Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fail and move on: Lessons from automated fact-checking experiments

INK BOTTLE“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”
~ G.K. Chesterton, column, Illustrated London News (October 23, 1909)

 “You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

Remember ‘Japan’s Beethoven’, Who Was Really Neither Deaf Nor A Real

“On Feb. 6, 2014, Takashi Niigaki faced a crowd of reporters … in Tokyo and took a deep and apologetic bow. He had just revealed that he was ghostwriterfor Mamoru Samuragochi, who was celebrated as ‘Japan’s Beethoven’ before being exposed as a fraud. In Hiroshima on Aug. 15 of this year, Niigaki found himself again bowing before a crowd, but this time it was on a stage in acceptance of a warm shower of applause.”

Unrelated to the below, here's a great deal from a tool I find absolutely critical: Grammarly. Grammarly is a browser plug-in which is like a spell-checker on steroids, catching all sorts of stuff which you'd normally miss otherwise. (Or, at least, that I'd normally miss otherwise.) It's free with a paid-for, premium option. I use the free one and it's great, but they're offering a free week of the premium one if you get the plug-in at this link. And if you sign up, I get a free week of premium Grammarly, too, so if you all sign up, I'll have the free service until  the year 4300-something. -- via Dan

Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet

A giant in legal ethics and torts scholarship, Lester Brickman is retiring after 51 years teaching [Cardozo School of Law, his Wikipedia entry and tag here]

Via  Creator of Packer's Lunch Neil Chenoweth 
The Tax Office has stepped up the pressure on multinationals with a new taxpayer alert that for the first time warns Big Four accounting firms of the dangers of promoting tax avoidance schemes.
The warning is the third taxpayer alert this year targeting schemes to avoid the new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) that came into effect in January – and the second in a month, representing an unprecedented focus by the ATO on hasty restructures that are being promoted to sidestep the new tax.
"We only became aware of this new scheme two weeks ago." 
Google Tax ATO warns big four accountants

By Ben Butler: Big accounting firms face a grilling from furious tax officials over how many of their corporate clients they have tipped into “artificial and contrived” schemes cooked up to evade the government’s tech tax crackdown.
ATO warns accounting firms over artificial tax schemes 

Sam Dastyari is a fine political artist but his mistake revealed bigger issues

If Stumpf were captain of the Titanic, not only would the crash be the iceberg’s fault, but he’d also get the first seat on the lifeboat Wels Fargo fake account scandal

Megan Lewczyk,. 
Accounting Firms Should Embrace the Digital Fountain of Youth (Going Concern). “When did the AICPA decide that “young” professionals are 22 to 40 (yes, 40) years old?” Actually, 40 seems young to me nowadays.

Career Corner: Good at Long-Range Trash Can Hoops? Then You’re Ready to Be a Chemist, or Tax Return Preparer, or Surgeon (
Jim Maule)

Sugar industry bought off scientists, skewed dietary guidelines for decades are technica

Its elusive mastery is what Pulitzer-winning writer Jennifer Egan (b. September 7, 1962) explores in Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do(public library) — the wonderful anthology edited by Meredith Maran, which gave us Michael Lewis on the necessary self-delusion of creative work, Susan Orlean’s advice to aspiring writers, Isabelle Allende on how to summon the muse, and Mary Karr on the madness and magnetism of the written word

“When customers visit the bookstore and tell her Amazon is cheaper: ‘I’m like, ‘You cannot come in, soak up what we have, talk to the staff, get recommendations, then go home and buy the book on Amazon. If you do, I will hunt you down and smack you around.'”  Ann Patchett: ‘If writers are to survive we must take responsibility for ourselves and our industry’

Many Hospitals Realize That Patient Engagement Includes Financial Well-Being, Too MedCity News

So, Wells Fargo Has Gone And Lost Its Damn Mind Dealbreaker

The Dirty Secret of Violent Surf Localism: It Works Surf breaks around the world are becoming more and more crowded, with people elbowing their way onto waves.Maybe local gangs like the Lunada Bay Boys are onto something Meanwhile, the surf wars are growing more violent as they take a leaf out of Bra Boys 
Spy Catchers Stalin would disaprove of the Iron Curtain Crossing circa 7 Jul 1980 A KGB spymaster’s memoirs have revealed that Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from the concentration camps, was killed in Soviet custody on the orders of Joseph Stalin. 

THE five-storey pagoda of the Temple of the Flourishing Law in the Nara prefecture of Japan is one of the world’s oldest wooden buildings. It has withstood wind, rain, fire and earthquakes for 1,400 years. Analysis of the rings in the central pillar supporting the 32-metre structure suggests the wood that it is made from was felled in 594, and construction is thought to have taken place soon after  The case for wooden Tall Towers 
Big Pharma behind scenes
Jack Townsend, Tax Attorney Convicted of Employment Tax Fraud

Margaritas might not be a superfood, but the Soul Cycle tribe seems pretty convinced that tequila counts as a wellness drink. Tales of health-minded tipplers abound, from accounts of celiac sufferers sipping the gluten-free spirit at happy hour to non-wheat-sensitive folks who just feel better on it.

Fail and move on: Lessons from automated fact-checking experiments

Freedom of Information Act: Litigation Costs For Justice and Agencies Could Not Be Fully Determined, GAO-16-667: Published: Sep 8, 2016

Researchers may have finally found an antidote to biased thinking about science: There is overwhelming evidence that we are “biased information processors” who engage in “motivated reasoning” to try to bend facts about the world to comport with what we want to believe

What happened to KYC: 5300 Wells Fargo employees fired over 2 million phony accounts

Law Enforcement 'Not Winning' War on White-Collar Crime

Donors linked to tax havens condemned by Dastyari 

Gone but not forgotten, email messages lost, not archived, disappeared – at the highest level of government – written by officials from both parties, and lest we forget, this reminder by Nina Burleigh in Newsweek 

Russian oil magnate's UK tax arrangements raise concerns 
AutoBlog agrees with my cynicism: Is modern traffic enforcement all about dollars instead of safety? We’re going with a strong yes (link via Instapundit):

You I see this today nearly everywhere I drive, some places more than others. And even where posted limits tend toward fair and appropriate, questionable enforcement activities, unreasonably high fines and purposely-limited opportunity for drivers to defend themselves against traffic citations are routinely utilized to maximize revenue.
Piled on top of all that are revenue-generating speed- and red-light cameras, the latter often with shortened yellow-light timing to enhance the ticket take. Studies have shown that shorter yellows actually increase the number of rear-end wrecks as drivers, hoping to avoiding automated tickets, jam on the brakes when the light suddenly turns red. Also consider doubled fines in school and construction zones, which make safety sense when there are children or workers present, but not when there are not.