Thursday, February 15, 2018


Art and prayer are the only decent ejaculations of the soul
~J.-K. Huysmans, born in 1848

Marketing Clickbaits

       Only in French, but at Radio Praha Václav Richter reportson Lidové noviny's (Czech) 'Book of the Year' poll from last month -- focusing on the top three titles: Marek Švehla's biography of Mahor, the latest Jáchym Topol, and the latest edition of Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, which restores some passages. 
       The official results were published in a twelve-page-spread in Lidové noviny, but that doesn't seem to be readily accessible online -- just the article about the top title. But this list actually has it's own Wikipedia page, and the 2017 onedoes list the top eleven titles, and the votes each of those books got, out of 192. Czech works dominate -- with only Laurent Binet's The Seventh Function of Language slipping in, tied for eight. 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the country's most trusted corporate advisers, including the Boston Consulting Group and MYOB, paid no tax for the three years to 2016.
Tax-free billions: Australia's largest companies haven't paid corporate tax in 10 years Exclusive by Emma Alberici

Peru leader accused of taking bribes through company based at Scots law firm Herald Scotland

Fiery start for young property developer as Circular Quay building goes up in flames

It's the exclusive Circular Quay site, soon to boast a billion-dollar hotel and apartment complex, which was recently offloaded by one of China's richest developers to the son of Australia's most controversial political donor.

After following this team for 15 years, there are five lessons from this organization that I continue to embrace in my daily life.

Lesson #1:  Do your job. But stay flexible enough to take on new jobs quickly 
"Do your job" is something Belichick says constantly to refocus his team's efforts on the field. It means complete your assignments, execute to the best of your ability and trust that your teammates will do the same. In a company, that is the only way a team can be successful.

But the Patriots take it a step further. With the Patriots your job may change from week to week. ...

Thanks to countless “luxury” apartment buildings that go unsold, London has become a city of ghost towers.

The Economy Is Full of Crypto (And Collective Delusion) - Bloomberg


More data than ever before added to the Offshore Leaks Databases

The latest release of data into our searchable database takes the total number of entities to more than 785,000. This week we’ll add more data from Cook Islands, Samoa, and Malta. We’ve added more data from Paradise Papers than any other leak.

Here’s How We Reinforce A Culture Of Mediocrity

In a recent book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, the tech investor Ben Horowitz adds a twist: “The Law of Crappy People”. As soon as someone on a given rung at a company gets as good as the worst person the next rung up, he or she may expect a promotion. Yet, if it’s granted, the firm’s talent levels will gradually slide downhill. No one person need be peculiarly crappy for this to occur; bureaucracies just tend to be crappier than the sum of their parts. … Read More

City Committees Ticket to Ride

Jotwell (2016)Omri Marian (UC-Irvine), What We Now Know We Didn't Know About Tax Evasion (And Why It Matters) (JOTWELL) (reviewing Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, Tax Evasion and Inequality (NBER Working Paper No. 23772 (2017)):
Over the past several years, a series of leaks related to offshore tax avoidance and evasion (SwissLeaksLuxLeaksthe Panama PapersBahama Leaks, and Paradise Papers, to name a few) has fueled calls for tax transparency. To date, most discussion of the leaks has been policy-oriented (leaks: good or bad?) and largely anecdotal (based on some truly outrageous revelations). It was not until very recently, however, that a small group of researches started delving into the data exposed by these leaks to make statistically significant empirical findings. AlstadsæterJohannesen & Zucman’s (AJZ) paper is an excellent example of such paper, which combines methodological sophistication, public data, and leaked data, to make important new contributions to the voluminous literature on the offshore tax world. ...

BBC online criticised for 'pathetic' clickbait

Story: Livery driver blamed politicians for his financial ruin before City Hall suicide

2017 Distressed Communities Index Economic Innovation Group 

The Future of Healthcare Could Be a Privacy Nightmare Vice. More proof that I need to leave the US. I pay for all of my medical out of pocket and submit for reimbursement  because my privacy rights are better that way. The insurer has the right to have access to all records if they pay, like the test results, as opposed to the fact that I took a test.

The 2017 DCI finds that 52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities—the one-fifth of zip codes that score worst on the DCI. That represents one in six Americans, or 17 percent of the U.S. population.

Economies of States Versus Economies of Cities

Why are some cities doing better than the states they inhabit?

There’s a Much Smarter Way for Cities to Plan Their Futures

Why the “smart cities” movement needs to adopt better goals and metrics.

 Drone footage shows highway pile-up BBC :-(

Arizona Introduces Bill That Would Allow Residents To Pay Taxes In Bitcoin Investopedia. Paul R: “I think one of the tenets of MMT is that official currency’s intrinsic worth comes from the ability to pay taxes with it, so this development is amusing.”

Competition Commission of India Fines Google for ‘Search Bias’ The Wire - More like this, please. But paltry compared to EU fines.

And related to Brexit, this is what the British will be eating soon thanks to Brexit. Food safety is a very big issue in the UK, as much with Tory voters as left wingers. Even the Express and Telegraph would not dare to sell this as anything but a terrible outcome of Brexit if the UK was forced to accept imports of meat with very high levels of antibiotics.

Via Colassal: “First published in the pre-photographic age, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours was the preeminent guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists, and anthropologists in the 19th-century. Without an image for reference, the book provided immense handwritten detail describing where each specific shade could be found on an animal, plant, or mineral. Prussian Blue for instance could be located in the beauty spot of a mallard’s wing, on the stamina of a bluish-purple anemone, or in a piece of blue copper ore. The system of classification was first devised by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner in the late 18th-century. Shortly after Scottish painter Patrick Syme updated Werner’s guide, matching color swatches and his own list of examples to the provided nomenclature. The book’s poetic names, such as Arterial Blood Red, Berlin Blue, and Verdigris Green, added flourish to the writings of many researchers, allowing vivid descriptions for prose which had previously been limited to a more elementary color palette. Charles Darwin even used the guide during his voyage to the Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde islands on the H.M.S. Beagle…”