Monday, June 28, 2010

It is strange how little has been written about the Upper Mississippi,” Mark Twain said. For him, it was the most arresting part of the river A RIVER RUNS THROUGH HIM ;
Swashbuckling historical novels have long pleased the public and been derided by critics. Time perhaps for a serious second look at the genre.... The Master of Historical Fiction

Why are the British so rude, so uncouth? They seem obsessed with butts, tits, penises, toilet humor, strange sex. Their sitcoms offer howling tsunamis of verbal abuse Naughty by nature

Angel Factories Children of the gulags.
Their parents, enemies of the state, had “abandoned” them. Only the miracle of Stalin’s love saved them

Several years ago, a friend who helped me to find my way around the Russian State Archives in Moscow asked if I would like to meet another woman who was also working there. She was not doing research for a book, and she was not a scholar. Instead, she was indulging her curiosity and her nostalgia. Forty years earlier, she had worked as a baby nurse in a children’s home inside one of Stalin’s labor camps. Now she wanted to find out what had happened to some of the people she had known there, to jog her memory of names and dates.

Gulag [Cold War heroine? Margaret Thatcher, it seems, a lady who knew when to be Circe and when to be the nanny from hell. Arms across the ocean ; “I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.” Ayn Rand also regarded herself as simply “the most creative thinker alive”... St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. Garbage and Gravitas ]
• · “Keynes is back” is now a cliché. But hang on, did John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the 20th century, ever leave? Keynes, Recovered ; Unless we know how things are counted, says John Allen Paulos, we don’t know if it’s wise to count on the numbers Metric Mania
• · · Sex and the City 2 takes all I hold dear as a woman and a human – working hard, contributing to society – and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car Burkas and Birkins ; Despite the sea of women in Norman Mailer’s life – six wives and countless lovers – his great literary handicap was his failure to learn from them Even in his grave, Norman Mailer is providing gossip
• · · · Charles Dickens was a great travel writer because he came to realize that travel in itself is not that interesting. People are... Charles Dickens: The First Great Travel Writer? ; Readers are fleeing newspapers in droves. What can the papers offer to lure them back? P.J. O’Rourke has a bright idea: the pre-obituary... Not Dead Yet ;Arthur Koestler’s double suicide with his wife was hardly heroic. It was a sin against his own lifetime of literary work The Prisoner Intellectuals
• · · · · The first challenge of sorrow is cognitive, says Leon Wieseltier: “Making Toast is a small glowing jewel in the literature of grief” Death and the Dishwasher ; When we rely on spies, Malcolm Gladwell reminds us, we rely on sources that can’t be trusted. “The next time a briefcase washes up onshore, don’t open it”. Pandora’s Briefcas
• · · · · · Like many people at Google, Franz Och sees himself as campaigning for freedom and equality. His aim: to open all the Web to non-English speakers Google Delivers Foreign Tongues at the Press of a Button ; Culture is what remains after we’ve forgotten everything we’ve read Reading in a Digital Age

Friday, June 25, 2010

FORMER Macquarie banker and mergers and acquisitions guru John Green's new career as a publisher under the management of his daughter Alison appears to be taking off. Yesterday, their Pantera Press launched News Limited NSW political reporter Simon Benson's political bodice-ripper The Betrayal, based on a reported promise by the now Prime MinisterKevin Rudd to then NSW premier Morris Iemma in September 2007.Benson writes that Rudd's promise was that if Iemma held off privatising electricity in NSW until Rudd was elected, thus giving Rudd a clear run without getting the unions offside, Rudd would come back and help Iemma do painful things to the NSW power unions. As we know now, Iemma ended up getting ousted from the premiership in September 2008, mainly as a result of pressure from the unions over his privatisation plans, which still haven't come to fruition. If that sounds dry, by last night Pantera had ordered a second print run to follow the first run of about 9000. "It is selling like hotcakes," Alison Green told our spy Betrayal story sells like hot cakes

Information society? More accurate to call it the interruption society. It pulverizes attention, the scarcest of all resources, and stuffs the mind with trivia. The Uses of Half-True Alarms Google, rock videos, and the Web will no more make you stupid and shallow than propping a heavy encyclopedia on your lap will make you smart and deep

No One Would Listen: A true financial thriller The man who figured it out: Peter W Clark and Jozef Imrich
Simon Mann meets the mathematical genius who tried to warn the world about Bernie Madoff and the biggest fraud in history.

Harry Markopolos describes himself as the ''proud Greek geek''. Raised in a family that ran fish and chip restaurants and diners in Maryland and Delaware, he's a maths natural, who ''gets'' logarithms and differential equations. He can unpack complex financial instruments such as derivatives and can run his mental slide-rule over a balance sheet and know, instinctively, that there is fraud lurking within a company. He wears the sort of clobber that makes him look every bit the chartered financial analyst that he is.
Which might help explain the bemused reaction of the local police sergeant in a small town in Massachusetts back in 2005, when a panic-stricken Markopolos burst in pale as a ghost, sweating profusely and carrying his Model 642 Smith and Wesson.
This was no Dirty Harry, you understand, but Harry the accountant, a man who had taken to checking under his car for bombs before turning the key in the ignition and who had equipped his wife with a gun. ''I laid out the broad strokes for him,'' writes Markopolos in his new bestselling book. ''Basically, I told him I had uncovered a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that was global and the biggest fraud in history and I was afraid people might try to kill me to shut me up.''Part of his desperate pitch was lost in translation. The sergeant had no idea what a Ponzi scheme was, though he understood the concept of billions of dollars.And that was another irony, because here was Markopolos, a former National Guardsman who had been instructed in the triumvirate defence of shoot-move-communicate, still trying to communicate what he'd discovered almost five years earlier about a rogue named Bernie Madoff, the so-called Jewish T-bill, who was running the biggest-ever heist on Wall Street and yet no one wanted to know.

MAD Off [The vampire story was born in the 19th century, wicked love child of rural folklore and urban decadence, refined from the raw ore of peasant superstition. All the Dead Are Vampires ; As pieces of Henry Roth’s amorphous body of writing are sliced off and honed as “novels” and “stories,” his very sense of life may be polished out of his work... The Skinless Novelist; Greedy publishers gouge libraries for digital journals. Now at last the University of California libraries are ready to fight back. Jennifer Howard reports. Rising Journal Costs ]
• · The Terminator Comes to
Wall Street - How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it Computer-based program trading ; The economics of happiness, nature and nurture has an answer: Parents’ sacrifice is much smaller than it looks. Having kids – what’s in it for me?
• · · These users comment on everything from today’s news to hotel rooms. Many are harmless. But some are ruthless. Who are they exactly, and why do they do what they do? Anonymous online comment forums; Since the 15th century, the world has been taught by Europe and exploited by Europe and made by Europe. Maybe Europe has had enough. Eating Vichyssoise in Athens
• · · · An article from the New York Times on the merits of sitting or standing at work piqued my interest recently. At work some of us are sitters, some standers, some pacers, (some sleepers) and – for reasons of comfort and concentration – most of us like to mix it up... Sit. Stand. Go. GOSSIP if you are Adrian Low with gossiping earing in your ears ;-) Workplace gossip is not simply idle chatter. It’s a form of “reputational warfare,” says sociologist Tim Hallett. It is ubiquitous, occurring by the proverbial water cooler as well as within the formal setting of a meeting. Once a bad reputation has been solidified, justified or not, it usually sticks—often with consequential results for the entire organization. Hallett’s findings, published in the fall in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, illuminate not only how gossip occurs in the workplace but how it can be handled before it dilutes a person’s ability to manage effectively, poisons workplace congeniality and contributes to employee turnover. “If we can understand how gossip works,” says Hallett, an assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, “and how it unfolds and what people are doing as they are engaging in gossip, that gives you an opportunity to manage it.” .... >
• · · · · Managers should look to the findings of happiness research for new ways to manage the needs The economics of happiness: give your workers something to smile about ; Steve Sedgwick Australian public sector reform
• · · · · · New ratings from, a website that takes employees’ temperature on how they rate their bosses A Long Time At The Top –; Decent scholarship is drowning in an ocean of low-quality journal articles. We Must Stop the Avalanche of Low-Quality Research

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As Pavol said Common Ausie Common and Frank Lowy another Slovak born character is not very pleased wuith the soccer politics.

IN the last World Cup Australia was dudded by a referee who was duped into awarding a free kick to an Italian player, who faked a foul.
In our next game, against Germany, Australia was again on the receiving end of a dodgy call by a referee, who unfairly red-carded striker Tim Cahill. One week after that episode Harry Kewell was sent off after a referee's dubious interpretation of the handball rule. Gosh, Australia has had bad luck with referees in the World Cup, don't you think? Or at least this is the narrative that many seem only too willing to believe.Our soccer slump is due to some hard facts, not sneaky refs

Germany has a population of 82 million, and soccer is its only real football code. Australia has a population of 22 million, and soccer is one of four codes. What this means is that the German soccer team should be roughly 15 times better than us, and therefore should have beaten us 15-nil. What a pack of Hunderachievers those Germans ....
Soccer is billed as ‘the beautiful game,’ but like any sport it is a partisan affair—and the better for it Soccer like art? Sure, with more fighting

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Welcome back to Sydney Steve ...

Moments of Genius is a series of six interviews running on The interviews with a range of modern-day Edisons delve into the back stories of great discoveries and earth-shattering insights, and tease out the elusive eureka moments. Moments of Genius

Planning in NSW is out of control New political force - Julian Assange - John Hatton
The growing audiences at corruption fighter John Hatton's public speaking engagements, like the one in Wollongong tonight, may herald a new political force come next March.

AFTER a wave of community enthusiasm at recent public meetings, 12 residents from community action groups have taken up the John Hatton challenge to form Highlands Voice. The steering committee chose Mr Scandrett and Geraldine Turner to act in the roles of the group’s convenor and co-convenor.

Penrith poll sends Labor fair warning ; [ Group gathers, so now the Southern Highlands has a voice ; O'Farrell's chief of staff at the time personally confirmed to me by phone that "the evidence is strong", but nothing was done. ]
• · Television is the ultimate connector. I’ve been saying this for a long time. The reason TV is so engaging is because it uses sight, sound and motion to deliver the three keys to a person’s heart – mystery, sensuality and intimacy. Every year the last few decades, trend pieces start popping up in magazines predicting “The death of television,” yet here we are, more than 60 years into the TV era and it’s stronger than ever. Television: Part 1 - We’re All Screenagers ; When all else fails, try being good. - So starts New York Magazine’s excellent feature this month on why American television is better than it’s been in ages. In a world where American Idol, Survivor and Dancing with the Stars are used to being the center of attention, smaller shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and 30 Rock are changing the way Americans look at TV. When all else fails, try being good
• · · Dinner last week was with two crazy Italians, Giuseppe Caiazza and Domenico Siniscalco. Giuseppe cut his teeth at Club Med, Ford and Toyota and is now going to Milan to run Saatchi & Saatchi. Domenico is an incredible guy who has had three careers. A leading academic at Cambridge, the Minister of Finance for Italy for five years, and now a banker with Morgan Stanley. The three of us are in different decades in age terms and I had just read a great article from Tony Parsons talking about the various decades of man. Discussion ranged over 2001 Chateau Haut Brion and we concluded that Tony was pretty much on the button. Decades of man. ; Wikileaks and The Next HOPE DecAde of Wikileaks - Founder Fears For His Life
• · · · Whistleblower website Wikileaks has made contact with the US government over claims that an American serviceman is one of its sources. Wikileaks makes contact with US government
; It used to be nondescript parcels on the doorstep, cryptic phone calls at midnight or shadowy meetings in underground car parks. Now explosive information is more likely to arrive - to the tune of a novelty sound effect - in an email. But profound and important questions surround the transaction of secret, highly sensitive, classified material. Governments and big business are fiercely protective of their internal dynamics and increasingly are coming down hard on leakers and whistleblowers. The public though demand and defend their right to know when governments they’ve installed are making decisions on their behalf, or the actions of big business impact their lives. JULIAN ASSANGE - WikiLeaks founder drops 'mass spying' hint
• · · · · Pentagon investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the Australian-born founder of the secretive website Wikileaks for fear that he may be about to publish a huge cache of classified State Department cables that, if made public, could do serious damage to national security, government officials tell The Daily Beast. Pentagon ; Google Iceland safe haven for press freedom: Wikileaks insider
• · · · · · Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland in 1971.[1] Assange has said that his parents ran a touring theatre company, and that he was enrolled in 37 schools and 6 universities in Australia over the course of his early life. One of the most intriguing people in the world" and "internet's freedom fighter Julian Paul Assange ; Iceland has passed a sweeping reform of its media laws that supporters say will make the country an international haven for investigative journalism. The new package of legislation was passed unanimously at 4am yesterday in one of the final sessions of the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, before its summer break. Antony Loewenstein

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birtday godson - Kuba (and June)

It is the perpetual dread of fear,
the fear of fear, that shapes
the face of a brave man.
--Georges Bernanos

T here are some real gems among these 21 finalists. Our judges Scott Monty (Ford), Ann Handley (MarketingProfs) and David Meerman Scott (author New Rules of Marketing and PR) are finishing up their reviews of these sites.
Finalists – Top 10 Social Media Blogs 2010

Good police need to find a way to get a voice Police investigating police
TThe barrier to proper investigation of police misconduct seems to revolve around a misguided sense of loyalty to fellow officers.
One of the problems is that within the force, these can often be the ones who are the life and soul of the party around the BBQ. They are the ones who trumpet the solidarity line and the “us and them” approach the loudest ...

I loved being a police officer with all its ups and downs, stresses and strains. I have had a few jobs in my time but never one that has taught me so much about life and myself as being a copper.
So it is with incredibly mixed emotions I await the imminent release of the Crime and Misconduct Commission's report on the Queensland Police Service's investigation into the death in custody on Palm Island in 2004.
If the report is as critical as has been leaked, it could be another chance for a defining moment for the Queensland Police Union. For once again they can choose whether to help their members move on to become a professional body or they throw up the barricades, attack their critics and blindly defend those police who have let the majority of their compatriots and the notion of police professionalism down badly.

It is not police it is community who does policing [After being the resident band for Pete Isaacs legendary Jelly Jazz parties, The Underbelly are now ready to detonate their full potential with two tracks that will knock your socks off and make you wanna dance barefoot. Sasha and Underbelly ; Roxie Ray aka Sasha BBC Six live ; Spain and UK ; The album, which blends a mix of up-tempo raise-the-roof instrumental funk with vocal tracks and summery jazz funk, features the voice of Australian singer Roxie Ray, who sounds not unlike Amy Winehouse or Paloma Faith. Famous Five]
• · People love participation. We love getting involved with things. We like choices. As every industry is trying to figure out how to make the social networking craze work for their businesses, it seems that some restaurants and food brands have taken the notion of participation to such crazy places they just might work... Participation Dining ; Participation Economy
• · · Six Social Media Trends for 2010; Top ten best
• · · · 20 Top Social Media Jokes, Clips & Cartoons for January 2010; 25 of the Best Blogging and Social Media Icon Sets
• · · · · 2010 has been an interesting year for social media industry with evolvement of social media experts, social media books, social media startups and social media companies ; Mediatrust Blog
• · · · · · Sometimes people who have been visited by a Kadaitcha man get sick and die within a few days ... I have a dream;It streamlines tasks such as posting to a Blogger blog, adding events to Calendar, or editing documents on Google Docs Google launches my dream - GoogleCL for Linux, Mac, and Windows

Monday, June 07, 2010

What happens to the people who unwittingly find themselves at the centre of a media scrum? From the blogger who inspired a "web hate frenzy" to the Glasgow baggage handler who thwarted a terrorist attack, five people talk about fleeting fame and what happens when the spotlight is turned off 15 minutes of fame

THE disgraced former policeman Roger ''the Dodger'' Rogerson writes a blog on which he fields questions about people with whom he has associated and their fictional counterparts on shows such as Underbelly. Rogerson blogs Bumper issue

Strengths and Weaknesses of Blogs Citizen 'journalism' not yet a threat
E mulating Britain's writing awards might improve political journalism The Orwell Prizes have become Britain’s most prestigious awards for political writing. About 400 people gathered for the presentations. The winners are kept secret until they are announced. The London room was filled with journalists from all over Great Britain. This year, 212 books were entered for the Book Prize, 85 journalists for the Journalism Prize, and 164 bloggers for the Blog Prize

The good news for the professional news industry is that the researchers found citizen journalism websites (news and blog sites) are presently not viable substitutes for daily newspaper sites. Only 25 % of the amateur sites published on a daily basis. Even if they do have daily postings, they tended to have significantly fewer news items, which the study attributes to the inherent budgetary constraints of most models of citizen journalism that have surfaced thus far.

Media and blogs [We have a tradition of dirty politics and especially dirty politics right before an election ... He says blogs have strengths and weaknesses ; Australian journalism student boosts first-job hunt with social media campaign Tom Cowie launched the 'Tom wants a job' website ]
• · All Media Is Local; Colleen Newvine, MBA '05, is the consummate storyteller. She began her career as a newspaper reporter, and today she continues to share tales of interesting people doing interesting things through freelance writing and her widely read blog, Newvine Growing. But her position as head of market research for the Associated Press (AP) requires her to tell stories from an unconventional source — numbers - A spreadsheet is similar to an interview with a source. I look at it and ask what story it's trying to tell me. Then I communicate that story to the people who need to know it Every Number Tells a Story
• · · One blog, which is based on openness of information has become the most popular website in Greece, receiving millions of visitors each day. The blog, is only outvisited by Google, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, and Blogger The fifth estate: A rogue rodent ; For the past year, we've been considering an interesting problem that confronts media as a whole – the Babel problem Participatory media: for love or money?
• · · · Since I’ve become so famous on The A.V. Club for hating Mark Millar that people assume bad reviews of his work are written by me even when they aren’t, I might as well address the thing he does that drives me so crazy ; It's very empowering getting your opinion out there. For many, other than their vote, it's their only voice. But just because you've had a thought for the first time doesn't mean no one else has ever had that thought. Like teenagers, over time, the newbies will hopefully mature and reserve their comments for salient and well thought-out points and the blogosphere eventually will be richer for that Boors that clog the blogs ; Look who's stalking
• · · · · Rob McKibbin has been a “workplace bully and corruption whistleblower” in South Australia for ten years. His 5000-hits-a-day blog has kept the South Australian government honest over the last year, but it seems the powers that be might have had enough Whistleblower’s blog banned. ; Twitter is my main source of support because it's so instantaneous. From social media to real deal
• · · · · · Day the reptiles rallied to the dopey duchess ; FACEBOOK, everyone's new best friend forever, suddenly knows what it's like to feel the cold hard sting of rejection. Talk to the hand, because Facebook ain't listening; Poor David Campbell. You can only imagine his dismay when the Channel Seven journalist Adam Walters told him on Thursday afternoon that footage would soon be aired on the 6pm news of him coming out of a gay sauna, Ken's at Kensington, ''Sydney's Most Intimate Sex Venue . . . for men who prefer men''. No wonder colleagues reported a loud argument coming from Campbell's office about that time. A family man beyond our ken