It’s Gonna Be BANANAs

Iowa City is considering a zoning code change to open up more properties for “accessory apartments,” a rediscovered solution that might help our housing crisis.

The City of Iowa City explains:

Accessory apartments, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are small, self-contained dwelling units located on the same lot as a primary home. ADUs can be attached or detached and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and configurations.

You’re going to hear a lot of folks oppose this with a lot of the same tired arguments we’ve heard from team NIMBY1 for years:

  • It will hurt (my) property values
  • It won’t fit the “neighborhood’s character”
  • It alone can’t solve the affordable housing crisis
  • Something something families
  • Something something corporate take over

You will almost certainly hear this from folks who — staunchly — say they support affordable housing in a vague sort of way and are definitely not opposed to change (just this change) or density (just this density).2

They have, in fact, already started.

The truth is this: building more places for people to live in necessary, but insufficient, to solve the housing crisis, and we need to find ways to do it on land folks already own in a way that reduces the power of the people living there to keep new people out.

This is one of those changes.

  1. My preferred term is BANANA, for build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything. ↩︎
  2. It might sound something like this: “We would be eager to work to come up with buildings that contribute to a healthy balance of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing without compromising the character of the neighborhood.” ↩︎

Local Coffee Notes

A local note: Daydrink is opening a new, second location, in what was the original location of New Pioneer Coop.

This is just a note about how much I love the aesthetic of the teasers they posted to their Instagram account.

I don’t get coffee from a shop as my daily drink (that’s a subscription to Brass Ring’s rotating single-origin beans), but Daydrink is exactly the kind of approachable coffee snobbery I envision for my imagined post-retirement coffee shop (but I’d go with different hours).

On the Reassessment of Parents

At this lake house, on this vacation with my parents and my child and their boyfriend and my brother and his girlfriend, there is a table tennis set.

I haven’t played a game with my child, as they recall, since they were 7 and taking swimming lessons at the local recreation center a decade ago. In their recollection, I am very good at table tennis.

I am very bad at table tennis. This is a long-standing fact, not due to a decline in a skill I once possessed.

Reddit Goes Dark

Casey Newton at Platformer:

As a result, Reddit is a rare social product that has seemed to become more relevant over time, as a growing user base comes to appreciate its distinctive, human-centered approach to digital conversations. Another result, though, is a user base that feels uncommonly possessive of the product.

That history begins to explain the meltdownthat has taken place on Reddit over the past day, as thousands of communities go private — effectively taking themselves offline — to protest changes that will eliminate most third-party apps, and could threaten third-party moderation tools and research initiatives. So many forums went dark on Monday, in fact, that Reddit itself briefly crashed.

I was a late comer to Reddit — my account is just over four and a half years old — but is tied to a third-party app, Apollo, which will go away at the end of the month. After Twitter’s demise, Reddit had, in many ways, replaced it as my media diet to fall asleep to.

I don’t know how many users Reddit will lose, or if it will walk back any of its announced changes, but there was practically nothing to read this morning, so I deleted Apollo today and suspect I won’t return to Reddit in any meaningful way. The web experience really is that terrible.

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

Transitions can feel like celebration, growth, an unopened present. And like loss.

As another group of high-school seniors graduated and got ready to head out on their next steps, I was struck at how it can feel overwhelming and scary and joyful all at once. And we’ll do it again next year and the year after that and the year after that.

We can feel alone, and it can feel dangerous, but the path ahead is well trodden.

What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.

Fair Play

I think I watched more basketball over the past week than I have in a couple of decades. It was thrilling and emotional and disappointing and really fun.

Then, following the emotional, and disappointing, loss to LSU in the NCAA championship game, lots of Iowa fans got mad. Mad at LSU star Angel Reese and mad at the mostly anonymous officiating crew.

It was classless, Iowa fans, and shockingly lacking self-unawareness.

Others have done a better job than I can delving into the racial and gender dynamics of calling out a Reese, a young, Black woman in a big moment, for “classlessness,” but watching Iowa fans twist themselves into knots to define where the line between self-assured shit talking in a big moment and taunting lies was sad after celebrating Caitlin Clark for her cockiness all season. Turnabout is fair play in sports, and I’m sorry it hurt your feelings.1

And blaming referees for a loss — a decisive 17-point loss — is, well, not being honest. Unless the officials gave Jasmine Carson 22 points in 22 minutes off the bench. I am the fairest of fair-weather fans, jumping on the bandwagon late in season and quick to move on, so maybe I don’t understand how basketball works.

Instead of celebrating the ride — including beating the defending and undefeated champion — the reaction took away exactly what Iowa fans said they were mad they were being distracted from: a magical season from a scrappy team with a home-grown superstar.

1 | Kudos to Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder for her response when asked Reese’s end-of-game actions: “I’m sure she was really proud of her accomplishment. And I would be really proud of my accomplishment if I made it, won the national championship too. We’re all different people, and we all have different ways to show our emotion. Again, I’ve got to focus on what I can control.”

Jason Kottke Hits 25 Years of Blogging

I can’t remember when I started reading Jason Kottke’s blog, but I find I’m often surprised how long I’ve been reading someone when I start to work it out. I’m guessing it’s been since the mid-2000s. The eponymous blog has always hit a sweet spot for me.

Several years ago, I was the subject of a post and it gave me insight into how much Jason’s site drives conversation on the web, as I followed along as the story was picked up by increasing prominent news outlets (Buzzfeed, Adweek, cnet, Forbes) and, eventually, the New York Times.

Congratulations on reaching 25 years, Jason.

As Twitter Declines, 25 Tweets Highlighting What It Was

The New York Times:

On Wednesday, Twitter announced that users who pay extra will be able to send their thoughts into the world in tweets of up to 4,000 characters, instead of 280 or less. A few hours later, the site glitched. Users couldn’t tweet; they couldn’t DM; #TwitterDown began trending. All of it — the muddled sense of identity, the breakdown of basic function — confirmed the sense that Twitter, a site that has hosted the global conversation for almost two decades, had become a rickety shell of itself, that its best days were behind it and that it would never be as significant again.

Ate these are the 25 most important tweets? Some I’ve never seen before, but they are a good representation of all that Twitter was.

I’ve stopped using Twitter, which I used heavily and evangelized for since June 2007, and it’s still kind of amazing how quickly it stopped being the place that hosted the “global conversation”.

It’s not a great sign that more 10% of these tweets are Donald Trump, tho.

It’s Shut the Fuck Up Friday

Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times:

To people unfamiliar with the American criminal justice system, Baldwin’s decision sounds reasonable: Something terrible happened, and he wanted to help. But defense lawyers I talked to said Baldwin’s case should serve as a reminder that if you are involved in a serious incident, it’s best not to talk to the police unless you have an attorney present.

Manjoo is right, but it’s easier said than done to just shut the fuck up. Police rely on social engineering.

Manjoo cites an entertaining 48-minute video in which a law professor argues that nothing good can come from talking with cops no matter how innocent you are followed by a long-time-cop-turned-law-student telling you how he operated during interrogations which only confirms the need to shut the fuck up.