Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dark Side of Life: a way of noticing and preserving

“sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”

… As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. … 
“In my end is my beginning.” Going Home ...

“Depending on who you ask, the ‘Dark Web’ – the Internet’s mysterious undercurrent accessible only through specialized software – is either a libertarian utopia or a criminal hellscape run by cryptoanarchists trading stolen bitcoins. Now it’s more than either.” A Q&A with the founders of the new literary magazine The ToristLiterary Hub Dark Web gets its first literary Media Dragon magazine

How a statue of Satan reduced Lord Jeffrey Archer's tax bill

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani compares cybersecurity to cancer. As a prostate cancer  survivor, Giuliani says he doubts anyone will ever find a “perfect solution” to the disease, and that cybercrime presents a similar challenge. And for both maladies, detecting them early on can reduce the damage. After completing his second term as New York’s mayor in 2001, he founded a security consulting company, Giuliani Partners, in 2002. In the years since, he paused business to run for president, and then returned to his company and also joined the law firm Bracewell, which then changed its name to Bracewell & Giuliani. Last week, Giuliani joined Greenberg Traurig to chair its cybersecurity and crisis management practice Rudy Giuliani compares cyber security to cancer and hackers to the Mafia

Documents obtained by Fairfax reveal the extent of the Commonwealth Bank’s involvement, revealing the bank knew about the alleged fraud in 2007 but did not report the pair to police until 2011 Read more here

International Business Times – A New York Times Op-Ed today by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was coordinated with the release by her office of a 12 page investigative report titled, Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Let Corporate Offenders Off Easy, “that documents 20 civil and criminal cases that in her opinion lacked adequate accountability. Those cases include the foreign-currency case as well as others, including the alleged years long General Motors cover-up for an ignition switch defect that reportedly led to 124 deaths and 275 injuries, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and others.” 

FBI’s war on encryption is unnecessary because the Internet of Things will spy on us just fine Boing Boing. Here is the underlying report, courtesy guurst: Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the “Going Dark” Debate 

The toll of technology. We're engaged in “a race to the bottom of the brain stem.” Rewards go to those companies that keep us mindlessly attentive  Join the Club 

Ships’ noise is serious problem for killer whales and dolphins, report finds Guardian 
Dark Side of Terrorism

Uber Drivers and Others in the Gig Economy Take a Stand New York Times

Living Out of a Van is the New American Dream Vice

A beautiful suicide – 23 year-old Evelyn McHale jumped from the 83rd floor of the Empire State Building and landed on a United Nations limousine, 1947

Number of Female Genital Mutilation victims found to be 70 million higher than thought Guardian

Psychologists set out to provide moral guidance for society, but they have proven morally suspect themselves. It’s not easy to outsource ethical reflection - Reflections on Latitude East Social Club 

NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System

DHS $6 Billion Firewall May Not Be Effective In Keeping Hackers Out of Government, Audit Says

Ads for dangerous drug ice multiply on craigslist 

Focus On Identity Theft & Tax Fraud Remains High At IRS Despite ...

Raconteur's special report on Digital Economy in The Times  2016

With a smartphone in almost every pocket, it’s time more businesses joined the digital race or else risk being left behind. This report explores how to stay ahead of the ever-evolving digitisation curve, from building an API software strategy for success, to extracting meaningful data from the cloud and putting customers at the centre of digital strategy. It also charts the disruptive startups on track to make billions and the top five digital marketing techniques to counter ad-blocking Digital

2016 Media Dragon marketing prediction trends

As tech firms and law enforcement experiment with radio jammers and net-wielding interceptor drones to take down rogue quadcopters, police in the Netherlands are trialling a simpler solution: eagles. The country’s law enforcement has teamed up with a raptor training company named Guard From Above to see if birds of prey can be used to safely intercept quadcopters.
In the video demonstration above, an eagle is seen easily plucking what looks like a DJI Phantom out of the air. However, it’s not clear how dangerous this is for the bird.

Successful Comcare claimants are entitled to be paid their full salaries for their first 45 weeks off work and 75 per cent of their salary, plus medical and pharmacological expenses, until they either return to work or reach retirement age Glass jawed public servants entitled to compo tribunal rules

Amazon is hiring on-demand drivers to implement its Amazon Flex same-day-delivery service. Given the confused state of federal wage-hour FLSA law as inherited from the 1930s, and the ever intensifying legal pressure from class action lawyers and various levels of government, will this arrangement eventually be upheld as legal? Who knows? “By the time courts and Congress take a decade to reshape labor law, the companies will have moved on to the next thing.” [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism]

News from the Profession. Lying About Your Financial Statements Being Audited Still Frowned Upon (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern

An Australian mother and blogger has written a powerful post about the 'dumb-a**' things she believes we need to stop saying to dads. 
Writer Rosie Devereux is a Brisbane-based mother who published the post on her blog, Rosie Writes Media Dragon

There's a rumour swirling from the Australian Taxation Office that its employees like to go to weekend footy – not to watch the game but the cars parking outside the ground. Lattituders

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is literally marked on the forehead of observant Christians ...
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"
Ash Wednesday Story 

Slavic Pre Ash Wednesday Doughnut by Marcel Imrich 

Ushering Ashes on MEdia Dragons: Pope Francis to open Lenten pastoral effort on social media  

“I exhort anyone who has not been on the inside of the public service to find an opportunity to do so.
“Public servants are wonderful, caring, intelligent and committed Australians (occasionally, so sadly, so pathetically stigmatised as ‘grey cardigan wearers’) who, to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt from his famous ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ speech, ‘actually strive to do the deeds; who know great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spend themselves in a worthy cause’.”
Lay off ash ‘grey cardigan wearers': ACMA head’s parting shot to critics 

We Want a New World

“She could never rid herself of the sense that unhappiness was a state of disease—of suffering as opposed to doing. To ‘do’—it hardly mattered what—would therefore be an escape, perhaps in some degree a remedy.”
~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Last week, the former prime minister Paul Keating said that lifting the GST to 15 per cent would be “fiscal folly” and “tax penury”. Despite his warnings, he accepted a modest increase to the consumption tax, of a couple of percentage points, could be made to help fund hospitals. “A big increase in the rate of the GST will only lead the political system into continuing bad habits,” Mr Keating wrote for Fairfax this week ..

Stubbornness comes with more ease than holiness. I, for one, am tempted to “force the door.” I have always been ambitious and was, at one time, fiercely political. In this vein, I was ideologically inclined. But that was before I learned the dangers of ideologies and their blameworthiness for perpetuating the plight of modern men. I was attracted to politicians and ideologues and their ability to impact the bigger picture. I know now that it is not ideas, but human persons that, in reality, are the bigger pictureAny ideology that sets itself above the logos of the Incarnation will not provide an adequate view of men. Only “Christ…fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes). So, politics must return to its proper place where it derives its importance only from humble service toward human persons and their true end.… Baptizing the Modern World

 Proust was among the first to recognize that the shock of air travel wasn’t technological but intellectual: a new way of processing the world, a new habit of mind The New World 

Have we moved beyond Adam Smith and Jean-Jacques Rousseau? No, and nor should we. Their 18th-century debates are still our debates Old Ideas New Again 

Debates over the federal budget often refer to the level of ‘welfare’ spending. However the term welfare is often poorly defined. This can lead to confusion. The ambiguity of the term ‘welfare’ is a problem across English-speaking countries. For example, in a post on the House of Commons Library Blog, Rod McInnes writes:
The word ‘welfare’ does not have a single universally accepted definition in the context of public expenditure. For some people, the word is associated with cash handouts for working-age people who are workless or on low incomes. Others define the term more broadly to encompass other strands of benefit expenditure, or even services provided as benefits-in-kind by the ‘welfare state’, such as the NHS [National Health Service], social care or free school meals. Te word ‘welfare’ may also be felt by some to carry a certain stigma, whereas others may consider it neutral rather than pejorative.
What counts as welfare spending? 

Mapping homelessness Down Under

The Gerben comedy immigration video that everyone is talking about

Tzu understood the advantage of knowing your opponent when engaging a fight: Randwick councillors call for extra merge meeting
"Thus, it is said that one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a
hundred engagements. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes
be victorious, sometimes meet with defeat. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement ..."
WOOLLAHRA’S mayor has launched a scathing attack on Australia’s most famous beachside suburb, slamming Bondi and its surrounds as a “homogenised mess” in a bid to avert a looming amalgamation with Waverley Council. The comments came in a submission to the Local Government Boundaries Commission of inquiry yesterday from Woollahra Mayor Councillor Toni Zeltzer, who said it would be better for Woollahra to merge with the City of Sydney. "Waverley ... has a high-rise belt in Bondi Junction, Bondi Beach on the coast and everything in between is a homogenised mess,” 
Council wars: Woollahra’s mayor slams Bondi as a ‘homogenised mess’

Botany Historical Trust’s Anne Slattery described the merger as “cultural and historical barbarism”... Cricketer Dave Warner and TV personality Sarah Harris, grew up in social housing. Randwick land values increased by 35 per cent to an average of $1.1 million, close to Woollahra’s $1.5 million average. All Happy Families are Alike in Diversity 

When Peter Shergold was asked to rake over major policy failures under the previous government and draw out lessons in better ways of doing public administration, he seized the opportunity to say what he really thinks. His lively report (with its mouthful title) — Learning from Failure: why government policy initiatives have gone so badly wrong in the past and how the chances of success in the future can be improved — reads like a manifesto for modern public services that attempts to go well above and beyond its terms of reference. Peter Shergold was asked to find lessons for public servants from failures under the previous government

The intention of this paper is to analyze religiosity as a factor that potentially affects tax compliance. Studies in the 90s have shown that the puzzle of tax compliance is "why so many individuals pay their taxes" and not "why people evade taxes".
Current NSW Premier Mike Baird can expect to come under scrutiny in his first appearance since a social media response to what he described as “hysterical” claims around the state’s controversial lockout laws. The premier on Tuesday posted a463-word response on Facebook to recent criticism of the laws, which require central Sydney venues to turn people away from 1.30am, serve last drinks by 3am and have banned the sale of takeaway alcohol after 10pm

How Much Debt Is Too Much? Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate 

International Tax Blog, New Expatriate Record for 2015 – Nearly 4,300 Expatriations:
Today the Treasury Department published the names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency (“expatriated”) during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Bloomberg – Faye Flam – “For all its apparent simplicity, a new experimental study showing that mouse-like rodents can be nice to each other now stands at the vanguard of a scientific revolution

Now the mystery behind the big bird's extinction may have been solved, after burnt eggshells revealed people may have been the culprits.
 - Genyornis giant bird extinction mystery

A woman hides her face in shame as she puts her kids up for sale during the depression.

The Potential of Data and Analytics in Higher Education, January 2016: “Higher Education is at a point of unprecedented uncertainty and change, with fiscal changes that are leading to increasing focus upon a more student (and customer) focused model. FTC releases online tools to cope with identity theft 
There are funny imams and dour priests, and vice versa  And when did caste kick in?

How Stan Grant delivered Australia’s ‘greatest anti-racism speech’ off-the-cuff Sydney Morning Herald