do you want to upgrade your basement bathroom? this blog is for you.

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We are in danger of forgetting that all reports of progress are, by definition, opinionated. Each of the twenty-five thousand new things the National Science Foundation has funded in the last decade is a belief about science with an attendant set of claims about what kind of person is going to do research in which kind of field and how successful it will be.

If you want to upgrade your basement bathroom, you can read a report on how science thinks that should be done. Or you can ask your friends on Twitter . You can ask experts you know who work in that field yourself. Or you can figure it out yourself. If you use Twitter, the people who came up with this idea might be interested enough to comment on your idea. Or they might not, just as they don’t comment on every idea they hear.

A good way to see how little we know about the future is to look at the way we talk about it.

The phrase “to upgrade your basement bathroom” has become ubiquitous, because it’s the only way we can think of to describe spending $30 million on a new subway station. Economists call it the “disaster coefficient”: the bigger a project gets, the more you have to spend to get any particular benefit.

The daily news has also turned us into a nation of shoppers: we buy cellphones, cars, and houses not because they are useful but because they will give us pleasure. We would like them even if they cost nothing at all.

E.O. Wilson wrote that “we humans are the only creatures in creation with the ability deliberately to alter the parameters of our own destiny.” And so far, our destiny has mostly been about buying stuff we don’t need and not buying stuff we do need—until now.*

If you want to upgrade your bathroom, you can buy a whole new house. If you want to upgrade yourself, there is a more subtle way.

New technology often makes upgrading yourself cheaper. A laptop does more than give you an office; it also gives you access to the internet, which means e-mail and social networking and mobile phone apps. The first use of the word “networking” was in a memo written in 1970 by an IBM executive who wanted his company to invest in networking technology: “It’s time to go over to the dark side,” he wrote, “to start working on our own computer networks.”

The most expensive part of your life is sleep, food, and shelter. A quick fix for this problem is to move out of your parents’ basement. But if you’re going to do that anyway, it might as well be a better basement.

To do that, though, you have to upgrade yourself.

It’s been a while since anyone did this, and the operation of the blog has changed in ways that make it less helpful as an example. But here goes. You want to turn your basement bathroom into a walk-in shower or tub? You need to get a permit from your building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) department, which means you need to complete an application that is not exactly straightforward. The building inspector will ask you questions about your plan to protect yourself from freezing, how you plan to keep the water from freezing on its way down the drainpipe, and how you plan to keep it warm at the bottom of the pipe.

The rules governing HVAC installation are confusing and change periodically. But one abiding principle is that if you are installing anything that involves plumbing or electricity, and you don’t have professional supervision (like an architect), then you must get a permit.

So if you are installing a shower or tub, then you must apply for a permit before doing any work on your bathroom. This is actually fairly easy; it just means filling out some forms and waiting for some time before starting work on your bathroom.

I was recently asked by an estate agent if I would sell a house. It wasn’t my house, and I didn’t know anything about it, but I liked the idea of selling houses, so–in a rare moment of bravado–I decided to put up a garage sale to see what happened.

It didn’t take long to discover that people don’t care about things they aren’t ready to buy. What they care about is the future: the empty space in their lives, the future going on somewhere else instead of here. The whole world is full of stuff that’s not worth much now, but might be worth a lot someday. That’s what people want from garage sales. They want stuff that could be valuable later.

For example, you might have been surprised when you saw my basement bathroom for sale. It’s old and yellowed and has seen better days, but there are still some good things about it:

It’s not on the market: with an increase in house values over time, most houses in Vancouver are now worth more than they cost to build.

The basic layout is simple enough: there are two small bathrooms upstairs and one large one downstairs.

It’s cheap: compared with other houses built at the same time (1970

The problem with writing a blog is that it takes so much time to do well. I’m not sure there is any way around this except for people who already have the expertise.

I don’t think I could write a blog about how to write a blog, because I wouldn’t know how to start. So instead I’ll tell you what it’s like to write one.

You need to do research. A lot of research. You need to read lots of books and articles and blogs and websites, and keep track of them, and find things out from other people who are experts in related fields, and get their advice on what they think. Once you have enough material, you need to select the parts that seem relevant and put them together in a way that will be interesting or useful or both.

And then you need to edit those materials so that they will be clear and easy for your audience to understand, which means making sure they make sense if you put them all together in a linear order without any explanations or context.

New things are often built on old things. New ways of building things were once old ways, too. In the Middle Ages, the basic idea of how to construct a house was pretty much the same as it is now. Medieval houses might differ in their details, but they had doors and windows and walls.

The invention of the modern house was a big deal. The materials we use today were not available then; they had to be invented. For example, cement was discovered in Mesopotamia in 3300 BC but used for building only after 2600 BC. Wood soaked in water could be used for temporary repairs but could not replace stone for permanent construction. Metal could be beaten into shape, but it lacked durability and formability compared with stone and brick. So what changed?

The most obvious change was that people began to build with bricks instead of stones. But it took centuries for people to see that bricks were better than stones: at first they just tried to imitate the stones, which did not work; then they tried to make bricks that produced buildings that were at least as good as stone-built ones; then they developed techniques for making better bricks more quickly.

The key innovation was not something physical: it was something mental. When you are making bricks, you

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