Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Our culture doesn’t think storytelling is sacred

“One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience… Storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want.”

...In light of these principles, the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (link is external)(the Bill), recently introduced into Parliament by the Turnbull Government, is a cause for significant concern. One particularly worrying aspect is its extension of funding and disclosure regulations to entities with no actual relationship with the political process beyond mere speech. Freedom of Expresion in Australia - 30 Jan 2018 AD

Did Telling Stories Help Us To Evolve As Humans?

Anthropologists have long theorized that humans developed “moralistic high-gods” as a way of promoting shared norms and prosocial behaviors. What is religion, after all, but a patchwork quilt of stories reminding humans how to behave—and, more importantly, how not to behave? But religion is thought to have emerged only with the advent of agriculture and large-scale, politically complex human settlements.

Talking on the Water: Coldest Stories

“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them,”Emerson wrote in contemplating the key to personal growth. Hardly anything does this for us more powerfully than art — it unsettles us awake, disrupts our deadening routines, enlarges our reservoir of hope by enlarging our perspective, our grasp of truth, our capacity for beauty.

This singular function of art is what Ursula K. Le Guin (October 21, 1929–January 22, 2018) reflects on in an interview by the polymathic marine conservationist Jonathan White, included in his wonderfulTalking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity (public library).

Ursula K. Le Guin (Photograph: The Oregonian)

In a roaming conversation over tea, “with only momentary interruptions by Lorenzo the cat or chimes from the grandfather clock,” Le Guin tells White:

The daily routine of most adults is so heavy and artificial that we are closed off to much of the world. We have to do this in order to get our work done. I think one purpose of art is to get us out of those routines. When we hear music or poetry or stories, the world opens up again. We’re drawn in — or out — and the windows of our perception are cleansed, as William Blake said. The same thing can happen when we’re around young children or adults who have unlearned those habits of shutting the world out.

The Nunes memo

CNN had a camera trained outside a hearing room during a private session of the House Intelligence Committee as host Wolf Blitzer rather breathlessly awaited word from a committee Democrat as to what was up. It was part and parcel of chunks of the media portraying as another Washington spiteful fight the decision by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee to release a disputed GOP-crafted memo, which accuses the FBI of dubiously getting a surveillance order on a onetime Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
But it's disgraceful or, at minimum, as Axios' Jim VandeHei put it on "Morning Joe" very early Tuesday, clearly "unprecedented," namely voting to de-classify classified material. So the executive branch for the first time has let Congress decide what is or is not classified without allowing the executive branch to review the document even after the executive branch provided the classified info. Even the Trump Justice Department (oh, you know, populated by all those "Deep State" denizens) says this is all nuts. 
So do check out this analysis in Just Security by Josh Geltzer, a former National Security Council counterterrorism specialist, who makes all the right points about the executive branch resisting any temptation to surrender the authority to protect certain national security information. 

Why do we let greedy financiers profit from the pain of foster children? | Aditya Chakrabortty 

Benvenisti, Eyal, Ensuring Access to Information: International Law’s Contribution to Global Justice (December 1, 2017). GlobalTrust Working Paper Series 2017-09; University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 17/2018. Available at SSRN: 

Vietnam War: Honour the Past and Invent the Super Blue Blood Future

An old joke says: “Why do tennis players make bad spouses? Because love means nothing to them."

What can organisations learn from strategy at the Australian Open?
Nicholas Gruen gets into the mind of an elite tennis player to show why simply going through a process of goal setting is a trap.

Be happy. It's one way of being wise.
— Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, born in 1873

Grant Hehir: auditor's performance keeps agencies on their toes


This Leaked Government Brexit Analysis Says The UK Will Be Worse Off In Every Scenario BuzzFeed

It's different to shares — with shares you hold for the long term but during the course of that holding you will receive, often not always, but most often you will receive a dividend," said Professor Bob Deutsch (on Cybercurrency and Tax) , the Tax Institute's senior tax counsel.

Last time we were at Daily Waters eating our daily liquid bread at the pub which was thirstier than ever as it was so dry back in 2011 ... Daly River residents evacuated as flood waters rise 

How to Watch the Super Blue Blood Moon, a Once-in-a-Lifetime Event Bloomberg

Saudi arabia seizes more than $124-billion in corruption purge

John Pilger on Ken Burn's 'Vietnam War': The killing of history

They're Shelling the City, for God's Sake': How the Tet Offensive ...

" I finished the doco last night. Incredible. Pretty much shows the worst of humanity because the leaders involved should have, and did, know better but kept making terrible decisions. Whereas with other atrocities like WW2, the worst kind of humans (evil people) were in charge so in some ways its more understandable. With Vietnam, intelligent and seemingly good-willed people like JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Henry Kissinger etc made one terrible decision after another. Nixon was another kettle of fish of course. 

I feel like there’s not enough focus on why leaders make bad decisions. There’s too much spiel shovelled to us about ‘great leadership qualities’. All we needed with Vietnam were some average leaders who were actually prepared to make the right decision, not some crafty, strategic, seemingly intelligent decision intended to save face. And I don’t remember any of the leaders acknowledging that they got it wrong. How rare it is to hear that from our leaders. 

Perhaps that should be ranked as the first quality of a great leader – the proven ability to acknowledge their own shortcomings and failings/mistakes."

~ courtesy of CL

Who am I to judge me or da Boss?

He did it again. In the midst of another man's heartbreak, Bruce Springsteen realigned the stars. His ability to do this is a self-described "magic trick," not escapism but the truth: hope may be audacious, even foolhardy, but there is no other way to live. In the face of adult responsibilities, we will do well to embrace our pressures with humor and joy. We will also do well to benostalgic, be Freudian, do whatever it takes to understand our origins, to keep the memories of childhood alive, to let them warm our - dare I say it - hungry hearts...
In Shakespeare's day, audiences knew the material well. This was the closest I've gotten to that Bard's groundlings - every intimate self-deprecating joke, "I've made a career writing about things of which I have zero experience," landing with the force of recognition. Where Bruce was unfamiliar was in his theatricality and the ways he made "Springsteen" a play: un-mic'd asides, anthropomorphizing his guitar and accompanying himself on piano at a storyteller's pace like the half-Irishman he is. It was a deft interweaving of fifteen songs spanning forty years with bits from the book and some new connective tissue. Too smart to be sentimental, too cut with comedy to be saccharine, the occasional purity of love and joy - such as in his 1987 ode to mama, "The Wish" - was almost too much to bear. (It followed a hearty laugh earned by the gutting "My Father's House," after which he jested, "Okay I'm gonna call you off suicide watch now.")
EDGE Media Network :: Springsteen on Broadway

 Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
— Anton Chekhov, born  in 1860

SYDNEYSIDERS are set for a triple treat tonight when three lunarevents collide for the first time in more than 30 years. Late tonight, stargazers in some parts of the country will be able to feast their eyes  ...

Dutch canal houses are another classic example of how rules and regulations can shape structures. Taxed on their canal frontage rather than height or depth, these buildings grew in tall and thin. In turn, this typology evolved narrower staircases, necessitating exterior hoist systems to move furniture and goods into and out of upper floors.

That’s from an excellent post by Kurt Kohlstedt at 99% Invisible who gives many other examples of taxes having long-lasting effects on the built environment.

A Quote from Willa Cather: “The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is

In Palermo, Sicilian teenagers equip their bikes with car batteries and speakers to create roving sound systems.

Biz Fair Blog – Washington State Small Business Fair

This Innovative collection covers issues that are vital to regional Australia. It includes resources on communities, infrastructure, industries and the environment in rural and remote regions, collected by APO since 2002. Supported by RMIT University(link is external) and Swinburne University of Technology(link is external) since September 2016, the collection of this material forms part of the APO ARC Linked Data II Project.

IT WOULD EXPLAIN MUCH:  Could getting rid of dairy be making you dumb?

How a Library Handles a Poisonous Book: The arsenic-laden pages of “Shadows from the Walls of Death” should not be touched without gloves.

Via LLRX – Business Intelligence Online Resources 2018 – This guide by Marcus Zillman focuses on selected free and fee based resources published by a range of reliable sources that researchers can use for tracking, monitoring and sector research discovery purposes, as well as on tools and techniques to leverage in their business intelligence work.

This is an applied course designed to introduce students to the emerging social, economic and legal issues associated with blockchain and crypto-enabled technologies

World Economic Forum – Towards a Reskilling Revolution – “As the types of skills needed in the labour market change rapidly, individual workers will have to engage in life-long learning if they are to achieve fulfilling and rewarding careers

Two Aussie founders sell cyber security start-up for $1B

Businesses unprepared for new data breach notification laws |


Stewardship in the “Age of Algorithms” by Clifford Lynch, First Monday, 4 December 2017. DOI:

“This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as “algorithms”) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology — focusing on the preservation of physical and digital objects, and perhaps the accompanying preservation of their environments to permit subsequent interpretation or performance of the objects — has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. The approaches presented here are clearly imperfect, unproven, labor-intensive, and sensitive to the often hidden factors that the target systems use for decision-making (including personalization of results, where relevant); but they are a place to begin, and their limitations are at least outlined. Numerous research questions must be explored before we can fully understand the strengths and limitations of what is proposed here. But it represents a way forward. This is essentially the first paper I am aware of which tries to effectively make progress on the stewardship challenges facing our society in the so-called “Age of Algorithms;” the paper concludes with some discussion of the failure to address these challenges to date, and the implications for the roles of archivists as opposed to other players in the broader enterprise of stewardship — that is, the capture of a record of the present and the transmission of this record, and the records bequeathed by the past, into the future. It may well be that we see the emergence of a new group of creators of documentation, perhaps predominantly social scientists and humanists, taking the front lines in dealing with the “Age of Algorithms,” with their materials then destined for our memory organizations to be cared for into the future.

Such, such were the joys

One noteworthy aspect of growing older is that you find yourself benignly bemused—if you’re lucky—by the constant parade of new technologies that worm their way into your everyday life almost before you know it, pushing ... read more

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin is currently digitizing and putting online their collection of more than 10,000 movie posters.
The collection encompasses upwards of 10,000 posters and spans decades: from when the film industry was just beginning to compete with vaudeville acts in the 1920s to the rise of the modern megaplex and drive-in theaters in the 1970s. The sizes range from that of a small window card to that of a billboard.
You can browse the collection here. They’ve scanned over 4000 of the posters already and there are currently 500 posters available online, but more of them “will incrementally be made accessible online”.
See also a short film about a one-of-a-kind collection of letterpress plates for printing film advertisements and an amazing online collection of 40,000 vintage film posters. (via @john_overholt)

The Cabinet Files


Using high speed cameras, it’s possible to record the vibrations of everyday objects caused by nearby sounds and reverse engineer the sounds…essentially turning anything that vibrates into a speaker. For instance, if you want to know what a person is saying but can’t hear them directly, you can take a video of the house plant next to them and recover the sound from the micro-vibrations of the leaves. In one example, they filmed a pair of Apple earbuds playing a song and the recovered audio was accurate enough for the Shazam app to identify the song.

Tango is an experimental animated film made by Zbigniew Rybczyński in 1980. It takes place entirely in one room with an increasing number of characters cycling through it repeatedly. It’s the kind of thing you can’t stop watching once you start. (It’s also mildly NSFW.) Tango won The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1983.


(via @neilcic)

Why Has A Once Obscure Canadian Psychology Professor Become So “Dangerous”?

"There have been several calls for his ouster from the University of Toronto — where he’s tenured — including a recent open letter to the dean of the faculty of arts and science signed by hundreds, including many of his fellow professors. Friends refuse to comment on him lest they be associated with his image. Critics hesitate, too, for fear that his supporters will unleash their online wrath. A graduate student at another Canadian university was reprimanded for showing a short video clip of Peterson to a group of undergraduates. One of the professors taking her to task likened Peterson to Hitler." … Read More

Arman Gungor – Meridian Discovery – Link to complete posting: “Portable Document Format (PDF) forensic analysis is a type of request we encounter often in our computer forensics practice. The requests usually entail PDF forgery analysis or intellectual property related investigations. In virtually all cases, I have found that the PDF metadata contained in metadata streams and the document information dictionary have been instrumental. I will provide a brief overview of these metadata sources and then provide an example of how they can be useful during PDF forensic analysis. PDF is an electronic file format created by Adobe Systems in the early 1990s. It is used primarily to reliably exchange documents independent of platform—hardware, software or operating system. PDF is also an ISO Standard (ISO 32000-1). Due to its platform independent nature, numerous personal and business documents such as reports, agreements and operational documents are created and exchanged in PDF format. Consequently, we encounter them very often during e-Discovery processing, productions and PDF forensic analysis—especially duringfraudulent document analysis…”

Evictions in the US appear to be on the rise, thanks to gentrification, rising rents, and stagnating incomes.

How public libraries are reinventing themselves for the 21st century

Coding workshops. 3D printers. And books. Far from extinct, today’s public library is about access to technology as much as to knowledge: “On any given day, in one of the world’s busiest urban library systems, 50,000 people come through the doors of the Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches, while 85,000 make an online visit. The walk-ins bring their coffee and their lunches; they talk and watch TV while charging their phones; they do their homework, often via thousands of computer sessions; they make videos or create objects with 3D printers; take classes in computer coding or yoga; attend author talks or listen to experts offer advice for those looking after elderly relatives; access video tutorials on everything from website design to small business management from (an American online education giant that offers 3,600 courses taught by industry experts). Together with their online fellows, they borrow musical instruments, passes to the city’s art galleries and museums, WiFi hotspots, lamps that battle seasonal affective disorder, Raspberry Pis (small, single-board computers primarily used for coding training), DVDs, more than 12,000 ebooks and—of course—plain old print-and-ink books, a good 90,000 of them every day. All at no cost…”

Laissez-faire cyber security: what could go wrong? | The Mandarin

Vernacular Economics: How Building Codes & Taxes Shape Regional Architecture 99% Invisible 

Fitness tracking app gives away location of secret US army bases Guardian
Americans Wanted More Privacy Protections. Congress Gave Them Fewer. Slate
The Mexican Border-Crossing App That Suddenly Disappeared Motherboard