Friday, January 12, 2018

MTA construction costs, analyzed

For years, those watching the MTA have rung the alarm on the agency’s high construction costs. I’ve written about cost concerns and the ever-increasing budgets for big-ticket MTA capital projects for years, and I’m not alone. Alon Levy has, since this post in 2011, charted the absurd costs of U.S. rail construction in detailed comparisons with international peers, and Stephen Smith, via the @MarketUrbanism twitter feed, has beaten the cost drum. When challenged, MTA officials have acknowledged that construction costs, but no one has tackled the twin issues of cost transparency and cost control. No one, that is, until last week, when The Times ran a massive front-page story charting all the reasons why NYC transit construction are so high.
Unsurprisingly, it's not because NYC is special, but because NYC is especially corrupt.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

Here's a cat!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Interventionary monetary prices increasing inequality

In accordance with the Cantillon effect, inflation can increase inequality depending on the channel it takes, but increasing inequality is not a necessary consequence of inflation. If it happened that the poorest in society were the first receivers of the newly created money, then inflation could very well be the cause of decreasing inequality.
. . .
In other words, commercial banks and other financial institutions are credited with so-called base money that has not existed before. Thus, the economics of Cantillon effects tells us that financial institutions benefit disproportionately from money creation, since they can purchase more goods, services, and assets for still relatively low prices. This conclusion is backed by numerous empirical illustrations.
Most interesting, but not unexpected. HT to Soylent News.


Diners, no more?

My favorite place to eat has been disappearing at an alarming rate, and it looks like it's going to continue to get worse, alas.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

More higher education craziness

Item 1
; in another, a law professor was punished, following a 16-month investigation, because an exam question he wrote involving a bikini wax was deemed to have created an unsafe environment after a student “allegedly believed the question’s premise somehow required her to reveal to the class whether she’d had a Brazilian wax,” according to FIRE.
and Item 2
Professor Weinstein responded in an email by raising some questions but, more importantly, calling for open discussion of the ideas, strategies and directions outlined in the plan. He did so carefully and politely, never once criticizing any individual. . . . In response, he was branded a racist and an obstructionist. A faculty member who sat on the Equity Council explicitly called him a racist in two different faculty meetings. When Professor Weinstein asked for an opportunity to defend himself, he was told that a faculty meeting was not the appropriate venue for such a defense. When he asked what the appropriate venue was, he was told that no such venue existed because he was a racist.


Friday, August 18, 2017

No more nuts

SP’s Nuts & Candy, the store at 166 Church that you probably know as We Are Nuts About Nuts, is closing at the end of July. Word has quietly been going around, and now owner Michael Yeo has posted a sign in the window. He told me a couple of months ago that the landlord didn’t seem to want him to renew, and he had no interest in trying to relocate.
I went there when I worked in the financial district and thought it was excellent. Alas, probably another bank replacing it.

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Friday, August 04, 2017


This is apparently a real thing!
Instead, metamathematics is a quest to be precise about what it is you already believe in, such that we can use ordinary mathematical reasoning about those principles to get to know interesting things about the limits of what one can hope to prove and how different choices of what to take on faith lead to different things you can prove. Or, in other words, the task is to use ordinary mathematical reasoning to build a mathematical model of ordinary mathematical reasoning itself, which we can use to study it.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Harmful minimum wage

Thing is, there has been an awful lot more empirical research on the effects of minimum wage increases than this one paper by Card and Kreuger. The overwhelming balance of that research has found harmful employment effects, falling mainly on an especially disadvantaged population: young black males.


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