John Deere's AI, Google's Failed Experiment, and the Flintstone House

Weekend Reads: March 22, 2019

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The Amazing Ways John Deere Uses AI and Machine Vision to Help Feed 10 Billion People

Bernard Marr | Forbes | Retweeted by Jennifer Huddleston

In 30 years, the human population of our planet will be close to 10 billion. John Deere is testing artificial intelligence to help farmers efficiently sustain this growing population.

The Troubling Limits of the ‘Great Crime Decline’

Mark Obbie | CityLab | Retweeted by Alex Tabarrok

While the fall of urban violence since the early 1990s was a public health breakthrough, more research is needed to fully measure this breakthrough’s impact and fragility.

When Google Fiber Abandons Your City as a Failed Experiment

Adam K. Raymond | Gizmodo | Tweeted by Brent Skorup

Google’s ambitious plan to roll out gigabit internet lines just two inches underground failed, leaving Louisville, Kentucky feeling abandoned by the technology giant after years of negotiations and legal battles.

Capitalism Saved Sweden

Michael Munger | American Institute for Economic Research | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

People often refer to Sweden as a socialist safe haven, but data shows the country has been purposefully embracing capitalism.

Measure of US Innovation Jumped in 2018

Josh Mitchell | The Wall Street Journal | Tweeted by Veronique de Rugy

While multifactor productivity (a rough measure of innovation) grew one percent last year, this pales in comparison to previous periods of growth. While new technology has increasingly improved the lives of consumers, companies are still learning how to take full advantage of it.

Hillsborough Suing over ‘Flintstone House,’ Calling Additions an Eyesore

Evan Sernoffsky | San Francisco Chronicle | Shared by Tyler Cowen

The town of Hillsborough, just outside San Francisco, is suing the owner of a cartoon-inspired house over gaudy decorations and unpermitted work. The property features a herd of large dinosaur sculptures and a sign reading, “Yabba Dabba Doo.”

Trapped in Tariffs, Firms Tied to Lobster Industry Look for Way out

Laurent Belsie and Clarence Leong | The Christian Science Monitor | Tweeted by Christine McDaniel

Tariffs have been touted as short-term negotiating tools, but they have made Canadian lobsters cheaper and steel imports more expensive, devastating the US lobster industry.

Why Is Japanese Zoning More Liberal than US Zoning?

Nolan Gray | Market Urbanism | Tweeted by Emily Hamilton

While both Japanese and American zoning laws started out relatively liberal, the US has since seen more restrictive regulations. Japan’s model of “as-of-right” permitting could help ease high living expenses, urban sprawl, and inequality in America.

Seattle Upzones 27 Neighborhood Hubs, Passes Affordable-Housing Requirements

Daniel Beekman | The Seattle Times | Retweeted by Salim Furth

In an effort to curb inequality and rising home prices, Seattle’s City Council approved some of the most sweeping zoning changes in the city’s recent history.