Sep 18

Rent Rant Cant

How not to be fooled by viral charts.

While I like Noah Smith often, he likes to tell spectacularly unconvincing lies about how rent has not gone up much. As anyone alive knows, especially since 2000 or so, rent has shot up enormously. He uses some chart indexed to 1985 to make it look better than it is. However, if you index to 2000 it looks much different and worse:

Funny there’s a chart that’s essentially a half-truth in a column about misleading charts. In the chart above, it’s pretty clear that rent has increased far faster than household income since 2000 (which is the correct measure here, not median personal income, as household income includes every member of a family who lives under the same roof, including spouses and their dependents).

Now I’m wicked bad at math, but rental costs are 79% higher vs. household income than they were in 2000. And that’s a pretty large fucking difference. The divergence would be even greater if you ran the numbers for desirable cities where the good jobs are and not just for every city (which is what the above chart shows). I’ve not done it, but I’m guessing it’d be in the range of 100%-300% higher depending on desirable city since 2000.

Also, the data above only goes to the beginning of 2022 for rent CPI. If it extended into 2023 it’d look far worse as rent has shot up enormously in the last year nearly everywhere. (Anecdotally, we moved and now we’re paying 44% more in rent than we were last year for a worse house with a much smaller yard in a fairly-comparable urban area. This is now the norm.)

It seems part of the professional code of every economist is to lie about rent and inflation. I have no idea why but it is oddly pervasive — even when the data is just right there. No economist can be trusted here and Noah is one of the very worst.

Sep 17

You Prob

I’m mystified when people tell me sites have paywalls.

Sounds like a “you” problem. Because you is using a goddamn fucking useless smartphone to do shit. FUCK.

Sep 17

Gap Years

Why do people on the internet say that people with large age gaps “have nothing in common?

This whole discourse is so demented. It’s just completely a wrong, harmful way to think about how humans relate to one another.

There are some nods to “life experience” in the thread — which varies hugely with the person and is just not very generalizable — but a lot of it is about what pop culture references one knows invalidating the relationship, e.g.:

To me that’s one of the really fun things about having friends of different ages, even in non-romantic relationships (but the same goes if they turn romantic). When I was mentoring an intern at a previous job, we had a great time discussing relics from the 1980s that she’d never heard of, and her trying to stump me with new slang and music that I usually had heard of (but sometimes not). Our age gap actually helped us relate because we were both smart, curious people.

Of course, this “age gap” nonsense is not really about protection from harm. Has nothing to do with that at all, in any way. It’s about enforcing proper assortative mating, and mostly detrimental even to the people it is allegedly helping. It’s actually better — yes, even for women — if you date and have life experiences with people of a wide variety of ages (as long as they are not minors for romantic relationships). It’ll make you into a more whole, better, more capable and fully-realized person.

When people from other countries come to the US, they are often shocked by how weirdly age-segregated it is here. And it sure is. Just such an oddball thing when you think about it.

Sep 15

Burning Time

What in the Jesus of Christ is so hard about putting in a ticket??

Fuck yes. I’ve seen users spend just absolute loads of time doing all sorts of wasteful shit just to avoid spending 30 seconds putting in a ticket. It makes no sense.

It reminds me of people telling me how smartphones are “more convenient” and then watch them burn 45 minutes on something I can do on a real computer in 15-20 seconds. How are people’s brains so jacked up?

Sep 15


You can easily defeat a whole lot of bad thinking and dubious assertions by merely doing this: assume the dodgy contention is true and then ask yourself, “What would the world look like then?” If the world does not appear to lean that way then you can assume that what’s being propounded is likely not true. This method doesn’t always work but does at a much greater rate than other, much more complex ones.

Why more people don’t do this, I haven’t a clue as it works so fucking well. It makes you seem like a genius with only vole-level brainpower used.