- Change.org: Why I Choose Streets Over Shelter. A homeless person explains why one might rationally choose sleeping on the street over going to a homeless shelter.
- Ken Kuhl: My Weekend with the Electric Mini Cooper (Mini-e). Mini has provided a few prototypes to regular people in New York and Los Angeles to get their feedback.
- Matthew Yglesias: China to Require All PCs Include Internet-Censoring Software. Really smart comments. China’s market power is such that they can demand concessions to authoritarian censorship that other countries cannot. However, those other countries can then take advantage of the anti-liberty “features” that were created for China’s government.
- Jake Tapper: Ex-Gitmo Detainee Lakhdar Boumediene Details Tortures. While in Paris covering President Obama, Jake Tapper took time to do this interview.
- New York Times: How the U.S. Surplus Became a Deficit. Everybody already linked to this article, but it’s a must read.
- Alex Moskalyuk: Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. Who doesn’t want to be more persuasive?
- Ruby Best Practices: Quack Attack: Making Your Code More Rubyish. It’s my goal to speak every programming language I use like a native.
- Language Log: Obama’s Imperial ‘I’: spreading the meme. The recent claims that Obama says “I” more than other Presidents is wrong.
- GitHub: whenever. A Ruby wrapper for cron.
- Tim Bray: On Carving Your Initials. More engineers should be invited to give commencement speeches.
- James Fallows: Departing questions. A comparison of the rendering of Beijing’s CCTV tower and what was actually built. The concept is much more impressive than the execution.
- The Big Picture: Memorial Day, 2009. Moving collection of photos.
- James Fallows: On Memorial Day. On the Map of the Fallen project, an overlay for Google Maps with information on the American soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Michael Lewis: The Master of Money. A review of Alice Schroeder’s biography of Warren Buffett.
- Wall Street Journal: Obama Is Changing the Art on the White House Walls. An interesting look at the impact of Presidential taste in art.
- Financial Times: Argentina: The superpower that never was. Speculation as to why the fortunes of America and Argentina diverged so greatly over the course of the twentieth century.
- PSD Blog: The verdict is in on microfinance. The headline is provocative and I think overstates the case. However, it appears that material gains from microfinance are not leading directly to gains in other aspects of human development.
- National Journal Online: Chopra Wants To ‘Productize’ Innovations. What the federal CTO is working on.
- Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty? Darned interesting article on the impact mobile phones have on society. It’s a feature on Jan Chipchase, a researcher at Nokia who publishes an incredible blog that I’ve subscribed to for awhile.
- Position Is Everything. Yet another site documenting browser CSS limitations.
- Daring Fireball: The Unsatisfying State of Twitter Web Clients for the iPhone. Useful for anyone who’s developing Web sites that target the iPhone.
- Stephen O’Grady: The State of MySQL. I wonder what percentage of MySQL users don’t know the first thing about MySQL? To them, it’s just something they install to make WordPress, MediaWiki, or PHPbb work.
- Waxy.org: Milliways: Infocom’s Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Some insider gave Andy Baio access to a hard drive containing Infocom’s unreleased games, along with lots of other archived information from the company before its fall. Wonderful stuff.
- Sports metaphors for Clinton vs. Obama. – Excellent top to bottom. I still contend that the rules of Quidditch prove that JK Rowling was never a sports fan.
- Fred Clark explains how rising land prices can put mobile home owners in a horrible position. They own depreciating mobile homes and rent appreciating land to put them on. The fundamental problem here is that mobile homes aren’t really mobile.
- Andrew Leonard reports on home equity loan defaults. Homeowners who are behind on their loans have figured out that they can’t take your house away for not paying your HELOC.
- The Great Daylight Saving Time Conspiracy – Lobbyists are busy people.
- Anil Dash creates embeddable versions of his blog posts. Step aside,
blockquote. I’m still trying to puzzle out the implications.
- John Gruber analyzes why Apple’s iPhone SDK allows only one app to run at a time. He later posted the counter-argument.
- The Obama campaign circulated a point-by-point takedown of talking points that the Clinton campaign circulated to journalists. Life imitates blogging.
- kottke.org is ten years old today – An incredible milestone and an interesting design retrospective. The rc3.org ten year anniversary celebration arrives latter this year.
Google is using its GrandCentral service to offer free voice mail to San Francisco’s homeless population. Signing up for the service will give them a local telephone number that they can forward to any number they choose (if one is available) and that is associated with a voice mail box that they can check from any phone line. This service is already freely available to anyone who can sign up online, but it’s great to see Google specifically going out and offering it to the homeless. They stand to benefit more from the service than people who already have phone lines, and there’s probably very little chance they would even find out about it otherwise.
Over the past decade or two, it’s been impossible not to notice the trend of people moving back into cities from the suburbs, and more recently, the rise of engineered walkable neighborhoods in suburban centers that emulate some of the best qualities of city life. Call it urban renewal if you like, or gentrification if you’re less sanguine about it, the trend is real and it’s certainly coming to a city near you.
The big question has always been what happens to people of lesser means to whom the city centers were abandoned in the second half of the 20th century. Renters will be leaving as their landlords cash in by selling their land for redevelopment, and rising property taxes insure that homeowners in poorer neighborhoods don’t stick around.
In the current Atlantic Monthly, Christopher Leinberger argues that they’ll be moving to the suburbs, or more likely, the exurbs. Just as mass abandonment of the city for suburbs created a huge stock of cheap housing, the reverse migration of people back into the city will leave plenty of houses that are suddenly extremely affordable. Here are some numbers:
Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, has looked carefully at trends in American demographics, construction, house prices, and consumer preferences. In 2006, using recent consumer research, housing supply data, and population growth rates, he modeled future demand for various types of housing. The results were bracing: Nelson forecasts a likely surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (houses built on a sixth of an acre or more) by 2025—that’s roughly 40 percent of the large-lot homes in existence today.
Those houses are going to be the cheap rental properties of the future.
There’s definitely a lot more going on in the US housing market than the subprime collapse.
FP Passport reports that Bill Gates will give a 30 minute speech Thursday at the World Economic Forum entitled “A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century.” He will challenge business and government to do more to address the problems of disease and poverty in the developing world.