Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Grasping Reality With Both Hands: Tunnel Vission of Satisfied v Successful Life

An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along
~Evelyn Waugh, born in 1903

Astronomers Spot First-Known Interstellar “Comet” Sky and Telescope

Memo to the CEO: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction?
Mckinsey, September 2017. Rudeness and bullying are rife, says Stanford professor Bob Sutton. Wise leaders figure out how to fix their teams and organizations; and they start by taking a long look in the mirror.

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off

Do you agree with this statement "The pharmaceutical industry does not create cures, they create customers'?
BBC: Honor among thieves and pharma culture

British drinkers are paying 14 times more tax on a pint than Germans 

O’Neill credited his hospitalization with inspiring him to plumb the depths of his psyche, a tool necessary for a life of composing profound dramas. How a serious illness gave Eugene O’Neill his dark literary power | PBS NewsHour

In his study of 19th-century American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville explained his mission this way: “I undertook to see, not differently, but further than the parties; and while they are occupied with the next day, I wanted to ponder the future.” Nearly two centuries later, all of us — Republican, Democrat, Trump supporter, Trump critic — should be able to agree that some future-pondering about the state of our democracy is in order.  A few ideas for improving democracy?

Some research showing that there's no link between tax rates and competitiveness: Reality of Real Politics

`A Little Pinch of Salt'

How Much Do Chicago Actors Get Paid? Less If You’re Not A White Guy, Finds Equity Study…

Straw director in massive ATO tax fraud Simon McIntyre pleads guilty

Never mind, if you feel that you are still the stable, rational,  person you always were, just avoid investing in real estate.

Fear, Not Debt, Limits Our Spending on Education and Infrastructure FAIR 

Invisible women: Domestic workers underpaid and abused Al Jazeera

A TELEVISION advertisement for Monte dei Paschi di Siena begins with a toddler tumbling and a gymnast stumbling. “Falling is the first thing we learn,” declares the voice-over. “The second is getting up again.”

Rolex Daytona Sells For $17,752,500, Becoming The World’s Most Expensive Wristwatch Ever Sold Hodinkee. Mason K: “This is auction report for Paul Newman’s watch. It was the most expensive wrist watch ever sold. Also, 80,200 people are homeless in Chicago, where I live, and where nighttime lows are already in the 30s.” Moi: And Rolexes aren’t particularly good watches either.

The Disruptors: Finance isn’t just an industry. It’s a system of social control. Jacobin (resilc). Note it does not have to be that way. As Michael Hudson points out, the German model in the 19th century was one of industrial capitalism, with banks playing a subordinate role. Even in the US, prior to ~1980, people in financial services had the same average wages as those of the economy as a whole.

Gottiboff: After the housing collapse comes the job losses MacroBusiness. Sydney’s wildly overpriced housing market is finally taking a hit.

Outhinking Crime: Bad brains can lead tobad behaviour

Hope you're having a great week! -- Dan

The Problem with Seven Eights

Steve Wozniak, pictured above, co-founded Apple Computer in the 1970s with Steve Jobs. Woz, as the less-famous Steve is often called, was the more technical of the duo; he’s credited with being the primary design lead for the Apple II. And as he’d be the first to tell you, he loves numbers. (Earlier this year, he tweeted “I love number games” and that if Silicon Valley Comic Con’s Twitter account reached 3,313 followers, “we’ll give away 3 3-day passes to 13 new followers” and noted that those were “all prime numbers.” I’m still trying to figure out if they hit that mark in time.)

How does a rich tech mobile turn his love of numbers into a hobby? By collecting phone numbers.

But when he finally got the one he wanted, he couldn't do much with it.

It should go without saying that the holy grail of phone number is the all-one-digital number. Not only is it cool (in a nerdy kind of way) but it’s also very easy to remember, as many 800-number owners surely know. For Woz, this was a lifelong quest. As he explained in his autobiography,
iWoz, he had a lot of really great phone numbers -- 255-6666, 353-3333, 354-4444, and more. But he wasn’t satisfied; he wrote in his book “my main goal with phone numbers was to someday get a number with all seven digits the same.”

What prevented him from doing so was the first three numbers, also known as the prefix. Those were assigned by town at the time (and often still are). Few if any places have 111 or 999, and 555 is typically reserved for non-public use. The good news for Woz was that the 777 prefix was a San Francisco one; the bad news is that he lived in nearby San Jose at the time, and San Jose lacked the trifecta. (Woz’s desire to get a special phone number apparently had its limits; he wasn’t willing to move to San Fran.) The dream was delayed.

But it was not over. At some point thereafter, San Jose received the prefix 888. Woz,
per Wired, "after more months of scheming and waiting," obtained 888-8888. "This was his new cell-phone number, and his greatest philonumerical triumph," Wired proclaimed.

The triumph, though, was short-lived. Before ten-digit dialing was commonly required, you could call someone without using the area code. If you were in area code 347, for example, and you dialed 234-5326, you’d be connected to (347) 234-5326 despite the fact that you never entered the digits 347. So if you were in Woz's area code and hit 888-8888, you'd ring his cell. And the ease of that number was a double-edged sword. Woz, in his autobiography, explained:

I put the number 888-8888 on my own cell phone, but something went wrong. I would get a hundred calls a day with no one on the other line, not once. Sometimes I would hear shuffling sounds in the background. I would yell, whistle, but I could never get anyone to speak to me. Very often I would hear a tone being repeated over and over.

A lot of prank calls? Kind of. Again per Wired, "one day, with the phone pressed to his ear, Woz heard a woman say, at a distance, 'Hey, what are you doing with that?'" And then, the phone was slammed down. The person dialing his number, Woz concluded, was a baby. The little kids simply loved making the phone go beep beep, beep beep.

Woz calculated (how, exactly, is unclear) that as many as one-third of all babies in the area code would eventually call his number. That may be a gross over-estimate, but regardless; his coveted 888-8888 number, he concluded, was simply unusable.


Bonus fact: Woz dropped out of college when he co-founded Apple. In the 1980s, he re-enrolled at UC Berkeley to complete his electrical engineering degree. But when he did, he didn't use his real name, hoping to maintain some anonymity. Instead, he used the name "Rocky Raccoon Clark," the first two words being his dog's name and "Clark" being his wife's maiden name. And he used the alias all the way through; as the Los Angeles Times reported, "while his real name appears in the university records, he has opted for Rocky Clark on his diploma."

From the Archives: The 411 on Area Codes: Why New York City's original one was 212 and Los Angeles got 213, despite the fact that they're hardly neighbors

Crime Commission freezes Savas Guven's assets

As The Washington Post puts it this week , "Who’s next? A moment of reckoning for men — and the behavior we can no longer ignore."

Australian government becomes foreign finance broker for Adani?
The Australian government appears to be actively soliciting financing from foreign governments and investors towards Adani’s coal mine and rail line, projects it plans to subsidise

Robert Gottliebsen: Federal Court judge warns tax commissioner