Thursday, 14 November 2013

Advanced Mathematics With Legos In A Washing Machine - news and views for Thursday 14 November

Some news and views noted along the way while browsing.
  • Advanced Mathematics With Legos In A Washing Machine - “Every generation, a scientific paper comes along that rocks the very foundations of research, upturns our sense of the world, leaves us collapsed, in awe at everything that we, for all of our work, still fail to comprehend about the universe. “Random Structures from Lego Bricks and Analog Monte Carlo Procedures” is not that paper. It is about throwing Legos in a washing machine. And it is wonderful.”
  • The fiscal effects of immigration to the UK – “The immigration debate has focused on immigrants’ net fiscal impact – whether they receive more in welfare payments and other benefits than they pay back in taxes. This column summarises recent research showing that – contrary to popular belief – immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Compared with natives of the same age, gender, and education level, recent immigrants are 21% less likely to receive benefits.”
  • Alastair Campbell: press barons losing power like 80s union leaders – “”The negativity, overblown hype and lack of balance have helped turn people away from the press as a prime source of news. The rise in social networks is in part based on the concept of ‘friends’ – we do not believe politicians as we used to; we do not believe the media; we believe each other. The papers”, Campbell claims, “think their decline is about technology. I think it is as much about their values and their journalism.”
  • Euroskeptic Union: Right-Wing Populists Forge EU Alliance – “Right-wing populists are trying to create a powerful faction in the European Parliament. Leading the efforts are Geert Wilders from the Netherlands and Marine le Pen of France — and their initiative has big implications for Europe.”
  • China’s paltry response to Typhoon Haiyan illustrates the limits of its soft power
  • Business is creating new forms of English – “Native speakers are, as I have heard many times before, a problem in the new world of business English. In the Saudi company Ms Alharbi studied, the chief executive’s personal assistant, a Palestinian, asked to be excused from taking minutes because she could not understand what the native English speakers were saying – they talked too quickly and in ‘strong accents’.”
  • Foreign exchange: The big fix – “Banks fear a repeat of the costly Libor scandal after traders were suspended over currency concerns.”
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