Tag Archives: Weekend Long Reads

Weekend Long Reads: What Drives the Cost of Housing?

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a discussion of what happens to rental prices when developers build new market-rate housing.

There has been a raging debate the past several years among economists and housing experts on what happens when new market-rate housing is built in a neighborhood: Do rents in neighboring buildings go up, or do they go down? There are two schools of thought on this.

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Weekend Long Reads: Bitterness Isn’t All Bad

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a collection of three shorter reads: a trio of research papers on COVID-19. The virus — and the vaccines — have now been around long enough that the medical research community has large and diverse enough data sets to start to really understand this virus. Along the way, researchers are discovering some fascinating and mystifying things. 

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Weekend Long Reads: Human Civilization Might Be Older Than We Thought

by Kevin Schofield


This week’s “long read” is an essay on archaeology in Palladium magazine, discussing some recent developments that might upend the dominant thinking on when human society began.

Nailing down the timeline for the dawn of human civilization has always been a bit of a guessing game, because human society predated recorded history. Even those societies with robust oral histories tend to maintain them only for as long as the society itself remains viable. So archaeologists exploring the dawn of human society try to extrapolate what happened based on an examination of what the essay calls the “extended phenotype” of the human race: the marks that humans leave on their world. For the most part when dealing with early societies, the extended phenotype consists of buildings, tools, and bones — often long buried.

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Weekend Long Reads: The Climate ‘New Normal’

by Kevin Schofield


This week’s “long read” takes us into the world of climate change and how the nation’s lead agency on climate and weather tracks it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is responsible for all things weather and climate in the United States: It runs the National Weather Service, supplies forecasts to other government agencies and to the public, and collects and archives atmospheric readings from a collection of tracking stations across the United States. That data is used to improve weather forecasting models, but it is also used to analyze broader climate trends.

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Weekend Long Reads: 2020 Didn’t Bring a Baby Boom

by Kevin Schofield


Every year the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), releases updated statistics on births and fertility rates in the United States, and this week it published figures for 2020. There have been plenty of predictions about what effect the pandemic would have on births, with some (including myself) guessing that with everyone cooped up at home we might see a mini baby boom.

Alas, it was not so. There were 3,605,201 births in the U.S. last year, a 4% drop from 2019. Birth rates declined across all age groups except for the youngest teenagers and the oldest women. Other than a slight bump up in 2014, the number of births in the United States has been steadily dropping since 2007, and 2020 saw the lowest level of births since 1979.

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Weekend Long Reads: A Whole Lot of Sloshing Going On! What a Tsunami Would Do in Puget Sound

by Kevin Schofield


If you’ve lived here in the Pacific Northwest for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a massive earthquake fault off the coast of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon where the seismic plate holding up the land is slipping underneath the one at the bottom of the ocean. Pressure builds up for centuries along the area where they overlap and rub against each other, and every 500 years a major “rip” occurs where the mainland plate moves farther west and down, and the ocean plate is pushed up (and potentially east). The resulting earthquake is around magnitude 9.0 — about 100 times stronger than the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, our last big seismic event here in Seattle. In addition to the earth-movement damage that it would cause, the uplifting and dropping of the ocean floor along the fault line is expected to cause a tsunami wave. 

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Weekend Long Reads: A Watershed Ruling on Homelessness

by Kevin Schofield


On Tuesday, April 20, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter of the Central District of California issued a ruling that is likely to become a watershed moment in the United States’ response to homelessness.

In March of last year, the LA Alliance for Human Rights and several individuals sued the City and County of Los Angeles, alleging that they had not only fundamentally failed to address the homeless emergency in Los Angeles but had in fact contributed to creating it over the course of several decades. The complaint they filed reads more like what we might imagine the authors of the “Seattle is Dying” video would have written about Los Angeles: public health hazards, accumulating trash, rising crime, blocked sidewalks, local government leaders unwilling or unable to rise to the challenge of dealing with it. But Judge Carter had his own ideas, and over the last year has fully immersed himself in the issues and the situation on the ground.

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