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Comment: Re:Seems appropriate (Score 0) 350

by Copid (#47420215) Attached to: UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys
That one really blew my mind. I don't see how it's any different from, "We're going to let you rot in prison until you take us to the body, even though we don't have the evidence to convict you without it," which is pretty much exactly what the Fifth Amendment was supposed to prevent.

+ - Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they're private corporations, immune to oversight->

Submitted by thermowax
thermowax (179226) writes "Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws. Kind of amusing this is in arch-Liberal Mass, but enough editorializing: I don't even know where to start here. No FOIA demands, no investigations, or reviews... the police state gets more real on a daily basis."
Link to Original Source

+ - Jackson Palmer leaving Dogecoin

Submitted by pankkake
pankkake (877909) writes "Jackson Palmer, one of the founders of Dogecoin, announced he was leaving because the "movement" felt "cultlike", after being involved in a public argument over Dogecoin's trademark.

Not that people were not warned abundantly.

Dogecoin has been steadily losing value and it is anticipated that it will lose more. The author points that altcoins attract increasingly homogeneous groups, confirming Palmer's statements."

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 1) 404

by Copid (#47328423) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App
That's why I'm saying that SF Park should simply go back to using its sensors and letting the price float. That will put this app out of business and make the whole point moot. Everything starts to function optimally and there's no need for us to set up police stings to ensure that nobody is selling spaces. Setting the price equal to a sensible market price does away with the secondary market entirely.

I can see other cities getting upset over this, but SF has the tools to stop it cold. They have the most advanced parking metering system in the country. If they don't use it properly, that's a policy problem.

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 1) 404

by Copid (#47319745) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App
Actually, I think I can phrase this more clearly without bothering with any of the nitty gritty details:

Street parking is a shared public resource. If a shared resource is cheap or free, people will hog that resource. That's fine until we run out of that resource. Then, resource hogs crowd out others and you get a lot of people who don't get to use that resource at all. That's where putting a price on scarce resources comes in. It makes people think about their usage and make rational choices about whether it's important for them to keep using it while others wait their turn.

As you increase the price, fewer people will hog the resource. More and more people will get a chance to use it, and they will use it only for the time they really need it. Yes, you can set the price too high and end up with the resource being underutilized, but that's not the problem San Francisco has. With properly computer-controlled pricing, they can avoid ever having that problem. With proper pricing, you get the largest number of people getting a chance to use the shared resource, and they use it when it's important to them, not just because it's cheap and convenient.

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 1) 404

by Copid (#47319083) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

If that's what I meant, that is what I would have said. I did not. You keep making things up and then expecting me to defend them.

There's a reason I used a question mark in my attempted restatement of your position. I'm trying to clarify Because the phrase "ten percent of your users" is kind of ambiguous from the perspective of how a time shared resource is utilized.

Let me rephrase more precisely: "Number of occupied parking spaces" and "time spent in a space by the median parking consumer" are both random variables whose statistical properties change during the day. What does it mean to lose ten percent of your users in that sense? Does it mean that there will be ten percent fewer events of the type "person enters and leaves a parking space?" If so, I disagree with the notion that properly set prices will cause this to happen. If something else, please state it clearly.

More to the point: What are the properties of a set of parking spaces when they're used at maximum efficiency? Is turnover maximized? Is the time the average space spends in the "empty" state minimized? Is time spent looking for a space minimized? I would argue that high turnover and low search times while keeping most of the spaces full most of the time should be the goal. If search times are high, prices are too low. If search times are low because the spaces are mostly empty, prices are too high.

They're not going to feed the meter for another hour unless they really need it, and at that point effect 1 comes into play.

So that's effect number 1, which you and I agree on. You just ignored the more basic effect of (2): that increased prices will reduce the number of hours people buy in the first place. Do we disagree that (2) will happen at all, or do you think that the effect of (1) will dominate? Because in the actual real measured world, (2) dominates (1).

If I have paid an extreme amount (in my opinion) for a certain time on a meter, then I am less willing to just walk away from that investment.

You're also less willing to feed unnecessary amounts of money into the meter in the first place.

If I pay a quarter for an hour at a meter and my business is done in ten minutes, then I don't feel bad about just leaving, opening up the space for the next user. If I pay a dollar for the same amount of time, I'm more likely to see 50 minutes left on the meter when I get done and think "I'm already here, I might as well do something else."

You have a very strange notion of how parking meters work. I've never seen a meter that charges $1 per hour and has a minimum 1 hour purchase. At every meter I've ever seen, you can purchase a few minutes. If you know that you're likely to spend 10 minutes in the store, why would you buy an hour of time? Maybe you would if it only cost a quarter. But if it cost, say $10, you'd probably do what most people do and pay for $2.50 for 15 minutes, do your business, and get out. That's how parking meters really work, especially in a city like SF with the most advanced meters in the country, and especially when you're implementing congestion pricing with the explicit goal of decreasing loiter times.

It is simply absurd to price something to deliberately reduce demand and then deny that you've reduced demand, or at least tried to.

For somebody who screams about "making things up" you've certainly jumped to a weird conclusion about what I'm saying. Raising the price will reduce demand (supply, actually, according to the classic microeconomics terminology) in the sense that it will reduce willingness to occupy the space for a given amount of time. That will have a few effects:

1) Increased turnover.
2) Because of (1), we get increased probability that at any point in time, there will be an empty space.
3) Because of (2), we get decreased time spent looking for spaces, which reduces traffic congestion, driver frustration, and uncertainty about whether you'll be able to find parking when you need it.

If the price is set properly, the spaces should still be mostly full most of the time, so we're not wasting parking spaces by leaving them empty. We've just decreased the amount of time any one person spends in a space, which seems to be what you and I both want. If your thought experiment has increased prices decreasing turnover, it's conflicting with real world experiments, so there's probably something wrong with it.

Your assumption seems to be that a public resource must be priced at a rate to limit demand to what is available, thus optimizing return on investment, not just to cover the costs of providing that service.

It's not at all about optimizing return on investment. It's about efficient allocation of scarce resources and the problems that are created when people try to overconsume those scarce resources. Overcrowded parking is a huge expense in dense cities because people create congestion while driving around looking for spots. The SF Park system was able to dynamically set prices so that there was at least one open space for every N spaces. It kept turnover high and it ensured that people who really need spaces will be able to get them without much cruising. It also distributed parking more uniformly--dynamic pricing encouraged people to park in less busy areas instead of constantly driving around the most congested ones.

With dynamic pricing, really busy spaces cost a lot, keeping people there for short periods of time. Any jackass who tries to occupy the "last" space in order to ransom it off will find that he's paying an exorbitant rate for it and that he's competing with empty spaces that pop up all around him because of the increased turnover. It becomes a money-losing activity.

Comment: Re:They hate our freedom (Score 1) 404

by Copid (#47317515) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

The number of users of parking spaces will be many times the number of spaces. Each space will be used multiple times a day.

You can add "at any given time" to that to make the statement an accurate model. And assuming you're able to change pricing dynamically (which SF is), it's the correct model to be using. If you can't change pricing dynamically, you're in a bit of a pickle because the price at the beginning of the workday will obviously be totally wrong at, say 10:30pm.

If you force ten percent of those users to go elsewhere because the price is too high, you've lost ten percent of your users.

When you say "lost ten percent of your users", do you mean that if we randomly sample the number of spaces occupied, we'll find 10% of them empty? What's the "correct" number of occupied spaces, given the fact that having drivers driving around without access to empty spaces comes with a cost?

If you make the price high enough on an hour meter, you will increase the number of people who will not simply drive away from time left on the meter. They've paid for an hour, they might as well use it. That reduces the number of users as well.

This, I think is where your model breaks. You've just described a market in which raising the price increases the amount of the resource a consumer is willing to consume. Those markets exist, but they're extremely rare exceptions, and I don't think street parking is one of them. The real model goes more like this:

1) As you say, people who have time left on the meter might be marginally more likely to use it instead of leave early. That has a minor negative effect on turnover.
2) People will put much less time on the meter to begin with because spending time parked in an expensive space costs money. They'll plan to get in and out, minimizing their exposure to meter costs. This has a significant positive effect on turnover.

The net effect should be that (2) dominates (1). Increasing the price should increase turnover significantly. That's what reserach shows, and it's what basic economics predicts.

And, of course, you will lose completely those who would have tried coming downtown to shop if the cost of parking had not become too high to justify it.

By going the other direction, you lose customers who would be willing to pay to park but who don't venture into the area because, "parking is a nightmare." There's no free lunch there. Creating a situation in which a resource is used to its maximum and is rationed by a mixture of luck and waiting in line deters people who aren't willing to drive around in gridlocked streets for an hour looking for a space just as much as a few extra bucks at the meter deters people who don't want to pay a few bucks.

Can you show me where I said it did? Your straw man is very flimsy.

I was mistaken. Most people erroneously think that the number of parking space user-hours isn't limited by the number of parking spaces and that they can somehow get more user-hours out of a space by making the space free. Your error was in thinking that lower prices increase parking space turnover. That's also wrong.

You're right, that isn't the problem here. The problem here is inflating the prices and driving people away, not trying to attract more. And the original problem is increasing the price by running a private auction for a public resource.

The very existence of that auction is due to the fact that SF is underpricing its parking spaces. With their advanced meters, they could very easily just let the price float to market rates. That would have a few effects:

1) The excess revenue earned by the auctioneers would go to the city.
2) Parking would be maintained at optimal density and turnover.
3) This app would go away completely and we could all sleep soundly knowing that nobody had an incentive to ransom spaces, and SF wouldn't have to spend a penny on policing the issue.

Comment: Re:Communism (Score 1) 404

by Copid (#47315093) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App
Right. That's just dumb. If parking is nearly full but with spaces open here and there, pricing is already optimized. People who are just casually looking for parking are clearly deterred enough to avoid it when possible, most of the spaces aren't being wasted, and there's still enough parking for people who really need it to jump in without cruising for 30 minutes first. That's the holy grail of parking rates. Jacking up the rates won't get you more revenue and lowering rates won't appreciably increase the number of people parking. Anybody who cranks the knob over in either direction clearly doesn't understand how these things are supposed to work.

I guess they could always make more money by lowering rates to fill all of the spaces and then setting really short limits on how long you can park for in order to increase parking ticket revenue (I've seen this in a lot of cities). One parking citation pays more than a full parking space all day, right? But that only works in cities where dicking around with parking is a luxury they actually have. In major urban areas like SF and NY, parking is a serious business. If you're optimizing for anything other than the maximization of space utilization and the minimization of search time, you're causing all sorts of other ancillary problems that just aren't worth whatever revenue you think you're getting.

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