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That was great. We have to get the Mad Sultan back in. cgod

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Analyzing Token Sale Models

    Thus, we are starting to see capped sales approach their natural equilibrium: people trying to outbid each other’s transaction fees, to the point where potentially millions of dollars of surplus would be burned into the hands of miners. And that’s before the next stage starts: large mining pools butting into the start of the line and just buying up all of the tokens themselves before anyone else can.

    One problem with Norwegian driver's licenses -- they are valid until you're 100 years old

I don't see the problem. I hope to be able to drive at that age, and read a magazine at the same time.

My license expires every eight years. Last time I renewed it online. Paid the fee with my credit card and got my new license in the mail. If I renewed in person I would have to pay a $5 additional fee, wait in line for a new photo, and take a vision test. Easy choice! (Next time I will have to go in for the vision test, and again every eight years starting at age 75.)

The obvious intended effect of stricter requirements is to improve skills and safety. But a possible unintended effect is to discourage people who might have jumped through fewer hoops from bothering to get licensed at all.

Thanks, I agree with most of your comments, especially the last paragraph acknowledging the trade-off between costs and benefits of an inspection policy. The choice of inspections every two years itself represents a decision to give up potential benefits of more frequent inspections.

    people complain but generally agree that it is nice to know that your car has everything fixed and every other car is in good condition.

This sounds like wishful thinking. In order to have "everything fixed" we have to assume that every possible safety defect is included in the inspection standards, that every inspector does a perfect job, and that no one evades or cheats the system. Even so, two years is plenty of time for things to go wrong between inspections.

Obviously the costs would be too high to aim for perfection, so we live with a balance of costs and benefits of imperfect inspections. One possible unintended cost might be encouraging drivers to assume their vehicles are safe as long as they pass inspections, so they are less inclined to look for problems on their own.

The fact that we can find arguments for both sides online doesn't mean that both arguments are equally strong. If inspections significantly improve safety, it should be possible to measure that improvement in states with inspections. If we can't find clear evidence of a net benefit, we should not claim that there is a net benefit.

I also wonder why I no longer see broken down cars at the side of the road in the U.S. It used to be common to stop and see if stranded motorists needed a hand. I think cars are generally more reliable, drivers are less inclined to try and fix problems, and most people can quickly summon help with a mobile phone. Flat tires used to be common. In the 1970s, "typical bias ply tires lasted less than 20,000 miles and were only expected to be in service for about two years" but today's tires are "approaching 80,000 miles of treadwear."

Required vehicle inspections do not improve safety.

That's my somewhat unpopular opinion based in part on living in a state that requires annual safety inspections, N = 1.

First hit for "effectiveness of vehicle safety inspections" says "We found no evidence that inspections significantly reduce fatality or injury rates." The second hit says "inspections should continue" but only looks at test pass/fail rates and not safety.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Reforming land use regulations

Not sure what you mean by "marginal utility," and the ctrl-f technique gives no leads. Utility for whom? Existing home owners, people shopping for a house, and developers all have different interests.

The problem I see addressed, summarized in the second sentence, is that the most productive (and therefore desirable) locations have rules that strongly discourage new construction. Whatever the intent of these rules, one consequence is higher prices that make it hard for people to participate in the most productive areas.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Reforming land use regulations

I don't see how your points contradict the article.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Reforming land use regulations

I am willing to cut the author some slack for leaving out detail in the interest of space:

    These regulations have accreted over time with virtually no cost-benefit analysis (except for vast quantities of analysis performed by academics interested in anticipating unintended consequences, the differences between intentions and outcomes, and the lessons of public choice theory, all of which made no difference because it was ignored by the regulators).

Your story is appealing, and this subject is so friendly to speculation it's possible to turn it around.

Since you are aware of the flies, and they are not aware of you, I understand that the flies represent humans, ignorant of forms of life very different from their own.

But there is no Flymi Paradox. Fermi does not ask why we can't see every form of life that exists. He asks why we do not see any form of life outside our local area. Our local area is teeming with diverse forms of life, from microscopic to visible from space, with lifespans measured in hours, years, and centuries.

The flies are surely aware of the swallows that prey on them, the raccoons and squirrels that leave tasty morsels behind for them, the grass and shrubs and trees that surround them. In every direction, at all times, as far as they can perceive, they are surrounded by life, even though their oral history may not preserve memory of the occasional warm-blooded biped passing through (just as humans are ignorant of species that are too small to see, or live too far in the past, or in habitats too inconvenient to observe).

The Flymi Paradox would present itself if the flies detected vast areas apparently similar to their home territory and capable of supporting life, yet inexplicably barren.

    The Race: Show up...

    Aftermath: Signed up for a couple more...

Sounds like a complete success!

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 24, 2017

Maybe a Venezuelan shopping for USD?


When the exchange rate catches up to the money-changer's price in two or three days, it's hard to complain about the spread.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 24, 2017

On the way to packet pickup for the Devil Dog Double, I bought some bitcoin at a gas station ATM.

The machine by the door was dollar-based, so I hunted around and found a Satoshi1 machine in the back.

The process was quite painless. Enter a mobile number, receive a five-digit verification code via SMS from Austin number 512-233-6843.

The exchange rate was quoted as $1588 buy $2188 sell for up to $1000, a bid-ask spread of 27%, fairly high for a currency exchange. The spread was 16% ($1765 buy $2110 sell) for larger purchases, up to $10,000. (The price on BitStamp was between 1920 and 2010 that day.)

I fed a 20 in and elected to receive a new paper wallet rather than showing my own QR code. Out came a thermal-printed receipt with my new stash.

I tried a second transaction using a Google Voice number, but it was immediately rejected as a voice-over-IP number.

Smart money says you should not trust a wallet generated in a gas station, so I am trying to transfer the value out before I spill something on the receipt. This has been a learning process. Contray to my earlier dismissal, transaction fees are no longer less than a penny. My client software suggested that I include a fee worth more than a dollar, which struck me as pure frivolity. After insufficient research I offered 0.00025 BTC to the mining gods, still over fifty cents. Now I realize that my offer of 97 satoshis per byte is likely to leave my transaction unconfirmed indefinitely. Apparently the network will forget about my transaction in a few days and I'll be able to try again.

Bitcoin remains a stark example of the Subjective theory of value, that a thing is worth whatever someone is willing to exchange to get it.


At the race, I pushed hard to set a good PR at my first 5-miler, but did not even hit my conservative goal of 40 minutes. Then it was tough to find motivation to run the half marathon, and the lazy pace evident in my pace chart resulted in a finish almost half an hour slower than my best. Probably I should have walked up Hospital Hill.

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