Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Obit of Sir Anthony Jay, co-creator of Yes Minister

This is from the Telegraph Obit of Sir Anthony Jay, co-creator of Yes Minister:
“However, not many, perhaps, were aware that the serial was commissioned with a serious political purpose: to popularise public choice theory. It is because it succeeded spectacularly that Jay received a knighthood in 1988.”
There are numerous interesting points in the obituary, for instance:
In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was said to be a No 1 fan.
Enclosed is Tyler Cowen's  earlier Conversation with Margalit Fox, senior obituary writer for The New York Times

I come from a (cold) place where the water
is so barren that when you drink it
the fish of the throat die,
causing malignant thirst. 
What’s a dazzler like you
doing in a dump like my bed?

Max Joseph Ritvo was born Dec. 19, 1990 ( a year after the Velvet Revolution), in Los Angeles. A literary prodigy, he was writing at 3 ...
Max Ritvo, Poet Who Chronicled His Cancer Fight, Dies at 25 (My sister Aga passed away at the young age of 22 my heart goes to Max's parents and siblings [Funeral of Youth 2004])

"Gene Wilder on Willy Wonka Remake, Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, and more " (28 minute YouTube video, June 2013). This is the last major interview of Gene Wilder, who passed away earlier this week. Here's an excerpt courtesy of The Daily Beast...

Spectre of Existentialism invaded 256 cafe at noon as former legal eagle and hard access guru took the boy who lives down the Whiskey Lane and me to Central Europe, Nuremberg trials, brave use of privilege matters during Gestapo interogations book like the Witness to Nuremberg  and Church of Spies ...

Pope John Paul II made history in 1978 by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. Some insiders and journalists knew Pope John Paul II the great was not only non-Italian he was also non-Catholic ...

The improbable story of the man who won history’s ‘biggest murder trial’ at Nuremberg WaPo

Denmark will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade its tax inspection system, 10 years after it began sacking thousands of people who worked for the inspection office.
In the past three years alone, Denmark figures it has lost 12.3 billion Danish crowns ($1.87 billion) in tax fraud. Hence the decision announced on Friday to start hiring people instead of firing them
Denmark will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade its tax

Billions in Losses Trigger Danish Overhaul of Taxation Model Billions in Losses Trigger Danish Overhaul of Taxation Model

By some strange coincidence a former colleague sent me this link:

The Church Of Big Data  (Not Spies) – A Quack Religion? 

“Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data. This novel creed may be called “Dataism”. In its extreme form, proponents of the Dataist worldview perceive the entire universe as a flow of data, see organisms as little more than biochemical algorithms and believe that humanity’s cosmic vocation is to create an all-encompassing data-processing system — and then merge into it.”

A piece by Yuval Noah Harariin the Financial Times this weekend delves into our fascination with Big Data. The tech industry has made so many billions of dollars being able to track, quantify and ...read more

Meet Sasha aka Alex- one of the hardest working public servants  

Online tech magazine scores a stunning story about Alex's sibling Siri who had a brain transplant" Artificial Intelligence Is Already Here—and It's In Your Jobs' iPhone

Sociology vs. economics

"Small change, big impact - lessons learnt from changing the hub"
This blog post describes a recent change we made to the order of questions in the hub, how we made an unexpected 10% improvement and, most important of all, what we learnt... Small is beautiful

The FOI act does not afford sufficient protection to public servants

"Using a false Social Security number is a crime -- but is it a crime 'of moral turpitude'?" Eugene Volokh has this post at "The Volokh Conspiracy."