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Name a form of transportation.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.21.17

Now that I am an expert on New York City, I will wax philosophic on travel times. In NYC, I'm going to claim there are concentric circles around your apartment, and the boundary between them is whether you'd walk there or take public transportation. (The metric is obviously the taxi cab metric, and technically the outer one is an annulus, and they are both closed sets with nontrivial annulus intersection.) So Zone 1 is walkable, and Zone 2 is easy public transportation.

These are strongly similar to concentric circles around HeebieHouse (freshly elevated, 2nd story walk-up) in Heebieville. All of Heebieville is the inner radius, Zone 1, and Zone 2 is all adjacent towns - three or four small towns, and then Austin and San Antonio.

In both locations, Zone 1 is the area that does not take much planning to go to. You can easily run home if you realized you need to change shoes or retrieve an item. All of your basic needs can be met in Zone 1 - grocery store, emergency room, schools, park, some restaurants, some shops.

Zone 2 requires planning. You cannot easily return home - you will be gone for several hours, or else the trip isn't worth it. My commute lands in Zone 2, but I wish it were Zone 1. (The zones do overlap in ambiguous territory, of course. Life is a highway and a spectrum. A hightrum.)

I hypothesize that while the density is wildly different, the population and array of commercial options in Zone 1 and Zone 2 is comparable across both locations. I am jealous of the density of New York and find it bustling and interesting, but I also like the silence and cicadas and relative stillness of Heebieville and when it's hot out, I am super glad to have my minivan lifestyle, with all the ambiguous feelings it gives me about myself. I don't think Zones 1 and 2 neatly map onto all locations. Life without Zone 2 would be depressing.



 

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Undercover Fucker

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.21.17

This is insane.

This is the first interview "Lisa", who wants to retain her anonymity, has given to the media. Only now, five years later, does she feel ready to describe how she has been devastated by the deception. She speaks eloquently, though the pain is still evident. Her boyfriend, Mark, always had a slightly mysterious side to him. In their last few months together his behaviour was, at times, erratic; but at other times, their relationship was blissful.

They were together for six years. What could explain his erratic, mysterious side?

The truth was not disclosed to her by him. Instead she and her friends found out through their own detective work and a chance discovery.
They established that he was Mark Kennedy, an undercover policeman who had been sent to spy on her circle of activist friends. For seven years, he had adopted a fake persona to infiltrate environmental groups. Their unmasking of him five years ago kickstarted a chain of events that has exposed one of the state's most deeply concealed secrets.

Oh fuck.

Via Helpy-chalk, elsewhere.



 

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Another sundry.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.20.17

I have a few articles from last week which are a little dated, but whatever, like the crazy fucking med school dean at USC. More recent editorial on the same dude.

Or this one (via Echoes) where the White House released a ton of emails from private citizens without redacting any personal information:

Unfortunately for these voters and others who wrote in, the Trump administration did not redact any of their personal information from the emails before releasing them to the public. In some cases, the emails contain not only names, but email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and places of employment of people worried about such information being made available to the public.

Jesus christ they are beyond incompetent.




 

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ATM: Let him down easy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.20.17

Dear Heebie,

Longtime lurker here. I have actually written to the mineshaft before, and by the way completely ignored all of your advice; things turned out just fine but every once in a while I think they would've turned out so much better if I hadn't. Sigh. Anyway, to the point.


read more »



 

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A sundry

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.19.17

1. We're back in our house and it's wonderful to be home.

2. Does your dentist use an ultrasonic cleaning thing? I loathe it so much. The dental tech and I have an agreement that she'll use the hand tool except for the worst of the worst, and then bring in the ultrasonic thing. The high pitched squeals give me near-continuous shivers and chills. She humors me, but will only say, "Yes, some people find the noise annoying," which doesn't really validate my feelings.



 

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We Will Let One Live

Posted by Ogged
on 07.19.17

You can quibble with some of the assumptions, but as a rich-guy-to-rich-guy statement of principles, it doesn't get much better than this.



 

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Guest Post - America Sucks at Building Stuff

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.18.17

Mossy Character writes: From Tooze's blog:

there are some sectors that exhibit not progress, but productivity decline. Of these, one of the most important and politically consequential is construction.
[...]
This matters because it structures the entire debate about public infrastructure and the capacity for public action, which is so urgent in the US. Whilst Silicon Valley offers a triumphant story of private sector innovation, the public sector finds itself discredited by association with the chronic inefficiencies of the construction sector and megaproject management.
[...]
Interestingly, the BLS showed that the pattern of productivity development was not the same across housing and road building. In road building In the US in the last decade there was actually some productivity improvement. The billion dollar question is from what level and how that path of improvement compares with other countries.
Not well!:
Although the US projects included are only in New York and San Francisco, both high-cost cities, similarly high costs occur in other cities, just the projects are above ground. Portland's light rail Milwaukie extension and Washington's predominantly above ground Silver Line both have cost ranges of about $100-150 million per km, enough for a full subway in many European cities.

Heebie's take: That's super interesting, and I had no idea we were so inefficient. I thought this:

What this suggests Smith argues, is that the key to higher US costs is "general inefficiency -- inefficient project management, an inefficient government contracting process, and inefficient regulation. It suggests that construction, like health care or asset management or education, is an area where Americans have simply ponied up more and more cash over the years while ignoring the fact that they were getting less and less for their money."

was particularly interesting, the comparison with industries that I'm more familiar with.

Also I have a crystal ball and this not get fixed during your lifetime. Sad!



 

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Rex Begonias

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.18.17

It sure would be good to post something late-breaking and interesting about the news after this drought!

So, I had occasion to discuss rexes begonia while in New York, and I got a detailed memory of a book I read as a kid. The main character's mother would regularly put rex begonium out on the fire escape to die, when they started to wilt on the vague hope that they'd revive in the fresh air. There was a weepy boy in the next apartment over who annoyed the main character with his wimpy, weepy ways, and one of the things he wept over was the dying rex begonialves. I can't remember if the main character was a boy or a girl. What book was this?



 

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