A New Vision For Southern California

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Since the start of the last century, Southern California has been a pioneer in building ways of living, and an economy, that broke with normal convention. Our region created a new paradigm, one both defining suburbanism and friendly to middle class aspirations, that attracted millions here.  read more »

Immigration and Trust

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Do we only really trust people who are like us? And if so, is that a mistake?

Distrust of the unfamiliar and the foreign is a natural survival mechanism for most species, including the human species. But, if empirical evidence is worth anything, a reflexive distrust of the foreigner cannot be said to be equally benign. Distrust sows fear. And fear plays in the hands of demagogues and can turn into a contagious pathology with numerous undesirable consequences.  read more »

Tech's New Hotbeds: Cities With Fastest Growth In STEM Jobs Are Far From Silicon Valley

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The conventional wisdom sees tech concentrating in a handful of places, many dense urban cores that offer the best jobs and draw talented young people. These places are seen as so powerful that, as The New York Times recently put it, they have little need to relate to other, less fashionable cities.  read more »

Should the Midwest Play a Game It Can’t Win?

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Noah Smith at Bloomberg wrote a recent column on how to revive the Midwest that channels the ideas of Michigan based Brookings scholar John Austin. This strategy has two main planks: lure more immigrants and invest more in higher education (presumably research universities).  read more »

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Minnesota's Millennial Mobility

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With both metro and rural areas projected to face a labor force slowdown by 2025 as more baby boomers exit the workforce than millennials enter, where millennials chose to live and work becomes increasingly important. In this report, Chet Bodin, a labor market analyst for Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development, details how the migration patterns of millennials will impact Minnesota's regional labor markets.  read more »

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Thoughts on Boston and Northern Exclusion

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The Boston Globe's Spotlight investigative team recently touched a lot of nerves with its seven-part series about Boston's perception and reputation as a racist city. The Spotlight team should be commended for asking -- and seeking answers to -- a lot of very tough questions regarding Boston. Is Boston racist? How did it gain that reputation? Why does the reputation persist to this day, particularly among blacks?  read more »

Is There A Niche For Sensible Politics In America?

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Given the current state of American politics, and those of our state of California, our founding fathers might well consider not just turning over in their graves but boring deeper towards the earth’s core. Yet amidst the almost unceasing signs of discord and hyperbolic confrontation, there exists a more sensible approach which could help rescue our wobbling Republic.  read more »

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Case Studies in Autonomous Vehicles, Part 3: Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Able to Handle All Driving Conditions?

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Parts 1 and 2 of this series explored the practical challenges of adopting shared use autonomous vehicles from a human behavior standpoint. In this final piece, I explore the issues AVs might face in the most challenging of driving conditions.  read more »

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Cronyism on an Industrial Scale to Blame for Inflated New York Subway Costs

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Just before year end, the New York Times dropped a bombshell report on what they term “the most expensive mile of subway on earth.”

An extensive investigation by the Times finally starts to get at the heart of why construction costs on the New York subway are vastly higher than anywhere else in the world.  read more »

California Lithium Battery Maker Heads to Appalachia

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It is starting out to be a happy new year in Pikeville, Kentucky. Little in technology is more "cutting edge" today that lithium battery manufacturing. Elon Musk last year chose Nevada, not California for his mega plant a few years ago. Now, lithium battery manufacturer Ener Blu has announced plans to move, "lock stock and barrel" from Riverside-San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles, to Appalachian Kentucky, with its plant to be located in Pikeville, to be built on a what was a surface coal mine.  read more »