Thursday, April 06, 2017

No Other Story: Amazon Expands to B2B

The Dreaming Child begins with the history of an unlucky family which culminates in the life of one child:

“In the course of her short, tragic life, she was washed from the country to the town of Copenhagen, and here, before she was twenty, she died in dire misery, leaving a small son behind her.”

“People are villains. They look at a severed head as if the sight of it has put them off ever committing a crime again, but as soon as they turn their backs on it, it’s clear they can hardly wait to get back to their dirty tricks.”

Defence group BAE Systems faces “serious and persistent” cyber attacks twice a week from hackers trying to steal the defence giant’s secrets.  Here are the six types of cybercriminals identified by BAE. What are the six types of cybercriminals identified by BAE?

Bob Day: High Court decision and process to fill Senate vacancy explained

NSW branch of RSL facing fresh claims of fraud, cover-up

Ice worth $898m found in floorboards shipment by Victoria Police and AFP in record-breaking haul

THE aims of a stockmarket index are threefold. First, to reflect what is actually going on in the market; second, to create a benchmark against which professional fund managers can be judged; and third, to allow investors to assemble well-diversified, low-cost portfolios. On all three counts, there are reasons to worry about the MSCI All Country World Index, one of the most widely used gauges of the global stockmarket.
There is nothing wrong with the way that MSCI calculates its indices; the weights reflect how America dominates global...America’s disproportionate weight in global stockmarket indices

Finding and selling a niche in a digital world

Amazon expands into UK's £96bn business-to-business market

 In this space a couple of weeks back, I wrote about a mass email containing 25 Will Rogers “quotations.” As I explained in the post, I am virtually certain none of them were actually said or written by Rogers. Now, after reading Garson O’Toole’s new book, Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations, I realize that the misattributions were a result of “Host” — one of the 10 mechanisms by which, according to O’Toole, so much false attribution happens nowadays. He explains that figures like Rogers, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Parker, and Winston Churchill

"Martyn Wallace is the Chief Digital Officer of the Scottish Local Government Digital Office. His task is to change the way local councils engage with citizens in Scotland through the use of technology." (InTransition Online citizen engagement for local government)

The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices David Dayen, American Prospect

The Shame of Germany’s Ship Owners Handelsblatt. Stupid money from German banks, subsidized by the German government, leads to shipping overcapacity, “solved” in part by shipbreaking, at the cost of third-world workers’ lives, as detailed at NC here. “This is not a bloodless process,” as Obama once remarked

What do banks and the press have in common? Loss of trust.  

The Holocaust bisected Isaac Deutscher's life. But he remained an optimist, confident that humanity would emerge better off. Was this admirable, or foolish, or both?...  Crazy World 

IF I HAD RUSSIA’S CLIMATE, I’D GO TO WAR TOO: Air Strikes Against Winter: Russia’s Air Force Bombed A River To Break the Ice

Why should there be only one reality? The question drove Julio Cortázar to think of accepting the normalcy of everyday life as a painful bit of stupidity...  Unknown Realities 

Self-Defence Against Non-State Actors: Impulses from the Max Planck Trialogues on the Law of Peace
and War (March 27, 2017). Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2017-07. Available at SSRN:
are quotation superstars. Personas of this type are so vibrant and attractive that they become hosts for quotations they never uttered. A remark formulated by a lesser-known figure is attached to a famous host. The relationship is symbiotic and often enhances the popularity of both the host and the quotation. Each host attracts specific types of quotations that conform to his or her character or accomplishments.

So many things are happening that it really does feel like reality itself is spinning out of control. ...(T)he practicalities Americans were warned about when it comes to authoritarianism and fascism sound more urgent and necessary than ever before: write down what you know, because it can be eroded very quickly. Forgetting is what follows normalisation. It’s funny how quickly the truth dissolves." — Una Mullally, The Irish Times


Knowing my affinity for the eighteenth century, especially in England, a reader has reminded me of something Randall Jarrell wrote, though I’m unable to pinpoint the original source. The excerpt is quoted in No Other Book: Selected Essays (ed. Brad Leithauser, 1999): 

“Most of us know, now, that Rousseau was wrong: that man, when you knock his chains off, sets up the death camps. Soon we shall know everything the 18th century didn't know, and nothing it did, and it will be hard to live with us.”

Surname "Jelinek" means "little deer" in Czech - So little dear does Trump

       There will be a world premiere reading of Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek's On the Royal Road: The Burgher King, in Gitta Honegger's translation, tomorrow (Monday, 27 March, at 18:30) in New York. Elfriede Jelinek Nobel Prize Lecture       As Honegger promisingly describes it:
Jelinek offers a provocative European perspective on Donald Trump's persona. The main speaker, a blind female seer suggests Miss Piggy channeling a confused Tiresias as she tries to get a handle on the bizarre behavior of the leader elect to draw from it some sort of oracle for the future. This seer with bleeding eyes sends Trump through a shattered looking glass where Jelinek examines him through the distorted mirrors of the heroes of Western culture: From Oedipus to Abraham, Isaac and Jesus, to Martin Heidegger, who attempted to lead the Führer.
       Sounds about right, right ? 
       Jelinek still hasn't really taken off in the US, but recall that in Europe she's probably better-known for her stage-work than for her fiction. Could this be her break-through work in the US ? (Yeah, I doubt it -- don't look for the Broadway production next year ... -- but the Trump angle should at least get her more attention.) 
       And will there be any pro-Trump protesters ? (Doubtful, pretty much anywhere, I suspect, but especially in Manhattan, where Trump got less than 10 per cent of the vote in thepresidential election.) 
       See also Joshua Barone's report in The New York Times, A Nobel Laureate Takes On Trump in Her Latest Play. 

 *And now you can watch the performance on YouTube. 

This understanding is surely at the heart of King Lear’s “mystery of things” as well as our apprehension of the gulf between potentiality and actuality, a gulf that extends to the very act of creation itself, including the making of a poem.  As Gioia says of the difference between the idea of a poem and the poem as realized in words on the page (“The Next Poem”),
How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.
How hungrily one waits to feel
the bright lure seized, the old hook bitten.

Such is the distance between Jacob sleeping on a “stone pillow” beside the brook and seraphim ascending the ladder between the earth and heaven.  And from that place lying in between what is and what was, what may be and what might have been—a place almost, but not quite, beyond words—Dana Gioia has brought back to us some of the finest poems of his or any other time.

Does Power Corrupt? Not Necessarily – But It Brings Out Your True Self

As Michelle Obama told the 2012 Democratic National Convention, “Being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.” Mathew Hutson unpacks that statement.

William McPherson, 84 – Pulitzer-Winning Book Critic Who Chronicled His Own Descent Into Poverty

He freelanced, but bad investment decisions and health reversals shriveled his savings. To considerable attention, he wrote a self-lacerating essay in 2014 about his slide into what he called the “upper edge of poverty” — not quite destitution but where “a roof over your head and a wardrobe that doesn’t look as if it came from the Salvation Army is as good as it gets.”

On this date, March 28, in 1762, Johnson wrote a prayer in his notebook. His wife, Elizabeth Johnson, known as Tetty, had died ten years earlier and he still mourned her. By this time, Johnson had already published his Dictionary; “The Vanity of Human Wishes”; the RamblerAdventurer andIdler essays; and Rasselas. He begins his prayer conventionally enough: “God grant that I may from this day,” followed by such requests as “Return to my studies” and “Live temperately.” Then Johnson adds:    

“O God, Giver and Preserver of all life, by whose power I was created, and by whose providence I am sustained, look down upon me [with] tenderness and mercy, grant that I may not have been created to be finally destroyed, that I may not be preserved to add wickedness to wickedness; but may so repent me of my sins, and so order my life to come, that when I shall be called hence like the wife whom Thou hast taken from me, I may dye in peace and in thy favour, and be received into thine everlasting kingdom through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ thine only Son our Lord and Saviour. Amen.”

Paul Mena, a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, is collecting journalists' perceptions of fact-checking for an upcoming study. The questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete; consider taking it. 

InfoWars' Alex Jones acknowledged that the bizarre Pizzagate conspiracy theory whose flames he fanned was bogus. That didn't stop some from demanding an investigation anyway.

A massive network of fake-news sites being tracked by BuzzFeed gets millions of Facebook shares, comments and likes. But the network stays "under the radar by largely eschewing politics," Craig Silverman explains. 

It's not all fun and games at Full Frontal. Political comedy is "grounded in research and journalism," says host Samantha Bee. "We have a team of journalists working here, and a fact-checker. We care deeply about facts." Read the Wired interview.

(1) According to a Monmouth University poll, 40 percent of respondents believe traditional media outlets report fake news "on purpose to push an agenda."  (2) Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, talks about her new job. (3) Is fake news okay if it’s warm and fuzzy?  (4) A Colorado publisher may sue a politician that called it "fake news." (5) The Independent is launching "In Fact," a five-person debunking unit. (6) The Washington Post Fact Checker wants non-Trump claims to fact check. Help them out. (7) The syllabus of a college course on political misinformation may be your idea of a good reading list. (8) Should we change the "unit" of the fact check? Tom Rosenstiel thinks so. (9) Three things that fake news is not. (10) Check and PesaCheck will receive funding through InnovateAFRICA to build up the East African fact-checking network. (11) A deep dive into magazine fact-checking in 2017. (12) You know you've made an impression when a fact-checking term appears in the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.