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wasoxygen  ·  57 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insurance companies in NYC deny coverage to buildings with subsidized tenants

What do you think is going on?

Do you suggest that insurance companies are refusing to issue policies on subsidized housing which they believe would be just as profitable as policies issued to non-subsidized housing?

wasoxygen  ·  57 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insurance companies in NYC deny coverage to buildings with subsidized tenants

    deafening silence

There's a statement from an insurance industry representative in the article.

It sounds to me that insurance companies have learned that some customers tend to receive more benefits in claims payouts than others. In order to make money on a policy, the companies try to limit the number of the more expensive insured parties they are willing to cover.

Is it plausible that buildings with more subsidized housing will have more costly claims? I imagine these buildings are more likely to be located in neighborhoods with relatively higher crime, and perhaps slower emergency response. Tenants receiving subsidies might be less likely to change batteries in smoke detectors or purchase more reliable appliances. Managers of buildings with more subsidized housing might be less responsible about safety maintenance.

On the other hand, wealthier tenants might have higher claims as well, because they own more valuable property. If the insurance company could "discriminate" to identify buildings that have more tenants with expensive stereos, or valuable artwork, they could charge higher premiums or decline to offer insurance to them as well. I expect they use location as a proxy for these factors.

Student housing is included in the 25% limit. The article suggests this is because it is "transient" like a bed and breakfast. That doesn't make much sense, a student is likely to stay six months to a year like many other rental tenants. I suspect that student housing is likely to lead to more claims.

Gary Becker argued that discrimination is costly to firms. If a firm seeks solely to maximize profits, it can't afford to indulge in discrimination against factors that do not affect the bottom line. A firm that passes on profitable opportunities in order to indulge a prejudice will be less competitive.

wasoxygen  ·  64 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Everything I, an Italian, thought I knew about Italian food is wrong

That phrase has been on money since the Civil War era.

wasoxygen  ·  64 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2023

100 miles in Crocs.

100 miles. In Crocs.

wasoxygen  ·  69 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 12, 2023

Yep, dirt and decay are minor nuisances, vermin can be a headache, but water is the enemy. I give about 1% of my attention to the sump pump. I don’t trust the float switch, so I put a security camera in there and manually run the pump when the water gets high, and monitor it while on vacation.

Supply hoses for the washing machine get one day closer to failure every 24 hours.

Good luck with the roof! Tending to Maslow Level 1 issues is a good way to satisfy higher-level needs.

wasoxygen  ·  70 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 12, 2023

wasoxygen  ·  81 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Douglas Hofstadter changes his mind on Deep Learning & AI risk

gwern quotes a 2019 book suggesting that DRH has been far more concerned about AI than his recent scoffing would suggest.

wasoxygen  ·  81 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Douglas Hofstadter changes his mind on Deep Learning & AI risk

Hoftsadter: It's not clear whether that will mean the end of humanity in the sense of the systems we've created destroying us. It's not clear if that's the case, but it's certainly conceivable. If not, it also just renders humanity a very small phenomenon compared to something else that is far more intelligent and will become incomprehensible to us, as incomprehensible to us as we are to cockroaches.

Q: That's an interesting thought. [nervous laughter]

wasoxygen  ·  90 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Western States Endurance Run 100

Leah Yingling finished the Bull Run Run 50 miler just minutes behind the perennial winner James Blandford, in about as much time as it took me to quit after about 50K.

wasoxygen  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 21, 2023

I saw Andromeda this morning.

Like most of us, I live in a place with too much city light to do much astronomy. But I’ve wanted to see our nearest neighbor galaxy for a long time. On a visit to Ajijic, I didn’t have binoculars and wasn’t sure where to look. Later, in Izmir, I was pretty sure I was looking in the right direction with 10× pocket binoculars, but there was a nearly full moon nearby and I didn’t see anything.

On this visit to Arizona, I was unable to spot Orion one night and an app revealed that it, and Cassiopeia and therefore M31, the Andromeda galaxy, were below the horizon, so I would have to observe in the early morning.

The monsoon season has begun, with risk of storms and cloud cover, and last night the sky was cloudy.

But I woke up early and the weather app said it was clear, so I went out with a good set of binoculars. I covered one eye, walked to an open field away from parking lot lights, and located Cassiopeia. Soon after starting to pan around with the binoculars I saw a faint smudge which I thought was probably the target, unimpressive as it appeared. I made a sketch

(annotated afterward) which matched up well with the view in Stellarium

This is the only galaxy visible without assistance, but there was no way I could spot it without magnification. Satellites were much easier to see.

There’s a paradox that the night sky is not as bright as the sun, which I thought was explained by interstellar dust, but apparently it’s more complicated than that. It does appear that the background of the magnified view is not uniformly black, but finely textured with fainter light sources.

As the sky brightened, Mt. Lemmon appeared, from which I recently saw the boneyard 20 miles distant.

Today’s plan includes a visit to the Titan Missile Museum. In 1980, a similar missile silo in Arkansas blew up because a guy dropped a socket.

Scott Alexander also covered the story in the April links roundup.

    Richard Hanania presents evidence that it’s not just a “deal with the gangs”, it’s a real crackdown that should be embarrassing to other countries that choose not to do this.

    Matt Yglesias (subscription only, sorry) is against Hanania’s implicit conclusion - he argues it’s not as simple as “leaders should have the bright idea of being tough on crime” because previous Latin American leaders (including a previous El Salvador leader) tried crackdowns and they didn’t work, maybe because the security force was bribeable and not up to the task. He thinks crackdowns mostly fail, but through some combination of skill and luck Bukele has managed to make this one go much better than expected.

    Cremieux responds, saying that the reason Bukele’s crackdown worked when previous crackdowns didn’t is that Bukele cracked down harder. Also he didn’t give up partway through.

In the followup post, he discussed the objection that the decline in homicides had already begun before Bukele arrived in 2019, and the following years just continued the trend.

He argues that data farther back show that the rate declined from 100+ in the years following the end of the civil war in 1992, then fluctuated between 50-75 (i.e. Baltimore to New Orleans level) between 1995 and 2011, or perhaps as low as 40 (Milwaukee) in the early 2000s. So the peak in 2015 was unusually high and getting back down to 50-75 could be seen as a regression to the mean.

But getting down to 7.8 requires a better explanation than a simple continuing trend. The crackdown is brutal and I find it plausible that it has reduced violence outside the prisons.

There is much to be said for not getting the news, the by-definition anomalous events of the recent past, and using that time to learn what goes on in the regular world.

But it's also nice to be able to talk about the latest "new" so I've been letting a bot filter out the less significant stories:


Richard Hanania covered some of the tradeoffs between due process for young men with tattoos and a murder rate of 51 per 100,000.

The Invisible Graveyard of Crime

    In a first world country where crime is manageable, maybe you can tolerate such blatant mockery of the larger society. Are you really going to arrest a guy for a tattoo? What about freedom of expression? If you have evidence that he’s committed a crime, carefully gather the evidence and then go to a judge and get a warrant. Vox complains that there aren’t enough public defenders in El Salvador to advocate on behalf of all the accused criminals. Should a country therefore let gangs roam free until it sets up a few more law schools and finds enough money in the budget to hire the new graduates? How many young people with energy and ambition are going to try to become lawyers in a crime-infested El Salvador rather than simply do whatever it takes to get to the United States? Does being a public defender for MS-13 seem like a more fulfilling and less stressful life? More attorneys also means you need a more professional police force since lawyers will catch more mistakes the cops made, so add that to the list of things you need to do before you’re allowed to have a functional society. The point here is that much of what sounds like reasonable advice in a first world nation is simply unrealistic in a country in the position of El Salvador.


The Midwit Meme and the Denial of Tradeoffs


Mentioned at Marginal Revolution.

wasoxygen  ·  169 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: AutoGPT

  To exit the program, press Ctrl + C