Thursday, August 06, 2015

Creative Sarcasm

“He was gifted with the sly, sharp instinct for self-preservation that passes for wisdom among the rich.”
~ Evelyn Waugh, Scoop

Serious reading — careful, creative, difficult reading  — is in serious danger. We are empowered like never before to choose not to read... the more more we know the less we care ...

You’re More Creative When You’re Sarcastic, Says Study Huffington Post 

Random Austerity Measure Generator. You too can play at being the IMF!

squatting_bear links

9 alarming quotes from Twitter’s earnings call that have Wall Street spooked (TWTR) Business Insider 

A Snapshot of Imperialism’s Crime of Homelessness: Why Boston’s Homeless Crisis Deepens Black Agenda Report

US wages grow at slowest rate since 1982 Financial Times. And for months, the propaganda has been about wage pressure.

Police in Norway Haven’t Killed Anyone in Nearly 10 Years Newsweek

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Bartering with the Devil

Police in Kentucky have decided to employ a novel approach to tackling the scourge of drug dealers — by offering the chance to snitch on their rivals. The police department issued a flyer aimed at getting the attention of local drug dealers and offering the chance to eliminate their pesky competition. The tongue-in-cheek effort was posted to the Franklin County Sheriff’sFacebook page this week with the caption: “Please share!!! We need your help.”

Suspend Your Decision About the Propriety of Devil-Worship and the Expediency of Conciliating the Devil, or: Born One-Hundred Ninety-Six Years Ago Today Blckdgrd

2,100 migrants try to storm Eurotunnel site in French port Associated Press 

Calais migrant crisis: ‘Too many to count‘ BBC 

Are We Being Forced Into a “Second American Civil War”… If So, Who Will Win? SHTFplan

A Desperate Nightly Race as Migrants Rush the Channel Tunnel to England New York Times. Get what this means: conditions are so bad and jobs are so scarce that poor migrants from Africa don’t see any hope in Europe. They transit through it to the UK. 

Black became a Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in the 2015 general election while still a final year undergraduate student at the University of Glasgow. Although she was reported to be the youngest MP since Christopher Monck, Earl of Torrington, who entered the House of Commons at the age of 13 in 1667, Monck was followed by other teenagers until the Parliamentary Elections Act 1695 established 21 as the minimum age of candidacy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Debt miracle: Why the country that borrowed the most industrialised first

There is nothing inherently economic about picking cashews out of a bowl at a dinner party — unless you're a behavioral economist ...

ATO offered 1.5 per cent pay rise

Debt miracle: Why the country that borrowed the most industrialised first

Casey Warman and Christopher Worswick have a new and interesting NBER paper on Canadian immigrants.  Apparently even the better-educated ones are not reaping real gains from (supposedly) skill-enhancing technical change:
That is a new and important paper by Robert Z. Lawrence.  It is a little hard to excerpt, but the core messages are pretty simple:
1. Labor and capital are mostly complements.
2. The recent problems of labor are due to a lack of capital, not substitution of capital for labor.
If Lawrence is right — and he has plenty of data on his side — a lot of what you read about these topics is wrong, at least circa the status quo.  And the idea that we need stiffer taxes on capital income could be disastrously off base.  This paper is interesting throughout, yet I predict it will be largely ignored for its inconvenient nature.

eccentric bird links

Wealthy Hindu temples such as this one are repositories for much of the $1 trillion worth of privately held gold in India — about 22,000 tons, according to an estimate from the World Gold Council. In 2011, one temple in south India was found to have more than $22 billion in gold hidden away in locked rooms rumored to be filled with snakes. Another has enough gold to rival the riches stashed at the Vatican, experts say.
There is more here, the main theme of the article is that some are calling for the gold reserves to be mobilized, a running theme in economic debate since Keynes and earlier in the nineteenth century as well.

Justice for sale: Big companies could soon escape prosecution for corporate corruption - by paying their way out  

Jack Bogle Explains How the Index Fund Won With Investors CNN Money. The headline isn’t very interesting. This, from Vanguard Group founder Bogle on secondary markets, is:
Q: You’re concerned that the financial sector is too big. Why?
[BOGLE]: The job of finance is to provide capital to companies. We do it to the tune of $250 billion a year in IPOs and secondary offerings. What else do we do? We encourage investors to trade about $32 trillion a year. So the way I calculate it, 99% of what we do in this industry is people trading with one another, with a gain only to the middleman. It’s a waste of resources.
Why 99% of trading is pointlessMarketWatch. Following up on Bogle:
It’s a lot of money, $32 trillion. Nearly double the entire U.S. economy moving from one pocket to another, with a toll-taker in the middle. Most people refer to them as “stock brokers,” but let’s call them what they are — toll-takers and rent-seekers.
Eesh, it’s like these Wall Street guys have Volume III of Das Kapital on their nightstands for bedtime reading. What’s the world coming to?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Pollsters and Bloggers

The ongoing media attention, public pressure and unabating calls for her resignation have proved too much for the embattled speaker  of the house. Bronwyn Bishop announced her resignation yesterday afternoon and many took to bloggers and social 
media with an air of victory. 
THE PEOPLE HAVE WON! Resignation and root and branch travel expenses reform. Congratulations, Australia! legacy.

ellinghausen ‏@ellinghausen
Madam Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and the MPs responsible for the "Wall of noise"
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Mosaic of former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop made from the photos of MPs who have been suspended from question tIme under 94a. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen and Andrew Meares

The night before Britain's general election, Matt Singh, a 33-year-old former trader who'd set himself up as a political blogger, published a post arguing that the opinion polls were all underestimating Conservative support. For the next 24 hours, the post was the subject of lively online debate. Then the polls closed, and the television exit poll suggested David Cameron was on course for victory by an unexpectedly large margin. Ten minutes later, Mr Singh's website crashed under the weight of traffic. Meet the Punjab blogger who beat the British political pollsters

The Final Posts of a Murdered Blogger

“No one with a free mind can limit themselves within the walls of narrow-mindedness,”Ananda  Bijoy Das wrote hours before his death Brave Blogger

Mr Pyne’s book A Letter to My Children will be launched by Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger as Prime Minister Tony Abbott had to pull out. University Children protest at launch of Chrsitopher (sic) Pynes book A Letter letter to My Children

The Speaker's resignation reflects a government that is in chaos. The Govt has lost its way, lost its majority and now lost its speaker.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Hacking and Terrorist World “The group of hacktivists, Anonymous, claimed in a tweet on Wednesday they hacked the Census Bureau and leaked employee details online. The hack was in protest of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which is an agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and E.U. critics say would increase corporate power and make it more difficult to regulate markets. The leaked Census Bureau data includes names, emails, phone numbers, positions and password hashes of employees.”

Mt. Gox head arrested over loss of 650,000 bitcoins ars technica. As we’ve said, Bitcoin = prosecution futures.

Hackers for hire: How online forums make cybercrime easier than ever
Washington Post, 16/7/15. A major cybercrime forum was just taken down by coordinated action between law enforcement agencies in nearly 20 countries. But that site, called Darkode, is just one of many forums that have become the primary hub for criminal hackers.

'Cybercrime as a service is likely' to increase as criminals continue to find it easier to purchase malware rather than developing their own, according to the first report of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).
“Malware used for cybercrime is now readily available through the online marketplace, often with ongoing technical support, making it accessible to people with minimal ICT knowledge,” states the report (PDF). 

Among tens of thousands of records in the Grams data, we were able to identify more than 60 listings for individual identities—some including credit card information, others without. The listings ranged in price from less than $1 to about $450, converted from bitcoin. The median price for someone’s identity was $21.35. Here’s what your stolen identity goes for on the internet’s black market Quartz 

"Tampering with an individual's phone like this is illegal," she said.
"Why is the department being so secretive about the case? I have written to the AFP and asked them to investigate." Professor Michael Fraser, the director of the Communications Law Centre at UTS, said unless there was some lawful reason – which needs to be given – the department needed to justify why the phone was used. Customs officer confiscates passengers phone and then uses it to secretly text
The NSW government will launch a digital profile service before the end of the year, chasing the same sort of ‘single view’ online transaction capability established by the Commonwealth’s myGov service. NSW to build its own myGov

A MELBOURNE man who allegedly planned to travel overseas and fight for Kurdish forces against Islamic State has faced court sporting a “war dog” T-shirt.
Melbourne man from Epping charged over attempt to fight Islamic State in Iraq

The New South Wales (NSW) government will audit public school prayer groups because of concerns students are being exposed to violent ideologies.NSW school prayer groups audited for extremist ideology

As part of the International Open Data Conference (IODC) on May 28-29, 2015, a group of experts, officials, and advocates in the open data field committed to join forces in a multi-stakeholder international partnership for open data. This group will support the development, launch, and implementation of a new International Open Data Charter, articulating global open data principles and best practices. We believe that a first step in achieving the benefits of open data is taking deliberate action, starting with public commitments to the core principles of transparency, accountability, and openness. We’re proud that Canada is a member of that partnership, and we’d like to invite you, on behalf of the members, to review and provide feedback into the International Open Data Charter until July 31, 2015. You can read more on the charter website or on our blog: Help Create the International Open Data Charter.” [Darlene Fichter]

More than 25,000 public servants around Australia will be put out of work by government digital advances in the next 10 years, according to Deloitte Access Economics. The private consultancy predicts the Commonwealth and states will have to find new jobs for 2500 of their workers, or make them redundant, each year as increased digitisation transforms the way governments conduct their business.

For the Tax Office, results could be even more dramatic with Deloitte predicting a $543 million saving each year if the Tax Office used technology to bring in 80 per cent of late tax revenues within three months of their falling due.
Jobs ...