Saturday, October 10, 2015

Freedom and Hughes: Ted's Understatements: The Jackal Andrew Wylie

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has published the 2015 edition of its Journal of Academic Freedom. The volume covers a variety of events and issues. Several pieces are on Steven Salaita’s “unhiring.” There’s a piece on the personal ethics of academic freedom, one on the emergence of institutional review boards as threats to academic freedom, and one on the relation between Title IX compliance and academic freedom, among others.

 Henning Mankell obituary
“Henning Mankell, who has died aged 67, after being diagnosed with cancer last year, established almost single-handedly the global picture of Sweden as a crime writer’s ideal dystopia. He took the existing Swedish tradition of crime writing as a form of leftwing social criticism and gave it international recognition, capturing in his melancholy, drunken, bullish detective Kurt Wallander a sense of struggle in bewildered defeat that echoed round the world…He campaigned against Aids and landmines; where drugs against Aids could not be afforded, he encouraged an oral history project, so that the lives and struggles of those who died might be remembered – he dreamed this would be read in a new library of Alexandria in centuries to come. “Africa has taught me that there is so much needless suffering in the world. We could stop it tomorrow: to teach every child in the world to read and write would cost no more than we in the west spend on dog food,” he said. Most of his working life was split between novel writing and theatre work. He was extraordinarily prolific, publishing as many as three novels a year, and his sales figures eventually topped 40m. The quality might have been uneven but there was no mistaking the passion and generosity behind them. He wrote, always, about subjects he thought really mattered…”

Jonathan Bate was given what he took to be a green light to write a “literary life” of Ted Hughes. He was never “authorised”; but the sole owner of the estate, the poet’s widow, Carol Hughes, gave Bate what he regarded as “a symbolic anointing”. She did not, alas, give him a signed contractual letter, and authorial unction — perceived or otherwise — has no standing in law. Faber & Faber, Hughes’s publisher, confidently commissioned Bate’s book.
Ted Hughes with Sylvia Plath in 1958
Ted Hughes with Sylvia Plath in 1958

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, by Jonathan Bate, William Collins, RRP£30 / Harper, RRP$40, 662 pages
The fraught background to this important, flawed but ultimately triumphant biography has been a running news story.
The formative event for Hughes came when he met Plath, an American visiting student. At this point Bate’s narrative thickens. Like Ted, Sylvia was a poet of precocious promise; and, like him, passionate. They married — imprudently, as regards money and career prospects. Two children were born. The couple travelled and quarrelled and evolved distinctly separate styles of verse. There were “snarls and bitings”, broken crockery, slaps and black eyes. How necessary the turbulence of their relationship was to their evolving arts is carefully scrutinised by Bate. Possessed of insatiable sexual appetite and film-star looks, Hughes was flagrantly unfaithful. Plath was, his supporters allege, unstable. His most extended adultery was with the poet Assia Wevill — his dark lady. There was, she said, an “animal thing” between them. He was unfaithful to Assia, and others, eventually choosing to marry Carol Orchard, a young woman who had minded his children. In a ghastly echo of Plath’s death, the betrayed Wevill had killed herself by gas oven. She took her and Hughes’s child, Shura, with her. “All the women I have anything to do with seem to die”, said Hughes.
It is too easy to see Hughes as a villain. Bate avoids such judgment and mounts a subtly constructed explanation (it is not an apology). Hughes, Bate points out, “believed that all artistic creativity came from a wound”. The wound in his late work, from Crow (1970) onwards, was, of course, Plath’s death.
Bate draws, as closely as he is legally able, on Hughes’s dream journals to argue that he was haunted by her. The image that recurs — one that was played with by Ted and Sylvia in their early relationship — is Wuthering Heights. He is “Hughescliff”, she is Catherine, the ghost who will never let go. Bate also suggests, rather less credibly, that Hughes’s “infidelity in later relationships was partly a function of his fidelity to the memory of Sylvia”. Certainly in his years of fame, married to Carol, his infidelities went beyond flagrant into something resembling satyromania. It is not easy to see it as fidelity.
Ted Hughes

Friday, October 09, 2015

Stark Truths

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ..."

 It’s not just words that reveal people’s truths Stitching stark truths

St Augustine is supposed to have once prayed for chastity, but not yet. The great thing about social media is that it’s where the people are! Think about it where else can you find hard ironies as this?

 "This is so sad. I can't even believe how sad this whole situation is. I bet even a reenactment of my sadness could bring an entire theater audience to tears."

In my long experience men and women who go for cheap shots tend to be both bullies and economical with the truth amen! Yet the only place without a stress tends to be a cemetery so it is certain that it is only one thing in our wild life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about ...

If, as Oscar Wilde famously put it, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about then Media Drago could certainly have things worse. To be sure, people are talking.

However, of course, one never wishes to be merely criticised. To be criticised well—that is the tacit compliment one must hope for or with an attitude that is not exactly cordial ;-) Stark truth about Robert Stark

Best of all was the library room full of blank books. More my level. I sat down and flicked through the pages, before a dude with a badge gestured at me and with a loud whisper told me I must be some sort of uncultured ignoramus to be touching the art. moan--moan--mona

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Dover Beach, was published in 1867, but there is evidence it was begun in 1851, shortly after his marriage - some refer to it as his honeymoon poem.

Google Virtual Reality Gets Real with Share Economies

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. New York Times ...

The promises—and pitfalls—of the emerging technology

Virtual Reality Gets Real

Using Google’s new domain buying service, Sanmay Ved purchased world’s most popular website for $12 before transaction was cancelled
Sanmay Ved’s ownership of lasted a mere minute. The company quickly emailed to say it had cancelled the order and Ved was refunded
OMG Google

MacLean’s – Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data – Records deleted, burned, tossed in Dumpsters. A Maclean’s investigation on the crisis in government data, by Anne Kingston, September 18, 2015.
cute anteater links

The sharing economy is now a playground for Wall Street Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Government outlines ‘smartphone state’, via Uber and blockchain Wired

Jason Ward, known for his landmark report on Australian corporate tax avoidance last year, said the strong association of Uber with Netherlands “raises immediate suspicion” of tax evasion by the company Experts suspect tax avoidance by Uber Australia  

It’s not checkmate yet: Beijing to counter US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact South China Morning Post

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Nature Cure

  Antidote du joUr Mother Nature Network

Why some doctors are writing prescriptions for time outdoors. The Nature Cure

Can we moderns no longer understand Shakespeare?  If not, when will ...

The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals NYRB

Retrotopia: A Change of Habit The Archdruid Report on culture and nature around Commonwealth Bank Darling Harbour Sydney ...

Baseball player Yogi Berra — whose birth name was Lawrence Peter Berra — died in September

It is  appropriate to note the death of someone who is well known for sayings that have provoked the public to thoughts of puzzlement and paradox — and in such an amusing way.
A few quotes:
“I never said most of the things I said.”
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
“There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ’em.”
“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.”
“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
We understand he had some achievements in baseball, too. The New York Times has an obituary.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


As Confucius has once said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

I practised my Faulty Towers acting skills and according to the feedback I achieved mountain of glory - Still I am not good for the Chasers yet ssss ;-)

dog and birds liniks
Jon Kingsbury and I sent out an all-staff email to our Nesta colleagues inviting them to participate in an initiative we called Randomised Coffee Trials (RCTs) to encourage staff to speak and connect with co-workers outside their daily routines.
The art and science of network weaving

Speaking of networking, it was interesting to meet Mark Ponniah who is a charming Australian of Sri Lankan origin, who helped to mentor many finance related careers in his lifetime. Like Dr Cope, Mark has a fascinating philosophical background as Doctor of Philosophy Genetics... Cybercrime summits

Impossible to Fail

World Bank president: corporate tax dodging ‘a form of corruption’ 

Dear Ambassador, the Bahamas is most definitely a tax haven  

The Twitter Government and Elections Handbook Twitter 

High-Frequency Firms Dominate Treasury Trading in Near Secret Bloomberg

ASIC: Avestra 'diverted cash to tax haven'  (22 Sep 2015

Mental As - A Rare Philosopher Inside the Sea Horse
Surprising Data on Who Owns U.S. Firms and How Much They Pay in Taxes Wall Street Journal

Global Corporate Cash Piles Exceed $15 Trillion Telesur

Disaster capitalism is a permanent state of life for too many Americans Guardian

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Vale Ilona Double

I was very saddened by the untimely death of a friend, Ilona. 
Ilona was an extraordinary person and a true mentor. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her and remembered always.

Like my mum's sister Ilona, Ilona Double truly have a gift for helping others...

DOUBLE, Ilona Ruta. Passed away suddenly on Friday, September 25, 2015. Aged 55 years. Beloved mother of Julia and Alison. Loving wife of Matthew. Treasured sister of Inara and Irene. Sister-in-law of Jim and Lange. Precious auntie and friend of Daina, Zoe, Kate, Jessie, Ayden, Sarah, Simon, Samantha and their families. Reunited with Mum and Dad Vale Ilona Double

It is with great sadness that Cycling SA advises of the passing of Ilona Double.
Ilona Double and her daughter, Alison, were both active Cycling SA members. On behalf of Cycling SA, we would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Ilona’s family.  Vale Ilona Double

Back to Kinder: Glen and Gill of Tax Rules

Sydneysiders have been warned to expect commuter “chaos” this morning with buses headed in the wrong direction, cars towed away on crowded streets and bus stops bursting with passengers, as the most radical changes to the city’s transport network face their first rush hour test...

MRichard Murphy notes that his book suggests ways the state could improve the lives of the British people – the prime minister’s conference speech joke is sadly at their expense The Joy of Tax is no laughing matter, David Cameron
Former Australian of the Year and serial entrepreneur Dick Smith has slammed the Turnbull government over proposed changes to tax disclosure laws, accusing the Coalition of caving in to the big business lobby.
Wealthy individuals are arguing reform to forthcoming Australia’s tax disclosure rules is necessary because the proposed laws apparently leave chief executives vulnerable to kidnapping.
Smith told Fairfax it was “absolute rubbish” that wealthy individuals would be at risk if their companies were forced to keep disclosing how much tax they pay.
“They do it themselves… they buy waterfront properties, big boats and big planes,” Smith said.
“I’m really disappointed in the Coalition on this, I think it is very important they don’t change this and I am asking the Prime Minister not to change this. Otherwise he will be ratting on typical Australians who pay their tax.”
The bill to alter Australia’s tax disclosure laws is currently before the Senate.


When the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a tax-exempt organization, called for Ben Carson to step out of the 2016 race for the White House, did they violate federal regulations?
Ben Carson seems to think so. In an email sent to supporters last week, Carson proclaimed:
“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a public press conference demanding that I withdraw from the presidential race.
Here’s the catch – CAIR is a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the IRS rules explicitly prohibit such groups from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of – or in opposition to – a candidate.”
Carson’s campaign has gone so far as to start an online petition asking the IRS to remove the organization’s tax-exempt status. Abuses of Tax excempt status: pro islam organization revoked

Western Australia's corruption watchdog has found that Lisa Scaffidi failed in her duties as the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth by not disclosing gifts and travel contributions including an all-expenses paid trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics worth almost $US37,000.
In a report released on Monday – less than two weeks before Ms Scaffidi stands for re-election – the Corruption and Crime Commission said there was "serious misconduct". It did not find Ms Scaffidi had acted corruptly. Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi

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Winning: What Makes Us Tick Before We Die

A scientific looks at people’s obsessions with besting their peers Why We Compete

What do crows know of death?

Lucky Australia as Deputy Mayor of Auburn wants to be PM. He also revealed that despite not having “what it takes to be a superstar”, he would grab whatever opportunity came his way. During the interview, Mr Mehajer also addressed allegations levelled against him in recent months.
He rejected claims he was part of a group of councillors dubbed the ‘super six’ who voted regularly in favour of each other’s business dealings.  Read more here. 

“Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied,” Zadie Smith counseled in her ten rules of writing .

bird of paradise links

Monday, October 05, 2015

Are Bosses Necessary? Resume Writers and Jobs for the Boys and Girls

Striking staff at Air France have taken demonstrating their anger with direct action to a shocking new level. Approximately 100 workers forced their way into a meeting of the airline’s senior management and ripped the shirts from the backs of the executives. French Revolution MMXV

A radical experiment at Zappos may herald the emergence of a new, more democratic kind of organization.

Are Bosses Necessary?

How offices will change—for better and for worse - link to article in black - 

Thinking Outside the Cube

OECD Report: Improving Co-operation between Tax and Anti-Money Laundering Authorities: Access by tax administrations to information held by financial intelligence units for criminal and civil purposes  

News from the Profession. Accounting Had a Toxic Culture Before It Was Cool (Leona May, Going Concern). “As ‘The Great Email Chain of 2013’ demonstrates, the public accounting workaholic culture has spawned a whole bunch of work-obsessed, white-collar monsters.”

A common refrain at the conference was that public service organisations need to change to meet the challenges of the future. Lloyd listed the familiar pressures that are widely seen as requiring new ways of working — “the ageing population, digital transformation, excessive red tape, competition for investment and a general push for smaller government” — and said he thought public servants were “up to it”.
“The public service needs to be agile and quick to respond, to be informed by a willingness to experiment, and to trial options,” said Lloyd. “New institutional arrangements like the Digital Transformation Office will be required to overcome entrenched interests and ways of thinking.”
It’s exciting times, the APS commissioner says, despite some “inflexible” personnel management practices that are holding back change in his view. He also advocated responsibility being delegated down to lower levels, as did Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet head Michael Thawley earlier in the day, as well as visible, communicative leadership Too long, too complicated: recruitment needs to get back to basics is a comprehensive data visualization dashboard created by the US Office of Personnel Management to help Government leaders make data driven decisions and design initiatives to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. Employee engagement is the employee’s sense of purpose that is evident in their display of dedication, persistence, and effort in their work or overall attachment to their organization and its mission.”

The Future of Work: Workplace Dystopias, and How to Respond Pacific Standard

Via – Wearable tech data as evidence in the courtroom – Nicole Black discusses how data downloaded from wearable technology has entered into the discovery phase of personal injury cases. A wealth of data can be collected about the direct activities of individuals who are using wearable devices while exercising, as well as conducting routine and regular activities such as walking. The implications of this concept may have considerable implications on par with those pertaining to the use of social media.

Kids Who Use Computers Heavily in School Have Lower Test Scores, Major Worldwide Study Finds Hechinger Report. We linked to an earlier report about this study, but this headline is clearer about the main finding.

As San Francisco rent skyrockets, even employed people are homeless MarketWatch

Theoretical “auto-brothel” attack on mechanics’ computers could infect millions of cars BoingBoing 

Naked capitalism Economist. On porn on the web

reaching lizard links
From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities Intercept. Important. New revelations based on Snowden docs.

America’s most secretive court invites its first outsider ars technica
Something is rotten in the state of Germany Bloomberg

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Kafka's Cockroach: Brave New World of Spying

At some point over the course of this antipodean weekend you’re going to have an argument with someone about whether to put the clocks forward one hour, or back one hour. Despite a university degree and years of having to endure this mind-baffling time travel, every year it’s the same; if it’s lighter later, is it earlier sooner, or later earlier?

Police Program Aims to Pinpoint Those Most Likely to Commit Crimes New York Times “Pre-crime/Thought-crime.”

The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature...

In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health. The Coddling of the American Mind

A Perfect Day For Bombing: Russian TV Forecasts Favorable Weather For Syria Strikes 

A team of scientists at the Kaliningrad-based Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University has unveiled [Russian] the smallest cockroach robot ever which will be tasked with hunting out victims trapped under debris.
Russian scientists create cockroach spy robot The Stack

pretty beetle

U.S. and China establish cyber working group with Cold War-esque ‘hotline’ DailyDot

The Windows 10 privacy debacle: Five big issues to consider TechRepublic
“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Social Norms and Legal Design – Bruno Deffains and Claude Fluety. This version, September 2015.
“We compare fault-based and strict liability offences in law enforcement when behavior is influenced by informal prosocial norms of conduct. Fault tends to be more effective than strict liability in harnessing social or self-image concerns

American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sydney Shooting, Oregon college shooting, Ikea Murders

The fatal shooting of a police employee outside the force's headquarters by a 15-year-old boy was a politically motivated attack linked to terrorism, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says. Parramatta shooting: Andrew Scipione says teen shooting linked to terrorism

IKEA bloodbath in Sweden has thrown the progressive country into violent chaos as the refugee crisis takes its toll.
Last month, a devastated asylum-seeker who had been refused refuge responded with an alleged double-murder at the iconic furniture store, sending shockwaves around the nation.
Abraham Ukbagabir was told he would have to seek asylum in Italy because he had been “the subject of some altercation” there, according to a police report seen by The Washington Post.
A fellow Eritrean staying at the same shelter near Vasteras, 100 kilometres west of Stockholm, had just been granted permission to stay, and Ukbagabir was consumed with envy.
The furious 35-year-old invited his more successful compatriot, Yohannes Mahari, to accompany him to Ikea to buy a mobile phone. He led the younger man to the kitchenware department and began picking up pots and then butcher knives, slipping off the packaging on the blades.
Before a nervous Mahari could figure out what was going on, the older man had stabbed a Swedish mother and son and plunged the knife into his own stomach ... Ikea

Christopher Harper-Mercer was withdrawn and quiet as he grew up in southern California, spending most of his time indoors at his mother’s apartment and deflecting neighbors when they asked him how he was doing, or why he always wore the same outfit of combat boots and green Army pants. But there was one subject that got him to open up: guns
Umpqua community college shooting ;

Oregon college shooting victims