Tuesday, July 14, 2020

minimum wage can't get you an apartment in any US state

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/14/minimum-wage-workers-cannot-afford-rent-in-any-us-state.html

"In fact, the average minimum wage worker in the U.S. would need to work almost 97 hours per week to afford a fair market rate two-bedroom and 79 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom, NLIHC calculates. That’s well over two full-time jobs just to be able to afford a two-bedroom rental."

Minimum wage should mean the lowest wage that lets you still make a living.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Turning dead malls into apartments

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-08/lisbon-s-plan-to-reclaim-vacation-rentals-for-housing

"At the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, a suburb north of Seattle, an adaptive reuse project already in progress suggests that America’s vast stock of fading shopping infrastructure could indeed get a second life as places to live. Such transformation could even bring malls closer to the “village square” concept they were initially envisioned to become.
Developers are turning a wide swath of the 41-year-old shopping center into Avalon Alderwood Place, a 300-unit apartment complex with underground parking. The project won’t completely erase the shopping side of the development: Commercial tenants will still take up 90,000 square feet of retail. But when the new Alderwood reopens, which developers expect will happen by 2022, the focus will have shifted dramatically. One of the mall’s anchor department stores, Sears, shut down last year; in a sense, the apartment complex will be the new anchor. "

I wrote about this before about a mall in Mesa, Arizona.  Hopefully this idea catches on rather than just let malls rot.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Making cement with waste brine

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/uae-pavilion-biennale-sabkha-cement-spc/index.html

"Brine contains magnesium minerals. Kemal Celik, an assistant professor of civil and urban engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi and part of a team at the university's AMBER Lab, extracted a magnesium compound from the liquid, and used it to make the cement.
Celik says the cement was cast into blocks, which were then placed in a carbon dioxide chamber to set -- an innovation which speeds up the production process. The cement was subjected to testing in the UAE before being sent to Japan, where blocks went through further strength and rigidity tests. In addition, an algorithm was developed to calculate how safe the blocks would be if used in construction, Mika Araki, a structural designer at the University of Tokyo, told CNN."
 
This looks great, although brine can be corrosive so it can't be used with just any other material for construction.
 
 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

more success for universal basic income

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/07/finnish-basic-income-pilot-improved-wellbeing-study-finds-coronavirus

"The researchers, who conducted 81 in-depth interviews with participants in the scheme, concluded that while there was significant diversity in their experiences, they were generally more satisfied with their lives and experienced less mental strain, depression, sadness and loneliness than the control group.
The researchers also noted a mild positive effect on employment, particularly in certain categories, such as families with children, adding that participants also tended to score better on other measures of wellbeing, including greater feelings of autonomy, financial security, and confidence in the future."

Spain and Scotland are up next.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

maybe huge corporations aren't such a good idea

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/04/28/why-are-farmers-destroying-food-while-grocery-stores-are-empty/

"Decades of consolidation have made food systems more vulnerable, say experts. Beginning in the 1980s, the federal government allowed more agribusinesses to merge and grow largely without restraint in the name of efficiency—before, antitrust and other policies helped keep these industries decentralized and competitive. Consequently, a small number of giant, often vertically integrated, firms, produce and distribute the bulk of food in the U.S. Their hulking and specialized supply chains are not so efficient in the face of disruption."

Covid-19 is exposing a lot of weaknesses in our corporate system. Just a friendly reminder that corporate law can be changed.

Friday, April 24, 2020

drones to surveil the poor

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/homeless-people-are-risk-coronavirus-police-have-contentious-solution-drones-n1191866

"Calvert County is one of at least four law enforcement agencies across the country using drones during the coronavirus outbreak to communicate with homeless people, many of whom are surviving outdoors without sinks to wash their hands, and without reliable bathrooms, healthcare, internet access or electricity.
The idea, according to law enforcement officials interviewed by NBC News, is that homeless encampments are often tucked away in hard-to-access areas, and a drone can allow police to patrol with a live camera feed and blast information from the sky without having to venture in person at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging social distancing."

Hm.  

Friday, April 10, 2020

Trickle down is a lie

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/04/warren-buffett-on-the-failure-of-trickle-down-economics.html

“Between the first computation in 1982 and today, the wealth of the 400 increased 29-fold — from $93 billion to $2.7 trillion — while many millions of hardworking citizens remained stuck on an economic treadmill. During this period, the tsunami of wealth didn’t trickle down. It surged upward.”

Warren Buffet is a smart man.