Times Square in 1978 was the dictionary definition of urban decay. Neon lights that once belonged to posh theaters now advertised peep shows and adult entertainment. Street corners were populated by sleazy motels, adult stores, and dodgy nightclubs and bars. The area was populated only with the lowest of American strata, those who had no other place to go. Below the cacophony of cars on the streets seeking to get the hell out as quickly as possible, the subway whirred, with its signs of neglect perhaps worse than what was present above ground. Outside of Times Square, the city burned. Riots, burglaries, and arson had consumed large blocks of Brooklyn and the Bronx. Nobody wanted to be next.
I often like to start my day by keeping myself abreast of interesting things in the world of computer programming. Often this means a visit to Hacker News or Lobsters. I somehow managed to come across Richard Startin's article about why he doesn't use Google Protocol Buffers for telemetry. Near the bottom, he has an aside about VarInts and shares a few tricks to produce them more efficiently.