Friday, November 30, 2018

Address World Needs To Hear

My motto is never to hold on to anything. I accept and then let go: not just the negatives, but the praise, too. Or it'll get to my head. 
~Nargis Fakhri 

The Liberal brand is damaged, but Berejiklian has to wear some blame

The Premier's troubles started well before her federal colleagues managed to cause themselves incredible damage.

Geraldine Doogue, Marian Wilkinson, Andrew Olle, and Maxine McKew join previous ABC inductees to theAustralian Media Hall of Fame including Alan McGilvray, Mark Colvin, Phillip Adams, Caroline Jones, Chris Masters and Kerry O'Brien.
Deb Richards the Silent Achiever

EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babiesTechnology Review

Free Software Messiah Richard Stallman: We Can Do Better Than Bitcoin Coindesk. Stallman: “We need a state to do many vital jobs, including fund research, fund education, provide people with medical care – provide everyone with medical care – build roads, maintain order, provide justice, including to those who are not rich and powerful, and so [sic] the state’s got to bring in a lot of money. I wouldn’t want perfect privacy because that would mean it would be impossible to investigate crimes at all. And that’s one of the jobs we need the state to do.”

'Secret murderers' handshake': Putin and Saudi leader's G20 greeting goes viral

If Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince was worried about getting the cold shoulder from world leaders at the G20 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him a warm welcome.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in our angry and divided country, let us travel back 150 years, to the Thanksgiving of 1868, a time when the country was far angrier and more divided. Just three years had passed since the end of the Civil War, and resentments still smoldered. The Pulaski Riot in Tennessee and the Camilla Massacre in Georgia were fresh in the nation’s memory. In the victorious North, meanwhile, anti-immigrant sentiment was rising.

That’s what makes the Thanksgiving address of a certain Dr. Marcus Jastrow, rabbi of Philadelphia’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom, so extraordinary. His stirring message still resonates, and if we take it seriously, we will be the better for it.

Jastrow took as his text the 100th Psalm ...

[Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.]

which he interpreted as a call for national unity:

The principle of freedom and equality to all, the principle on which American institutions are based, calls upon every American to obliterate all differences, both political as well as religious, at the moment of celebrating a national idea. ...

Government says corruption watchdog must protect public servants
INTEGRITY REFORM: The Coalition government has rejected the idea of a powerful federal anti-corruption commission over concerns about the rights of Commonwealth staff but is running out of time and space to respond to mounting pressure for integrity reform with its own proposal.

APS is ageing fast, and its older employees most want to stay
2018 CENSUS: Today’s average federal public servant is female, 43-year-old, an APS 6 in a service delivery role in Canberra. She’s been working for the APS for 11 years and never moved from her starting agency.

Turnbull, Keating team up to rejuvenate the birthplace of bureaucracy
HERITAGE: Lucy Turnbull and Paul Keating will work together to develop a long-term vision for the historic Macquarie Street East precinct, home to some of Australia's earliest public buildings.

ANAOputs the spotlight on measuring efficiency
PERFORMANCE AUDIT: Federal agencies put a lot of effort into measuring effectiveness but "rarely develop indicators of efficiency" these days.

Solving the participation problem for parenting support
RESEARCH: Parenting support programs can reduce the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on children, but only if the parents participate, and often there is no funding for encouraging them.

APS diversity and gender equality contributions honoured at 2018 awards

Critical systems: how will Australia adapt in the future?
FREE BREAKFAST SEMINAR: Join Roland Pittar, Head of Transport Technologies Taskforce and GM Strategy, Geof Heydon, Chair IoT Platforms and Interoperability, and others in Canberra this Thursday. (Partner event)

NSW Treasury to speak at Outcomes Based Approaches conference
Hear from San Midha on understanding outcomes framed thinking and outcomes budgeting in government. Download the conference program here. (Partner link)

Improving the future of service delivery
Take the fear out of 'Big Data'. Cut through the red tape. Alleviate privacy fears.
Join the Data Management and Security Summit to drive future service delivery and optimise departmental performance outcomes. (Partner link)

Why politicians privilege 'real' interactions with the public

Carolyn M Hendriks & Jennifer Lees-Marshment

The call for politicians to ‘get real’ and ‘go public’ is more than just about winning elections. Officials can design engagement spaces to better suit those needs.

Six lessons for a rewarding public service career

Martin Bowles

The Australian Public Service’s valedictory orations of departing secretaries hold a treasure trove of helpful wisdom for all levels of public servants.

Memorial Ted Mack

"They will call you immoral if you dare to describe their immorality”
~Bangambiki Habyarimana

Jenni Mack, the eldest child paid the first tribute.

Ron Brendall was an MC. David Muir, Phil Cleary, Clover Moore, John Hatton, AO, and Professor James Weirick paid tribute to Ted Mack ...

John Hatton’s Tribute to Ted

The Sydney Morning Herald Obituary

Vale Ted Mack
“North Sydney Council is incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of former mayor Ted Mack.
“Ted was a North Sydney Councillor for 14 years, holding the position of Mayor for eight years from 1980 to 1988. He concurrently held the state seat of North Shore for seven of these. Ted then moved on to Federal Parliament, holding the seat of North Sydney from 1990 to 1996. While he was not the first independent in any of these forums, he was at the vanguard of the independence movement and is often referred to as the “father of independence”.
“Ted Mack holds legendary status here on the lower north shore, as a man of strong conviction and a pioneer of open government and community engagement. He was committed to reducing wasteful expenditure and improving urban planning. Under his leadership North Sydney Council was the first to commission a Heritage Study, which laid the groundwork for heritage conservation areas.
“He created Civic Park, refurbished North Sydney Oval, cemented precinct committees and community consultation into Council decision-making processes, and pursued alternative streams of income to make Council less reliant on rate income.
“His loss is one that will be felt far and wide, and Council would like to express our sincere condolences to the entire Mack family.”
Mayor Jilly Gibson

In March 2017, Council held a Ted Mack Oration to celebrate his many achievements and contribution to public life, local government, local democracy, architecture and urban planning.  You can watch the Oration here.

Architect, independent politician Ted Mack 

Leaders paying tribute to Ted Mack at memorial service

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Show and Tell of fake news

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal.
~Robert Collier

"Get your act together, stand up in the world. Make something of yourself. Set your own house in order,before you criticise the world.

Life is hard and it’s full of malevolence. You can tell a story where everyone is a victim, because we all die, we all get sick and things happen to us that are bitter and terrible: betrayal, deceit, lies, like people hurt us on purpose.

You know it’s not just the tragedy of life, it’s malevolence as well, everyone is a victim. You can tell that story, the problem is you tell that story, you start to act it out, you make it worse, that’s the problem.

Pick up your goddamn cross and walk up the hill.

You’ve got a heavy load of suffering to bare, and a fair bit of is going to be unjust. So what are you going to do about it?  Accept it voluntarily, and try to transform as a consequence, that’s the right answer.

~Jordan B Peterson Via BC

In psychology, an attribution bias or attributional bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the systematic errors made when people evaluate or try to find reasons for their own and others' behaviors.

Malcolm Turnbull accuses critics of paranoia amid meddling claims

 Deutsche Bank headquarters raided in money laundering probe
The main suspects in the probe focused on a unit in the British Virgin Islands that processed $484 million in 2016 alone are two bank employees

Property porn gives glimpse into the Aussie dream of home ownership

About 40,000 historic subdivision maps showing the sale of land for homes in Sydney have been digitised by the State Library of NSW.

How Archivists Could Stop Deepfakes From Rewriting History by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Nov 22, 2018 - Gizmodo – “…While many have feared the potential of deepfakes to spread misinformation in the here and now, these videos could distort reality long after today’s fake news goes viral if they’re improperly archived as legitimate. Gizmodo spoke with several historians, archivists, and professors who were familiar with the deepfakes phenomenon, some of whom had pragmatic concerns about it. Fortunately, archivists have rigidly established principles meant to catch forgeries and screw-ups, but these protections are only as strong as the institutions that provide them. Roger Macdonald, the director of the television archive at the Internet Archive, characterized deepfakes as “a looming threat” since last year, when researchers showed they could create realistic fake videos of former president Obama synced to audio clips…”

Goodbye, Dulce!

Dulce was instrumental in a million different things the IFCN did over the past 14 months, but above all for her work on the verification process for the code of principles. Besides launching an entirely new workflow, Dulce took a hard look at how consistent the process had been in its first year. So thorough was her assessment that it (almost?) won over a frequent critic of fact-checkers.
We know she’ll remain an advocate for more and better fact-checking in her next gig. ¡Suerte!

This is new

  • France passed a law that gives judges the power to remove misinformation from websites during election periods.
  • The Facebook fact-checking product is coming to Australia.
  • Instagram is cracking down on fake likes, follows and comments.

Welcome to the future

  • On Nieman Lab, the Wall Street Journal’s R&D boss and a research fellow dissect the state of affairs with deepfakes and how the WSJ is thinking about detecting doctored videos in various forms.
  • But who needs deepfakes when you can create havoc with a right click?
  • Faking fingerprints is easier than you might think.

Show and tell

  • The dramatic flight of a former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski from Skopje to Budapest was shrouded in rumors about his vehicle and disguise. Many of these have been debunked by fact-checkers on his path.
  • In its post-evaluation of Comprova, the coalition of media outlets that fact-checked the Brazilian election, First Draft called for more collaboration between newsrooms and fact-checkers.
  • Pacific Standard is doing a recurring series on how it researches and fact-checks its stories before publication.
(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

The Bad Place

  • A video allegedly showing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wearing one brown shoe and a black shoe spread from a Eurosceptic Twitter account straight to top Italian dailies, via Russia Today. The ensuing “correction” was worse than the mistake.
  • China’s Tencent is fact-checking content circulating on its messaging app WeChat — but seems to have also conveniently flagged unflattering an article about its business prospects.
  • YouTube’s automatic recommendations are sending people to conspiracy theory videos about the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, which killed 43 people.

Research you can use

  • Bots had a disproportionate role in spreading misinformation on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. election, according to a new study from Indiana University. But not all bots are bad: Fact-checkers are using them to automatically correct fake news stories.
  • Enough. With. The. Backfire. Effect. (Here’s why.)
  • People who dislike the media are more likely to be fooled by a fake headline online — but  more confident in their ability to find credible information, according to a new study from News Co/Lab at Arizona State University.
  • Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal. Robert Collier
    Read more at:
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)


  • It’s not just QAnon or Pizzagate — satanic pedophile conspiracies go back to the Middle Ages.
  • Hackers are stealing Instagram influencers’ accounts to spam their followers with bogus iPhone deals.
  • Cryptocurrency scammers have been hacking verified accounts on Twitter to spread their scheme — and BuzzFeed News reported that they’re probably coming from Russia.

A closer look

  • Journalists have been debating how to report on notable public claims that are known to be false for the past couple of years. Here’s a proposal.
  • It’s been almost a month since Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil. Here’s how fact-checkers are adapting to the new administration.
  • The New Yorker published a deep dive about how artificial intelligence and advances in digital imagery could make misinformation much harder to deal with.
(Screenshot from Facebook)

If you read one more thing

The liberal troll who publishes fake news for the hyperpartisan right — and one of his readers — got a profile on The Washington Post

16 quick fact-checking links

  1. ICYMI: Applications for Global Fact 6 opened last week.
  2. Help Alexios make Wikipedia more representative by sending suggestions for notable women in the field of fact-checking.
  3. Adweek wrote about how NewsGuard is using its fake news labeling system to help advertisers avoid funding misinformation. But not all of the startup’s grades make a lot of sense.
  4. This tweet nails the problem with Facebook’s former PR firm.
  5. CJR’s Mathew Ingram talked to Jimmy Wales about what went wrong with WikiTribune, the Wikipedia founder’s crowdsourced news site.
  6. A New Zealand paper confused Stan Lee and Spike Lee. But they also got the wrong winner of the “people’s choice award for dogs that look like their owners” so it was a really bad day for editors.
  7. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories floating around about the ongoing wildfires in California.
  8. Not a correction, just creepy.
  9. Child kidnapping rumors have been revived on WhatsApp in India, Boom reported.
  10. Facebook revealed last week that it had removed 1.5 billion fake accounts in the past six months, and that 3-4 percent of its monthly users were bogus. That’s still more than 68 million accounts.
  11. In a blog post, Witness shared some ideas for how WhatsApp could address misinformation without disrupting its encryption.
  12. is crowdfunding!
  13. Les Décodeurs uncovered a single man behind about 30 fake news sites.
  14. This story is a hot mess.
  15. In Nigeria, the army is now using radio broadcasts to debunk misinformation.
  16. Tim Berners-Lee has weighed in on fake news.
by Daniel and Alexios

Toronto Is Building An Ambitious “Smart” Neighborhood From The Ground Up

Toronto Is Building An Ambitious “Smart” Neighborhood From The Ground Up

It is not the first smart city—municipalities around the world have adopted smart infrastructure like artificial-intelligence-enabled traffic lights—but it might be the most ambitious. The project’s 200-page wish list of features is astounding. The “vision document” imagines not only the revitalization of a 12-acre plot that has sat largely vacant since its heyday as an industrial port, but its transformation into a micro-city outfitted with smart technologies that will use data to disrupt everything from traffic congestion to health care, housing, zoning regulations, and greenhouse-gas emissions. Long before flying cars, smart sensors won’t just be in our mattresses or our bidets, they’ll be embedded in the walls of our homes and the concrete beneath our feet. … [Read More]

Carlos Ghosn’s downfall lays bare Nissan’s board problem FT. “The company ‘had literally no governance structure,’ said Koji Endo, head of the equity research department at SBI Securities.” Everything is like CalPERS

Two US senators pushed the IRS to outsource its debt collection to private companies through this program: Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York who has hailed the initiative for bringing jobs to one of the poorest parts of his state. As if by coincidence, three of the four debt-collecting companies contracted by the IRS are based in Iowa and New York. They declined to comment on the program. 
No doubt. Some days, it seems like the planet is owned and operated by the Harkonnens.
“A 2017 study by the Government Accountability Office estimates that a typical borrower of a $30,000 student loan who places their loan into forbearance for three years — the maximum allowed for economic-hardship forbearance — would pay an additional $6,742 in interest on that loan.”
As above.
Financial structure and income inequality (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

How Political Opinions Change Scientific American
After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree. Recode

Amazon’s own ‘Machine Learning University’ now available to all developers - Dr. Matt Wood – “Today, I’m excited to share that, for the first time, the same machine learning courses used to train engineers at Amazon are now arevailable to all developers through AWS. We’ve been using machine learning across Amazon for more than 20 years. With thousands of engineers focused on machine learning across the company, there are very few Amazon retail pages, products, fulfillment technologies, stores which haven’t been improved through the use of machine learning in one way or another. Many AWS customers share this enthusiasm, and our mission has been to take machine learning from something which had previously been only available to the largest, most well-funded technology companies, and put it in the hands of every developer. Thanks to services such as Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, Amazon Translate, and Amazon Lex, tens of thousands of developers are already on their way to building more intelligent applications through machine learning.

Regardless of where they are in their machine learning journey, one question I hear frequently from customers is: “how can we accelerate the growth of machine learning skills in our teams?” These courses, available as part of a new AWS Training and Certification Machine Learning offering, are now part of my answer. There are more than 30 self-service, self-paced digital courses with more than 45 hours of courses, videos, and labs for four key groups: developers, data scientists, data platform engineers, and business professionals. Each course starts with the fundamentals, and builds on those through real-world examples and labs, allowing developers to explore machine learning through some fun problems we have had to solve at Amazon. These include predicting gift wrapping eligibility, optimizing delivery routes, or predicting entertainment award nominations using data from IMDb (an Amazon subsidiary). Coursework helps consolidate best practices, and demonstrates how to get started on a range of AWS machine learning services, including Amazon SageMaker, AWS DeepLens, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Comprehend.

  • New AWS Certification for Machine Learning – To help developers demonstrate their knowledge (and to help employers hire more efficiently), we are also announcing the new “AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty” certification. Customers can take the exam now (and at half price for a limited time). Customers at re:Invent can sit for the exam this week at our Training and Certification exam sessions. The digital courses are now available at no charge at and you only pay for the services you use in labs and exams during your training.”