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December Links: HUD, Emergency Solutions Grants, Boating Safety Grants, What’s Wrong with Liking Quiet Time, Real Dangers, Parents in Prison, Happy Porn Stars and More

* In a very important announcement, HUD has decided to

revise the regulations for the Emergency Shelter Grants program by establishing the regulations for the Emergency Solutions Grants program, which replaces the Emergency Shelter Grants program. The change in the program’s name, from Emergency Shelter Grants to Emergency Solutions Grants, reflects the change in the program’s focus from addressing the needs of homeless people in emergency or transitional shelters to assisting people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

Some observations:

1. The name change doesn’t matter.

2. This is only going to confuse people further.

3. This isn’t going to help people who actually need services, but:

4. It will certainly create more work for HUD bureaucrats.

* The Water Boating Safety Grants are out, and they’re now being provided under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Aren’t they supposed to be catching terrorists, not checking for life vests on dinghies?

* “The Quiet Ones.” This describes me, and wanting quiet sometimes makes me feel increasingly out of place, or out of time. The Hacker News discussion is also good, and Paul Graham said this:

I think the fundamental problem with noisy people is not that they’re inconsiderate, but that they don’t have any train of thought to interrupt, and they thus don’t realize the havoc they’re wreaking.

When I was living in Providence, working on On Lisp, I told my loud but well-meaning neighbors that I was writing a hard computer book, and that made them be quiet. Ordinary people can understand that you need quiet if you’re working on some specific, hard task, like doing math homework. What they don’t grasp is that someone would want their mind to work that way all the time, as a matter of course.

* “The attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is considerably out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. That’s especially true when it comes to Islamic-extremist terror. Of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen.” My favorite question when I hear people discussing the contemporary impact of terrorism is this: About how many Americans die in car accidents every year? If they don’t know the answer, they probably aren’t all that serious about evaluating real dangers and priorities.

* Coping with parents in prison.

* “Efforts to Curb Social Spending Face Resistance.”

* “The Real Estate Deal That Could Change the Future of Everything:” letting local people invest small amounts in local projects. The barriers are primarily regulatory.

* “Study: Porn stars aren’t ‘damaged:’ A report finds adult actresses are happier than the rest of us — and that being naked might lead to self-esteem.” This leads to the obvious question: Why do these stereotypes persist?

* Immigrants lead plunge in U.S. birth rate. This is actually a bigger problem than many people realize.

* “Cirque du Soleil’s extravagant ‘Iris’ will close Jan. 19.” We wrote a funded $4 million HUD UDAG about ten years ago for the parking for the theater component of this mixed use project in Hollywood for the now-defunct Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. It wasn’t a very well designed project then and still isn’t.

* Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book describes what I’m going to be doing and what you might be thinking about doing.

* Awesome: Soaring Rents Drive a Boom in Apartments.

* “Michigan Goes Right-to-Work.” As Yglesias says, “It’s only going to have a modest impact in the short-term, but far and away the biggest economic news of the week from a long-term perspective has got to be Michigan’s rather sudden transformation into a right-to-work state.”

* If Peter Thiel And Garry Kasparov Are Right, Then We’re In Trouble. I pre-ordered their book, The Blueprint.

* Related to the above link: “Teach U.S. kids to write code.” I would add, however, that we should teach it better than we teach, say, English, math and physics.

* My favorite recent weird RFP is the Black Duck Joint Venture Competitive Grant Program (BDJV). There are grants up to $120,000 and up to four available awards.