Sunday, October 24, 2021

Obeid, Berejiklian: The Secret To A Happy And Meaningful Life: Choose Suffering

 Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years Defend 

Haiti kidnapping: ‘400 Mawozo’ gang wants $17 million ransom for American and Canadian missionaries CNN 

Brazilian Leader’s Pandemic Handling Draws Explosive Allegation: Homicide New York Times 

But Ray Brownlee, the chief executive of Northern Beaches council, rejects the criticism, saying the design of the wall was reviewed by a Danish coastal engineer, the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory and a team from the University of New South Wales.

He says the vertical wall has a smaller footprint on that section of beach than a rock revetment would have had. When finished, two-thirds of the structure will be buried “most of the time”, he says.

“Council’s priority has always been to support residents to protect their properties as long as there is no negative impact on the beach,” Brownlee says. “Our challenge, and that faced by coastal areas around Australia, is to manage the impact of planning decisions made over a century ago.”A 7m wall has gone up on a Sydney beach: are we destroying public space to save private property?

The new mayor of a blue-ribbon council in Sydney’s north has been barred from speaking to council staff in person and over the phone after just over a month in the job.

Ku-ring-gai Council general manager John McKee said he had also relocated municipal employees, including mayor Cedric Spencer’s personal assistant, in acting on serious concerns he had “as a result of information coming to my attention”.

Sydney mayor banned from talking to staff and PA moved to ‘secret location’

As the spotlight turns on the failure of authorities to seize the $30 million the Obeids secured from a corrupt coal tender, the Herald can reveal that some of those ill-gotten gains were used to expand the family’s vast property interests, now worth millions and spanning the globe.

The family patriarch Eddie Obeid, 77, has been ordered to report to Silverwater jail on Saturday morning to commence his three-year and ten-month sentence, amid a political firestorm following revelations in the Herald that authorities had declined to recoup the $30 million proceeds of crime.

Anger over Obeids keeping ill-gotten gains that helped build property empire worth millions

NSW Crime Commission should go after Obeid ‘socks and jocks’: Police Minister

I have spent more money than you have made in your lifetime," Eddie Obeid snarled.

In the midst of the hearings concerning Berejiklian, the corruption that brought the former NSW Labor government undone also resurfaced with the sentencing on Thursday of former NSW ALP ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald for fraud against the people of NSW.

It was a timely reminder of how important it is to demand a high standard of accountability from the people who manage taxpayer money. Fraud experts will tell you that big audacious frauds, like the Obeid schemes, are generally preceded by smaller frauds that go unnoticed. Everyone in politics is expected to exercise constant vigilance to avoid the misuse of taxpayer money because little things can open the door to bigger things.

This much seems clear from the first week of hearings before the Independent Commission Against Corruption: A $5.5 million grant relentlessly pursued by the former member for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, for a shooting club development in his electorate was supported by almost nobody in the bureaucracy.

Day after day, ICAC has heard evidence about how unusual this grant process was, and at how many junctures it should have failed.

Michael Toohey — a senior official in the NSW Office of Sport — didn't support it.

Nigel Blunden, then-premier Mike Baird's director of strategy, didn't support it.

Treasury officials didn't support it.

Lifehacker This Digital Library Contains Answers to All the Mysteries of the Universe, If You Can Find Them: “…but within the Library of Babel, every possible permutation of 3200 letters, spaces, and commas and periods is said to be accessible, right now, in one of the library’s “books.” Search literally anything you can think of—cut and paste this paragraph, type in your next as-yet-untweeted tweet, type random gibberish—and you’ll find it already exists somewhere in the Library. It was already there, if only you’d known where to look. The Library doesn’t create and save nigh-infinite combinations randomly generated collections of letters and punctuation—there isn’t nearly enough hard-drive space on the planet to do that. Instead, it uses a “pseudo-random number generating algorithm to produce the books in a seemingly random distribution, without needing to store anything on disk.

…So what’s the point of the library? What’s the point of anything? It’s an interesting thought experiment about infinity, a way of visualizing the actual universe we inhabit, or a cool way to waste a few minutes. Check it outand let me know know what you think, or join the librarians over at Reddit.


Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay:  Why We Choose to Suffer: The Struggle for a Meaningful Life, by Paul Bloom (University of Toronto; Author, The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning):

Sweet SpotIn the search for a meaningful life, simply seeking pleasure isn’t enough. We need struggle and sacrifice.

The simplest theory of human nature is that we work as hard as we can to avoid ... [painful] experiences. We pursue pleasure and comfort; we hope to make it through life unscathed. Suffering and pain are, by their very nature, to be avoided. ... .

But this theory is incomplete. Under the right circumstances and in the right doses, physical pain and emotional pain, difficulty and failure and loss, are exactly what we are looking for. ...

Consider ... chosen suffering. People, typically young men, sometimes choose to go to war, and while they don’t wish to be maimed or killed, they are hoping to experience challenge, fear and struggle—to be baptized by fire, to use the clichéd phrase. Some of us choose to have children, and usually we have some sense of how hard it will be. Maybe we even know of all the research showing that, moment by moment, the years with young children can be more stressful than any other time of life. (And those who don’t know this ahead of time will quickly find out.) And yet we rarely regret such choices. More generally, the projects that are most central to our lives involve suffering and sacrifice.

The importance of suffering is old news. It is part of many religious traditions, including the story in Genesis of how original sin condemned us to a life of struggle. It is central to Buddhist thought—the focus of the Four Noble Truths.

Not all suffering is valuable, though. To tell someone who is deeply depressed that they need more pain in their life would be cruel if it weren’t so ridiculous. I know psychologists who will tell you that bad experiences are good for you—they speak about post-traumatic growth, an increase in kindness and altruism, more meaning in life—and this sometimes does happen. But the evidence suggests that common sense is right here: Unchosen suffering is awful; avoid it if you can.

But chosen suffering is a different story. A life well lived is more than a life of pleasure and happiness. It involves, among other things, meaningful pursuits. And some forms of suffering, involving struggle and difficulty, are essential parts of achieving these higher goals, and for living a complete and fulfilling life.

Some people report more meaning in their lives than others. In a landmark 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Roy Baumeister and colleagues asked hundreds of subjects how happy they were and how meaningful their lives were, and then asked other questions about their moods and activities. It turns out that some features of one’s life relate to both happiness and meaning—both are correlated with rich social connections and not being bored. They are also correlated with each other: People who report high levels of happiness tend to say the same about finding meaning in their lives, and vice versa. You can have both. ..

Bones or no bones: Noodle the pug predicts the internet’s mood NPR 

Slideshow: The incredible images that won the 2021 Epson International Pano Awards DPReview “When the powers of imagination come under attack by mass commodification, by religious fundamentalism, by intellectual mechanization, by political opportunism, by fiscal greed, by cynical disparagement, or by any other ideological enemy of what should be respected as a primary source of personal and collective liberty, it is incumbent upon us to defend these powers by making explicit how they engender our humanity. We can live a few weeks without food, a few days without water, and a few hours without shelter in an inhospitable clime, but we cannot live for even a moment without some movement of imagination in mind and body. To restrict its enlivening flow is to cripple the wellsprings of health, vitality, and sanity.  “Enchantment” as used herein refers to the mood of eager, inviting wonder: a precious gift of the free uses of imaginative capacities such as fantasy, awe, reverie, foresight, fancy, vision, play, and invention. Enchantment is a self-evident basic right. An assault on enchantment is an assault on the human spirit….”