Monday, April 08, 2019

Delighting in What You Do - Pilita Clark wins again

When three arms meet Botany Malabar Maroubra on a starry night ;-)


Pilita Clark wins again

A brief congratulations to Pilita Clark, a former Herald correspondent who, as of last weekend, is the most awarded Australian journalist working overseas.
On Saturday she won a British Press Award prize for a Financial Times Magazine piece on Antarctica, the third straight year she has won at least one category in those awards.
Sharp-eyed locals now note she has won the top British journalism prize as many times as the great Phillip Knightley, who was the last to win one in 1988, and Clive James.
The only Australian to have won more is John Pilger, who won six between 1966 and 1979.

Twitter results

Remember when it was the solar or wind industry saying it was "surprised and disappointed" about a political decision that "doesn’t provide the predictability we depend on”? Norway is walking away from billions of barrels of oil and gas

Mindfulness at work is not quite what it's cracked up to be
Irish Times 

Pigeons as spies

 Robin Hanson on trusting big businessI’m just not seeing the problem that Tyler sees. We humans do not simply trust everyone; we are quite aware that the interests of others may not align with ours, and that they may betray our trust. We are suspicious of each other, and in fact we are built to be as selfish as we can get away with; when we are trusting and trustworthy it is because our evolved instincts estimate that to be in our interest.

Vitalik Buterin on blockchain and collusion.
Over the last few years there has been an increasing interest in using deliberately engineered economic incentives and mechanism design to align behavior of participants in various contexts. In the blockchain space, mechanism design first and foremost provides the security for the blockchain itself, encouraging miners or proof of stake validators to participate honestly, but more recently it is being applied in prediction markets, “token curated registries” and many other contexts. The nascent RadicalXChange movement has meanwhile spawned experimentation with Harberger taxes, quadratic voting, quadratic financing and more. More recently, there has also been growing interest in using token-based incentives to try to encourage quality posts in social media. However, as development of these systems moves closer from theory to practice, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed, challenges that I would argue have not yet been adequately confronted. 

As a recent example of this move from theory toward deployment, Bihu, a Chinese platform that has recently released a coin-based mechanism for encouraging people to write posts. The basic mechanism (see whitepaper in Chinese here) is that if a user of the platform holds KEY tokens, they have the ability to stake those KEY tokens on articles; every user can make k “upvotes” per day, and the “weight” of each upvote is proportional to the stake of the user making the upvote. Articles with a greater quantity of stake upvoting them appear more prominently, and the author of an article gets a reward of KEY tokens roughly proportional to the quantity of KEY upvoting that article. This is an oversimplification and the actual mechanism has some nonlinearities baked into it, but they are not essential to the basic functioning of the mechanism. KEY has value because it can be used in various ways inside the platform, but particularly a percentage of all ad revenues get used to buy and burn KEY (yay, big thumbs up to them for doing this and not making yet another medium of exchange token!).

This kind of design is far from unique; incentivizing online content creation is something that very many people care about, and there have been many designs of a similar character, as well as some fairly different designs. And in this case this particular platform is already being used significantly:
Good pro-Fortnite piece, mentions in passing that Fortnite is another social network competing with Facebook (NYT).

OUR ELITES: Man Who Bribed Son Into Penn Found Guilty in $1.3 Billion Health Fraud