Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blessed Disruption and Nepotism - “1984” “Alternative Facts"


Remember how Hamlet said he could be bounded in a nutshell and call himself a king of infinite space were it not that he had bad dreams? 


'I don't understand him': Salim Mehajer sued by cleaner for $25500



Trump promised disruption, and that's exactly what he's delivering




Via Wired: “Before Donald Trump was the president, he was a businessman. He came to office leading a vast business enterprise that includes real estate, casinos, and a lucrative branding operation. “The network is huge,” says designer Kim Albrecht, whose rivetingdata visualization Trump Connections attempts to untangle it all. Albrecht used data from BuzzFeed’s TrumpWorld investigation into the president’s 1,500-odd business connections to create two visualizations. The first places Trump at the center of an enormous web. The other, which resembles a family tree, deconstructs that network person by person, business by business. “It’s a complete mess if you look at the entire dataset,” Albrecht says.



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Ron Medich made no payments in Michael McGurk murder, trial told 
 
Did you hear that the new White House administration has created 10 million fact-checking jobs? Or is it 10 billion? Read all about it


The Trial was different. It had a beginning, where the lightning of the indictment had to strike, and an end, where the sentence had to be carried out. Hence there was a framework in which a series of loosely connected scenes followed inexorably from the idea of the whole. Kafka worked only on the scene that most preoccupied him at the moment, sometimes in one notebook, sometimes in another. If no empty notebook was available for additional drafts, he turned around a used one and continued writing from the back. He wrote the beginning and the end of the novel first and possibly even simultaneously.

— Reiner Stach, Kafka: The Decisive Years (tr. Frisch)


(1) Quartz fact-checks President Trump's official White House biography. (2) Here's what an Irish fact-checker learned from last year's elections. (3) Snapchat will crack down on misinformation in advance of its anticipated IPO. (4) Will a known hoaxer be allowed into the White House press corps?  (5) These college professors have developed a syllabus for "Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data."  (6) Job alert: Scottish co-op The Ferret is hiring a fact-checker. (7) A falsehood-riddled book about Donald Trump has been removed from the Smithsonian gift shop. (8) The IFCN fact-checker fellowships were under way this week, with Chequeado visiting Full Fact, and Lupa visiting El Objetivo. (9) Talking to fake news producers in the Philippines. (10) For teachers: a lesson plan to fight fake news. 


White House Adviser Steve Bannon Says Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut’ Vice (resilc). The whole quote is a smidge less awful:

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Bannon said. “I want you to quote this: The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”






Trump is obsessed with what his staff wears. Don’t let their costumes distract you. WaPo. As usual, story, which does have interesting detail, is at odds with the sexed-up  headline.



Donald Trump's father-in-law is a Communist who looks exactly like ...

Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens: In Brief, Kate M. Manuel, Acting Section Research Manager. January 23, 2017. “The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that individual aliens outside the United States are “inadmissible”— or barred from admission to the country—on health, criminal, security, and other grounds set forth in the INA. However, the INA also grants the Executive several broader authorities that could be used to exclude certain individual aliens 


Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment Heather Digby Parton, Salon. And hopefully our good friends in the intelligence community will keep helping out! Have fun, but this line caught my eye: “Trump managed to convince enough voters in just the right places….” In other words, Trump, the underdog, ran a
We’ve Entered A New Age Of Contempt – And It’s Dangerous

“Privately expressed contempt may be cathartic. Publicly expressed contempt, however, is perilous. … Widespread public contempt has the potential to undermine the moral basis of all human relationships and, indeed, of human community itself.”




Keep our mouths shut? Fat chance, say media leaders










Sales Of Orwell’s “1984” Surge After Conway’s “Alternative Facts


“Sales of George Orwell’s dystopian drama 1984 have soared after Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the reality-TV-star-turned-president, Donald Trump, used the phrase“alternative facts” in an interview. As of Tuesday, the book was the sixth best-selling book on Amazon.” 



 
“Sales of George Orwell’s dystopian drama 1984 have soared after Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the reality-TV-star-turned-president, Donald Trump, used the phrase“alternative facts” in an interview. A of Tuesday, the book was the sixth best-selling book on Amazon.”


Washington Post: “The new limits on public communications appear to be targeting agencies that are charged with overseeing environmental and scientific policy, prompting criticism from officials within the agencies and from outside groups focused on climate change. A memo to EPA communications staff said “no social media will be going out” and incoming media requests will be “carefully screened.”


 Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment Heather Digby Parton, Salon. And hopefully our good friends in the intelligence community will keep helping out! Have fun, but this line caught my eye: “Trump managed to convince enough voters in just the right places….” In other words, Trump, the underdog, ran an excellent campaign. Right? Lordie.


Via MediaITE: “In a memo sent out to staff at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Trump Administration has prohibited press releases, social media postings, blog posts or new content placed on the agency’s website.”

Justice Department blesses White House post for Kushner,” by Josh Gerstein, Politico: “In a reversal of legal advice given to prior presidents, the Justice Department has concluded that it is lawful for President Donald Trump to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a White House post. A 14-page opinion dated Friday from Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel asserts that a federal anti-nepotism law that applies to agencies across the executive branch does not cover the White House itself.


So intrigued were we at what the judge described as the “implosion” of the expert witness for the Australian Security & Investments Commission that we embarked upon an intrepid quest to find the man. Who is Hugh Woolley? Where’s Woolley?

ASIC had relied on star witness Hugh Woolley as its independent expert in its prosecution of Gold Coast entrepreneur Peter Drake in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Justice Edelman found his evidence “incredible” (you can read an excerpt from the judgement below.

Given, among other things, Peter Drake had and directors of his LM Investment Management had facilitated a $16 million loan to a private Drake company in Hong Kong before his LM funds empire went belly up, a civil prosecution for breach of directors’ duties seemed a no-brainer Where’s Woolley? Star witness for the Crown is hard to find


Certain producers of plain prose have conned the reading public into believing that only in prose plain, humdrum or flat can you articulate the mind of inarticulate ordinary Joe. Even to begin to do that you need to be more articulate than Joe, or you might as well tape-record him and leave it at that. This minimalist vogue depends on the premise that only an almost invisible style can be sincere, honest, moving, sensitive and so forth, whereas prose that draws attention to itself by being revved up, ample, intense, incandescent or flamboyant turns its back on something almost holy – the human bond with ordinariness. I doubt if much unmitigated ordinariness can exist. As Harold Nicolson, the critic and biographer, once observed, only one man in a thousand is boring, and he’s interesting because he’s a man in a thousand. Surely the passion for the plain, the homespun, the banal, is itself a form of betrayal, a refusal to look honestly at a complex universe, a get-poor-quick attitude that wraps up everything in simplistic formulas never to be inspected for veracity or substance. Got up as a cry from the heart, it is really an excuse for dull and mindless writing, larded over with the democratic myth that says this is how most folks are. Well, most folks are lazy, especially when confronted with a book, and some writers are lazy too, writing in the same anonymous style as everyone else.
— Paul West




 “How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next,” by William Davies, The Guardian: “The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril…In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies. Shortly before the November presidential election, a study in the US discovered that 68% of Trump supporters distrusted the economic data published by the federal government. In the UK, a research project by Cambridge University and YouGov looking at conspiracy theories discovered that 55% of the population believes that the government “is hiding the truth about the number of immigrants living here”.

China's dodgy $1 billion in property - The Australian

Expanding open data requires social license: information mandarins

A way to foster better long-term thinking and an arena for competitive, accountable predictions  Long Bets