Sunday, May 06, 2018

New Performance Management: Canoe Race

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me

0462_DJ.jpgSaturday night fever at Wiley Rock Bath as Czechs and Slovaks drink eat and dance to folkloric tunes. Even Antipodeans Steve, Wendy Michelle and Gary  let their hair out ...To save you time by quickly summarizing updates, sharing interesting stories, and highlighting hidden features, new research 

Polixeni Papapetrou, Photographer Known For Whimsical And Eerie Images, Has Died At 57

Her images (including one of her young daughter naked, sitting on a rock) often involved her children and her children’s friends in odd and psychologically intense costumes, in the Australian landscape. “Her works were striking in their strange simplicity yet evoked deep emotions and archetypes.”

Does Literature Matter?

Only in America do we ask our writers to believe they don’t matter as a condition of writing. It is time to end this. Much of my time as a student was spent doubting the importance of my work, doubting the power it had to reach anyone or to do anything of significance. I was already tired of hearing about how the pen was mightier than the sword by the time I was studying writing. Swords, it seemed to me, won all the time.

Surrealist sex. Eileen Agar, according to her husband, was always trying to do the impossible, "such as making love standing up in a hammock"... Surrealist sex

Poems that hide in plain sight. Famous works, anthologized, widely read, become so encrusted with criticism it’s hard to see them anew... Poems that hide in plain sight 

New York Times op-ed:  Do Taxpayers Know They Are Handing Out Billions to Corporations?, by Nathan M. Jensen (University of Texas; author, Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain (Cambridge University Press 2018)):
Every year, states and local governments give economic-development incentives to companies to the tune of between $45 billion and $80 billion. Why such a wide range? It’s not sloppy research; it’s because many of these subsidies are not public. ...

It’s Now Impossible To Make A Living As A Freelance Writer

“Based on my reporting, my own experience, and interviews with more than a dozen writers, the current median price for a freelancer’s work is between 25 and 50 cents per word (though, to be clear, most places no longer pay per word; they pay lump sums that work out to about $500 for a 1,000- to 2,000-word article). Speaking to Black Enterprise, Ben Carruthers, vice president of the Society of American Travel Writers, suggested that a similar $500 rate was standard…in 1977.”
Excellence in Social Media - CitizenSleuth 

How did Gershom Scholem, an expert on obscure Jewish texts, become not just a historian or even theologian, but a prophet? 

Reuters - April 24, 2018
Facebook Inc has removed a number of accounts and pages that advertised and sold social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and alleged credit card numbers of dozens of people, following a report by news website Motherboard. “Posts containing information like social security numbers or credit card information are not allowed on Facebook, and we remove this material when we become aware of it,” a Facebook spokesman said on Tuesday. A Google search still pulls up a few public Facebook posts that offer to sell personal details including credit card numbers. Hackers have advertised databases of private information on the social platform and Motherboard reported on Tuesday that Facebook has held stolen identities and social security numbers for years.

Lessons From The Boat Race - John Denton on Preparing Businesses 'Ready For Sale'
“A Japanese company and a North American company decided to have a canoe race on the St. Lawrence River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The North Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.
A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the North American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. So, North American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.
They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.
To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.
It was called the”Rowing Team Quality First Program“, with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices, and bonuses.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the North American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments in new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was outsourced to India.”
Source unknown

“The strength and stability of democracy has become a subject of intense debate in the United States and around the world. But how do Americans feel about their own democracy? As part of a year-long effort to study “Facts, Trust and Democracy” Pew Research Center has conducted a major survey of public views of the U.S. political system and American democracy. The survey finds that while Americans are in broad agreement on important ideals relating to democracy in the U.S., they think the nation is falling short in realizing many of these ideals. Here are some of the survey’s other major findings..”

Public access to CFPB Consumer Complaint Database may end according to Mulvaney - The New York Times: “Financial companies have worked to diminish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s powers since the day the agency was created. Now, they’re on the brink of having one of their top demands granted: an end to the regulator’s public database of complaints about their products and services. Since 2011, the bureau has maintained an open, searchable record of more than one million consumer reports about inaccurate debt collections, illegal fees, improper overdraft charges, mistakes on loans and other problems. By law, the consumer bureau has to collect those complaints. But it is not legally required to share them online. Mick Mulvaney, the bureau’s acting director, hinted Tuesday that he would like to end that public access. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” he said at a banking industry conference in Washington. “I don’t see anything in here that says that I have to make all of those public.”

“U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) [on April 24, 2018] announced privacy legislation that will protect consumers’ online data. Social media and other online platforms routinely capture users’ behavior and personal information, which is then used to help advertisers or other third parties target those users. The bipartisan legislation would require companies to make privacy disclosures clearer and more transparent, give consumers the right to control their own data by allowing people to opt-out of having their data collected, and require companies to notify consumers of a privacy violation within 72 hours.  Specifically, the legislation:
  • Requires terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
  • Ensures users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
  • Provides users greater access to and control over their data,
  • Gives consumers the right to opt-out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
  • Mandates that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours,
  • Offers remedies for users when a privacy violation occurs,
  • Requires that online platforms have a privacy program in place…”
Pete Recommends – weekly highlights on cyber security issues – April 23 2018 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health/medical, to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways our privacy and security is diminished, often without our situational awareness

Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), What Do Audits Teach Us About Tax Compliance? (JOTWELL) (reviewing Taxpayer Advocate Service Research Report, Audits, Identity Theft Investigations, and Taxpayer Attitudes: Evidence from a National Survey (2017))

The Hill
April 25, 2018
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that aims to boost the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ability to protect federal computer networks from foreign attacks. Feinstein's Federal Network Protection Act clarifies that the head of the DHS has the authority to issue orders, known as binding operational directives, to remove compromised software from federal systems before notifying the "affected software company" about such changes. The Democratic senator said the move would help block a company from taking defensive actions in response to the removal because such actions could stall the DHS's removal of the software. “By clarifying what actions the Secretary of Homeland Security can take, we allow the department to act quickly in response to cyber threats,” Feinstein said in a statement.

Howden, Spence, Text Messages Are Property: Why You Don’t Own Your Text Messages, But It’d Be a Lot Cooler If You Did (March 2, 2018). Washington & Lee Law Review, 2019, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:
“Courts have yet to consider whether text messages are property, but they will soon. As our lives become more and more centered around our smartphones, text messages will displace e-mails as the primary means of electronic communication (if that hasn’t already happened).