Monday, July 25, 2016

Meet. Beat. Repeat.

The former PM Winston Churchill once remarked “Dinner would have been splendid…if the wine had been as cold as the soup, the beef as rare as the service, the brandy as old as the fish, and the maid as willing as the Duchess.”

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.
— Thomas Berger, who died on this date in 2014
Sometime looking backward
into this future, straining
neck and eyes I'll meet your shadow
with its enormous eyes
     you who will want to know
     what this was all about          

—Adrienne Rich,
"A Long Conversation"

Major ice busts in Sydney after man caught using mobile phone

Police pull driver over for traffic offence and allegedly find 3kg of ice on his back seat, which they say leads them to another 87kg of the drug over 24 hours Ticket for using phone while driving allegedly leads police to $45m ice haul

When the 40-year-old was sentenced last week in the NSW District Court to three years and 10 months in prison, it was in connection to trafficking a relatively modest amount of drugs: a kilogram of cocaine worth $275,000. But law enforcement intelligence holdings paint a picture of a man who police suspect spent 10 years ruling his patch at Port Botany, accessing government cargo information systems and using a "small, tight crew" of wharfies to help international criminal syndicates, including one led by one of Australia's most wanted men, breach border controls ... Profile: Key player in Sydney's drug importation scene Adam Powell

Are law firms being exploited by their clients to launder money? [Wall Street Journal]

Richard McLaren is the law professor who laid the ground work for Russia potentially being banned from the Rio Olympics over a doping scandal. [New York Times]

DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show Intercept. A must read.

Wikileaks Hillary Clinton: “This sub reddit has the most in depth analysis of the release I’ve found so far.”

Vintage Aerial has over 25 million photos, taken in 41 states over the second half of the twentieth century. If you are looking for an aerial photograph of a rural area or small township, we most likely have your picture. Start your search now by selecting your state and country

… Loneliness Belongs to the Photographer - The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

If someone spilled hot coffee on you, would it take you two years to react? [Southeast Texas Record on filing just before runout of statute of limitations]

Smashing the Orwellian ‘globalisation’ cell Defend Democracy

The blatant pillage of Australia’s youth MacroBusiness

An interview with Tom Stoppard

A fascinating long account of an elaborate con

Asne Seirstad, One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway. I couldn't put this down - the narration is rather melodramatic (the narrative framework is like that of a serial killer novel) but the reporting goes deep and it is an incredibly compelling read. Strongly recommended

“In 2008 El Ateneo Grand Splendid was named the second most beautiful bookshop in the world by The Guardian, and that’s no surprise.”  Bored Panda 

* Law professor is after blood, or at least disbarment, over the prosecution of the Freddie Gray case. [Washington Post]

Calls for compulsory Islam classes in Germany the day after axe attack — multiculturalism is always one step ahead of satirists.
(Classical reference in headline)

Laing includes performers in her study—poignantly, Klaus Nomi, the countertenor and lonesome bird of the late-nineteen-seventies East Village art scene—but spends the majority of her time discussing the acknowledged masters of modern despondency: Edward Hopper, of course, with his crayon-ish greens and reds and neon chiaroscuro; Andy Warhol, isolated and protected by his layers of sartorial artifice; and David Wojnarowicz, the leader of his own crew of lost boys.
“Only Facts Matter:” Jim Comey Is Not the Master Bureaucrat of Integrity His PR Sells Him Has Marcy Wheeler 

Russophobia and the dark art of making an anti-Russian magazine cover Medium 

I was told when I was younger – “Don’t ever meet your heroes, you’ll be disappointed and disillusioned”.  Terrible advice.  I’ve met Rowan Williams, Peter Blake (the artist), Earle Kirton, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Hunter Davies, Tom Peters, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell – all heroes of mine … and loved ‘em all.  Thursday was special.  Lunch at Michael’s in New York.  Michael’s is a classic American restaurant, run by Michael McCarty who paces the floor checking in on all his guests.  An ambling, shambling force of nature.  Michael hosts all the Media Power Players in the City.  The bigshots all have their own tables, backs to the wall, facing outwards, accepting fealty from their followers, and checking out who’s with whom, as the pieces move on the NYC Media chessboard.  Lunching with your Heroes

 IT SURE LOOKS THAT WAY: Was Turkey’s coup attempt just an elaborate hoax by Erdogan?

Why did the coup attempt begin with blocking one side of Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge? Why was the passage from the Asian side to Europe blocked while the passage from Europe to Asia was allowed to flow?
Why did the putschists — knowing that Erdogan was neither in Ankara nor Istanbul but instead spending his vacation in the Mediterranean seaside town of Marmaris — not move to detain him? They let him travel from Marmaris to the nearby Dalaman airport and then fly to Istanbul on a flight that took over an hour.
Why did the putschists not seize the main TV news channels and instead waste precious time taking over the least-watched state TV channel, TRT, allowing their targets to regroup and use more popular channels and social media effectively to challenge the coup attempt?
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke first on the NTV channel, alleging that it was not a coup but a rebellion perpetrated by a small faction in the military. Erdogan then spoke through CNN-Turk via FaceTime and called on his supporters to take to the streets.
Seemingly a headless and disoriented coup attempt crumbled after a few hours, leaving 265 dead, some 1,440 wounded and at least 2,839 military personnel in custody.
And then this from John Schindler in response to CNN’s report that “8,777 officers from the Turkish Ministry of Interior” had been removed over the weekend:
It wasn’t a failed coup; it’s a successful purge.
Events of the past couple of years have me paranoid enough to wonder if we shouldn’t be looking for Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints.

This paper aims to identify themes, trends, research philosophies, methodologies and methods used in EGovernment studies. This research uses a novel structure literature review method to capture the evolving research focus in the EGovernment literature.

Tyler Cowan in Bloomberg View:
The broader and more disturbing implication is that the entire global economy may be more vulnerable to mood swings. Our peers influence our moods, but today’s peers are more global than ever because of social media and the spread of satellite and cable television. That could make a given mood swing in one nation or region more potent and further-reaching than before.

Horse-race journalism dominated primary coverage, argues new Harvard study

What's the difference between the new "Ghostbusters" movie and real life? First of all, real ghostbusters are called "metaphysical investigators" and secondly, they have no slime or nuclear weapons. Toronto Life discusses ghost life with two members of Canada's Paranormal Seekers. 

Digital painting with pixels 

With the emergence of Web 2.0 technology, governments are able to deliver quality services and fully satisfy the needs of their citizens. Despite the importance of this emerging trend, identifying and attracting an audience for governmentaffiliated social media (SM) services has proved to be a significant challenge.

Cashless Payments and Tax Evasion
Cashless payments hinder tax evasion because they build a trail for the underlying transactions. We find empirical evidence supporting this claim for Europe, showing a negative relationship between VAT evasion and the payments with credit and debit cards.

The Superbook lets you use your mobile phone as a fully-fledged laptop, perfect for travelers or people on the go without a lot of space

(1) Chequeado director Laura Zommer is interviewed by local Colombian site El Heraldo.  (2)'s Fact Check now has its own Twitter handle. (3) Diane Francis has put a $50,000 bounty on HeroX for anyone who can create a "nearly-instant system of fact-checking." (4) Africa Check collects a bunch of fake AIDS cures (5) Aos Fatos' Tai Nalon spoke to On The Media on their fact-checking of Dilma's fiscal maneuvers. (6) CNET selects the best fact-checking apps, including PolitiFact's, for following the Republican National Convention. (7) Also, watch out for zombie facts at the conventions.