Thursday, February 5, 2015

A minimum income was tried in Canada, and it worked

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-mincome-experiment-dauphin

"Critics of basic income guarantees have insisted that giving the poor money would disincentivize them to work, and point to studies that show ​a drop in peoples' willingness to work under pilot programs. But in Dauphin—thought to be the largest such experiment conducted in North America—the experimenters found that the primary breadwinner in the families who received stipends were in fact not less motivated to work than before. Though there was some reduction in work effort from mothers of young children and teenagers still in high school—mothers wanted to stay at home longer with their newborns and teenagers weren’t under as much pressure to support their families—the reduction was not anywhere close to disastrous, as skeptics had predicted. "

Well there you go. Now we need to try this in the United States.  How about Rapid City, SD?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

So I guess this person won't be living in a tiny house

http://www.straight.com/news/817631/tiny-homes-are-merely-trendy-fantasy-not-affordable-housing-solution

"I don't want to be defeatist here, because I do admire people who refuse to accept that the world is given to us as is—and instead choose to live as if the maxim of their actions should become a universal truth. It's what remains so attractive about Thoreau's Walden experiment. But we can't laud tiny houses for their innovation without beginning by saying that the economic realities that necessitate it are a huge fucking problem that won't go away with vintage marine lightbulb cages or marble countertops. And we can't treat tiny houses squatting on hobby farms as the latest trend for the well-heeled lumbersexual set.
Stories like these spread the falsehood that consumers have a say in how their neighbourhoods, communities and cities are planned—while the evidence repeatedly shows that our urban agendas are set by developers. Laneway houses, microlofts, tiny housesthese are individuated solutions to social problems that require social fixes. Why can't we see the ingenuity and innovation so evident on this "tiny" scale at macro levels? Because building a wee home on a trailer and towing it out to Sooke just isn't an option for a struggling daycare professional or recently laid-off Target worker—and they shouldn't be promised that it is."

The main argument here is that tiny houses are not for everybody. True. I don't think any tiny house promoter is arguing that everybody should live in one. It's just an alternative. And it demonstrates that we don't really need 2000 square feet of space to feel comfortable.

Croatia helps their 1% - the BOTTOM 1%

http://rt.com/business/228311-croatia-erases-debt-poorest/

"Croatian government have gotten creditors on board a plan to erase the debts of some 60,000 poorest citizens. The “fresh start” scheme targets less than 1 percent of the entire debt, but is hoped to boost the economy in the long-term.
The unorthodox measure was voted for by the government on January 15 and comes into force on Monday. To be eligible to participate debtors must have no savings or property, have a debt no greater than about $5,100 and live on welfare or an income of no higher than $138 per month.
'We assess that this measure will be applicable to some 60,000 citizens,' Deputy Prime Minister Milanka Opacic said as he was introducing the bailout. 'Thus they will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt.'"

I look forward to seeing how this helps or hurts the economy overall. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

NYC conflates protesters with terrorists

http://nypost.com/2015/01/30/nypd-to-launch-a-beefed-up-counterterrorism-squad/

"The NYPD will launch a unit of 350 cops to handle both counterterrorism and protests — riding vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear — under a re-engineering plan to be rolled out over the coming months."

Oh dear god, people. Protesting is a Constitutionally protected act. Terrorism is violence designed to terrorize a community.  Get these people a dictionary!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How safe is our electric grid? Pakistan sends a warning

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/world/asia/widespread-blackout-in-pakistan-deals-another-blow-to-government.html?_r=0

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Towns and cities across Pakistan plunged into darkness early Sunday when what officials said was an attack by militants on a transmission line short-circuited the national electricity grid, presenting a new indictment of the government’s faltering efforts to solve the country’s chronic power crisis.
Emergency efforts to end the blackout, widely described as Pakistan’s worst ever, resulted in a partial restoration of power in the capital, Islamabad, and the most populous city, Karachi, by Sunday evening. Even so, 80 percent of the country remained without power, including the provincial capitals of Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta, an official said."

So how safe is our electricity grid?

"The specter of a large-scale, destructive attack on the U.S. power grid is at the center of much strategic thinking about cybersecurity. For years, Americans have been warned by a bevy of would-be Cassandras in Congress, the administration and the press that hackers are poised to shut it down.
But in fact, the half-dozen security experts interviewed for this article agreed it’s virtually impossible for an online-only attack to cause a widespread or prolonged outage of the North American power grid. Even laying the groundwork for such a cyber operation could qualify as an act of war against the U.S. — a line that few nation-state-backed hacker crews would wish to cross."

Monday, January 19, 2015

micro home communities a good way to help the homeless?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/timmurphywriter/tiny-homes#.juXea5Qqx4

"Heben, the young urban planner and tiny-home evangelist who lives nearby, showed me around, explaining that Opportunity — which grew out of an Occupy camp, with the support of Eugene’s mayor — was built with $100,000 in donated funds plus roughly another $100,000 worth of donated material. Cottages cost a max of $2,000 apiece to build. Residents chip in $30 a month for the shared utilities.
Life at Opportunity does not feel as tidy as at Quixote. With no proper indoor kitchen, residents cook on grills or with a variety of toaster ovens in an outdoor area. The cottages are not heated, and on really cold nights, everyone sleeps in the yurt.
'There’s lots of sickness and colds,' said Tom, who looked a bit like an older Matthew McConaughey with his blue eyes and long blond hair under a Hard Rock Cafe cap. A former Ohio trucker who lost work during the recession, he now collects cans around town so he can make up to $20 a day in refunds. He likes to buy steak with his food stamps."

This is a great article about several communities of micro-houses.  Very thought-inducing.