Millenials be loving vinyl.

The Economist’s Prospero blog explains it’s millenials, not baby boomers, who are driving the boom in vinyl sales:

Many consider nostalgia the driving force behind this uptick. Turntables are cheap and easy to get hold of (a Crosley costs less than $100 on Amazon) and so furnish baby boomers with a good excuse to dust off what remains of their collection, and expand it further. But data show that this isn’t a sufficient explanation: nearly 50% of vinyl customers are 35 or younger, according to ICM. Indeed, it is 25-35 year-olds who are the most voracious demographic, taking home 33% (by comparison, 45-54 year-olds are responsible for only 18% of sales). Millennials might like to carry their favourite songs around with them and discover new artists via streaming apps, but they also want to collect that music in album form.

The key word to understand when it comes to records is experience.

We’re physical animals and we enjoy physical activities, particularly in a world getting more and more digital and virtual.

“This is going to be a fight.”

Deadspin writer Hamilton Nolan explains why you don’t kiss Trump’s ring (via Daring Fireball):

[…] The pomp and circumstance and deference will only increase after the inauguration. The press and the Congress are the only two institutions standing between a dangerous man and total power. They must both realize this is not the time to salute and grovel. This is not the time to fall into familiar patterns of default respect for someone who does not himself respect the responsibility to the public that he has been given. This is the time for them to rise to the occasion. And the occasion is a fight for civil society.

This is not going to be a free and fair exchange of ideas. This is going to be a fight. If you have not absorbed that fact yet, you are already losing.

This is only going to get worse.

I thought all those people were so cute who were “wishing 2016 was over already.”

Well, 2016 is over.

All that shit you hated about 2016? Multiple it by a lot.

An Amateur Archaeologist’s Hunch

The discovery of medieval Trellech and the plucky amateurs of archaeology:

The tale of how an amateur archaeologist’s hunch led him to uncover a lost medieval town and spend £32,000 of his own money to buy the land, would stand to be the archaeological discovery of any year. On the border between England and Wales, the site of the medieval town of Trellech reveals much about a tumultuous period of history – and how the town came to be lost.

The story begins in 2004, when archaeology graduate Stuart Wilson began his search for this lost medieval town in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, near where now only a small village bears the name. In the face of scepticism from academic archaeologists, Wilson’s years of work have been vindicated with the discovery of a moated manor house, a round stone tower, ancillary buildings, and a wealth of smaller finds including pottery from the 1200s.

Badass.

Million Dollar Fixer-Uppers

The average ‘fixer-upper’ in S.F. is now $920,000:

In San Francisco, homes labeled “fixer-uppers” sold at an average of 15 percent above the list price in 2016, with a median sale price of $920,000, according to a new year-end report from Paragon Real Estate. Though the price is high, it is a substantial discount from the 2016 median sales price of all S.F. single-families: $1,325,000.

Paragon looked at several other “special circumstances” in 2016 home sales, including the median home price for a home wth an elevator ($4,869,000), a view of the Golden Gate Bridge ($2,569,000) and a wine cellar ($3,050,000). It also looked at factors that could lower home prices, including a lack of parking ($1,150,000) and probate sales ($952,500). The only factor that lowered prices more than the “fixer-upper” designation was marketing a home as “tenant-occupied,” which sold at “a big discount” of $838,000, due to tenant protection measures, among other things, according to Paragon.

The real estate market in San Francisco, where I live, has been insane for quite some time now.

Working was never our forte.

Let’s face it, jobs have always been a necessary evil. A means to an end — unless you’re one of those people who has a career and loves what they do. Showoff.

Don’t fret!

Computer scientists, programmers, engineers, and all the other smart people on planet Earth have been working hard to ensure we don’t have to work hard anymore.

Over at Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow describes a study done by university economists who concluded these jobs ain’t coming back:

In Disappearing Routine Jobs: Who, How, and Why? economists from USC, UBC and Manchester University document how the automation of “routine” jobs (welders, bank tellers, etc) that pay middle class wages has pushed those workers out of the job market entirely, or pushed them into low-paying, insecure employment.

The study links the phenomenon of unemployment with automation — an obvious-seeming connection — by establishing a causal relationship that goes beyond mere correlation: people stop working because robots take their jobs. Robots don’t just co-occur with unemployment, they cause it.

The share of Americans working in routine jobs has fallen from 40.5% in 1979 to 31.2% in 2014, according to the paper. The federal government’s official measure of Americans age 16 and over who are working or seeking work has fallen from a recent high of 67.3% in 2000 to 62.7% in November 2016.

“Routine jobs are disappearing and more and more prime-age Americans aren’t working,” said Mr. Siu. “These things are two sides of the same coin.”

Last week the Guardian published an article by Justin McCurry on Japanese insurance firm Fukoku Mutual Life replacing 34 employees with IBM’s Watson Explorer AI:

A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders.

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140m yen (£1m) a year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15m yen (£100k) a year.

Productivity, what’s that? Work extra hard so I can make the same salary and my boss can get a bigger bonus? Ha! Yeah right!

The problem with artificial intelligence and automation is that we’ve only solved half of the problem. We’ve figured out how to replace a human with a robot or a computer.

What we need to do now — what should have been done in tandem with the first part — is figure out a way to allow these redundant humans to stay employed through alternate means.

Some people say job automation and AI are necessitating a system like universal basic income while others said it’s not economically feasible.

I don’t know what the solution is, but we have to figure something out because shit is going to get real very soon.

The First Lady

From a December Washington Post article on the potential of Ivanka Trump being the first lady:

First ladies aren’t always presidential spouses. In fact, two early uses of the title refer to the beautiful, popular Harriet Lane, niece of James Buchanan, the only lifelong bachelor president. She was an able hostess who, not long before the Civil War, arranged for Northern and Southern guests to be seated apart at a White House function in order to keep the peace. Harper’s Weekly called her “Our Lady of the White House,” and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper captioned Lane’s picture thusly: “The subject of our illustration … may be justly termed the first lady in the land.”

So as we learn that Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s older daughter, arranged a meeting between the president-elect and former vice president Al Gore; that she and husband Jared Kushner are reportedly house-hunting in Washington; and that Ivanka is rumored to be looking at White House office space, it’s pretty fair to say she isn’t breaking completely new ground. There’s no job description, so like other first ladies, Ivanka can define her position — and it looks like the gig is hers — in a unique way: advocating for nonpartisan causes, as Laura Bush did with children’s literacy and Michelle Obama did with nutrition, or setting up in the White House’s West Wing as a de facto policy adviser, like Hillary Clinton.

I never knew the first lady didn’t have to be the president’s wife.

“These are not three separate devices. This is one device! And we are calling it iPhone.”

To mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Brian McCullough posted a new episode of The Internet History Podcast on the history of the iPhone.

It’s a great episode and it’s also a sobering reminder of how primitive, crude and buggy the original iPhone was. It launched on AT&T’s shitty EDGE network (pre 3G), couldn’t record video, didn’t have multi-tasking, didn’t have Siri, and didn’t have GPS, to name just a few things we take for granted in 2017.

“Seeing comes before words.”*

John Berger, Provocative Art Critic, Dies at 90:

John Berger, the British critic, novelist and screenwriter whose groundbreaking 1972 television series and book, “Ways of Seeing,” declared war on traditional ways of thinking about art and influenced a generation of artists and teachers, died on Monday at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony. He was 90.

Ways of Seeing should be in every artist and designer’s library (*the title of this post is the first sentence from the book).

I still have the copy I bought in college on my book shelf.

Change comes from the outside.

Over at Mashable, Aaron Orendorff has a great piece on behavior economics, so he obviously talks about my favorite expert on the subject, Dan Ariely:

Not to be a killjoy, but as the Washington Post found, roughly 25% of New Year resolutions fall apart within the first two weeks. And even when it comes to our work — where money’s on the line — “70% of [management-led] transformation efforts fail.”

So what works?

“Change,” in Ariely’s words, “comes not from the inside, but the outside. If you want people to lose weight, give them a smaller plate. You have to change the environment.”

This is why free market capitalism can be so dangerous and detrimental. If you have zero intervention from the government and just let the market decide everything, you’re ensuring the rich get richer, or to use the example above, you’re encouraging people to eat as much as they can.

We need to establish a fair environment because we can’t be trusted to be fair on our own. Remember, we’re just monkeys with iPhones.

I just started Ariely’s newest book, Payoff, and it’s great.