Saturday, December 05, 2015

Reluctant Entrepreneur: Specter Ghosts by the Blue Gate

Where do we go nobody knows?
I’ve gotta say I’m on my way down
- Cold Play Swimming Down the Cold River

Forget classic Ferraris and fine wines. The latest collectors items are old Volkswagen Kombi vans. An immaculately restored Kombi that is almost half a century old sold for a staggering $158,000 at a classic car auction this week ...

I've never seen a crime scene [San Bernardino Landlord exploits crime scene ], terror-related or otherwise, opened to public view like we're seeing now.
As tawdry as it looked to have a barrage of reporters trampling through the residence of the deceased couple responsible for this week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, the journalists who walked through the door did the right thing.
But the journalists who broadcast the invasion live were irresponsible.
As a reporter, your primary obligation is to gather information that will help your audience understand all facets of the story....Read more

Top NSA Whistleblower: “Every Time There Is a Terrorist Attack, What We Really Need to Do Is Demand that They CUT the Budgets of All the Intelligence Agencies” George Washington

A cunning fan of Aussie electronic music duo Peking Duck managed to con his way backstage at a gig in Melbourne by altering the Wikipedia page of the band. David Spargo tried to gain backstage entry to the gig by telling the bouncer he was related to the band members. The security guard was at first sceptical and asked him to provide prove of his relation to either Adam Hyde or Reuben Styles, reports The Guardian.

“This fabulous contraption is every beer lover’s dream Christmas gift. Just imagine having this in your house,” wrote the UK’s Metro

“First, be sure to send an immediate message to the head of your workplace, if you have one, to initiate damage control. Because the coverage will soon be explosive: Photos of your face will appear on websites from Vietnam to the Czech Republic. I hope you didn’t opt for that fashionably roguish author photo, because the ‘bad sex’ headline will make it seem like the mug shot of an international sex criminal.” The New York Times 

Frank Trentmann, Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the 15th Century to the 21st

What do we know about imrich type ultra high net worth individuals  ...

Organizations no longer ask themselves “Could we do X with data?” The answer is now often yes. Instead, a key question now is, “Should we do X with data?”  With analytics as a hammer, so many questions can start to look like nails. The Ethics of Wielding an Analytical Hammer

New numbers on prostitution in Greece

It costs $300 to move a 40-foot container from Rotterdam to Shanghai…Here’s some more context. Let’s say that you want to travel for a year; it’s cheaper to put your personal belongings in a shipping container as it sails around the world than to keep it at a local mini-storage facility  via Ryan Petersen

GAO Logo

GAO: IRS Has Awarded $315 Million To Whistleblowers, But Problems Plague Program ...  IRS Whistleblower Program: Billions Collected, but Timeliness and Communication Concerns May Discourage Whistleblowers (GAO-16-20)

Red Army - a documentary about the hockey team of the Soviet Red Army

Is it clever or stupid of us to be avoiding the problem of “overeducation” in our Army officer corps?
As shown previously, the higher an officer’s cognitive ability, the lower that officer’s chance at early promotion and battalion command selection...
From Spain, Mohundro, and Banks (pdf),

“This year, the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report reveals the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs under 35 years old. Dubbed the ‘Millennipreneurs’, these are business starters from ‘Generation Y’, born between 1980 and 1995, also known as Millennials. Their approach to business, in terms of their ambitions, results and leadership style, differs from that of other generations. “They create more companies, with larger headcounts and higher target profits. They certainly tend to be interested in the new economy, but are also equally active in many traditional sectors including Retail and Professional services such as law and accounting,” said BNP Paribas Wealth Management Co-CEO Vincent Lecomte, “At BNP Paribas Wealth Management we’re determined to use our powerful international reach to meet the needs of this clientele, especially as regards Private Equity and Socially Responsible Investment.” The report is based on one of the largest international surveys every carried out by Scorpio Partnership, polling almost 2,600 multimillionaire entrepreneurs in 18 countries, to provide a unique portrait of this new generation of under 35 ‘millennipreneurs.

The Fit It girls making a killing on social media

Coffee may be your mind-sharpening tool of choice, but some of Silicon Valley's brightest brains are relying on something substantially stronger for their morning pick-me-up - LSD ...

We reward whistle blowers who help to prosecute people who are defrauding the government by giving them a share of the proceeds. Bradley Birkenfeld, for example, provided evidence to the US government that the Swiss bank UBS was illegally enabling US tax evaders. The case led to a $780 million dollar fine against UBS and Birkenfeld collected a sweet cut, $104 million.
Derek Khanna at the R Street Institute suggests a similar system to reward innovators

Hundreds rally in Paris to protest the banning of protests @Ruptly

As Young observes: "Offshore jurisdictions are in the business of making life difficult for whistleblowers through formal legislation and through the informal forcement of social codes; the unwritten rules of conduct and the herd mentality that affect those who work in the financial sector. To borrow from hackers’ slang, hostility to whistleblowers is a feature, not a bug; it is an attractive part of the financial secrecy package which offshore jurisdictions peddle to clients.”

Tax Justice Focus – The Whistleblower edition  

Greg Ip presented his new book Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe at Mercatus/GMU, with an emphasis on financial crises and a bit on forest fires too.  I was the moderator, and the commentators were Alex J. Pollock and Jared Bernstein.

Harrison Daily editorial, Why Is No One Held Accountable?: Never ever does anything serious seem to happen to government officials who fail to do their jobs properly, waste massive amounts of taxpayers' money, harm the innocent unfairly or even engage in criminal activities.

Welfare cheats have ­defrauded taxpayers of almost $5 billion, with more than 1.1 million in Centrelink debts now owed to the Commonwealth. The scale of the fraud and abuse of the social security safety net has driven the federal government to create a special Australian Federal Police taskforce to recover some of the debt and pursue criminal charges, reports The Daily Telegraph. 

Gretchen Tegeler, Many Iowa public employees are better off in retirement than working (

Paris Attacks to Boost Money Laundering Enforcement 

UK Government Technical consultation on draft regulations for country-by-country reporting  

Laon Ghosts
"A team in Spain recently examined the daily diets of 58 people with celiac disease and found that, in general, they contained more fat and less fibre than those of people who do eat gluten."
The most googled diets by city

Cities as harems

Exploring the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-Winning Medicare Investigation with SQLPublic Affairs Data Journalism at Stanford University (CL). Amazing. 

Policy wonks who opened Snapchat today were greeted by the silky drawl of Frank Underwood, the chief villain (and hero) of the Netflix political tragedy “House of Cards.”
“I’ve always said power is more important than money,” intones Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. “But when it comes to elections, money gives power — well, a run for its money.”
The clip, which appeared on’s newly launched Discover channel, serves as an entry point for the site’s rapid-fire tutorial on cash-infused political campaigns. Paired with sinister-sounding music and a spate of red, white and blue motion graphics, Underwood’s cameo marks’s first foray into Snapchat Discover., which launched on Snapchat Discover Monday, used its first daily edition to explore the influence of money on politics

Study 329: Big Risk Dr. David Healy 
Laon cobbled together
Exclusive: Three Goldman bankers leave for Uber as tech world raids Wall Street talent Reuters. Lambert: “I’m sure the new atmosphere is congenial.” 

“People will not keep voting for politicians who continue to put the priorities of big polluters ahead of the needs of the community..."

One veteran senator said he had "never seen anything like it" before.
Never seen anything like it" before ...

A Harvard scientist who’s studied coffee for 20 years explains why the drink is amazin Business Insider (David L). Science and gee whiz headlines aren’t a great match...

How the U.S.A. became a secrecy jurisdiction 

Bribe them and they will come. The Atlantic asks Why Are There So Many Data Centers in Iowa?. “When I’ve asked data center operations managers, the answer has varied from approximately forty characteristics to a blunt four: ‘Networks, land, power, and taxes'” By “taxes,” that generally means “tax incentives,” or special breaks unavailable to the rest of us.

In a post at, Brent Willett makes an unabashed argument for more of the same in Economic development has an image problem ( It’s an interesting piece. It’s premise is that people think that special tax deals to lure companies are shady, but that we would feel otherwise if incentive boosters just made a better case.
It’s not just accidental that tax incentives have a bad image. They are like a guy who takes his wife’s purse to the bar to buy drinks for the girls. The girls might accept the free drinks (development success!), but it doesn’t help the person who foots the bill, and any of the girls won over by this guy aren’t likely to be real prizes. In any case, his image is unlikely to be helped by a better explanation when his wife finds out.

Best done by not giving them in the first place. States Can Avoid the Fiscal Risks Tax Incentives Create, Pew Report Says (LexisNexis Legal Newsroom).

Jim Maule, Tax Credit Giveaways Don’t Deserve Credit, “If the Michigan tax credit had done what it was promised to do, the increased tax revenues should have more than offset the cost of the credit. But that hasn’t happened, as evidenced by the budget deficits that were spiraling out of control on account of the tax credit giveaway.”

Presentations on Searching and Using Tools to Find Anything