Sunday, July 31, 2016

Silence of Three Robinson Crusoes:

Blimey – it’s true, time speeds up as you get older...

Australia Has Moved 1.5 Metres, So It’s Updating Its Location For Self-Driving Cars Slashdot

Time Accelerates: Labor takes seat of Herbert leaving Malcolm Turnbull with majority of just one seat

Liveable Sydney 555 surburbs the size of the Block nect to Alex Perry

Former Neighbour Alex Perry pokes fun at David Jones Drugs and Autism at absolutely fabulous movie premiere

Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once  RIP Producer Sandy Pearlman

Don Manuel , the priest in Tierra de Cha, used to sit between the two winterlings, who were only little girls back then. He was short and fat, an absolute glutton. He was always somewhere between dinner and Mass. As soon as he finished the sermon, he’d be out and into the street. With great strides, pulling up his cassock to keep the manure off it, he would cross the square to eat his lunch. While the maid was tying a napkin around his neck and serving him, he positively burbled with pleasure.His mouth watered  at the sight of what lay before him : a hearty broth
~Bathroom Quote

Botanists Sniff at Mystery of Smelly Corpse Flowers’ Blooming Wall Street Journal

You can’t weigh, record, or export it. You can’t eat it, collect it, or give it away. But in a noisy world, silence sells. Just ask Finland... Noisy Finishers 

Atlantic Writer: Emigrant Melania Trump ‘Has Not Lived the Story of America.’

Writing lessons from Michelle obamas DNC speech

Clever koalas learn to cross the road safely BBC

BREAKING: New DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History Ancient Origins 

To writers, their work amounts to evidence that they've fallen short of their potential. The oeuvre is never satisfied, always taunting, a work in progressuntil the end ...  Potential

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late. 
~ William Shakespeare

It’s against the law to run a puppet show in a window, and other NYC laws that may have outlived their purpose [Dean Balsamini, New York Post]

Former Russian Prime Minister-caught in Bed with Opposition Leader - Universal Politics in Action

Per Swedish study, lottery winners do not get healthier after their windfalls. Some implications about health care and inequality? [Alex Tabarrok]

Former Labor minister Eddie Obeid​, who is awaiting sentence for misconduct in public office, has hired a private detective in an attempt to discover whether a crime figure provided information about his and his family's affairs to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Obeids hire PI in case against ICAC

Boeing Considers Ending Production of 747 Wall Street Journal.  My virgin - maiden trip on commercial plane Memories of 747 from AUSTRIA to AUSTRALIA ...

 Clerk thief his life as a baker visiting judge tells story of 1919 Supreme Court leak ( insider trading and Wall St)

Banks ‘could be forced to keep all your money’ Daily Mash

Women and econ blogs

"If a seventh grader starts trading fake burps for laughs in gym class, what's a teacher to do?" So beings a dissenting opinion that Tenth Circuit Judge Neil M. Gorsuch issued today.
Steven A. Bank (UCLA), Brian R. Cheffins (Cambridge) & Harwell Wells (Temple), Executive Pay: What Worked?,  42 J. Corp. L. ___ (2016): CEO pay is a controversial issue in America but there was a time, often overlooked today, when chief executives were not paid nearly as much as they are now. From 1940 to the mid-1970s executive pay was modest by today’s standards even though U.S. business was generally thriving.

“Naturally, publishers and booksellers alike are keen to capitalise on our exotic new appetites (to use the phrase “cash in” seems a bit unfair in these slightly rarefied circumstances). Nearly every week, publicists send me new or previously ignored (by us) foreign novels.” The Observer (UK)
A woman I know was waiting for the Sydney Mercedes bus, in the sparse shade of a live oak. Normally proper and demure, she whispered, “Even my underwear’s dripping,” which was far more than I wanted to know...

All Cards on the Table: First-Use of Nuclear Weapons War on the Rocks . Today’s must read. As we’ve said for some time, the reason the US has been putting “defensive” missiles all over Eastern Europe.

Bloomberg gets into rapid-fire explainer journalism with breaking Q&As

“Many, many writers are chronically broke. Many have a long list of grievances with the publishing industry. Many will tell you about the circumstances that would have allowed them to enjoy the success of Ernest Hemingway or David Foster Wallace. Many have had multiple brushes with suicide, but there’s only one who wrote The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, two of the finest novels published this century.” New York Magazine Multiple Brushed with Suicide

The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré:coverThe British intelligence officer turned bestselling spy novelist has written his first memoir, regaling readers with stories from his extraordinary writing career. A witness to great historical change in Europe and abroad, le Carré visited Russia before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and met many fascinating characters in his travels, including KGB officers, an imprisoned German terrorist, and a female aid worker who was the inspiration for the main character in The Constant Gardner. Le Carré also writes about watching Alec Guinness take on his most famous character, George Smiley. 

When in French by Lauren Collins:coverNew Yorker staffer Collins moved to London only to fall in love with a Frenchman. For years, the couple spoke to each another in English but Collins always wondered what she was missing by not communicating in her partner’s native tongue. When she and her husband moved to Geneva, Collins decided to learn French from the Swiss. When in French details Collins’s struggles to learn a new language in her 30s, as well as the joy of attaining a deeper understanding of French culture and people. 

Via POGO:  “In a new report, London-based watchdog Global Witness sheds light on the dangers of anonymously-owned companies in government contracting. The recent Panama Papers scandal has raised concerns of how money stashed in anonymous shell companies is used to evade taxes and fund international crime. In a similar vein, a Global Witness report titled Hidden Menace: How secret company owners are putting troops at risk and harming American taxpayers is a fascinating and startling look at how money lost to anonymously-owned contractors engenders waste, defrauds taxpayers, and threatens national security…”

I do not know why I did what happened next. It was neither intended nor instinctive, it was neither in cold blood nor in hot; but yet it seemed, once committed, a necessary act; no breaking of the commandment. My arm flicked out and slapped her left cheek as hard as it could. The blow caught her completely by surprise, nearly knocked her off balance, and her eyes blinked with the shock; then very slowly she put her left hand to the cheek. We stared wildly at each other for a long moment, in a kind of terror: the world had disappeared and we were falling through space. The abyss might be narrow, but it was bottomless.

“Three Robinson Crusoes

in an abandoned shack,

we found a real find –

a single, battered book.

“We three were friends

and we quickly agreed

to share out this treasure

as Solomon decreed.

“The foreword for cigarette-paper:

one friend was delighted

with a gift so unlikely

he feared he was dreaming.

“The second made playing cards

from the notes at the back.

May his play bring him pleasure,

every page bring him luck.

“As for my own cut –

those precious jottings,

the dreams of a poet

now long forgotten –

“it was all that I wanted.

How wisely we’d judged.

What a joy to set foot in

a forgotten hut.”

In a note, Chandler writes: “This poem records a real incident. Shalamov describes how playing cards were made from paper, saliva, urine, a little chewed bread and a tiny piece of crayon.” The final section of the anthology is inspired: “Four Poems by Non-Russians.” Most interesting and most pertinent to our literary love of Mother Russia is “Learning the Letter Щ by Nancy Mattson, a Canadian-born poet who lives in London. Щ is the Cyrillic letter usually transliterated shcha. The sound resembles the English sh, but is prolonged: “It is basically a long, palatalized version of English’s `sh’ as in `ship.’” Mattson’s poem is a wash of Щ’s. See the final stanzas:

“I remember the shooshch

of my grandmother’s tongue and teeth

sucking her tea through a sugar cube

telling her stories in Finnish

“Hush now, it’s the one about her sister

in Soviet Russia, how she barely survived

on watery cabbage soup:   ЩИ

but was finally crushed     lost      she


the sound is a soft shchi

one wave in an ocean of millions

that receded but never returned”

Corn crops are important to Iowa, and the faster they grow, the better. When Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley posted a tweet crediting GMOs for the state's taller corn, an Iowa newspaper stepped in with a well-researched fact check

Feds will pay $475,000 to settle “illegal body cavity search” case ars technica 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

StopPard and Plicka Set to Get Their Revenge

A day at Blue Mountains'  Bullabarra and memories of my erly days in Australia come rushing back ... It is rare to be on top of the hill and not experience wind to boot filled with sun and noon light dancing in the shadows of gum trees ;-)

You think Jonathan Franzen is overrated and out of touch? He's OK with that. “I go to extraordinary lengths not to hear what people are saying about me”... Moon Talking ...

When Michael Jackson debuted the moonwalk in 1983 the world was enrapt. The dance goes back farther, to the 1930s, and pops up again in the 50s, before reappearing via mimes and West Coast poppers in the 70s. Follow the historical circuitous route of an iconic move. 
Ttrnk: How the Moonwalk Works

You know of the disease in Central Europe called dancing disease ... Lots of my friends caught that disease such as soccer players Ján(ko) Korhel...
As well as the pioneers our sister Aga Imrichova and her friend Bibiana Wiesnerová, Tonka GoldbergerováMarta Bednárová, Anna Gurgoľová, Ondrej Hrebenar, Jozo Imrich, Janko Maslonka, Fero Hrebenak, Jozo Bizub, Miro (my memory fails me, however his dad was radiotelephone v Lendaku)  Lujzia Šoltésova Chamilova Choreographer who Stole Folkloric Moves and Steps

 Mittleuropean Folklore...

Karel Plicka the photographer who loved my mamka's cooking ...

Karel Plicka More Tatranka Links 

THE window over the main door of the Bishop’s Palace in Krakow is known as the Pope’s Window. It was from here that John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla, used to address his followers when visiting the city where he had served as archbishop during the communist regime. This week, a different pontiff is occupying the window. Pope Francis is in Poland for the church’s World Youth Day festival (actually a week, between July 25th and 31st), which is expected to draw over 1m visitors. Although the more conservative pope died in 2005, it is not clear whose is the greater presence. Asked by Polish television on Monday night about security at the event, a government official said there was a “pact with Holy Father John Paul II” to protect it. That is from Cross Purposes via The Economist, the article is interesting more generally.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the important European thinkers of the next generation will be religious, not left-wing and secular.

       Slovak literature in translation 

       Only part of this piece from The Slovak Spectator is freely accessible (seriously ? this is a model that works for them ?) but enough to get the gist, and some good quotes, as they note that: Slovak books in the US market struggle. 
       Indeed, the first line sums things up pretty well:
English translations of Slovak books sometimes appear in the US market but interest in them is lacking.
       And they do admit that:
Regarding the US market, the whole promotion and distribution of books, which were issued in the US, depends on the publisher -- it is hard to influence it from Bratislava
       Yes ..... I guess there's only so much the Literárne informačné centrum can do, despite all that the site offers -- including conveniently also arranging authors according to their Anniversaries and Jubilees ..... 
       So 'struggle' is surely putting it mildly ..... 

       (There are only four translated-from-the-Slovak titles under review at the complete review: Peter Pišt'anek's trilogy, beginning with Rivers of Babylon, and Daniela Kapitáňová'sSamko Tále's Cemetery Book (all of them published by UK-based Garnett Press ...)). 

Markus K. Brunnermeier, Harold James, and Jean-Pierre Landau, The Euro and the Battle of Ideas

Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson, Europe Isn’t Working

Philipp Ther, Europe Since 1989

Did Frank Lowy just call for lower immigration? MacroBusiness

Zbogniew Herbert once observed "what is security? A faint-hearted formula for happiness. Life without struggle.”
“The victims of Securitas--more precisely, the half-eaten victims--avoided speaking about her. Why should they? The few who had the courage to make their revelations public met with disbelief and a sense of distaste. The conviction is very strong that the misfortune of another reduces, in a way empties, the reservoir of bad fate--that another's bad luck protects us and increases our chances of survival. This salutary illusion always wins over the simple logic of facts. It will be this way forever.” A Slavic Faint Hearted formula for happiness

A person may vote for a candidate to please citizens who prefer the same candidate, and to anger citizens who dislike the candidate. Such behavior is consistent with high turnout (though any one vote is unlikely to be decisive), with strategic voting, and with candidates adopting divergent positions.
That was circa 2008, and I am sure it was written before then, so it is time to raise the status of Amihai Glazer.  That is the same Glazer who coined Glazer’s Law, which is a rough rule of thumb for analyzing microeconomics puzzles — “It’s either taxes or fraud (or both!”).  That may be true for this election cycle as well.
Earlier this week, New York magazine published interviews with over 40 journalists about what’s wrong (and right) with the media, along with a survey sent to 113 journalists about problems in the media. The interviews are fascinating. They excoriate the media for being addicted to conflict, gorging on Trump, cutting deals and being clueless about its audience (and the rest of the country). I highly recommend reading both articles in the series — they’re really good. But I also hope someone conducts a similar project entirely at the local level and outside of major cities To get a different perspective on the media we went beyond (Sydney) way way beyond
At Last: The Smithsonian is Hiring a Beer Historian

H.L. Mencken, who died 60 years ago, was irritable, unpredictable, bigoted, brilliant — and he's as relevant as ever...  I told Youse (sic) Sooo  

Stone Temple Consulting Group – Are Links Still a Powerful Ranking Factor? (New Study), 20 July 2016 by Eric Enge: “This report will demonstrate the continuing importance that links play in rankings. [The author] share[s] data that shows that all that talk of a decline in the importance of links as a ranking factor is grossly exaggerated.”

“Never underestimate the willingness of a man to believe flattering things about himself,” said Paul Samuelson. Just ask a success about luck's role in life...  Bohemian Touches 

Let me tell you a totally true story, in which I haven't even changed any names to protect the guilty.
The scene is early Spring, 1988, Hudson dorm, University of Missouri. I woke up early one afternoon and for no good reason announced to my roommate David, "Tonight I shall drink until I puke. And you will join me." DRINKING GAME: And why I, the VodkaPundit, will not be playing

Papa's drinking lesson

What’s in a name? Apparently quite a lot, because here The Independent shares the titles of famous literary works with the title those books were originally given by the author. In a lot of cases, the difference is vast. Think… Continue Reading 
In the interview below, he says that dialogue is his strong suit, and he’s talking about playwriting, but listening to him it’s clear from whom his characters have inherited their often terrifying lucidity. So talking to this fearsomely articulate man can be a little daunting, and would be even more were he not so unfailingly polite and even kind: Ask him an awkwardly worded question, and he instinctively, helpfully offers you a much better answer to the question you should have asked ... Sir Tom Stoppard does not merely talk in complete sentences. He talks in complete paragraphs An interview with Tom Stoppard 

What does that cliché mean, anyway? Build your Bohemian language muscles by finding out

Mindfulness Has Gone Corporate—Why Has America Appropriated Buddhism for Capitalist Ends? Religion Dispatches. “In other words, mindfulness is a technique that asks Americans to quite literally sit down and shut up.”
“Chairman Michael McCaul and Senator Mark Warner introduced the Digital Security Commission Act on February, 29, 2016. The purpose of this Commission is to collectively address the larger issue of protecting national security and digital security, without letting encrypted communications become a safe haven for terrorists. This Commission brings together the most capable experts and stakeholders from law enforcement, the technology industry, the intelligence community, and privacy and civil liberties communities to discuss the challenges and advise policy makers on this complex issue. The Commission will provide recommendations on the best path forward for the security of our nation and the public safety of Americans. The Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a new report entitled,“Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate.” This first Congressional in-depth analysis of the issue summarizes the Committee’s findings, based on more than 100 meetings and briefings Committee staff and Members have held with key stakeholders over the past year. In addition to providing insight into arguments on all sides of the encryption debate, the report lays the groundwork for a Commission  proposed by Homeland Security Chairman Michel McCaul (R-TX) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).”
A one-pager of the Commission is available, here.
A section-by-sections of the Commission is available, here.

Ethics survey: Banking, media and big business on the nose