Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The taking of offence is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.
— Ecclesiastes 7

 In The Spotlight: Shirley Wells’ Into the Shadows | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

The average moron professional spends 4 hours per day responding to work emails. That's both insane and understandable
Why is Answering Email So Stressful?
BRUCE BAWER: THE TOMMY ROBINSON AFFAIR. In the UK, “You’re Not Allowed to Talk about It. About What? Don’t Ask.”

MARK LEVIN: What if the press is ‘contributing to the deterioration of liberty’?

I REMEMBER WHEN PUBLISHERS STARTED DOING THIS IN THE OUGHTS:  Studios are now looking for actors who are Insta-famous.  Let’s say it’s not a good sign, okay?

Online privacy: Tricks to stop your devices spying on you
REVELATIONS that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance highlights some unexpected risks of ...

FIRING people is an unpleasant business. That’s why, in the stony vernacular of financial markets, they call it ”taking costs out”, or ”driving efficiency gains”. People are ”headcount” or, even more bloodless, ”costs”. Inexorably, companies that become fat and lazy either die, are taken over and gutted, or are subject to internal restructure at the … Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn: The next Labour government will abolish the House of Lords Politics

Late last year, some hedge fund managers raced to protect their personal fortunes from being carved up by the Republican tax law. 

Welcome to the ‘New Dark Age.’ - OpenDemocracy – “Data is making us dumber. This seeming paradox has been gaining currency, at least in the tech-saturated Global North. We’re increasingly bombarded with advice on how to manage data overload. The English comedian Dave Gorman summed it up in the tongue-in-cheek title of his recent book: “Too much information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think.” We like to laugh about this stuff. It helps us to cope with the deep human fear that the world has moved beyond our understanding and control. If indeed we’re in a state of hysterical denial, James Bridle wants to give us all a slap in his forthcoming book “New Dark Age: Technology, Knowledge and the End of the Future.” Bridle invites us to engage in a direct confrontation with our decreasing comprehension of the world.

Via Tax Justice courtesy of guest blog from Mikael Homanen, a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Finance at Cass Business School in the UK.

Can depositor (or customer) activism make a real difference?New research presented at the Chicago Booth Stigler Centersuggests that banks see significant decreases in deposit growth after experiencing tax evasion, corruption and environmental scandals.

Scottish government official taped to chair and gagged
"A woman who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues as a warning to keep quiet." (BBC)

US websites block netizensin Europe: Why are they ghosting EU? It's not you, it's GDPR

Because two years wasn't enough time to prepare

Looking back at the review that shaped the public service in Australia

The public service in the time of H.C. 'Nugget' Coombs was a force for preservation of the status quo. Yet the review's impact is still felt today

Via LLRX.com2018 New Economy Resources and Tools – This guide by Marcus Zillman provides researchers in multiple disciplines – law, economists, academia, government, corporate, and journalism – the latest, most reliable web resources for discovering sources to meet the multifaceted needs of time sensitive, specific, actionable work product. The global economic landscape is rapidly changing as transparency, big data and the ability to access data from new and now accessible databases are increasingly available through portals and sites around the world. Understanding how to locate and leverage new economy analytics, resources and alerts will provide you with keep tools and techniques to expand access to requisite knowledge that you can apply daily in your work place.

Reducing governments’ reliance on consultants
MARTIN BORTZ: Consulting to Australian state and federal governments is big business, but sharpening the capacity and critical thinking of civil servants could reduce reliance on the industry.

They said WHAT?!
SENATE ESTIMATES: One popular pastime during budget estimates is making short video clips of interesting, revealing or bizarre moments and presenting them with little contextual explanation. We’ve compiled some of our favourites.

How to build a stronger middle class: With respect. Richard Reeves, Brookings Institution. “As I argue in a new Brookings paper, class can be defined along a host of dimensions: by economic resources; education and occupation status; or attitudes, self-perception, and mindset. Determining whether you are ‘middle class’ requires different information for each of these three categories. For the first (cash), we need to see your bank balance. For the second (credentials) we need to see your résumé. For the third (culture), we need to see inside your head.” Sloppy. Reeves conflates “cash” and capital (and the outcome of a social relation with the social relation itself). Still interesting and insightful — the Brits are a foreign country, they do class differently there — but wowsers.

General Motors, 1958
1. General Motors: $10.99 billion
2. Exxon Mobil: $7.83 billion
3. Ford Motor: $5.77 billion
4. U.S. Steel: $4.41 billion
5. General Electric: $4.34 billion

The biggest companies by the year you were born = To succeed in the U.S. economy, companies must constantly adapt to changing conditions. Though some of the nation’s largest corporations — companies such as General Electric, Exxon Mobil, and Walmart — have always dominated, for many American consumers the landscape of companies has shifted over the course of their lifetimes. Though industrial companies used to be among the largest in terms of revenue, in the more modern era internet and tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon, are decisively making their way toward the top of the list. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual revenue figures for the nation’s largest 500 companies in each year from 1955 to 2016 — figures came from business magazine Fortune. General Motors was the nation’s largest company throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and part of the ‘70s. Exxon Mobil edged out the automaker in 1975, but GM returned to the No. 1 position periodically in subsequent years. Since 2001, either Walmart or Exxon Mobil has occupied the top spot. With revenue of $496 billion in its most recent fiscal year, the global retailing giant is the world’s largest company by revenue. Because these are the country’s largest companies, any meaningful deterioration in size — rather than simply in response to cyclical economic and sectoral forces — usually takes years, if not decades to manifest. Gradual changes in size over the longer term among Fortune 500 companies reflect larger trends in the U.S. economy. For example, the decline of automobile company GM and the rise of retailer Walmart over the past 50 years reflect the decline of American manufacturing and the rise of the service sector over that time…”

Virtual digital assistants to overtake world population by 2021 - Ovum: “Globally, the native digital assistant installed base is set to exceed 7.5 billion active devices by 2021, which is more than the world population according to the US Census Bureau on May 1, 2017. But fear not – Skynet, from the popular Terminator movies, does not feature among the leading digital assistants. Instead, Google Assistant will dominate the voice AI–capable device market with 23.3% market share, followed by Samsung’s Bixby (14.5%), Apple’s Siri (13.1%), Amazon’s Alexa (3.9%), and Microsoft’s Cortana (2.3%). Ovum’s Digital Assistant and Voice AI–Capable Device Forecast: 2016–21 found that smartphones and tablets clearly lead the voice AI–capable device market, with 3.5 billion active devices in 2016, most of which use Google Now and Apple Siri. However, the use of AI in conjunction with other devices greatly increases consumer engagement and is set to unlock new opportunities, particularly in the home. Ovum expects an exponential uptake of voice AI capabilities among new devices, including wearable, smart home, and TV devices, with a combined installed base of 1.63 billion active devices in 2021, a tenfold increase on 2016. Despite all the hype that surrounds AI-capable connected speakers, TV devices (i.e. smart TVs, set-top boxes, and media streamers) offer a larger opportunity, accounting for 57% of that installed base in 2021…”
See also the New York Times – Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t. . Researchers can now send secret audio instructions undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.

Joyce forgets everything and everyone but himself

Barnaby Joyce cries foul in government's approach to public service jobs

We're in a crisis in governance ‒ so now what?
DANNY DAVIS: Materially better outcomes are being achieved where staff, management and executive get to make their everyday decisions in the context of long-term multi-outcome ‘information foresight’.

Research shows networking is painful, but it can be a lot better
CASE STUDY: Is it enough to throw a group of people together, give them a name badge and hope for the best? Research suggests it isn’t.

Power causes brain damage
How leaders lose mental capacities ‒ most notably for reading other people ‒ that were essential to their rise." (The Atlantic)