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deletedOct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022
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Dementia is caused by time manipulation from the future

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Neutralizing earworms is very easy, you just have to play the song backwards. The hard part is diagnosing which species of parasite needs to be removed from the patient, since choosing incorrectly only exacerbates the problem by adding new ones.

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I love these. I know they're torture for you but damn it's great to read.

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Something similar to the rap thing has actually happened! There’s a messaging service whose killer app is that it doesn’t store cleartext messages centrally, so when the government asks for messages, the request gets negotiated by the lawyers working for the company being investigated, instead of by a third party messaging service that doesn’t want any trouble.

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

"I think it’s just cope for galaxy-brainers who are too obsessed with the classical western humanities tradition. I definitely don’t think you can make life have extra meaning just by making more myths."

As a galaxy-brainer who is too obsessed with the classical western humanities tradition, you Californians would do well to read your Dante.

"...It seems, if I hear right, that you can see

beforehand that which time is carrying,

but you’re denied the sight of present things.”

“We see, even as men who are farsighted,

those things,” [Farinata] said, “that are remote from us;

the Highest Lord allots us that much light.

But when events draw near or are, our minds

are useless; were we not informed by others,

we should know nothing of your human state.

So you can understand how our awareness

will die completely at the moment when

the portal of the future has been shut.”

-_Inferno_, Canto 10

We've just had a killing frost and I have green tomatoes & zucchini to put up for the winter. Ta.

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I am unironically trying to do the myth thing, because I think it would be neat for worldbuilding. Plus, I know a guy who's annoyed with people who write stories about multiverses and only focus on a couple of locations. I think he'd find it cool. First stop: slavic fairy tales.

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founding

A very neutral response:

Myth Creation - I note the Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index < https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/aarne-thompson-uther-tale-type-index-fables-fairy-tales >, a taxonomy of folklore tales.

Rap Lyrics as Evidence - if rappers are more likely to commit crimes, is it fair to use that correlation as evidence in a trial? Or is that too similar to saying "Italians are more likely to commit crimes"?

Wikipedia Admins - from personal experience, anything involving editing Wikipedia is terrible conversation at parties. (I'm not a Wikipedia admin, but ... you don't need to see my credentials)

Douglas Hofstadter - if I were him, I would want the coining of the term "Metamates" for Facebook employees to be censored from the Wikipedia article. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/02/15/facebook-meta-metamates/

Talmud and Kidneys - inside you there are two (wolves|kidneys), one good and one evil. Which will win? The one you feed. ... But how do you feed a kidney? I suppose by eating protein, as a precursor to urea?

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Another Sydney Harbour Boat Party also works for me here. Drop me some ropes.

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People probably know Skyhook better as the Fulton Recover system from Metal Gear Solid V.

And it was infact sometimes called Skyhook, so that's not really a pitch rather than just another explanation of a thing that exists.

Also it already is kind of a thing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c46_iL2QqOE

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> “Heyyyyy, I haven’t seen you in forever!” says a person whose name is statistically likely to be Michael or David.

Gosh, does "globalist, cosmopolitan elite" just not work in the Bay?

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Love this piece. However, like a phoenix of disappointment, criminological misunderstandings arise again. This time about CA 2799!

The actual bill: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2799

Section 352.2 is added to the Evidence Code, to read:

(a) In any criminal proceeding where a party seeks to admit as evidence a form of creative expression, the court, while balancing the probative value of that evidence against the substantial danger of undue prejudice under Section 352, shall consider, in addition to the factors listed in Section 352, that: (1) the probative value of such expression for its literal truth or as a truthful narrative is minimal unless that expression is created near in time to the charged crime or crimes, bears a sufficient level of similarity to the charged crime or crimes, or includes factual detail not otherwise publicly available; and (2) undue prejudice includes, but is not limited to, the possibility that the trier of fact will, in violation of Section 1101, treat the expression as evidence of the defendant’s propensity for violence or general criminal disposition as well as the possibility that the evidence will explicitly or implicitly inject racial bias into the proceedings.

There are additional (b), (c), and (d) section that clarify section (a), but section (a) is the crux. In other words, this would not protect the crimes described here. But, why even do this in the first place? Well, a lot of good research. The research behind the bill can be divided into two genres: content / historical analyses, and experimental studies.

Content studies include:

-Kubrin, Charis E. 2005a. “Gangstas, Thugs, and Hustlas: Identity and the Code of the Street in Rap Music.” Social Problems 52(3):360–78. doi: 10.1525/sp.2005.52.3.360.

-Kubrin, Charis E. 2005b. “‘I See Death around the Corner’: Nihilism in Rap Music.” Sociological Perspectives 48(4):433–59. doi: 10.1525/sop.2005.48.4.433.

-Kubrin, Charis E., and Erik Nielson. 2014. “Rap on Trial.” Race and Justice 4(3):185–211. doi: 10.1177/2153368714525411.

To summarize, rap lyrics prominently feature violent lyrics much like first person shooters prominently feature death. The reason rap lyrics feature violence is not easily mappable to "the writers of the music actually have been violent, are violent, or will be violent" in the way that courts would might treat, say, an SMS communication or diary entry. There is an important social context here that situates the usage of violent lyrics and threats in rap music, much like there is an important social context in which GTA, Call of Duty, etc. operate. Ignoring that social context leads to differential usage of rap lyrics on trial, and overstates their probative value.

Experimental studies include:

-Dunbar, Adam, and Charis E. Kubrin. 2018. “Imagining Violent Criminals: An Experimental Investigation of Music Stereotypes and Character Judgments.” Journal of Experimental Criminology 14(4):507–28. doi: 10.1007/s11292-018-9342-6.

-Dunbar, Adam, Charis E. Kubrin, and Nicholas Scurich. 2016. “The Threatening Nature of ‘Rap’ Music.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 22(3):280–92. doi: 10.1037/law0000093.

-Fried, Carrie B. 1999. “Who’s Afraid of Rap: Differential Reactions to Music Lyrics.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29(4):705–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1999.tb02020.x.

Basically, rap music in particular is seen as violent and criminal when controlling for all other characteristics (including the actual lyrics). This what drives the concern and also corroborates the mechanisms behind Kubrin and Nielson 2014 above by demonstrating the prejudicial effects of rap music in particular.

So, this bill addresses a real harm by forcing courts to seriously weigh the prejudicial effects. Courts can - and will - introduce creative expressions (including rap!) into trials. But, prosecutors will be incentivized to have harder evidence in hand instead of making cases via that route alone, and furthermore courts will have to more seriously think about the a) social context of the creative expression (e.g. how confident should we be that this is specifically relevant to the crime at hand?) and b) the prejudicial potential (which we can see is heightened for rap music).

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The further wrinkle for kidney donation is that when somebody altruistically donates a kidney, they have demonstrated reduced left kidney function, so they would probably insist you donate the right one instead.

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Not sure if I should feel happy or sad that the house parties I attend mostly revolve around drinking beer and determining what distance from the fire will bring the temperature to a tolerable level

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

Cool, another reason to work on upper body strength so I can hold on to the rope and not fall to my death.

Also, that rap is the hottest yet!

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> So if you donate your evil kidney, then you become entirely good, but the recipient becomes entirely evil.

Except that when someone qualifies to receive a kidney, the doctors transplant the donor kidney into the recipient, but they LEAVE the old kidneys there too. So actually the donor becomes 100% good, and the recipient only becomes 67% evil. This changes the whole moral calculus.

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"I just heard about STARS, I think it's a hot stock tip"

"Whoa! Hold up! You can't just go saying it!"

[record scratch]

"If they're not publicly traded, you have to be an accredited investor,

A million in wealth, or large income for a couple semesters

Are there conflicts of interest? Then that's right out.

Talk to your trusted lawyer if there's any doubt.

Now we have to figure out the finance, don't issue convertible debt

Most founders prefer SAFEs, that's something you shouldn't forget!"

[mic drop]

You sigh and walk out of the room.

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My best dumb start up idea is a toilet paper dispenser that rolls out directly from the cash register as you scan your purchases proportionate to how much you will probably need for that item. The roll drops into your bag automatically as you leave. No name for it yet but Make-a-Poop-take-a-Poop seems like it would never fly.

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So funny! You know, I read a "bay area house party bingo" board meme recently and thought, "those are all Slate Star Codex topics."

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> See, that’s the kind of negative talk that used to get me down. I would have given up. But now I just think to myself - did Jesus give up when the Minotaur kidnapped his daughter? No! He set out through the Fiery Forest to find the magic helmet that would bring her back! And that’s why I’m not going to give up either. See! I’ll let you have that one for free.

Quick, somebody DALL-E this up!

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Loved the Wikipedia section! Whenever xkcd mentions Wikipedia, I immediately go and check the relevant page for joke edits. This blog probably doesn't have the same reach and hopefully isn't read by Wikipedia jokesters, but I'm going to be watching the Hofstadter page for a while, just in case.

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And just a few sentences later in that Gemara it says " And Rava said: The world was created only for the sake of the full-fledged wicked or the full-fledged righteous; others do not live complete lives in either world. Rava said: One should know of himself whether or not he is completely righteous"(Berachot 61b), so by donating his kidney, the donor know his status, and knows that the " completely righteous are written and sealed immediately for life; the completely wicked are written and sealed immediately for death; the beinonim (average) are held in abeyance." (Rosh HaShana 16a). Seems like a good shortcut to getting into the World to Come.

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I predict that the next time Michael Levine goes to a house party everyone’s going to want to talk to him about rapping to avoid getting convicted of security fraud.

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But what’s the solution for save-state ear worms? Ear worms that sing the next part of a song that has been paused right before resuming the song.

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I haven't worked my way back to Bullfinch yet. I'm still stuck on "The Golden Bough". Sacrifice of our sacred king forestalled.

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I haven't had a social interaction in 23 days and this only makes me happier with that decision

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And to think there is only a 0.01% chance Russia nukes San Fran this year.

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

"Did Jesus give up when the Minotaur kidnapped his daughter? No!"

That's brilliant. Were you thinking of Animal House?

Bluto: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

Otter: [to Boon] "Germans?"

Boon: "Forget it, he's rolling."

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It's worth noting that CA 2799 doesn't actually ban the use of rap lyrics as evidence. Ken White (Popehat) has a Twitter thread on it here: https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1575997780853551104

To sum up, the law basically just says to judges, "Hey, before admitting art by someone as evidence against them, consider the genre conventions, consider that it may not be describing crimes that actually occurred, and that if there's no reason to think that any crimes described could relate to this particular case, then the evidence might be more prejudicial than relevant." So, it doesn't actually change very much, as judges already consider questions of prejudice vs relevance all the time; this law just gives them an explicit instruction about some factors to consider. But, y'know, they're judges -- if they don't like the instruction, what are you going to do?

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founding

Q: Why did James and I leave Google to start a gambling startup?

A: There's no alpha left in Alphabet

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> "I definitely don’t think you can make life have extra meaning just by making more myths"

Says you, Uriel.

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I was inspired by your previous house party post and started hosting house parties in Singapore. So far it's been great, the only problem is a skewed gender ratio (not enough men).

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I'm unironically the AI skeptic guy. Think about it: we already have machines that can make cappuccinos at least as well as your average human for maybe, what, a dollar? But we still pay humans 4-6x times that to make one for us anyway, and sometimes we feel so guilty about underpaying that we actually TIP!

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I knew where the Hofstadter story was going... and it still made me laugh a lot

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I always really enjoy these Authentic Bay Area Experience™ writings.

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This makes me glad I don't have a social life 😁

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At some level I'm just completely unable to tell how much is satire and how much is reality.

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As an old maths teacher of mine once said to me, "you and I both know that between doing maths and having a social life there is a choice to make, and that we both made the right choice.

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This was great, thank you for sharing it! Always a delight to read your short stories.

> “Resisting the urge to go to events like this”, you avoid saying. “What about you?”

So what *did* the protagonist answer? Or was there just an awkward silence before the protagonist passed the ball back to the asker? :D

> All eyes turn to you.

> “Wait,” you say. “I thought urbanism was about finding ways to make cities more liveable and affordable! Not about trying to ban all the things that make residential life convenient and pleasant!”

I feel a little like these two paragraphs got swapped... or I just missed what triggered all urbanists to look at the protagonist.

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when are you uploading your rap to soundcloud?

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"Procedural myth generation" is old hat. See every pulp hack who got into the game after Lovecraft/Howard. Generate random letters for names of incomprehensibly evil deities. Roll dice for numbers of tentacles and eyes. Add muscle and sex allusion to suit. Mythos complete, put in the mail, rinse, repeat.

Then of course the '80s Tolkien clones full of small people racially classified as something ending in "it" or "ing," allied with tall, slender, pointy-eared people called [random letter]['-elf" or "elve"]s" against the Ultimate Evil Enemy (break out random letter generator again).

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In some other closely-aligned universe branch, my bookshelf runneth over with delightful tomes from acclaimed novelist Alexander Scott, after his blog !Song failed to find an official publisher.

Stupid startup ideas: well, more like a specific product rather than a startup (but I guess some startups do revolve around just one Novel New Product). But many years ago, I got frustrated with how clothes hampers are LIFO-designed. That's improper rotation of laundry! One ought to wash the oldest clothes first. So I ended up pitching the idea for the double-sided FlipHamper(tm) to one of those skeezy We Buy Your Invention-type companies. (For whatever it's worth, they thought it had promise, and could begin prototyping if I'd just send them three easy payments of $19.99...)

These days I don't generate enough laundry to make such a thing worthwhile, but I think the general concept could still be useful. Lotsa times in life where I want to access stuff on the bottom of a container, and it'd be super easy/intuitive to just flip it over. But, alas, there's only one opening. (Incidentally, this is the most efficient way to unload a box of bananas, because they're shipped upside-down. Easier to grab the stem ends.)

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

I think you missed a dementia joke. Something like "There's no alpha left in α-synuclein". (or maybe β-Amyloid)

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Remembering why I moved to Utah..... dyyyyying 🤣

Though now I feel inspired to write “another utah house party....” it’s a whole other kind of tech bro here 🤣

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Re CA 2799: I work adjacent to local law enforcement, and there was this one small-time DJ/aspiring rapper who had a song on his Youtube page about selling drugs at the 501 Convenience Mart, and the cops went to the 501 Convenience Mart and found him selling drugs. I only mention this because it cracked me up.

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Hilarioius!

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Great writing. It's like reading Anna Karenina, in that I want half of the cast to live just long enough to get killed by Bolsheviks.

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Edgy

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I always enjoy the fiction posts the most. Thank you, this was delightful. I'm in for a Jillian to support Skyhook.

Oh, a Jillian? It's a new cryptocurrency that we're pioneering. People love celebrity personalities. We're naming the denominations of our currency after the most famous people that support our efforts. Right now, that's the fitness trainer Jillian Michaels.

It's going to be *very* stable.

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Those Urbanists almost got it right at first and then so painfully wrong. The perfect house obviously would not waste space on stairs. But you don't replace them with ladders! You add bouldering grips to the outer walls to encourage lifelong fitness. Also an outside fire pole for when you need to get out in a rush. We shall also add a knotted rope as a concession to the people who would call this ableist.

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"De-earworming the world" -- oh my god I laughed so hard I scared the cats.

I had the thought it would be fun to illustrate this story using Dalle-E. Made a few possible illustrations for "de-earworming the world" -- feel free to comment or vote.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fm0-ads_UE-gZlXLHkoBPc4PRb5NxqtD?usp=sharing

Anyone else want to illustrate some scenes?

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This is great, and also describes quite well how a lot of the AI X-risk discussions sound like to my ears.

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The essence of flirting is playful misinterpretation.

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This was really enjoyable and I laughed a few times. Thank you, Scott.

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You forgot to include the character who writes self-consciously clever blog posts that ostensibly satirize the vapidly pretentious pseudo-intellectual crowd that he runs with, but are in reality ironic counter-signalling humble brags about how connected and hip he is.

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I'm grateful for you writing these. Every time I get a little jealous of the upper income classes I see a reminder that their lives are somehow worse than mine.

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I really like existing carfree city centers such as Prague's old town, and parts of several college campuses. Boring company could perhaps give us the best of both worlds.

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Oct 19, 2022·edited Oct 19, 2022

I hadn't realized it before but urbanism /YIMBY is just the repugnant conclusion in action. Less of everything that provides utility, MORE DENSITY MORE HOUSING MORE PEOPLE

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Well written! Congratulations.

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I was shocked to see that the Goldman Sachs CEO being a DJ, was not a joke, well, it was, but it is also true. He has a whole discography section on how Wikipedia page.

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DALL-E and I came up with this illustration for "Another Bay Area House Party" to amuse you all.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HblqODsbUlJ4vdWG_OdrW3ptFBCIBctN/view?usp=sharing

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Scott, I had an unusually shitty day and this made me laugh a lot. Thank you.

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Read this out loud to Bethany, was hard to breathe from laughing so hard.

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This piece is why I subscribe.

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Great text. If Scott being in mildly uncomfortable social situations results in him writing such stories, then from my point of view, it's totally worth it :-)

Also, from the descriptions of both kinds of events, I gather that the crowd of LW/SSC/ACX meetups is significantly different from Bay Area house parties. I guess the former ones are more likely to have read EY and Scott, and the latter ones are more likely to found startups? Still, the EA people might attend either one?

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I'm interested in knowing how the most probable names were calculated. The most common names in CA are all hispanic names but I couldn't find any more detailed information (by county, level of income, age or race). I'm sure some math into selecting those names.

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If you think that the Urbanist Coven is bad, just wait until they team up with the Georgist Order.

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Belated thought: how does the good kidney/evil kidney theory fit with the "Bad Art Friend" controversy from last year?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Is_the_Bad_Art_Friend%3F

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Scene 1 (along with the image thumbnail) is a veiled confession that the previous article was created with Mike||Dave's myth generator, an inspirational myth to bring hope to the concrete Tartarus of San Francisco Bay.

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The Wikipedia paradox was very clever.

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Windows were actually taxed in 18th century England.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_tax

The number of windows was used as a proxy for house value (and therefore wealth). Previously fireplaces had been counted but people had been reluctant to let the taxman inside their houses.

It's said that this is why you sometimes see Regency-era buildings with bricked-up windows, but I've also heard that this is an urban myth so who knows?

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This was good, but it was unreasonably charitable towards the urbanists.

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I'd recommend that the traders talk about manipulating LIBOR or whatever "in Minecraft", except that they'd end up losing all their money to Alice Maz.

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Great writing. The Don Quixote of facinating yet strangely sureal social experiences. I now have a real FOMO!

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“The function of a minimum wage is essentially to… [keep] wages from getting ‘trapped’ at a level so low it hurts workers.”

If so, why does the minimum wage so rarely (if ever) keep pace with inflation?

Inflation runs at ~5% - https://www.statista.com/statistics/256598/global-inflation-rate-compared-to-previous-year/ but minimum wage increases run closer to half that - https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_762302.pdf

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How does this address the "minimum wage increases destroy jobs" argument at all? As I understand it, that argument posits the existence of at least one marginal employer with a position it estimates creates $7.26/hr in profit; with the minimum wage at $7.25 it will fill the position but at $7.50 it won't. To rebut this with nominal rigidity, would you claim that (a) every single such employer *actually* thinks "I _could_ profitably pay someone $7.50, but I don't _want_ to, just in case things change and I have to lower their wage which would be bad for morale" AND (b) every such business is _actually_ being irrational, and _could_ profitably commit to paying $7.50 and never lowering, but competition doesn't fix this irrationality for some reason?

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Loved this, thank you. I will never live in SF.

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I know we have a bunch of Elizabeths but do we really have that many Annas??

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Oct 25, 2022·edited Oct 25, 2022

This was such a good post. I especially loved the Douglas Hofstadter Wikipedia joke.

After following this blog for a year, this post prompted me to finally sign up to Substack and write my first comment.

The podcast version of this article is especially hilarious because the narrator actually raps the rap section

Link to podcast episode:

https://sscpodcast.libsyn.com/another-bay-area-house-party

Rap begins in 06:25

----

I'm assuming that the Urbanist Coven in the party is satirizing a group of actual urbanists that Scott has encountered that have similarly repugnant ideas with similarly nonsensical justifications.

I'm curious who these urbanists are, and what ideas do they espouse that Scott finds so objectionable.

It very well may be that I myself am one of the urbanists that Scott is poking fun of, seeing as just yesterday I stuck a "BAN CARS" sticker on a utility box.

I'd love to hear Scott do a deeper dive on the topic of urbanism and to challenge my ideas.

Does Scott talk about urbanism in any past posts that I might have missed?

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This actually sounds like a great party, I'd definitely attend.

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Nov 3, 2022·edited Nov 3, 2022

TEN YEARS LATER

"This week's top story: why do all finance professionals get early onset dimentia? Researcher [Alice or Elizabeth] says she has the answer."

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Thank you SO MUCH for not making this subscribers only! I've been a little frustrated lately that all the "weird" articles of the sort that I really follow you for are locked, and I get to read only the sensible economic or political stuff. Vive the cactus people :D

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Somehow missed this when it first came out; enjoyed it immensely:)

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