Rolls-Royce to Pay £671 Million Over Bribery Claims

January 16th, 2017

Via: Guardian:

Rolls-Royce, Britain’s leading multinational manufacturer, is to pay £671m in penalties after long-running investigations into claims it paid bribes to land export contracts.

The settlement means the engineering giant will avoid being prosecuted by anti-corruption investigators in the UK, US and Brazil, though individual executives may still be charged.

It comes five years after investigators across three continents first began examining claims that the £13bn multinational had paid bribes to secure contracts in countries around the world.

Research Credit: Jb


8 Men as Rich as Half the World

January 15th, 2017

Get yourself a side hustle and a podshare.

Via: ABC:

The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday.

Presenting its findings on the dawn of the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, anti-poverty organization Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago. It’s urging leaders to do more than pay lip-service to the problem.

If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year’s election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.


PR1ME Mathematics: Singapore Mathematics in New Zealand for Homeschooling Families

January 15th, 2017

Quick homeschooling announcement…

If you’re homeschooling in New Zealand and interested in Singapore Maths, you will have no doubt noticed that getting the materials here is an expensive hassle. We have been buying the California standards edition materials from the U.S. and having them shipped over to New Zealand at astonishing expense.

Thankfully, those days are over!

Scholastic developed PR1ME maths for Australia and the materials are now available in New Zealand. If you contact Scholastic New Zealand by email, they will send you a pricelist and ordering instructions. They are happy to sell to homeschooling families.

Scholastic: PR1ME Mathematics

Via: The Australian:

SCHOOLS in Australia will be able to teach maths Singapore-style with the release next month of primary textbooks that set out the teaching methods responsible for taking Singaporean students to the top of international tests.


‘Side Hustle’ as a Sign of the Apocalypse

January 14th, 2017

Definitely related: L.A. Coliving: PodShare

Via: Medium:

“These days, everyone needs a side hustle,” starts the Uber commercial recruiting new drivers. And it’s got bouncy music and the dude is hip and it makes it sound like this is super fun and I’m sitting there thinking: Are they seriously trying to make a “second job” sound like a sexy thing!? “it’s not my second job, it’s my mistress occupation.” Next, we’ll just start saying bipolar people have a side personality.

And WTF has happened to our culture when we just take it as fact that everyone needs to have multiple jobs and work as a cab driver and rent out every square inch of space in their apartment and be a task rabbit gopher who waits in line for tickets when they’re not walking dogs or temping and we all just chalk it up to “progress”??? In the old days, this meant your life was falling apart. Now it just means you’re part of “the sharing economy.”


Obama Expands Surveillance Powers on His Way Out

January 13th, 2017

Via: Electronic Frontier Foundation:

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people.

New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.


Why Smart People Don’t Multitask

January 12th, 2017

Via: CNBC:

You may have heard that multitasking is bad for you, but studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Every time you multitask you aren’t just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that’s critical to your future success at work.


Facebook: Building 8

January 12th, 2017

Wikipedia: Transcranial Pulsed Ultrasound:

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is undergoing research to develop a helmet that could control the minds of soldiers through the use of TPU. It would have the potential to control a soldier’s stress and anxiety levels with the click of a remote controlled button.[5] Sound waves would target specific areas of the brain to stimulate activity in regions only a few cubic millimeters in size. This would allow them to target very specific areas of the brain with great accuracy and without inflicting damage to its surroundings. A prototype of this device is currently being worked upon to better the ability and potential of soldiers.

Via: Inverse:

Facebook has some big plans for the future of social networking. A series of job postings discovered Thursday suggest the company wants to use non-invasive techniques to measure users’ brain waves, with artificial intelligence decoding the data. The listings are all for the company’s Building 8 lab, a secretive organization headed by the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

One listing seeks a brain-computer interface engineer for a two-year project in the lab focused on advanced brain technologies. The candidate will be responsible for the “application of machine learning methods, including encoding and decoding models, to neuroimaging and electrophysiological data.” In other words, Facebook wants to apply artificial intelligence to brain scan data.

Another listing, for a neural imaging engineer, sheds some light on how Facebook might actually scan people’s brains. The company wants someone to design methods based around “optical, RF, ultrasound, or other entirely non-invasive approaches.”


European Parliament Considers Legal Status of Robots

January 12th, 2017

Via: Guardian:

The European parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use and creation of robots and artificial intelligence, including a form of “electronic personhood” to ensure rights and responsibilities for the most capable AI.

In a 17-2 vote, with two abstentions, the parliament’s legal affairs committee passed the report, which outlines one possible framework for regulation.

“A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics,” said the report’s author, Luxembourgish MEP Mady Delvaux. “In order to address this reality and to ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework”.

The proposed legal status for robots would be analogous to corporate personhood, which allows firms to take part in legal cases both as the plaintiff and respondent. “It is similar to what we now have for companies, but it is not for tomorrow,” said Delvaux. “What we need now is to create a legal framework for the robots that are currently on the market or will become available over the next 10 to 15 years.”


China Has Wealth of Data on What Individuals Are Doing at a Micro Level

January 11th, 2017

Most of what sounds grim about this situation in China is the same in the U.S.

Via: CBC:

Living in China, it’s safe to assume pretty much everything about you is known — or easily can be known — by the government. Where you go, who you’re with, which restaurants you like, when and why you see your doctor.

Big Brother doesn’t even need to be watching with his own eyes.

There is an entire network — the internet inside China’s Great Firewall — designed to gather the information. And there’s an industry of private and state-owned high-tech enterprises serving it.

“You could go so far as to make the argument that social media and digital technology are actually supporting the regime,” says Ronald Deibert, the director of The Citizen Lab, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. They study how information technology affects human and personal rights around the world.


L.A. Coliving: PodShare

January 11th, 2017

This looks like someone turned a Kafkaesque Japanese capsule hotel inside out and dressed it up with some hip millennial bullshit.

Are young people sleepwalking into living like upper class bums and thinking that it’s somehow a cool thing?

Children, gather around: This is bum living with running water and wi-fi.

I have nothing against people for living like bums. I’ve done it. It can be a good tactical move. What I’m curious about is how, between the early 2000s and now, living like a bum became something for cool kids to do?

Well paying jobs are gone and not coming back. It’s getting more expensive to survive. Collapse. Etc.

Have we moved beyond calling it what it is?

I was talking about this PodShare thing with my wife, and how I found it inexplicable that young people could possibly like this. She theorized that it might have something to do with Facebook. They’re so used to disgorging such ridiculous amounts of personal information over social media that living in a place with no privacy, and Bob farting in the next bunk over, might seem normal to them.

I don’t know.

Anyway, behold…

Via: Kirsten Dirksen:


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