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News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 09.16.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@katie.one
News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@kseniaskos
News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@katie.one

Two years ago Demian Bellumio, a Miami-based investor, was a recent divorcé with a less than full dance card, so he decided to create a WhatsApp group for the city’s budding tech scene.

“I’ve always loved being a connector,” he says, “and there were new people in Miami, so I arranged for us all to occasionally get together to sail, fish, have dinner. It was all very organic and low-key.”

Low-key? In Miami? Good luck. In the time since, this Southern capital of sea, sun, and sin has mushroomed, with a conga line of rainmakers lured by the city’s seductive mix of year-round sunshine, permissive coronavirus safety guidelines, scantily clad locals, and skimpy taxes, not to mention the efforts of Mayor Francis Suarez, whose open-armed cajoling is reminiscent of a spruiker outside a strip club.

Read the rest of this article at: Town & Country

News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Built in the 1950s to speed suburban commuters to and from downtown, Rochester’s Inner Loop destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, replacing them with a broad, concrete trench that separated downtown from the rest of the city.

Now, the city is looking to repair the damage. It started by filling in a nearly-mile-long section of the sunken road, slowly stitching a neighborhood back together. Today, visitors of the Inner Loop’s eastern segment would hardly know a highway once ran beneath their feet.

As midcentury highways reach the end of their life spans, cities across the country are having to choose whether to rebuild or reconsider them. And a growing number, like Rochester, are choosing to take them down.

In order to accommodate cars and commuters, many cities “basically destroyed themselves,” said Norman Garrick, a professor at the University of Connecticut who studies how transportation projects have reshaped American cities.

“Rochester has shown what can be done in terms of reconnecting the city and restoring a sense of place,” he said. “That’s really the underlying goal of highway removal.”

The project’s successes and stumbling blocks provide lessons for other cities looking to retire some of their own aging highways. Nearly 30 cities nationwide are currently discussing some form of removal.

Some, like Syracuse and Detroit, have committed to replacing stretches of interstate with more connected, walkable neighborhoods. Others, like New Orleans and Dallas, are facing pressure from local residents and activists to address the pollution, noise and safety hazards brought by the mega-roads.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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Where van Langren had abstracted the range of longitudinal estimates into a line, Playfair had gone further. He discovered that you could encode time by its position on the page. This idea may have come naturally to him. Friendly and Wainer describe how, when Playfair was younger, his brother had explained one way to record the daily high temperatures over an extended period: he should imagine a bunch of thermometers in a row and record his temperature readings as if he were tracing the different mercury levels; from there, it was only a small step to let the image of the thermometer fade into the background, use a dot to represent the top of the column of mercury, and line up the dots from left to right on the page. By visualizing time on the x-axis, Playfair had created a tool for making pictures from numbers which offered a portal to a much deeper connection with time and distance. As the industrial age emerged, this proved to be a life-saving insight.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Area struck a hard bargain with its tech workers.

Rent was astronomical. Taxes were high. Your neighbors didn’t like you. If you lived in San Francisco, you might have commuted an hour south to your job at Apple or Google or Facebook. Or if your office was in the city, maybe it was in a neighborhood with too much street crime, open drug use and $5 coffees.

But it was worth it. Living in the epicenter of a boom that was changing the world was what mattered. The city gave its workers a choice of interesting jobs and a chance at the brass ring.

That is, until the pandemic. Remote work offered a chance at residing for a few months in towns where life felt easier. Tech workers and their bosses realized they might not need all the perks and after-work schmooze events. But maybe they needed elbow room and a yard for the new puppy. A place to put the Peloton. A top public school.

They fled. They fled to tropical beach towns. They fled to more affordable places like Georgia. They fled to states without income taxes like Texas and Florida.

That’s where the story of the Bay Area’s latest tech era is ending for a growing crowd of tech workers and their companies. They have suddenly movable jobs and money in the bank — money that will go plenty further somewhere else.

But where? The No. 1 pick for people leaving San Francisco is Austin, Texas, with other winners including Seattle, New York and Chicago, according to moveBuddha, a site that compiles data on moving. Some cities have even set up recruiting programs to lure them to new homes. Miami’s mayor has even been inviting tech people to move there in his Twitter posts.

I talked to more than two dozen tech executives and workers who have left San Francisco for other parts of the country over the last year, like a young entrepreneur who moved home to Georgia and another who has created a community in Puerto Rico. Here are some of their stories.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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News 18.06.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Warren Buffett appears to be the safest kind of billionaire: the good kind. Mr. Buffett is neither Zuckerbergian messiah nor Musky provocateur, neither Bezosist space cadet nor Sacklerian undertaker. He is, or seems to be, quiet, humble, indifferent to money, philanthropic and critical of the system that allowed him to rise. Years ago, a proposed tax increase was named after him.

It’s easy for people to think: If only members of the Sackler family were more like Mr. Buffett, imagine how many lives would have been saved. If only the billionaires who haven’t signed the Giving Pledge would give away as much as Mr. Buffett has pledged to, imagine the impact on the world. If only more billionaires would make use of the system without feeling the need to pervert it, so many of our troubles would vanish.

So I regret to inform you that Mr. Buffett is actually the most dangerous kind of billionaire we have. The worst billionaires are the Good Billionaires. The sort who make it seem like the problem is the distortion of the system when, in fact, the problem is the system.

Actually malevolent and disastrously negligent plutocrats get most of the attention. And when we hear about these Bad Billionaire exploits, it is possible to conclude from them that the system needs better policing, updated regulations and maybe slightly higher taxes. The system needs to be made to work again.

But as America slouches toward plutocracy, our problem isn’t the virtue level of billionaires. It’s a set of social arrangements that make it possible for anyone to gain and guard and keep so much wealth, even as millions of others lack for food, work, housing, health, connectivity, education, dignity and the occasion to pursue their happiness.

There is no way to be a billionaire in America without taking advantage of a system predicated on cruelty, a system whose tax code and labor laws and regulatory apparatus prioritize your needs above most people’s. Even noted Good Billionaire Mr. Buffett has profited from Coca-Cola’s sugary drinks, Amazon’s union busting, Chevron’s oil drilling, Clayton Homes’s predatory loans and, as the country learned recently, the failure to tax billionaires on their wealth.

The Good Billionaire myth took a hard blow in recent days when Mr. Buffett won a dubious distinction. A staggering exposé published by ProPublica revealed just how little the biggest plutocrats pay in taxes, despite mounting piles of wealth. And at the very top of that list of plutocrats — many of them with troubled reputations — was the cleanest, grandfatherliest plutocrat of them all: Mr. Buffett.

ProPublica’s story was unusual in that, for once, it was the Good Billionaire at the top of the naughty list. This was helpful, because it served to indict the system that makes him possible, even when it is working perfectly, wholly lawfully.

From 2014 to 2018, Mr. Buffett’s wealth soared by $24.3 billion, according to ProPublica. (To underline, this is just the amount the fortune grew.) The amount of taxes Mr. Buffett paid over this period? $23.7 million. If middle-class Americans in their 40s enjoyed such a low effective tax rate, they would have paid a few dozen bucks per household over this same time period. Instead, as the ProPublica story notes, they paid around $62,000.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.