Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tools of Then and Now: Kenyan Born and Bred Malchkeon and Those Stone Tools

The importance of the Enlightenment has not been its triumph, but its creation of a culture of criticism – a culture now endangered by apathy...As Vaclav Havel  observed the more we know the less and less we care »

Here's my list of three reasons why we fear new technologies: Fear of Dissonance, Fear of Losing Your Job, Fear of Perception. 3 Reasons Why We Fear Technology
Tools of Yesterday:
“Human evolutionary scholars have long supposed that the earliest stone tools were made by the genus Homo and that this technological development was directly linked to climate change and the spread of savannah grasslands. New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone’s fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities.
  • Supplementary Information – This file contains Supplementary Text, Supplementary Tables 1-3 and Supplementary References.
Tools of Now:
News release: “When you see the driver next to you looking at their phone, it’s no longer safe to assume they’re texting. New research from AT&T shows nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And surprisingly, 1-in-10 video chat. 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. But other smartphone activity use behind the wheel is now common. Among social platforms, Facebook tops the list, with more than a quarter of those polled using the app while driving. About 1-in-7 said they’re on Twitter behind the wheel. AT&T will expand the It Can Wait® campaign from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone driving distractions that have emerged as our relationships with our devices have changed. “When we launched It Can Wait five years ago, we pleaded with people to realize that no text is worth a life,” said Lori Lee, AT&T’s global marketing officer. “The same applies to other smartphone activities that people are doing while driving. For the sake of you and those around you, please keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone…”Smartphone activities people say they do while driving include:
  • Text (61%)
  • Email (33%)
  • Surf the net (28%)
  • Facebook (27%)
  • Snap a selfie/photo (17%)
  • Twitter (14%)
  • Instagram (14%)
  • Shoot a video (12%)
  • Snapchat (11%)
  • Video chat (10%)”

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cult Media Dragon John Hempton via TR

Vesna* Poljak of AFR fame has a very interesting story following up on TR's pointer...
 Hedge fund manager John Hempton has aired his experience of looking into Hanergy, the Hong Kong-listed solar company whose shares plunged in unexplained fashion last week. The company is now reportedly the target of an investigation into market manipulation.

Mr Hempton, who authors the cult markets blog Bronte Capital as well as managing money, published pictures on Friday of his visit to a Hanergy site in China around six weeks ago. The images show a largely idle factory where the main activity was gardening.
Since the shares were suspended, it has emerged that the chairman of Hanergy Thin Film Solar Group, Li Hejun, had increased short positions in the stock, betting the shares would fall.
Cult Media Dragon Hempton reveals observations on Hanergy

*The mythological Vesna represented spring in bohemian mythology and is still the poetic word for spring in the Slavic Slovenian and Slovak languages.

“Hanergy barely existed”
Livewire via Zero Hedge, Bloomberg, Bronte Capital Blog

Some very strange things have occurred at Hanergy Thin Film in China, the company owned by China’s (former) richest man, Li Hejun. 1) The stock crashed by more than 50% in under one second last week. “Before its crash and indefinite trading suspension, Hanergy’s market value was higher than all other listed Chinese solar companies combined.” 2) Now it’s come to light that the owner, Li Hejun, was shorting the stock prior to, and at the time of the crash. 3) John Hempton, the Chief Investment Officer of Bronte Capital has revealed in a blog post on the weekend that he visited the main factory of Hanergy six weeks ago to find it “idle” and “entirely silent” with no signs of production. Hempton concludes that “there was essentially no production of solar cells at all" so "the accounts that suggest significant production and sales are entirely fraudulent.” I think we can all guess how this ends… but the bigger question is, how many similar stories are lurking out there?

For those following the Hanergy story, This post via Zero Hedge is also worth reading 

UK and China shortselling 

“The Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting is a new guide to online search and research techniques to using user-generated content and open source information in investigations. Published by the European Journalism Centre, a GIJN member based in the Netherlands, the manual consists of ten chapters and is available for free download. We’re pleased to reprint below chapter 5, by investigative journalist Giannina Segnini.  


I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly...

'There is no flower so immediately irresistible as the Auricula... for the perfection of the stage Auricula is that of most exquisite Meissen porcelain, or the most lovely silk stuffs of Isfahan...and yet it is a living and growing thing...'
The poet and art critic Sacheverell Sitwell, writing in 1939, was as impressed as I am with the beauty of the Auricula...


James Rebanks' family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations; the life of a shepherd dominated and ordered by the seasons, year on year, same tasks, same time, same attention to detail and same amount of toil and effort. Writing of his grandfather, James Rebanks suggests his were the silent majority, the great forgotten...
'....people who lived, worked, loved and died without leaving much written trace that they were ever there....essentially nobodies as far as anyone else is concerned.'
But, as he proceeds to elaborate, it was through the efforts of 'nobodies' that the landscape was created and was survived through, and this a thought that stayed with me as I read on. I say it time and again ...how often I wander around the farmland here and wonder about all those people who have gone before; walk up the green lane and see the wall on either side that someone must have built; see the hedges once laid (now massacred) and wonder at all the manpower and effort involved to keep it that way, the narrative rapidly disappearing. Books like The Shepherd's Life matter, they help that narrative to thrive. The Cumbrian landscape of Matterdale home to a web of relationships adhering to time honoured values, the  code of honour where a man's handshake is his bond and family and kinship is centred on the farmhouse.Shepherds Life

Leadership Antipodean Style & Team camaraderie

How to lead without being the boss  How you can lead from below and from within a department or company without upsetting the corporate hierarchy Mateship 

Team camaraderie Some hallmarks of camaraderie include taking the time and energy to build understanding, acceptance and respect, striving for excellence, effective communication and healthy team focus.  Teams

Why leadership is different in Australia and five leaders who are nailing it Australians are fiercely egalitarian. They don't tolerate hypocrisy and they won't follow leaders just because of their title. So people who can truly lead in Australia and gain the voluntary engagement of their staff, are worth learning from Leadership Antipodean Style  

Alignment between IT and the business has progressed significantly according to the 2015 PMG IT and the UX Study. The survey of nearly 250 North American corporate IT professionals demonstrates that IT and business users are beginning to work together in a more cohesive manner. In fact, IT’s take on the mutual understanding of strategic objectives has improved by nearly 20 percent.”

Kerry Schott: the inside story of ICAC, lobbying and Australian Water Holdings Kerry Schott 

It is rather amazing what trivial stuff Obama and/or Putin read on weekends:
They are impressed with sone arguments in 2001 and now Seymour Hersh says it wasn’t torture or the billions spent spying on the world that led to bin Laden’s discovery but a bounty:
…the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US…
Inspiring Commencement speakers

Do bribes in fact “grease the wheels” for policy change in corrupt nations?

Appropriating Instagram