10 stories · 4 followers

## Linus Torvalds: Detecting integer constant expressions in macrosby aleph Friday April 13th, 2018 at 7:33 PM

1 Comment and 2 Shares
ojiikun
2274 days ago
oh, C.
ridingsloth
2274 days ago
hoboy, that is something :\
2260 days ago
Atlanta, Georgia

# Walking New York

Could a person walk the entire city of NY in their lifetime? (including inside apartments)

Asaf Shamir

Like the answer to Paint the Earth, the answer to the first part of this question is pretty straightforward to look up.

But what if it weren't? Can we figure out the answer from things we already know? Let's look at a few ways of estimating it.

First of all, how wide is a street? I've never seen one of those flashing crosswalk countdowns signs start with less than 10 seconds; if people walk at a meter per second, most roads are probably at least 10 meters wide.[1]There's a table from the 1892 World Almanac listing the widths of all avenues and streets in Manhattan, as well as the lengths of all the blocks, confirming that even in 1892 the streets were at least 20 meters wide. I found a copy of the table over at the blog Stuff Nobody Cares About.

Most people wouldn't have trouble walking 10 kilometers (6 miles) in a day. If the city were covered in kilometer-long streets laid down edge-to-edge, with no space between them, you could fit a thousand roads side-by-side in 10 kilometers. That means a person could walk back and forth across an entire 10km by 10km grid in, at most, 3 years.[2]On the streets. You have to add another 3 years for the avenues.

I don't know how many 10 km square swatches it takes to cover New York City, but it's probably not very many.[3]Turns out it's a little more than 1 to cover the land and water. And since NYC has some space not occupied by streets, this tells us that the answer to the first part of Asaf's question is almost certainly "yes"—purely from a geometry standpoint.[4]Another way to come at this calculation is to remember that Manhattan streets are numbered, and you never see four-digit numbers.

Here's another approach: I happen to remember that the US Postal Service employs about half a million people. NYC's population is almost 10 million people,[5]The city itself is about 8.5 million, and the metro area is about 20 million. so almost 1 out of every 35 Americans lives there.[6]I remember seeing some California politician boast that California had 14% of the country's millionaires. But 1 in 8 Americans live in California, so that's pretty close to what you'd expect. If New York also has 1 out of every 35 postal employees, that's about 15,000 people.

If all those employees were letter carriers, and they visit every address in the city every workday, that would mean it takes a total 15,000 x 8 hours = 14 person-years to traverse the city—much less than a lifetime! Since lots of postal employees are not letter carriers, and real letter carriers stop frequently, this estimate is probably still much higher than the reality.

Another way: Imagine that each person lives alone in a square room measuring 10 meters by 10 meters, which is about the size of a typical two-bedroom apartment. Furthermore, let's assume that everyone's apartment is on the ground floor with at least one side facing a street. In that case, at a walking speed of 2.5 mph, it would take only 2.4 years to walk past every apartment—which Wolfram|Alpha helpfully points out is roughly 1.4 elephant gestation periods.

Any way we come at this problem, it looks like the answer is "yes"—you can walk down all the streets in New York City. And, indeed, it turns out there are 6,074 miles of road in NYC, which would take a total of a little over 100 days of walking.

Now, what about the second part of Asaf's question—walking through all the apartments?

This one is trickier. As a rule of thumb, a household is overcrowded if it has more people than rooms. [7] [8] There are a bunch of definitions for different family sizes and methodologies, but they all end up in a pretty narrow range. , but But at the same time, most households don't have more than two rooms per person. Let's assume all households have 1.5 rooms per person.

Let's assume it takes 20 seconds to get from the door of a room to the door of the next non-visited room. (Most of the time it will be much less, but sometimes the next non-visited room is on another floor or down the stairs, so it's good to give ourselves some extra time.)

If it takes 5 seconds to walk into a room and back out, then you can visit every room in New York City in 10 years. Even if you only visit rooms for eight hours a day, that's totally plausible to fit into one lifetime.

However, a word of warning to Asaf:

Under NY Penal Code §104.15, entering a dwelling without permission is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.

So while it might take only 30 years to visit every apartment in New York City ...

... it could take you 2,000 millennia to serve out the resulting prison sentence.

3584 days ago
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Atlanta, Georgia
rclatterbuck
3585 days ago
.
[deleted]
3584 days ago
Okay, there's no point to share a post with just a "." because sharing a post without a comment will still allow people to comment directly from your blurblog, just sayin...
pyrona
3579 days ago
....no? Unless this is well hidden or recently changed? If you don't add a comment at share time, there's no way to reply when reading in newsblur. If you've figured out a way, please for the love of science share a screenshot, because it makes me crazy.
[deleted]
3579 days ago
Skotte
3577 days ago
Was not aware of this, askew. I am a better person now!
drspam
3576 days ago
my understanding was that the only way to comment on a story without also sharing it to your own blurblog is to "reply", which is unavailable without a garbage comment like "." if that's changed, you would make me the happiest dude. also, rclatterbuck: thanks for sharing this in the first place! it's great.
[deleted]
3576 days ago
drspam, I actually believe you might be right, and with that, the whole commenting system is questionable. In one sense I do understand the fact that if it's good enough to comment, then it's good enough to share, but on the other end, you should have the freedom of commenting on a blog without sharing since we do have a community here. Has this question/suggestion even come up to Samuel?
drspam
3576 days ago
" Has this question/suggestion even come up to Samuel?" oh boy, has it ever! i highly encourage you to contribute to these threads here. the more voices for a sane commenting system, the better: https://getsatisfaction.com/newsblur/topics/allow_comments_on_shared_items_with_no_comments and.... https://getsatisfaction.com/newsblur/topics/allow_for_comments_on_a_shared_post_that_does_not_have_a_comment (apologies, rclatterbuck, for the thread tangent. i'll refrain from further posts)
JayM
3585 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
[deleted]
3584 days ago
Okay, there's no point to share a post with just a "." because sharing a post without a comment will still allow people to comment directly from your blurblog, just sayin...
JayM
3584 days ago
A habit from the early days of Newsblur when something needed to be there for someone else to reply to.

## Sustainabilityby Don Boudreaux Wednesday August 13th, 2014 at 12:34 PM

1 Comment and 2 Shares

A good way to test if someone is speaking in platitudes is to ask yourself if you can imagine a normal human adult believing the opposite.

Suppose someone informs you that he favors policies that promote human happiness. Can you imagine, say, your neighbor responding, “I disagree. I favor policies that promote human misery”? Probably not.

If you cannot imagine any normal person disagreeing with some proclamation, then that proclamation is a platitude. It tells you nothing of substance.

Consider today’s fashionable calls for “sustainability.” The academy, media, cyberspace are full of people proclaiming support for policies that promote economic and environmental “sustainability.” So whenever you hear such proclamations, ask if you can envision a sane adult sincerely disagreeing.

You’ll discover, of course, that you can’t imagine anyone seriously supporting “unsustainability.” Therefore, you should conclude that mere expressions of support for “sustainability” are empty. And they can be downright harmful if they mislead people into supporting counterproductive government policies.

3599 days ago
I disagree with the premise here. In the specific case of both happiness and sustainability, the catch is that it usually costs more. If someone says "I support sustainable farming" the usually understood, but unsaid, follow up statement is "...and I pay more for it."

It is complete reasonable to imagine a person or corporation stating that they've made decisions that are best for the bottom line, while we all understand that to mean that it cost some sustainability or worker happiness.
Atlanta, Georgia
ojiikun
3600 days ago

## Preferred Chat System Wednesday August 21st, 2013 at 9:19 AM

3957 days ago
He forgot smoke signal...
Atlanta, Georgia
rjstegbauer
3957 days ago
And telegrams...but I guess you would need a time machine for that now.
jbondjr
3955 days ago
This hits a little close to home
VioletGray
3952 days ago
Gent/Bucharest
jhamill
3956 days ago
I do my best work through voicemail.
California
chrisrosa
3956 days ago
xkcd continues to speak the truth. #communication
San Francisco, CA
tedder
3956 days ago
Uranus
jezbian
3956 days ago
YES YES YES. this is one reason it's hard to plan anything for more than 2 people these days - everyone communicates in so many varied ways!!!
FarrelBuch
3956 days ago
And I thought I was the only one who had these issues
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
MSex
3956 days ago
Isso tem acontecido comigo. Particularmente com uma combinação de SMS, Viber e WhatsApp.
galmeida
3956 days ago
nem me fala, WhatsApp should die
aaronwe
3956 days ago
I resemble that comic.
Denver
lrwrp
3956 days ago
I think this is what it's like trying to contact me.
??, NC
mrobold
3957 days ago
This sounds pretty accurate these days.
Orange County, California
NickDegens
3957 days ago
Nice!
3957 days ago
LOL
New York, NY
euser
3957 days ago
Last one is RFC1149 in action :)
Berlin
codersquid
3956 days ago
I don't think owls would make good carriers. You need to be able to change the magic axiom in our reality.
barajas
3957 days ago
Since switching to Windows Phone two weeks ago, this is pretty much my life.
Rochester, NY
aaronwe
3956 days ago
Welcome to why I dumped my Lumia 900.
ghling
3957 days ago
Alt text: "If you call my regular number, it just goes to my pager."
jimwise
3957 days ago
(Thank you!)
wffurr
3957 days ago
Another RSS reader I used on Android had a neat feature for xkcd. Alt text would appear if you tapped on the image. Press is the app.
jimwise
3957 days ago
Yeah -- Reeder (google reader client for iOS) did similar. One thing I missed since switching to NB. Guess I should put in a feature request...
3957 days ago
You're a god amongst men.
cbenard
3956 days ago
Hey guys, I created a Yahoo Pipe RSS feed you can subscribe to with the alt text below it. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=b3b7b8405296690257c7c311cc4fc2fd&_render=rss
cbenard
3956 days ago
You can look at the source of the Pipe here (but don't try to subscribe to this url; use the rss url I previously posted): http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=b3b7b8405296690257c7c311cc4fc2fd
reconbot
3956 days ago
The problem with the pipes feed is that all the comments are on this feed
cbenard
3956 days ago
@reconbot, yeah I will stay subscribed to this as well. I just made it to make it easy to see on a mobile device without having to rely on people to post the alt text in the comments. :)

## Anti-Glass Wednesday August 14th, 2013 at 1:37 PM

3963 days ago
It's strips like this that make me feel the black hat character was based on Daniel.
Atlanta, Georgia
mpontes
3961 days ago
He's based on Aram from Men In Hats, a webcomic. Randall stated that himself before.
1 public comment
ashtonbt1
3964 days ago
Title text for the mobile readers: "'Why don't you just point it at their eye directly?' 'What is this, 2007?'"

## And on Friday, Mario Balotelli Struggled to Locate his New Pet Piglet's Genitaliaby Ryan Glasspiegel Friday August 9th, 2013 at 5:10 PM

1 Comment

Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Eccentric Italian striker Mario Balotelli—who has, in the past, thrown a dart a youth team player, set his house on fire after letting off fireworks indoors, drawn copious red cards, and dedicated a goal to Drake—finally received the infant piggy he apparently ordered after what was clearly days or perhaps weeks of waiting:

Well, she’s certainly adorable. But are we sure she’s a she?

Seems like as good a methodology as any for determining such things.

Though he has had issues in the past with responsibility both on and off the pitch, Balotelli claims that he’s taken steps to mature. Here’s hoping that is indeed the case, and that this animal-owner relationship does not take a dark and confiscatory turn like that of Justin Bieber and his monkey.