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Three great examples:

Minard () Napoleon's March on Moscow.gifMinard’s 1869 map of Napoleon’s march to, and from, Moscow.


Ogama () the evolution of pythonSource:


Am back after something of an unplanned excursion.


And naturally there’s a cyclone off the coast.

…and the WordPress app has meant that I’ve managed to stuff up some earlier posts. Not sure what happened there.

Busy. New job–which is proving quite fun. Can’t talk much. But when I grow up, I want me one of these.

Satellite images of the newly declared Iranian uranium enrichment facility.  Underground.  Not that they’re trying to hide, or anything.

Inkspots in Afghanistan: the ‘best of a series of bad military choices’?

The 2009 MacArthur Grant winners.  As always, the awardees are fascinating.  Gallucci: ‘the MacArthur grants are distinctive because they reward the expectation of future achievement’.

Then there’s this…

Another piece that should be posted in every Federal department office and Parliament House.  Tyler Cowan argues that politicisation, not the markets per se, is the root cause of the current financial troubles.  Bad policies, bad regulation and political interference in the market mechanism led banks and organisations such as GM being ‘too big to fail’: they were propped up and protected from market realities.  Further interference is not the solution.

Today we have a financial-regulatory complex, and it has meant a consolidation of power and privilege. We’ve created a class of politically protected “too big to fail” institutions, and the current proposals for regulatory reform further cement this notion. Even more worrying, with so many explicit and implicit financial guarantees, we are courting a bigger financial crisis the next time something major goes wrong.

We should stop using political favors as a means of managing an economic sector.

Financial markets are subject to criticality—and so catastrophe and collapse—just as a natural system.  Preventing small failures—including through political favours and protecting interest groups—inevitably leads to more pent up energy and catastrophes.  Good system design allows constant small failures, as in an efficient market.  And even those ‘too big to fail’ must be allowed to fail, naturally—or some means found to bleed off the criticality, and reduce their size—else risk complete catastrophe.

Earlier post deleted. Note to self: Do. Not. Post. When. Overly. Tired.

Absolutely not.  Work with domestic agencies, under strict supervision—and not simply Defence supervision and leadership—and legal constraints: okay.  But not, as it is, simply extending its range to domestic intell.

The argument that DSD should have such powers because ‘OMG, something might happen‘ relies on a silver bullet approach to threat assessment and response.  It hardly reflects a considered judgement, which is the responsibility of good government, of weighing the assumed benefits—that something actually might be captured, identified correctly, and acted upon in time, and in the absence of any other sources—with the costs associated with allowing a military-led and oriented organisation to collect, assess and make its own judgements about the activities of Australian citizens in Australia.

The Australian Government would be better advised to fix the existing linkages—as above, and as Dupont appears to be arguing.  And it should be focussing on understanding the threats and their behaviours in the new security environment, how best they should be collected through the full spectrum of intell, and how structures might need to change.  For example, if—if—there is a need to collect domestic intell through DSD’s capabilities, there is no reason why DSD—perhaps renamed the Australian Signals Directorate—should remain within Defence.

July 2018
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