Real estate, cybersecurity and other risks, economics, & more: links & commentary for April 30, 2019

Bonner said a main goal of Bee Downtown is to introduce the idea of agriculture back into cities and back into people’s everyday lives, which comes with perks for the environment and the bees.

“As soon as the companies get their hives their first questions are always ‘What else can we do on our campus to help the bees and all the pollinators?’ Typically the campuses turn around and begin to create more sustainable landscaping for all pollinators and stop spraying so many chemicals,” Bonner said.

“Their neighboring companies and neighborhoods hear about the bees and don’t want to hurt them either so they begin taking better care of their surroundings as well.”

North Carolina, Atlanta Bee Highways Create Communities For Both Pollinators and People

“It’s not going to be cost-effective for every building to say, here’s how we’re going to flood-proof it,” Kevin Bush, Washington’s chief resilience officer and the lead author of the strategy, said in a phone interview. “In some cases, we’re going to have to figure out how to do managed retreat and relocation.”

Another challenge, Bush said, is finding new homes in the city for the residents whose houses can’t affordably be retrofitted. The problem is that Washington, like other places around the country, is facing both a housing shortage and climate change at the same time.

“Those two big changes are in conflict with each other,” he said, noting that the city’s resilience plan also addresses both affordable housing and income inequality. “You can’t seriously address climate change without also understanding what we need to do to grow more inclusively.”

Washington D.C. Plans to Confront Climate Change by Retrofitting Flood-Prone Buildings

Look at all the costs we’re anticipating simply because we haven’t acted quickly enough to stop all the carbon-fuel burning.

PG&E Behind on Tree Work in California a Month from Wildfire Season

Safety first!

The crane collapse in the heart of Seattle’s tech hub Saturday ended four lives, cast a pall on the city’s rapid expansion and may lead to tens in millions of dollars of costs for a building that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is set to occupy.

Seattle is in the middle of a commercial real estate boom and has nearly 60 construction cranes dotting its skyline, the most of any U.S. city. Developers have flocked to the area to build new offices and apartments for a swelling tech workforce.

Crane Collapse Casts Pall Over Seattle’s Rapid Growth

Los Angeles County sued Southern California Edison and parent company Edison International on Thursday to recover more than $100 million in costs and damages from a wind-driven wildfire that may have been sparked by one of the utility’s wires.

L.A. County Sues Southern California Edison for Wildfire Damage

Americans must assume more responsibility for protecting themselves from the rising toll of natural disasters, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned.

FEMA Chief Calls for Changing Attitudes as Storms Get Stronger

Again, this is closing the barn door after the horse is out. Yes, we all have to do our best to prepare and change; however, the real focus must be on eliminating CO2 and other greenhouse-gas buildup in the atmosphere. The best way to do that is via switching as quickly as possible from carbon-fuel burning to clean alternatives. That won’t be enough though. We must also sequester what’s already there. The best ways are reforestation and organic-soil regeneration.

As the Trend Micro researcher concluded, “Users should remember that there are other ways to recover their browser. Users that encounter a similar attack can simply close the browser using Task Manager.

Tech Support Scammers Freeze Browsers Using Iframes

It’s not that simple. Most people have sessions automated. They’d restart the browser, and the same tabs would load. They’d have to close the offending tab too before loading it. Another alternative is to use the task manager plus unplug the modem/router before restarting the browser. It would still be best to close the offending tab before opening it.

How hijacked routers can be exploited for phishing

After taking over your router, attackers modify its settings. It’s a tiny, unnoticeable change: They change the addresses of the DNS servers the router uses to resolve domain names. What does that mean, and why is it so dangerous?

Phishing without borders, or why you need to update your router

These five exercise trends will help society and your health

Guest Post: Understanding the Basics of Probate Investing – Part 1

… powerful global forces are holding down inflation and interest rates worldwide — and there is little reason to think that will change soon.

As a result, the Fed simply has fewer arrows in its quiver to protect the economy from the normal ups and downs. It also has a widening credibility gap over an inability to reach its inflation goal. Fed officials do not envision raising rates further anytime soon, and there are signals in financial markets suggesting that if they did raise rates much above current levels, the economy could tumble into recession.

… the Fed has been the equivalent of a driver who aims to go 60 miles an hour but starts tapping the brakes every time the car gets over 55.

If, instead, the Fed tried to target a steadily rising price level, or achieve average inflation over many years of 2 percent, it might avoid the problem. That would be the equivalent of a driver with an average speed of 55 being comfortable driving at 65 miles per hour until the average rises to the goal of 60.

In the current monetary policy environment, it would mean keeping rates lower for longer, allowing the economy to overheat until inflation was tracking comfortably above 2 percent for a time.

How Will the Fed Fight the Next Recession? It’s Trying to Figure That Out Right Now

This is a good follow-on from the link right above.

7 ways the Fed’s decisions on interest rates affect you [cached]

Higher price inflation does hurt, but higher interest rates hurt too. The opposite is also true depending upon your position. Higher price inflation means average consumers have more money to spend (to bid up prices). Higher interest rates means higher interest-earnings for those on fixed incomes who’ve invested in interest-earning accounts and other financial vehicles.

The greatest risk of increased energy costs are likely to occur in the southern, especially southeastern, United States, where costs for additional cooling are projected to be larger than the savings from lower heating bills. In the northernmost reaches of New England and the Midwest, and throughout much of the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains, energy expenditures may actually decrease. In those areas, lower expenditures on heating could outweigh higher expenditures on air conditioning. For the Lower 48 states on average, the models project the risk of greater demand for air conditioning overwhelming savings on heating, meaning national energy expenditures could rise overall.

National Climate Assessment map shows uneven impact of future global warming on U.S. energy spending

The financial community’s most important action with regard to climate change has happened in the last few years: many stakeholders in the financial industry, and central bankers, too, have realised that climate change is not an issue for next century. It’s an issue for now, and it’s a topic not only for other sectors but also for the financial sector and for central bankers and supervisors.

The ECB is paying a lot more attention to climate risks, not least through its participation in the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

Sabine Lautenschläger: Central bankers, supervisors and climate-related risks

Mayor Carlyn Obringer called the renovations and new landscaping “superb” and praised the funding model used by Community HousingWorks that didn’t rely on subsidies from the city or state. That means Concord can keep its affordable housing dollars for other projects ….

Nonprofit renovates affordable, 198-unit apartment complex in Concord

… HomeShare offered renters a chance to live in upscale new condos by dividing homes into comparatively affordable, ultra-micro units via temporary partitions.

HomeShare partitions measured around 100 to 120 square feet and started at $1,300 per month at launch.

Bay Area ‘homesharing’ startup abruptly shuts down

Landlords and management firms would benefit hugely by convincing the federal government to make child care and rental assistance programs into entitlement programs.

Stable, affordable housing and high-quality, affordable child care are essential to families’ economic stability, parents’ ability to work, and children’s healthy development. But due to inadequate funding, just 1 in 6 children eligible for child care assistance — and 1 in 5 families with children eligible for housing assistance — receives it. As a result, many low-income families struggle to pay for child care and housing, and many are forced into lower-quality or less stable child care arrangements and housing that is overcrowded, substandard, or located in neighborhoods with fewer opportunities for parents and children.

Funding for federal housing and child care assistance is inadequate because:

Unlike Medicaid or food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federal child care and rental assistance programs are not entitlement programs — that is, they do not serve everyone who applies and is eligible because the programs’ funding is capped and does not automatically expand to meet increased need.
A majority of the federal funding for child care and all of the funding for rental assistance programs is subject to the annual congressional appropriations process and, while the programs enjoy bipartisan support, funding is not high enough to serve all eligible families. This partly reflects the overall limits (or caps) on annual funding for appropriated programs that have been in place in recent years, which have made it hard for policymakers to provide enough funding to serve more eligible families.

Child Care and Housing: Big Expenses With Too Little Help Available

One country, two systems until Xi feels like making it one country, one system:

Hong Kong has a separate legal system through the “one country, two systems” deal struck between Britain and China.

Historically the city has baulked at mainland extraditions because of the opacity of China’s criminal justice system and its liberal use of the death penalty.

But earlier this year Hong Kong’s government announced plans to overhaul its extradition rules, allowing the transfer of fugitives with mainland China, Macau and Taiwan on a “case-basis” for the first time.

Huge Hong Kong protest against China extradition plan

Then you wonder why democratic Taiwan wants nothing to do with Xi’s China.

Typically when you use Chrome for mobile on Android, as you scroll down a webpage the URL bar vanishes. Attackers can use this vulnerability to display a fake URL address bar called an “inception bar” that won’t disappear until you visit another website.

The fake bar displays a real website’s address, fooling you into thinking that you’re on a different site than you actually are.

What’s even worse is that the attack can block you from seeing the real address bar once you scroll back up.

Beware! Google Chrome address bar can reportedly be used to launch a phishing attack