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johan  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 10, 2018

Checking in late, but I've been missing hubski a lot lately. Been busy though, which is good. Autumn is here, and the cold mornings feels amazing after a freakishly hot summer.

I also recently moved to a new place. It feels like a fresh start, but familiar at the same time, since its in the same neighbourhood as when I first moved here.

Sorry for missing the weekly photo challenge! Please keep tagging me, psychoticmilkman!

johan  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Random Quotes of the Week (Sep 18-25 2018)

    The success story the Sweden Democrats isn’t then about the post-fascist Sweden Democrats. It is not there it has its explanation. That story has its beginning somewhere else. That thread, deeply rooted in the Scanian soil, is what we must follow if we are to understand the Sweden Democrats rise to power.

Skånedemokraterna (In Swedish)

johan  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 12, 2018

#swelection

Stefan wants to talk to Jan and Annie who doesn't want to talk to Stefan. Jimmie wants to talk to Ulf, but he only wants to talk to Ebba, Jan and Annie. Nobody wants to talk to Jimmie or Jonas, but Stefan can still get support from Jonas, but then he can't talk to Jan or Annie because they don't want to talk to Jonas. If Ulf and Ebba were to talk to Jimmie then Annie and Jan would stop talking to Ulf and Ebba and instead start talking to Stefan, as long as Stefan stops talking to Jonas. Meanwhile, nobody is speaking to Gustav and Isabella who are just happy to still be here.

I have a feeling this post-election posturing might go on for a while...

johan  ·  278 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's talk podcasts! What've you been listening to?

I had to stop listening to it on the bus because of all the weird looks from me giggling.

I just finished a book on Swedish architecture 1000-1800, this unbuilt fortification plan by Erik Dahlbergh from 1680 for Landskrona I found fascinating. The plan was to make it the southern capital after the annexation of Scania.

johan  ·  447 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 26, 2017

Around Skåne, you could look up Mölle/Kullaberg on the west coast, Simrishamn/Kivik/Stenshuvud on the east coast, or Söderåsen somewhere in between. I'd check out lake Åsnen south of Växjö, but I haven't really spent much time there myself. If you're going up the east coast, you could make a small detour and see Öland. Or, driving up the east coast of lake Vättern from Jönköping to Motala and you will see lots of nice places. Closer to Stockholm, I'm actually not so sure where to go, except out into the archipelago. I can ask someone who's more familiar with the area.

veen  ·  446 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Awesome, I think we can check a bunch of those out. My assumption was that national parks were a no-go for pitching tents, but some like Söderåsen allow pitched tents in designated areas, which is very cool. Thanks!

johan  ·  446 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You might have seen this the last time you went, but in many places you can find shelters and a fireplace which you can use for free, although you might have to share it with strangers if others show up.

johan  ·  598 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Is anyone else listening to Thundercat's new album?

I haven't had time to give it a proper listen yet, although I had it on repeat in the background while doing some accounting this afternoon. I think I dig it! Tomorrow I have a 6 hour train ride, will give it my full attention then.

nowaypablo  ·  598 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I haven't actually found it to be riveting in the sense that I can play it as a full album. It's more of an unpredictable trip through Thundercat's fucked up mind. Every song on its own is an awesome listen though.

johan  ·  673 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Wer hier lernt Deutsch?

Slightly related, the Wikipedia article about the Swedish du-reformen is surprisingly well written.

rjw  ·  673 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wow, this is fascinating.

johan  ·  702 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 201st Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately" Thread

user-inactivated  ·  702 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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johan  ·  701 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This was the first song of her I heard. Thanks for linking the Tiny Desk Concert!

user-inactivated  ·  701 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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johan  ·  709 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 22 years in, Magic: The Gathering is the brainiest it’s ever been

It depends on the format you're playing. In standard a set is legal for about 18 months before rotating out. For example Origins (the set discussed in the article) rotated out of standard at the end of september this year. Modern is an eternal format where all sets from 8th edition and later are allowed, except cards put on a ban list. I'm pretty new to Magic so I've stuck to standard and casual kitchen table formats so far. Modern and most other eternal formats (except pauper) can be prohibitively expensive to get into.

Devac  ·  709 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I'm pretty new to Magic so I've stuck to standard and casual kitchen table formats so far.

That's still much more advanced than what I've done so far, so thanks for insights. Still, that's quite a lot of information to track. Is both ban list and the "8th edition and later" set in stone or could there come a time when suddenly most of your old cards become obsolete?

I would assume that Magic would be to me very similar to 40k. Love the lore, enjoy books, contest-winning minis are simply gorgeous, and quite a lot of the fan works read like pure awesome… but I just can't get into the game itself. It simply feels like a bottomless hole that you can only attempt to fill with time, money and anger at people who have more time and/or money. ;)

johan  ·  708 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The ban lists for the different tournament sanctioned, eternal formats seems to be updated regularly, so there's definitely a chance that your cards could become obsolete. I imagine it must be a nightmare trying to balance the thousands of cards of varying power levels in those formats.

I agree that magic can be really daunting to get into when you see people spend $300+ on cardboard even in standard. Fuck that! I've been lucky since I have a few friends who were willing to dive in with me on a budget. Outside of drafts which I try to go to once a month I've not spent more than $25 on boosters this year. I would never be able to attend an event with my deck and be competitive, but I can still have a fun night with friends. Guess I'm not a Spike. :)

Devac  ·  708 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks for clearing that out for me.

    I imagine it must be a nightmare trying to balance the thousands of cards of varying power levels in those formats.

Yeah… even if it wasn't about the cost or valid card lists, I don't think I could cope with that. One guy at my LFGS can barely pick his deck in for about as long as my two or three chess games against an equal opponent. And after gambit resolution I take my time to think. I didn't know that it can be the norm for more involved players :/

    I've been lucky since I have a few friends who were willing to dive in with me on a budget.

That perfectly describes my Imperial Guard regiment consisting of bottle caps (base infantry), tic-tac boxes (heavy emplacement), erasers/pendrives (elite units), and packs of cigarettes (tanks). If not for people who understand or play similar 'armies' I would never play a game of 40k. :D

    Guess I'm not a Spike.

Oh, so that's where it's from! I've heard the terms Spike and Timmy, but I was assuming that they are just synonymous with power-gamer.

johan  ·  786 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Superior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens'

Only one I can think of off the top of the domepiece is "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" about the making of Apocalypse Now. Well worth watching if you haven't seen it yet!

bhrgunatha  ·  786 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks, I could have sworn that was about the making of The African Queen!? I've no idea where I picked up that notion...

johan  ·  803 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices

Googling the name of the article let me read it for free, but here's a copy-paste:

Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices

It was the rapidity of what happened to the house next door that took us by surprise. We knew it was empty. Grass was steadily taking over its mossy Japanese garden; the upstairs curtains never moved. But one day a notice went up, a hydraulic excavator tore the house down, and by the end of next year it will be a block of 16 apartments instead.

Abruptly, we are living next door to a Tokyo building site. It is not fun. They work six days a week. Were this London, Paris or San Francisco, there would be howls of resident rage — petitions, dire warnings about loss of neighbourhood character, and possibly a lawsuit or two. Local elections have been lost for less.

Yet in our neighbourhood, there was not a murmur, and a conversation with Takahiko Noguchi, head of the planning section in Minato ward, explains why. “There is no legal restraint on demolishing a building,” he says. “People have the right to use their land so basically neighbouring people have no right to stop development.”

Here is a startling fact: in 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m).

Tokyo’s steady construction is linked to a still more startling fact. In contrast to the enormous house price booms that have distorted western cities — setting young against old, redistributing wealth to the already wealthy, and denying others the chance to move to where the good jobs are — the cost of property in Japan’s capital has hardly budged.

This is not the result of a falling population. Japan has experienced the same “return to the city” wave as other nations. In Minato ward — a desirable 20 sq km slice of central Tokyo — the population is up 66 per cent over the past 20 years, from 145,000 to 241,000, an increase of about 100,000 residents.

In the 121 sq km of San Francisco, the population grew by about the same number over 20 years, from 746,000 to 865,000 — a rise of 16 per cent. Yet whereas the price of a home in San Francisco and London has increased 231 per cent and 441 per cent respectively, Minato ward has absorbed its population boom with price rises of just 45 per cent, much of which came after the Bank of Japan launched its big monetary stimulus in 2013.

In Tokyo there are no boring conversations about house prices because they have not changed much. Whether to buy or rent is not a life-changing decision. Rather, Japan delivers to its people a steadily improving standard, location and volume of house.

In many countries, urban housing is becoming one of the great social and economic issues of the age. (Would Britain have voted for Brexit if more of the population could move to London?) It is worth investigating, therefore, how Tokyo achieved this feat, the price it has paid for a steady stream of homes, and whether there are any lessons to learn.

Like most institutions in Japan, urban planning was originally based on western models. “It’s similar to the United States system,” says Junichiro Okata, professor of urban engineering at the University of Tokyo.

Cities are zoned into commercial, industrial and residential land of various types. In commercial areas you can build what you want: part of Tokyo’s trick is a blossoming of apartment towers in former industrial zones around the bay. But in low-rise residential districts, there are strict limits, and it is hard to get land rezoned.

Subject to the zoning rules, the rights of landowners are strong. In fact, Japan’s constitution declares that “the right to own or to hold property is inviolable”. A private developer cannot make you sell land; a local government cannot stop you using it. If you want to build a mock-Gothic castle faced in pink seashells, that is your business.

In the cities of coastal California, zoning rules have led to paralysis and a lack of new housing supply, as existing homeowners block new development. It was a similar story in 1980s Tokyo.

“During the 1980s Japan had a spectacular speculative house price bubble that was even worse than in London and New York during the same period, and various Japanese economists were decrying the planning and zoning systems as having been a major contributor by reducing supply,” says André Sorensen, a geography professor at the University of Toronto, who has written extensively on planning in Japan.

All of this comes at a price … the modern Japanese cityscape — Tokyo included — can be spectacularly ugly

But, indirectly, it was the bubble that laid foundations for future housing across the centre of Tokyo, says Hiro Ichikawa, who advises developer Mori Building. When it burst, developers were left with expensively assembled office sites for which there was no longer any demand.

As bad loans to developers brought Japan’s financial system to the brink of collapse in the 1990s, the government relaxed development rules, culminating in the Urban Renaissance Law of 2002, which made it easier to rezone land. Office sites were repurposed for new housing. “To help the economy recover from the bubble, the country eased regulation on urban development,” says Ichikawa. “If it hadn’t been for the bubble, Tokyo would be in the same situation as London or San Francisco.”

Hallways and public areas were excluded from the calculated size of apartment buildings, letting them grow much higher within existing zoning, while a proposal now under debate would allow owners to rebuild bigger if they knock down blocks built to old earthquake standards.

All of this law flows from the national government, and freedom to demolish and rebuild means landowners can quickly take advantage. “The city planning law and the building law are set nationally — even small details are written in national law,” says Okata. “Local government has almost no power over development.”

“Without rebuilding we can’t protect lives [from earthquakes],” says Noguchi in Minato ward, reflecting the prevailing view in Japan that all buildings are temporary and disposable, another crucial difference between Tokyo and its western counterparts. “There are still plenty of places with old buildings where it’s possible to increase the volume.”

Constant rebuilding helps to explain why housing starts in the city are so high: the net increase in homes is lower. Like our next-door neighbours, however, a rebuild often allows an increase in density.

All of this comes at a price, not financial, but one paid in other ways. Put simply, the modern Japanese cityscape — Tokyo included — can be spectacularly ugly. There is no visual co-ordination of buildings, little open space, and “high-quality” mainly means “won’t fall down in an earthquake”.

Some of Tokyo’s older apartment buildings give industrial Siberia a dystopian run for its money. The mock-Gothic castle is no flight of fancy: visit the Emperor love hotel, which (de) faces the canal in Meguro ward. Most depressing of all are the serried, endless ranks of cheap, prefab, wooden houses in the Tokyo suburbs.

“The Japanese system is extremely laissez-faire. It really is the minimum. And it’s extremely centralised and standardised. That means it is highly flexible in responding to social and economic change,” says Okata.

Omotesando avenue and Jingumae crossing as seen from the Tokyu Plaza © Jérémie Souteyrat

“On the other hand, it’s not much good at producing outcomes suited to a particular town in a particular place. It can’t produce attractive cities like the UK or Europe.” Okata wants to hand much more power to local government.

And yet. At the level of individual buildings, if you block from your vision whatever stands next door, Tokyo fizzes with invention and beauty. It is no coincidence that the country where architects can build has produced a procession of Pritzker prize winners.

Japanese urbanism, with its “scramble” pedestrian crossings, its narrow streets, its dense population and its superb public transport is looked to as a model, certainly in Asia, and increasingly across the rest of the world as well.

Most of all, Tokyo is fair. The ugliness is shared by rich and poor alike. So is the low-cost housing. In London, or in San Francisco, all share in the beauty, but some enjoy it from the gutter; others from high above the city, in the rationed seats, closer to the stars.

Robin Harding is the FT’s Tokyo bureau chief

BrainBurner  ·  802 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you!