Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Vat (sic) is natural about natural disaster

Boomtown, Flood Town Pro Publica. What’s “natural” about natural disasters?

Harvey on Melting Pot: The Age of Final Days on Earth

BILLIONAIRE retailer Gerry Harvey has predicted Australia will become an “Asian country” with a population of 100 million in the next century, saying there is “not a chance in hell” immigration can be dialled back.
Earlier this month, outspoken entrepreneur Dick Smith launched a $1 million anti-immigration ad, calling for Australia’s net migration intake to be scaled back from its current level 210,000 people a year to its historical average of 70,000.
Mr Smith joined a growing number of commentators, economists and politicians blaming “unsustainable” record high immigration for declining living standards and skyrocketing house prices, with retailers such as Harvey Norman accused of pushing a “pro-growth” agenda.

Aleluja - NSW approves 44 hectares for more burial sites

Global Hackers helping Local Hackers aims boost infosec diversity

Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News Hits Pages and Business Listings Fortune. “The company recently partnered with third-party groups like Snopes, the Associated Press, and ABC News to identify stories proven to be fake.” First, it’s amazing to me that Fortune can mention AP and ABC in the same breath with a tiny firm whose owners are at odds, and keep a straight face. More centrally, would Facebook have been able to detect that Judy Miller’s WMD stories were fake? And if so, what action, if any, would Facebook have taken? Finally, it should be amusing to see the arms race between Facebook’s algos and Macedonian teenagers (or the Silicon Valley companies that are the real problem). This entire projects reeks of bad faith. 
At Whole Foods, Amazon Takes Rare Lead in Cutting Prices WSJ. For 100 items? The average supermarket carries 39,500. And read the comments, if you can. They’re scathing.

Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity

Pennycook, Gordon and Rand, David G., Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity (August 21, 2017). Available at SSRN:
“Inaccurate beliefs pose a threat to democracy and fake news represents a particularly egregious and direct avenue by which inaccurate beliefs have been propagated via social media. Here we investigate the cognitive psychological profile of individuals who fall prey to fake news. We find a consistent positive correlation between the propensity to think analytically – as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) – and the ability to differentiate fake news from real news (“media truth discernment”). This was true regardless of whether the article’s source was indicated (which, surprisingly, also had no main effect on accuracy judgments). Contrary to the motivated reasoning account, CRT was just as positively correlated with media truth discernment, if not more so, for headlines that aligned with individuals’ political ideology relative to those that were politically discordant. The link between analytic thinking and media truth discernment was driven both by a negative correlation between CRT and perceptions of fake news accuracy (particularly among Hillary Clinton supporters), and a positive correlation between CRT and perceptions of real news accuracy (particularly among Donald Trump supporters). This suggests that factors that undermine the legitimacy of traditional news media may exacerbate the problem of inaccurate political beliefs among Trump supporters, who engaged in less analytic thinking and were overall less able to discern fake from real news (regardless of the news’ political valence). We also found consistent evidence that pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity negatively correlates with perceptions of fake news accuracy; a correlation that is mediated by analytic thinking. Finally, analytic thinking was associated with an unwillingness to share both fake and real news on social media. Our results indicate that the propensity to think analytically plays an important role in the recognition of misinformation, regardless of political valence – a finding that opens up potential avenues for fighting fake news.”

Almost Spring: Time for Andrew Boy Charlton Pool

Philosophy is the love of wisdom ... Via Tasha

Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent.
— Christopher Isherwood, born on this date in 1904

Human life begins on the far side of despair.” Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mouches ... read more

We have featured the amazing Tree hotel some time ago, since then they have added some new and unique treerooms to the spectacular retreat in Sweden. Located in the middle of unspoiled nature, with fantastic views of the Lule River valley, miles of forest and the powerful river, each treeroom is a unique creation by Scandinavia’s leading architects. Their latest edition is "the 7th room” a spectacular house that floats among the forest canopy of pine trees. The contemporary tree cabin hovers 33 feet above the snow-laden forest floor and features large windows, two bedrooms, a social lounge area, bathroom, and an outdoor netted terrace. The perfect getaway for hunting the aurora borealis. 

There is a lack of trust in institutions, and there is a large number of reasons for this, and they're very complex," he said. "It's going to take a long time ... for the trust in institutions to be rebuilt."

Honesty with staff vital as firms consider job cuts, says NAB's Thorburn

Department of Human Services conducting internal fraud probe

Adam and Lauren Cranston want bail changes

Trust in institutions eroded - Ken Henry

CEO pay trends in Australia are unjustifiable on any reasonable grounds

CEO pay has risen 90 times faster than average worker pay since the 1970s

Derrida dressed like a rakish ski instructor; Foucault and Imrich were fond of leather jackets. Caring about clothes isn’t mere vanity — it can signal intellectual commitment...Life Style 

Wellington’s Scottie Reeve, who founded Georgia's and Stories, two container cafes which offer employment to young people, won the Book category for 21-Elephants: Leaving Religion for the Reckless way of Jesus.
Ms Wylie says Scottie Reeve is only thirty-one, yet has lived a full life and had his share of troubles. His aim through this book and his way of life, is to make a difference.
“He rails against the unfulfilled promises of living in the Western world with its commercial emphasis and the rapaciousness of society yet somewhat ironically brings entrepreneurial skills to his spirituality. He runs social enterprises giving work to young people in need and has set up a community with people of like-mind who provide food and comfort for the less fortunate. It is a life after the style of St Francis of Assisi – personal denial for the greater good, a courageous way to live a sacred, spiritual life.
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.  Again.  That’s the thing about things.  They fall apart, always have, always will, it’s in their nature.

The nation breaks asunder
while mountains and rivers endure.

Sometimes When Your Editor Yells At You, He’s Entirely Right (No Matter How Much It Hurts)

Thomas Ricks labored over his new book, making it just so. When he was done, his editor hated the result, and harshly told him so. In completely rewriting it, Ricks discovered not only that his editor was right but that he could produce something much better…

No, Essays Right Now Are Too Self-Revelatory And Might Even Be Just Bad

One way is “all rhyme and no reason,” mannered and polished, filled with self-revelation; the other is “so circumspect in … claims to self-knowledge that a reader grown used to the personal essay’s relentless flash of exposure might wonder what kind of shy, self-effacing creature 
produced [it].” 
Premium mediocrity: “As a result, as another buddy Rob Salkowitz put it in our Facebook discussion, premium mediocrity is creating an aura of exclusivity without actually excluding anyone.”

A Fascinating Tale Of How This Book Might Have Bought Its Way Onto The NYT BestSeller List

“Nowadays, you can make the bestseller list with about 5,000 sales. That’s not the heights of publishing’s heyday but it’s still harder to get than you’d think. Some publishers spend thousands of dollars on 

advertising and blogger outreach to get that number. Everyone’s looking for the next big thing and that costs a lot of cash. For the past 25 weeks, that big book in the YA world has been The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a searing politically charged drama about a young black girl who sees a police officer kill her friend, and the fallout it causes in her community.”

The Essay, Says Rebecca Solnit, Has Re-entered A Golden Age

Solnit, who has written many things, including the extremely viral “Men Explain Things to Me,” says the time is ripe. “When I started [Solnit is 56], the essay was belles-lettres, decorative. Essays by women, particularly, tended to be treated as memoir even when they were not. Now they’re seen as powerful and compelling again. “

“Know-how is more than knowledge. It puts knowledge to work in the real world. It is how scientific discoveries become routine medical treatments, and how inventions — like the Internet — become the products and services that change how we work and play.” “IF we can land a man on the moon, why can’t we ...?” has been a familiar, fill-in-your-pet-peeve lament about the state of the world since Neil Armstrong’s historic giant leap in 1969. It is a question that continues to engage innovators and scholars. All those thoughts I, Aiden, didn’t say in class about teaching ideals, but instead kept inside like dark, chocolatey secrets

Touching Death: The Turbulent Life of One of America’s Last Snake-Handling Preachers The Ringer

The media has become for the right what the Soviet Union was during the Cold War — a common, unifying adversary of overwhelming importance. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, religious conservatives and libertarians could agree that, whatever their other differences, godless communism had to be resisted. This commitment was the glue of the GOP coalition, and the basic price of admission to conservatism. Now, a policy of containment, preferably rollback, of the mainstream media occupies that central role….To put it in terms of the famous Isaiah Berlin essay, the fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows one thing — CNN sucks.”

Choose the form of your destructor.

Can Marijuana Improve Workout? World’s First Cannabis Gym To Open In US International Business Times

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Enterprise Risk" Prevention is better than cure - and other risk management stories

There are many well used, almost clichéd phrases in the English language that contain powerful messages for the risk manager. Some that come to mind include:

Every cloud has a silver lining:  If we suffer a risk incident, we can usually find value, especially if we manage the incident really well and learn from our past mistakes.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Failure is good, as long as we fail within our risk appetite, fail fast, fail with minimal damage and most importantly, learn from our failures. This will only make us stronger in the long term.

And my favourite…

Prevention is better than cure: It is better to practice proactive, preventive risk management rather than reactive firefighting risk management. 

I spent years discovering the simple tactics gurus like Oprah, Einstein, and Buffett used to become successful—here they are:


“Courage is knowing what not to fear” – Plato

The Little French Bistro, Nina George (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).
“Terribly depressed by the emptiness of her long marriage, Marianne decides to end it all by jumping off a Paris bridge. Her unwanted rescue and ensuing marital abandonment jolt Marianne into ditching her tour group and setting out for Finistere, the westernmost coast of Brittany. Keeping body and soul together by working at a seaside bistro, Marianne finds herself healing through the company of a diverse group of quirky locals. The Little French Bistro is merveilleux. It refreshes like the sea breeze sweeping the Breton coast.” — Sarah Nagle, Carver County Library, Chaska, MN

Trick wording and a $91 fee: Watchdog targets ticket seller

MEDia Dragons and Game Of Thrones

Young Chinese are 'too fat and masturbate too much to pass army fitness tests'

Thank God at least THAT military threat is gone!

“Swell”: Bernanke to Give Keynote Speech at October Cryptocurrency Event Michael Shedlock

Exclusive: Trump Vents in Oval Office, "I Want Tariffs. Bring Me Some Tariffs!"

quotes travel youth journey inspiration


Into the WaterReviews are pouring in for Paula Hawkins’s second novel, Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOTOverDrive Sample). So far,seven are pans, as Literary Hub’s Book Marks characterizes them, with just one rave, one positive and one mixed.
In The Guardian, crime writer Val McDermid gives Hawkins some sympathy, “The second novel is a notorious challenge to a writer. Hawkins had a mountain to climb after the success of The Girl on the Train and no doubt the sales of her second thriller will be massive. I suspect her readers’ enjoyment may be less so.”
Entertainment Weekly offers a rare life raft, giving the novel a B-, writing, “The book’s piled-on storylines lack the feverish, almost subdermal intimacy of Train, and Hawkins’ pulp psychology has only the soggiest sort of logic. Still, buried in her humid narrative is an intriguing pop-feminist tale of small-town hypocrisy, sexual politics, and wrongs that won’t rinse clean.” (They gave The Girl on the Train an A-).
USA Today is also on board, writing,”The various plot currents eventually converge, and when they do Into the Water takes off with a rush … So do dive in. The payoff is a socko ending. And a noirish beach read that might make you think twice about dipping a toe in those dark, chilly waters.”
Reviews are predictors of popularity only to the extent that they anticipate word of mouth an this book has legs. Movie rights were sold to Dremaworks, it is rising on Amazon’s rankings, and is currently in the top ten. Although holds were light prepub, they have risen dramatically in several libraries, jumping from ratios of 2:1 to 5:1, and in one case from 4:1 to 12:1.
We expect it to to hit the NYT bestseller list in the top five next week and stay there the next month or so, sliding down and settling in for the rest of the summer. In other words, while not at the level of The Girl on the Train, it will do as well as most books by established best selling authors.

Before rejoicing over a Bitcoin Cash windfall, here’s a warning: You may owe taxes on it.

After years of discord over bitcoin’s future, the digital currency recently split into two competing versions: one called bitcoin and an alternate called Bitcoin Cash. As a result, each bitcoin owner received an equal amount of Bitcoin Cash, or the right to it.

But tax experts say there has been no guidance on how to treat the sudden receipt of Bitcoin Cash.

  • Ebay seller avoids jail after £200k tax fraud  (25 Aug 2017)

  • HMRC wins bulk of tax avoidance challenges but loses IHT case  (25 Aug 2017)

  • Paul Ryan Is Lying About High Corporate Tax Rates  (25 Aug 2017)

  • Malta's tax increase twice as high as EU average  (25 Aug 2017)

  • Tax subsidies to attract corporations are bad business  (25 Aug 2017)

  • Two International Bank Managers from Société Générale, S.A Charged in Libor Interest Rate Manipulation Scheme  (25 Aug 2017)

  • CCAB issues draft anti-money laundering guidance for accountants  (25 Aug 2017)

  • Here’s how to prevent another BHS-style crisis (24 Aug 2017)

  • Belgium named most lenient on money laundering in the EU  (24 Aug 2017)

  • Tax the Rich and the Robots? California's Thinking About It  (24 Aug 2017)

  • Apple gets $208 million in tax breaks to build Iowa data center  (24 Aug 2017)

  • Governments for Sale: UK political parties received record £40m of donations in election run-up  (24 Aug 2017)

  • RBS Settles Property Developer's $856 Million Libor-Rigging Suit  (24 Aug 2017) 

  • 'Life-changing consequences:' HMRC warns on risks of hiding wealth offshore in new crackdown  (23 Aug 2017)

  • Millions of UK taxpayers sent warning about secret offshore accounts  (23 Aug 2017)

  • #Declassified: Apartheid Profits - nuclear bunkers and swiss bankers  (23 Aug 2017)

  • Commonwealth Bank faces class action over money-laundering scandal  (23 Aug 2017)

  • More Rhetoric and Hot Air: BVI Passes Legislation to Create New Private Government Search System on Beneficial Ownership (23 Aug 2017)

  • Cambodia PM orders English-language newspaper to pay taxes or close (23 Aug 2017)

  • HMRC wins majority of tax avoidance cases  (23 Aug 2017)

  • HMRC loses case over Tesco Clubcard VAT treatment  (23 Aug 2017)

  • Read court Judgement in Tesco Freetime Ltd and Tesco PLC v Revenue and Customs (VAT - INPUT TAX : Attribution) [2017] UKFTT 614 (TC) (04 August 2017) (23 Aug 2017)
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    Postal Services

    Behind every great wealth is great crime -/-/ great thieves always hang little ones

    Story image for australia post office $10 million ceo from The AustralianAustralia Post chair defends Ahmed Fahour's final $10.8m pay

    By run75441. Published at Angry Bear
    From time to time, Mark Jamison or myself would feature articles from the Save the Post Office blog as authored by Steve Hutkins, a literature professor who teaches “place studies” at the Gallatin School of New York University. Mark Jamison a retired Postmaster for a small town in North Carolina would often write there also. This particular post was featured in October of 2016. Where FedeEx, UPS, DHL or other services do not go, the US Postman still does play an important role in rural communities.
    West Plains Daily Quill: A top watchdog study completed at the request of U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, found that the Postal Service remains essential to rural communities, regardless of whether those communities have access to rural broadband services.
    Senator Clair McCaskill had this to say:
    “This study shows what we already know to be true—that the Postal Service remains essential to Missouri’s rural communities, regardless of their access to other technologies,” said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor and senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service.
    “There’s simply no substitute for the vital service our post offices provide— even as we continue to make important advances in rural broadband—and we’ve got to preserve and improve that service for the folks who rely on it most.”
    Senator Heidi Heitkamp added to McCaskill’s comments:
    “For North Dakotans in rural communities—whether they have access to high-speed internet or not —reliable mail service is a key ingredient to a successful business and staying connected,” said Heitkamp. “But too often, that high-quality service is not delivered—and that’s exactly what Senator McCaskill and I are working to improve. Today, we received the results of a Government Accountability Office study we requested which affirmed what folks in rural states have long known—that communities and businesses in rural areas depend on mail service regardless of their internet connection. By providing more clarity, we can make sure dependable mail service is prioritized in the rural communities where it is needed the most.”
    The Government Accountability Office report examined the relationship between broadband access and use of the Postal Service in rural and urban communities. The report found that rural households without broadband access continue to rely on the Postal Service for more transaction and correspondence mail—and value this service for a variety of reasons, including fewer retail alternatives and a high level of trust in USPS services. The study also found that when rural households get broadband access, they do not reduce their use of the Postal Service. Read more. The GAO report Information on How Broadband Affects Postal Use and the Communications Options for Rural Residents is attached.