Friday, October 27, 2017

The Rise of Aussie Noir and Shisha : High Tea with Parliamentary Strangers

I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance
  — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born  in 1772  - Karma of satisfied and successful lives - with dicish political friends like Shisha who needs enemies -  Speaking of strange strangers, odd thing about success. It often breeds failure ...

- Most people do not get the bohemian secret of life until they are on their death beds - Success teaches you virtually nothing...

AFR Magazine celebrates power             

Why The Wealthy Turn To Philanthropy

"Studies show that, in general, people who feel good, do good – and likewise, people who do good, feel better. The rich are no exception. Giving to charity activates parts of the brain related to reward and pleasure. Yes, the rich do have some distinctive reasons for giving to charity, such as the desire not to ‘morally corrupt’ their heirs. But like others, they also give to strengthen their identity – and probably, to relieve their guilt." … [Read More]


Ancient Chinese curse: May you have a successful life  - "May you have a successful open source project."  The Curse Of Success? - Forbes

A technique to use especially in a pub when you are not sure what people are saying behind your back The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets

If people aren’t willing or able to venture outside and challenge their thinking they will simply reinforce the status quo, the antithesis of innovation.
Innovation and the rise of echo chambers

ALL men are created equal, but they do not stay that way for long. That is one message of a report this month by the OECD, a club of 35 mostly rich democracies. Many studies show how income gaps have evolved over time or between countries. The OECD’s report looks instead at how inequality evolves with age.
Millennials are doing better than the baby-boomers did at their age

Wellness at work: the promise and pitfalls.
"The emerging research we have says that when you look at people not as objects but as human beings, they respond with higher performance. Engagement goes up, and not just engagement, but passion." (McKinsey)

SWEDES discuss their incomes with a frankness that would horrify Britons or Americans. They have little reason to be coy; in Sweden you can learn a stranger’s salary simply by ringing the tax authorities and asking. Pay transparency can be a potent weapon against persistent inequities. When hackers published e-mails from executives at Sony Pictures, a film studio, the world learned that some of Hollywood’s most bankable female stars earned less than their male co-stars. The revelation has since helped women in the industry drive harder bargains. Yet outside Nordic countries transparency faces fierce resistance. Donald Trump recently cancelled a rule set by Barack Obama requiring large firms to provide more pay data to anti-discrimination regulators. Even those less temperamentally averse to sunlight than Mr Trump balk at what can seem an intrusion into a private matter. That is a shame. Despite the discomfort that transparency can cause, it would be better to publish more...Firms should make more information about salaries public

“First and second wives are like sisters.” – Christopher Nicholson (Winter)

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills Medical Xpress 

Antipodean Noir: The New Matilda miscalculated Charlie as his response is filled with common sense ... "In the CareerHub advertisement, I specifically cautioned that candidates require "a strong stomach for the distressing materials prevalent in complex criminal trial and a sense of humour in the face of the unexpected". It required availability of three days a week or more, and availability to work on weekends. The advertisement did not contain a request for a photograph, contrary to New Matilda's research."
Charrles Waterstreet responds to sexual harassment allegations - The MeToo Meme is Beyond the Rake

Surprise city on top 10 list
It could be that Lonely Planet is trolling us all.
The iconic travel company has just released it’s top 10 list for 2018, and a surprising Australian city has knocked Sydney and Melbourne from their perch.
Would you ever have guessed it was Canberra?
The country’s capital was the only Australian city to be ranked in the top 10 — and it’s actually the highest an Aussie city has ever appeared on the list.
It was beaten only by Seville, Spain in first and Detroit, Michigan in second — also a surprising choice, considering about half of the city was abandoned due to a decline of America’s automotive industry, and it has a reputation for rampant crime.

Anyway, according to Lonely Planet, “criminally overlooked Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city” due to its cultural offerings and gastronomic experiences.
The Lonely Planet bloggers described Sydney as a place worse than Third Wprld city as the city looks like Dresden after WWII bombing, few even The Rock lost ots historical appeal and sadly we are as people unfriendly lot even in the city pub rudeness prevails ... De javu of Roman empire is in the air as the harbour and the beaches are limited in their appeal if busses to Bondi feel like Sardines #333 or # 380 

I like to blow the grass flat and divide the waters ... Some people like dropping a stone in a dry well and waiting to hear the splash ...

 Lifting My Daughter by Joseph Hutchison : circa 1990 Circa 1992  ...

… There’s No Virtue in Joining an Angry Mob - WSJ.
The Weinstein case has its correlative in the political arena. On both sides of the political spectrum, we seem driven by a need for dramatic outrage that masquerades as virtue. Once a case has been made in the public sphere, on whichever side, the case gets made again and again in increasingly simplistic terms. Any attempt to see around or outside the established scenario means that you are a bad person. The deadening, coercive nature of this kind of thinking is disturbing

… Solzhenitsyn’s cathedrals by Gary Saul Morson | The New Criterion

In one memorable scene, Solzhenitsyn describes how a believing Jew shook his worldview. At the time he met him, Solzhenitsyn explains, “I was committed to that world outlook which is incapable of admitting any new fact or evaluating any new opinion before a label has been found for it . . . be it ‘the hesitant duplicity of the petty bourgeoisie,’ or the ‘militant nihilism of the déclassé intelligentsia.’ ” When someone mentioned a prayer spoken by President Roosevelt, Solzhenitsyn called it “hypocrisy, of course.” Gammerov, the Jew, demanded why he did not admit the possibility of a political leader sincerely believing in God. That was all, Solzhenitsyn remarks, but it was so shocking to hear such words from someone born in 1923 that it forced him to think. “I could have replied to him firmly, but prison had already undermined my certainty, and the principle thing was that some kind of clean, pure feeling does live within us, existing apart from all our convictions, and right then it dawned on me that I had not spoken out of conviction but because the idea had been implanted in me from outside.” He learns to question what he really believes and, still more important, to appreciate that basic human decency morally surpasses any “convictions.”

A bit of tax: Australians 'wising up' to use of tax havens, says Andrew Leigh

Maria Popova on Wislawa Szymborska I am thinking about time this morning — about how it expands and contracts in the open fist of memory, about how the same duration can feel like a blink or incline toward the infinite, or even do both at once. Eleven years ago today, Brain Pickings began — birthed by what feels like another self, one that was once myself but no longer is and never again will be, and yet tethered to who I am today by some invisible thread of personal sensibility woven by and of time. As I look back on my most important learnings from the first decade, I am thinking of Simone de Beauvoir and her meditation on how chance and choice make us who we are. I am thinking of Borges and his sublime refutation of time. But, above all, I am thinking of a poem by one of my favorite poets, the Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012), about my favorite number, pi — an ode to the most precise language of the universe, mathematics, in the most precise language on Earth, poetry.

The IRS is basically ignoring the equity crowdfunding boom

Look once. Did you see it? Look again. This week's Active Listening is two songs (and videos) that make you think twice.

And from Motherboard: Last year, a security researcher alerted Equifax that anyone could have stolen the personal data of all Americans.The company failed to heed the warning.

The world's most beautiful tax havens - Travel - The Telegraph

By Dan

Stolen Smile

On August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa — Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece — was stolen off the wall of the Louvre, leaving bare the four iron pegs on which it hung. The thief, later identified as then-Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia, hid in a closet the day before (a Sunday), knowing that the museum would be closed the next day.  He emerged from his hiding place on the 21st, took the Mona Lisa off the wall, discarded its nearly 200 pounds of security devices and decorative frames, and carried the painting up under his smock.  He walked out the door and into freedom — until, 28 months later, he tried to sell it, and was instead nabbed by the authorities.

Peruggia’s motivations, however, are almost certainly not those of the standard art thief: that is, he was not looking to simply (to understate the feat) fence the masterpiece and walk out an overnight millionaire.  Rather, Peruggia was either a nationalist ideologue looking to reclaim the artwork on behalf of his native Italy, or, perhaps, a rube to a master criminal in the making.

The former theory is straight-forward: Peruggia, an Italian by birth, allegedly believed that da Vinci’s work (in that he, too, was Italian) could only be properly displayed in Italy — so he stole it to fix that “problem.”  Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons to believe that Peruggia simply used this excuse — successfully, it turned out — to limit his jail time once caught.  (Tried in Italy, he served seven months, with Time implying that his patriotic motives played into the short amount of time behind bars.)  Some examples include the fact that he attempted to sell the painting (for the equivalent of $100,000) and not merely donate it; that he waited over two years to move it; that he returned to France after his release; and that he was at least loosely affiliated with another criminal syndicate: art counterfeiters.

It is the art counterfeiters story which suggests that Peruggia’s motives were less than honorable patriotism.

An Argentine con man by the name of Eduardo de Valfierno allegedly was behind the theft.  (In 1914, after the theft and recovery of the Mona Lisa, but before Peruggia was brought to trial, Valfierno told his story to an American journalist named Karl Decker, with the promise that Decker not publish the story until after Valfierno’s death.  Decker agreed.  This is the only source for Valfierno’s account.) Valfierno’s “business” was in faux masterpieces.  He’d commission artists to create realistic-looking copies of famous works of art and sell them to collectors around the world, claiming the works were the original.  To buttress his claims of authenticity, he would pass off another forgery — documents from the museums in which the original hung, stating that that the original was stolen and, to avoid embarrassment, the museum in question instead quietly displayed a replica. Unfortunately for Valfierno, one such collector bragged about one of his purchases, leading to press coverage of the (faked) theft — and almost exposing Valfierno’s fraud.  So Valfierno decided to take no further chances.

As the story goes, Valfierno hired Peruggia and others to steal the Mona Lisa — but not before he commissioned the creation of six counterfeits and made sure they were distributed around the United States.  (Valfierno surmised that it would be easy to get through customs before the theft but nearly impossible afterward.) Once the media took up the story of the theft itself, Valfierno was able to sell the six fake paintings without much trouble — and without much risk, as the purchasers, now knowingly buying stolen property, had no real recourse if they ever caught on to the swindle.  With the real Mona Lisa in Valfierno’s possession, he also had the luxury of knowing that the Louvre would never get back the original, making it unlikely at best that the purchasers of the fakes would catch on, anyway.  Of course, this part of the scheme did not go to plan.

Valfierno claims that Peruggia was well compensated for his role, but that the thief gambled that money away.  Peruggia’s solution?  He knew where Valfierno kept the true Mona Lisa, so he simply did what he had done a year or two earlier, and stole it.  Again.

Bonus fact
: The Mona Lisa is not painted on canvas but on three pieces of wood roughly an inch and a half thick.

From the ArchivesChina’s Oil Painting Village: Go there to get a Mona Lisa of your very own.

Modern History's Worst Serial and Mass Killers