Monday, January 30, 2017


Nowadays — it cannot be denied — there is no Alexander the Great. There are plenty of men who know how to murder people; the skill needed to reach over a banqueting table and pink a friend with a lance is not lacking; and for many Macedonia is too confining, so that they curse Philip, the father — but no one, no one at all, can blaze a trail to India. Even in his day the gates of India were beyond reach, yet the King’s sword pointed the way to them. Today the gates have receded to remoter and loftier places; no one points the way; many carry swords, but only to brandish them, and the eye that tries to follow them is confused.
  • Kafka, ‘The New Advocate’

Is IKEA Destroying The Antiques Trade?Is IKEA Destroying The Antiques Trade?

They may know that they’re mortgaging the future of their grandchildren, that in fact everything they own will be destroyed, but they’re caught in a trap of institutional structure. That’s what happens in market systems. The financial crisis is a small example of the same thing. You may know that what you’re doing carries systemic risk, but you can’t calculate that into your transactions or you’re not fulfilling your role and somebody else replaces you.

Is Book Collecting Anti-Social?

“One of the concerns in the early 19th century regarding book collecting was the fear that by hoarding books, buyers were denying their fellow countrymen their patrimony. The image of the rich dilettante was one of the conspicuous consumer of books that would never be read – the old TBR pile – therefore keeping books out of an intellectual commons. The collector was often portrayed as having a kind of antisocial disease that kept him from contributing to the greater good by sharing his printed riches.”

Selfies As Gallery Art? Really? It Was Inevitable

“In many ways, the selfie represents the epitome of contemporary culture’s transition into a highly-digitalised and technologically-advanced age as mobile-phone technology has caught up with the camera.”

KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANTS! Mark Zuckerberg Sues to Keep Native Hawaiians Off His $100 Million Beachfront Estate

Puling the strings Joe Tripodi at the centre of unholy alliances at Fairfield council

cheerleading squirrel links
A legal dream team has filed a quixotic lawsuit against President Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution:

A lawsuit Monday alleged that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments.

Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause in the Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from Russian, Chinese and Saudi diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings, according to the suit filed by a legal watchdog group. The language in the clause is disputed by some legal scholars, setting the stage for a court fight with the White House. The liberal-funded watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York Law Profs Sue Trump, Alleging Violation of the Emoluments Clause

man cartoon speechI am but a small town lawyer.

I represent a small employer.

He gives me a bottle of 40 year Malt[1].

Must I refuse him, what is at fault?

The question hinges on a single bar rule

That I don’t remember from law school.

Is it substantial, what do you think?

I hope it’s OK, I’d like that drink.

Client gifts are presumed to be fraud.

W.T.F.? Oh my God!

Wait, are you serious, what’s the risk?

I will not be unduly influenced.
Come on, for reals, this cannot be so.
I’m taking the scotch, come at me bro!
It’s time for me to provide you a list,
If these items are OK, I’ll really be pissed.
Real Estate holdings open for rent.
Diplomatic advantage from money spent.
Foreign banks with much money lent.
Seriously, that’s not an emolument?
Turkish hotel owners connected to gain.
And he’s fighting the wind farms in Aberdeen[2]!
His son, whom he enlisted, to be his head guy
Was interviewing candidates for the D.O.I.[3]
As for me, I want this booze!
I’d even be willing to share with Ted Cruz.[4]
If I have some big folders and Sheri Dillon
Does that mean I get to drink my Macallan?
[1] Obviously I mean single malt, but it would throw off whatever exists of this rhyme scheme if I were to write that. I am tendering my poetic license.
[2] It rhymes. You have to do a bad Scottish accent, but it rhymes.
[3] Department of Interior, whose policies affect foreign companies, big league.
[4] Again, poetic license. I am fairly certain that if my only option to receive the scotch required that it be consumed with Ted Cruz, I would forego receipt of the scotch and cite a cautious reading of applicable bar rules. A poem about emoluments

Much of the Cuisine We Now Know, and Think of as Ours, Came to Us by War The long and winding road that brought "local" dishes to our plates War cuisine

The perils of empathy for personal relationships are less obvious but equally clear. Doctors and nurses, for example, cannot function if they empathise too much with their patients: it simply leads to burnout. We can only take so much pain. The limit of our empathy is the only thing that saves us from being crushed by the misery of the world.
Painful truths: psychologists unpick the ethics of empathy FT

The rise of dating scams reveals our endless capacity to hope
As internet dating has boomed, so have cons aimed at the lonely. Rather than laugh at the victims, we should recognise what makes us such easy prey ...HOPE dies Last on Plenty of Fishes

Animals are smarter than most people think TreeHugger. Resilc: “For sure smarter than anything inside the Beltway.” 

Yet another elder said: If you see a young monk by his own will climbing up into heaven, take him by the foot and throw him to the ground, because what he is doing is not good for him.
— Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Corruption improves re-election chances: How much can politicians steal before being punished? (PDF) Zagreb School of Economics and Management

After White House advisor Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s "Meet the Press" to say that the White House put forth "alternative facts" to counter what media organizations had accurately reported about inaugural crowd sizes, her phrase made its way into headlines on dozens of news sites — which may have been her intention in the first place.

What does a news organization optimized for trust look like?

Paris Fights the Effects of Crimes Against the Very Rich NYT


Hawaiians call Mark Zuckerberg ‘the face of neocolonialism’ over land lawsuits The Guardian
 Libertarian Bob Luddy builds low-cost private schools for the masses (video)