Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Merchants of Truth: 7 things we’ve learned about computer algorithms

The rich did not have to commit crimes to get what they wanted; the laws were on their side.

“For the majority of English people there are only two religions, Roman Catholic, which is wrong, and the rest, which don’t matter.” Duff Cooper, Old Men Forget ... 

The cyber attack on Parliament was done by a 'state actor' — here's how experts figure that out

I wish you a sound defeat: Wayne Swan’s parting shots at Morrison government  Wayne Swan slams Coalition, lauds every Labor PM but Kevin Rudd in valedictory speech - Courier Mail

Helloworld reunites chums Hockey and Cormann. Just don't ask about the bucket

The friendship of cigar-smokers, Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann, is back under the spotlight.

Helloworld Officially Apologises To Mathias Cormann For Giving Him Free Flights

Ambassador Joe Hockey helps out travel firm

The Pentagon made public for the first time on Feb. 12 the outlines of its master plan for speeding the injection of artificial intelligence into military equipment, including some advanced technologies destined for the battlefield

Out of the frying pan (and) into the fire suggests the idea that sometime trying to solve a problem may result in a bigger one ... No More Ransom to the Rescue: New Decryption Tool Released for Latest Version of GandCrab ransomware  Free decryption tool could save victims millions in ransomware paymentsRansomware

Cyber attacks by foreign governments, malicious companies and enterprising hackers are on the rise. And the biggest problem is you. - ABC News

Fake  Everywhere – It’s Just About Impossible Now To Figure Out What’s Real

Fakery is gushing in from everywhere and we’re drowning in it. “Deepfake” videos mash up one person’s body with someone else’s face. Easy-to-use software can generate audio or video of a person saying things they never actually uttered. Even easier? Fake clicks, fake social media followers, fake statistics, fake reviews. A gaggle of bots can create the impression that there’s a lot of interest in a topic, to sway public opinion or to drive purchases. It is even a breeze to create a fake newspaper online. – Wired

How Imperfect Knowledge Shapes Financial Markets

An earthquake lasted 50 days, but no one felt it. Here’s why. National Geographic

New Zealand bans Huawei, China has message for New Zealand South China Morning Post

Amazon Pulls Out Of Plans For Queens – When Company Culture Doesn’t Need Local Grief

Amazon had a deal and could have simply gone ahead. But the company had no allegiance to Queens and no need to be where it wasn’t wanted. “Amazon’s retreat from Queens shows us the dynamics of a new local power game — one in which giant tech companies play on the same field with governments, as equals, with equal influence over our economies and communities.” – Axios

Tatiana A. Homonoff (Cornell), Can Small Incentives Have Large Effects? The Impact of Taxes versus Bonuses on Disposable Bag Use, 10 Am. Econ. J.: Econ. Pol'y 177 (2018):

This paper examines a simple element of financial incentive design—whether the incentive takes the form of a fee for bad behavior or a reward for good behavior—to determine if the framing of the incentive influences the policy's effectiveness. I investigate the effect of two similar policies aimed at reducing disposable bag use and a five-cent tax on disposable bag use and a five-cent bonus for reusable bag use. While the tax decreased disposable bag use by over forty percentage points, the bonus generated virtually no effect on behavior. These results are consistent with a model of loss aversion.

A historian’s remarks at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have gone viral after he told billionaires if they want to solve inequality, all they need to do is pay their taxes.

In a video posted by Now This and viewed more than 5 million times, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman heavily criticizes billionaires who talk about solving inequality, but fail to actually do the main thing he says will help.

“I hear people talking the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency, but then, almost no one raises the real issue of tax avoidance, right? And of the rich just not paying their fair share,” Bregman said last week at the forum, which typically draws the world’s elite.

Hey EU Council! think again on whistleblower protection

The Tax Justice Network is a signatory to the following letter, sent this morning to the EU Council.  We argue that the proposed EU Directive on the protection of whistleblowers does not adequately protect public interest, and will inhibit whistleblowers from revealing information about employers … [Read more...]

“Algorithms are all around us, using massive stores of data and complex analytics to make decisions with often significant impacts on humans – from choosing the content people see on social media to judging whether a person is a good credit risk or job candidate. Pew Research Center released several reports in 2018 that explored the role and meaning of algorithms in people’s lives today. Here are some of the key themes that emerged from that research…”

Scientist who resisted censorship of climate report lost her job (Reveal) 

Private Mossad for Hire (The New Yorker)

Since Parkland (Miami Herald/McClathy)