Squirrels Speak Bird

Squirrels are what Keith Tarvin, a biologist at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio who led the study, calls “public information exploiters,” meaning they often take cues from other prey animals nearby. They’re not the only ones that do this. Early animal behavior studies have shown that birds, mammals, and even fish and lizards can recognize the alarm signals of other species that share similar geographic locations and predators. Within the bird family, a nuthatch may tune into the high-pitched call of a chick-a-dee, which might also be paying attention to the panicked tweet of a tufted titmice.

via https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/09/squirrels-chipmunks-listen-to-bird-chatter-urban-city-noise/597214/

WeWork could be one of the worst IPOs in 2019

WeWork’s business, essentially, aims to capture the spread between long-term and short-term rental costs. Landlords want stability and guaranteed cash flows, so they’re willing to lease office space at lower rates if a tenant is willing to make a long-term commitment, as WeWork does. Companies, on the other hand, want the flexibility of short-term leases that allow them to quickly grow, shrink, or move their office space in response to personnel needs. As a result, they’re willing to pay higher rents for this flexibility.

All of these factors – the dual-class shares, conflicts of interest, and unusual relationship with underwriters – suggest that this IPO is about Neumann and other insiders cashing in on the bubble-like valuation of WeWork’s shares and dumping the risk on public investors.

via https://seekingalpha.com/article/4289610-wework-one-worst-ipos-2019

From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

In 1994, Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist, described an idea that has come to be known as the Marchetti Constant. In general, he declared, people have always been willing to commute for about a half-hour, one way, from their homes each day.

This principle has profound implications for urban life. The value of land is governed by its accessibility—which is to say, by the reasonable speed of transport to reach it.

via https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/commute-time-city-size-transportation-urban-planning-history/597055/

Uber tries to reassure customers that it takes safety seriously, following NYTimes book excerpt

The email was clearly meant to reassure riders, some of whom might be absorbing negative press about Uber and wondering if it cares about them at all. But not everyone follows Uber as closely as industry watchers in Silicon Valley, and either way, what the email mostly accomplishes is to remind customers that riding in an Uber involves life-and-death risk.