Market Curiosity: Exploring Markets And Systems

August 26, 2013

Economic response to why fire hydrant locations should stay “secret”

Filed under: Castpoints, Editorials, Systems — Tags: — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 9:29 am

The following was sent to a lot of people via a list. The response:

cricket

I don’t know why? The following seems to be a very rational and concrete way to handle a complicated situation:

I like Bruce Schneier’s take on security. A great way to evaluate options is to put a price tag on all the variables so they can be easily compared.

A) Hydrant information is already public, just not convenient. And to some degree, pipe information is probably knowable “enough” just from connecting dots on a map because small pipes flow into bigger pipes, and the start and end of lines are obvious.
– The cost to an attacker to gather this data is very low.
– The cost of keeping this data (servers, managing and monitoring access) is ???
– The benefits (in $$$) to making parts of this info transparent so it can be used is ???
– There are benefits to local people taking ownership of local infrastructure — they take care of it more. What is that worth ($$$)?
“Security by obscurity” has low value.

B) Past threats
– What was the cost of each way stopping past threats?
– What is the cost of each preventive measures? Including false positives.
Typically, standard police work probably stopped the threats, and or the majority of threats would have a  minor effect.

C) The public’s fears are typically very irrational and disproportionate.
– What is the real cost, in dollars, of mitigating each of those fears?
– Rank all threats via probability.
– What is the cost of mitigating real threats?
Present this information to the public and ask them how much money they want to spend, in aggregate, and per person. It’s educational without being preachy or boring, takes pressure off policymakers (who would prefer to go overboard to be able to say, “we did everything possible” rather than have a problem on their watch (I would!)), and people have an easy way to compare alternatives so discussion can be concrete.

D) Out of date data.
– Just indicate when updated. If it’s very important, the user can double check things.

E) The GIS data.
Applying the general 3 levels of threat:

  • The opportunistic (stealing stuff from unlocked cars, etc.). Basic common sense (locks, gates) fixes the vast majority of this. GIS data is safe because these people don’t even know what GIS is — it has no value to them.
  •  The moderately determined (people who deploy a moderate amount of resources). People could spend weeks in planning, join a company to get trust, passwords, etc. One rule of thumb is that roughly 75% of security problems are inside jobs. If true in this case, that automatically provides a ratio of problems to solve.
  • The very well funded, typically government, military, etc. Basically can’t readily protect against them — too costly.

Mr. Schneier often says, after the obvious threats are addressed, it’s often better to allocate resources for monitoring and fast intervention and remediation, rather than on increasingly low risk reward situations. Darwin’s adaptability.

March 7, 2013

How Castpoints can revolutionize learning and productivity: Fun

Filed under: Castpoints — Tags: , , , , — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 1:17 pm

[Superseded by the Castpoints blog]

One of the surprising things about researching Castpoints is that participants in proto-Castpoints applications report, almost in hushed tones, footnotes, asides, etc., that the interactions are fun. Fun is critically important because…

Standing ovation: Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud: … evidence from neuroscience. The reptilian part of our brain … when it’s threatened, it shuts down everything else, it shuts down the prefrontal cortex, the parts which learn, it shuts all of that down. PUNISHMENT AND EXAMINATIONS ARE SEEN AS THREATS. We take our children, we make them shut their brains down, and then we say, “Perform.” Why did they create a system like that? Because it was needed. There was an age in the Age of Empires when you needed those people who can survive under threat. When you’re standing in a trench all alone, if you could have survived, you’re okay, you’ve passed. If you didn’t, you failed. But the Age of Empires is gone. What happens to creativity in our age? We need to shift that balance back from threat to pleasure.

I went 300 miles out of Delhi into a really remote village where … I stuck my computer in, I went away, came back after a couple of months, found kids playing games on it.

When they saw me, they said, “We want a faster processor and a better mouse.”

(Laughter)

So I said, “How on Earth do you know all this?”

And they said something very interesting to me. In an irritated voice, they said, “You’ve given us a machine that works only in English, so we had to teach ourselves English in order to use it.” (Laughter) That’s the first time, as a teacher, that I had heard the word “teach ourselves” said so casually.

… can Tamil-speaking children in a south Indian village learn the biotechnology of DNA replication in English from a streetside computer? …

The children came rushing, said, “What’s all this?”

So I said, “It’s very topical, very important. But it’s all in English.”

So they said, “How can we understand such big English wordsand diagrams and chemistry?”

So by now, I had developed a new pedagogical method, so I applied that. I said, “I haven’t the foggiest idea.” (Laughter) “And anyway, I am going away.” (Laughter)

So I left them for a couple of months… So a little girl who you see just now, she raised her hand, and she says to me in broken Tamil and English, she said, “Well, apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes disease, we haven’t understood anything else.”… zero to 30 percent in two months in the tropical heat with a computer under the tree in a language they didn’t know doing something that’s a decade ahead of their time…

“Use the method of the grandmother…” “Stand behind them. Whenever they do anything, you just say, ‘Well, wow, I mean, how did you do that? What’s the next page? Gosh, when I was your age, I could have never done that.’…” So she did that for two more months. The scores jumped to 50 percent. Kallikuppam had caught up with my control school in New Delhi, a rich private school with a trained biotechnology teacher. When I saw that graph I knew there is a way to level the playing field.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work:

…if I know everything about your external world, I can only predict 10 percent of your long-term happiness. 90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world… 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ABILITY TO SEE STRESS AS A CHALLENGE INSTEAD OF AS A THREAT… The absence of disease is not health… Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis…

In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully. We’ve done these things in research now in every single company that I’ve worked with, getting them to

  • write down three new things that they’re grateful for for 21 days in a row, three new things each day. And at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world, not for the negative, but for the positive first.
  • Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it.
  • Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
  • We find that meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brains to focus on the task at hand.
  • And finally, random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness. We get people, when they open up their inbox, to write one positive email praising or thanking somebody in their social support network.

Using his numbers inappropriately: because Castpoints is fun, one might expect a productivity increase of over 25%.

February 21, 2013

Castpoints > Use case > PEMS > School phone tree and emergency response system DRAFT

Filed under: Castpoints — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 10:03 am

PARTIAL DRAFT *** This display is for functional clarity, not realism. ***

PEMS (Pocket Event Management System) manages relationships and communication between any school participants who have a smart phone using a simplified version of the industry standard Incident Command System (ICS).

Overview

  • Elementary school administration
    • Maintanence
    • PTA
      • Hot lunch program
    • Grades
    • Teaching Positions
    • Students
    • Neighborhoods
    • Emergency
  1. The above lables are “categories” that describe roles.
  2. A resource is a person, place, or thing.
  3. Resources can be in multiple categories / roles.

Hurt child – Pretend Blair falls and breaks an arm…

  • Admin
    • Teaching positions
      • Teachers
      • Aids
      • Volunteers
      • Yard Duty
        • John
        • Sally
    • Students
      • Alice
      • Blair
    • Emergency
      • Ambulance
      • Firehouse
      • Police
  1. John, on yard duty, sees that Blair has a broken arm.
  2. John selects “Blair” and changes her status, location, adds a note, “broken arm, bone showing”, and then updates the resource “Blair”.
  • Blair
    • Status
      • Absent: sick
      • Absent: vacation
      • Present: fine
      • Present: sick
      • Present: hurt minorly
      • PRESENT: HURT MODERATELY 
      • Present: hurt severely
    • Location
      • At school
      • LOWER PLAYGROUND 
      • Upper Playground
      • 4th grade classrom #33
      • Lunch
      • Latitude and longitude
      • Other
    • Is stewarded by (all resources have cascading “stewards”)
      • 1° Parent: Polly
      • 1° Parent: Dan
      • 2° Grandparent: Sally Smith
      • 3° Neighbor: Lori Dom
    • Emergency Records
    • Homework
    • Classwork
    • Notes: ____”broken arm, bone showing”_____
  1. When “Present: hurt moderately” was updated, a text was sent out to:
    1. The local firehouse since they are part of the system and have preferences that trigger on “moderate” and or “severe hurt”. They now have access to Blair’s medical info on file with the school,  know where to go, and what to expect in minimal time.
    2. John could also attach a photo if the break was minor to let the experts decide if they should come, or just have Blair driven to the hospital by her steward.
    3. Blair’s 1° and 2° stewards (and emailed, etc. based on preferences). They can text John, and also continue to get all changes in Blair’s status.
    4. The administration, nurse, and Blair’s teacher are also texted.
    5. The custodians are also notified in case fences are to be opened.
  2. 80% of possible wanted info is already present and in the context of the node / role. If more location detail is needed, maybe the class is on a field trip, John could quickly choose the latitude and longitude coordinates offered by the phone. And or would just select “other”, add enter a description. This illustrates the flexiablity of the system: Unless there is a good reason to be more specific, location is normally just “At school” because there is no reason to track people.

Earthquake (big, roads affected)

  • Admin
    • Maintanence
    • PTA
      • Hot lunch program
    • Grades
    • Teaching Positions
    • Students
    • Neighborhoods
      • Burton Valley
      • Sarinap
      • West BVE
    • Classrooms
    • Emergency
  1. As soon as the shaking stopped, each teacher (or aid) would update students status, and the status of their classroom.
  2. In fact, all stewards could quickly update the status of the resources they steward at the same time. Bottlenecks are minimized.
  3. PEMS is low bandwidth.

After a few minutes, planners have a good idea of damage and can start to make decisions because views of  automatically summarized results is a few clicks away.. For instance:
Resources not updated within past 5 minutes

  • Teaching positions (3)
    • Sally
    • Frank
    • Tim
  • Students (5)
    • Larry
    • Molly
    • Trina
    • Sam
    • Jim

Kids typically line up on the black top via classroom. If planers determine it is best to send kids to their neighborhoods, organizing and updating everyone’s status only takes a few minutes because kids are already resources of their neighborhoods.

(more soon)

February 20, 2013

PEMS Pocket school phone tree and Event Management System

Filed under: Castpoints, Editorials — Tags: , — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 12:28 pm

PEMS (Pocket Event Management System) is a flexible browser based application that simplifies communication between a school’s, parents, kids, administration, emergency responders, and the public. It’s low cost, low bandwidth and can run on any cell phone with a html browser. It’s based on a simplified version of the industry standard role based Incident Command System (ICS).

PEMS also works well with fairs, parades and other group activities.

Current Emergency Management Problems (in our school district)

  • Communication is only broadcast, there is no way to reply to emails or voicemails. When checking an email on an iPhone, I was prompted to download software. In a real emergency, this could tie up a lot of bandwidth.
  • Parents don’t know the status of their kids, and can’t communicate with them.
  • If kids are to be picked up, what if a parent can’t make it? How is that communicated to the office? How does the office handle all that communication?
  • In the event of a serious earthquake, where emergency responders might not be able to help, how are groups of people triaged? How are supplies requested, allocated, and transported?
  • In an earthquake, everyone meets on the large playground. How do people communicate?
  • Information is extremely course grained.

A solution to all those issues is a simple system that organizes the relationships and communications between people based on roles and resources. Parents, responders, and volunteers, have collaborative real-time access about everyone’s condition, abilities, and resources, to effectively do triage and allocate resources. Sample use case (draft)

Parents

  • Be informed of each major change in your kids status, location, and condition in real time.
  • Be able to contact children, and or their stewards, directly.
  • Be able to send kids to a neighbor’s house if unable to pick up.

Emergency Responders

  • Know many aspects of a situation before arrival (number involved, short description, photo) and so can start triage immediately.
  • Know location of incident.
  • Have immediate access to kids medical history on file.
  • Reduced response time because information can go directly to responders.
  • Can easily create new groups of people to manage situations in real time.

Teachers And Administrators

  • Can formally communicate while away from computers and if electricity is interrupted.
  • Reduce workload in multiple ways.
    • Most information is already present, and updated on a distributed basis.
    • Most decisions are made by a few taps.
  • Multiple near real time of filtered and organized information allow much better and faster decision making.
  • Communication is bi-directional.
  • The role of liaison with the public, and other jurisdictions, is simple and easy.
  • Can easily create new groups of people to manage situations in real time.

Kids

  • Know that they are in a system that supports them.
  • Have quick and direct access to parents.

Privacy And Preferences

  • Because of modularity, privacy is automatically protected.
  • People own their own information. In this case kids own their own information via their stewards. This avoids: Your School Is Screwing Your Kids For Profit.
  • Participants can pre-select which categories will trigger information being sent to them.

Cost
First month free. Then, if paying as an individual, participation costs $5 every 3 months. Or, if an event is paying, the cost is $1 per participant on the 1st of the month, and the participant pays zero. If a participant is in, say, 4 events, each event pays $0.25 and the particpant pays 0. Nobody is double charged, but payment is non refundable.

PEMS is a subset of the patent pending Castpoints system, and should be available September 2013.

February 17, 2013

Castpoints > Use case > Making money from posting a valuable article

Filed under: Castpoints — Tags: — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 3:57 pm

How does Hania make money from her well done 9 page post about the Alice programming environment using the Castpoints system?

alice cover2

Option 1
Post to a very small blog (like her personal blog or a friends) for very little cost (say $1) with a “Max use fee” of say 20%. This means Hania gets up to 20% of income from the promotion of her post, or parts of her post.

  • Pros
    • With more valuable posts like this, Hania can attract traffic and valuable 3rd party posts, which can make her money via a small transaction fee.
    • Low cost.
  • Cons
    • In order to make money, someone has to find Hania’s post, decide it has value, and promote it. This might take a while.
    • Profit is limited.

Option 2
Post to a medium sized programing blog for, say, $10. Hania still gets up to 20% of income from the promotion of her article.

  • Pros
    • Definite exposure.
    • Others are incented to help Hania polish her post.
    • Fun to participate.
    • Low risk.
  • Cons
    • Profit is limited.
    • Medium cost to post.

Option 3
Post directly to Alice’s support or review forum for, say, $70.

  • Pros
    • Others are incented to help Hania polish her post.
    • Direct exposure.
    • Profit is unlimited since she has posted at her category’s apex.
    • Fun to participate.
  • Cons
    • Hania’s post cost is relatively high since she is competing directly at her content’s apex.
    • Higher risk. If her post is not really valuable, she will lose most of her post cost.

No matter which option Hania chose, her article will continue to generate income as long as people find it valuable. Income can come from 2 sources: people rating her post by putting their money where their mouth is, and people using parts of her post for their own endeavors. She will also have added to her reputation, and might be hired to create a similar article. Hania can also look to see if other applications have valued supporting posts like hers and if not, create them. Now that she has a proven formula for these types of posts, she can also reformat and refine another’s moderately valued post and post that by herself, and or in collaboration with the other author.

From A Promoter’s (Arbitrator’s) Point Of View
Promoters can profit when they can take something that seems undervalued and take the risk to promote it to a niche where it will be fully valued, and or repackage it to present it’s value in other ways. In option 1 and 2, the promoter could have made money by simply risking the post fee to copy and paste Hania’s post. The promoter has limited risk, and is exposed to uncapped income. Hania has no risk and is exposed to 20% of uncapped income.

The promoter could also recognize the value in how Hania organized her post and compose, and or collaborate with Hania, a post about that framework. In other words, “copyright holders” now hope their content is used as much as possible.

From A Reader’s Point Of View
Readers easily find the best posts about their area of interest by indicating that they only want to see posts with a rating of, say, 50% or better. Trolls, flamers, and agent provocateurs can go at it, even back their posts with a lot of money, but they will still be rated low, lose money, and have very low visibility.

Forum/Blog Managers Point Of View
Obviously, content managers love the fact that most of their daily hassles (dealing with trouble makers) are taken care of quickly and with no effort on their part. And via the small transaction fee, site costs can support themselves without ads. In fact, if they want to attract valuable content, managers can make the transaction fee, say, negative 10% for a while (site wide, or specific categories). This does not attract people who DON’T consistently add value because their value rating is too low to make money anyway. But it does attract people who DO consistently add value because now they can make an extra 10%. The content manager does not have to be a marketing genius, or hire one, for promotion.

Related
+ Castpoints – How forum owners, posters, advertisers, and lurkers would benefit
+ Castpoints – Using Nature’s Economic Paradigm To Manage All Resources Resulting In Win-Win Transactions

February 11, 2013

Divine right of kings in 2 silly currency actions

Filed under: Castpoints, Editorials — Tags: , , — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 10:52 am

Hollande warns on euro strength, denounces markets for currencies Francois Hollande has issued a clear warning…”

Backed by what? Nothing, other than his say so? How is something clear if there are no details?

“…that the current strength of the euro…”

What strength? The weekly EUR has been in a trading range for at least 5 years.

EUR weekly Feb 11 2013

The monthly chart supports the idea that the EUR is not at obvious extremes.

EUR monthly feb 11 2013

“…could damage the fragile economic recovery in Europe…”

How so? Because he says so?? Could the issue really be they need to devalue the currency to pay off all the debt they have created via the hidden tax of inflation? Probably the most damaging thing is politicians changing rules to bail out favorites, which costs money, and increases uncertainty, and therefore makes capital reluctant to be deployed and create wealth.

“…calling for international action to stem currency distortions…”

  • Why should I be tasked (pay money) to fix a problem that is only a problem because some guy thousands of miles away asserts it’s a problem? Projecting power is costly.
  • How would I know what kind of distortion to add to an already supposedly distorted currency? That’s ripe for unintended consequences. Who suffers the consequences?
  • Why would distorting and already distorted currency work? Are there any examples in history of this working long term?
  • What’s in it for me?

“…The euro should not fluctuate…”

All fait currencies fluctuant — especially in relationship to asset backed currencies, because they are backed by what suits the divine rights of kings. When they want money they just print it up. If you want less fluctuation, back your currency by something: stable, does not spoil, is semi rare, is divisible, is fungible, and has value that is readily accepted worldwide. Oh, you don’t like that because you can’t just print it up every time you want something for nothing. Like promising entitlements, that grandchildren will have to pay for in exchange for votes (control).

“…according to the mood of the markets…”

It’s not a capricious “mood”. (I love how “markets” are denigrated!) It’s simple supply and demand, constantly messed with by on purpose “distortions”. Oh, you mean currencies should only fluctuate based on the divine right of king’s mood? I’ll stop here.

Many welcome departure of pesky penny The [Canadian] penny is on the way out, and that’s good news for people tired of dealing with the nuisance coin…”

It’s only a nuisance because the currency has been debased enough to make the metal worth more than the hidden tax of seignorage. Funny how the opening line makes 2 kinds of theft, the hidden taxes of inflation and seignorage, seem like gov is on top of things, helping people out, with good news. Although the whole article never talks about why the penny has become a nuisance, 3 of the 6 commenter’s apparently do. The penny is 94% steel. Iron costs money to “print”.

There would be no problem if the coin was valued in grams of steel. Instead politicians decided to define the value of a resource by fiat (probably to accrue seigniorage). Has there ever been a case where a fiat currency worked in 5,000 years of economic story? Not that I know of.

GDP only doubles…
canada-gdp-per-capita

Yet money supply up “a lot”…
canada-money-supply-m3

Update February 13 2013

The Great Lie That Will Bankrupt America The world’s money system – the scales upon which the world’s market functions – is being deliberately destroyed. And so, the monetary signals that guide the markets – which are supposed to represent the supply and demand decisions of billions of people – have become distorted…

[Edward Gibbon] …when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.

Free competition among currencies minimizes mal-investment.

January 26, 2013

Critiquing: “The sharing economy wants to play with the big kids — is it ready?” by Greg Hanscom

Filed under: Castpoints, Editorials — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 9:06 am

This is one of the first articles I have noticed about Collaborative Competition meeting the status quo.

A quick gander at the site’s New York City listings last month led the travel news site Skift.com to conclude that more than half of them were in violation of state law [21 pages of unintelligible “stuff”]… Airbnb’s response, via its global head of public policy, David Hantman: “We can’t possibly keep up with the law in all the cities…”

This is true. Just go to any county library and ask to see the section for local county and town laws, regulations, rules, etc. In the case of San Luis Obispo County’s area, where my Business Law teacher sent our class years ago just for this purpose, there were literally thousands of books. “As of 2010 the Federal Register [all the federal regulations for businesses] was 81,405 pages long.” That is 160 reams of paper; 850 pounds of paper; $1,300 for the cost of the unprinted paper; 27 foot high pile of paper.

But Airbnb’s strategy of pleading ignorance or powerlessness in New York, one of its biggest markets, doesn’t exactly add up: Here the company actively lobbied against the very rule that so many of its users are apparently [allegedly] flouting.

I skimmed the “rule” that runs 21 pages and don’t understand it. “…natural person or family for 30 consecutive days or longer (the permanent occupants)…” Talk about complexity, a whole lot of legalese: Would not “the permanent occupants” be a natural person and or family? Why pick “30” days? Why not 29, or 31? Is that number arbitrary? Is the cost of figuring all this stuff out worth it to all involved worth it?

Arun Sundararajan, an associate professor at NYU’s business school, wrote in Wired in October that reputation systems … and the transparency of the web make regulations obsolete:

After all, profit is a much more powerful driver for quality than regulatory compliance. If your last customer — one who has been vetted by others and has built reputation credibility — complains about the hygiene levels of your shared lodging, your future business prospects on Airbnb are pretty bleak.

Who better to discern hygiene than the omnipresent renter who also has their reputation on directly on the line. Inspectors are not around all the time and answer to the city, not directly to the people on either side of the transaction.

Even though in “2011 as the [NY City] issued 1,897 violations”, it’s trivial to ascertain that 3,200 [current rentals] are illegal under New York law. Predictably, criminalizing something that has value just makes people go underground breaking more “laws”. “…With Toshi, they’re looking at online false advertising as part of their lawsuit…” What good is a “law” that is selectively enforced “New York hosts have generally not been targeted for enforcement.”? Who decides who enforces the law against whom?

I suspect plenty of web-savvy customers share my trepidation at relinquishing the safety of dinner to the handful of anonymous netizens crazy enough to obsess over an online kitchen livecast. While many of these regulatory battles do smack of governments protecting old industries that are “disrupted” by the new sharing model, there are often good reasons that these rules exist.

There is always the option of the “legal” hotels where one will pay more money for “safety”. Obviously safety and hygiene are important. The question is, what works best in in those regards? Airbnb states their have been over 10 million nights booked. The 2 articles referenced alleged ZERO problems between people who want or have a room for rent. The only listed complaint was a single one about over crowding. Most complaints reportedly came from “residents”.

“I don’t think sharing economy companies are anti-regulation at all,” Turner adds. “The question is what’s reasonable.” That’s a politician’s question so that they can manipulate and coerce everyone to “compromise”. The question is what works, and what is valuable. At the end of the article is a possible answer:

“But you [sharing economy companies] are a threat to existing industries, and these companies spend millions and millions to protect their market share from each other and anyone from the outside.”

Rentals that spend their limited “millions” to protect their market, instead of bettering their product, are competing with rentals that spend their money on offering valuable products that are often unique. Which is proving more adaptable to the market?

If sharing economy wunderkinds can’t get their acts together and face regulation reality head-on, they may watch their profits decline and lose traction in the battle to make collaborative consumption a societal norm.

Seems like it’s the opposite. Regulations are just another hidden tax and are subject to corruption, regulatory capture (more), selective enforcement, unintended consequences, etc.

[Regulations] cost the [US] economy nearly $2 trillion a year… $15,000 per household… This year alone (2011), 50,000 pages of new regulations have been added to the Federal Register… One frustrated banker said it takes 20 percent more employees to deal with all the paperwork to comply with regulations than it does to work on loans… “Miniature horses are now service animals. So restaurants and airplanes have to allow mini-horses on…”

What works better?
• Regulations that are expensive, and have serious systemic flaws.
• Transparency and reputation that apparently have no overtly notable reported problems after 10 million transactions world wide (other than annoying the status quo), and are incredibly cheap.

Update January 28

Startup dreams meet pop-up rentals The newcomers already have broken the laws around taxi services (with apps that allow anyone to be a cabdriver), music (their first CDs came free off Napster) and hotels (they often stay in untaxed AirBnB rooms), so zoning codes are just another institution to drag into the 21st century. To them, occupancy limits are like copyright laws – simply obsolete.

Wait, there is a big difference between ignoring things that don’t work (laws about taxis and hotels), stealing (music, copyright), and indirect fiat (zoning). “In many ways, pop-up housing is a necessity, even as some worry that these illegal arrangements could lead to abuse or unsafe conditions.” And yet no abuse or unsafe conditions are reported in the article. The difference is that there are plenty of choices available so the only reason to be part of a bad situation is psychological baggage.

“If San Francisco will not build enough new units, they will invent them.” Lead follow, or get out of the way.

Scam complete: the US government takes a page from Diocletian’s book… …An important lesson from history, and a trend that has been repeated numerous times… governments will stop at nothing to keep the party going just a little bit longer… With a debt level over 100% of GDP, the US is so broke that the government must borrow money just to pay interest on the money it’s already borrowed. They’ve lost over a trillion dollars a year since 2008… As with any good scam, the government must maintain public confidence… Dissent must be vigorously and swiftly pursued. So when S&P finally downgraded the US one notch in August 2011, the SEC and Justice Department announced that S&P was under investigation, just two weeks later… Egan-Jones, a smaller rating agency, has been even more aggressive, downgrading the US credit rating three times in 18 months… In a country that churns out thousands of pages of new regulations each week, it’s easy to find a reason to go after someone… In the case of Egan-Jones, the SEC brought administrative action against the agency within two weeks of their second downgrade. And a few days ago, the case was settled… Egan-Jones is banned for the next 18 months from rating US government debt. They’ve effectively been silenced from telling the truth.

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