Lion of the Blogosphere

Self-driving cars and remote work

At first glance, it’s easy to think that they have nothing to do with each other. Self-driving cars are touted as a more convenient way to commute to work, but if people are working from home then it doesn’t matter if one’s car is self-driving or human-operated.

But in fact, what remote work and self-driving have in common is that they are both vehicles (excuse the pun) for enabling people to live more effectively in suburbs, exurbs, or even rural areas, and will combine to make big cities more obsolete.

People (almost always liberals) who advocate for public transportation claim that one of its benefits is that you can do your own thing while someone else does the driving for you. But with self-driving cars, you get the same benefit of someone else (or rather something else) doing the driving, but with the convenience of door-to-door service. Anyone who has any experience with public transportation knows that it takes at least a half hour to get anywhere by the time you walk to the transit stop, wait for the public transit to arrive, and then have to walk to your actual destination. And it’s a huge hassle on top of that.

Self-driving cars plus remote work means that no one ever needs to live in a city again.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 19, 2021 at 11:04 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

68 Responses

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  1. 100% – but what’s the over/under on self-driving cars in any meaningful sense? as in NYC. 20 years? Teslas are deadly without proper road lines, which NYC naturally does not have.

    ralph

    April 19, 2021 at 12:08 PM

    • I don’t understand why you need self-driving cars. In any case, don’t hold your breath waiting for them:

      “ Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe that developing self-driving cars was “a bit more challenging technically than we originally thought.”

      Volvo is focusing on developing advanced assistance systems that could let the car take over on the highway, Samuelsson said.”

      https://europe.autonews.com/automakers/autonomous-vehicles-undergo-reality-check

      Frau Katze

      April 20, 2021 at 4:37 AM

      • Thanks, that article is a reality check confirming what I’ve been saying just below. I’ve been doubting autonomous cars for a while, I remember people arguing with me about that 2020 date several years ago, telling me “Oh, by 2020 they’ll be here, just you see.” And here we are, no self-driving cars, and this is the first I’ve seen of anyone else acknowledging it. Instead all the techno-optimists seem to have their optimism entirely unshaken by this failure.

        I think that techno-optimism can be quasi-religious sometimes. It’s usually a position held by atheists — you don’t have an afterlife to look forward to, but at least there will be new and exciting technologies around the corner. And actually sometimes there is an afterlife at the end of the tunnel when you get into cryogenics and all the talk of uploading your consciousness to a computer.

        That article seems to imply that fully autonomous vehicles will be able to serve as de facto trolleys that rely on clear signage and controlled roadways instead of physical tracks. Yes, that sounds fully viable to me in the near future, if someone wants to build it.

        Wency

        April 20, 2021 at 6:38 PM

      • Yes, in 2014 we were promised self-driving cars by 2020, and now it’s 2021 and no self-driving cars. Very disappointing.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 21, 2021 at 9:57 AM

    • I very distinctly remember people telling me in the early 2010s that fully self-driving cars would be viable by decade’s end.

      The 2010s were very obviously the slowest decade for practical new technologies in a very long time. Boy, did very little happen. There are still lots of breathless discussions about what’s being cooked up just around the corner (right now, mostly about AI), but we’ve always had those. I think they mostly come from scientists and engineers trying to secure funding, and business/finance people fund them out of FOMO. I just look at tangible results, and those are ever-slower.

      Technological progress won’t stop, but it seems a good prediction right now that each decade will be slower than the previous one. In 2030, the improvements from PlayStation 5 to 6 will be even tougher to notice than from PS4 to 5, and new cars will increasingly be battery or hybrid-powered and have somewhat more refined tools to improve cruise control and crash avoidance, but reliable and cost-effective full automation in an uncontrolled environment will prove to be like fusion power, always 10-20 years away as some progress is made but the rate of progress continues to slow.

      As for why this is, I would observe that we’ve already seen the peak population of human beings with sufficient IQ and youth to advance the technological frontier, just as the challenges and complexities of advancing that frontier continue to increase. China is coming fully online, but its labor force has already peaked, its population pyramid is upside-down, and it won’t be able to pick up the technological slack from a declining West.

      Wency

      April 20, 2021 at 1:11 PM

      • There’s a limit to what we can do. For example, we might do fusion power some day but we can’t seem do it at all now.

        Then there’s the ridiculous idea of terraforming Mars. Not going happen. Nor can we live there now. Young adventurers would do better in Antarctica.

        Frau Katze

        April 20, 2021 at 7:19 PM

      • We are probably not going to have level 4 consumer cars in 2030. I do think it is more likely than not to have plentiful robotaxi services in suburban areas.

        The experts say fusion power is more than 30 years away, not 10-20. The DEMO reactor may be online by 2050. ITER is scheduled to have deuterium-tritium plasma by 2035.

        I still think we have another decade of Moore’s law. After that, maybe carbon nanotube field effect transistor may provide more powerful hardware.

        Latias

        April 20, 2021 at 7:32 PM

      • @Latias:

        I hope this comment is still up in 2030, just so we can go back and see. As for plentiful robotaxis in suburbs, I’ll go with “not even close” as my prediction. I think we’ll see more robotaxis, but they will be in certain limited applications in tightly-controlled areas, and they’ll be as much a novelty and an advertisement for how “cutting-edge” a place is as they’ll be a practical business decision. The suburbs are not that. Something like the Las Vegas Strip sounds more probable. In fact, this trend might peak before 2030, and by 2030 the novelty will be gone and robotaxis might even be somewhat passe and on the decline. Kind of like Segways.

        As for Moore’s Law, it theoretically holds up for certain definitions of “holds up” but it seems to me it’s become less meaningful ever since clock speeds stopped increasing. What our naked eyes tell us is what I said above: the 2010s were an incredibly slow decade for progress in computing compared to earlier decades. One stat I saw is that the quality-adjusted cost of computing equipment improved by 20%+ per year up through the early 00s (i.e., when clock speeds stopped increasing), slowing through the 00s until by the 2010s it was only improving by 2% per year. This seems to align more with what our eyes tell us, that the all-around cost-adjusted performance of computers is improving by about 2% per year now. For certain narrow applications it might be faster than that.

        As for ITER, it seems to be accumulating delays faster than it’s making progress. I thought it was originally supposed to be operational by around 2020. I remember writing a report about it in college, 2005 or so. I’ll go ahead and guess that by 2030, if ITER isn’t dead, that 2035 date will be at least 2040. I think fusion is always 30 years out when it comes to being commercially viable, but a test reactor that can actually run and generate power for more than a microsecond is usually more of a 20-year game.

        Wency

        April 21, 2021 at 11:47 AM

      • @ Wency

        I think relatively low density suburbs are a fairly easy domain to master, much more than the Las Vegas strip. That’s why I said it is likely that there would be plentiful robotaxis in the suburbs in about 10 years.

        I think lots of people would use them. It just needs to be cost competitive to owning a car, but I doubt those types of robotaxis can be a car replacement.

        Latias

        April 21, 2021 at 4:33 PM

      • Anything that’s shared by the masses will be ruined. People will want their own private self-driving car.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 21, 2021 at 4:37 PM

    • I think it’s pretty likely, especially for highway driving (for some people this is a big fraction of the time, so still pretty valuable).

      Fundamentally, if you can build a model which predicts p(s[t+K] | a[t]), i.e. what will happen to the car K steps in the future given an action (like turning the steering wheel), then you can do self-driving. This can be done through data, although there are a few issues, like the fact that every car controls slightly differently, so this will require some fast real-time adaptation. Also, it’s probably useful to have an abstract state rather than a pixel-level state.

      On the other hand I think better and higher quality data + better generative models are inevitably going to make self-driving cars a success.

      alex2

      April 20, 2021 at 4:39 PM

  2. People love crowding and hate solitude and nature. Just look at the semi-naked crowds on the beach. Or people sitting in the coffee-houses of Paris. We like the smell of each other. So, you are wrong.

    j

    April 19, 2021 at 12:40 PM

    • My preferences are the opposite of yours.

      destructure

      April 19, 2021 at 6:09 PM

    • Another set of capitalists could convince young people that big cities like NYC with its millions of strange faces roaming around is filthy, gritty and not conducive to mental hygiene. They could set a trend where small cities are the places to live. Small cities tend to be demographic exclusive unlike a big city with its multicult problems.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      April 20, 2021 at 9:05 AM

    • I hate crowding and love nature and solitude. I think those people on crowded beaches and noisy cramped coffee shops are insane. Especially since the pandemic began. I haven’t had a cold in over a year. I never want to go back to having colds.

      Rosenmop

      April 21, 2021 at 1:41 PM

    • This is very much a WEIRD vs. non-WEIRD preference….I like nature in short bursts (especially beaches/Appalachia/the Rockies) but as a non-WEIRDO I find I generally prefer living near crowds/cities…

      GondwanaMan

      April 21, 2021 at 2:29 PM

      • Could be. When I was teaching, I had one class that consisted of white students and students from India. I remember noticing the students arrive on one particular day. Some Indian students (5 or 6) came in, chatting and laughing, and all sat down next to each other–actually practically on top of each other they were so close. Mean while a similar number of white students arrived quietly and carefully arranged themselves around the room to put as much distance as possible between each other.

        Rosenmop

        April 21, 2021 at 5:08 PM

      • Cities vary in size, population and density. Small cities which are often labeled as towns by big city residents could have a sizable main street of commerce with adjacent areas which are rural in layout or suburban with homes every few yards.

        North of the big city of New York, the Hudson Valley is a fascinating place to observe from a HBD perspective when it comes to the different groups and their preference for a specific type of human settlement. NAMs prefer to live near the urban center of human activity while Whites prefer living further away. There are practically no Eastern Asiatics in the Hudson Valley especially in an area that is designated as a hamlet, village or a town. Rural living and agriculture are an exclusive association with individuals of European ancestry.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 8:08 PM

  3. Sounds like you’re also sick of living in NYC?

    theopensourced

    April 19, 2021 at 1:08 PM

  4. I’ve been a long time advocate at this point for America to shut off crappy rail investment, and really start investing into modularizing their roads so they’re easily traversed by self driving car systems.

    Rail is so inflexible along with expensive and on top of that public transportation has the habit of becoming a safe haven for the absolute worst people that live to harrass. Self-driving cars would truly be a panacea in America.

    Kaz

    April 19, 2021 at 3:54 PM

    • Where is your self driving going to go? Pick up stuff at the market? You can already get almost everything delivered. Did that ever take off in the pandemic. Granted, it still doesn’t work economically if you are in a remote location.

      Frau Katze

      April 20, 2021 at 7:36 PM

    • Yes, rail technology in Meriprolestan is atrocious.

      There are a few rail lines I would keep such as this:

      This commuting train’s last stop is Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan. Most would find it hard to believe.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      April 20, 2021 at 7:38 PM

  5. Yes, but big cities have one defining value that doesn’t get emphasized enough. Sex n the City is still very much alive even during this pandemic when 20 something year olds are still performing coitus with strangers in the usual mating ritual that involve bars and restaurants in a big city setting not nearly as successful in the burbs. Something a capitalist can hit home such that cities like NYC is still very much desirable and should be desirable to the needs of human biology during one’s reproductive prime.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    April 19, 2021 at 4:05 PM

    • Only for a handful of “Alpha-Male” thugs and all young women.

      Pointdextererious

      April 19, 2021 at 9:17 PM

    • People from outside NYC, indeed in small towns and rural areas, also find partners. I don’t think a different partner every night is good for anyone.

      Rosenmop

      April 21, 2021 at 4:18 PM

      • It’s not as if Beta Males have only recently started having trouble Doing the Dirty Deed. Way back in 1965 a young Manhattan resident named Alan Stillman was having a lot of difficulty meeting chix. Rather than lament his Incel-dom or going the MGTOW route,* he decided to take some positive action. Having heard of the singles bar concept from elsewhere, he figured out that owning one might be the solution to his romantic woes. So he borrowed $5,000 from his family to buy a dreary bar on First Avenue, choosing that spot because the area was full of young single women. He reopened the location as one of the city’s first singles bars.
        He called it T.G.I. Friday’s, and the rest is history.

        * = I highly doubt either term existed at the time but the concepts surely did.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        April 21, 2021 at 5:23 PM

    • But by eliminating the risk of drunk driving, the difficulty finding parking, etc., self-driving cars could obviate the need to live in the city in order to participate in city nightlife.

      Hermes

      April 21, 2021 at 11:28 PM

  6. Self-driving cars plus remote work means that no one ever needs to live in a city again.

    Not if cities can turn themselves into playhouses for the rich.

    But they would have to stop penalizing the rich with taxes first, and then start punishing criminals again.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    April 19, 2021 at 6:01 PM

  7. People will meet via hologram. Soon we will have holodecks.

    Shawn Returns

    April 19, 2021 at 8:00 PM

  8. I guess a major urban area is what you are trying to say.

    Small cities along the Hudson River have seen an influx of home buyers from NYC fleeing from the pandemic where demand has outstrip supply.

    My rant about Pough-NAM-keepsie in the Hudson Valley as decrepit inner city in the countryside is on the verge of gentrification that could have serious ramifications. A total displacement of NAM residents leading to a place that reminds you of a section of NYC where SWPLs live.

    This picture depicts an imaginary luxury residential complex located somewhere in the middle regions of the Hudson Valley that could be a reality some day.

    Could we convince more people to leave the big city life and experience the NYC life in a smaller confine?

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    April 19, 2021 at 10:15 PM

    • I think a few of your other commenters once mentioned the City of Peekskill, the tiny urban area in the upper reaches of Westchester County along the Hudson River facing Bear Mountain State Park, another “town” ripe for full scale gentrification given the Hispanic population has now surpassed the black one and there are small pockets of hipster vibe.

      This is a rendering of a new apartment complex being built in Peekskill with floors exceeding the height of what most structures should be in the Hudson Valley.

      Looking at the reflection from the windows of the building hints a spectacular view of the Hudson River and on the horizon where you might be able to see the Catskills at a distance. Instead of having views of the East River in NYC where you see gobs of ugly buildings from a Manhattan apartment complex you can now see the Catskills regions at a distance.

      This should be a new status marker or at least one of the new status markers post Covid-19 world. Status is about having something deemed desirable that someone else doesn’t have.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      April 20, 2021 at 2:08 PM

      • The apartment being built in Peekskill isn’t beautiful (though I’ve seen much worse). It is very ordinary looking.

        It was the imaginary one that I meant was beautiful.

        Rosenmop

        April 21, 2021 at 4:25 PM

      • Peekskill is still rated low priority for discerning big city folks who want an urban experience in a countryside setting due to its lack of desirable amenities. It lacks an organic food market, a certifiable Japanese restaurant and other multicult fare that attracts the “SWPL” crowd.

        One wants to eat sushi made on premise and be able to stare into the Hudson River with the hills and mountains. Something that is not achievable in Peekskill at the moment.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 22, 2021 at 9:01 AM

    • “Could we convince more people to leave the big city life and experience the NYC life in a smaller confine?”

      It’s you in this video isn’t it?

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/blm-protesters-surround-white-nyc-diners-and-demand-they-leave-the-city/ar-BB1fTC7Q?ocid=mailsignout&li=BBnb7Kz

      MoreSigmasThanYou

      April 21, 2021 at 1:04 PM

      • NYC is atrociously unappealing during the pandemic when its culture and foodie scene lose their power. It’s only gritty and filthy with a lot of bad characters who could never otherwise have the means leave the city for an idyllic hideout even when a disaster strikes.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    • That is a very attractive building. I’m glad there are still architects who don’t design only ugly crap.

      Rosenmop

      April 21, 2021 at 4:21 PM

  9. Self-driving cars are at the point in software development where it is 95% complete and 95% of the work remains to be done. It is easy to code all the cases you can think of, but getting the code to handle the last 5% which you could not think of will take much longer than you expect.

    MikeCA

    April 20, 2021 at 4:03 AM

    • This.

      MoreSigmasThanYou

      April 20, 2021 at 11:36 PM

  10. Hmmm what happened to the lion. 1 post in 6 months. Did Google get to you?

    Uman

    April 20, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    • Lion mentions 4 different types of human settlement, urban, suburban, exburban, and rural.

      Suburban is indeed prole. Exburban is not. Urban and rural are both prole and not prole. Urban is usually defined as a major city or major urban area.

      Yet, I don’t understand how small cities with a population less than 50K fit into the urban category.

      Any place north of the New York City with the exception of the state’s capital and the City of Buffalo would be deemed either as the suburbs or a rural settlement from a general layman’s definition.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      April 20, 2021 at 9:14 PM

      • Exurb is a poorly defined concept, I think it means a small city that’s in the satellite of a major city. Some say the exurb has to be outside the suburbs, which means that Newark doesn’t qualify as an exurb of New York? But some people say that Newark is indeed an exurb. And it’s definitely prole.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 21, 2021 at 10:22 AM

      • “Exurb” doesn’t make nearly as much sense in the NE Corridor as it does in the rest of the country. In the NE Corridor, you can drive from city to suburb to city without ever reaching proper countryside. This is not how the rest of America is, for the most part.

        I previously lived in what I would call an exurb of a mid-sized city but now I’m in more of a stand-alone small city. When I lived in the exurb, it was 45+ minutes to the core city but only 10-15 minutes on the Interstate to a very nice suburb that had some very good restaurants and a lot of corporate jobs (the exurb itself had 1 good restaurant that wasn’t a chain and zero good jobs). If you drove 5 minutes the other direction on the Interstate, you’d start seeing cows.

        Now, there was another exurb that was also about 45 minutes from the main city, but in another direction from where I lived. That exurb did in fact have restaurants and some decent jobs, there was a directional state U located there. It was the seat of its county and had a long history as an independent city until the main city really started growing. Maybe that’s more of the core definition of an “exurb”, and you could call where I lived previously a “bedroom community”.

        Wency

        April 21, 2021 at 12:15 PM

      • Yes, I’ve read academic papers written by urbanists who study cities and according to them exburbs are small cities in the outlying areas that are in proximity to a big city. So a city like Newburgh is an exburb.

        An exburb is also defined as a suburb with low housing density and usually with a wealthy demographic. In the Hudson Valley, it would be the farm areas that are owned by certain old moneyed families.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 12:43 PM

      • This image shows all the points that are designated as cities in New York State.

        Most of the cities I would say are the exurbs with the exception of New York City, Albany and Buffalo. Debatable are Syracuse and Rochester.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 3:17 PM

  11. People (almost always liberals) who advocate for public transportation claim that one of its benefits is that you can do your own thing while someone else does the driving for you.

    But, of course, these advocates for public transportation would never ride public transportation. Sort of like the politicians and journalists talk about studying “IT” but would never do that themselves or advise their kids to do that.

    E. Rekshun

    April 20, 2021 at 10:41 AM

    • I wouldn’t say that. Most of the millennials living in Manhattan writing this crap really are taking subways and not cabbing it. They’ve just convinced themselves that something that generally sucks and is a necessary evil is actually desirable and awesome.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 20, 2021 at 4:31 PM

      • The only MTA entity that has any inkling of non-prole-ness is the Metro North – Hudson Line because commuting to work by public transit within and in and out of Manhattan generally sucks especially now, where feral animals run wild assaulting whomever they deem necessary in the subways and to certain extent on the buses.

        The Metro North – Hudson Line offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley without any pesky NAMs distracting your ride and it also takes to you to certain places deemed desirable to non-proles like the Village of Cold Spring and the City of Beacon.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 20, 2021 at 7:00 PM

  12. Anyone who claims to be productive on a subway or train is lying. Most people I observe on the subway are listening to music or playing video games. ON the commuter train, there seems to be more sleeping, especially in the afternoon.

    A self-driving car would be similar to a car service where one could work in the back and at least read emails, texts, make phone calls, or read on a tablet.

    superdestroyer

    April 20, 2021 at 4:59 PM

    • I read books on the subway.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 21, 2021 at 9:56 AM

      • It can be more difficult to read or otherwise be productive on the subway because it’s often necessary to stand. At least it *was* often necessary to stand 😦

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        April 21, 2021 at 1:21 PM

      • The pandemic has proven that subways are for proles. Only proles have occupations that require a mode of transport that takes them from their homes to work and back. Furthermore, it’s only proles who are against the WFH concept.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 4:11 PM

      • Most anyone who reads books on the subway or train is old. The only thing odder these days than a book is a paper newspaper.

        superdestroyer

        April 21, 2021 at 5:06 PM

      • I didn’t say I read dead-tree books.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 21, 2021 at 10:37 PM

  13. Self-driving cars plus remote work means that no one ever needs to live in a city again.

    A really bold statement about how technology will change our living patterns.

    Came here because I thought you had something to say about Derek Chauvin and George Floyd.

    Latias

    April 20, 2021 at 7:11 PM

  14. Rail is for freight, but I question if increasing car traffic will be allowed by the “Climate Emergency” crowd that is taking over.

    steverino@steverino.com

    April 20, 2021 at 8:23 PM

  15. Off topic post on inflation:

    Recently, I used this historical chart,

    https://www.macrotrends.net/1378/dow-to-…ical-chart

    to generate my own chart which I’ve e-mailed but haven’t uploaded.

    In 1915, the ratio of the DJIA to an ounce of gold was 3. At the height of the bull market in 1929, it had risen to 17. At the bottom of the bear market in 1933, it dropped down to 2. In 1965, another long bull market run had the ratio up to 27. The stagflation of the 70s, and the Hunt Brother’s silver corner had dropped it to an all time low of 1 in 1980. The 80s bull market and 90s tech bubble pushed it to the dizzying height of 41 in 2001. The 2008 financial cycle never really moved it that noticeably, but the ratio hit another minimum of 6 in 2011.

    It’s currently at 19, which is higher than the maximum from 1929, but not near the biggest and most recent maximum of 2001. P/E ratios on the DJIA and S&P 500, on the other hand, have only been as high as they are right now twice before. Once in 2001, and again in 2008.

    This is all relevant because the U.S. Federal government is flooding the economy with dollars, and if U.S. citizens don’t transfer fiat currency into something else, we stand to lose a great deal from inflation. Our choices are: stocks, real estate, foreign currency, precious metals, etc.

    Some would say you can even profit by taking out low interest long term fixed rate loans, and converting the money into a hedge against inflation. So all that makes the market value of precious metals relevant today.

    My questions are:
    1. Why don’t I see the 2008 financial cycle registering more significantly in this chart?
    2. Why is the current ratio of the DJIA to gold spot lower than I expected it to be?
    3. Are we -not- at the end of a bull market, waiting for sharp correction?
    4. Did the Fed’s MMT policies of low interest rates and quantitative easing even during a recovery change what this market cycle looks like without lengthening the bull market portion?
    5. What other macroeconomic and social factors are involved in the price?
    6. Where can I find someone to answer these questions?

    Here are my best guesses:

    * The 2001 cycle was the strongest because a number of factors combined:
    a). Tax laws and 401k retirement plans pumped the stock market and P/E ratios to unnatural heights unachievable in ’29, and continue to pump stocks relative to other investments even during recessions.
    b). In the late 90s, the only way an average person could own a profitable piece of the exciting new changes brought about by the Internet was to own stock in the private companies building it.
    c). The Internet itself made day trading accessible to the middle class (also still pumping stock prices).

    * The 2008 financial cycle doesn’t register as strongly because the get_rich_quick_mad_money wasn’t being pumped into stock. It was being pumped into real estate. The bubble in asset prices, and the loss of wealth when the bubble burst were reflected in the real estate market more than in the stock market. If the historic chart was an index of real estate value vs gold, we’d see a giant spike for the 2008 economic cycle.

    * Currently, get_rich_quick_mad_money, and stimulus_check_on_the_Titanic money is going into crypto currencies like bitcoin and dogecoin. That’s because:
    ^ The 2001 bubble was a tech bubble.
    ^ The 2008 bubble was a real estate bubble.
    ^ The current bubble is a funny money bubble.

    Even relatively unsophisticated investors understand that you can’t have Keynesian surplus and deficit policy when you’re always running a deficit with near zero interest rates. People with money are already bracing for an inflationary crisis, and the end of the dollar as the global reserve currency.

    One of the chief advantages of Gold is that it’s counter-cyclical. Gold’s purchasing power is highest when purchasing power is most needed. (Unlike stocks which sell for the lowest price when times are worst.)

    That may be the main reason for gold being so high during a bull market. Unlike the last two crashes which took people by surprise, the next economic crash can be seen from a mile away. People are wondering why it hasn’t hit yet.

    MoreSigmasThanYou

    April 20, 2021 at 11:47 PM

    • Bitcoin is the new gold, and compared to bitcoin, the stock market is a bargain.

      And I don’t believe any of that.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 21, 2021 at 10:23 AM

  16. Today’s (well, yesterday’s) NYT has an article about Covid migration patterns, as shown by change of address forms filed with the post office. With just two exceptions 2020’s patterns were much the same as those in 2019 and earlier. Urban areas that had been gaining population in prior years continued to grow in 2020 and those that had been declining continued to decline.

    New York and San Francisco are the exceptions, as they saw a big shift to significant population declines. As for why, it’s worth noting that both cities have much higher transit use than elsewhere, large central business districts full of big office buildings, and finally that both NYS and California had more stringent and long-lasting shutdowns that most other states. My reasoned guess is that it’s a combination of all these factors and probably others too. Whether New York and San Francisco will regain their footings, I won’t even try to speculate.

    As for self-driving cars, the other day a Tesla (whose autopilot is a step toward self-driving but not the full deal) crashed in Texas, with the death of both occupants, and its battery caught fire. It took the fire department four hours and an estimated 23,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire as the battery kept re-igniting.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    April 21, 2021 at 1:58 AM

  17. Anyone who has any experience with public transportation knows that it takes at least a half hour to get anywhere by the time you walk to the transit stop, wait for the public transit to arrive, and then have to walk to your actual destination

    Unless you live in a major European or Asian city where it is often much faster to take the subway than to drive or be driven through very congested streets. Public Transportation makes a lot of sense for NYC as well, it’s just underfunded. Doesn’t really seem like the kind of issue that should be „liberal“ vs „conservative“. Ideally your transportation solutions should reflect the population density you are trying to serve.

    Peter Akuleyev

    April 21, 2021 at 1:34 PM

    • Paris is a fine example. The Metro runs on very short headways, usually in the nature of 90 seconds to two minutes, so there’s very little time spent waiting for trains. And every location within the central part of the city is within 500 meters of a station. The only disadvantage is that some transfers between lines require a *lot* of walking, but it is relatively minor in comparison to the convenience.

      Peter

      ironrailsironweights

      April 21, 2021 at 5:06 PM

  18. So Buffet recently plowed a lot of money into Verizon. I’m wondering if it’s a rural internet penetration play? As in, he thinks people will move farther out if they can. My city is requiring EV plug-in stations on all new developments over a certain size. Lastly, it finally happened, a noticeable amount of info/paperwork/admin businesses (businesses that don’t really need office space) are trying to sell some of their buildings because they’re saving money with most of their employees at home.

    I can totally see autonomous vehicles being embraced by people who live far from cities… if… they cost less, really do deliver a driving free experience, and their software doesn’t fail, like the Tesla’s did. American cities are run by woke charlatans who are letting nams run wild. No one wants this. If the rich flee due to too many problems, and some of them have, central cities will become less desirable. Cities are all about lifestyles and amenities. A lot of that got shut down or restricted. Whats so great about the urban lifestyle these days? Then there are the tax increases to fund bus systems that no one is riding. Hear about Lightfoot? Shes out, Chicago is failing due to all of this. I see more of this.

    Smart Republitards should embrace all of this and back technological expansion into non-woke normal areas. Don’t waste the gift.

    White Hills

    April 21, 2021 at 7:39 PM

    • Jimmy Buffett bough Verizon? The Coconut Telegraph isn’t good enough anymore?

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 21, 2021 at 10:39 PM

      • I’m surprised Kenneth Johnson hasn’t sued Verizon for infringement.

        He was the creator of the tv series V which was about those reptilian extraterrestials known as the Visitors trying to take over Earth. The show’s trademark was a red V on a black background that eerily looks like the Verizon logo.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        April 21, 2021 at 11:30 PM

  19. Anyone I have seen reading a novel/book using a kindle type device is probably over 50. I have seen more Candy crush being played than novels being read. Millennials and GenZ are the post-literate generations where they do not have the mental ability to read a novel and pictures what is occurring in their mind. They would rather watch a move and let someone else do the heavy lifting of visualizing a world.

    superdestroyer

    April 22, 2021 at 8:45 AM

  20. Hitting the ball out of the park with your blog about the Hudson Valley with Covid-19 and school reopening which proves you’re right all along. Schools won’t be reopening successfully anytime soon.

    Hudson Valley’s NAM majority and certain prole oriented schools are confused on how to open safely after students and a few teachers tested positive in a school in Newburgh while the CDC tells them that they can all reopen.

    https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/hudson-valley/coronavirus/2021/04/14/orange-county-school-covid-19-surge

    This alone signifies a bleak outlook for all schools who think they can reopen safely without any virus spread.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    April 22, 2021 at 5:43 PM

  21. As this poor country is losing its white majority, what sense do self driving cars make in the chaos and collapse that is upon it? Does anyone envision self driving cars in Brazil or South Africa? For whom? For what?

    Trump should have established a dictatorship, outlawed all political parties and shut down the media. Look how easy it was to storm the Congress and how stupidly it was done. Poor country.

    Yakov

    April 23, 2021 at 7:37 AM

  22. OT:

    destructure

    April 24, 2021 at 8:30 AM


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