Saturday, October 21, 2017

Biography: Gravitational Wave

Aussie Scientists And Experts React To Today's Massive Gravitational Wave Discovery

Revelation of cosmic secrets triggers a 'frenzy' of global scientific activity

“The key to writing biography is the capacity to be empathetic,” says James Atlas, who failed in that regard when writing his book on Saul Bellow...  Saul Bellow 

VARIETY: Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal Could Finally Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy. “There’s a vicious cycle of emotional violence. People come into the industry, working grueling hours in agency mail rooms or as production assistants on film sets, where they are screamed at and belittled. As they rise, they hurl the same invective at underlings that they once were forced to endure

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Method to Trump’s ‘Madness.’ “Pollsters, pundits, and the media have vastly underestimated how many in America loathe multimillionaire celebrities, pampered athletes, and triangulating politicians—the usual targets of Trump’s invective.”

The midlife crisis, first described by psychologists in 1965, is a first-world problem, but it's a problem nonetheless. The first rule of crisis prevention: avoid self-absorption 1965  

In an age when truth is dismissed as fiction, the novel matters more because we all live by fictions. It’s how we get to the truth Truth of  alternative  

The Conversation: “Today’s students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers. Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions. Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students’ familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we’ve found that’s not necessarily true. As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it…To explore these patterns further, we conducted three studiesthat explored college students’ ability to comprehend information on paper and from screens…”

Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene are more readable than Henry Green. But Green is more rereadable — his opaque works reward our repeated attention Green  

Giorgio Vasari was a second-rate artist and a first-rate gossip. Behold his catalog of piquant trivia about Renaissance Italy Vasari 

Essays & Opinions

"The infatuation with portents — with the supposed relevance of voices from the past — is neither bread nor circus. It’s an obsession with history that can also be a form of amnesia" Amnesia  

Wild Stories of Sydney

      Why do robbers rob banks or mobile shops ... That is where the money is ... Via

         Revealed: Double life of high-flying AllRound Access CEO Savas ...
 'North shore money drops, bikie link': Savas Guven charged in laundering ring - Stuart Littlemore 

'Drug ring's $150k cash drop' at Australian Tax Office

By Michael Evans ... Not related to John

Erhan Kurtulmus was standing outside the Sydney office tower that's home to the Australian Taxation Office, continually looking down at his phone, waiting.

Stuffed into his black backpack was $150,000 in cash.
The then 26-year-old from Erskine Park had arranged to meet his contact - a senior compliance officer at the ATO. Waiting outside, he called to tell him he was "out the front".
What happened next is just one example in a series of allegations contained in court documents, detailing how police allege organised crime launders drug money around Sydney. Among them, cash drops at clandestine meetings in the McDonald's Cremorne car park, in the back of a taxi, and in full view on suburban Sydney streets using shopping bags, plastic work buckets and plain brown cardboard boxes.
Also detailed is how Australia's big banks including the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and St George are allegedly exploited to launder money.
He approached and greeted Kurtulmus.
But rather than heading to an out-of-the-way location, police alleged that the ATO employee, dubbed MS03 by police, had arranged for the meeting to be held, incredibly, at "my place" - in the inner sanctum of the ATO.
"I'll book a room in the office," he had messaged Kurtulmus the day before.
As the pair headed towards elevators that would take them up to the ATO offices, officers swooped.
In Kurtulmus' backpack there were three bundles of $100 notes each totalling $50,000. He had an encrypted BlackBerry device and a Telstra mobile.
Businessman Savas Guven accused of laundering millions 

Intimidation and assault case against businessman Savas Guven thrown out 

Savas Guven, the former violent criminal, with big property plans 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Blues After The Bushwalking at the Mountain

On the more sober note, Our ABC at Ultimo is a pleasant place to spent Friday evening ... Chris Taylor cuts through the noise on Screen Time - Lunch With Myf | Double J. Chris as David Stratton is lot more entertaining ;-) Judith Lucy as Margaret Pomeranz a total scream especially with her observations about New mini series 'Deuce' and that Hollywood *****er Harvey Weinstein ( List of Harvey Weinstein's accusers grows as ripple of effects spread globally)    .... ABC launches new series for entertainment addicts
Why the world Is (still) better than you think— new evidence for abundance – things may not be as bad as we think...

NIST Blog, Mike Garcia: “…First, I’m going to share the takeaways from our new password guidance. Simply put: Use passphrases, not passwords. Then, I’m going to explain the absolute most important thing to know about passwords: Try not to use them at all. And if you do, don’t rely on passwords, or even passphrases, alone. Over the years, our reliance on passwords, and the ease with which our adversaries can defeat those passwords, resulted in a negative feedback loop where users were subjected to increasingly complex, stressful and exhausting composition rules (upper, lower, and special characters, oh my!), increasing length requirements, password rotation requirements, and on and on. Like pounding out more and more miles faster and faster, these looked like gains on paper but undermined the outcome we wanted: a safer and more convenient online experience…”

Next Life: What Will Happen To MEdia Dragon and Our Emails When We Die?  “Life keeps us so busy writing emails that most of us haven’t considered what happens to our electronic communications when we’re dead. Can they be accessed by your family, or by a representative you designated in life? 


For too long in our hallowed halls of government, academia, and media we have been told, “Don’t worry. China takes the long view and would rather kick the can down the road than confront a dispute head on.” That belief has been the accepted conventional wisdom for the past 40 years, but the falseness of this view now is becoming incontrovertible.
Understanding this reality is critical for the U.S. military—and the U.S. Navy in particular—when it comes to how and when Taiwan will be attacked from the Chinese mainland. The question no longer is a theoretical, open-ended affair; President Xi’s words in Zhurihe do not stand alone as an empty proclamation. Instead, they are a reminder of the continuity of Chinese leaders’ devotion to the reunification of the motherland, and when it comes to reunification, Taiwan stands at the top of the list of unrestored territories.
One should not forget that in 2013, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported that China’s leaders had recommitted themselves to “continue the 2020 Plan,” whereby they would be able to “build and deploy a complete operational capability to use force against Taiwan by that year.” By implication, these leaders believe that by 2020, the PLA also will be able to fend off U.S. forces and thus be able to successfully invade Taiwan.
As such, President Xi’s Zhurihe speech can and should be interpreted as certifying that the PLA (all Chinese military forces) has achieved the capability to “safeguard China’s national sovereignty”—two years ahead of schedule.
So, what does this mean strategically?

Dark Web, Kristin Finklea, Specialist in Domestic Security. March 10, 2017. via FAS

“The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches ...

From FBI News Release, October 17, 2017: “In conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FBI is re-iterating the growing concern of cyber criminals targeting unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The number of IoT devices in use is expected to increase from 5 billion in 2016 to an estimated 20 to 50 billion by 2020. Once an IoT device is compromised, cyber criminals can facilitate attacks on other systems or networks, send spam e-mails, steal personal information, interfere with physical safety, and leverage compromised devices for participation in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks

Harvey Weinstein cried to an assistant following bombshell report

 HARVEY Weinstein sobbed and pleaded, “I'm not that guy. I'm not that guy,” to an assistant after the first bombshell article on the movie mogul's sexual harassment allegations came out, according ...

Ancient Memories: Till Time's Last Tatra Sand

Anne Applebaum, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.  “As Dolot remembered it, the presence of the Soviet state in his village in the 1920s had been minimal.”  And “Initially, collectivization was supposed to be voluntary.”  And “When their potatoes were gone…people began to go to the Russian villages and to exchange their clothing for food.”

“The Unsplash Awards was created to recognize the powerful impact Unsplash contributors have made through their generosity and artistry. We’ve created 13 photography categories to feature their work.

Pilhov Porn

Cold River Amerikan Story: Architectural Digest

HOLY SLAVIC LIKE ALLITERATION - This gem by the excellent Eric Boehm at MEdia Dragon's Reason – Loosening Looney Licensing Laws Likely to Lift Labor Force

ANDREW FERGUSON: The Ruling Classless. “Like her fellow revolutionaries, Quinn was at first mistaken for an anti-elitist, striking a blow against the hypocrisy and pretension of the old order. She was nothing of the sort. She just favored a different kind of elite—one whose ranks were filled with people like her. By the time the Watergate scandal had laid waste to the capital, the city’s aristocracy had been remade by journalists for journalists, along with the politicians that 
journalists found appealing. John Kerry, Gary Hart, and Ted Kennedy were early favorites.”

HARVEY SILVERGLATE: How Robert Mueller Tried To Entrap Me
FROM MICKEY KAUS, A 2003 FLASHBACK: Twilight of the Pricks? “Have you noticed that a number of powerful public figures with reputations for being … well, schmucks, have gotten their comeuppance lately? Howell Raines, Andrew Cuomo, Gray Davis. I don’t know Trent Lott, but you might be able to add him to the list. Is this a trend? [You have three examples, it’s a trend–ed] … Why is this happening? It’s certainly not just the Internet–the Internet seems to have had little to do with the Cuomo and Davis dramas. My guess is it has something to do with a) the freer flow of information out from inner circles of celebrity and power to the general population (which the Internet helps) so that when a Big Schmuck yells at somebody on the phone or in his office, citizens in Peoria are likely to know this gossip the next week; and b) the increased willingness of reporters to rebelliously act on this sort of information, the way reporters are even now making sure that Cuomo’s the loser in his marital split. … Larger issues! 1) Will this fundamentally change the Darwinian equation for success in Hollywood, New York, and D.C., to something closer to (or even nicer than) the game-theoretical ‘tit-for-tat’ posture, which says you need to be nice to people until they’re nasty to you? 2) Who’s next? … Harvey?

WELL, THIS IS DISTURBING: Nearly a third of Japanese people are entering their 30s without any sexual experience

INSTITUTIONAL MISANDRY: “Men at Yale are bad in bed because they are bad at listening to women.” Count yourself lucky, sister — if they did listen to you, they probably wouldn’t want to have sex with you at all

Master of dragons' genetic code scoops nation's top science prize

Professor Jenny Graves may not be a mother of dragons, but she is the master of their genetic code. She analyses bearded dragons' genetic blueprint, or genome, and studies how, at higher temperatures, male eggs, with male genes, develop into females

It’s time to put ‘Austria First’; says its new (and very young) leaderUnherd. “The prospect of a centre-right alliance combining smaller, business-friendly economic measures with a nationalistic ‘Austria First’ cultural policy may frighten cosmopolitan elites in Brussels, London and other capitals of influence throughout the world but it is what nearly 60% of Austria chose today.”

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. President, since entering office in May, you have made significant waves around the world. The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who you read during your university studies, once described Napoleon Bonaparte as “the Weltgeist (“world spirit”) on horseback.” Do you believe that a single person can, in fact, steer history?

An Irrational Choice: Behavioural Economist wins Nobel Prize

A round–up of reactions to behavioral economist Richard Thaler’s selection for the so-called Nobel Prize for Economics.
Trust within the diamond trade is eroding

Thursday, October 19, 2017

N'O M: The Distinctive Significance of Systemic Risk

Digital risk management For insurers
Oliver Wyman, Sep 2017. Implementing digital technologies within insurers is changing the risks which need to be identified, measured and managed. We give some examples and perspectives on how the risk landscape is evolving.

Links to Risk and Risk Management

Aaron James, The Distinctive Significance of Systemic Risk, 30 Ratio Juris 239 (2017), available at SSRN.
In one of his more famous aphorisms, Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked that “[o]ur law of torts comes from the old days of isolated, ungeneralized wrongs, assaults, slanders, and the like,” whereas “the torts with which our courts are kept busy to-day are mainly the incidents of certain well known businesses … railroads, factories, and the like.”1 In the 120 years since Holmes penned his remark, our social world has become ever more organized. Holmes wrote before the mass production of consumer products and before environmental harms on a global scale existed. Indeed, Holmes seems to have had in mind just one kind of systemic risk, namely, the repeat imposition of the same risk by an institution that repeats the same action over and over again. Railroads, for instance, run trains past the same intersections on a regular basis.
We are familiar with more advanced and diverse forms of systemic risk. Some products are characterized by risks that are present every time the product is used but that are responsible for physical harm only relatively rarely. Many product design defects are like this. The Ford Pinto gas tank is a case in point. The defective design was present in every Ford Pinto but its risks remained dormant until a car was involved in a collision. Other products impose unacceptable risks every time someone is exposed to them. Asbestos is the most notorious example. In still other cases, the independent actions of innumerable people coalesce into a critical mass and that critical mass imposes a major risk. Climate change is a case in point. It is surprising, then, that the distinctive issues raised by systemic risk imposition have received so little attention, and heartening to see that sophisticated political philosophers have now begun to pay them heed. In The Distinctive Significance of Systemic Risk, Aaron James, a political philosopher at the University of California at Irvine, zeros in on several of the thorniest moral issues presented by practices of systemic risk imposition. James is preoccupied with two questions. Continue reading "Is Systemic Risk Special?"

Explainer: how our understanding of risk is changing
Under the traditional notion of risk, people react predictably based on how risk-tolerant they are. But our understanding of risk is changing. We now know that a whole host of factors, from your personal history to your mood and age, all come to bear on how you perceive and take on risk

Risk Culture – a regulator’s view

Robert W. Gordon, The Return of the Lawyer-Statesman?, 69 Stanford L. Rev. 1731 (2017).
Reading Robert W. Gordon’s Essay The Return of the Lawyer-Statesman?on Ben W. Heineman Jr.’s book, The Inside Counsel Revolution(an introduction and link to the book can be found here) reminded me of three virtues. One is of the review essay, the ability to luxuriate in another’s work and allow it to be seen through one’s own ideas. This is something I confess I have never attempted, fearing the reflex to critique or the urge to self-publicize would surface too strongly. The second is of the need to return to familiar but central ideas. Gordon has written on the themes in this essay many times before (see for example, Corporate Law Practice as a Public Calling and A New Role for Lawyers: The Corporate Counselor after Enron). His arguments are the more elegant for it and, importantly, our reading of Heineman is more rewarding too. But the third is the one that struck me most forcefully, which is the wisdom to be gained from well-told legal history.
The central virtue of Gordon’s essay is the historical contextualization of Heineman’ book. Gordon gives us a taut, rich, and informative narrative on the importance of political context. In seeking to answer whether General Counsel can be both [business] partner and [public] guardian as Heineman puts it, we are reminded how we have been here before: the tensions in the General Counsel role—and their currently high status in corporate affairs – are not peculiarly modern. Most importantly we also see how lawyers’ ethics are shaped by far larger forces than law schools and bar associations. So the influence of inter-war industrial relations, Reagonomics, the politics of corporate leaders, and latter day skepticism of the corporation post-financial crash may all play a role. Continue reading "Against Babbitry: What Legal History and Practical Leadership can Tell us about Lawyers’ Ethics"