Sunday, December 28, 2014

Obama Press Conference, North Korea, Sony Pictures, Cuba, Keystone, Police Misconduct

Obama's Press Conference in Two Minutes: President Obama spoke to the White House press corp before heading off to Hawaii for the holidays. Here are the highlights of his remarks covering North Korea, Sony Pictures, Cuba, Keystone, Police Misconduct. (Source: Bloomberg 12/19)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Internet and the Case For Online Pseudonyms

Remember Snowden's pseudonyms?*

"... many websites, including Google+, adopted “real name” requirements whereby users were forced to register and post under their actual given names rather than ... or ... But many studies have failed to find any improvement in the quality of web discussions when conducted transparently, and Google+ abandoned its “real name” policy... noting that the requirement “excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.” A new book by Harvard researcher Judith Donath, The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online (MIT Press, 2014), suggests that Google+ is now on a better track. As Erin O’Donnell’s headline suggests at Harvard Magazine, Ms. Donath believes pseudonyms make for “better online citizens.” There is both a self-interested and a societal function for “handles,” or virtual noms de plume... " read more: Why You Need To Get Yourself a Pseudonym | Big Think | Praxis

*Answer:  at least 2 we know of--

Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks - The Washington Post"... Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin. I asked him early on, without reply, whether he intended to hint at the alternative fates that lay before him. Two British dissenters had used the pseudonym. Clement Walker, a 17th-century detractor of Parliament, died in the brutal confines of the Tower of London. Two centuries later, social critic Henry Dunckley adopted “Verax” as his byline over weekly columns in the Manchester Examiner. He was showered with testimonials and an honorary degree... "

Snowden filmmaker: Lawmakers ‘failed the public’ | TheHill: "... "Citizenfour"— a reference to Snowden’s pseudonym during his early contact with her... "

There are several websites that will generate pseudonyms for you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Manchester City Football Club, Behind the Scenes (video)

Manchester City Football Club: Behind the Scenes: Video - Bloomberg:

Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, dubbed the world's richest football club, has unveiled a £200 million training academy it says will transform the sport. (Source: Bloomberg 12/11)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bullish on 2015, GAMCO’s Howard Ward (video)

Why GAMCO’s Howard Ward Remains Bullish for 2015:

Gabelli Funds Portfolio Manager Howard Ward discusses his outlook for the economy and markets and remains bullish for 2015. He speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Virgin Brands, Richard Branson, Win Some, Lose Some (video)

Virgin America and Virgin Money - two companies using the Virgin brand name are going public. Bloomberg's Muhammad Darwish has been taking a look at Brand Virgin: its successes and some of its failures. (Source: Bloomberg)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Failed Attempt to Buy Canary Wharf in London (video)

Qatar's Failed Attempt to Buy London’s Canary Wharf: Video - Bloomberg:
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The owners of London’s Canary Wharf have rejected an offer from Qatar and a U.S. property firm to buy the banking district. Songbird, the company that owns the dockside development, claims the offer doesn’t reflect it values. Bloomberg's Angus Bennett explains. (Source: Bloomberg 11/10)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Innocent People Plead Guilty

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty by Jed S. Rakoff | The New York Review of Books:

"The criminal justice system in the United States today bears little relationship to what the Founding Fathers contemplated, what the movies and television portray, or what the average American believes. To the Founding Fathers, the critical element in the system was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny. ... In actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone." 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Battle for Prime London Property (video)

The Battle for Prime London Property -

Property can make or break a market. One of the world’s strongest is London. But as the U.K. capital’s most valuable real estate gets snapped up, where does it leave Londoners? Bloomberg's Tom Gibson reports. (Source: Bloomberg 10/20)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

London Underground, Driverless Trains the Future (video)

London Underground of the Future: Driverless Trains?: Video - Bloomberg:
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London's subway is due an update. Here's an artist impression of what their future trains will look like and what kind of features they will have. Bloomberg's Tom Gibson reports. (Source: Bloomberg 10/14)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Medieval Mead, Staging a Comeback (video)

Medieval Mead Is Staging a Comeback: Video - Bloomberg:
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Fermented honey, known as mead, had been enjoyed for centuries around the world. But what was thought of as a bygone beverage popular with noblemen and newlyweds, is now enjoying a renaissance in America... and is making its way to the UK. Bloomberg’s Tom Gibson explains. (Oct. 13--Bloomberg)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Inside the New $1-Billion Posh Hotel in Paris (Video)

Inside the New $1-Billion Posh Hotel in Paris: Video - Bloomberg:
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Paris is one of the most-visited city in the world -- and attracts many wealthy travelers. That's where the Peninsula luxury chain chose to open its first hotel in Europe. The Peninsula Paris features the city's most expensive suite. Bloomberg's Caroline Connan takes a tour. (Source: Bloomberg 8/5)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

How a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Gets Made (video)

How a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Gets Made (video)
Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Victorinox, the maker of the Swiss Army Knife, is retooling itself after its signature product has been all but banned from airplane travel. Bloomberg's Hans Nichols visited their factory in Switzerland to see if they have a plan to cut -- or saw -- through their problems.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

College Football Games, Students, Professionalism

The decrease even at schools with entrenched football traditions and national championships stands in contrast to college football's overall popularity. Total turnout at home games of top-tier teams hit a record in 2013, while average attendance has slipped just 0.8% since 2009. The growing number of empty seats in student sections across the U.S. is a sign of soaring ticket prices, more lopsided games and fewer matchups against longtime rivals, and the proliferation of televised games that make it easier than ever for students to keep tailgating long after kickoff.

At College Football Games, Student Sections Likely to Have Empty Seats - WSJ: ""We needed to do more," Mr. Guerrero says. "The fact that we have to persuade and convince and cajole and provide special types of activities shows how much things have changed.""

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Fit an Aston Martin Into a Ferrari (video)

How to Fit an Aston Martin Into a Ferrari: Video - Bloomberg:
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Ares, which has recently opened shop in Italy, is in the business of modifying luxury cars to the desires of their customers. As founder Danny Bahar tells Bloomberg, Ares has already been getting interesting requests. Bloomberg's Tom Gibson reports. (Source: Bloomberg 8/1)


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy

Book Discussion Money | Video | "Book Discussion on Money - Co-authors Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames talked about their book, Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy - and What We Can Do About It, in which they trace U.S. economic troubles back to the ending of the gold standard in the 1970s and discuss what a weak U.S. dollar means for the global economy. They called for a return to the gold standard to help stabilize the economy. The co-authors spoke at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. " (video at link above, June 11, 2014)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

American Poverty, Drugs, Overmedication

American Poverty, Drugs, Overmedication -- pathetic! --

Rich Hill and the American dream's shadow of poverty, drugs and shame | Society | "... I think that’s one very real issue that needs to be addressed is how much medication is being thrown around and the fact that there is not a lot of oversight. Because there aren’t hospitals in these rural communities and there aren’t a lot of doctors. The doctors are spread very very thin, so Harley has to talk to a therapist on a television screen. There is only a nurse practitioner in a clinic. This is not to say that these people are ill-intentioned, but there’s this disparity of people needing care and there not being adequate services. Unfortunately, what happens is a lot of overmedication...."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Corruption in the US Department of Justice, Prosecutorial Misconduct

Book Discussion Licensed Lie | Video | "July 23, 2014 - Book Discussion on Licensed to Lie
Sidney Powell talked about her book, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice, in which she discusses prosecutorial misconduct and what can be done about it. During this event held at the Cato Institute, commentary was provided by Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, and Ronald Weich, dean of the University of Baltimore Law School." (video at link above)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Aircraft Carrier, Biggest Warship the UK Has Ever Built (video)

New Mega Warship Is the Biggest UK Has Ever Built: Video - Bloomberg:
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Britain once ruled the seas with a navy that had global dominance and influence. While those days are now long gone, the UK is set to re-establish some naval power with a newly launched and special aircraft carrier. Tom Gibson reports. (Source: Bloomberg July 7, 2014)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Orange and the New Black, Reality, American Mass Incarceration

Let's all emerge from our binge-watching and ask a different question: what, exactly, are we achieving with America's great experiment in mass incarceration?... Prisons were designed to confine people and keep them alive, and not much else. We lock people up, strip them of all authority over themselves, disempower them in a very real way – and then expect them to be able to function in the community after they are released. It simply doesn't work. Indeed, if the intention really is to "correct and rehabilitate" our female prisoners, then we might as well be flushing taxpayer money down the toilet. In New York alone, one-third of women released each year are back in prison within three years. (source infra)

Orange is the New Black in real life is a prison epidemic of too many women in jail – and taxpayers like you in the red | Sadhbh Walshe | "... Reality alert: the United States female prison population has increased 800% in the last three decades. During that same period, the male prison population also exploded, but only at half the rate of the female one. The result is that today, the US imprisons more women than any other country in the world, two-thirds of whom are low-level, non-violent offenders guilty of crimes of poverty and addiction. They are our real-life Taystees and Pousses and Dayas – small-time offenders who rob stores, or forge checks, or use or sell drugs to feed a habit or feed their kids – and their languishing costs you hundreds of millions of dollars...." (read more at link above)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sherlock Lives, In the Public Domain

The actor Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Sherlock in the BBC One drama series talks about how gadgets and technology bring his character into the 21st Century, in this modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.More about this programme:

Sherlock Holmes is really, really in the public domain -- really - LA Times: "If the last thing keeping you from writing Sherlock Holmes fan fiction were the licensing fees, wait no longer. A judge has ruled that Sherlock and the familiar elements of his stories are in the public domain and, in a strongly worded opinion, criticized the Arthur Conan Doyle estate for its practices..."

The fight over Sherlock Holmes and how copyright changes pop culture - The Washington Post: "The long fight over copyright protection for Sherlock Holmes came to an end yesterday. Judge Richard Posner, who earlier this year rejected an argument by Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate that would have extended the copyright on the author’s early Sherlock Holmes stories, smacked down the estate again, ordering them to pay author Leslie Klinger’s legal fees after trying to extract a licensing fee from him that he was not legally required to pay...."

Sherlock lives in public domain, US court rules in case of the heckled brand | Books | "A US court has ruled that Sherlock Holmes – along with 46 stories and four novels he’s appeared in – is in the public domain, reaffirming the expiration of the copyright once owned by the estate of Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle." (read more at links above)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MP George Galloway on the ISIS Crisis and Gaza (video)

George Galloway: Solutions on ISIS Crisis & Gaza Massacre - YouTube:

Abby Martin features an interview with outpoken UK MP (member of Parliament) George Galloway, discussing the violence in Gaza and the latest airstrikes the US military has launched against Islamic militants in Iraq. (Aug 8, 2014)

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

America, Police State USA

Land of the Incarcerated, Home of Police State Thugs--

Miami Gardens ‘Stop & Frisk’ Nabs Thousands of Kids, Finds 5-Year-Olds ‘Suspicious’ -- Fusion.: "...."I have never seen a police department that has taken the approach that every citizen in that city is a suspect. I’ve described it as New York City stop-and-frisk on steroids.” said Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez. Last year, a Miami Herald report exposed how the MGPD repeatedly stopped and arrested employees and customers of a local convenience store including, Earl Sampson, who was stopped more than 200 times. Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be "suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a "suspicious person.”..."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

NSA, Facial Recognition as a Tool (video)

NSA's Rogers: Facial Recognition Used as a Tool: Video - Bloomberg:
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NSA Director Michael Rogers addressed privacy concerns at Bloomberg Government summit on “Cybersecurity: Getting to Business” event in Washington. (Source: Bloomberg June 3)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Macallan, Scotch of Wall Street (video)

Macallan: The Scotch of Wall Street?: Video - Bloomberg:
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Paul Ross, president and CEO of Edrington Americas, and Kingfisher CEO Sir Ian Cheshire discuss the history of Macallan Scotch with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg June 3)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Citizenship for Sale, How to Buy a Second Passport (video)

Citizenship for Sale: How to Buy a Second Passport: Video - Bloomberg:
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If national monogamy isn't quite your thing, purchasing a second passport just got a whole lot easier. Cash-strapped countries are getting into the market- three in just the past year. So those wishing to be bi-national for legal or nefarious reasons can easily buy their way into a new nationality. Read more about purchasing passports in the summer edition of Bloomberg Pursuits. (Source: Bloomberg June 3, 2014)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

USA Juvenile Prisons, $5 Billion for Child Abuse

Juvenile Prison: $5 Billion for Child Abuse Washington's Blog: "....In fact, the idea that sub-human monsters, of whatever race, must be made to suffer and must be kept away from the rest of us, is the leading candidate as a major explanation of the continuation of juvenile imprisonment.  If the goal were preventing crime, the prisons are worse than nothing.  We’ve tried alternatives within the prison system, and found that reforms help but can only go so far.  We’ve tried alternatives outside of the prison system, and found them far superior in results. We’ve even seen states shut down lots of juvenile prisons, primarily because of the financial cost, and seen the benefits in cost savings, in the lives of young people, and in reduced crime rates.  But other states don’t follow suit, and the states making the cuts need only see a rise in revenue to begin rebuilding the torture palaces...." (read more at link above)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Narrow Your Focus, Work Schedule

Work in Pulses: "...Don’t wake up and check your email, get to the office and check your email, and then check your email hourly throughout the day. Check your email in batches: late morning and late afternoon. Most importantly, make time to pause and think about what is most important to you. Narrow your focus and make 80% of your time on the three big things that are important to you. Let everything else fit in the 20% of time left. Let the truly sucky stuff fit in 5% of the time. If leisure is important to you and you can’t find time for it, schedule it in. When you wake up, do one thing that’s important to you right away." (read more at link above)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Work, Rest, Sleep, Recovery

Work in Pulses: "Most important, the top violinists rested more — napping more during the day and sleeping longer at night. Sleep is actually more important than food. “Great performers,” Schwartz wrote in Be Excellent at Anything, “work more intensely than most of us do but also recover more deeply.”" (read more at link above)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guns, Violence, Gang Culture, Chicago

Is Gun Control an Attempt at Treating the Symptom instead of the "Gang Disease" --

The Arms Struggle in Chicago - "The city of Chicago, bedeviled by street gang violence, refuses to give in to ever more restrictive court rulings against enactment of sensible gun safety laws. The Supreme Court’s misguided 2010 decision ended the nearly 30-year-long ban on handguns in Chicago. In January, a federal judge ruled that the city’s ban on retail gun shops was unconstitutional..."

Witness describes fatal shooting of special ed teacher - "....As she talked and laughed with co-workers inside late Thursday afternoon, a gang dispute erupted on the street. Bullets tore through a wall, one grazing Louis Hardy, 58, who dived to the floor before noticing Howard lying nearby with a gunshot to the head. “My mind is racing, I’m trying to decide how best I could help her,” Hardy recalled today. Howard's eyes were wide open, as if she were pleading for help. Hardy said he bent down and told her, “Hold on. Help is on the way.” Howard died minutes later...."

What kind of culture is gang culture? Depraved. Sociopathic.

So why does Chicago tolerate it?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Professional Athletes, Bankruptcy, Financial Stress

Think your multi-million dollar draftee into the pros has it made? Better think again --

Congratulations, you were drafted! Prepare to go broke. | The Big Picture: "The data on professional athletes are startling: Shortly after they retire, nearly four of five NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress, according to Sports Illustrated. Joblessness and divorce are the main reasons. It’s marginally better in the National Basketball Association, where after retirement nearly two of three players are broke within five years. Why does this happen? There are lessons here even for those investors who cannot hit a jump shot. Let’s look at the reasons so many athletes go broke.”"

read more at: Barry Ritholtz: Professional athletes need to learn to keep their finances in good shape

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Surveillance, Business Model of the Internet, Bruce Schneier

Who is watching who?

Surveillance is the Business Model of the Internet: Bruce Schneier | SecurityWeek.Com: "“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet,” Schneier told attendees. “We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services. Corporations call it marketing." The data economy—the growth of mass data collection and tracking—is changing how power is perceived, Schneier said in his keynote speech. The Internet and technology has changed the impact a group can have on others, where dissidents can use the Internet to amplify their voices and extend their reach. Governments already have a lot of power to begin with, so when they take advantage of technology, their power is magnified, he said.
“That's how you get weird situations where Syrian dissidents use Facebook to organize, and the government uses Facebook to arrest its citizens,” Schneier said."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Americans, Sick And Tired Of Politics As Usual

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

12 Numbers Which Prove That Americans Are Sick And Tired Of Politics As Usual Washington's Blog: " . . . The following are 12 numbers which prove that Americans are sick and tired of politics as usual…
#2 According to a Real Clear Politics average of national polls, only 29 percent of Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction. #3 According to a Real Clear Politics average of national polls, Americans disapprove of the job that Barack Obama is doing by a 52.2 to 43.7 percent margin. #4 According to a Real Clear Politics average of national polls, Americans disapprove of the job that Congress is doing by a 77.6 percent to 14.2 percent margin. #5 52 percent of Americans “do not think the economy is fair to those willing to work hard”. #6 65 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the U.S. system of government and its effectiveness”. That is the highest level of dissatisfaction that Gallup has ever recorded. #7 Only 4 percent of Americans believe that it would “change Congress for the worse” if every member was voted out during the next election....#12 70 percent of Americans do not have confidence that the federal government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014″. (read more at link above)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How Obama lost friends and influence in the BRICs

How Obama lost friends and influence in the Brics - "....Each of these deteriorating relationships has specific narratives. But there are two larger themes linking them together. First, the world is adjusting to declining US power. America retains by far the world’s largest military force. But it gets a little less so each year. China’s defence budget continues to grow by double digits while that of the US is falling in real terms. The US miscalculated badly in its 2003 invasion of Iraq...."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Our Loss of Wisdom, Barry Schwartz (video)

View full lesson:
Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world. Our Loss of Wisdom: "A wise person knows when and how to make the exception to every rule, as the janitors knew when to ignore the job duties in the service of other objectives. A wise person knows how to improvise, as Luke did when he re-washed the floor. Real-world problems are often ambiguous and ill-defined and the context is always changing. A wise person is like a jazz musician — using the notes on the page, but dancing around them, inventing combinations that are appropriate for the situation and the people at hand. A wise person knows how to use these moral skills in the service of the right aims. To serve other people, not to manipulate other people. And finally, perhaps most important, a wise person is made, not born. Wisdom depends on experience, and not just any experience. You need the time to get to know the people that you’re serving. You need permission to be allowed to improvise, try new things, occasionally to fail and to learn from your failures. And you need to be mentored by wise teachers."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Google Rumors are True

The Google Rumors are True (source: XKCD)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

For Love of Narrative

What's Your Stock Market Story? - Bloomberg View: "For a brief moment, we understand how little we really understand. The grim reality of human cognition is that however little we know, we understand even less. Hence, the accidental revelation in the headline is more noteworthy for how extraordinary it is. Markets move up and down for no apparent reason. We have spilled plenty of ink and generated billions of pixels explaining why people want and need reasons to explain these movements. The human love of narrative is a dangerous cognitive failing that constantly leads investors astray." (read more at link above)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Solitary Confinement, Cruel and Unusual Punishment

It's estimated that between 80,000 and 81,000 prisoners are in some form of solitary confinement in the US -- Huda Akil, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, is interested in the neurological impacts of isolation, but is limited by the fact that no U.S. prison is willing to allow its otherwise isolated prisoners to take part in research. (source infra)

The Science of Solitary Confinement | Science | Smithsonian: ""The United States, in many ways, is an outlier in the world," said Craig Haney, a psychologist at UC Santa Cruz who's spent the last few decades studying the mental effects of the prison system, especially solitary confinement. "We really are the only country that resorts regularly, and on a long-term basis, to this form of punitive confinement. Ironically, we spend very little time analyzing the effects of it."... It's impossible to say how isolated prisoners fare as a whole fare compared to King, because there's no systematic collection of data on their well-being in the U.S. prison system. But the researchers argue that just these hints of the damage wrought by solitary confinement—and the way it seems to make prisoners less-equipped to re-enter society after their sentence—indicate that it falls within a category of discipline banned by the eight amendment: cruel and unusual punishment. "It seems to me that it is time for us to have a serious discussion about the wisdom and humanity of this policy in the United States," Haney said."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Educated, but No Understanding, No Wisdom

Self-absorption, self-doubt. It's all about self --

Letter from ‘Manhattan’ by Joan Didion | The New York Review of Books: "“Overeducation” is something Woody Allen seems to discern more often than the rest of us might. “I know so many people who are well-educated and super-educated,” he told an interviewer for Time recently. “Their common problem is that they have no understanding and no wisdom; without that, their education can only take them so far.” In other words they have problems with their “relationships,” they have failed to “work through” the material of their lives with a trained evaluator, they have yet to perfect the quality of their emotional consumption. Wisdom is hard to find. Happiness takes research. The message that large numbers of people are getting from Manhattan and Interiors and Annie Hall is that this kind of emotional shopping around is the proper business of life’s better students, that adolescence can now extend to middle age."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Optimism Bias

Optimism Bias—the inclination to overestimate the likelihood of encountering positive events in the future and to underestimate the likelihood of experiencing negative events -- almost everyone has it --

The Optimism Bias: " ....We wear rose-tinted glasses whether we are eight or eighty. Schoolchildren as young as nine have been reported to express optimistic expectations about their adult lives, and a survey published in 2005 revealed that older adults (ages sixty to eighty) are just as likely to see the glass half full as middle-aged adults (ages thirty-six to fifty-nine) and young adults (ages eighteen to twenty-five). Optimism is prevalent in every age group, race, and socioeconomic status. Sharot argues that one of the reasons the optimism bias is so powerful is precisely because, similar to our other biases, we’re largely unaware of its existence. Yet data clearly shows that most people overestimate their prospects for professional achievement; expect their children to be extraordinarily gifted; miscalculate their likely life span (sometimes by twenty years or more); expect to be healthier than the average person and more successful than their peers; hugely underestimate their likelihood of divorce, cancer, and unemployment...." (read more at link above)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Certainty and its Dangers

The Dangers of Certainty: ".... The pursuit of scientific knowledge is as personal an act as lifting a paintbrush or writing a poem, and they are both profoundly human. If the human condition is defined by limitedness, then this is a glorious fact because it is a moral limitedness rooted in a faith in the power of the imagination, our sense of responsibility and our acceptance of our fallibility. We always have to acknowledge that we might be mistaken. When we forget that, then we forget ourselves and the worst can happen."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Newton Unwove the Rainbow (video)

How Newton Unwove the Rainbow: "Isaac Newton was the first to demonstrate through his famous prism experiments that color is intrinsic to light. As part of those experiments, he also divvied up the spectrum in his own idiosyncratic way, giving us ROYGBIV"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An iPhone, An Object Worth Killing For? Dying For?

Apple Picking: How The iPhone Became An Object Worth Killing For: " . . . Around midnight on April 19, 2012, Hwangbum Yang, a 26-year-old Korean immigrant and aspiring chef, finished work as a cook at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. He rode the No. 1 train uptown to the Bronx and started walking home in the rain. He was two blocks from his house when a man holding a gun approached him, according to police. The man -- whom police would later identify as Dominick Davis -- demanded Yang's iPhone. When he refused, Davis shot him once in the chest. Yang died on the sidewalk. Yang was still wearing the iPhone’s white earbuds when paramedics arrived, investigators told his sister. Davis had left his wallet untouched, but had taken his iPhone. Police later found the phone for sale on Craigslist for $400. . . ."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Deep State, Wall Street, Next Financial Crisis

Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? Washington's Blog: " . . . Though everyone who is convinced the U.S. dollar will go to zero is confident that Wall Street will emerge victorious from the next financial crisis, I am convinced of the opposite: the Deep State will do whatever it takes to eliminate strategic threats to the integrity of the Deep State and the nation it depends on for its power and survival. In a financial crisis that threatens the dollar and the Deep State, the phantom claims of Wall Street’s financier skimmers, scammers and swindlers will be tossed under the bus with few qualms. The triage might even be performed with a certain relish. Put another way: we’ve reached Peak Wall Street and it’s all downhill from here." (read more at link above)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Critical Thinking, Truth, Ridicule, Oppose, Self-evident acceptance

Critical thinking? Don't look for any of that going on in Washington D.C. --

11 Rules for Critical Thinking: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer)"

Read more at the link above.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Disinformation, Distorted facts, Self-deception, choosing to be ignorant

How did the Bush administration decide to invade Iraq? By choosing to be ignorant! --

BBC News - A Point of View: See no evil: " . . . Much has been alleged about disinformation in the run-up to the invasion. But if some of those who launched the war were presenting a distorted picture of the facts, they were also deceiving themselves. Contrary to a common view, it wasn't that Rumsfeld and his fellow war-planners failed to prepare for the situation that would come about in the country after the invasion. If they'd known the chaos and conflict that would follow, they might not have been able to launch the war. So rather than confront the facts, they chose to remain ignorant of them. For Rumsfeld and others who thought like him, the risks of the invasion weren't unknown unknowns. They belonged in another category of human ignorance: that of unknown knowns - things they decided weren't worth thinking about. It's an attitude that hasn't gone away. A similar denial of reality prevails today in Britain and many other countries in connection with the financial crisis and its aftermath. The bankers and politicians seem genuinely to have believed that a new type of capitalism had been invented in which booms and busts would no longer occur. In the new era we'd entered, they were convinced, a level of prosperity had been reached that would only increase for the foreseeable future. . . ."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brain-dead Texas woman off life support, the backstory?

This was a very sad story (see below). I do not know whether this is a case of brain-dead legislators or a greedy health care system (no mention in the news as to who was paying the bill, or what the per diem charges were that the hospital kept running up, against the family wishes, even though the poor woman was already dead according to the judge) --

Family: Brain-dead Texas woman off life support - Health care - "A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman’s body was removed from life support Sunday, as the hospital keeping her on machines against her family’s wishes acceded to a judge’s ruling that it was misapplying state law ... John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth announced it would not fight Judge R.H. Wallace Jr.’s Friday order to pronounce her dead and return her body to her family. The 23-week-old fetus she was carrying will not be born. The hospital’s decision Sunday brings an apparent end to a case that became a touchstone for national debates...." (read more at the link above)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Do you have what it takes to work for a startup?

Startups require continuous learners, emotional intelligence --

Startup Institute: 'We want to help people find careers they love' | Technology | ""The ideal person that works for a startup is is three things," says Aaron O'Hearn, the co-founder and chief executive of Startup Institute. "Firstly, they are a continuous learner. Whether it's in their work, their personal life, their hobby, they're constantly absorbing new knowledge and learning how to apply it. "They're always looking for a better way, they're always looking to understand something better, so they can do it more efficiently or more enjoyably. And the third thing is that individuals who work for startups, who have success there, are generally very aware. They have emotional intelligence." (read more at link above)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Prosecutorial Abuse, American Injustice, Epidemic and Systemic

How bad is the American justice system? Read on . . .

Freedom ‘better than prison’ for Akron man awaiting retrial " . . . Prison is where Jones had sat since he was arrested in the 1993 slaying of a Goodyear worker. He always professed his innocence. The evidence against him was rife with questions: a jailhouse snitch was the state’s star witness; no physical evidence linked him to the killing. Jones, now 51, said he never expected to be convicted, but he was. He didn’t expect to lose his appeals, but he did. Only through new DNA testing, the efforts of pro bono lawyers and a judge’s order did he win the chance at a new trial. Last month, his bond was lowered to $300,000. An anonymous donor — a person Jones believes is a former inmate exonerated of a murder charge — posted the $30,000 needed to secure Jones’ freedom while he awaits trial in February... After he was convicted in 1995, his wife struggled and five of his six kids were sent into the foster system, Jones said. Zack Jones, now 22, was just a baby when his father went to prison. He bounced around foster families until he was 18.... Jones will be confined to his daughter’s small apartment, where he has greeted a steady stream of friends and family. He’s not allowed to leave without permission; an ankle bracelet monitors his whereabouts. With help from the Ohio Innocence Project, Jones secured new DNA testing. The results failed to connect him to the crime scene, and a judge ordered a new trial. Prosecutors appealed but lost. In her two-page decision, Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands stated that the absence of Jones’ DNA and that of another police suspect “calls into question the state’s entire theory of the case...” (read the full article at the link above)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Have Americans Lost Constitutional Rights?

It's a question being asked more and more --

Have Americans Lost ALL of Our Constitutional Rights? Washington's Blog: " . . . The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association. However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress. A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this. There are also enacted laws allowing the secret service to arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks (that might explain incidents like this). Mass spying by the NSA violates our freedom of association, chilling our willingness to associate with people who are not firmly in the mainstream. The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny. . . . " (read more at links above)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is Sea Level? Not a simple question (video)

What is Sea Level?: It's not a simple question - "An oblate spheroid is a special case of an ellipsoid where two of the semi-principal axes are the same size."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Iraq insurgency, Al Qaeda, Syria rebel connection

The following is a prime reason Syrian rebel cause is doomed, and should not be supported by Western democracies --

Over 100 killed in Iraq insurgency battles — RT News: " . . . Robert Naiman, policy director for ‘Just Foreign Policy’ organization, told RT that the West was effectively encouraging the increase in Al Qaeda activity in Iraq by supporting the militants in Syria. “One of the causes, clearly, for the resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the Western support for armed jihadists in Syria, because it’s generally acknowledged it’s largely the same people on both sides of the border. The US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France are all implicated in the funding, recruiting, arming jihadist militants in Syria. That’s creating a base for jihadists’ actions in Iraq… Remember the justification for the US war in Afghanistan: “We can’t tolerate these ungoverned areas being a breeding ground, training camps, an organizing space for Al Qaeda.” That’s exactly what the West is tolerating in Syria! Not just tolerating, but helping to finance, facilitate, and encourage.”

Sunday, January 5, 2014

UK to be top European economy by 2030

UK Overtaking Germany by 2030 -- due to rising population, low-tax regime, insulation from Eurozone woes --

Britain 'will be Europe's top economy by 2030' | Business | The Guardian: "A rising population, a low-tax regime and insulation from the worst of the eurozone's problems leave Britain on course to overtake Germany as Europe's biggest economy within the next two decades, according to a study released on Thursday. The annual world economic league tables from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that Germany – for decades Europe's powerhouse economy – will have a smaller economy than the UK by about 2030."

Reuters: World News

Top Stories - Google (UK) News

Reuters: Technology News

The Register articles by Kieren McCarthy

Altucher Confidential

BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis


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