Monday, October 30, 2017

How Fact Becomes Social Media Fiction

 Rejection Is Not Feedback | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

I can prove that 'William Shakespeare' is buried in Westminster Abbey – scholar | Culture | The Guardian

How to be good at literary parties: Stay away from rich people. Skip networking events. The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are... Cold River cures sleeples PM  

New York Times launches Tor Onion Service to overcome censorship and ensure privacy BetaNews. Am I missing something? Doesn’t this mean you can use Tor to evade the paywall?

Image may contain: sky, ocean, boat, outdoor, nature and water In Australia, comedians could soon be prosecuted for parody and satire, although that won’t matter now, because there is a chatbot that can help in dealing with depression

A few weeks ago the House Republican Study Committee voted overwhelmingly to recommend abolishing the IRS. The committee called the Service "an inefficient behemoth weighing down our economy" and demanded its dissolution. The “work” of the IRS would be transferred to a new, smaller agency within Treasury. The IRS-bashing is nothing new, of course. And the anti-IRS crowd gets particularly excitable during election years. I carry no water for the IRS. I think it badly needs reform. Its actions in the Lois Lerner affair were terrible, and it will pay a reputational price for years to come. The IRS has not been a model of efficiency or efficacy; witness its dismal record in dealing with citizens in recent years. But calls to abolish it are both silly and dangerous. Silly, because it won't happen -- you can't abolish the IRS without repealing virtually every revenue law. As long as we're taxing income, somebody has to collect it. The United States has a lot of tax laws, regulations, citizens, and revenue. It takes a lot of people to administer the tax laws. Talk of a smaller agency is nonsense without fundamentally changing the American government. Silly ideas can be shrugged off as political theater. Abolishing the IRS would be dangerous because people dislike paying taxes, and they do it for two reasons. They accept the social contract that they are paying for some civilization. And they are required to pay under the law. For these reasons, tens of millions of Americans file their returns every year. And they do so with the belief that their government is doing right. When politicians attack the IRS, its leadership, and its employees, the public’s confidence in the system is shaken. When politicians imply that there is something inherently wrong with the IRS, people may not take their responsibility to pay taxes as seriously. This is a dangerous road to travel down.

A national integrity commission or federal ICAC is now under serious consideration by the Labor Party. Sources have told The New Daily that recent events – the failure of the Westminster convention of ministerial responsibility to hold Michaelia Cash accountable for the politically compromised AFP raids; the citizenship High Court scandal; and the Turnbull government’s refusal to protect Crown Casino whistleblowers – were breaking down that resistance.

The New York Times: “…In the coming weeks, executives from Facebook and Twitter will appear before congressional committees to answer questions about the use of their platforms by Russian hackers and others to spread misinformation and skew elections. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook sold more than $100,000 worth of ads to a Kremlin-linked company, and Google sold more than $4,500 worth to accounts thought to be to the Russian government. Agents with links to the Russian government set up an endless array of fake accounts and websites and purchased a slew of advertisements on Google and Facebook, spreading dubious claims that seemed intended to sow division all along the political spectrum — “a cultural hack,” in the words of one expert. Yet the psychology behind social media platforms — the dynamics that make them such powerful vectors of misinformation in the first place — is at least as important, experts say, especially for those who think they’re immune to being duped. For all the suspicions about social media companies’ motives and ethics, it is the interaction of the technology with our common, often subconscious psychological biases that makes so many of us vulnerable to misinformation, and this has largely escaped notice. Skepticism of online “news” serves as a decent filter much of the time, but our innate biases allow it to be bypassed, researchers have found — especially when presented with the right kind of algorithmically selected “meme.”…”

Today sees the publication of the Thriving at Work report, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister. It was co-authored by Paul Farmer, CEO of MIND, and Lord Dennis Stevenson, businessman and entrepreneur, who has also been open about his own battles with mental health.

We say we want data privacy—then researchers put free pizza in front of us

Rewriting the rules of tax for a modern world
Optus Business Insights Blog, Oct 2017. Like many large organisations, the ATO was struggling to meet the changing demands, unexpected needs, and new expectations of today’s fast-paced, tech-driven and digitally enabled world. The agency required a thorough digital transformation to keep its customer service and operations as relevant, efficient and enjoyable as possible. ATO case study.