Those Poor, Poor Men

Over at The New York Times, Nellie Bowles wrote a piece on the backlash that is growing against the women in tech movement:

Their complaints flow on Reddit forums, on video game message boards, on private Facebook pages and across Twitter. They argue for everything from male separatism to an end to gender diversity efforts.

Silicon Valley has for years accommodated a fringe element of men who say women are ruining the tech world.

Now, as the nation’s technology capital — long identified as one of the more hostile work environments for women — reels from a series of high-profile sexual harassment and discrimination scandals, these conversations are gaining broader traction.

If men are in such a bad position in Silicon Valley, what sort of position are women and minorities in? Give me a break.

“What Google did was wake up sectors of society that weren’t into these issues before,” said Paul Elam, who runs A Voice for Men, a men’s rights group. He said his organization had seen more interest from people in Silicon Valley.

Men’s rights groups? Douchebag tech bros in Silly Valley have lost their minds.

I moved to California in 2012 with my wife, after living in Manhattan for about 10 years. One of the things I miss most about NYC is the diversity — not just of races, but of everything. In New York everyone worked in different industries, looked different, talked with different accents and in different languages, ate different foods, and listened to different types of music.

Out here in San Francisco (where I live) and Sunnyvale (where I work) it’s way more homogenous. Guys look like me: white dudes with glasses, and do what I do: work for web design and tech companies. This doesn’t appeal to me. I have no interest in hanging out with versions of myself all the time.

Maybe it’s time to move.

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Community

There’s the door, Texas.

In Texas, Distrust of Washington Collides With Need for Federal Aid:

Few places need the federal government right now more than Texas does, as it begins to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Yet there are few states where the federal government is viewed with more resentment, suspicion and scorn.

For Republicans, who dominate Texas government, anti-Washington sentiment is more than just a red-meat rhetorical flourish — it is a guiding principle.

Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican former state attorney general, once described a typical day in his old job as, “I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home.” His predecessor as governor, Rick Perry, wrote a book titled “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington.”

The sentiment is not limited to politicians. In June, the legislature of Texas Boys State — the mock-government exercise for high schoolers, run by the American Legion — voted overwhelmingly to secede from the union.

Texas has been a pain in the side of the United States since Day 1. I wasn’t aware of this until I started reading Battle Cry of Freedom and began reading more articles about Texas.

As much as I don’t like the idea of a flag with 49 stars in it, I’m willing to let that go so we can let Texas go.

Let’s see how long Texas can make it on it’s own.

Categories:

Community, Politics

New York Rents

In New York, rents are increasing twice as fast as wages:

What’s worse, StreetEasy found that rent increases haven’t risen equally across the various income brackets or rent price points. For instance, apartments priced at the bottom fifth tier of the market have spiked 4.9 percent annually since 2010 while homes in the top fifth tier of the market appreciated annually by three percent, on average. In essence, the lowest priced apartments have seen their rents increase the most.

With that, New York City’s lowest wage earners have seen their paychecks increase the least since 2010, yet wages for the city’s highest earners have grown the greatest. The combination of steep rent increases paired with minimal wage gains for low-income New Yorkers have forced many to spend an unreasonable amount of their income on rent.

I lived in New York for over 10 years, but with the way rents are continuing to go, I won’t be moving back any time soon.

A few months ago I read The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen and he spends a good deal on this income/rent disparity:

Indeed, in this new world the performance of income and social mobility is rather disappointing. In spite of the people who are doing great, the data indicate that the upward mobility of Americans, in terms of income and education, which increased through about 1980, has since held steady. Partly this is because the economy is more ossified, more controlled, and growing at lower rates. It’s also because it is much more expensive to move into a dynamic city, an option that gave many a way of making economic progress in times past. Two researchers, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, estimate that if it were cheaper to move into America’s higher-productivity cities, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would be 9.5 percent higher due to the gains from better jobs. Yet no one thinks that the building restrictions of, say, San Francisco or New York will be relaxed much anytime soon. Most of the complacent class just doesn’t see building restrictions as an urgent issue, and even if they understand the problem intellectually, as many of them do, the selfish incentive to make changing restrictions a priority just isn’t there.

New York has turned into ‘a playground for the rich.’ This is unfortunate because it keeps out keeps out a key demographic that gives New York it’s rich culture: artists (painters, musicians, writers, designers).

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Community

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Trump Needs to Go

White House Acts to Stem Fallout From Trump’s First Charlottesville Remarks:

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — White House officials, under siege over President Trump’s reluctance to condemn white supremacists for the weekend’s bloody rallies in Charlottesville, Va., tried to clarify his comments on Sunday, as critics in both parties intensified demands that he adopt a stronger, more unifying message.

A statement on Sunday — issued more than 36 hours after the protests began — condemned “white supremacists” for the violence that led to one death. It came in an email sent to reporters in the president’s traveling press pool, and was attributed to an unnamed representative.

It was not attributed directly to Mr. Trump, who often uses Twitter to communicate directly on controversial topics. It also did not single out “white supremacists” alone but instead included criticism of “all extremist groups.”

Many people have pointed out Trump can be very specific with his attacks on Twitter, so his vague, macro-level condemnation on the events in Charlottesville is very apparent and disgusting.

This orange-faced, small-handed racist can’t leave office soon enough for me.

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Community, Tromp

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Snap’s Valuation

How a Money-Losing Snap Could Be Worth So Much:

By the end of 2016, Snapchat had 158 million daily active users. By comparison, Instagram, probably the closest comparison and a formidable competitor to Snapchat, had about 30 million users when Facebook bought it in 2012 for what was then considered an eye-popping price of $1 billion.

(Facebook had earlier tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, which its founders rejected — wisely, it now appears.)

And $1 billion now looks like a bargain compared to what investors are paying for Snap. At $34 billion, each of Snap’s daily active users is worth $215, six and a half times per user what Facebook paid for Instagram.

As of January, Instagram reported 300 million daily active users. At $215 each, the Instagram app alone would be valued today at $64.5 billion.

These are static numbers, and what Snap is selling investors is growth. According to Snap’s prospectus, Snapchat user growth was 48 percent in 2016, about the same as the year before. If it can pull that off again next year, it would reach an impressive 234 million users, though still short of Instagram.

The Snapchat story “is all about growth,” Mr. Nathanson said. “It’s not about economics.”

I installed Snapchat maybe 2 years ago and tried using it. It didn’t work out and that’s ok. I’m not in the target demographic. I’m almost 40 and few of my friends use it.

Instagram grew because of the simplicity and broad of appeal of photography. I know people 10-20 years older than me on Instagram and I know people 10-20 years younger than me on Instagram. I post photos on it every day.

Can Snap grow? Who knows.

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Figure Out the Money, Twitter

Twitter Struggles to Capitalize on Influence and Posts Lackluster Earnings:

Sports fans were glued to it during the Super Bowl. Millions used it to track American election night results. In the morning, the president of the United States sends a daily missive in the form of a tweetstorm.

“You don’t go a day without hearing about Twitter,” Jack Dorsey, the company’s chief executive, said on a conference call with investors Thursday morning.

There is just one problem: For all of its influence, Twitter cannot seem to capitalize on its wide reach.

The company reported disappointing earnings on Thursday, with sales totaling $717 million in the fourth quarter, up only about 1 percent compared with a year ago. That fell far short of analysts’ expectations of $740 million. Twitter lost roughly $167 million over that period, or 23 cents per share, from a loss of about $90 million in the quarter last year.

I don’t understand this.

I value Twitter as communications tool. Twitter has been my go-to app to check on breaking news for years now. In the rare times I turn on network news, I’m guaranteed to see them quoting something someone said on Twitter (these days it’s usually something our Shithead in Chief is whining about).

Jimmy Fallon uses it all time in bits on his show and I think he’s the only person still using hashtags. Jimmy Kimmel has also been using it for years in his hilarious Mean Tweets segment.

Twitter is firmly planted in popular culture.

Figure it out, Twitter. Businesses in much worse positions than you have.

Categories:

Business, Community

Everything That Is Wrong With Brooklyn

Where To Get The Finest $18 Cup Of Coffee In Brooklyn:

Lest you thought a $10 licorice latte was Peak Brooklyn, the world’s most influential borough will soon boast an $18 cup of coffee.

This costly caffeinated drink comes courtesy of Alpha Dominche, a Utah-based manufacturer of high-end coffee and tea brewing machines. Last Friday, the company opened an Extraction Lab at Industry City in Sunset Park, where on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors can watch baristas operate the extra-fancy machines—which cost $13,900 for two—and sample coffees from across the world.

I understand being into your craft and taking it seriously, but there’s a big difference between artistic craft and just being straight up pretentious.

The ‘Extraction Lab’? Please.

via The Weekend Update on SNL

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Community, Food

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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.

Categories:

Community, Finance

Universal Basic Income

Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless.:

Now, the Finnish government is exploring how to change that calculus, initiating an experiment in a form of social welfare: universal basic income. Early next year, the government plans to randomly select roughly 2,000 unemployed people — from white-collar coders to blue-collar construction workers. It will give them benefits automatically, absent bureaucratic hassle and minus penalties for amassing extra income.

The government is eager to see what happens next. Will more people pursue jobs or start businesses? How many will stop working and squander their money on vodka? Will those liberated from the time-sucking entanglements of the unemployment system use their freedom to gain education, setting themselves up for promising new careers? These areas of inquiry extend beyond economic policy, into the realm of human nature.

Like climate change, we’re beginning to understand how robots and artificial intelligence will affect us and our employment on Planet Earth (at least those of us who don’t have their heads buried in the sand).

We can’t just automate every job, lay millions of people off, and expect things to just work themselves out. It may mean universal basic income and it may not, but countermeasures have to be made to ensure we’ll be ok.

And for all those people who say, “Sure, but a computer will never be able to do my job doing [insert your trade].”

Never say never.

Let’s Not Spoil the Character Neighborhood

California Today: Housing Fight Hits San Diego:

The fight for more housing has a new war room in San Diego.

Increasingly, even well-off professionals are finding they can no longer afford to live in the San Diego area. In October, the county’s median home price was the highest in a decade — $507,500 — according to CoreLogic, a data analysis company.

Part of the problem, housing experts say, is simply a shortage of units that is driving demand. As the number of San Diegans has risen, new housing construction has failed to keep pace.

And one reason for the lack of construction? The residents of San Diego.

In many cases, housing proposals fail because residents pressure officials to reject them on the grounds that they would spoil neighborhood character.

Man, we humans are some selfish bastards.

As George Carlin said, NIMBY.

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Community

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This alt-right shit still boggles my mind.

An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastikas:

A small but determined political organization in Detroit began to worry that its official symbol was a bit off-putting. With the group’s central philosophy suddenly finding traction in the daily discourse, appearances mattered.

So in November, as the country’s divisive presidential campaign became ever more jagged, the National Socialist Movement, a leading neo-Nazi group, did away with its swastika. In its stead, the group chose a symbol from a pre-Roman alphabet that was also adopted by the Nazis.

This alt-right shit still boggles my mind.

I didn’t grow up with hate and racism like this in New Jersey and my parents didn’t raise me with racist ideals. When I attended Rutgers, it was at the inner city campus in Newark, NJ. I loved the diversity in Newark and had no problem that white kids were the minority there.

But I digress.

Back to the story:

The movement is also acutely image-conscious, seeing the burning crosses, swastikas and language of yesteryear as impediments to recruitment. Its adherents talk of “getting red-pilled,” a reference to the movie “The Matrix,” in which the protagonist ingests a tablet that melts away artifice to reveal the truth. New, coded slurs have emerged. Fewer pointed hoods, more khaki pants.

I love that the alt-right dislikes burning crosses and swastikas not because they represent hate and racism, but because they impede recruitment efforts.

Un-fucking-believable.

Mr. Martin, the retired teacher, who attended the conference, also didn’t care for the Nazi-like salutes, calling them “very foolish.” But he suggested that most of those raising their arms were using the salute as “their version of the middle finger” — a defiant gesture “to the media, to the Trump haters, to everybody they feel alienated from.”

Why is the middle finger not sufficient enough of a “fuck you” to the media? Oh right, Mike, because the middle finger isn’t racist enough.

These are truly charming people.

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Community, Politics

The GIF Survey

Fucking genius survey conducted by the godfather of CSS, Eric Meyer:

The GIF Survey is complete. In just under a week, 1,457 people gave their answers on how they pronounce the acronym, and their perceptions of the rightness of that pronunciation. I thought that, today of all days, it made some sense to share the results of a far less momentous poll.

For those who missed, it, how this survey worked was that the first question was: “How do you pronounce GIF?” To this, the choices were:

  • The obviously correct way
  • The clearly incorrect way

Upon answering this, respondents moved on to a section that asked three optional demographic questions: age, gender, and race/ethnicity, all as open text fields. These had about a 16% skip rate, and about a 4% ‘faithless’ response rate; that is, answers that were clearly jokes, insults, or other explicit refusals to answer the question as intended.

Once the demographic questions were answered or skipped, there was a final question: “How do you pronounce GIF?”, exactly the same as the first question of the survey. Only this time, the options were:

  • Hard G (like “gift”)
  • Soft G (like “gin”)

For both pronunciation questions, the answer order was randomized so as to avoid any first-choice advantage. The demographic questions, being open entries, didn’t have options to randomize.

Spoiler: The obviously correct way to pronounce ‘GIF’ is with a Hard G.

Case closed, softies.

It might make you Limp-G people sleep better at night if you think of yourselves as ‘underdogs’, but deep down, you know you’re wrong.

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Community, Pyschology

“No Sleep ‘Til No Hate in Brooklyn”

Rolling Stone: Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock Speaks Out at NYC Anti-Hate Rally:

The election “felt very personal because … I’m a brown, female immigrant,” says Maria Paz Alegre, a U.S. citizen and New York resident who was born in the Philippines. “It’s been very painful to hear that half the country doesn’t want me here. It doesn’t matter that I do charity work, it doesn’t matter that I’m a teacher – it matters that I don’t look like them.”

She adds that “MCA was always my favorite Beastie Boy. His discussion of violence against women and his regret over misogynistic lyrics in the past always moved me,” she says. “For this park specifically to be defaced since he was [Jewish] was painful.”

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz expressed a similar sentiment while addressing the crowd Sunday. “We’re all here today because we’re thinking the same thing: Painting swastikas on a children’s playground is a messed-up thing to do,” he said. “And for many of us, it has special meaning, because this park is named for Adam Yauch, who was my friend and bandmate for over 30 years, but he was also someone who taught nonviolence in his music, in his life, to all of us and to me. But this is more about someone in New York City” committing a hate crime in the name of Donald Trump, he noted.

I lived in Manhattan from 2000 to 2012. My younger brother lives in Brooklyn. My father was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. Swastikas on a children’s playground is not a New York City I recognize at all.

For the people who voted for Trump who don’t consider themselves racists, I ask them, “Why do you think Trump attracts the KKK and white supremacists?”

You can’t cherry-pick the qualities you agree with in the candidate you voted for. You have to accept everything about them. If you’re choice for President of The United States was officially endorsed by the KKK, you have to own that.

You’re part of the problem, not the solution.