Tuesday, December 08, 2015

So It Begins: The Wandering Academic

“The actor’s technique is that personal and very private means by which you get the best out of yourself. Every actor does it differently. There’s never been an artist alive who didn’t have to deal with form and content. Those who deal only with content are the ones who act with their guts, but who’s interested in their guts? We’re interested in Hamlet’s guts, or Richard III’s guts, and you have to be heard in the back row. Of course you must have content, but you’ve got to have form. The thing is to marry the two so the form isn’t noticed. Form without content, forget it.”
~ Hume Cronyn (quoted in the New York Times, June 17, 2003)

Michael Cranston: Private school parents hiding secret offshore money

The ATO is ramping up its focus on offshore tax evasion and yesterday visited seven adviser firms linked to offshore arrangements and contacted more than 100 parents who had school fees paid from overseas bank accounts.  ATO Media Release

KGB programs cost $100 in Australia college programs are more expensive $1million

The KGB programme of preventive warnings is the subject of a new paper called "If You Do Not Change Your Behaviour: Managing Threats to State Security in Lithuania under Soviet Rule." The suggestion that MEdia Dragon was part of that Putin-like experience is exagerated ... via Mark Harrison’s blog The KGB Ran the World's Largest Programme for Individual Behaviour Modification
How treacherous history is!  Half-truths, ignorance, deceptions, false trails, errors and lies, and buried somewhere in between all of that, the truth, in which it’s easy to lose faith, of which it is frequently easy to say, it’s a chimera, there’s no such thing, everything is relative, one man’s absolute belief is another man’s fairy tale, but about which we insist, we insist most emphatically, that it is too important an idea to give up to the relativity merchants. 

They say truth is the first casualty of war. And a variety of interests, from Viacom and CBS to Bush family loyalists and right-wing zealots, hope the same fate awaits the provocative new film, Truth.
Consider seeing The Truth 60 Minutes CBS News Dan Rather American Bush Mary Mapes ... at the antipodean Palace Cinemas if you can as all the underground movement tends to monopolise the bar after the movies. What seemed like a solid piece — though rushed to air to be timely — turned out not so good when commenters on the Internet began questioning the authenticity of some key points. It started a firestorm. The whole thing became a black eye in CBS’ view and Mapes, and finally Rather, were basically thrown under the bus. It began Rather’s downfall at the network. Vanderbilt has meticulously laid it all out, without turning anyone into heroes or villains. What I found most interesting was this all happened just as the Internet was gaining power and turning journalism as we knew it on its face. Five or 10 years earlier, the outcome might have been quite different. (I am not so sure that Kerry Packer would be as keen to finance such a challenging film  / his son James just did - the world is full of surprises) No one knows the truth, but it is interesting how even the search of truth gets sidetracked by those who are pushing the trolley of truth ...

Our story was about whether the president fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about fonts and forgeries, and they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum.

Think: All The President’s Men and The Insider when you think of Truth, based on the book Truth and Duty, by Mary Mapes, who is played in the movie by Cate Blanchett.

The events depicted in “Truth” on 8 September 2004 ( three years later another event took place, but that is another story) took a toll on all sides. The movie notes that Mapes has not worked in broadcast news since 2004. She has focused on consulting and writing in the years since.

So It Begins: The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books Of 2015 

And it’s full of literary fiction, poetry and nonfiction, with the occasional genre book tossed in The New York Times 

The Wandering Academic, or How No One Seems to Notice that I Am an Economic Migrant. Superfluous Answers to Necessary Questions

 29-year-old Laurence the only full-time forensic pollen analyst in the United States

Nudges can pose serious threats to citizens’ privacy. The essay discusses several examples of nudges that must appear problematic to anyone valuing privacy. The paper also re-draws a well established connection between privacy and autonomy and argues that insofar as nudges incur too great a loss of privacy, they are incompatible with the libertarianism that libertarian paternalism is committed to by virtue of its very name Nudging as a Threat to Privacy

Sentencing postponed again in CalPERS bribery case Sacramento Bee. From last week. Tony Butka: “Wonder what gifts he’s still giving to the prosecution :-)”

The coffee-machine bacteriome - From a new paper in Nature, Scientific Reports:
Microbial communities are ubiquitous in both natural and artificial environments. However, microbial diversity is usually reduced under strong selection pressures, such as those present in habitats rich in recalcitrant or toxic compounds displaying antimicrobial properties. Caffeine is a natural alkaloid present in coffee, tea and soft drinks with well-known antibacterial properties 
*In related news from a few years ago, scientists in the US have genetically modified an E.coli strain so that it is ‘addicted’ to caffeine ...

Unclear accountability has resulted in exactly what opponents of outsourcing feared, argues a new think tank report based on interviews with agencies' policy experts and external community services providers. It also found commissioning is misapplied. Outsourcing creates 'alibis' for bad service

This month we published our fourth Financial Secrecy Index (FSI), complete with a series of reports about each of the biggest tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions, looking into the political and economic histories of how and why they went offshore, who was involved, and where the bodies are buried. How the U.S.A. became a secrecy jurisdiction

20 investigations across the government ... have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records, according to records and interviews.

In the sadistic era of fraudulent Hope and Change, inspectors general inside the federal government have been kicked, neutered and starved of the authority and information they need to do their jobs.