Free, unlimited street parking in densely-populated cities is a well-intentioned but wrongheaded policy, representing a grievous misallocation of public space. Street parking in places like this is treated as if it were a public good, but this hides the very real costs paid by mostly lower-income people to maintain this good for the benefit of their wealthier fellow citizens. To understand why, it is important to take a look at the simple geometry of the issue.

Let’s take a random block in New York City, say, this one:

And here it is at street-level:


Privacy is a perennial national preoccupation, entering the zeitgeist for a few weeks every time a major breach or revelation of malpractice hits the news, then gradually fading from view. As interest waxes and wanes, facts on the ground have also been mixed: various states increase their espionage programs while others enshrine data ownership; companies increasingly take data security seriously while collecting ever more invasive data from users; end-to-end encrypted chat apps explode in popularity while security flaws (or, some allege, intentional backdoors) are found with regularity.

These are the natural growing pains of our increasingly online, connected society: when…


Recently, I’ve been seeing increasing skepticism about the causes, extent, nature, or even existence of the opioid epidemic in the USA. I usually categorize these somewhere between “reasonable criticisms of a breathless and overhyped media narrative” and “conspiracy theory”, and go on my merry way.

However, a couple of weeks ago Scott at SlateStarCodex gave a “comment of the week” to a particularly, apparently, evidence-based and “lucidly” put case for skepticism on the SSC subreddit. Something about this got under my skin — something in the author’s apparent certitude, the weight of his claims, and the deafening lack of a…

Digital Cygnet

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