Thursday, September 15, 2022


The years fly by. You’ve been blessed with another one. Make it count! 

May you continue to better and brighter things with each passing year. Wishing you many happy returns on the day when you sang in your birthday suit not so long ago …

( CODA: As The Queen’s favourite ‘classy cocktail’ sells out on your special day in Dan Murphy’s, BWS)

And in other trends and news, Czech out Conversation with the excellent Vaughn Smith, hyperpolyglot who  discusses how he began learning languages, the best languages for expressing humor, why he curses in Slovak, why he considers Finnish more romantic than Portugese, what makes Hungarian so difficult to learn, the best way to teach people new languages, how to combat language loss, why he’d like rural Mexicans to have more pride in their cultured  and way of life, his time as a roadie for a punk rock van, the most rewarding job he’s had, why he wants to visit Finland, how enjoying films from different eras is similar to learning new languages, the future of English, Polish and more.

Alexander J Field is one of the world’s greatest economic historians, and the new title of his monograph is The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for The Second World War:

The initial aim of this book is to document what for many will surely be the surprisingly disappointing record of manufacturing productivity growth during the war.  A second objective is to understand the effects of the war on the level and rate of growth of potential output in the postwar period.  Getting a fix on that is what matters when we ask whether or to what degree the war laid the foundations for growth in the years after 1948…

The empirical sections of this book will show, inter alia, that both labor productivity and TFP in manufacturing declined during the war in comparison with 1941 and grew anemically after the war…

A principal argument can be stated succinctly: TFP in manufacturing fell during the war because the conflict forced a wrenching shift away from products and processes in which manufacturers had a great deal of experience toward the production of goods in which they had little.

Poland’s top politician said Thursday that the government will seek equivalent of some $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for the Nazis’ World War II invasion and occupation of his country…

“We will turn to Germany to open negotiations on the reparations,” Kaczynski said, adding it will be a “long and not an easy path” but “one day will bring success.”

He insisted the move would serve “true Polish-German reconciliation” that would be based on “truth.”

That is an article from today!

Is “imposter syndrome” a good thing? Czech out this polished and insightful story in Bloomberg 

Impostor syndrome is a positively good thing. When searching for talent, I look for people who feel they suffer from impostor syndrome. If you think you are not qualified to do what you are doing, it is a sign you are setting your sights high and reaching for a new and perhaps unprecedented level of achievement…

Another advantage to feeling like an impostor is that it gives you better insight into your fellow humans. Estimates vary, but up to 82% of people may suffer from some form of impostor syndrome. Even if that is on the high side, impostor syndrome is very common. On a professional level, if you want to be in better touch with your colleagues, maybe it is a good idea for you to try out some new and unfamiliar tasks, and they can too. It will make everyone more understanding and more sympathetic — especially important qualities for being a successful boss. 

What is wrong with the Russian military?

NYT obituary for Jean-Luc Godard, of course all good readers of Media Dragon 🐉  should see all of his essential films.

Australia has no need for a head of state, royal or not

Finances of the royal family  (WSJ)


Why King Charles’s profile may face left on the coin (NYT)

Crucial fact of the day as we look in the mirror at 2:27 AM this morning: Plastic is Making Media Dragon fat! WashPost

WashPost: An emerging view among scientists is that one major overlooked component in obesity is almost certainly our environment — in particular, the pervasive presence within it of chemicals which, even at very low doses, act to disturb the normal functioning of human metabolism, upsetting the body’s ability to regulate its intake and expenditure of energy

Lees also created fake tax returns with real identities to receive tax refunds.

Jason Bran Lees, 34, was sentenced to eight years and nearly seven months in the South Australian District Court in February, with a non-parole period of five years.

He successfully appealed to have his sentence reduced. It was cut to six years and 10 months.

The Court of Appeal found the District Court judge "erroneously identified the maximum penalty" for 10 out of the 21 charges.

Lees, alongside his co-accused and partner at the time Emily Jane Walker, devised an elaborate computer hacking scheme that targeted the payroll systems of at least 23 organisations, including a charity for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians.

Working out of their Seaton home, the couple diverted automated payments to fraudulent bank accounts they had set up using stolen identification.

Jason Bran Lees convicted over 'sophisticated' computer hacking scheme has sentence reduced

The costs of crime

 Washington Post: “Months after his company bought Politico, Mathias Döpfner stood atop Axel Springer’s 19-story headquarters, gazing out at the double row of cobblestones that mark the outline of the demolished Berlin Wall, and explained his global ambitions. “We want to be the leading digital publisher in democracies around the world,” he said. A newcomer to the community of billionaire media moguls, Döpfner is given to bold pronouncements and visionary prescriptions. He’s concerned that the American press has become too polarized — legacy brands like the New York Times and The Washington Post drifting to the left, in his view, while conservative media falls under the sway of Trumpian “alternative facts.” So in Politico, the fast-growing Beltway political journal, he sees a grand opportunity…

His own politics have remained something of a mystery, too. But weeks before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, he sent a surprising message to his closest executives, obtained by The Washington Post: “Do we all want to get together for an hour in the morning on November 3 and pray that Donald Trump will again become President of the United States of America?

Meet ANGIE, the ATO’s secret weapon to beat wealthy tax cheats

AI prompt markets in everything

CNN: “The Justice Department is appealing a court-ordered special master review of the materials seized by the FBI at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home…” and

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA WEST PALM BEACH DIVISION. CASE NO. 22-CV-81294-CANNON. DONALD J. TRUMP, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. THE UNITED STATES’ MOTION FOR A PARTIAL STAY PENDING APPEAL: “…First, the government is likely to succeed in its appeal of the Order as it applies to classified records. Indeed, the government is likely to succeed even under the Court’s own reasoning, which focused principally on Plaintiff’s “personal documents.” D.E. 64 at 9; see id. at 12-13, 14-16, 20-21. Plaintiff does not and could not assert that he owns or has any possessory interest in classified records; that he has any right to have those government records returned to him; or that he can advance any plausible claims of attorney-client privilege as to such records that would bar the government from reviewing or using them. And although this Court suggested that Plaintiff might be able to assert executive privilege as to some of the seized records, Supreme Court precedent makes clear that any possible assertion of privilege that Plaintiff might attempt to make over the classified records would be overcome by the government’s “demonstrated, specific need” for that evidence. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 713 (1974) (“United States v. Nixon”). Among other things, the classified records are the very subject of the government’s ongoing investigation.

Second, the government and the public would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay..”

AUTOCRACIES ALWAYS UNDERPERFORM IN THE LONG RUN: China’s ‘Lost Decade’ Is Even Worse Than You Think.

Turns out, economists worried about a Japan-like “lost decade” in China were both wrong—and right.

By “wrong” we mean that Asia’s largest economy today might not suffer the painful deflationary funk the region’s previous top power did. Or, depending on your view, still is given the comatose state of wages and Japan Inc.’s waning international influence.

By “right” we mean the cost of President Xi Jinping’s disastrous battle with Covid-19 variants Beijing clearly doesn’t understand. It’s helping relegate China to a roughly 4.5% growth rate for this decade—and 3% in the next one. This estimate from Oxford Economics means China won’t be catching up with the U.S. anytime soon in terms of living standards.

In fact, Adam Slater at Oxford suggests that South Korea, Taiwan and other major Asian export economies can probably stop looking over their shoulders, too. The odds of Chinese blowing past developing Asia in per capita income terms anytime soon may be dropping, too.

Plus: “Under Xi, the empire—state-owned enterprises—is striking back. The state sector is feeling emboldened again at a moment when China’s tech innovators are going silent, worried about poking Xi’s regulatory state.”

Washington Post – “A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property. 

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation. Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. 

Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence. Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location…”