Affordable housing crisis – I’m part of the problem

Here’s some quasi-scientific evidence of something I’ve noticed in Toronto.  I think there are a lot of people (like me) whose Toronto homes are often vacant.  It’s a sign of inequality of incomes/wealth.
My one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is vacant more than half the time.
The young family that lives next to me seems to be there only half the time.  They have a loud toddler. It’s easy to tell when they’re home. I’m guessing they’re using it as a pied-a-terre.
My granddaughter has a friend who lives near her school but whose family also has a home in Scarborough.
And this guy – the quasi-researcher, found lots of dark condos and concluded that they are owned but vacant.
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/11/10/how-many-condos-are-sitting-empty-in-toronto-one-man-investigated-and-what-he-found-surprised-him.html
I can’t think of what a good regulatory approach to this situation should be. The objective would be to redistribute the existing supply of housing in order to meet the needs of families who can’t afford adequate housing. Taxing perpetually vacant condos might work.  Taxing merely under-used condos and apartments would be hard to do and probably wouldn’t change behaviour much – just tick off people like me.
Public shaming would be effective. For example, change the rules for overnight parking so that occasional residents like me have to display a big parking permit in their windshield that says, “I’m partially responsible for the affordable housing crisis.”   That approach wouldn’t address the absentee condo owners.
Better would be incentives for people to rent out their living space when they’re not using (the government would subsidize AirBnB listings? That doesn’t sound right, but why not if it brings extra supply on to the market?)

Time Machine: Expos Uniforms in Nationals Park

As usual, I’m conflicted.  It’s great to see the old Expos uniforms, but it does seem a little goofy if you’re a Nationals fan.  Better: the suggestion of  sporting early 70s Washington Senators uniforms.

Washington Times columnist Thom Loverro called it a “cheap, lazy, thoughtless promotion,” indicating that any claim to a connection between the two teams seems as distasteful as American poutine.

To have Guerrero tossing the opening pitch is to “celebrate a corpse,” he suggested, and posited that D.C. should look to its own past, which includes the Washington Senators who took off for Texas in the early 1970s.

Commenters tended to agree, with one asking rhetorically: “why do we give a rats arse about Montreal?” Another local tweeted that the throwback jersey “manages to disrespect both Expos fans and fans of both Senators teams” (there were two iterations).

 

Source: Throwback Expos day at D.C. baseball game divides Montrealers — and Americans | CTV News

Wirecutter Review: The Best Paper Towel for Mopping Up Tears

 

“Who Should Get This
While sometimes viewed as wasteful, paper towels are a great way to tackle the occasional (yet inevitable) messes. Although a dishrag or sponge is suitable to handle smaller spills, the convenience of paper towels make them perfect for more substantial things like the routine daily drying of tear-soaked countertops and floors. For that reason we recommend keeping a roll or two handy anywhere crying is likely to occur, including on public transportation, at the post office, in a random CVS that one time for no reason, or basically anywhere inside or outside.”

Source: Wirecutter Review: The Best Paper Towel for Mopping Up Tears – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

10 engines and 6 propellers

10 engines and 6 propeller sets, actually. Imagine working with the mad scientists who thought of that combination. Call me old-fashioned if you will, but Number of Propellers divided by Number of Engines should be a (positive) whole number.

from Saunders-Roe Princess – Wikipedia

The SR.45 Princess was a large flying boat, being the largest all-metal flying boat to have ever been constructed. The Princess featured a rounded, bulbous, “double-bubble” pressurized fuselage which contained two full passenger decks; these decks had sufficient room to accommodate up to 105 passengers in great comfort. The planing bottom of the hull had only a slight step in the keel to minimize drag in the air.[24] The Princess was powered by an arrangement of ten Bristol Proteus turboprop engines. These engines drove six sets of four-bladed propellers; of these, the inner four propellers were double, contra-rotating propellers which were driven by a twin version of the Proteus, named the Bristol Coupled Proteus, each engine drove one of the propellers. The two outer propellers were single and each powered by a single engine.[8]

Source: Saunders-Roe Princess – Wikipedia

Embracing Climate Change (or, at least, planning for the worst case)

This report is from the same crowd that President Trump assembled shortly after his inauguration.  Shortly after assembling that crowd he disbanded it.  Phoenixes they were.  The original members and additional experts reconvened to complete this present report (link to abstract, below). The group’s conclusions makes sense to me: spend some time and money to figure out how to cope with climate change (instead of wishin’ and hopin’ that we could find a collective will to reverse the changes.

Among the recommendations in the report is for governments to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better analyze climate risks. With cities facing threats as varied as disrupted water supplies, rising tides and infrastructure damage from heat, AI could “reveal impacts, insights, and options that would be difficult to otherwise discover,” the report finds. The report also recommends better use of citizen science to “fill many long-standing data gaps” that could be especially useful to local governments. [from https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/climate-panel-disbanded-under-trump-reforms-with-local-focus/552079/ ]

Specific recommendations include: evaluating climate models and data using user-defined metrics; improving benefit-cost assessment and supporting decision-making under uncertainty, and accelerating application of tools and methods such as citizen science, artificial intelligence, indicators, and geospatial analysis.

 

Source: Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment: Weather, Climate, and Society: Early Online Release