Wednesday, May 08, 2024

The Arrow of Time

 “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake”

James Joyce

TaxCast #142: Blockchain Havens

How blockchain/crypto tax havens are displacing traditional tax havens.

The Arrow of Time by Bradley H. Dowder

There are many reasons to tell the story of Mata Hari – an extravagant icon of femininity, famous burlesque performer, World War I spy, and “collector” of high one standing lovers – her life reads like a harlequin novel. But arguably one of the most curious (and morbid) anecdotes of her life occurred after her death (by execution, no less)

Her Severed Head was Kept in a Paris Museum. Then it Disappeared.

The political lifestyle magazine “George” once had the largest circulation of any political magazine in America, partly due to the celebrity status of its founder JFK Jr. To boost sales, Kennedy posed in the nude in a 1997 issue.

“The True Shocking Driver of Crime in America”

A theory of crime, which while it has some explanatory power, weirdly omits white collar crime. 

The Culture of the CIA, a First Look

How the CIA evolved, or depending on your point of view, devolved into what it is today.

Active Clubs: A new far-right threat to democratic elections Al Jazeera

Extremist Militias Are Coordinating in More Than 100 Facebook Groups Wired

FCC fines wireless carriers for sharing user locations without consent ABC

 “When Neon owned the Night

Essays & Opinions

In 1953, Margaret Macdonald advanced a bold theory: “Philosophical theories are much more like good stories than scientific explanations”... more »

Understanding Human Conduct: The Innate and Acquired Meaning of Life, by Sam S. Rakover is reviewed by Asha Lancaster-Thomas in Philosophical Psychology

“Take the concept, stand-up comedy”—please — Kieran Setiya (MIT) on defining stand-up

“He has awakened us to the background practices in our culture, and revealed to us that they have no necessity, which offers us a kind of freedom we may not have recognized” — Mark Ralkowski (GWU) on the philosophy of Larry David

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup: Eyal-Cohen Reviews Efficiency vs. Welfare In Benefit-Cost Analysis — The Case Of Government Funding By Liscow & Sunstein

The race to build a better internet before it’s too late

NBC News Analysis: A new book proposes a framework for the internet that would give consumers more control over their own personal data. 

One of the worst attributes of our society at times is the search for someone to blame. Sometimes we prioritize figuring out who is at fault rather than focusing on how to fix the problem. Our current politics are dominated by debates over who is to blame for various problems. Take immigration: The debate over whom to blame takes up more time and space than the debate about how to implement the various ideas we actually all kinda-sorta agree on for fixing the issue at the center of the blame game. 

Even the ideas to mitigate the current immigration problems at the border are tied up in a cycle of paralysis that has been repeated over and over in a number of areas, not just immigration, over the past decade. In fact, about the only thing the country agrees on is that political polarization has stopped us from solving even the smallest problems. 

But other than agreeing about the existence of our disagreements, we appear incapable of trying to bridge these hardening divides. One idea to fix our polarization is to come up with a better incentive structure for our politicians so that they act more often for the greater good than for their own personal gain. Right now, it’s clearly broken…

As a new book argues, Big Tech appears to have perfected a model that has created rhetorical paralysis. Using our own data against us to create dopamine triggers, tech platforms have created “a state of perpetual disagreement across the divide and a concurrent state of perpetual agreement within each side,” authors Frank McCourt and Michael Casey write, adding: 

“Once this uneasy state of divisive ‘equilibrium’ is established, it creates profit-making opportunities for the platforms to generate revenue from advertisers who prize the sticky highly engaged audiences it generates.”…