Friday, November 05, 2021

The great tragedy of the post-Cold War is that corruption has come west rather than democracy going east

 JEN PSAKI APPROVES: North Korea tells starving citizens to eat less: Report.

The West invested tens of billions (mostly in loans) propping up Boris Yeltsin's corrupt regime—backing Yeltsin's '93 coup against Russia's parliament & his fraudulent '96 election—and in return, gained hundreds of billions in offshored Russian wealth.

The great tragedy of the post-Cold War is that corruption has come west rather than democracy going east

Billionaires Are Not Morally Qualified To Shape Human Civilization Caitlin Johnstone

Pathways to Parliament

Australia’s Parliament could be viewed as unrepresentative, elite and homogenous: it is stacked with private school graduates and MPs are twice as likely to be university educated. But this is not the full story.

Inspiration from the 1970s for Today’s Young Environmentalists

Today’s young environmentalists can learn much from the example of the 1970s.

IF YOU THINK FACEBOOK IS FULL OF DUBIOUS OUTRAGE-BAIT, WAIT ‘TIL YOU SEE THE COMPANY’S CRITICS: “Imagine a business model where people’s outrage is exploited for clicks, where emotions like affection and anger are valuable to tease out, and where, if people seem uninterested, you know you’ve done your job poorly. Of course, this describes both Facebook and the news media criticizing it.”

How Mort Sahl Changed Comedy And Flamed Out

He became a comedian’s comedian—venerated by other comedians, especially those old enough to know that they wouldn’t be doing what they were doing if it weren’t for him—but he never quite kept up with the shifting times. - Slate

Nature – Catalogue of billions of phrases from 107 million papers could ease computerized searching of the literature.  In a project that could unlock the world’s research papers for easier computerized analysis, an American technologist has released online a gigantic index of the words and short phrases contained in more than 100 million journal articles — including many paywalled papers. The catalogue, which was released on 7 October and is free to use, holds tables of more than 355 billion words and sentence fragments listed next to the articles in which they appear. It is an effort to help scientists use software to glean insights from published work even if they have no legal access to the underlying papers, says its creator, Carl Malamud. He released the files under the auspices of Public Resource, a non-profit corporation in Sebastopol, California that he founded. Malamud says that because his index doesn’t contain the full text of articles, but only sentence snippets up to five words long, releasing it does not breach publishers’ copyright restrictions on the re-use of paywalled articles. However, one legal expert says that publishers might question the legality of how Malamud created the index in the first place…”

Washington Post op-ed:  A Wealth Tax Is A Good Idea — If We Had a Different Supreme Court, by Daniel Hemel (Chicago; Google Scholar):

Senate Democrats and the Biden administration are reportedly nearing a deal on a new “billionaire tax” to pay for the package of spending programs that is stalled in Congress. The tax — which would apply annually to the increase in the value of stocks and other assets held by taxpayers with a net worth of $1 billion or more — appears to be one of the few revenue-raising measures that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a key swing vote, is willing to countenance. But there is a potentially fatal flaw in the proposal that should cause progressives to view it as a Trojan horse: The current Supreme Court is quite likely to strike it down as unconstitutional.

Google Blog: “In this post, we’ll walk you through how kids, teens and families can make use of a new tool that gives minors more control over their images in Google Search. Because while we already provide a range of options for people seeking to remove content from Search, we know that kids and teens have to navigate some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet. With a newly implemented policy, anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, can now request the removal of their images from Search results, following a few simple steps. This means these images won’t appear in the Images tab or as thumbnails in any feature in Google Search…Google also stresses that removing an image from its search results does not, of course, remove it from the web. The company encourages those going through the application process to contact the webmaster directly. Though in cases where doing so has been unsuccessful, removing information from Google’s index is certainly the next best thing…

Google will make exceptions for “cases of compelling public interest or newsworthiness”…

Company stands ground after watchdog finds it breached Australians’ privacy by scraping images online

Ooh: Australia's Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner has found that Clearview AI breached Australians’ privacy by scraping their biometric information from the web and disclosing it through a facial recognition tool

The Afterlife Of Rachel Held Evans: Wholehearted Faith

The COVID Retirement Boom - Federal Reserve Bank of St. LouisMiguel Faria e Castro, 2021-10-15 – “The labor force participation rateregistered its largest drop on record in 2020, falling from 63.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 60.8 percent in the second quarter of 2020. By the second quarter of 2021, the rate had recovered slightly, to 61.6 percent, but was still 1.6 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level—indicating that as of that quarter, roughly 5.25 million people had left the labor force. People left the labor force during 2020 for many reasons. Some may have left due to cyclical factors: Labor force participation tends to fall when the unemployment rate is high, and in 2020 the COVID-19 crisis featured the highest post-Great Depression unemployment rate on record (14.8 percent in April 2020). Others may have left for factors specific to the COVID-19 crisis. For example, many people were forced to quit jobs to care for children or other family members because of the lockdown of schools and other institutions. Some people would have left the labor force anyway because of retirement. Retirees are a significant fraction of the population, as U.S. population growth has slowed and Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 through 1964) are currently retiring. Finally, a significant number of people who had not planned to retire in 2020 may have retired anyway because of the dangers to their health or due to rising asset values that made retirement feasible. This essay provides a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the number of “COVID-19 retirements.”…

Farewell Chilcot and Barratt: public servants who truly served the public

Australian politicians could learn from two public officials — one who scrutinised the Iraq War, and one who sought change to the way we conduct war.