Real estate, cybersecurity and other risks, economics, & more: links & commentary for May 2, 2019

Excellent start. Smart move by Corbyn.

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliament declared a symbolic climate change “emergency” on Wednesday, backing a call by opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for “rapid and dramatic action” to protect the environment for generations to come.

After protests, Britain’s parliament declares climate change ’emergency’

Berlin police scuffle with activists at gentrification protest


The law will prohibit “covered establishments” — like restaurants and grocery stores — from using polystyrene containers. Hospitals, seafood shippers and state-funded meals-on-wheels programs will be exempt.

Maine has banned foam food containers at state facilities and functions since 1993. Some communities in the state had also already banned polystyrene.

Maine becomes 1st state to ban single-use foam containers

The following are the parts I particularly agree with.

… “many strands in [Friedrich] Hayek’s thinking… may have influenced the course of events leading to Monetary Union in subtle ways.”

As well as academics, the architects of the system included prominent British Treasury civil servants and politicians.

It is this inbuilt architecture of the European Union – embedded in present treaties – that is being resisted today by both right and left-wing populism across Europe. As it has been designed, the system is undemocratic and unresponsive to the will of the people. It is a system based on the theories and policies of out-of-touch neoclassical economists (with strong past and present links to the London School of Economics) whose attachment to permanent fiscal austerity, insecure employment, low wages and poor productivity are fuelling the fires of populism and nationalism. Their economic policies have predictably led to political and economic divergence across Europe ….

… Europe has been made politically and economically unstable, first by the huge imbalances that have grown between and within countries, and then by the way these imbalances have been reabsorbed through deflationary policies. It is these dynamics that lie at the heart of the political divergences and the rise of populism. Imbalances fuel nationalistic movements in the surplus countries of Northern Europe, while deflationary countermeasures fuel populistic reactions in the South.

Moreover, by shifting imbalances from inside the EMU to outside it, the Eurozone – following German-style neomercantilism – has become the largest surplus bloc on a global scale, with growing dependence on foreign markets. It also has an internal market which, thanks in part to austerity, is shrinking more and more.

Germany bears the most responsibility, thanks to its massive trade surplus and its dogged determination not to raise wages and stoke internal demand, or to cooperate with her partners to reflate European markets and economies. No wonder Europeans – and Britons – are angry.

How to transform the EU – and build solidarity between its members

And now comes blockchain. This advanced tool offers yet more potential to transform the insurance industry — and fraud fighting with it. Insurance transactions such as claims and policy applications are more secure and transparent when conducted via blockchain.

Fraudsters will find it virtually impossible to forge or alter documents or transactions sequestered behind the digitally armored blockchain wall. If the insurance industry possesses the will and resources to standardize transactions with blockchain, the system will quickly expose scams and lock them out of the system early in the transaction chain. Complex schemes such as forged medical bills from staged crashes will diminish. One-off claims such as an uninsured driver faking the date of a crash will be exposed. So will anyone offering forged insurance policies such as workers compensation. A new era of security against fraud is possible the more blockchain becomes adopted industry-wide. [Source]

Well, Better read this before jumping on the smart-contract bandwagon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that glyphosate, a chemical in many popular weed killers, is not a carcinogen, contradicting recent decisions by U.S. juries that found that it caused cancer in people.

The EPA announcement reaffirms earlier findings from the agency about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup.

“Unfortunately American consumers cannot trust the EPA assessment of glyphosate’s safety,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.

Weed Killer Chemical Glyphosate Is Not a Cancer Agent, Says EPA, Contradicting Juries

Unfortunately, the article didn’t state why Nathan Donley said American consumers cannot trust the EPA assessment. The reason he said it is because the EPA does zero independent testing. It relies entirely upon those who produce the thing the EPA is to ban or regulate. In other words, the fox is guarding the chicken coop.

So, you’re a landlord with an income property on one of these roads. What position do you take about global warming? Do you dismiss it; or, do you refuse to take the unnecessary risk and, therefore, tell the government you want quick action to slow and reverse it?

… it’s been more than a year since the flood damage was declared a disaster, yet about 43 percent of the road repair projects haven’t even started.

Federal Flood Repair Projects in West Virginia Behind Schedule

… this company in particular has had a history of environmental violations. So we’re not inclined to look the other way.”

Pollution Charges Filed Against Texas Petrochemical Facility That Burned

Citrix confirmed that the hackers who successfully breached the company’s network stole sensitive personal information of both former and current employees and were able to access internal assets for about six months.

The new information was released as part of a “Notice of Data Breach” sent to the Office of California’s Attorney General and to the Citrix employees who were impacted by the security breach.

Citrix Confirms Hackers Stole Sensitive Employee Personal Information

The city’s Green New Deal would require all new city-owned buildings and major renovations to be “all-electric,” effective immediately. The plan also hopes to phase out styrofoam and to plant 90,000 trees by 2021, and to end plastic straws and single-use containers by 2028.

The initiative also includes Los Angeles recycling 100% of its wastewater by 2035 and building a zero-carbon electricity grid with the goal of reaching an 80% renewable energy supply by 2036.

By 2050, the city hopes to create 400,000 green jobs, have every building become emissions-free and halt sending trash to landfills. By then, the city’s plan is expected to save more than 1,600 lives, 660 trips to the hospital and $16 billion in avoided health care expenses every year.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of cities pledging to use 100% renewable energy had doubled. More than a dozen states have passed or are considering setting 100% clean-electricity targets, according to a March report by consultant group EQ Research.

Los Angeles Launched Its Own Green New Deal

Dozens of studies show that exposure to chlorpyrifos is associated with lower birth weight, reduced IQ, attention disorders, and delayed motor development in infants and children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded in 2016 that all uses of chlorpyrifos are unsafe, but Trump’s EPA refuses to ban the pesticide despite the science.

New York Bans Brain-damaging Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are similar in structure to natural hormones such as the female sex hormone estrogen, the male sex hormone androgen, and thyroid hormones
EDCs interfere with development, reproduction, neurological functioning, metabolism, satiety and your immune system function, and much more, and for many of these chemicals, there may be no safe level of exposure
12 of the worst and most widely used EDCs are: BPA, dioxin, atrazine, phthalates, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury, arsenic, PFCs, organophosphate pesticides and glycol ethers
10 common routes of exposure include personal care products, drinking water, canned and packaged foods, conventionally grown produce and CAFO meat, poultry and dairy products, high-mercury fish, plastic and nonstick kitchenware, cleaning products, household dust, office products and cash register receipts
Suggestions for how to avoid or limit exposure are included

How to Avoid Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

The following is pretty good. I didn’t read it word-for-word but overviewed it instead. One thing that caught my eye concerns asking a prospective tenant about felony convictions. Check your state and local laws before doing that. There’s a movement to prevent landlords from discriminating against those who’ve serve their time. I’m not expressing a view for or against that here but simply cautioning readers.

Landlord Guidance: Content & Quiz for Determining if You Are Ready to House Hack

Larger storms mean bigger headaches for businesses and their employees. Meticulous disaster response planning has therefore never been more important.

Key Considerations for Disaster Planning

This is why parents who work often see little choice but to live with their children in their car.

Renters are left with little income to spend on necessities such as food, clothing, and medical care.

The problems renters face in Los Angeles aren’t unique. The Apartment List study found that across the U.S., renters of all incomes spend a greater share of their earnings on rent than they did in 1980.

Rental prices in the region and nationally also continue to go up, a trend Apartment List blames on an influx of high-income renters.

These renters may not be able to afford a home in a metropolitan area as expensive as Los Angeles, but they earn 23 percent more than the median renter did a decade ago. As people with more money enter the rental market, landlords have raised rents. Nationally, the nominal median rent paid has jumped by 23 percent, Apartment List found.

Housing costs are exacerbating gap between rich, poor in LA

Think tank pushes for transparency on multifamily lending data

This is what I called for right after malls started suffering. I consider it a form of recycling.

Dying malls resurrected in multifamily markets