoes, on the other hand, scare the crap outta me.

          The big drag on the southern weather is the heat and humidity, though. Pretty miserable. My commment wasn’t actually sarcastic or anything. It’s really nice outside right now, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

        • Hurricanes are okay. At least you have some warning that they are coming. Tornadoes, on the other hand, scare the crap outta me.

          Of course, there’s warning with hurricanes, but you can still have considerable property damage and loss of life. And the South actually gets real hurricanes, not the barely category 1 storms that come to the Northeast.

          the big drag on the southern weather is the heat and humidity, though.

          FWIW, that’s the thing. Yeah, you can have cheap housing, but your gains are wiped out when the hurricane or tornado destroys your home & property, and the insurance company screws you over.

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