Lanka Briefly for 14/12/2019

Morning all,

Here’s today’s headlines:

News

  • Army’s SAG winners felicitated (Daily Mirror)
  • FR against MCC, SOFA & ACSA fixed for Mar. 25 Govt. will revisit and review them: AG (Daily Mirror)
  • Waruna Liyanage to fill vacant seat in parliament (The Island)
  • PM recalls public humiliation Lankan armed forces were put through by previous regime (The Island)
  • Sri Lanka, Japan eye development cooperation in variety of sectors (Daily FT)
  • Swiss embassy employee No evidence of an abduction: CID (Daily Mirror)
  • Opinion

  • US and ‘like-minded’ partners will keep security in Asia (Daily FT)
  • Switzerland connection in LTTE fundraising activity (Daily Mirror)
  • Sri Lanka awaits winter tourists to revive terror-hit sector (Daily FT)
  • Don’t throw the baby with the bathtub (Daily Mirror)
  • Citizens opt for simple and productive electoral reforms (Daily FT)
  • Roots of the crisis (Daily FT)
  • Business

  • Purchasing any device from Mobitel with a Seylan Credit Card entitles to 0% instalment plans for up to 36 months (The Island)
  • Mobitel to play critical role as connectivity partner for Hatton National Bank (Daily FT)
  • Senani Products Pandura becomes the Best Woman Entrepreneur in Western Province (Daily FT)
  • Pannipitiya Private Hospital expands residential treatment with new luxury room complex (Daily FT)
  • Leading businesses pledge support to tackle Sri Lanka’s high malnutrition (Daily FT)
  • ASPI ends lower amid lackluster turnover levels (The Island)
  • World

  • UK Labour’s ‘red wall’ turned blue as voters fear more Brexit delays (ABC)
  • Donald Trump and Chinese officials announce ‘phase one’ deal to roll back tariffs (ABC)
  • John Lennon’s sunglasses sell at auction for almost $200000 (Deutsche Welle)
  • The rise of Boris Johnson: from bumbling journalist to landslide election winner (France 24)
  • Anti-Boris Johnson protesters clash with police (Deutsche Welle)
  • The remote, impoverished island sitting on a multi-billion-dollar gold mine (ABC)
  • Climate

  • Opponents push Canadian government to update cost estimates for Trans Mountain pipeline (IEEFA)
  • The Earth needs multiple methods for removing CO2 from the air to avert worst of climate change (The Conversation)
  • Energy major Iberdrola aiming for ‘virtually zero emissions’ in Europe by 2030 (IEEFA)
  • This Bangladeshi man’s story shows why linking climate change with conflict is no simple matter (The Conversation)
  • Richer nations accused of stalling progress on climate crisis (The Guardian)
  • Your Christmas shopping could harm or help the planet. Which will it be? (The Conversation)
  • Sport

  • Dhanajaya de Silva inches towards ton as rain ruins third day (Cricinfo)
  • Doddie Weir wins Helen Rollason Award at Sports Personality 2019 (BBC Sport)
  • Wayne Rooney: Derby player-coach on veganism, Everton and analysing with Ryan Giggs (BBC Sport)
  • Francesca Schiavone reveals she has overcome cancer (BBC Sport)
  • James Milner signs new Liverpool contract extension until 2022 (BBC Sport)
  • Manchester United: Marcus Rashford on helping academy reach landmark (BBC Sport)
  • Further reading

  • Carlotta’s face (Aeon)
  • Who Was Alexander von Humboldt? (Jstor)
  • World-Famous Waterfalls May Slow to a Trickle, But Tourism Doesn’t Have To (Atlas Obscura)
  • Miniature Brains Recently Sent Out Brain Waves for the First Time (Smithsonian)
  • Europe has unveiled a plan to eliminate climate emissions by 2050 (MIT Tech Review)
  • How pottering about in the garden creates a time warp (Aeon)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.

    Straya Briefly for 14/12/2019

    Morning all,

    Here’s today’s headlines:

    News

  • Yes, Prime Minister, it is a national disaster and we need a frank discussion (ABC)
  • Nuclear energy ‘only game in town’ for zero carbon emissions tech (Sky News)
  • Drug traffickers smuggled $130M of cocaine and heroin into Australia and NZ, police say (ABC)
  • New spy boss becomes the first woman to lead major Australian intelligence agency (ABC)
  • Facebook, Google to face sweeping regulation as govt responds to digital inquiry (Sky News)
  • Pauline Hanson, political lobbyists and a row over an unpaid bill claim (SMH)
  • Opinion

  • Missing in Mexico (Overland)
  • Opportunist, chameleon, showman or charlatan: what will Boris Johnson do next? (ABC)
  • Is this the spark Scott Morrison needs to act on climate change? (ABC)
  • A thank you to First Dog on the Moon readers | First Dog on the Moon (The Guardian)
  • Bodak moment: Pop’s decade of superstars (The Monthly)
  • In the Herald: December 13, 1954 (SMH)
  • Business

  • Wage scandals becoming the dark underbelly of the labour market (SMH)
  • Different class: the fight for the future of litigation funding (SMH)
  • Jetstar flights cancelled around Australia as airline workers strike (ABC)
  • Two words captured the mood of a nation on the brink — and they still apply today (ABC)
  • ASX to rise after Trump tweets US is ‘very close’ to China trade deal (ABC)
  • Westpac board avoid spill, hit with second remuneration strike (Sky News)
  • World

  • US lawmakers approve charges against Donald Trump (Deutsche Welle)
  • Eagle attacks octopus, probably regrets it (BBC News)
  • Russia: Six Jehovah’s Witnesses given prison sentences (Deutsche Welle)
  • Bouteflika-era PM Tebboune declared winner of Algeria’s presidential election (France 24)
  • Niger fighting ‘asymmetric war’ against armed groups: Analysts (Al Jazeera English)
  • Johnson says election win shows Brexit is ‘irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable’ will of the people (ABC)
  • Climate

  • Taylor flies out of Madrid, leaving Kyoto carryover battle unresolved (Renew Economy)
  • Analysts see more write-downs coming in U.S. shale sector (IEEFA)
  • The Earth needs multiple methods for removing CO2 from the air to avert worst of climate change (The Conversation)
  • Federal nuclear inquiry report: Lunatics in charge of the asylum (Renew Economy)
  • First large-scale wind farm in West Africa begins producing power (IEEFA)
  • This Bangladeshi man’s story shows why linking climate change with conflict is no simple matter (The Conversation)
  • Sport

  • James Milner signs new Liverpool contract extension until 2022 (BBC Sport)
  • Steve Smith makes stunning catch as Australia boss New Zealand (The Guardian)
  • Josh Hazlewood limps off early in New Zealand innings (Cricinfo)
  • It may be left to an Australian to decide Russia’s fate in world sport (SMH)
  • Manchester United: Marcus Rashford on helping academy reach landmark (BBC Sport)
  • ‘I was mentally and physically ruined’ – Glenn Maxwell (Cricinfo)
  • Further reading

  • An AI conference once known for blowout parties is finally growing up (MIT Tech Review)
  • Carlotta’s face (Aeon)
  • Here’s What 2019 Scientific Discovery Taught Us About Our Human Origins (Smithsonian)
  • A space probe has mapped the winds above Mars for the first time (MIT Tech Review)
  • Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis – Facts So Romantic (Nautilus)
  • Who Was Elsie, besides the World’s Most Famous Cow? (Jstor)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.

    Everything is complicated

    The impossibility in reading the news and pontificating about public policy is putting yourself in others’ shoes. This isn’t to say we don’t do it. We all do it all the time. We’re just terrible at it.

    I touched on this when writing about/reading the Hidden Half. But it’s coming out again as I read a most intriguing book on social science called Everything is Obvious by Duncan Watts.

    What I’m talking about is the tendency to try and understand why people behave a certain way. Or to dream up interventions to force them to do so. It almost always involves reasoning through analogy, which is something I’m very guilty of (just read basically anything on this blog).

    This kind of reasoning plays into a false notion that behaviour is the predictable outcome of certain inputs. And, as Watts points out, even if this is so, we’re terrible at recognising and weighting all the inputs in our own decisions, let alone everyone else.

    Rationalizing human behavior, however, is precisely an exercise in simulating, in our mind’s eye, what it would be like to be the person whose behavior we are trying to understand. Only when we can imagine this simulated version of ourselves responding in the manner of the individual in question do we really feel that we have understood the behavior in question. So effortlessly can we perform this exercise of “understanding by simulation” that it rarely occurs to us to wonder how reliable it is…

    …our mental simulations have a tendency to ignore certain types of factors that turn out to be important. The reason is that when we think about how we think, we instinctively emphasize consciously accessible costs and benefits such as those associated with motivations, preferences, and beliefs—the kinds of factors that predominate in social scientists’ models of rationality.

    Watts goes on to cite a laundry list of implicit factors that shape our decision making. From defaults to various kinds of priming and faulty memory and reasoning. These biases and gaps are now well known, but it’s interesting to think first about how little we understand about ourselves.

    …although it may be true that I like ice cream as a general rule, how much I like it at a particular point in time might vary considerably, depending on the time of day, the weather, how hungry I am, and how good the ice cream is that I expect to get. My decision, moreover, doesn’t depend just on how much I like ice cream, or even just the relation between how much I like it versus how much it costs. It also depends on whether or not I know the location of the nearest ice cream shop, whether or not I have been there before, how much of a rush I’m in, who I’m with and what they want, whether or not I have to go to the bank to get money, where the nearest bank is, whether or not I just saw someone else eating an ice cream, or just heard a song that reminded me of a pleasurable time when I happened to be eating an ice cream, and so on. Even in the simplest situations, the list of factors that might turn out to be relevant can get very long very quickly. And with so many factors to worry about, even very similar situations may differ in subtle ways that turn out to be important. When trying to understand—or better yet predict—individual decisions, how are we to know which of these many factors are the ones to pay attention to, and which can be safely ignored?

    Now imagine doing this over a population.

    As always my emphasis

    Lanka Briefly for 13/12/2019

    Morning all,

    Here’s today’s headlines:

    News

  • Sri Pada Season begins (Daily Mirror)
  • President praises local media for their coverage of alleged abduction incident (The Island)
  • Survey shows 81% claim SOEs’ services do not justify losses: Advocata (Daily FT)
  • Bastian Mw. bus terminal to be developed into transport hub: Amaraweera (Daily Mirror)
  • Cabinet decides to review CIFC scope (Daily FT)
  • PTL not a ‘disgraced primary dealer’ – Counsel (The Island)
  • Opinion

  • Open Letter To Daily FT Editor On Selective Exposé Of Bank & Other Wrongdoing (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Amend Constitution for a real Unitary Sri Lanka (The Island)
  • What price reforms now that progress rules? (Daily FT)
  • New Rajapaksa government in “power” crisis (Daily Mirror)
  • Can The Nation Move Forward Without Resolving The Ethnic Divisions? (Colombo Telegraph)
  • 13 A Just a cudgel in India’s hand (Daily Mirror)
  • Business

  • Treasury approves bonus payments for SOE staff (Republic Next)
  • Johnston launches ‘Tell Minister’ Facebook group (Republic Next)
  • LOLC to sell 70 percent stake in Cambodian microfinance institution (The Island)
  • Government collusion with “Rice Oligopoly” caused prices to rise – Harsha (Republic Next)
  • POTENZA secures Best Automation Startup title from CSSL (The Island)
  • Multilateral Asia Pacific Co-op sessions open in Colombo (Daily FT)
  • World

  • Boris Johnson predicted to claim clear majority in Brexit-focused election (ABC)
  • Live blog: Conservatives predicted to win large majority in UK general election, exit poll says (France 24)
  • EU extends sanctions on Russia over Ukraine conflict (Deutsche Welle)
  • Greta Thunberg turns tables on Trump after ‘anger management’ comments (ABC)
  • Three patients die as 500 lawyers storm hospital in Pakistan (ABC)
  • Deadly blaze hits Admiral Kuznetsov Russia’s only aircraft carrier (Deutsche Welle)
  • Climate

  • The dangers of depicting Greta Thunberg as a prophet (The Conversation)
  • Climate change: Anger as protestors barred from UN talks (BBC News)
  • Analysts see more write-downs coming in U.S. shale sector (IEEFA)
  • First large-scale wind farm in West Africa begins producing power (IEEFA)
  • Climate crisis leaves us with real choices to make | Letters (The Guardian)
  • California regulators okay early shutdown of GE-owned, 800MW gas-fired power plant (IEEFA)
  • Sport

  • Rain, bad light wipe out most of day two (Cricinfo)
  • Man Utd 4-0 AZ Alkmaar: Mason Greenwood double in emphatic Europa League victory (BBC Sport)
  • Rangers 1-1 Young Boys: Rangers hang on to reach last 32 (BBC Sport)
  • Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners fight back secures top spot (BBC Sport)
  • Carlo Ancelotti: Where next for ex-Chelsea, Real Madrid & AC Milan manager? (BBC Sport)
  • MLB: Marijuana removed from banned list after policy revision (BBC Sport)
  • Further reading

  • A space probe has mapped the winds above Mars for the first time (MIT Tech Review)
  • Are Koalas Really Going Extinct? (Jstor)
  • The War on Polio Just Entered Its Most Dangerous Phase (Wired)
  • Reviving the Roost (Aeon)
  • What Elephants Teach Us About Consumption and Extinction (Smithsonian)
  • China is beating the US when it comes to quantum security (MIT Tech Review)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.