Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for May 2017

Decaying infrastructure and “cost disease”

If you read a lot of news articles, then surely you’ve read about the problem of decaying infrastructure. For example, there’s this article at the New Yorker.

From the crumbling bridges of California to the overflowing sewage drains of Houston and the rusting railroad tracks in the Northeast Corridor, decaying infrastructure is all around us, and the consequences are so familiar that we barely notice them—like urban traffic congestion, slow-moving trains, and flights that are often disrupted, thanks to an outdated air-traffic-control system. The costs are significant, once you reckon wasted time, lost productivity, poor public-health outcomes, and increased carbon emissions.

While the author of that article blames “politics” and “complacency,” he completely ignores the real culprit, which is cost disease (as I blogged about yesterday).

It seems to me that what’s really going on is that civil engineering projects are ten times as expensive (in real inflation-adjusted dollars) compared to the 1930s. Therefore, infrastructure that was built a long time ago, and is now nearing its end of life, is ten times as expensive to replace than what it originally cost to build, because of cost disease. This means that either we can’t afford to repair/replace our infrastructure, or we can only afford it by making sacrifices in the form of significantly higher taxes and/or significantly reduced government spending on other desirable things.

Decaying infrastructure is the natural result of severe cost disease.

If cost disease continues, and the cost of civil engineering projects double again, then we can expect a very dystopian future.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 31, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Economics

Cost disease

Greg Pandatshang provided a link to a blog post by Scott Alexander about cost disease. This is the best link I’ve received in a long time, I urge everyone to read the blog post.

This is a topic I’ve touched on many times before, but I didn’t realize it was called “cost disease,” nor did I link so many related examples together.

For example, I’ve previously written about how Governor Chris Christie had to cancel the project to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River because New Jersey couldn’t afford it. Yet somehow, we were able to afford to build a tunnel in 1908, which was 104 years ago.

I previously pointed out that in 1934, the Empire State Building was completed in only 410 days for a cost of $372.8 million in 2012 dollars (and $24.7 million in 1930s dollars). It cost $3.8 billion to build the Freedom Tower and it took 8 years to complete. The only other building in Manhattan taller than the Empire State Building is 432 Park Avenue, which cost $1.2 billion to build, but only has 15% of the floor space. So when you look at price per square foot, 432 Park Avenue is something like 21 times as expensive.

I believe that declining IQ is one factor that Scott Alexander missed.

I believe that another key factor is value transference, combined with inflation being a lot higher than the reported. What that means is that wages have not actually held steady, as reported by conventional inflation reporting, but perhaps real wages declined by 50%. The value created by workers, which used to go to the workers, is now being transferred to the top 1%.

And then there’s the hypothesis that the United States has moved into a post-scarcity economy, and no one really knows what happens to prices in a post-scarcity economy. Because people spend most of the money they earn, falling prices for things like manufactured goods and food cause the prices of other things to go up, creating the illusion of scarcity where none actually exists.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 30, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Economics

Little League baseball

This is so boring. Being a parent and having to sit through this every weekend would suck big time.

Update

The prole kids from New Jersey are beating the rich kids from Manhattan 17-6.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sense8

Just finished watching the second season on Netflix.

This should be a show I hate considering that it’s propaganda for the homosexual transgender globalist agenda. And on top of that, the science-fiction part of it makes no logical sense.

Yet, I still can’t help liking it. The visuals, the background music, the interesting characters, it’s all so captivating.

* * *

I think that my favorite character is Lito, the gay Mexican actor.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Television

I agree with Mark Zuckerberg

He said:

Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract. We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.

Not only have I supported basic income, I’ve also criticized GDP as a measure of everything. In addition to not measuring whether you have a “role you find meaningful” (which is wonderfully broad and can include not only your career but also your family, friends, and involvement in your community), but also it doesn’t measure whether you feel safe in your neighborhood. If all of your money is spent on overpriced rent in Manhattan, GDP doesn’t take that into account.

* * *

Hepp writes: “A woman has a baby and takes care of it, no effect on GDP, she pays someone else to do it and suddenly we have more “economic activity” and therefore a better society somehow.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Economics

Trumpdate 5/25/2017

The en banc 4th Circuit decision to uphold the lower court’s ruling that Trumps travel ban is unconstitutional is outrageous. It says that because Trump said mean things when he was campaigning, this means that everything he does as President is unconstitutional if liberals don’t like it.

* * *

The announcement by the UK that they won’t share any more intelligence with us because of leaks is a gift for Trump. Trump needs to escalate this and make it the #1 priority of the FBI, to find and prosecute the leakers.

* * *

ASF writes: “There is no constitutional right to a specific number of refugee admissions. He should have set the number to 20.”

That wouldn’t have mattered. The court is saying: We know that Trump is a racist, and therefore we’re not going to let him get away with anything. And don’t try to tell us that Islam isn’t a race, that’s something only a racist would say.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Trump call with Rodrigo Duterte

This is pretty interesting, and I think better of Trump after reading it.

Notice how Trump makes Duterte feel important by asking for his opinion on how to deal with China and North Korea, and then he coaxes him into lobbying China to do more about North Korea.

* * *

Who leaked this? Because it makes Duterte look good, and probably everyone else in the Philippines is too afraid of Duterte to cross him, my guess is that Duterte himself leaked it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Posted in International, Politics

Haagen Dazs Pistachio Ice Cream

I found a pint at the local SWPL supermarket for $5.79.

This lacks the glow-in-the-dark green color of Chinese-restaurant pistachio ice cream. It’s a very simple combination of unflavored (not even any vanilla) ice cream with little bits of roasted pistachio mixed in. Not too sweet. Made from all natural ingredients. No weird chemicals, no “gum,” no green food dye. Not loud and in your face like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

* * *

Why am I not writing more about Trump? I have to go to the job, and then I’ve been watching a series on Netflix, and playing Overwatch.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 23, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Gelato vs. ice cream

Gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream, and while there are customary differences between them, I don’t think that there exists an ice cream/gelato police that will put you in prison if you call standard American-style ice cream “gelato” to make it more appealing to SWPLs. You see, SWPLs love stuff that’s European and usually despise eating foods commonly eaten by Amercian proles unless it’s eaten ironically. Although there seems to be an exception for ice cream, a food that spans social classes and can be unironically enjoyed by SWPLs even though they have a preference for the fancier-sounding gelato.

Gelato is said to be denser than ice cream, but made with less cream and fewer egg yolks.

However, (1) I am unaware that there is any requirement that ice cream contains egg yolks, and (2) the density of ice cream tends to be related to whether it’s cheap ice cream or premium ice cream. Cheap ice cream is fluffy and has more air in it. Premium ice cream like Haagen Dazs is denser than cheap ice cream, but also contains more cream.

Given the variety of different ice creams, I can confidently say that all gelato fits somewhere within the American definition of ice cream. [WRONG WRONG WRONG. It’s a frozen dessert, not an ice cream, if it contains less than 10% milkfat.] But if made according to the customary Italian style, then gelato has the reduced fact content of cheap ice cream [frozen deserts], but the higher density of premium ice cream.

* * *

UPDATE: I was wrong. There ARE ice cream police. Gelato does NOT pass as ice cream if it contains less than 10% milkfat.

“Someguy” pointed out 21 CFR §135.110

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I hope to find Haagen Dazs pistachio ice cream somewhere. That looks so much better than that pistachio yogurt crap I had yes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

16 Handles review

A self-serve frozen yogurt place where you pay by the ounce. There are several of these in Manhattan and there’s even one in Williamsburg so it must be at least semi-hip.

I chose the pistachio flavored frozen yogurt. It was bland, icy, non-smooth and non-creamy. I could barely detect any nutty pistachio flavor. The pistachio ice cream they serve at cheap Chinese restaurants is vastly superior.

However, they also have a toppings bar. I added strawberries, blueberries, and chocolate chips. The fruit was fresh and high quality. The toppings disguised the fact that base itself is pretty bad.

My modest-sized cup cost $5. For Manhattan, not an extreme price.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 21, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Posted in New York City

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