30 Jan 2017

Year of the Rooster(Trump)

In Chinese astrology each zodiac year is associated with an animal sign, plus one of the five elements - so 2017 is the year of the rooster, and the element is fire. It's a rare combination, last seen in 1957, and augurs well for those prepared to work hard.
The fire rooster
Illustrations by John Shakespeare. 

"This year is special, full of expectation," said Zhao Li, director of the China Culture Centre in Sydney.

She said the rooster is proud and confident, hardworking and punctual. "Fire by its very nature is the element associated with brilliance, warmth, passion, spark," she said. "So a brilliant and enthusiastic rooster, combined with the salient characteristics of fire, heralds an enterprising and fruitful year, a year of results, achievements. This year we can fulfil all of our dreams."

New year is a time of traditions, superstitions and taboos; the Chinese believe what happens at new year influences your fortunes in the year ahead. 

The TPP was a stinker for Australia. Why does the Coalition still sing its praise?

The Australian people were sold a pup. And it wasn't a breed anyone would want if they knew its heritage!

The TPP was a stinker for Australia. Negotiated by Labor and Coalition governments for the best part of a decade in secrecy, it delivered almost no benefits and came saddled with a dreaded clause that would deliver foreign companies the power to seek compensation for any decision that might harm their business activities.
In effect, foreign commercial interests were to take precedence over the actions of democratically elected governments.

All up, it would have been a pretty sweet deal for corporate US with the added strategic bonus of keeping China in check — exactly what Mr Trump claims to stand for.
In its original form, the TPP was a bold US play to deliver greater patent rights and protections to American pharmaceutical companies — the kind of changes that are anti-competitive and trade restrictive.
Perhaps it was intended as comic relief. Whatever the reason, immediately after Mr Trump trashed the deal, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull indicated it was still a goer and that maybe, er, China should take America's place

25 Jan 2017

Canberra: NBN connections delayed by as much as 2.5 years. Don't believe the blurb from them, 7 kilometers from Parliament House and no indication when!

Campbell Simpson
Jan 25, 2017, 12:00pm⋅ Filed to:

The "NBN has abandoned Canberra". That's the strong proclamation from the ACT's Riot Act website, even if it's not entirely accurate. A former Labor candidate for the ACT's legislative assembly in the 2016 election is saying that some areas in the territory have had their NBN connections delayed by as much as 2.5 years.

In her article, Kim Fischer claims a "complete lack of interest in prioritising robust broadband" by the Federal Government for its "largely Canberra-based public servants", what she calls a "baffling" oversight. Fast, reliable broadband can improve businesses' bottom lines by as much as 20 per cent due to productivity boosts from telecommuting meaning more hours worked and higher morale.

Early this year, NBN delivered its most up-to-date rollout schedule yet, showing a range of dates by which the NBN says it will complete construction in areas around the ACT. Those figures are, she says, a full 2.5 years later than the ones suggested by NBN in early 2015 plans — and Fischer recommends "healthy scepticism" about NBN's newest figures, suggesting even they will prove inaccurate. The rollout, she claims, "isn’t likely to be completed until 2025" — although without the figures to back up this suggestion.

In reality, the delays in rollout delivery between NBN's older 2015 forecast and its 2017 forecast are around a year and a half.

The main difference in NBN's rollout schedule is that in early 2015, the government-run company listed 'start of construction' dates — where work begins on replacing and installing fibre and nodes and remediation work on pits and ducts. In its most recent early 2017 rollout schedule, which is now delivered through a search tool, dates are listed as windows in which the NBN will be ready for service.

On average, NBN tells Gizmodo, there is around a 12 month wait after the start of construction for homes and businesses within the rollout area to be ready to order a service.

With that one year window added to the estimated start of construction dates that Fischer, who stood for the Labor Party in the seat of Ginninderra during the 2016 ACT election, listed in an accompanying document, the estimated availability dates provided by NBN show that most areas listed will be ready for service within 18 months of their original 2015 plan.

The majority of suburbs in the region of Belconnen, for example, will be ready for services to be ordered by homes and businesses on or before June of 2019 according to NBN's latest figures. A June 2018 start of construction date for those areas, then, is around 18 months after the outside of the September of 2016 to December of 2016 window for construction flagged by the 2015 NBN rollout plan.

Half of all the suburbs listed in Canberra have this date, which is at the outer edge of any NBN availability date listed in the rollout tool. Some street addresses across the nation, of course, still do not have any 'start of construction' or 'ready for service' estimates listed against them. Some areas in the ACT like Tuggeranong have had service dates listed in the 2017 tool that were previously unavailable in 2015.

A spokesperson for NBN told Gizmodo that it expects construction of the NBN to be completed within the Australian Capital Territory to be completed in the next 2.5 years: "We expect that the ACT will be completed by mid-2019. I've heard that before!

Half of Canberra has been totally ignored, could it be that we elected a Labor polly and this is payback, it sure looks that way. I'd like to see a graph that showed swing seats and safe LNP seats and the availability of NBN relative to Labor, Green seats,Mmmm?

20 Jan 2017

Trump played the celebrity to the hilt, his comments could not have been aimed at his target voters more accurately.

Trump played to his audience, it was another game show and he won. Why, because the media dismissed him as a clown.
Image result for And the winner is Donald Trump cartoon

Having spent a century denouncing the USSR and Russia as the existential enemy par excellence, the American political system and public were now embracing a man who actively favoured Putin over his own president – the same Barack Obama who Trump regarded as an imposter in the White House.

Not one of these transgressions made the slightest dent in his image, or slowed his rise.

On the contrary, his supporters recognised a kindred spirit. Hell yes! Pussy groping, disability-mocking, casual racism and sexism, joking about getting away with shooting people in the street because you’re so popular – that was the American way.

After eight years of a black man running the show and spoiling their fun it was time to remind the world who’s boss.

Trump’s transgressions were not gaffes of the type that sunk Gary Hart in 1988 or Gerald Ford in 1974, but delivered with a skillful eye for the attention they would attract in the news media.

He succeeded in setting the 2016 news agenda way beyond his wildest dreams.

Now he has to play a game with the big boys, his audience is wiser than the so called forgotten voters who loved politically incorrect statements. In this game show its not as simple as saying your fired!

"We don't allow the price of corn to drop to zero, or coffee, yet we allow the price of wages and labour to drop to zero."

Image result for Corn commits suicide cartoon 
Corn doesn't commit suicide when it's unemployed!
Based on an article by Claire Connelly
 What is a job Garantee Program, could it really work?

A job guarantee program would act as a "Buffer Stock Mechanism" - a term coined by Australian economist Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at the University of Newcastle - to describe stabilising the cost of labour.
"To paraphrase Bill Mitchell, corn doesn't commit suicide when it's unemployed," said Professor Kaboub.
"Corn doesn't increase the divorce rate. But there are serious negative economic, social consequences and costs associated with unemployment. Yet we have a buffer stock to keep these commodities fully employed regardless of conditions."
Basically, corn gets more market protection than you do.
Pavlina Tcherneva, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics and Research Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute, says a basic income program operates on the fantasy that somehow the market will provide things the recipient want or need.
"The market already doesn't provide the things that well-paying customers want: People with incomes and want affordable childcare, for example, and it's not there," Professor Tcherneva said.
Affordable health insurance that doesn't discriminate against pre-existing conditions also comes to mind.

What is a job guarantee program?

A job guarantee program would make the public sector the employer of last resort to provide jobs for the unemployed population in areas of the economy and community where demands are not being met: aged care, child care, education, retail and small business etc.
The program would also establish the basic minimum standard for a decent job at decent pay in the public sector, a standard which the private sector must match, (at a minimum) to attract workers.
It also has the added benefit of discouraging 7/11-style operations where companies conspire to pay workers below-poverty level wages, (exploitation we are likely to see more of if the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement goes ahead).
A job guarantee program would connect income with things people - and communities - need and allow them to be part of the social contract, to participate in transforming their communities and their livelihood.
"It would establish the basic minimum standard for a decent job at decent pay in the public sector, a standard which the private sector must match (at a minimum) to attract workers," she said.
"That would include decent working conditions, a basic retirement income and wage benefits. The job guarantee is an institutional vehicle that guarantees the right to work and provides a floor to income for the economy as a whole."
"It means you're not just a passive consumer getting basic income. It gives you a right to serve - and spend."

17 Jan 2017

Robot 'ROSS' says your case is unwinnable and you better believe it!

Image result for robot lawyer
"Human your case does not compute, please connect me to another Robot".

Ross, the world's first artificially intelligent attorney, and a Robot  has its first official law firm. Baker & Hostetler announced that they will be employing Ross for its bankruptcy practise, currently comprised of almost 50 lawyers.


Law firm Baker & Hostetler has announced that they are employing IBM’s AI Ross to handle their bankruptcy practise, which at the moment consists of nearly 50 lawyers. According to CEO and co-founder Andrew Arruda, other firms have also signed licenses with Ross, and they will also be making announcements shortly.

Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.

“You ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly,” the website says. “In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case.”

Ross also minimises the time it takes by narrowing down results from a thousand to only the most highly relevant answers, and presents the answers in a more casual, understandable language. It also keeps up-to-date with developments in the legal system, specifically those that may affect your cases.

Baker & Hostetler chief information officer Bob Craig explains the rationale behind this latest hire: “At BakerHostetler, we believe that emerging technologies like cognitive computing and other forms of machine learning can help enhance the services we deliver to our clients.”

“BakerHostetler has been using ROSS since the first days of its deployment, and we are proud to partner with a true leader in the industry as we continue to develop additional AI legal assistants,” he added.

The future or a step backward! We are starting to tread a frightening path into a future where Robots can replace humans in very human endeavours.

16 Jan 2017

Robots, will they kill our jobs. Should we ask for a job or a Robot?

If Robots increase unemployment, should we have them. Without workers Capitalism will die, is the alternative to pay people not to work?
If people don't work what will stimulate them?
Image result for robot workers cartoon

We are not talking about horses, trains, assembly lines, etc ... We are talking about intelligent robots with advanced technology that learn quickly without limit in the end.

Robots are general purpose and will do any job better and faster as time marches on. Most human work can be automated with certainty given enough time.
As new jobs are created they will be automated in short order as the training process only happens once for all robots.

Unlike humans which have to be individually trained in costly manner.
Training one robot is effectively training all robots for all of time. Humans are inefficient in comparison, they die taking most if not all of their knowledge with them.

The future role for money, taxes and traditional jobs may likely not exist as we know it today. These concepts are predicated on an economic system that will no longer likely exist.

The transition to a jobless economy where only a small number of robot designers are gainfully employed could be extremely problematic.

Rising wealth inequality might be inevitable unless we abandon our 19th century economic concepts and move into the 22nd century economy.

This article from the Economist last year provides a worthwhile overview to the matter. This is becoming a mainstream of new economic thought.

Everyone owes it to themselves and their families to personally know what the future may likely hold. The technology and automation trend spans the globe, no one can escape it in the end especially future generations.

Should our governments be thinking of the future, some in Scandinavia are already trialing paying everyone not just the unemployed a basic salary.
Sure this is not directly related to Robotics however it could be exactly whats required in the future.

Imagine Pauline Hanson & Donald Trump, the Super Hero Duo, who have the ability to shoot from the mouth without engaging their brains.

News Flash:- Trump worship has spread to AustraliaImage result for yoda quotes

Senator Hanson and other One Nation figures celebrated Mr Trump's election victory in November by cracking open champagne outside Parliament House, and have been enthusiastic supporters of his policy agenda.

In December, fellow Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts who has a lot in common with incoming Pres pent a week in the US
He met with several Trump advisers including staffers to the incoming attorney-general Jeff Sessions, climate change sceptics and other lobbyists.

We all know by now that Sen Roberts has mental prowess, he has shown us often how his brain works, as for Pauline, she looks positively clever along side him. I can understand now why she picked him, he indeed makes her look good.

The future I am sure will be in safe hands with such people of quality.

13 Jan 2017

The economist who had the measure of inequality.

Image result for gap between rich and poor cartoons
Book: Inequality: What Can be Done? by Tony Atkinson

This is an extract from an article written by Andrew Leigh

It focused on policy solutions to the rising gap between rich and poor. These included guaranteed public employment at the minimum wage, encouraging innovation that improves employability, stronger union power, and more foreign aid. Atkinson also proposed that competition policy should explicitly take account of inequality.

He created his own inequality measure (the Atkinson Index), devised a novel technique for estimating wealth inequality from inheritance data, and shook up public finance through his work on optimal taxation with Joseph Stiglitz (who would go on to win the Nobel Prize).

The ever increasing gap of wealth inequality is dangerouse for democratic countries because it opens the door for extemists, we see this from the rise of minor parties.

Some believe is due to lack of trust in parties. No the underlying reason is inequality, there are a growing number of people who think they have been ignored and left behind.
Wealth there is no trickle down, its all trickling up, it is denying gravity, either the tap(read democracy) will be torn down by extremists or governments will have to turn the faucet on little.

Tony Atkinson died on January 1, aged 72

11 Jan 2017

The benefits of having empathy

Empathy is an interpersonal skill that can be viewed as part of emotional intelligence. Psychotherapist Carl Rogers wrote that empathy could enhance relationships and recommended it for ordinary people particularly politicians and therapists.
Studies support its value. Health professionals who show high levels of empathy tend to get better adherence to treatment from their patients and better patient outcomes. And beyond health care, empathy is associated with better personal relationships and more successful social behaviour.(political leaders who show empathy can sell policies to voters)
Empathy involves understanding the emotion of another person, feeling it and responding appropriately. from shutterstock.com
In its most complete form, empathy involves understanding the emotion of another person, feeling the emotion and responding appropriately to it.
These three aspects of empathy constitute empathic cognition, emotions and behaviour.

8 Jan 2017

Is it all our fault, should we be cast out into the wilderness?

Saying you understand and doing nothing is not empathy.
We'll look at it, is a non action in politics.

 Based on an article by Wendy Squires.Edited by S W T Read,
It seems our type have been told our fellow citizens will never be told by us. We are the cast out pariahs of last year, doomed to roam 2017 irrelevant and redundant.

Our old fashioned views of empathy, equality and environmental respect are pipe dreams, fiscal disasters. Refugees will have to just stay(probably including those lost souls on Manus and Nauru).

It seems they have to continue to learn their lesson for stepping aboard a boat. 'Wanting to live in safety and freedom is not realistic'. Just a pipe dream in Australia?

So, you would think with so much misery resting on our shoulders we would be rethinking our leftie views and we would be joining the good 'ol boys and gals of the new right.

Well we say a joyous and resounding STUFF YOU!

WE will stop listening to our hearts when they cut them out of our cold dead bodies.

To those of you pointing fingers at our type, blaming all our political correctness and benevolence as the reason the world has gone to Hell in a hand basket. We say look in to your own hearts if you have hearts.

Because if we are going to heal and come together, that's what it is going to take – human kindness, empathy, respect, tolerance and compassion they are not dirty words if you are a human?

No we're not taking the sharp turn to the right nor to the left. No we're trying to move towards the middle. In other words, coming closer together.

If we can't do that, then all this shit is our fault isn't it?

6 Jan 2017

Funding to the ABC to fill the void and bolster its news and investigative journalism becomes even more compelling.

Image result for ABC cuts cartoon
Newspapers are dying who is to fills the gap?
If newspapers continue their death spiral, the case for increased funding to the ABC to fill the void and bolster its news and investigative journalism capability becomes even more compelling. Before that can happen, someone has to speak up strongly against the prevailing headwinds.
Those who might be expected to campaign for a well-funded, independent national broadcaster are strangely mute and certainly no match for the relentless right wing attacks.
It appears the ABCs new managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is not intending to lead the charge. She is reported to have told staff in recent weeks that Four Corners could improve by being kinder to business, including by broadcasting profiles of successful business leaders.
If true, Guthrie, need look no further than the AFR for a template. Of course the implications of a move into vanity business broadcasting by Four Corners and the ABC are immensely dangerous.
We need to keep our ABC true to its self, independent and unbiased as it has always been.
The fact that every political party in power has accused them of being biased proves that they have been unbiased. Governments of all persuasions do not like having a light shone on their mistakes.
The present government is no exception, they however are trying to cripple the organisation by starving them of funds and trying to drag the ABC's culture down to the level of a sponsored news network.