Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kapital for Kommunism

While such behaviour by global corporations is perfectly legal, it is clear that they are also economically indefensible assignment of profits to subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions. Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong

Australia and authoritarian China In the end, it appears money rules the world

Australia is doing well from its relationship with China, and seems to have few qualms about how its wealth is generated.

It is five years since Rudd promised to stop Australia becoming a quarry to Asia, yet Labor now urges more Chinese to come here as workers, students, and even rich investors. I suppose it is the logical move for Labor, a party that now specialises in promising much but doing little. At least such policies will add economic growth and revenue to help perpetuate its claim to economic expertise. China is indeed the easy way of obtaining wealth. In the end, money, money, money makes the world go around.

Kapital; [ China dilemma: Interview with Prof Zhiqun Zhu ; Tackling food insecurity ] • · Young “knowledge economy” workers moving to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit. It’s not just the cheap housing. Gritty Rust Belt cities, once left for dead, are on the rise -- thanks to young people priced out of cooler locales It’s a demand for decay. ; Next week, when I land in Kraków, in a country I have never visited, where people speak a language alien to mine, it’s their faces I’ll read, hoping they’re composed in a dialect of Esperanto I understand. Adam Zagajewski, a poet who has spent much of his life in Kraków, writes in “Faces” (Unseen Hand, 2011):

• · · · Now Anyone Can Publish A Book (And Traditional Publishers Struggle To Catch Up) "Publishers want to know what to publish. Readers want to know what to read. The traditional models are being smashed." What pushes your buttons?; One, we have choices now that we didn't have before, now that industry gatekeepers no longer control the sole means of distributing books in the digital-forward era. Two, publishing is a business, not an ideology," and as such, innovation shouldn't be frozen in place to keep brick-and-mortar booksellers afloat. And three, Amazon is not the great Satan Books: What's good for Amazon is good for writers, readers

• · · · · "Third only to the USA and Britain, it's set to become the biggest in the world as India's middle class continues to expand rapidly over the next 10 years. Keen to get a piece of the action, international publishers are flocking to set up offices in India, while many canny Indian publishers have already been reaping big rewards from backing emerging homegrown talent." Publishers Flock To India's Growing Book Market ; "The digital age has transformed the physical act of reading and will alter journalistic literary criticism as well. ... The full effect of these changes will have on book reviews isn't clear, but they're already shifting in ways that would both please and alarm Orwell." Could The Internet Save Book Reviews? (Of Course!)

• · · · · · From Henry James to Heidi Julavitis, writers seem to delight in publishing manifestos that outline the book review's shortcomings and inadequacies Why Do Lovers Of Literature Love Beating Up On Critics So Much? ; For the wolf of a writer, the family is a crowd of sitting ducks. There they assemble at the Thanksgiving table, poor dears — blithering uncles, drugged-out siblings, warring couples — posing for a painting, though they do not know it. The Consequences of Motherhood

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library and images of perceptive photographers like Jimmy:

Wrap Text around Image Insights, Inspiration and Information for all folks aspiring to make better photographs from Jimmy-

Take two from my last nights session (and earlier upload) playing around with burning steel wool. I mounted an ND4 on the lens after about 50 seconds into the exposure so I could play with the sparks without over exposing, taking advantage of the high iso to reveal the stars...

Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak..surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.

Beth Jones declares Sátántangó by László Krasznahorkai a Hungarian masterpiece about the nature of storytelling - it is about the stories we tell ourselves in order to live and those we tell others in order to control them; about the narratives from which reality is constructed and the limits to which. they can be pushed ; 30 steel wool pieces of wisdom from Stephen King novels

The Caravan Exposures: A Tortured History Four Ways Happiness Can Hurt You

I'd say this was a dream come true, except that I never dreamed of any such thing.。。 Can feeling good ever be bad? New research says yes—and points the way to a healthier, more balanced life. We’re hard-wired for the pursuit of happiness to our repeated regret, the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding...

In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of scientific research revealing precisely how positive feelings like happiness are good for us. We know that they motivate us to pursue important goals and overcome obstacles, protect us from some effects of stress, connect us closely with other people, and even stave off physical and mental ailments. We assume certain expenditures are absolutely necessary, even though much of humanity survives without them. And so we live with a constrained mental picture of our lives"All the Money in the World," is a welcome primer in how to find meaning in how you spend your money. Life can’t ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death - fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, and constant.

• PLATITUDE. An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true." Prayer must never be answered: if it is, it ceases to be prayer, and becomes a correspondence 。。。To them who crossed the flood And climbed the hill, with eyes Upon the heavenly flag intent, And through the deathful tumult went Even unto death: to them this Stone-- Erect, where they were overthrown-- Of more than victory the monument. The Grand Pacification is Coming [Nations are rich or poor because of government and social institutions. But the decay rate of organic matter plays a part, too.. What Makes Countries Rich or Poor?; For Leo Strauss and his acolytes among political theorists, it is always September 1938, and we are always in Munich. The Right’s False Prophet]

“Evening on the market square I saw shining faces

of people I didn’t know. I looked greedily at people’s faces: each was different,

each said something, persuaded, laughed, endured.

“I thought that the city is built not of houses, squares, boulevards, parks, wide streets, but of faces gleaming like lamps,

like the torches of welders, who mend steel in clouds of sparks at night.” it’s their faces I’ll read

• · · Light appears in almost every imrich story / poem - Amazon reviews are just as likely to give an accurate summary of a book's quality as those of professional newspapers, according to a study from Harvard Business School. Amazon Customer Reviews Really Are As Good As The Pros (Harvard Business School Says So) ; The New Yorker Launches Beefed-Up Books Blog Called 'Page-Turner' the risks of the running life

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shadow Rivers

Cold River: This book which you have been slaving away at for so long is also what has been keeping you going.

Nothing delights me more than seeing the thin veneer of literary civility collapse into mob hostility during the Q and A sessions. For many festival-goers, the overflow or viewing room may as well be called the groaning room, for the difficulty it presented older patrons getting in and out of the ground-hugging deckchairs. Some had given up trying to get out, preferring to rest their eyes before tackling the next book ... According to Andrew Tink this year more than 80,000 visitors attended one of the festival's 300 events, showcasing the works of 400 authors, including 50 international writers. Former Bulletin's editor, Peter Coleman seemed to be everywhere - amazing energy. Antony Loewenstein renewed, refreshed and revitalised audiences with a topic few pay much attention now Afganistan The Sydney Writers Festival

What happens when you finish a book, or a symphony, or the last painting in an exhibition, or any major project you have been working on for two or three years? Do you feel relieved, triumphant, blessed with great expanses of free time? Or is the blessing a mixed one, tinged with other feelings – of loss, regret, even sadness?

Perhaps the most famous description of finishing a book comes in Memoirs of My Life, the autobiography of Edward Gibbon, author of the six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “It was on the day, or rather the night, of the 27th June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden,” Gibbon tells us, before describing his feelings: “I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.” The passage is made memorable by the extraordinary precision of time and place. We are given some details; imagination supplies others ; Harry Eyres All of us can recite a few one-liners from famous movies, but what is more surprising is that many of us recall the same quotes. What makes a particular movie line memorable? Here’s Looking at You, Kid

The notion of 'a new low' is in fact bottomless: Watson book calls Murdoch empire a "shadow state"

The phone hacking scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s British publications has thrown light on the methods used by some journalists to get stories, and raised important questions about what redress citizens (and even politicians) have when they are spied upon by the media. While the Leveson inquiry is likely to make findings on the extent of the phone hacking, and to recommend sanctions, how should Australian journalism deal with the issues of what’s fair in the pursuit of news? Mark Colvin, Robert Manne and David McKnight explore the options. They talked to Mark Colvin and Mark asked his own questions as Radio National’s Richard Aedy was sick. - Mary Ellen Field - Elle McPherson

Former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told the Leveson Inquiry how having her phone hacked made her feel as if she was going "slightly mad". The phone-hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's global media empire and hit the heart of the British government began quietly on a Monday in 2005, when aides to the British royal family gathered in a palace office to air suspicions that their voicemail messages had been intercepted. Seven years and dozens of arrests later, the day after the latest criminal charges were brought, information from the police, prosecutors and investigators indicated on Wednesday that the investigations are likely to go on for years, with no obvious end in sight. Rupert Murdoch sowed the seeds of the phone hacking scandal that has tarnished his reputation by forcing Britain's most respected newspapers into "a Faustian bargain" … Perhaps the central revelation of the phone-hacking scandal is that, when it come to News Corp., the notion of 'a new low' is in fact bottomless

• Murdoch's Black Widow The Princess of Darknes ; News Corp runs like a medieval court, with princes falling in and out favour [Rocky' producer to make Rebekah Brooks film about the famed news exec's downfall Rebekah Brooks née Wade; born 27 May 1968 ; The revelation of close ties between Mr Straw and Mrs Brooks came a day after the latter, the former chief executive of News International, was charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly conspiring to conceal evidence from police investigating phone hacking and corruption of public officials by journalists. Straw swapped regular ‘gossip’ with Brooks ; David Cameron is a good ally to have in a tight spot: that is one obvious conclusion to be drawn from his performance over the last 50 minutes in the House of Commons. The relationship between politicians and the media has been too close for decades…look for one moment at the number of meetings that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had with Rupert Murdoch when they were prime minister The relationship between politicians and the media ; ; Developments in British phone-hacking scandal]

• · Dial M For Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain" is among the more provocatively titled books about Rupert Murdoch, the controversial head of global news conglomerate News Corp, owner of FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and other media brands. Dial M For Murdoch:; Phone hacking scandal reference lists ; Four private investigators jailed for 'blagging' - ; In April 1987, Rees was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Daniel Morgan but was released without charge. Jonathan Rees

• · · you Must Have Something To Hide

The Sydney Writers Festival starts in earnest today, so I thought I’d do a bit of a preview. Earnest is a good word because the festival’s artistic director, Chip Rolley, is a man interested in the Serious Issues Sydney Writers Festival; for those who unironically believe in feelings and stuff and are willing to put in a bit of time, such fine ladies and gentlemen are directed to proceed to Poetry in Cathedral Cave

• · · · In the vast universe of blogs, only a select few can be named the best. And that decision is now up to you. The original Weblog Awards are now in their twelfth year, and it's time to decide who is Bloggie-winning material. Who will your vote go to? The Rise and Rise of the Bohemian Blogger; Promise. The key differences between 2011 and 2012 are: – Consumers have fallen out of love with brands! There is a strong ‘us vs. them’ mentality

– Facebook and Twitter find their places in our lives – the relationships settle, cement and rebalance

– Technology dominates the dialogue – this is the first place that people go to talk about change. Expectations are sky high

– Tablets and smart phones tip into mass, mainstream use (although there is a heavy city bias here)

– People are desperately looking to fill gaps in their day. Free time is no longer a commodity, it is a vacuum The Key Insights for 2012: What do your customers think the year ahead is going to hold?

• · · · · You probably don't know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can't explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand. Don't believe me? Find an object you use daily (a zipper, a toilet, a stereo speaker) and try to describe the particulars of how it works. You're likely to discover unexpected gaps in your knowledge. In psychology, we call this cognitive barrier the illusion of explanatory depth. It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don't Do You Know What You Don't Know? ; The report has a US military focus but includes some chapters around security issues that may be of interest. 2012 Global Forecast: Risk, Opportunity and the Next Administration

• · · · · · The moral to the story – its really hard to do. How to delete yourself from the Internet; The distance between any two people is shrinking as the number of network connections continues to proliferate. I’m sure you’ve heard at one point or another, that the distance between two people in an offline world is six degrees. It’s a Small World After All: The Top Global Web Trends ; One way to dig up details on a rival is to mine its link-building strategy. You want to look at inbound links, which are links coming to that website directly from outside sources. NB: You can do the same kind of thing using Google. A Clever Way to Spy on Your Competitors

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Trouble with Restructures

The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we are ready for it 。。。 RF&RM

Wouldn't it be great to know when we're being lied to? It is better not to rely on any one signal. You'll be more successful if you look for clusters of behaviors (three or four body language cues that reinforce one another) 12 ways to spot a liar at work

Australian printing entrepreneur embroiled in $610m fight with one of richest US men. TO HIS friends and supporters, the secretive Australian inventor and entrepreneur Kia Silverbrook is a genius, possibly the most prolific patent holder in the world who stands alongside the likes of Thomas Edison. To his enemies, which include a foundation owned by one of America's richest men, George Kaiser, Mr Silverbrook and his partner Janet Lee are liars and cheats, who induced them over the course of a decade to invest $US610 million in a revolutionary printing technology but are stymying its commercial development. The next Edison, or a scoundrel? ; THE old saying goes that if you are unlucky in love, you are lucky at cards. But the colourful gambling identity and brothel owner Eddie Hayson can't seem to take a trick in either. Antipodean Kate Mcclymont

Zelenak - Green on David Foster Wallace Zelenak: The Great American Tax Novel

Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), The Great American Tax Novel, 110 Mich. L. Rev. 969 (2012) (reviewing David Foster Wallace, The Pale King David Foster Wallace — author of the celebrated novel Infinite Jest and among the most acclaimed American fiction writers of his generation — killed himself in 2008 at the age of forty-six. He left in his office hundreds of pages of The Pale King, an unfinished novel set in the fictional Peoria, Illinois, regional examination center ("REC") of the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS" or "the Service") in 1985. Although many chapters of the novel were seemingly complete, Wallace left no indication (other than what could be gleaned from the chapters themselves) of the order of the chapters (pp. vi-vii). Michael Pietsch, who had served as the editor of Infinite Jest, assembled the chapters into a surprisingly coherent — although more or less plotless — novel, and the book was published to considerable critical acclaim in early 2011.

As assembled by Pietsch, The Pale King focuses on a dozen or so income tax examiners — including a fictional David Foster Wallace — working at the Peoria REC. The examiner's job is to decide whether income tax returns (selected for the examiner's consideration by computers) should be referred for audit (Chapter Twenty-Seven). The novel describes how the featured employees came to work for "the Service," as it is generally referred to by its employees (p. 244), and how they deal with the boredom of their jobs, as well as their attitudes toward the Service and toward the tax system itself. Although some of the chapters can stand on their own as self-contained stories, the book as a whole has no real plot. Some of Wallace's notes, included by Pietsch as "Notes and Asides" at the end of the book, suggest Wallace had plans for an overarching plot, based on a power struggle between IRS traditionalists favoring the continued use of human examiners and reformers wanting to replace human examiners with computers, but only a few hints of this conflict appear in the published novel. It is possible that even a completed version of The Pale King would have been essentially plotless. As Pietsch points out in his "Editor's Note," one of Wallace's notes describes the book as "a series of setups for things to happen but nothing ever happens." I am not a literary scholar or critic, nor am I pretending to be one in this Review. Rather, I am an academic tax lawyer (and a former temporary employee of the Internal Revenue Service), and the Review is written from that perspective. For many creative works, a review of this sort would be inappropriate. It does not much matter, for example, whether the film version of The Wizard of Oz accurately depicts life on a Kansas farm in the 1930s. But The Pale King is different. The book devotes a significant percentage of its pages to detailed explanations and discussions of tax civics, tax policy, and tax administration, and it is every bit as serious about those topics as Moby-Dick is about whaling. The Pale King is not merely set in a tax administration facility; it is also, in very significant part, about taxes and tax administration. It is a Moby-Dick of taxes, aiming to educate its readers about a highly specialized field of endeavor, and using that field of endeavor to explore some of the profoundest themes. On the assumption that a whaler’s review of Moby-Dick would have served a useful purpose, I offer this tax lawyer’s review of The Pale King.

Pale King ; Moby-Dick is about whaling ; Cold River; A popular myth swirling around Washington, DC, and throughout the media these days is that many Americans do not pay taxes, and are therefore free-riding off of our society without contributing themselves. The Truth about Taxes: Just About Everyone Pays Them [On 9 July, possibly hundreds of thousands of people around the world may find that they will no longer be able to connect to the Internet. For on that day, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plans to shut down a network of more than 100 rogue Domain Name System (DNS) servers that it seized last November during an operation against a group of primarily Estonian cyber criminals Will You Lose Your Internet Connection on the 9th of July?; School of Hard Knocks ]

• · Statistics are wonderful things to sift through and misinterpret, which is why I believe anecdotal evidence is much more compelling and useful. Having lived in London for more than 20 years, I’ve been able to count on one hand the number of people I know first hand who’ve been mugged. There have been plenty of friends who’ve had their bags or wallets lifted at pubs and cafés, the odd break-in (I count myself in this group), bikes nicked and car windows smashed but thankfully no muggings or similar random acts of violence Stats ; Let’s stipulate that there may have been some manner of price-fixing here, perhaps even arranged in “private rooms for dinner in upscale Manhattan restaurants,” as the complaint darkly charged. The Justice Department is entrusted with, among other things, protecting the interests of American consumers and, given a narrow focus on price, its move on the publishers make sense Fifty Speeds of Cold River - The margins are low and there is almost no flow

• · · Special Report from The Economist, As manufacturing goes digital (and 3D), it will change out of all recognition. And some of the business of making things will return to rich countries. Multiple articles – let me know if you have trouble accessing anything. A third industrial revolution; Leaders can learn a lot from the late Apple CEO, but not all of it should be emulated. Applying his leadership style to the wrong strategy, market, or product could sink a company The Steve Jobs way

• · · · Growth, cloud, social, mobile and analytics among this year's top HR trends Human capital trends 2012, ; Introducing the Digital Engagement GuideMinister worried about AGIMO’s ability to deliver

• · · · · If there is a battle over the future shape of the internet – and society as a whole - then hacktivist groups such as Anonymous and Lulzsec, Wikileaks and the file-sharing site are among the frontline battalions. John Perry Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead and co-founder of the well-known advocacy group Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), says the over-arching motivation of such efforts, whatever tactics are used, was to shift the nature of society Hacktivists in the frontline battle for the internet ; In its paper Match making: Using data-matching to find people missing out on government assistance the Australia Institute says data-matching is a valuable tool for finding welfare cheats and overpayments in the welfare system but it could also be used to improve the delivery of social security assistance payments Data-matching for unmatched data ; Service delivery reform is about redefining our relationship with the people of our Commonwealth: with all the rights and responsibilities that citizenship brings.Speech: Five hundred one-stop shops for Australians

• · · · · · How to Hide the Data on your Computer; Will future mobile devices see through walls?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Iceberg of Voices

In challenging situations is when we need to harness our skills of innovation, wisdom, insight and empathy. I often say that business has a role to play in making the world a better place, but the same can be said for people – by being enthusiastic and energetic we can make this possible.

The Month of May tends to be the season when even the icebergs get into the news especially on the opening day so the 83rd winter season started and has been captured by the daily terror! Iceberg: Winning In The Age of Now - The ice and voices - Even forever now sad looking Dominic was smiling on Sunday

Come Fly With Me There's gotta be easier ways to make a living!...

Over the last seven days I've sat through 3 aborted airplane landings.

A week ago I was flying into Heathrow on British Airways and we were virtually on the ground. We were parallel with the roofs of the terminals when suddenly the pilot hit the accelerator and took the plane up vertically on its nose. Engines screeched, pressure increased, wheels went up and so did we. We screamed into the clouds and there was a fair bit of activity and noise in the cabin around me. The captain then came over the intercom and said we have been pretty close to an A380 and the wind following it had shaken us around. Being off balance the captain felt it was safer to hit wheels up and go around again. We landed safely.

• Saatchi & Saatch The Lovemarks Company Kevin Roberts CEO Worldwide; Samurai warriors used all of their physical and mental skills to ensure that failure wasn’t an option, and they shared their knowledge with others on how to be successful. The Way of the Samurai [ One-Word Exam; Science and art represent two completely different ways of thinking but they can both work together to give us a clearer picture of the whole. Kandel uses the example of anxiety to illustrate this point; a brain scan may reveal the neural signs of anxiety, but a painting can show what being in a state of anxiety feels like ]

• · In France Sarkozy gives way to Hollande, but what does that mean? Est-ce que 'Monsieur Normal' est normal? ; In a blog post that recounts his experience of walking the Formula One track in Abu Dhabi, and how ‘going against the grain’ can lead to great reward, Tim Leberecht makes an interesting point on the difference between speed and motion. “Speed, like happiness, is relative. Motion, on the other hand, is happiness’ absolute requirement. Motion is what holds it all together.” Once a shark stops swimming it dies. (The same can be said for relationships. As Bob Dylan said if you aren’t busy being born you are busy dying.) As Bob Dylan said if you aren’t busy being born you are busy dying

• · · Anyone who has faced a rival at work-a colleague threatened by your skills, a superior unwilling to acknowledge your good ideas, or a subordinate who undermines you-knows having adversarial dynamics can prove catastrophic for your career, and for your group or organization Make your enemies your allies; For more than 5 years, Marieke Hardy had been subject to vicious verbal abuse by a blogger using the alias "James Vincent McKenzie". In November 2011, Ms Hardy posted a comment on Twitter, accusing a Melbourne man, Joshua Meggitt, of being the true identity of the person harassing her in a series of "ranting, violent" passages online. She boasted to her 60,000 Twitter followers: "I name and shame my 'anonymous' internet bully. Liberating business! However, the identification was entirely inaccurate. Mr Meggitt has initiated defamation proceedings against Twitter, based in San Francisco, with his lawyer reportedly stating: "Twitter are [sic] a publisher, and at law anyone involved in the publication can be sued. It is the first time an Australian will sue Twitter for defamation. Twitter sued: next we'll be suing telephones for carrying gossip ; Hateful blogging

• · · · Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” recently sold for $120 million at an auction conducted by Sotheby’s in New York. ... Jeffery Yablon, a partner at the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman law firm in Washington who tracks memorable tax quotations, notes this one from Munch (as quoted in Sue Prideaux’s Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream, Yale University Press, 2005): Was ‘The Scream’ Inspired by Munch’s Tax Return?, ; Taxes

• · · · · The verdict: is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it? London School of Economics: "Eager to find out what impact blogging and social media could have on the dissemination of her work, Melissa Terras took all of her academic research, including papers that have been available online for years, to the web and found that her audience responded with a huge leap in interest in her work." is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it? ; The power academic journals hold is incredible and it does not seem that academics have done enough to challenge their power. Why not open-access journals? ; Murdoch remains a grand vizier, pulling the strings and being the ventriloquist of political puppets Strings of power: Rupert Murdoch and the Leveson Inquiry

• · · · · · Eric Kroh reviews the movie We're Not Broke, a documentary about corporate tax avoidance. How do you make corporate tax avoidance interesting? That was the dilemma facing filmmakers Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce as they made their documentary We're Not Broke, which attempts to explain the consequences of corporations seeking to minimize their tax exposure, politicians who help them do it, and a public that is kept in the dark. We're Not Broke,; The name of the film comes from the argument promulgated mostly by Republican policymakers and their supporters that the United States is "broke," which they use to justify a platform of less government spending and tax cuts that primarily benefit large corporations and high-income individuals. Bouncing Czechs according to Mark D’arcy ; At the moment, because we live with the myth that we're a high-tax country, because we live with the myth that the government is our enemy, we're setting ourselves up for unsustainable budget deficits that will lead ultimately to a financial, economic calamity of a magnitude completely unappreciated by the average American How to tackle corporate tax loopholes

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking

If anyone knows what it takes to succeed in the frontier otherwise known as Melbourne 16th Street, it is Gabriella Imrichova. Good luck and Happy Birthday Gabbie … Vaclav Havel too dreamt of success‎ and make self believe work for you! Havels and Hattons of these world make us realize that there is no reason at all that with hard work, we can’t be brilliant...

As they say: "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking." —General George Patton Jr.

New Greek Bestseller: A serial killer is stalking the wealthy suburbs of Athens with an idiosyncratic choice of victims. They are all rich Greeks who have failed to pay their taxes, and their corpses have been left scattered among the ruins of the ancient city, dead of hemlock poisoning, the means of Socrates' execution Warning: This novel is not to be imitated ; I read an unsettling, insightful article on the Greek crisis in the German weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, written by the Greek crime novelist, Petros Markaris. Entitled In Athen gehen die Lichter aus (The Lights Are Going Out in Athens) The Lights Are Going Out in Athens

The first surrealist president The Lights Are Going Out Everywhere

It’s no secret that the best ideas—the ones with the most impact and longevity—are transferable; an innovation in one industry can be exported to transform another. But even more resonant are those ideas that are cross-disciplinary not just in their application but in their origin

HAVEL was creative not only in outsmarting the police when he could but also in living his life well in spite of all the pressures on him. There are thousands of stories of this … one that comes to mind here in this setting, is that, when he was in prison with the Archbishop of Prague, he organized chess tournaments – not, as the archbishop said at his state funeral, because Havel really liked chess, but because it provided a cover for Archbishop Duka to say mass under the ruse that the prisoners were just playing chess.

Havel also laughingly told a s story of skiing up the high Tatra mountains – a struggle as he was both a heavy smoker and a non-athlete. He did it so he could meet at the top, on the border, with Polish dissidents like Jacek Kuron and Adam Michnik – neither of whom were any better skiers or athletes than he was and both of whom could match him as smokers. They came to share ideas and enjoy each other in the only place they could, a ski hut smack on the border of their two nations at the top of the Tatra mountains.” It was a good gamble – “the Czech and Polish secret police were too lazy to ski up the mountains to catch dissidents.”

Czech and Polish secret police were too lazy [Here is a little puzzle: a man in an ordinary small town has married 20 women. All of those women are still alive and none of them is divorced. Yet the man has done nothing illegal. Who is he? Worked it out yet? If not, it might help if you relaxed – perhaps you should take a warm shower or a gentle stroll. When you unwind, your brain will begin to produce pulses of a particular frequency known as alpha waves. And it is when your brain is in the alpha groove that you have the kind of creative insight needed to solve apparently insoluble puzzles. Back from your shower? Then you’ll know that the man in our story is a priest. Here is a little bohemian puzzle; Mr Hawke's talent for downing a pint has previously earned him a place in the record books. Here is Antipodean one ]

• · Media Dragon is a decade old next month and planning for your digital life after your physical life is no longer a strange niche behaviour The Government Would Like You to Write a 'Social Media Will'; It used to be that you could just pick up and start over as a new person. You could get yourself a new identity, go off the grid, or just reinvent yourself completely. Even if you've never committed a crime, there's something seductive about going missing. But new technology and a heightened security state are already making it much harder to disappear. Already, there's a new tool being developed that could identify people at airports with 98.8 percent accuracy, based on their footsteps Media Dragon ; Despite the popularity of terrorist cyber attacks in the movies, nation states rather than non-state actors such as terrorist or criminal groups currently pose the greatest cyberthreat. For example, the Crisis and Risk Network provides the following threat ranking, from most serious to least serious (1) State-sponsored actors; (2) “Ideological and politically extremist” non-state actors; (3) “Frustrated insiders”; and (4) “Organized criminal agents” and “individual criminal agents.” The Emergence of the Cyber Militia ; A fascinating trend is consuming Silicon Valley and beginning to eat away at rest of the world: the radical simplification of everything. The only companies or products that will succeed now are the ones offering the lowest possible level of complexity for the maximum amount of value The Simplicity Thesis

• · · So how do we spot the future—and how might you? The seven rules that follow are not a bad place to start. They are the principles that underlie many of our contemporary innovations. Odds are that any story in our pages, any idea we deem potentially transformative, any trend we think has legs, draws on one or more of these core principles. They have played a major part in creating the world we see today. And they’ll be the forces behind the world we’ll be living in tomorrow How to Spot the Future ; Spotting the past - She wasn’t exuberant like Sophia Loren, vivacious like Gina Lolobrigida, or intense like Anna Magnani. But she was just as talented. What distinguished her from these women were an ordinary-girl quality, a soft-spoken manner, a most delicate face, and the ability to deliver truly heartbreaking performances. Anna Maria Pierangeli

• · · · Write with authority. You earn the right to write with authority by reporting and working hard. Which is true. The way I like to phrase that idea is in the title of this post: “I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it.” This, I think, is the original source–headwaters–for all forms of authority in journalism I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it ; I’ve been scouring the web for examples of tax and revenue agencies using web 2.0 tools as part of their operations. Here’s a short list of some of my favourites so far. First up is a great video created by a member of the public as part of a Canadian Revenue Agency YouTube competition to promote the loss of revenue due to the cash economy Yes, Tax Agencies can benefit from Web 2.0!

• · · · · Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy U.S. multinational companies play a significant role in the rate at which jobs are created in the U.S. economy ; In a forest north of Copenhagen, Danish architects Frederik Agdrup and Nicholas Bjorndal of Eentileen used just a computer, a printer and 820 sheets of plywood to build a 125 square meter (1,345 square foot) home in four weeks. Named Villa Asserbo, the home is the pilot project of Eentileen’s Print a House project. Print a House project. ; A Thursday night report of a KGB bar reading featuring Jürgen Fauth, Tom Perrotta, and Mark Leyner. The more conspicuous you were, the easier it was for people to take you at face value — they just wrote you off as a couple of harmless dirtbags and left it at that. KGB Bar ; Along with the other media he has mastered, from tabloids to satellite television, Rupert Murdoch has recently taken to Twitter. On February 15, he tweeted, “To hell with politicians! When are we going to find some to tell the truth in any country? Don’t hold your breath.” His words remind us yet again that Murdoch is a man of iron nerve, not say brass neck, though they might also suggest a degree of delusion. Throughout his career, every time he has come near calamity, that gambler’s strong nerve has always somehow managed to rescue him. But the concatenation of scandal and disaster that has now engulfed his News International group—which owns the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World as well as the London Times and other papers—is of a different order. I understand where Mr Murdoch is coming from, I really do. Mr Murdoch never ever worked for KGB

• · · · · · The man who feels himself unloved and unlovable—this is a character that we know well from the latest generation or two of American novels. His trials are often played for sympathetic laughs. His loserdom is total: it extends to his stunted career, his squalid living quarters, his deep unease in the world. The loser’s worst—that is to say, most important—problems are with women. His relationships are either unrequited or, at best, doomed. He is the opposite of entitled: he approaches women cringingly, bracing for a slap. Great American Losers; The national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, Nadine Flood, said that there was ''no doubt that agency heads do complex jobs and should be paid appropriately'' On $800,000, the cats get fatter

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother Earth

Mother's Day is a celebration that honors mothers and mother' maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. We spent a perfect afternoon with June and a wonderful evening with Dial ... We wrote dedicated soulful words for both of them after we came across a story about a woman named Anna Jarvis who in 1908 (nine (9) years before my mother was born) began a celebration called Mother’s Day, in honor of her mother who had passed away on the second Sunday of May. Jarvis wanted people to take a day of each year to show their mothers how much they were appreciated—preferably through the writing of letters. I hope we achieved our objective with our words of appreciation Mother’s Day is a chance to remind your mom that she means something to you even though you don’t always show it

Appreciation Day Mother's Day

Although I lost my mother six years, I think of her every day and was particularly moved by these two mother's day remembrances:

When the last of your parents dies, as Christopher Buckley wrote in his memoir, Losing Mum and Pup, you are an orphan. But you also lose the true keeper of your memories, your triumphs, your losses. Your mother is a scrapbook for all your enthusiasms. She is the one who validates and the one who shames, and when she’s gone, you are alone in a terrible way. Wall Street Journal: On Mother's Day, the Real MVP, by Jason Gay: My mother never really helped me with sports. I'm not even certain if she loves sports. All she ever did was pack me up in the car for the first 17 years of my life, dragging me out of bed and telling me to eat something before driving me off to tryouts, to practice, to tournaments and playoff games that I can no longer remember. All she ever did was make sure that I always had a ride home after the game. All she ever did was abandon huge chunks of her day—her life—to make sure I could play sports with my friends because I enjoyed playing sports with my friends. ... All my mother ever did was drive me to strange towns and ball fields and sit in the stands with a bunch of parents and watch some of the sloppiest Little League and youth soccer you've ever seen in your life. Sometimes it would take hours to get there, and the games were so boring. I don't know why she never complained. Mothers can be weird. When the games were over, my mother never gave me a hard time if I won or lost. She never made a big deal about my pathetic batting average, or how many runs I gave up, or why I spent most of the game on the bench. She never asked why that fly ball hit my nose, why I didn't make that tag, why that guy was able to score a goal. She never bugged me about any of these things. Bizarre, right? All my mother ever did was pay for everything. I was little then, so I didn't know how much stuff costs, but I always had cleats and shin pads and a baseball glove that I got to pick out at the store myself, and broke in with neatsfoot oil. She bought the neatsfoot oil, too. Apparently, it also costs money just for kids to play sports—team fees, equipment fees, league fees. My mom must have had a job or something. Maybe that's why she went to work every day. ... Now my life is surrounded by sports, by games and superstar athletes privileged to be paid millions for games the rest of us would play for free. And though there is a whole warm nostalgia built up around the idea of sports, fathers and sons, of passing the game from one generation to the next, I can tell you that whenever one of these superstar athletes wins a championship, or breaks a record, or signs a big contract, the first person they thank, 99 times out of 100, is not their father, or a coach, or an agent, or a friend, but their mother. I am older, and I think about all these things and I wonder if I had it wrong. Maybe my mother really did love sports. Or maybe just me.

Appreciation Day [ The Last Mother’s Day ; On Mother's Day, the Real MVP ]

Friday, May 11, 2012

Order of Australia

The historian, essentially, wants more documents than he can really use; the dramatist only wants more liberties than he can really take. -Henry James, preface to The Aspern Papers

Late love has this in common with first love, it is again involuntary. -Sybille Bedford, A Legacy

When people hear that one is married to a Sikh girl, they often assume it’s a glamorous affair: parties, champagne, stories of the warrior’s early days in Punjub and Kenya, and famous hunters as far as the eye can see. This Friday XI-IV-MMXII, they were right as we peppered the landscape of the Government House and lunched at the Parliament House … Preserving blogs for posterity

The stripping naked of a human soul

The stripping naked of a human soul, foamed one advertisement. ''Revelations of unusual love episodes of her own life, written and enacted by herself.'')

''If Mary was blogging now, she'd be famous,'' Novakovic says. ''She was a lonely and singular woman. I've never encountered a character quite like her.'' ''To me the show is about the human condition surrounding loneliness and desperation - all the lengths that a human heart and mind go to in striving for a life beyond itself. ''Her subject was herself. She never wrote about other things. Her vanity is shameless yet it's so filled with irony and self-knowledge. It's totally bizarre.'' WERE it not for the fact she was born in 1881, Mary MacLane might strike you as a very 21st-century sort of girl. The precocious writer who published her diaries and became a media sensation at 19 (when media was ticker tape and telegraph) was a vocal feminist, openly bisexual and fearless when it came to airing idiosyncratic opinion

Airing idiosyncratic opinion; Chatter in people’s social networks about political issues prompts a share of disagreements among friends and the sites yield surprising revelations about people’s views; 18% of users have shunned “friends” who have different ideas and 16% have found friends whose beliefs match their own." Social networking sites and politics [Risk-taking by banks played a critical role in the global crisis and Eurozone crisis. This column introduces a new eReport that focuses on four aspects of excessive risk-taking by banks, highlighting the causes and the curesA new eReport: Excessive risk taking by banks ; Solar cell turns windows into generators ; Four times in the past century, a large chunk of the industrial world has fallen into deep and long depressions characterized by persistent high unemployment: the United States in the 1930’s, industrialized Western Europe in the 1930’s, Western Europe again in the 1980’s, and Japan in the 1990’s. Two of these downturns – Western Europe in the 1980’s and Japan in the 1990’s – cast a long and dark shadow on future economic performance. The Shadow of Depression ]

• · Companies often develop crisp stories about how they have nurtured a “culture of innovation.” When failure isn’t free ; Australian Government agencies achieving the highest number of click-throughs of all sectors for email marketing campaigns Browsing the latest Email Market Metrics Australia report from Vision6 definitely has good news for government agencies. Community engagement/Interactions with Government ; Ever since reading Clayton Christensen’s book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” and giving my first big talk on the topic in 1999 at a publisher’s dinner in Georgetown, I’ve been watching how the term “disruption” morphs and wanders, its rhetorical power undeniable but its meaning often unclear. The word is thrown about with abandon, many times without its user acknowledging some of the subtleties. You may hear “disruption” used as one might use “revolutionize” in the broadest sense, or used as a synonym for “irrelevant” or “defeated.” The Innovator’s Dilemma

• · · We judge the value of science by the ignorance it defines. Science is always wrong, George Bernard Shaw famously proclaimed in a toast to Albert Einstein. It never solves a problem without creating 10 more. ; Imagine a world with chocolate prices so high that not everyone could afford to indulge except for Imrich The last few weeks have seen articles on chocolate included in this newsletter. First there was the ‘chocolate printer’ then there was the study into chocolate and its impact on BMI. As we are on the eve of Easter, I have included some further chocolate news but for chocoholics out there it is perhaps all not what you would like to hear Imagine Halloween and Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Imagine a world with chocolate prices so high that not everyone could afford to indulge. Not a bright future. Though the world’s demand for chocolate almost exceeds the ability of worn-out plants to produce it, experts say it’s not time to panic yet. But something needs to be doneCould the appetite for chocolate exceed the world’s supply?

• · · · The Swiss Federal Council has announced the extradition of Tomas Pitr to the Czech Republic to serve the rest of his sentence for "white-collar and tax offences" under the principle of dual criminality; Pitr was arrested on July 27, 2010, in St. Moritz. Switzerland Extradites Tax Criminal to Czech Republic; The Economist came out today with two great investigative articles on shell corporations The two largest providers offshore may each have 10% of the global market, estimates Jason Sharman, an Australian professor who studies the industry. Onshore markets are more concentrated. Two firms handle two-thirds of all Delaware companies: CT Corporation (part of Wolters Kluwer of the Netherlands) and CSC—though both companies’ websites give little hint of this, focusing on their less controversial compliance services. Jason Sharman

• · · · · Some of the most widely used apps on Facebook—the games, quizzes and sharing services that define the social-networking site and give it such appeal—are gathering volumes of personal information. A Wall Street Journal examination of 100 of the most popular Facebook apps found that some seek the email addresses, current location and sexual preference, among other details, not only of app users but also of their Facebook friends. Selling You on Facebook; Firefox enables HTTPS safe searching as default setting Fire fox

• · · · · · The Global Information Technology Report 2012 - Living in a Hyperconnected World ; Regardless of how weak or sophisticated their political financing regulations are, countries around the world are equally failing to effectively regulate the a new report finds flow of money into politics

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Silicon Valley Parades

It is May Day, recognized worldwide as International Workers Day ... Is there anyone out there that has seen a May Day March or October Revolution Parades of Bohemian Humor? Ach all those childhood memories of theatre of the absurd are flooding back ..

We in Australia like those living in Silicon Valley, do not live in an authoritarian society. But we have much to learn from this man who had spent his years as a dissident and a writer and overnight took over as president not because he wanted power but because, as he said, ‘You cannot spend your whole life criticizing something and then, when you have a chance to do it better, refuse to go near it. Vaclav Havek was creative not only in outsmarting the police when he could but also in living his life well in spite of all the pressures on him. There are thousands of stories of this … one that comes to mind here in this setting, is that, when he was in prison with the Archbishop of Prague, he organized chess tournaments – not, as the archbishop said at his state funeral, because Havel really liked chess, but because it provided a cover for Archbishop Duka to say mass under the ruse that the prisoners were just playing chess. Havel also laughingly told a s story of skiing up the high Tatra mountains

Normalization by Czeslaw Milosz who used to ski the same snow at the High Tatra Mountains

Like Cold War River, this happened long ago, before the onset of universal genetic correctness. Boys and girls would stand naked before mirrors studying the defects of their structure. Nose too long, ears like burdocks, sunken chin just like a mongoloid. Breasts too small, too large, lopsided shoulders, penis too short, hips too broad or else too narrow. And just an inch or two taller! Such was the house they inhabited for life. Hiding, feigning, concealing defects. But somehow they still had to find a partner. Following incomprehensible tastes—airy creatures paired with potbellies, skin and bones enamored of salt pork. They had a saying then: “Even monsters have their mates.” So perhaps they learned to tolerate their partners’ flaws, trusting that theirs would be forgiven in turn. Now every genetic error meets with such disgust that crowds might spit on them and stone them. As happened in the city of K., where the town council voted to exile a girl So thickset and squat that no stylish dress could ever suit her, But let’s not yearn for the days of prenormalization. Just think of the torments, the anxieties, the sweat, the wiles needed to entice, in spite of all.