economics

‘The trouble with fiction is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.’ –Aldous Huxley

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Ten years after the financial dramas of Autumn 2008, I take stock of what we have learned, what we have done, and what we have yet to do if we would avoid a repeat performance.

The primary lessons I draw are that income and wealth distribution, the endogeneity of credit-money, and finance system structure all matter profoundly not only where justice, but also where systemic stability is concerned.

The longer-term tasks still before us include a much broader and financially engineered diffusion of capital ownership over our population, citizen central banking, a permanent national investment authority, continuous public open labor market operations, debt-free or low-debt education and health insurance, and an updated form of segregating capital-raising primary from asset-trading secondary markets in the financial sector.

Shorter-term tasks include debt-forgiveness, a restoration of labor rights and countercyclical progressive taxation, and restored citizen-ownership of our secondary market makers in home mortgage and higher education debt.

{ LawArXiv | Continue reading }

While my JVC vibrates the concrete

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I have itemized data for a single line in New York (Second Avenue Subway Phase 1) and a single line in Paris (Metro Line 1 extension), from which I have the following costs:

Tunneling: about $150 million per km vs. $90 million, a factor of 1.7

Stations: about $750 million per station vs. $110 million, a factor of 6.5

Systems: about $110 million per km vs. $35 million, a factor of 3.2

Overheads and design: 27% of total cost vs. 15%, which works out to a factor of about 11 per km or a factor of 7 per station

[…]

In Paris, as well as Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, Caracas, Santiago, Copenhagen, Budapest, and I imagine other cities for which I can’t find this information, metro stations are built cut-and-cover. While the tunnels between stations are bored, at higher cost than opening up the entire street, the stations themselves are dug top-down. This allows transporting construction materials from the top of the dig, right where they are needed, as well as easier access by the workers and removal of dirt and rock. There is extensive street disruption, for about 18 months in the case of Paris, but the merchants and residents get a subway station at the end of the works.

In contrast, in New York, to prevent street disruption, Second Avenue Subway did not use any cut-and-cover. The tunnels between stations were bored, as in nearly all other cities in the world that build subways, and the stations were mined from within the bore, with just small vertical shafts for access. The result was a disaster: the costs exploded, as can be seen in the above comparison, and instead of 18 months of station box-size disruption, there were 5 years of city block-size disruption, narrowing sidewalks to just 2 meters (7′ to be exact).

{ Pedestrian Observations | Continue reading }

pencil, ink, and enamel on tracing paper { Elena Asins, Scale, 1982-1983 }

entire crew is HorseFaced for real

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A company tied to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump owns a 171-acre hunting preserve that is being used as a private shooting range. […]

During negotiations, said Joe Kleinman — who with his wife, Jocelyn, sold the property in August 2013 for $665,000 — the buyer’s agent tried to reduce the price by invoking a 1991 state court decision that requires buyers disclose to sellers if a property is known to be haunted.

Kleinman refused, saying anyone who truly believed it was haunted would either abandon the sale or pay a premium.

{ Poughkeepsie Journal | Continue reading }

quote { entire crew is HorseFaced for real }

I’ll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore

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[I]t is getting harder to target gamers via traditional advertising techniques, because an increasing number of consumers spend more of their digital days behind paywalls, where there is often no advertising. These are also typically the most engaged and most-spending audiences.

To win some of the attention back, games companies must target gamers behind paywalls, be it through product placement or original content on video streaming services or podcasts and playlists on music services.

{ MIDIA | Continue reading }

Detecting Ocean Glint on Exoplanets Using Multiphase Mapping

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Bitcoin Is Worth Less Than the Cost to Mine It

The production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged around $4,060 globally. […] With Bitcoin itself currently trading below $3,600, that doesn’t look like such a good deal. However, there’s a big spread around the average. […] Low-cost Chinese miners are able to pay much less — the estimate is around $2,400 per Bitcoin — by leveraging direct power purchasing agreements with electricity generators such as aluminum smelters looking to sell excess power generation.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

art { Marcel Duchamp, 3 stoppages-étalon, 1913-14 | MoMA, NYC | Centre Pompidou, Paris }

Who’ll search for Find Me Colours now on the hillydroops of Vikloefells?

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The problems of darknet markets have triggered an evolution in online black markets. […]

Instead of using websites on the darknet, merchants are now operating invite-only channels on widely available mobile messaging systems like Telegram. This allows the merchant to control the reach of their communication better and be less vulnerable to system take-downs. To further stabilize the connection between merchant and customer, repeat customers are given unique messaging contacts that are independent of shared channels and thus even less likely to be found and taken down. Channels are often operated by automated bots that allow customers to inquire about offers and initiate the purchase, often even allowing a fully bot-driven experience without human intervention on the merchant’s side. […]

The other major change is the use of “dead drops” instead of the postal system which has proven vulnerable to tracking and interception. Now, goods are hidden in publicly accessible places like parks and the location is given to the customer on purchase. The customer then goes to the location and picks up the goods. This means that delivery becomes asynchronous for the merchant, he can hide a lot of product in different locations for future, not yet known, purchases. For the client the time to delivery is significantly shorter than waiting for a letter or parcel shipped by traditional means - he has the product in his hands in a matter of hours instead of days. Furthermore this method does not require for the customer to give any personally identifiable information to the merchant, which in turn doesn’t have to safeguard it anymore. Less data means less risk for everyone.

{ Opaque | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee }

perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us

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identical twins […] bought home kits from AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and Living DNA, and mailed samples of their DNA to each company for analysis. Despite having virtually identical DNA, the twins did not receive matching results from any of the companies. […]

An entire DNA sample is made up of about three billion parts, but companies that provide ancestry tests look at about 700,000 of those to spot genetic differences.

{ CBC | Continue reading }

attraction has an expiration date

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{ The Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group occupies itself by doing “research in the classification of occlupanids. These small objects are everywhere, dotting supermarket aisles and sidewalks with an impressive array of form and color.” | Improbable Research }

I’m gonna get a fly girl, gonna get some spank, drive off in a def OJ

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I was a camgirl for five years. My highest earning month was $50,000. […] The ceiling on cam income is very high — top-range models make around $200/hr, and the super-high end ones can make $1000+/hr. The average income is roughly $40/hr, based on around 200 girls I surveyed a few years ago. […]

Nearly every camgirl I’ve seen has used logitech webcams.

{ Knowingless | Continue reading }

Chaturbate takes forty to fifty percent depending on the amount of tokens purchased by users (see below), and pays the rest to the broadcaster, leaving the broadcaster with exactly $5 per one hundred tokens.

{ Cam Model Plaza | Continue reading }

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{ Kink Closet | Continue reading }

previously { How camgirls are making thousands of dollars on Snapchat }

still { Ingmar Bergman, Summer with Monika, 1953 }

How can you face your problem if your problem is your face

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From 1936-1972, approximately 50,000 lobotomies were performed in the US. The majority of these occurred during the “lobotomy boom” which occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Curiously, the lobotomy’s popularity coincided with a consensus within the medical community that it was ineffective. […]

Physician Walter Freeman performed approximately 10% of all US lobotomies during his medical career (El-Hai 2005). Although the procedure was widely used, it swiftly fell out of favor when the FDA approved the first antipsychotic drug in 1954. […]

In this paper, we propose the lobotomy’s popularity and longevity in the US was the result of the incentives generated by the institutional structure of mental health provision. Primarily, we note that funding for public mental hospitals and asylums were provided by state and federal governments on a very low per capita basis. This served to constrained revenues. Lobotomized patients were easier to manage (their brain damage often made them docile), and the procedure was comparatively cheaper than other treatment methods. These factors, in conjunction with little incentive to effectively treat patients provided by bureaucratic oversight, motivated physicians to perform cost and conflict minimizing treatment.


In contrast, physicians operating in private mental hospitals and asylums were funded by the patients, their caregivers, or through philanthropic donations. […] [L]obotomy was less used in private mental hospitals.

{ North Dakota State University Public Choice & Private Enterprise Research Paper Series | Continue reading }

acrylic, oil, oilstick and paper collage on three hinged wooden panels { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1981 }

Rain on your college-ass disco dorm

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“Amazon is not too big to fail,” Bezos said, in a recording of the meeting that CNBC has heard. “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”

{ CNBC | Continue reading }

The avocado is overcado

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Brooklyn-based blockchain software technology startup and Ethereum development studio ConsenSys has acquired asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, Inc. through an asset-purchase agreement. […]

ConsenSys is a production studio that creates enterprises in a wide range of business areas based on the Etherium platform for cryptocurrency and other blockchain applications. It has spawned 50 ventures, or “spokes,” including an online poker site, a legal services site and a “transmedia universe integrated with blockchain technology” called Cellarius. […]

Planetary Resources was founded in its present form in 2012, with initial backing from billionaires including Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Ross Perot Jr. and Charles Simonyi. Its original mission was to identify and mine near-Earth asteroids for valuable resources, ranging from water that could be converted into rocket fuel to platinum-group metals that could conceivably be sent back to Earth.

Over the course of six years, the venture raised tens of millions of dollars and explored other potential revenue streams, including space telescope manufacturing, space selfies and an Earth-observation constellation called Ceres. […] But an anticipated funding round failed to come together, leading to a wave of staff cutbacks.

{ GeekWire | Continue reading }

related { Cryptocurrency Pump-and-Dump Schemes }

photo { Model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, 1936 }