Sunday, April 26, 2015

Letting nature do the work

“The world owes all its onward impulse to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.”
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables

What if after you die God asks you - "So how was heaven?" • /r/Showerthoughts


In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted—rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month about the ethical implications of such work Chinese genetically modifying human embryos and media dragons
The bonsai principle of letting nature do the work holds true in Full Grown line of furniture Living Room Furnishings Made of Bound Trees

Uncomfortable truths are stifled in science, but ideology alone isn’t to blame. It’s money that rules the day in the academy... Truth about Money ...

Extinction is not a helpful way to think about conservation. It’s alarmist, simplistic, and inaccurate. Nature is as robust as it ever was – maybe more so, says Stewart Brand... Nature

Saturday, April 25, 2015


“There was not much need for retribution in the life hereafter. You usually paid for the party while you were still on earth.”
~ John P. Marquand, Melville Goodwin, USA
We will remember them: Services commemorating ANZAC Day will take place across Sydney.
We will remember them: Services commemorating ANZAC Day will take place across Sydney

Indigenous soldiers

Up to 15,000 Indians fought with allied troops at Gallipoli, but their contribution remains relatively unknown and unrecognised in Australia and their homeland, research has found.
"The average Indian is almost ignorant about Gallipoli as a campaign in World War I," retired Indian Air Force wing commander Rana Chhina said.
Historians believe almost 1,400 Indians died at Gallipoli and up to 3,500 were wounded.
India's Forgotten Soldiers  
Australian and Indian troops together at Gallipoli  

First world war centenary

Friday, April 24, 2015

From Propertius to Bob Dylan

Paul Auster visited Yale at the end of March for the Schlesinger Visiting Writer Series. They asked him a few questions.

Q: Yale is teeming with aspiring writers. Is there any golden advice that you would like to give them?

A: Don’t do it. You are asking for a life of penury, solitude, and a kind of invisibility in the world. It’s almost like taking orders in a religious sect. Writing is a disease, it’s not anything more than that. If a young person says, “You are right, it would be a stupid thing to do,” then that person shouldn’t be a writer. If a young person says, “I don’t agree with you, I will do it anyway,” alright, good luck! But you’ll have to figure it out on your own, because everyone’s path is different.

Author Jonathan Rogers was passed up by Senior Ms. America in last April's Music City Half-Marathon. It proved transformative.
Here in my forties I have gained wisdom from running that I never gained from books. To wit: I have learned never to ask, “Can I run 13.1 miles?” (the answer is probably no) but only to ask “Can I run to the next telephone pole” (the answer is probably yes). To apply this principle to my line of work, people don’t write books: they write sentences.
Mark Bertrand writes about a new favorite author and the novel, Scandal, in which a Catholic novelist and public intellectual discovers he has an identical, evil double of himself. This other man is encouraging the community to believe the moral novelist is a flaming hypocrite. "The hunt for his doppelgänger," Bertrand explains, "draws him into an underworld — actually, that’s not quite right: the quest has more to do with realizing that this world is the underworld."

This appears to be the kind of thing The Shadow claimed to know: the evil that lurks in every man's heart.

“With a single poem, which says that her beloved Anactoria is more valuable than the splendor of any cavalry, infantry, or fleet, she created a tradition of ‘love-not-war’ lyrics whose future stretches from Propertius to Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen. As the definitive ur-voice of lyric ecstasy, she is so consequential that poets of every generation, from Catullus to Sylvia Plath and Anne Carson, have used her to define their aesthetic manifestos: among the ancients, only Homer can claim an instrumental role in literary history equivalent to Sappho’s.” New York Review of Books

“No writer wants to own the label ‘confessional’ anymore. It’s an epithet, with the same tenor as ‘hipster’ or ‘artisanal': something for privileged narcissists who can’t see any of their own silliness. … And yet, the practice has deeply ancient, religious roots. Bruenig notes that it was designed not just to let the person who is confessing spill his or her guts, but also a sort of collective anecdote.” Pacific Standard 

“For centuries, if what you had written was going to be shown to others, it would have to be placed in a library, usually a church library. And since the only way anyone would know that a new piece of literature had been written was if the writer personally put the word around, there would usually be some kind of social connection between writer and readers.” New York Review of Books

For the Bard's birthday, "ten plays, quickly resolved through texts."


Michael Reddell blogger

They tried to bury Media Dragons. They did not know we were seeds.

….As Hayek emphasized, the market does not require perfect knowledge to function, rather it is the means by which imperfect knowledge is made to function in the social interest

Michael Reddell, New Zealand economist, is blogging


Economists have discovered how bad the economy really is WaPo. Labor force participation. NC readers have known for years.

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children The Guardian

6 Tricks Banks Use to Drive Homeowners Into Foreclosure Newswire. Notice that this is a 2015 article, not 2008 or 2010 or 2012, when this was supposed to be all over.

Sydney Swells after Storms ;-)

A surfer takes on the break in this edited footage from 2012, which re-surfaced during the Sydney storm.
A surfer takes on the break during the Sydney storms on 1 April 2015 ;-)

Sharks and crocodiles

Wild Weather Thousands still without power

Largest pod of killer whales

Insider Trading: The Truth About Lies

Knowledge always desires increase; it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but which will afterwards propagate itself.

When Congress “guts” the IRS like it has over the recent past, what is the likely result?  A most foreseeable one.  The IRS cannot continue to enforce the tax laws and collect taxes as efficiently as they should.  In the U.S. we have a voluntary tax system which means that taxpayers voluntarily decide to file tax returns and, in many instances, pay those taxes. If you owe under $ 1million you may not be audited

The Mansions Owned by White-Collar Criminals Wall Street Journal

This documentary is for everyone who has ever lied or been lied to. So, everyone. In "(Dis)Honesty - The Truth About Lies," behavioral economist Dan Ariely takes a look at the complex ways lies both big and small influence our lives and shape the world around us.
Watch: Insider Trading, Cheating and Fixing in Exclusive Trailer For '(Dis)Honesty - The Truth About Lies'

….As Hayek emphasized, the market does not require perfect knowledge to function, rather it is the means by which imperfect knowledge is made to function in the social interest

In an advice paper, Learning the hard way: managing corruption risks associated with international students at universities in NSW, the Commission identifies several corruption risks created by universities’ international student businesses, and puts forward 12 key corruption initiatives to help the universities manage them.
The executive director of ICAC's corruption prevention division, Robert Waldersee, who oversaw the ICAC report, told Four Corners that every university his staff had interviewed – 10 in NSW plus two in other states – had reported problems with false documents provided by education agents, often in collusion with students.

Tinkler attacking reporter

"The risk is they're going to put applicants through to the university with fake qualifications, or who they know have cheated on tests, or who are trying to undertake some sort of visa fraud," Dr Waldersee said Unis fraud investigation by ICAC international sector

A company linked to the Obeid family has agreed to pay up to $1.7 million to settle a court case brought by the state-owned Sydney Water to recover lavish expenses that were allegedly wrongfully billed to the utility.
Sydney Water launched Federal Court action against Australian Water Holdings last year to claw back the costs after the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard allegations it footed the bill for suspect expenses.

IRS Should Crack Down on Private Equity’s Abusive Tax Alchemy Eileen Appelbaum, Huffington Post

Unemployment makes you sick Bill Mitchell. Lambert: “That’s not a bug…”
Bye Bye Labour London Review of Books
The Retro Future Archdruid

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Most designers and consumers prefer pieces with a history and a story

Most designers and consumers prefer pieces with a history and a story

Read more here:
Home and garden

In the future, your insurance company will know when you’re having sex Fusion. Only if you’re wearing an Apple Watch.

This week, the IKEA Foundation announced the results of its ongoing collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): a plan to provide the UNHCR with 10,000 flat-pack Better Shelter units for refugee and disaster aid through IKEA’s Housing for All Foundation.

If you've been wanting a Van Gogh or Dali on your wall, Meural can make your dreams come true

One bold new supermarket chain in Berlin, called Original Unverpackt, is cutting through this misleading practice by going green the old-fashioned, and sometimes difficult, way: selling everything in bulk and allowing customers to bring their own containers.
Village shopping

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Google Scholar’s database

Big decisions with heart; little ones with head ...

“The scenes in All the President’s Men that show Woodward and Bernstein crisscrossing Washington on foot and ringing doorbells at night are shoe leather mythology in its most concentrated form. Making calls is good, but one stepped removed from what is most holy…”

The coming digital anarchy Telegraph. Note this is Silicon Valley sales talk.

AUSSIES rule the world when it comes to our interest in booze, drugs, junk food and clothing, an international study into emoji use has revealed.
SwiftKey, the makers of a popular third-party app for smartphones, has analysed the way people in countries around the world use emoji in a report that looked at more than 1 billion pieces of data sent by speakers of 16 different languages in a four-month period. Some of the report’s findings support common ethnic stereotypes.
The Potter of the World
Orin Kerr (George Washington), New (and Free) Legal Research Tool:
If you use the Google Chrome browser, and you do legal research online, you should add the new Google Scholar Button to your browser. It’s really easy to do. Just click here and add the button. At that point you can use the button to research academic articles using Google Scholar’s database.

Etsy provides a different sort of help in the form of a virtual store, and crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter provide a platform to generate revenue, enabling people to make things happen for themselves. 
Good Ideas Gaining Traction Media Dragon

Sophie Maxwell: A Future Living Will That is Very Much 'Alive

Wall Street Journal, Airbnb Income May Be Tax-Free–But There’s a Catch:
It is one of the tax code’s best freebies: a provision allowing people to rent out their homes for fewer than 15 days a year and pocket the income-tax-free. This break is often called the Masters exemption because of its popularity in Augusta, Ga., during the famous April golf tournament.
Now services such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Onefinestay and FlipKey are making it easier for people to take advantage of the Masters exemption by offering short-term rentals of their homes. Airbnb alone had more than one million listings at the end of 2014, more than triple the number it had at the end of 2012.
But this boon also is putting some so-called hosts on a collision course with the Internal Revenue Service, tax experts say.

Diversity is a wonderful thing. On that note, I enjoyed Siobhan Thompson’s delightful linguistic tour of 17 accents of the British Isles - and the celebrities who speak with them. Celebrity references points of Lancashire (where I hail from) are “Christopher Eccleston or most of the cast of the Downstairs and Downton Abbey.” Revolution begins with language, one million YouTube hits and counting.
Decisions made by Accents

KIND Snacks Founder: Business Must Be a Force for Good [PSFK 2015]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cats and Dogs

The Lion Queens – Australian women

Anna came home from work utterly exhausted and opened the front door. 

Upon walking inside, she said to her waiting husband, "Take off my clothes, right here, right now," and he slowly complied. 
Then she added, "Don't you ever wear my clothing again!' 

EXCLUSIVE: The Lion Queens – Meet the brave Australian women who look after big cats from zoos and the movie industry… and even let the deadly animals sleep in their beds with them Daily Mail 


Past's Long Shadows Economist

The puzzle of friendship and love; The pain is worth it

No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.
- Sydney Autumn Experience at Dusk

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because this is where the magic happens.  Trust increases with age, according to research, and we're getting older on a population basis, meaning that the older world we live in is also a more trusting world. 

“You can’t pile together enough good people to make a great one.”  The tendency is to like those who like us, to like those who offer us least harm, and to like those who benefit us. In that order probably The puzzle of friendship

Nothing beats a creative idea, and in a high-speed world Jugaad (in short, an innovative fix) hits pay dirt as a way to win. A few years ago I wrote the foreword for the book Jugaad Innovation, and was only too happy to recently endorse the follow-up, now out, Frugal Innovation: How to do more with less by Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett says the definition of happiness is to find something bigger than you are and dedicate the rest of your life to it.

Most people would agree that it’s pretty fantastic to experience something that takes your breath away – it makes you feel alive. Not only that, research has found that these moments of awe are good for our health. A University of California, Berkeley, study suggests that the feeling of awe we may experience during encounters with art, nature and spirituality has an anti-inflammatory effect, protecting the body from chronic disease.

Awe can also improve our relationship with time. A Stanford University study found that awe expands our perception of time by anchoring us in the present moment. People are therefore more likely to feel that they’re rich in time – and who doesn’t want that?

Vincent van Gogh once said that he’d rather die of passion than of boredom. He might have been referring to love for his work, but love in an emotional sense often brings both passion and heartbreak. Scientists think they’re close to uncovering a cure for love – but would we want it? Without it, we’d just have the moderated bit in the middle – boredom.  Lists of music of love and heartbreak

Bob Dylan, ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’: “A bruised heart can turn the best of us into bitterly deluded fools… he gets in a spiteful parting shot – ‘you just kinda wasted my precious time’ – but he’s left arguing with himself. The object of his scorn is long gone.” 

I’ve said it before (or rather, I have quoted Tom Peters often). Fail Fast, Learn Fast, Fix Fast. A newly launched website, Recently Rejected pays homage to the creative process and the inevitability of rejection, shining a spotlight on unpublished, rejected or unfinished design work. 
Artist and art director Mario Hugo, creator of the site, is expectedly philosophical in an interview with Fast Company: “A lot of very interesting, artful creative stuff just isn’t right for the brief…the site is like the death rattle of an old file that would otherwise remain tucked in an older folder.”

Privatising Climate Change and Socialising Sydney Storms

Payday at the mill Portland Press-Herald. How private equity firm Cate Street Capital preyed on people desperate to “save the mill” and looted the state of Maine, with the help of the Pierce Atwood Law firm and the rest of Maine’s political class, including leaders in both parties. Ka-ching.

Wild Weather
Broken umbrellas fill a bin on Oxford Street due to wild weather that has hit Sydney. Picture Cameron Richardson

Privatising Climate Change

Nine psychological reasons why we love lists

Neurio will recognize the electronic signature of everything in your home—no Internet connection needed One Single Device To Turn All Your Dumb Gadgets Into Slightly Smarter Gadgets

The internet is awash with information that’s been sliced and diced into bite-sized chunks. But why do we find it so appealing? Claudia Hammond explores the canny mind tricks behind the buzz
Nine psychological reasons why we love lists