Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy Parliamentary Luncheon: Creative Destruction

Our friends show us what we can do,
our enemies teach us what we must do...
-- wise Goethe  Via NSW Parliamenrary Library and its experiences ... circa 1982

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”
—John Lennon (1969)

Militant nonviolent resistance works.

Peaceful, prolonged protests work

Mass movements with huge numbers of participants work

The bogus luxury home buyer (WSJ): “The buyer had been arriving on a city bus each time, which made me suspicious.”

“The .... government leaks like a sieve. Presidents denounce the constant flow of classified information to the media from unauthorized, anonymous sources. National security professionals decry the consequences. And yet the laws 
against leaking are almost never enforced. Throughout U.S. history, roughly a dozen criminal cases have been brought against suspected leakers. There is a dramatic disconnect between the way our laws and our leaders condemn leaking in the abstract and the way they condone it in practice The Leaky Leviathan: Why the Government Condemns and Condones Unlawful Disclosures of InformationDavid E. Pozen
The annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings are produced by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service

$1tn of transactions worldwide tainted by briberyWorld Bank says

Has Trump paid NO federal tax since 1977? (Nosink new under ze sun: Only littlest 
characters meet their tax obligations) 

May the WWIII begin: China’s Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea Reuters (furzy). Uh oh. Looks to be a response to Trump challenging the “One China” policy.

A quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, life satisfaction inRussia and other ex-Soviet states remains stubbornly low, with enthusiasm wavering for democracy and open market economics, according to a survey. The study found that only 15% of Russians think their households have a better quality of life, compared with 30% in 2010 when respondents were last asked, and only 9% see their finances as better than four years ago. Just over half the respondents from former Soviet states also thought a return to a  more authoritarian system would be a plus in some circumstances, said the findings from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank said Unhappy Russians nostalgic for Soviet-style rule – study via Guardian

How A City Can Use Tax Policy To Kill Creative Activity

In Toronto’s hot real estate downtown property taxes are set to rocket. A small creative cluster at Trinity Square pays about $4,000 per month in rent for a 1,700-square-foot space. In 2016, the annual tax bill was $3,566. In 2017, it jumps to $6,808, and by 2020, it will be $11,900. The small arts groups that use the space will have to leave. They’ve protested, “but the message here is, ‘No, sorry — we don’t care.’ That really speaks to the issue: What do we want the downtown core to become?”

… The Language Wars | The Smart Set

Rules may not be made to be broken, but there are times when they must be. As Jesus said, the law was made for man, not man for the law. But you can't know how to break them — and there are right ways and wrong ways — unless you know them in the first place


Lina Caneva

Fraud perpetrated against Commonwealth departments and agencies, either with the connivance of bureaucrats or because of poor management, remains a major problem. One example is the Department of Education and Training's community support program for child-care providers operating out of suburban homes, which has been defrauded of over $1 billion in the past year as a result of lax controls and oversight.
The money fraudulently diverted from the ACT Treasury is orders of magnitude less than that, but some of the circumstances detailed in recent Auditor-General reports are no less troubling. They indicate repeated departures from good management, the politicisation of senior public servant appointments, cronyism, and frequent conflicts of interest.
The apparent indifference of politicians to what the public might think of such matters remains the strongest argument for establishing commissions federally and in the ACT.Obeid's conviction underlines need for federal ICAC

Restless temperament TLS. On the rise of the ADHD-industrial complex.
Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images, Xiaolin Wu, Xi Zhang (Submitted on 13 Nov 2016 (v1), last revised 21 Nov 2016 (this version, v2)) arXiv:1611.04135 [cs.CV] (or arXiv:1611.04135v2 [cs.CV] for this version)

Another Lawsuit Highlights How Many ‘Smart’ Toys Violate Privacy, Aren’t Secure


The Ghostwriter’s Dark Arts

“She went from sort of daffy and inattentive to intimately involved with her client’s world. Her head cocked, her timbre lowered, and she understood everything. A client could have sat down and told her they were going to murder their parents and she would have said, “Well, they have been very mean to you.” With her, the clients felt heard. They’d open up their lives, reveal deeply buried trauma. She was a truly fantastic interviewer.”


Who Won the ‘Make the Most Meaningless Thomas Friedman Graph’ More Taibbi on Friedman and #Friedmangraphs. Lots of talent out there

Peter had a card-counting team which came to be known as the Czechoslovakians, because of the nationality of most of the members.

He thought it would be a great idea to teach a woman to count cards, because no casino would suspect a female of doing such a thing.
Cat Hulbert: How I got rich beating men at their own game BBC

(1) Austin, Texas, has its own #pizzagate. (2) Medical historians are complaining about the facts in a New York Times story about C-sections. (3) For the second year, Amy Webb's "Tech Trends" report says real-time fact-checking is close. Let's hope 2017 is the year. (4) This is how Facebook became the bad guy. (5) Postfaktish is the word of the year in Germany. Yeah, you can guess what it means. (6) Facebook patents point to movement on the fake news front. (7) How many non-facts can you fit in a tweet? Trump managed four. (8) Here's the big winner of PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" contest. (9) Bellingcat fact-checks a Syrian child. (1) Vanity Fair fact-checked the friendship between Donald Trump and Kanye West.