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Visible Homelessness in SF: A Quick Breakdown of Causes

I don't buy the housing cost / homelessness causation. There are many poor cities in the US that have both low housing costs and high homelessness. This page mentions Turlock, CA, Stockton, CA, and Springfield, MA as among the top 15 places with the highest homelessness rates; a quick Zillow search indicates they all have a fair bit of cheap housing.

The relationship between homelessness and state-wide housing costs is probably caused by a latent variable: degree of urbanization. Cities are both more expensive and have more homelessness, and states vary widely along the urban/rural dimension.

You also missed a strong countervailing factor which would tend to reduce SF's homelessness: demographics. SF is has fewer blacks than the nation as a whole, and blacks are more likely to be homeless. SF is also disproportionately Asian, and Asians are much less likely to be homeless.

I think SF's homelessness problem is caused by a very simple reason: SF is a relatively pleasant place to be a street person. This is partially because of the weather, as you mentioned, but also because the city is quite tolerant of the homeless population and has a lot of services for them.

Land Ho!

Copied from a previous comment on Hacker News

I wish you well and I hope you win (ed, here I mean I hope the proposal is approved)

I am pessimistic though. I don't think people really understand how much current homeowners do not want additional housing to be built. It makes sense if you consider that the net worth of a typical homeowner is very substantially made up of a highly leveraged long position in real estate. If that position goes south - because of an increase in housing supply, or because of undesirable new people moving into the neighborhood - the homeowner's net worth could be decimated.

Now, most people will not come out and say directly that they are opposed to new housing for the obvious economic reason, because they don't want to seem selfish and greedy and maybe racist. So they have to find a socially acceptable cover story to oppose new housing - environmentalism, concerns about safety, etc etc.

Uncontroversially good legislation
Answer by DanBJan 10, 2022-1

End Social Security and Other Defined-Benefit Pension Schemes They are intrinsically racist and sexist.

Consider two people, Alice and Bob. Alice is an Asian-American female, while Bob is an African-American male. From the point of view of Social Security, they are identical in every respect: they are the same age, they make the same contributions of the same amount on the same date, and retire at the same time. For the sake of argument, suppose they begin taking SS payments at age 70.

Given that Alice and Bob have made exactly equivalent contributions to the system, you would expect their payout to be roughly comparable. This is not even close to being the case, because of differences in life expectancy between different demographic groups. Asian-American life expectancy is 86.3 years, while for African-Americans, it is 75.0 (source) Furthermore, women enjoy about a 4 year life expectancy advantage over men. So Alice can expect to live to about 88 years, while Bob can only expect to live to about 73. That means Alice receives a 6x greater benefit from SS than Bob - 18 years of payments vs 3 years, in expectation - even though they contributed the exact same amounts.

Designing Low Upkeep Software

Having a budget where initial creation is essentially free (fun!) while maintenance is extremely expensive (drugery!) is a dramatic exaggeration for most software development.

My feeling is that most software development has exactly the same cost parameters; the difference is just that BigTech companies have so much money they are capable of paying thousands of engineers handsome salaries, to do the endless drudgery required to keep the tech stacks working.

The SQLite devs pledge to support the product until 2050.

A Small Vacation

Thanks for the positive feedback and interesting scenario. I'd never heard of Birobidzhan.

Compositionality: SQL and Subways

Thanks for the tip about Kusto - it actually does look quite nice.

How will OpenAI + GitHub's Copilot affect programming?
Answer by DanBJul 01, 20213

My prediction is that the main impact is to make it easier for people to throw together quick MVPs and prototypes. It might also make it easier for people to jump into new languages or frameworks.

I predict it won't impact mainstream corporate programming much. The dirty secret of most tech companies is that programmers don't actually spend that much time programming. If I only spend 5 hours per week writing code, cutting that time down to 4 hours while potentially reducing code quality isn't a trade anyone will really want to make.

Sympathy for the ferryman of Hades, or why we should keep Trump off Twitter

Why isn't this an argument for banning all politically powerful people from Twitter?

Survey on cortical uniformity - an expert amplification exercise

One very important observation related to this issue is the fact that we often observe specific cognitive deficits (e.g. people who can't use nouns) but those specific deficits are almost always related to a brain trauma (stroke, etc.) If there were significant cognitive logic coded into the genome, we should see specific cognitive deficits in otherwise healthy young people caused by mutations.

Utility Maximization = Description Length Minimization

I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I'll guess you mean "how do you deal with the problem that there are an infinite number of tests for randomness that you could apply?"

I don't have a principled answer. My practical answer is just to use good intuition and/or taste to define a nice suite of tests, and then let the algorithm find the ones that show the biggest randomness deficiencies. There's probably a better way to do this with differentiable programming - I finished my Phd in 2010, before the deep learning revolution.

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