Finance has always been complex. More precisely it has always been opaque, and complexity is a means of rationalizing opacity in societies that pretend to transparency. Opacity is absolutely essential to modern finance. It is a feature not a bug until we radically change the way we mobilize economic risk-bearing. The core purpose of status quo finance is to coax people into accepting risks that they would not, if fully informed, consent to bear.
Writer and Oscar-winning documentary maker Errol Morris talks about the nature of truth, art and propaganda in photography. Drawing examples from the photographs of Abu Ghraib and the Crimean war, cited in his book Believing is Seeing, he argues we’ve often underplayed the link between photgraphs and the physical world
Check out IBM’s 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) hard disk and those gripes about dragging around that USB thumb drive soon evaporate. This 1956 HDD was composed of 50 24-inch discs, stacked together and taking up 16 sq ft of real estate. The once-cutting-edge monstrosity was capable of commanding an annual fee of $35,000 and stored up to 5MB of data. Sure, by modern standards it’s a pretty modest capacity, but the RAMAC still weighed in at just shy of a ton. Our technological forefathers could have done with that exoskeleton prototype.
A fight has broken out at the church built on the spot where Jesus is said to have been born.
Palestinian police stormed the basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem after rival groups of Orthodox and Armenian clerics clashed in a row over the boundaries of their respective ancient jurisdictions inside the church.
Armed with brooms, around 100 priests and monks came to blows during the cleaning of the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas celebrations.
The former Palestinian minister of tourism and head of the Palestinian forces in Bethlehem were slightly injured.
Administration of the church is shared by Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic clerics.
The relationship between these groups has often been difficult, and there have been similar scuffles in previous years over jurisdiction.
Researchers have found that there’s a part of your body that might shrink when you eat too much fast food.
Unfortunately, it’s your brain.
People with diets high in trans fats are more likely to experience the kind of brain shrink-age associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people who consume less of the artery-damaging fats, the new study suggests.
Those with diets high in vitamins C and E, the B vitamins and vitamin D, meanwhile, appear to have larger brains than people with diets low in these nutrients.
And diets high in omega three fatty acids seemed to benefit the small blood vessels of the brain – “and the thinking abilities related to those vessels,” said lead investigator Dr. Gene Bowman.
The funeral of Kim Jong-il on Wednesday called to mind the best stage-managed Communist state productions: the falling snow, the wailing mourners, the perfectly spaced limousines and rows of chest-beating men.
So perhaps it was because the scene was so nearly impeccable that someone — an overzealous North Korean photo editor? — appears to have taken issue with an errant group of men, barely noticeable in a sweeping photograph of the procession in central Pyongyang, and removed them.
“David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage”
1 Samuel 18:27
What does a sudden evacuation look like? After everyone is gone, what happens to the places they’ve abandoned? National Geographic Magazine sent Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder to the nuclear exclusion zone around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant to find out. Evacuated shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to a nuclear radiation crisis, the area has been largely untouched, with food rotting on store shelves and children’s backpacks waiting in classrooms. The area may face the same fate as the town of Pripyat, Ukraine after the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago. This isn’t the first time Guttenfelder has gotten a rare glimpse of a place few see, as The Big Picture featured his photographs of North Korea in an earlier post. Collected here are Guttenfelder’s haunting images just released of a place abandoned, and of people dealing with the loss. — Lane Turner (39 photos total)
In this June 18, 2011 photo, a hog naps after eating a meal inside an abandoned feed store and wandering the deserted streets of radiation-contaminated Namie, Japan. (AP Photographer David Guttenfelder on assignment for National Geographic Magazine) #
A few minutes ago, Android chief Andy Rubin sent out his 6th tweet. A milestone. Never mind that they’re all self-serving promotion with Rubin never responding to anything or really giving anything in the way of context. They’re all awesome. Kudos.
But wait. I thought this was his 7th tweet…
That was the response I kept getting after noting Rubin’s milestone. But I counted and counted again. Six.
Not so fast.
Turns out, the people are right. This was actually Rubin’s 7th tweet, but he deleted one of them…
the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
Yes, Rubin for some reason has deleted his most famous tweet. His first tweet! One that led to stories by myself and others.
That tweet no longer exists. His first one listed is now from December 2010, trumpeting, what else: Android activations!!!!
Where did the initial tweet go? Who knows. But it sure looks like he deleted it. Deleted it in an “open” way, I’m sure.
“Imagine an NFL coach,” writes Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, in his important new book, Fixing the Game, “holding a press conference on Wednesday to announce that he predicts a win by 9 points on Sunday, and that bettors should recognize that the current spread of 6 points is too low. Or picture the team’s quarterback standing up in the postgame press conference and apologizing for having only won by 3 points when the final betting spread was 9 points in his team’s favor. While it’s laughable to imagine coaches or quarterbacks doing so, CEOs are expected to do both of these things.”
Imagine also, to extrapolate Martin’s analogy, that the coach and his top assistants were hugely compensated, not on whether they won games, but rather by whether they covered the point spread. If they beat the point spread, they would receive massive bonuses. But if they missed covering the point spread a couple of times, the salary cap of the team could be cut and key players would have to be released, regardless of whether the team won or lost its games.
Suppose also that in order to manage the expectations implicit in the point spread, the coach had to spend most of his time talking with analysts and sports writers about the prospects of the coming games and “managing” the point spread, instead of actually coaching the team. It would hardly be a surprise that the most esteemed coach in this world would be a coach who met or beat the point spread in forty-six of forty-eight games—a 96 percent hit rate. Looking at these forty-eight games, one would be tempted to conclude: “Surely those scores are being ‘managed’?”
Suppose moreover that the whole league was rife with scandals of coaches “managing the score”, for instance, by deliberately losing games (“tanking”), players deliberately sacrificing points in order not to exceed the point spread (“point shaving”), “buying” key players on the opposing team or gaining access to their game plan. If this were the situation in the NFL, then everyone would realize that the “real game” of football had become utterly corrupted by the “expectations game” of gambling. Everyone would be calling on the NFL Commissioner to intervene and ban the coaches and players from ever being involved directly or indirectly in any form of gambling on the outcome of games, and get back to playing the game.