Friday, August 31, 2018

Can't Have a Race With One Horse and instagram

When Caitlin Rosenthal began studying slave-plantation management, she didn't expect to find parallels with modern business practices...   Latitude of Slaves & Aliens  

The latitude idea of using networked technology as a tool of governance in China “goes back to at least the mid-1980s.”
MIT Technology Review

KREMLIN PROPAGANDA: How Putin’s information war seeped into seemingly independent media in Eastern Europe. “The websites presented themselves as independent news outlets, but in fact, editorial lines were dictated directly by Moscow,” Buzzfeed News reported.
 ***Algorithms are replacing middle management, and if you don’t have a job telling computers what to do, sooner or later your job will consist of doing what computers tell you. There are jobs above the API, and there are jobs below the API. Via Less Wrong In Barcelona, Airbnb has an 18 percent market share of all overnight bookings. In Kyoto, Japan, it’s 22 percent.
 The New York Times
Vaccinations aren’t halal. BuzzFeed
Texting can lead to better customer service than calling, but be careful about your privacy.
The Washington Post
The author of The Horse Whisperer has another story of manic family drama and epic landscapes—but it's true.
The Guardian

Inquiry into financial related crime

On Twitter, @InstantSunrise wrote an entertaining thread “in which I drag every single US president in order”. She starts off with The Founding Fathers

In a piece called The Algorithmic Trap, David Perell writes about the difficulty of finding serendipity, diversity, and “real” experiences while traveling. In short, Google, Yelp, Instagram, and the like have made travel destinations and experiences increasingly predictable and homogeneous.

Call me old-fashioned, but the more I travel, the less I depend on algorithms. In a world obsessed with efficiency, I find myself adding friction to my travel experience. I’ve shifted away from digital recommendations, and towards human ones.
For all the buzz about landmarks and sightseeing, I find that immersive, local experiences reveal the surprising, culturally-specific ways of living and thinking that make travel educational. We over-rate the importance of visiting the best-places and under-rate the importance of connecting with the best people. If you want to learn about a culture, nothing beats personalized time with a passionate local who can share the magic of their culture with you.
There’s one problem with this strategy: this kind of travel doesn’t scale. It’s in efficiency and doesn’t conform to the 80/20 rule. It’s unpredictable and things could go wrong.
Travel — when done right — is challenging. Like all face-to-face interaction, it’s inefficient. The fact that an experience can’t be found in a guidebook is precisely what makes it so special. Sure, a little tip helps — go here, go there; eat here, eat there; stay here, stay there — but at the end of the day, the great pleasures of travel are precisely what you can’t find on Yelp.
Algorithms are great at giving you something you like, but terrible at giving you something you love. Worse, by promoting familiarity, algorithms punish culture.

While reading parts of this, I was reminded of both premium mediocre and the randomness of this approach to travel.

I took the photo above in the Beartooth Mountains on my recent roadtrip. This was one of the surprise highlights of my trip…I wouldn’t have known to take the road through those mountains had it not been recommended to me by some enthusiastic locals.

Trump Tax ReturnsPolitico op-ed:  It Would Take Exactly One Senator to Get Trump’s Taxes, by George Yin (Virginia):
For all the attention given to the felonies committed by Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, the Mueller investigation still hasn’t shined a light on the central mystery surrounding Donald Trump's presidency thus far: Just what, if anything, he owes to Russia. If he has no Russian connection, why is the president so deferential to Russian President Vladimir Putin and so intent on silencing Russian accusers like former CIA Director John Brennan? There could be innocent explanations, of course, but many Americans, including some Republicans, are puzzled.
The answer may lie inside documents we’ve been talking about for two years: his tax returns. If Trump does have a clear connection to Russians—if he owes them money, or if he has business partnerships with Putin allies—the returns may provide useful clues and would certainly be a worthwhile place to look.

HMRC makes £343K payments to tax informants

HMRC paid informants more than £343,000 last year for providing information on potential tax evasion, down from a peak of £605,000 in 2015, but still a potential ethical challenge according to City law firm RPC

The three illegal acts that may have helped Trump win the presidency

This weeks cases against Trump become the third allegation of an effort to surreptitiously aid Trump's 2016 campaign that violated the law.

Another Trump loyalist granted immunity as prosecutors close in on Trump business

A key Trump Organisation employee, Allan Weisselberg, has been granted immunity, suggesting that prosecutors are circling

Müller, Karsten and Schwarz, Carlo, Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime (May 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: or“This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using Facebook data. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) 

Glassblowers Stuck By A Severe Shortage Of Glass

The shortage seems to be the culmination of stricter environmental laws, which led to a cutback in suppliers, compounded most recently by heavy demands on an overseas supplier. … Read More

The CIA funded a culture war against communism. It should do so again. WaPo (UserFriendly)

The rise and rise of digital nomads

For more than 35 years, Dennis Hope has been selling land on the Moon. Hope registered a claim for the Moon in 1980 and, since the US government & the UN didn’t object, he figures he owns it (along with the other planets and moons in the solar system).

The end of the oceans The Monthly

Bolt attracts big crowd in Maitland ... to watch him sit on the bench

Usain Bolt is a big deal. Even if he is just sitting in a club tracksuit on the bench watching an A-League trial match.

Beyond the brick wall of policy implementation
"Why implementation will remain the missing link to the practice of public administration." (Power to Persuade)

Govt leaves prime Adelaide CBD space vacant
"Almost three floors of government-leased office space in the city’s tallest building have been left vacant since June – at taxpayers’ expense." (InDaily)

The problem with ‘Hey Guys’
"A broad coalition of English speakers ‒ teachers, retail workers, ice-cream scoopers and others ‒ is grasping for a more inclusive greeting." (The Atlantic)

Productivity Commission tackles the inequality Rorschach
SOCIAL DISADVANTAGE: Concerned that partisans are cherrypicking the data on inequality, the Productivity Commission has waded into the debate.

Making sense of Scott Morrison's new portfolio arrangements
VERONA BURGESS: The new Morrison government's administrative arrangements order is out, and despite the brevity there's a bit to explain. What's the good news from a very awkward week for public servants?

A-G tells ACLEI to start counting cost of trying to catch crooked cops
AUDIT: The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity has not paid enough attention to its fiscal responsibilities, according to its first-ever performance audit.

Life is messy, sometimes you won't have a bloody clue, so be courageous
LEADERSHIP: Ann Sherry is one of Australia's most successful women in leadership. Throughout a sterling career spanning the public and private sectors, she has always found that fortune really does favour the bold.

Why become a ministerial staffer
REVISIT: Public servants come back from working in a minister’s office with a variety of new skills, says Victoria Draudins.

APS gets another ‘innovation hub’ for cross-agency projects
CO-LAB: The Digital Transformation Agency has opened a new work space dedicated to collaboration, according to the minister, Michael Keenan.

Build stronger communities through evidence-based policies
Many government departments lack the baseline evidence essential for evaluation. The Evidence Based Policy Summit will discuss how evidence and objective analysis creates stronger policy and programs.  

What can #selfie culture teach us about innovation? 

Even if we can agree that people should be put above technology and tools, perhaps this dichotomy isn't useful when it comes to understanding how innovation can best flourish. Read the latest blog on why technology matters and what Instagram culture can teach us about innovation... 

Estonia is making public transport free
“Estonia’s capital Tallinn is an interesting case study on free public transport.” (World Economic Forum)

Nine passive-aggressive email phrases that must end now
"A poll has uncovered the most irksome phrases colleagues write in emails." (The Guardian)

The GFC completely changed what majors students choose
"Ten years have passed since the 2008 financial crisis, and the effects linger in the US." (Quartz)

Müller, Karsten and Schwarz, Carlo, Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime (May 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: or “This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using Facebook data. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has […]

What is the point of the public service?
MARTIN STEWART-WEEKS: The APS needs a new 'theory of the business' that more effectively explains and validates the role, purpose, work and impact of a public service for the digital age.