Thursday, August 23, 2018


"Give me lucky generals,” he supposedly insisted. The French Emperor, Napoleon, understood that only the truly skilful had the ability to create their own luck.


Overpaying CEOs is a terrible way to motivate them Quartz 

Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare Counterepunch My first MD (a cardiologist in his late 30s) was perfectly fine with debating his diagnoses, in fact he seemed to enjoy it in case he’d missed or overweighted something. 

Task-based management—often credited to  Taylorism—borrowed from slavers' methods.
↩︎ Boston Review

“While the public has been focused on the ongoing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, Google has largely avoided public scrutiny about its data collection practices despite having the ability to collect far more personal data about consumers across a variety of touchpoints. There have been efforts to document individual practices by Google such as their efforts to circumvent controls on Safari.  More recently, an investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Google continues to track location data even after a consumer has turned off the setting.  While these research efforts have been important to the public policy dialogue, no research exists which looks at the breadth and depth of data collected by Google.

In “Google Data Collection,” Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together. The key findings include:

STEALING YOU BLIND: The GAO finds that a quarter of federal employees suspended from their job had been suspended before. [UPDATE: Link is quirky. Here’s a direct link to the report.]

Shill alert: If you want to read more about the ways in which bureaucrats bilk you, my book Stealing You Blind is still available in Kindle and hardcover.

The case for going to bed at 2:30 am Vox  

Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development
New book, via the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)
Apple now worth $1 trillion thanks to tax cuts and tax aversion schemes Salon
Apple avoided paying $50 billion in American taxes; now the company is the wealthiest in the world
See alsoApple has appealed its taxes nearly 500 times since 2004 Fortune Magazine
Swiss court backs UBS in French request for client data Reuters
UBS still faces a trial in France over charges of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering as well as illegally offering related services, a judicial source has said.
A Greek Bearing Grifts The American Interest
‘ … a circle of floating oligarchs who can move from one hub of self-enrichment to another. They co-opt not just the financial structures of each—state tenders, real estate markets, LLCs—but the privileges of their taxpayers—passports, ambassadorial posts—even while they flaunt the laws of each in succession.
Bitcoin investing is creating tax predicaments for hedge fundsBloomberg Technology

The robots are coming, right? We’re always reading about how the end is nigh, with robots replacing lawyers, accountants and… well, all of us, I think?
Here at ICIJ, we decided to befriend the robots and put them to work.
We taught them how to sift through our massive piles of data to find and cluster together similarities, irregularities, and patterns, such as common words. Even as you read this email, no doubt we have a little robot working away, sifting through our latest data set.
This week our data guru, Rigo Carvajal, explains how it all works. Imagine the power of a machine helping us to sort through millions of files for particular words… I think we’ll keep befriending the robots for a while longer!!
Now, if you’re anything like me, or our project manager Fergus Shiel, you’re not a technical genius like Rigo. So this week, Fergus provides the Dummies Guide to SecureDrop.
Secure-what? You ask. SecureDrop is one of the safest ways to provide information to us here at ICIJ. (Other options here.) So, if you want to follow in the footsteps of John Doe (the anonymous source behind the Panama Papers), then you should probably read Fergus’ story.
And even if you don’t… it’s worth it for the humor. Who can’t relate to this:
“There is no computer, printer or phone which I cannot jinx with my innate inability to log on, download, upload or any load, more or less.”

Morrison bans Huawei from 5G mobile rollout
BANNED: The Chinese telco vendor has been barred from the 5G network in a move that is likely to provoke a strong political and trade response from Beijing.