2014년 8월 31일 일요일

[발췌] Hacking: Sometimes it’s easier to hack your brain than your computer.

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

Hacking a computer and stealing information is not as easy as it looks in the movices. The major security breaches reported in the news over the last several months make information theft seem easy, but there is still a high level of skill and commitment required to pull off a hack. Cracking a truly secure password is still extremely difficult, and a properly secured computer looks like a fortified  castle armed with hundreds of guards and surrounded bt a moat.

You, however─you are the gatekeeper. You're walking around with keys like passwords, access rights, and knowledge. Malicious people want these keys, and they will use your own fear of security breaches to get them.

“Hello, my name is David from Windows Technical Department,” says the voice on the phone. “We are getting some kind of error and warning signals from your computer that indicate that an online hacker has gotten inside your computer and is using your computer without your knowledge.” At this point the voice directs you to the alleged proof and even warns you not to click anything because you will make it worse. Everything looks very authentic and seems believable. After all, computers get infected every day. You think that it is not outside the realm of possibility that yours has been infected and is sending out your private data all over the Internet. So what are you going to do? The voice at the other end of the line then throws you a lifeline. He asks you to go to a website, install his cleaner software and he will get you all fixed up. Listen to the whole phone call below.

This is a classic example of social engineering. In this context, social engineering (also known as social hacking) refers to the manipulation of people to get them to divulge information they otherwise would not. Put another way, hackers are hacking you, not your computer. Con artists are nothing new and identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, affecting 11.5 million U.S. victims annually (U.S. Department of Justice). Social engineering is often the easiest way to steal that information.

Social engineering hacks come in many forms. The scam above is a common hack known as a fake tech support call. Other forms of social hacking include malicious emails claiming something drastic will happen if you don’t call a phone number to clear something up or copycat websites that will steal your username and password when you try to log in. Many of these techniques seem obvious when pointed out, but they are often so well done that even somebody with technical skills may not recognize them right away.

How do you protect yourself? Follow these steps to keep your information private.

2014년 8월 30일 토요일

[발췌: Mohamed Ariff's] Ethics-based financial transactions: as assessment of Islamic banking (2011)

출처: Mohamed Ariff (2011). "Ethics-based financial transactions: as assessment of Islamic banking", Chapter 2 in ^The Foundations of Islamic Banking: Theory, Practice and Education^. Edward Elgar Publishing. Jan 1, 2011
자료: 구글도서

※ 발췌 (excerpts): 

Chapter 2. Ethics-based financial transactions: as assessment of Islamic banking


This is an analytical chapter with the modest aim of assessing a 48-year old experiment commonly termed Islamic finance, which describes the profit sharing and risk-sharing contracting in financial transactions as being ethically consistent with human welfare. Profit-earning after risk-sharing in debt contracts (as has always been the case throughout history in equity contracts) has been practiced in financial dealings in settled societies for over four millennia, before the birth of modern banking practices which are debt-based on no risk-sharing, with pre-agreed fixed interest charges. In just 48 years, the ethics-based Islamic finance has gained a respectable foothold in some 76 countries, including seven major financial centers, as will be supported by evidence in this chapter. Its presence is felt in many countries. With the Bank of Englad's adoption of a landmark liberal regulation in 2002, after careful study over many years, to accept Islamic financial institutions as another niche in banking, the pace of growth of adoption of this experiment has substantially accelerated.

These two facetsㅡfoothold and wider recognitionㅡhave been hard-earned, and deservedl so, if one were to examine Islamic finance as an alternative ethics-based financial practice, which is claimed to be. As we will observe later in the chapter the ethical moral-based financial principles, along with the human princple of equitable dealings in financial transactions, reconnects these financial activities of Islamic finance to the long-practiced wider belief in human history that financial transactions should be based on risk-sharing, and thus, also by the sharing of the ^ex-post^ outcome of the risk, that leads to profit-sharing as morally correct in finance.

If, for acceptable reasons, profits do not materialize in a risk-sharing venture during the term of a debt contract, then the most a lender gets is the principal put at risk. Despite widespread practice of safeguarding the principal borrowed in guaranteed contracts in this new finance, some authors(Iqbal, 2007) claim that guaranteeing the principal is also strictly not kosher in Islamic finance, but, in practice, is allowed. In publicly-traded debt contracts this is always the norm,as traded prices of bonds decline if the risk does materialize, leading to losses because of declining bond prices. [n.1]

In this sense, modern banking practice of exacting a pre-fixed interest charge in debt contracts, albeit not high enough to reach the legal limit of usury rate, introduces a one-sided contract with no equitable recourse for borrowings at risk. Some claim that this makes the moneyed, wealth-owing, capitalist class introduce an element of oppression of the borrowing class. Throughout history it is the entrepreneur without the money wealth who predominantly created inventions to improve society's progress. Indebtedness, due to non-risk-sharing, dents entrepreneurial benefits to society, which is a limiting factor for human welfare, despite the protection of limited liability laws available to a small sliver of entrepreneurs in large formal organizations.

This new form of ethics-based finance has been offered as a new financial invention, replacing the much older, very entrenched, financial transactions based on lender-favored pre-fixed interest payments with no risk-sharing, in debt contracts of conventional finance. While this much older modern finance [n.2] finds no strictures against lending on these bases to promote economic activities such as gaming, production of intoxicants for non-medical consumption, prostitution, etc., the new ethics-based Islamic lending prohibits such lending activities as being anti-social. Islamic financial institutions do not lend based on interest, nor receive interest (as it is considered non-risk-shared reward, and for reasons of canon law) nor lend to promote anti-social activities. Historical writings (Goetzmann and Rouwenhorst, 2005) suggest that Muslim communities in the 10th-13th centuries, and throughout Muslim communities thereafter, engaged in both formal and especially the more dominant informal lending via profit-sharing debt (and equity) contracts. Pre-fixed interest-based debt contracts also thried at the formal end in Muslim, as well as in other societies. Even today much informal lending on a profit-shared basis is very prevalent, but is unrecorded based on zero interest or profit share. That is not to deny that in the over 15 centuries of Islam, there was no interest rate-based financing. Nor is it easy to argue that all interest charges are forbidden (El-Gamal, 2006).

The research questions addressed in this chapter are aimed at making a modest contribution to the ethics literature on a number of directions. What are the essential ethical principles, and how do these compare over historical time and against current modern practices? How successful is the penetration of this new form of profit-making with ethics-based financial practices? How is the ethical dimension overseen? What is the comparative assessment of Islamic finance and modern finance?

The following sections elaborate the contributions of the chapter. Section 2 provides a quick discussion and an important review of what this author considers as the seven ethical-moral principles of financial transactions as evolved over 5,000 years in many belief systems that are embodies in Islamic finance. We also discuss the contributions of the debate in the Islamic finance literature. In Section 3, the reader will find a discussion based on summary statistics on the incidence of Islamic financial institutions(IFIs) and modern banks, as at 2007. That leads to Section 4, which contains a quick review of the meaning of money, basic regulatory structure and performance of IFIs, mainly Islamic banks in comparison with modern banks. There is little known about the performance of Islamic investment and insurance entities, so we discuss these items only tangentially in the same section. An assessment as to whether this new idea will further spread speedily is made in Section 5 as a conclusion of this study.


An examination of historical writings found in historical, finance and religious literature around the world suggests that pure financial transactions (meaning banking, finance and insurance that are to do with exchange of money wealth to be defined in a later section) may be surmised as being based on seven fundamental principles, as a summary of the many principles found in Islamic jurisprudence(fiqh mualamat) about the financial transactions.[n.3] Financial transactions in historical times were carried out mostly by savings of individuals (the modern day capitalists) who lent it directly to borrowers. These individuals had the power to dominate, and extract economic rent, even the labor of the borrowers, by lawfully taking the wives and children of the defaulting indebted into slavery. There were no formal organizations for intermediation, such as exist in the banking environment of our modern times, [n.4] which was only established in its modern form with fractional banking in the 18th century. The Catholic Church undertook some custodial functions of banking as far back as the 11th century, but these were not equivalent to fractional banking.

Three ethical principles of a total of seven that evolved over several millennia in borrowing-lending activities are discussed first.

1. For a participation in a contract to rightfully demand a return in a financial transaction when one party makes her savings available as a loan to another party to carry out entrepreneurial economic activity by lending (or share ownership in the activity as part or full owner), the lending part first shares in the risk of the activity for which the money is lent(or a share ownership is taken if owned), and then take a profit share from the ^ex post^ outcome. So, the sharing of profits is ^ex post^ the sharing of risk. An historical example is the 2/3 share of profits taken by wealthy lenders financing voyages of the Dutch East India Company in the 16th century, or a '2 and 20' term (meaning 2 per cent of capital provided as fees, and 20 per cent of profit share) venture capitalists require to fund a business today. If the loan is made on a pre-fixed interest basis as agreed upon by a lending party and the borrowing party, then the interest rate charged, as regulated by societies over long historical periods, was limited to be non-excessive, that is not usurious. Usury as a moral compass has been around for nearly 5,000 years in different settled societies, as is discussed later (Nelson, 1969).

2. The return the lender (or part-owner) gets must be commensurate with the amount of risk undertaken. For example, a sleeping patner may get just a small share of the profits, whereas the active partner may get a larger share of the profits. On the other hand, the lender may get less than the sleeping partner, since the lender undertakes the risk only over the short period of lending, unlike the sleeping partner who carries the risk over an undefined period of time. These are consistent with the time-invariant principle of risk-return that has been enshrined as Nobel prize-winning theories in Economics: here reference is made to Markowitz's portfolio theory, and Sharpe's capital asset pricing theory, for example.

3. Where a return is demanded and agreed upon ahead of the financial transaction─this is the case of what modern banks practice as pre-fixed rate of return─the rate of charge could not be usurious. Usurious return is excessive return, and such contracts are proscribed by law and also by religious laws.[n5] For an exhaustive treatment of how Christian and Jewish scriptures prohibit usury, see ( ... ).

( ... ... )
( ... ... )
( ... ... )

Islamic scholars have generally tended─there are many exceptions to this statement─to consider any return that is pre-fixed in a financial transaction, and is not based on profit-sharing, meaning the reward is earned before sharing the risk of the enterprise (as discussed in Note 1), as not ethical earning. No scholars has said all pre-fixed interest charges are usurious, at least in the serious literature. Some scholars have also suggested─as in Egypt, and also under Iranian laws in practice─that the bank deposit interest rate is considered not usurious, perhaps because bank interest rates are much smaller, and are mostly a shade higher than the inflation in countries, so it is risk-free, thus deposits are not to be considered risky lending. Indeed, bank rates charged to borrowers do have risk, but rates applied to deposits in banks can be shown to be just about equal to the inflation rate in the long run. Certainly, depositors' earnings are not big enough to constitute a return that doubles and quadruples, a necessary condition to make a return usurious in Islamic finance. The debate on interest versus usury continues.

( ... ... )

4. Now we discuss the fourth ethical principle in another banking activity, namely mortgage finance. In addition to purely making available an amount of savings to fund economic activities in mostly debt contracts, banks also buy and sell 'things' such as cars, houses, ships, airplanes. These transactions are not purely wealth-producing economic activities, although capital gains may accrue as increases over what was paid in the purchase value of an asset. These are activities to enable purchase of costly items, be they cars, motocycles, aircraft, houses, commercial properties, or even a cow in micro-finance and so forth. This creates a financial transaction where the bank is the provider of the money as an agent to enable purchase (loan for entrepreneurship does not involve merely buying chattels). It is a buy-and-sell or buy-and-rent arrangement. Here too, the Islamic principle of honest brokerage comes in to ensure ethical dealing. After a mortgage purchase id done, the lender is required to build equity ownership in the asset bought right from the start, as the mortgage is being paid off. Modern banks collect initial payments entirely as interest charges, with insufficient equity being built for the owner of the asset in the early period of loan.[n.9]
[n.9] In the case of lease financing, the rent paid to the owner of the lease by the borrower of the 'leased asset' is unequivocally a payment for the services of the leased asset that belongs to the owner of the item. It is not interest, and the charges for debt contract for leasing often uses the prevailing interest rates.
Modern banks can start deducting the interest portion of the deal much faster. The principle of ownership protection and proportional or equal equity from day one of purchase is an equitable financial principle, though it is not at all widely promoted even by Islamic banks because they have opted to use the exact amortization tables of the modern banks without serious consideration of the details of this principle. [n.10] This may be termed the fourth ethical principle applied strictly to Islamic mortgage transactions in buy─resale contracts. This is the private property ownership preservation principle ensuring the lender is not reneging on ownership of the borrower solely because a lender has the exploitative power in an unequal transaction.
[n.10] It is interesting to note that mortgage financing practices vary across countries. Brazilians used to buy houses with cash savings until a few years ago! Some financiers of mortgage do not reveal the exact details of ownership in assets, and continue to deduct interest first and let owners build equity after several years, even in case of part cash purchases!
5. Turning to investment companies [n.11] to discuss how ethically acceptable returns should be earned on invested capital, we find a fifth sound ethical financial principle developed in historical times. ( ... ... )

6. ( ... ... )

7. ( ... ... )

( ... ... )

p. 34.

( ... ) Islamic finance is a contemporary challenge to modern finance. Interest on interest is opposed by this new experiment; equity in mortgage finance is promoted in proportion to the payment ratios; pre-fixed interest is replaced with after-risk-sharing reward, which makes possible a symmetric lending contract to earn risk-return beyond inflation; ( ... ... )

[발췌] Islamic banking

※ 발췌 (excerpts as of Aug 30, 2014) : 

( ... ) [A] more correct term for 'Islamic banking' is 'Sharia compliant finance'.[1] 

Sharia prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money (known as riba, or usury), whether the payment is fixed or floating. Investment in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles (e.g. pork or alcohol) is also haraam ("sinful and prohibited"). Although these prohibitions have been applied historically in varying degrees in Muslim countries/communities to prevent unIslamic practices, only in the late 20th century were a number of Islamic banks formed to apply these principles to private or semi-private commercial institutions within the Muslim community.[2][3]

By 2009, there were over US$822 billion assets being managed in over 300 banks and 250 mutual funds around the world complying with Islamic principles.[4] As of 2005, sharia compliant financial institutions represented approximately 0.5% of total world assets.[5]

( ... ... )

Islamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking: to make money for the banking institut[ion] by lending out capital. But that is not sole purpose either. Adherence to Islamic law and ensuring fair play is also at the core of Islamic banking. Because Islam forbids simply lending out money at interest, Islamic rules on transactions (known as Fiqh al-Muamalat) have been created to prevent it. 

The basic principle of Islamic banking is based on risk-sharing which is a component of trade rather than risk-transfer which is seen in conventional banking. Islamic banking introduces concepts such as profit sharing(Mudharabah), safekeeping (Wadiah), joint venture (Musharakah), cost plus (Murabahah), and leasing (Ijar).

In an Isalmic mortgage transaction, instead of lending the buyer money to purchase the item, 
  1. a bank buy the item itself from the seller, 
  2. and re-sell it to the buyer at a profit, 
  3. while allowing the buyer to pay the bank in installments. 
However, the bank's profit cannot be made explicit and therefore there are no additional penalties for late payment.[??] In order to protect itself against default, the bank asks for strict collateral. The goods or land is registered to the name of the buyer from the start of transaction. This arrangement is called Murabahah. Another approach is EIjara wa EIqtina, which is similar to real estate leasing. Islamic banks handle loans for vehicles in a similar way selling the vehicle at a higher-than-market price to the debtor and then retaining ownership of the vehicle until the loan is paid. 

An innovative approach applied by some banks for home loans, called Musharaka al-Mutanaqisa, allows for a floating rate in the form of rental. 
  1. The bank and borrower form a partnership entity, both providing capital at an agreed percentage to purchase the property. 
  2. The partnership entity then rents out the property to the borrower and charges rent. 
  3. The bank and the borrower will then share the proceeds from this rent based on the current equity share of the partnership. 
  4. At the same time, the borrower in the partnership entity also buys the bank's share of the property at agreed installments until the full equity is transferred to the borrower and the partnership is ended. 
If default occurs, both the bank and the borrower receive a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the property based on each party's current equity. This method allows for floating rates according to the current market rate such as the BLR (base lending rate), especially in a dual-banking system like in Malaysia.

( ... )

2014년 8월 28일 목요일

[발췌: B.Scott's] Breaching the monetary Matrix: Five exercises to help you understand money (2014)

본래 출처(original source): Brett Scott (2014), "Breaching the monetary Matrix: Five exercises to help you understand money", CONTRIBUTORIA, July 2014.

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

"Like everyone else you were born into bondage, 
born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch, 
a prison for your mind."

This is a line from ^The Matrix^. Morpheus is explaining to Neo that he's actually stuck in a nightmare prison-world enslaved to computers. ^The world is not as you think Neo, but I can set you free, provided you take the red pill.^

In some ways Morpheus resembles one of those single-agenda zealots who goes around telling people that they have a certain secret truth that will liberate them, like the guy who corners you in a pub and says, "Don't you realise we're trapped in a corporate prison. The Bilderberg Group owns the world's governments!"

Morpheus, however, is also different to the average conspiracy theorist. The key dynamic in ^The Matrix^ is that the power structure he's trying to reveal is invisible in all ways, an immersive totality that transcends the world of identifiable 'things'. He spins no tales of illuminati hiding in Goldman Sachs, or secret meetings between elites in Swiss cantons.

The problem with the average conspiracy theorist is that their targetsㅡsuch as corporationsㅡare too obvious. Corporations may be giant, semi-mortal entities that vaguely resemble autonomous hive-minds bent on cultural hegemony, but they often do it bluntly, pushing cheesy propaganda and brandishing gadgets at us, lobbying politicians, and so on. In the end, there are ways for people to exert influence over them, and they occasionally disintegrate. Corporate power is subtle, but not that subtle.

If anything in the world actually resembles Morpheus' conspiracy, I'd say it is ^money^ itself. Money is extremely subtle. We think of the monetary system like we think of air, or languageㅡas something that surrounds us and that we take for granted. We are born into a monetary system we cannot smell, or taste, or touch, so obviously normal as to be virtually invisible.

Indeed, when we're asked to describe money, we often give fuzzy, imprecise descriptions, despite the fact that we may use it everyday. Even those who work in the financial sector, and who spend all their time designing financial instruments like bonds to steer money from one place to another, frequently cannot tell you precisely what money is. Take, for example, the anti-hero of The Wolf of Wall Street, a hotshot broker immersed in money, but who literally has no idea of what it is, and what's more, is controlled by it like a puppet.

I find money intensely mysterious, and there are no Matrix-style red pills that can be taken to help one deconstruct it. ( ... )

[발췌: B.Scott's] Riches beyond belief: ... (2013)

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

( ... ... )

The trouble is, while my experiences in mainstream finance taught me a lot about what the industry [financial sector] does, they only gave me glimpses into the nature of the mysterious stuff it does it with. The financial system exist, above all, to mediate flows of money, not to question what money is. Investment banks create financial instruments that steer money from one place to another, with built-in sub-conduits to siphon it backㅡextractive devices used by investors. To draw an analogy with computer coding, we might say that financial instruments are analogous to 'high-level' programming languages such as Java or Ruby: they let you string commands together in order to perform certain actions. ^You want to get resources from A to B over time? Well, we can program a financial instrument to do that for you.^

By contrast, money itself is more like a ^low-level^ programming language, very hard to see or to understand but closer to gritty reality. It's like your computer's machine code, interacting with the hardware: even the experts take it for granted. You might need to explain what a bond is, but nobody is ever 'taught' what money is. We just see it in action and learn how to use it. Indeed, the only way you ever tend to get a glimpse is in relief, by contrast with another programming languageㅡor when you're forced to build it again from scratch.

Most people never get this opportunity. If you had to ask the average persion in the financial industry to explain what money is, they'd probably rattle off the economic textbook description: 'a means of exchange, a unit of account, and store of value'. This is not a very helpful definition. How can a piece of paper ^store^ 10 pounds of value? What are pounds anyway? Money sounds like it's an ordinary noun, a self-contained object. If it is a physical object, it must be paper or metal or digits on a computer. And yet, very few of us think £5 note is ^merely^ a piece of paper: the same idea of £5 can be expressed in electronic or metal form, after all.

No, to delve deeper into the nature of exchange we need some first principles, and these take time to uncover. The best guides in this half-lit territory turn out to be not economists, but rather the loose bands of monetary mystics and iconoclasts who are developing strange new exchange technologies.  They are a scattered tribe, with elders including the likes of Bernard Lietaer, Ellen Brown  and Thomas Greco, sages passing on tips on how to breach the Monetary Matrix. I myself sitting in a pub in Stockwell, south London, with Matthew Slater, a nomadic developer of open-source currency systems, and discover that he no longer bothers with a bank account or a fixed address. 'Once you've broken through appearances,' he says, 'there's no going back.'


I was introduce to Slater by a common friend named Jem Bendell. The two of them met in an Indian hippy colony called Auroville in Tamil Nadu, and Bendell is now a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria and an undercover monetary revolutionary. I have an enduring memory of a TED talk in which he ripped a banknote into pieces, trying to make the point that the paper itself doesn't have value. Everyone in the room winced, as if to say: 'You coul have given that to me!', but Bendell was getting at a powerful idea.

If money is an object, it must be an ^enchanted^ one, charged up with value by a subtle cultural process. Why else would anyone exchange a box of coffee for a rectangle of paper? Shopkeepers accept the paper because they believe that it has abstract valueㅡbecause, in return, they believe that ^others^ believe it, too. The value is circular, predicated on each person believing that others believe in it. You hand over your money and claim something from the shopkeeper, almost as if the coffee were owed to you. Then they take the claim that was previously yours and use it to claim something from someone else. We all trust each other to value moneyㅡbut this still means that every monetary transaction is a leap of faith. And faith has to be carefully maintained.

The idea that money rests on belief makes some people uncomfortable. There's a popular assumption that money emerged, in some dimly imagined past, out of barterㅡthat it was just a more precise means to make direct exchanges. Mainstream economists still trot out this explanation, although anthropologist such as David Graeber have shown that there is little evidence for it. It's a reassuring myth, one that obscures the deep difference between barter and monetary exchange. In the former, nothing is left unresolved and no faith is required. It's a closed circuit, a like-for-like swap. By contrast, money transactions are never closed; you pass on an abstract, faith-based claim in exchange for a tangible good. At any given moment, the economy consists of only a limited number of actual goods and services, which people attempt to claim with money. If there are too many claims floating about, then the underlying value allocated to each one must decrease. This is what we call inflation, and it is a source of permanent anxiety in monetary communities. Which brings us to our first major psychological lever for maintaining faith in money: how the money is created.

( ... ... )

But gold is no more intrinsically valuable than official government money. ( ... ) All it really has is beauty and scarcity, plus an ancient cultural link with the idea of currency. Gold reveals the basic tension in the textbook definition of moneyㅡthe idea that it can be both a store of value ^and^ a means of exchange. For the most part, when something is truly valuable in itself, people are disinclined to part with it (why swap rum for something else when you can just drink it?). The monetary enchantment appears to work best when its tokens merely ^appear^ valuable, while containing no true value. That's how you convince people both to accept them and to give them away, rather than consuming them.

And so the second trick to making money believable depends on how it appears. The British Museum is full of the kind of shiny trinkets ( ... )ㅡa whole aspirational structure imprinted into useless metals and cowrie shells. ( ... ) they are easy enough to keep and powerful people appear to collect them, which is good enough for most of us. Do such artefacts 'store' value? Of course not. That's just a socially sanctioned pretence, a pragmatic, covert, wink-wink, let;s-not-talk-about-this charade. Nevertheless, over time, the fantasy becomes such a deep habit that no one person can stand up and point out the absurdity of the situation. At that point, it's the dissidents who seem mad, while the people swapping useful goods for bits of metal, paper or meaningless electronic data look perfectly sane.

This gives us our third major psychological prop to the monetary faith: what are the sanctions for not using it? ( ... ... )

Still, as the government of Zimbabwe learnt the hard way, you cannot order people to believe in money if the underlying story isn't convincing enough. In 2008 ( ... ... )

Money is a complex cultural technology. Sometimes it breaks down, but that just gives us all the more reason to tinker with its blueprints. Each new system, though, will have its own psychological side effects and trade-offs. We know what mainstream currencies such as the US dollar are good for: overcoming barriers between buyers and sellers who don't particularly know or trust each other. The trouble is, by reducing the need for personal trust relationships, mainstream money encourages social atomisation, to the point where arms-length purchasing starts to seem like the only valid kind of transaction. ( ... ... )

The problem might be that mainstream money is simply too efficient. It numbs people into forgetting that it's socially pragmatic delusion, and so take it for granted, just as we take oxygen for granted. But oxygen is vital for our survival, whereas money is only an intermediary tool, cushioning us from the base-level economic production that actually sustain us. There's an ecological dimension to this, of course, which is my overriding concern. Our ability to exchange without knowing where things come from blinds us to the real core of the economy: not money, but the physical things we must wrench from the ground by human effort, which is underpinned by agricultural systems, and energised by sunlight, water and soil.

The more we abstract and fetishise money as a thing in itself, the more lose sight of its sources and its goals. We get confused, and feel disempowered relative to those who wield larger flows of it. Sealed off from inquiry in its hermetic shell, money distorts our perceptions of one another. We can't seem to remember that it is merely ^one^ means of exchange among many. What energies would we unleash if we were to break open that opaque shell and split the monetary atom?

I don't suggest that we start suspiciously eying the change handed back to us in shops. Coins are designed to be symbolic and abstract, and perhaps that's required. What we need though, is the right kind of doublethink, a carefully managed form of cognitive dissonance that allows us to see the centuries of real technological change that lie behind them, the oil and dirt and oceanic dragnets, the limestone blast furnaces and neon lighting systems and chemicals synthesised from fossilised trees. Perhaps we can tinker with the world 'money' itself. It's a mass noun, like you'd use for some kind of tangible substance, and it makes money sound like a 'thing-in-itself'. As a kind of mental discipline, I prefer to use a different word: COGAS. It stands for 'claims on goods and services', which is all money really is. And now I have a word that describes itself, as opposed to one that actively hides its own reality. It sounds trivial, but the linguistic process works a subtle psychological loop, referring money to the world outside itself. It's simple way to start peeling back the façade.

To go deeper, we need to start actually experimenting with alternatives. Money, we know, is a technology, and it can be designed for different purposesㅡalways for exchange, of course, but with auxiliary characteristics. To uncover and experience these characteristics, I actively play around with as many esoteric currencies as possible. ( ... ) Bitcoin, an electronic 'crypto-currency' that captured the public imagination earlier this year. It's a fascinating experiment, and one of the first alternative currencies to reach any significant scale without the help of legal backing.

( ... ) If doubt can destroy a currency, then a cultlike process of evangelical faith-building can create one.

Bitcoin has one very interesting attribute and, to understand it, we should look to the theoretical disagreement between the Enlightenment political philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Hobbes was a pessimist. In order to escape the 'war of all against all' that he believed was the natural state of human existence, he thought that individuals ought to submit to the will of a central sovereign who could act as arbitrator in disputes. We've traditionally associated this with political authoritarianism, but it also serves quite well as a description of mainstream money. Most of our money nowadays is electronic, 'stored' in an oligopoly of private banks that are themselves connected via a central bank. We rely on these institutions to keep an accurate score of our electronic money. Brett has £97, they say. Trust us, we have it recorded in our IT database.

Rousseau had the radical idea that Hobbes's arbitrator needn't be a single dictator or oligarchy. Instead, it could be the ^collective^, or the ^general will^. So it goes with Bitcoin. In place of a centralised, hierarchical group of banks keeping score of the money, a decentralised network of individuals records every transaction on a virtual ledger called blockchain. Brett has 3.8462 BTC, the network says. We've collectively kept score of that. In this scenario, my 'account balance' is less like the ruling of a sovereign and more like the result of a popular democratic vote, mediated via a computer network.

In normal, bank-mediated electronic transactions, someone tells their bank to send money to your bank and then the banks edit the buyer's and seller's account balances to reflect the transaction. It's a strange feeling, then, to accept an electronic payment with no banks involved, then pack a book into a parcel and write an address in America on it simply because someone announced to a network of strangers that they had paid me. The recording of the transaction in the cloud appears as nothing more than a series of numbers on my computer, yet there I am, putting the physical books in the post.

Why do I do it? I accept bitcoins for the same reason that I accept normal money. Mainstream money is used to replace a specific trust relationship with a general one. I take British pounds from a specific person because I trust that I can exchange those pounds for something else with the general British pound-using community. Likewise, I take the bitcoins from the specific buyer because I trust that the broader Bitcoin community will accept them from me in exchange for something of intrinsic value. The main departure from normal electronic money is that Bitcoin uses a decentralised network in place of a central hierarchy. The advantages are anonymity, a sense of freedom and, it has been argued, a more resilient system.

Indeed, Bitcoin has become especially popular with libertarian anarcho-capitalists because its supply is regulated, not by the government or the private banking oligarchy but by 'apolitical' mathematical protocols. Theoretically, anyone can make new ones, but it's a very time-consuming technical process and the operation can only be performed a finite number of times, a bit like gold mining. For this reason, bitcoins are naturally scarce. Inevitably, Bitcoin evangelists often fall into the trap of thinking that the value of their favoured currency must somehow be more 'real' than that of government-backed money, just like goldbugs do. In fact, all it means is that one form of monetary faith has replaced another.

If digital currencies such as Bitcoin attempt to spread exchange to a global level, local currencies aim to concentrate economic energy into a small space. My Brixton Pounds, and other local currencies, such as the Bristol Pound and the Toronto Dollar, are only redeemable within local neighbourhoods. Where Bitcoin seeks to attack the centralising tendency of a nation state, the Brixton Pound is a (gentle) attack on structures that undermine local community resilience.

Part of the essence of the Brixton Pound is its deliberate ^inconvenience^. We're used to thinking that absence of friction must be a virtue in any transaction, but a local economy thrives on inconvenience. Chance encounters in the street market help to bind a community together and give it richness of character. We lose all that when we opt for the robotic mediocrity of the automatic till and debit-card reader. It's fine balance, of course, and the Brixton Pound recently added a pay-by-text system that combines the ease of electronic payment with the richness of local exchange. I still have to hand-deliver the books I sell that wayㅡknocking on the door of a guy called Rico who writes a food blog, having a chat, getting to now someone I didn't know before. The inconvenience is where the connection comes in. Who knows? Maybe that apparently 'inefficient' method of hand-delivery could lead to a productive new relationship. ^Hey Rico, I need someone to cater an event, an help me out?^ Extreme efficiency of exchange, in other words, might come at the cost of developing new business contacts.

Then there's my friend Matthew Slater, who has developed an open-source software package that allows you to start a whole range of different currencies. Would you like it time-based, commodity-based, mutual credit, or fiat? His packages can do it all. It's like a Swiss army knife of options. In this, perhaps we can see one vision for the future of moneyㅡa future based on diversity, where we can move in and out of exchange technologies as we need. And perhaps only a handful of different monetary systems are required. Local currencies such as Brixton Pound are about localising, whereas digital currencies such as Bitcoin are about decentralising and internationalising. Meanwhile, so-called demurrage currenciesㅡdeliberately engineered to lose value over timeㅡare about energising the volume of transactions, as people have no incentive to hoard them. Freicoin, for example, is an attempt to create a demurrage version of Bitcoin, neutralising the hoarding impulse built into Bitcoin's psychological structure. Then there are timebanksㅡcommunity systems where people directly exchange labour time, which is about humanising and reconnecting exchange.

Increasing the diversity of monetary technologies doesn't only have the potential to create more resilient economies. It is also empowering. Perceiving a choice (especially when it is limited) is generally a good thing, leading to richer, more self-directed experience: ^I have chose to use this technology of exchange for this particular purpose^. The alternative is unconscious acceptance of a dominant monocultureㅡone that, even if it is stable, is psychological destructive (or, at the very best, dull).

( ... ... )

[발췌] What is Hub Culture and Ven? They Just Launched the First Digital Currency Bitcoin Fund (2013)

출처: http://forexmagnates.com/what-is-hub-culture-ven-they-just-launched-the-first-digital-currency-bitcoin-fund/
April 30, 2013 by Ron Finberg

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

What is the Ven Currency?

Combine Bitcoin, the Yuan, and Facebook credits, and you get Ven

* * *

In one of our previous reports about Bitcoin, we highlighted the peer to peer (P2P) elements which provide a free method of transferring funds. As such, at its core, Bitcoin is simply a network of joined users who agree to use the same currency. Using that system, we theorized that it wouldn’t be surprising to see other online businesses such as Amazon and Facebook, or banks, leverage their client base to create a uniform method of payment transfer between its members. 

Centrally Backed

Although similar to Bitcoin in that it provides a seamless and free transaction method, Ven contrasts in that it is a centrally backed currency. The product is issued through Hub Culture, who backs the currency by a basket of currencies and assets. As such, for every dollar exchanged to Ven, Hub Culture converts the funds into a mixed bag of assets. The portfolio of assets are held in a custodian account that backs issuance of outstanding Ven. The result is that Ven floats freely against major currencies, but as its value is derived from a basket of holdings, volatility is minimal. Currently, one Ven is worth nearly 10 cents. Because of this, in a small way Ven resembles the Chinese Yuan as it freely floats, but moves slowly due to China pegging its value to a basket of global currencies. (note to self for further research – what would happen if China ever uses its $3.2 trillion in currency reserves to buy Facebook or Google?)

In contrast to a fully floating currency though, at this point there are no official exchanges to convert Ven back into hard currency. The only exception is for merchant members who collect Ven by selling goods through Hub Culture’s site and pavilions and can exchange their digital currency with the group. As such, the goal continues to be the promotion of using Ven across the network; thereby strengthening ties between members and merchant affiliates. Helping trigger this monetary expansion are the so called Pavilion events which provide networking opportunities.

Bitcoin Fund

One of the goals of Hub Culture, and its launch of Ven is to bridge the online and offline world. Stalnaker explained that there are three main advantages that Ven provides; a global currency available utilizing free P2P technology, highly diversified with little volatility, and linked to carbon to promote environmentalism (this is done by including carbon futures in its basket of assets – the more they buy, it leads to higher prices which in theory would lead companies to be greener). According to their claim, by creating a stable and online friendly currency, Ven merchants can take advantage of the opportunity to sell goods globally, with minimal currency exposure risks.

Moving to increase its online exposure and usage, Hub Culture has launched today what it believes is the first digital currency fund (there are a few Bitcoin-only investments). The fund, sold in units of 10,000 Ven ($917) will be investing in both Ven and Bitcoin, with a 50/50 split between the digital currencies. Hub Culture is marketing the product as suitable for ‘speculative investors’, but having the added diversity that comes with combining Ven with Bitcoins. Other points of the marketing page include a “low correlation to Equity/Bonds” and “for Sophisticated/professional Investors seeking higher than average returns.

( ... ... )

Safety Of Funds

Will Ven take off? Part of that equation relies on how large Hub Culture can build its network. Having a small network base, the currency is limited in its use cases. But, the small numbers have allowed Hub Culture to cultivate the proof of concept of the currency. The big question though is just how safe is this network? This is especially so given that Ven revolves around having a central backed system. This contrasts with Bitcoin, and in fact is one of the items that Ven promoters mention when explaining its benefits when compared to other digital currencies.

Like any fiat currency which is backed by the good faith of the government, Hub Culture has been working to elevate its reputation. This is partly done through the launch of the offline pavilion centers that provide users tangible knowledge of the network’s existence and Ven’s buying power. ( ... ... )

[발췌: Stan Stalnaker's] Bitcoin, Ven and the End of Currency (2011)

May 20, 2011

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

Virtual currencies are in the news again with all the discussion around Bitcoins, which is limited in supply and can be exchanged anonymously. Our own long experience with another digital currency, Ven, has made us think about the logical conclusion of these activities, and what it means for money at large. And what it means is the end of money as we know it.

Digital currencies are really just online account books that measure and record transactins of financial value between nodes on the Internet. The first onesㅡBeenz, Flooz and others, arrived with the first wave of the Internet in the 1990s and failed. By the middle of the last decade, the virtual currency economy boomed on the strength of gaming systems: the Linden Dollar in Second Life, World of Warcraft Gold, Entropia and Tencent’s QQ in China encountered success with volatility. Now Internet currencies are moving out of virtual gaming systems and into the global economy, with Flattr (an electronic tipping currency), Bitcoin, Ripple, Ven and local exchange trading systems (LETS) leading the way. The central differentiation between these digital currencies is whether they operate in a closed loop (Ven, Flattr, Amex Rewards) or open nodal architecture (Bitcoin, Ripple). This distinction determines to a large extent their ability to be managed.

On 4 July, 2007, the social collaboration network I founded, Hub Culture, released the first application for Ven, a new type of digital currency. It was a watershed moment for us, and a confusing one, because the Ven had no value or exchange rate—it simply existed and could be issued and traded at will to friends. Ven was a new type of money—as basic as picking up pebbles and assigning arbitrary values for favors or to say thanks. Everyone laughed, and we soon learned that for a currency to have relevance, it must be measured against other things. Currency needs an assigned value to be understood, a language to speak.

So in 2008 we assigned Ven a value language—10 VEN = 1 USD—and began to sell it for redemption between members and in Pavilions (retail places developed to accept the currency).  The fundamental advance in Ven was that it was global, digital, and could be exchanged to anyone, at little incremental cost. Later we made Ven more stable by pricing it from a basket of currencies, which meant the price moved less than a single national fiat currency.  To make it more grounded, we added commodities linking it to hard assets.  Then we added carbon futures, creating a carbon component to the value. The language was now efficient, stable and green, and today demand for Ven is growing rapidly.

By and large, digital currencies are changing what money can be, and widening the vistas for how our global society determines and trades value.  The size of these economies is small but growing fast—with over 6.2 million Bitcoins in an economy worth almost $50 million USD. In Hub Culture, we have 5 million Ven circulating with a GDP equal to over $500,000 USD growing at 10x annually.  Ven plays inside the more closed rules of the current system, but even Bitcoin, with its ‘radical’ open nature, is subject to the value quandary: to be traded, it must be assigned a value.  And if it can be assigned a value, it can be interchanged with anything else of assigned value.  The Internet is enabling exchange of all types of value, and helps us to measure and publish these values.  Taken to its theoretical and logical conclusion, the Internet and all content on the Internet—whether actual or representative (such as the price of a physical good or service)—will eventually be assigned a value. Once these values are assigned, essentially everything will become money, and currency itself will cease to exist.

( ... ... )

[발췌] 영국 파운드화의 공식 명칭과 통속 명칭

※ 발췌 (excerpts  as of Aug 28, 2014):

The full, official name, pound sterling, (plural: pounds sterling) is used mainly in formal contexts and also when it is necessary to distinguish the United Kingdom currency from other currencies with the same name
  • Otherwise the term pound is normally used. 
  • The currency name is sometimes abbreviated to just sterling, particularly in the wholesale financial markets, but not when referring to specific amounts; for example, "Payment is accepted in sterling" but never "These cost five sterling". 
  • The abbreviations "ster." or "stg." are sometimes used. 
The term "British pound" is commonly used in less formal contexts, although it is not an official name of the currency. The pound sterling is also referred to as cable amongst forex traders. The origins of this term are attributed to the fact that in the 1800s, the dollar/pound sterling exchange rate was transmitted via transatlantic cable. Forex brokers are sometimes referred to as "cable dealers".[11]

There is apparent convergence of opinion regarding the origin of the term "pound sterling", toward its derivation from the name of a small Norman silver coin,[12] and away from its association with Easterlings (Germanic traders) or other etymologies.[13][14] 

Hence, the Oxford English Dictionary (and sources derived therefrom)[15][16] state that the “most plausible” etymology is derivation from the Old English steorra for “star” with the added diminutive suffix "-ling", to mean "little star" and to refer to a silver penny of the English Normans.[12] As another established source notes,[17] the compound expression was then derived:
silver coins known as "sterlings" were issued in the Saxon kingdoms, 240 of them being minted from a pound of silver... Hence, large payments came to be reckoned in "pounds of sterlings," a phrase later shortened...
—Encyclopedia Brittanica, entry "pound sterling"
However, the perceived narrow window of the issuance of this coin, and the fact that coin designs changed frequently in the period in question, led Philip Grierson to reject this in favor of a more complex theory.[18] For further discussion of the etymology of "sterling", see sterling silver.

The currency sign for the pound sign is £, which is usually written with a single cross-bar (as on sterling bank notes), though a version with a double cross-bar (₤) is also sometimes seen. This symbol derives from medieval Latin documents; the Roman words libra, solidus, and denarius (£sd) referred to pounds, shillings and pence[17] in the British pre-decimal (duodecimal) currency system and the black-letter "L" was the abbreviation for libra, the basic Roman unit of weight.

The ISO 4217 currency code is GBP. Occasionally, the abbreviation "UKP" is used but this is non-standard because the ISO 3166 country code for United Kingdom is GB (see Terminology of the British Isles). The Crown dependencies use their own (non-ISO) codes: GGP (Guernsey pound), JEP (Jersey pound) and IMP (Isle of Man pound). Stocks are often traded in pence, so traders may refer to pence sterling, GBX (sometimes GBp), when listing stock prices.

A common slang term for the pound sterling or pound is quid, which is singular and plural, except in the common phrase "Quids in!" The term may have come via Italian immigrants from "scudo", the name for a number of coins used in Italy until the 19th century; or from Latin 'quid' via the common phrase quid pro quo, literally, "what for what," or, figuratively, "An equal exchange or substitution".[19]

2014년 8월 27일 수요일

[발췌] J.S.G. Boggs' Counterfeit Money Is Worth More Than The Real Thing...

출처: J.S.G. Boggs' Counterfeit Money Is Worth More Than The Real Thing. Are You Buying It? [Book Excerpt #2]  ( Jan 18, 2013 )

다른 자료:
  • "The Man Who Draws His Own Money: The Value of Currencies Around the World" (1999)
  • "Secret Life of Money":

※ 발췌 (excerpts): 

When the Bank of England learned that the artist J.S.G. Boggs was making money, the authorities were not pleased. On October 31, 1986, three inspectors from Scotland Yard raided an exhibition of his currency at the Young Unknowns Gallery in London, and place him under arrest. Though his banknotes were drawn by hand, bearing his own signature as chief cashier, the British government pressed charges under Section 18 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act, threatening to end his career with forty-year prison sentence.

Eventually Boggs was acquitted. His lawyers persuaded the jury that even "a moron in a hurry" would never mistake his drawings for pounds sterling. In truth, the threat posed by his art had nothing to do with counterfeiting. If the Bank of England had reason to be anxious, it was becasue people ^knowingly^ accept Boggs bills in lieu of banknotes.

Boggs' project began with a simple exchange. At a Chicago diner one day, he ordered a doughnut and coffee. On his napkin he distractedly wrote the number one, gradually embellishing it until he found himself looking at an abstract $1 bill. The waitress noticed too, and liked it so much she wanted to buy it. Instead of selling, he offered it in exchange for his ninety cent snack. She accepted, and as he got up to leave, she gave him a dime in change.

That became the model for every transaction that followed. Wherever Boggs was, he drew the local currency by hand, and whenever he wanted to buy something, he offered his drawing at face value. In this way, he paid for food and clothing and transportation. However he would not retail drawings to collectors. If collectors wanted to buy he'd sell them the change and the receipt from a transaction, leaving them to locate his drawing and negotiate with the merchant who'd accepted it instead of cash. In that way, he created an alternate economy based on an equivalence between money and art: the inherent uselessness of both that make the value of each arbitrary.

This correspondence could easily have been tendered as a critique of the art market, and it had been in the past. For instance, in the early 1970s, the conceptual artist Ed Kienholz stenciled ever-increasing sums of money on sheets of paper, each of which he sold successively for the indicated amount, starting at $1 and eventually reaching $10,000. What makes Boggs so compelling is that he reversed the equation. He doesn't tell us that art is absurd, but breaks out of the museum-gallery complex, leveraging the absurdity of art to question the sanity of finance.

( ... ... )

2014년 8월 23일 토요일

Dic: bootstrap

1. boot·strap: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bootstrap

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrapping

   ※ excerpt (as of Aug 23, 2014):

In general parlance, bootstrapping usually refers to the starting of a self-sustaining process that is supposed to proceed without external input. In computer technology the term (usually shortened to booting) usually refers to the process of loading the basic software into the memory of a computer after power-on or general reset, especially the operating system which will then take care of loading other software as needed.
A pair of boots with one bootstrap visible
Tall boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a boot hook tool to help pulling the boots on. The saying "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps"[3] was already in use during the 19th century as an example of an impossible task. The idiom dates at least to 1834, when it appeared in the Workingman's Advocate: "It is conjectured that Mr. Murphee will now be enabled to hand himself over the Cumberland river or a barn yard fence by the straps of his boots."[4] In 1860 it appeared in a comment on metaphysical philosophy: "The attempt of the mind to analyze itself [is] an effort analogous to one who would lift himself by his own bootstraps."[5]Bootstrap as a metaphor, meaning to better oneself by one's own unaided efforts, was in use in 1922.[6] This metaphor spawned additional metaphors for a series of self-sustaining processes that proceed without external help.[7]
The term is sometimes attributed to Rudolf Erich Raspe's story The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where the main character pulls himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his hair (specifically, his pigtail), but Baron Münchhausen (1720–1797), a recounter of tall tales, does not, in fact, pull himself out by his bootstraps – and there's no sign that anyone has found an explicit reference to bootstraps in the various versions of the Munchausen tales.[4]
(1) Building a business out of very little or virtually nothing. Boot strappers rely usually on personal income and savings, sweat equity, lowest possible operating costs, fast inventory turnaround, and a cash-only approach to selling. Many of today's largest corporations (such as Apple computer, Clorox Co., Coca Cola, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft) began as boot-strapped ventures. Most of world's startups still follow this road; either because there is no alternative, or because of the unmatched control and independence it offers.
(2) Forecasting beyond one period by relying on the forecasted data for that period itself.
(3) A type of business funding that seeks to avoid relying on outside investors. By not relying on outside sources of funding, the business will not have to dilute ownership through issuing equity, and will not rely on outside banks for debt. This type of funding increases the level of risk for the business owner, since the money for the business is coming more or less out of pocket. For example, a movie director might finance a project through credit cards or a second mortgage rather than by obtaining funds from a movie studio. The term derives its meaning from the expression "lifting oneself up by one's own bootstraps", referring to raising oneself up by one's own means. Also called bootstrap funding. See also self-financing.

2014년 8월 22일 금요일

Dic: [용례] for there to be, for there being

Quite interesting usages of 'there be' I've never written before. They follow the same pattern as '(for) Noun to-V' or '(for) Noun V-ing',

  • An important lesson from this exercise is that for there to be gains from foreign trade for the economy as a whole, some sectors of the economy must lose.
  • What factors must exist for there to be a demand?
  • It's important for there to be enough jobs for everybody.
  • I don't want there to be any mistakes. 
  • He was surprised at there being so many possibilities.
  • I am sorry for there being some errors in my post. (someone says it sounds strange)
  • As for the reason for there being no final diagnosis to the suspected case, Hall said it was very difficult [to?] diagnose SARS.

* * * 

CF. 자료: https://www.englishforums.com/English/AboutForThereToBe/cjhml/post.htm
CF. http://view.byu.edu/

The British National Corpus (BNC) shows only 5 example in one million words for "for there being":
  • The reason for there being no circuit in Belfast is simple: it's too small.
  • [T]he number of bits used, alignment and requirement for there being no reserved bits in the mechanisms becomes important. 
  • I have to look at the reasons for there being an inset at all for the village.
  • 기타 생략.

106 examples in 1m words for "for there to be":
  • We have too much competition within the side for there to be any complacency.
  • I thought that it was still possible for there to be a political link between the United Kingdom and India.
  • You only have to show that this act works for there to be takers everywhere.
  • it is quite usual for there to be a royalty split of 70:30 in favour of the writer.
  • For there to be a Europe-wide common standard of emissions, there must also ...
  • [T]he features were similar enough for there to be little difference between the two women in a picture.
  • [I]t is a little unusual for there to be more than one left in at this stage.
  • ...

2014년 8월 16일 토요일

Dic: [용례] tinker away

... Windows Phone Mango, but what does Microsoft have to say to this? "We say tinker away with Mango and enjoy the juice," said Microsoft spokesman Bill Cox. "But beware the fine printㅡunlocking phones may void your warranty." This reaction is markedly different from how other fruity mobile companies have responded to the dev community but Microsoft has had cordial relationships with the hacking community in the past. ( ... )

2. link

Don Anderson was turning around repair jobs so quickly people were starting to comment on his speedy service. He was careful never to let visitors see him using his special gift, and often he'd tinker away with his tools just for show. But in the week that followed that special touch from Brandon Nicholas, he had cleared almost every item to be repaired from the shelves of his workroom. Now he was actually getting a little bored, and starting tinkering just for the fun of it.

3. link

The appaulling genocidal conflicts which have been played out in the closing years of the 20th century make the writing of books seem oddly futile and yet therapists claim to respond to the deepest pain of human experience. If, in the face of the horrors of Rewanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Chenchyna, we have nothing to say, it would suggest that the faith of counsellors is shallow indeed and that we are perhaps no more than psychological technicians who tinker away with occasional success at the neuroses of the affluent. Perhaps, however, in a grim way, the seemingly endless tide of refugees in so many parts of the world prompts us to take stock of the human condition an to wake up to the forces which threaten humanity as the new millenium begins. ( ... )

4. link

But Kristian was a math person. Grace had no doubt he'd be a billionaire by the time he was thirty. He would write some brillian computer program, wisely invest the profits, and retire happily to tinker away at more innovative programs.

Of course if you're familiar with Linux, you can always tinker away the 
lonely nights and put stuff like Wine and crossover office in it, but that's 
really not what the customers want to do."

6. link

Bill Toy, with whom I collaborated a few years later at Goldman, had been a particle experimentalist whose PhD advisor, Jerome Friedman, later won the Nobel Prize for discovering the quark structure in the deep-inelastic electron-nucleus scattering experiments that had stimulated my PdD thesis work. Bill had also worked at the Labs prior to coming to Goldman and had experienced similar frustrations to mine. Our trouble was that we wanted to get things done. The Labs could be fun if you were the kind of person who was simply happy to tinker away with expensive up-to-date equipment, but we didn't function that way. I wanted the satisfaction that comes from creating something. But in Building 5, so many of the projects I worked on ended in a confused impasse. You did some work; you wrote some internal document; Harley told Jim Downs about it; he then pronounced it a failure or a success for some crypitcally inarticulate reason you couldn't understand. We were forbidden from publishing it because it was proprietary; yet often, no one inside the company had any real use for it. I was increasingly sympathetic to whomever coined the slogan "information wants to be free."

7. http://tungsten-carbide-die.blogspot.kr/2011/08/what-is-tinkerer.html

One should not confuse a tinkerer and a tinker. A tinkerer is a person who tinkers with machinery, modified products and is the heart and sole [soul] of inventors and innovators. However, a tinker is someone who fixed household items with tin. These wondering tins smiths became a vagabond of sorts in the early industrial age and are associated with a negative connotation. Tinkers on the other hand are highly regarded in society, think of Thomas Edison.

One aspect of being a successful machinist is the ability to tinker, in the tinkerer sense. Only by attempting new methods, tweaking old methods and testing these thoughts can a machinist improve upon his work and craft. While an endearing image of a tinkerer may be an old man farting around with clocks, the truth is that without that tinkering spirit innovation would come to a standstill. So tinker away, take things apart and see how they run and if they can be improved, for if it wasn't for this kind of innovator we wouldn't have light bulbs or artificial hearts!

8. http://heatherthorkelson.com/2014/02/scrap-the-word-failure-from-your-vocab/

Forget failure. Failure is shit. The concept serves no one. In fact, it's damaging. Here's my approach: everything is an experiment. Everything. Nothing is certain. Ever. So tinker away. Try new things often. Puts your stuff out into the world and wear an obvious "I'm human" badge on your sleeves so that other people feel like it's ok to put their things out into the world and tinker too.

9. http://www.scu.edu/business/inc/past-events.cfm

One of our MSE students is starting up a weekly business meetup group for aspiring entrepreneurs at SCU with the goal of having each group participant walk out with a business idea to tinker away at and hopefully launch. This small group will meet up for an hour or so every week on campus, timing TBD by participants. ( ... )

10. https://www.ugent.be/en/facilities/bike

Bicycle repair: UGent personnel and students can make use of several bike repair shops. All shops are open to Ghent students; UGent staff can go the repair shop Blandijnberg. You can tinker away at your bike using the repair shop's tools and/or buy new parts at a very reasonable price. There's always someone at hand to help and advise

2014년 8월 14일 목요일

[발췌: Paul F. Rothstein's] The Legal Significance of the Psychological Ability to Appreciate the "Other" (2013)

출처: Paul F Rothstein (2013), The Legal Significance of the Psychological Ability to Appreciate the "Other", Civil and Legal Science, 2013. 2:1

※ 발췌 (excerpts):

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court, citing neurological and psychological studies, held that because juveniles are deficient in appreciating consequences to others, they should never be given the death penalty. I have become convinced, in my years as a legal scholar, educator, and practitioner, that "appreciating the 'other'"ㅡputting oneself in the position of othersㅡis critical to law and the study of law in more than the obvious ways.

Years ago I became aware of empirical studies and psychological experiments demonstrating that children below a certain age have trouble seeing things from another's vantage point. The facility to do so develops gradually with age, but more in some people than others.

One experiment (which I simplify here) simultaneously exposed two children (child 1 and 2) to a ball being placed in box A. of a series of boxes on a table. It was done in the sight of both children. Then, in the sight of child 1, child 2 was removed from the room. The, in the sight of sight of child 1, but not in the sight of child 2, the ball was removed from box A. and put in box B. Child 1 was asked which box child 2 would say the ball was in. Although child 1 saw that child 2 had not seen the change of the location of the ball to box B., child 1 said child 2 would know the ball was in box B (as child 1 knew). Child 1 was unable to comprehend that child 2, as a separate person from child 1, had different information than child 1. This led me to think of children I know, who think if they close their eyes, I can't see them. Those children, and child 1 in the experiment, and perhaps some adults, lack or have muted ability to "view things from another's shoes". This may be called lack of empathy, in some contexts.

As I read these and other studies, I became confirmed in my belief that the ability to appreciate the vantage point and informational position of others is central to a wide range of concepts in the law.

( ... ... )

2014년 8월 11일 월요일

a search

1. a book

As an anthropologist, and as the author of this chapter, I bring my own set of presuppositions and framework to my work, but at the same time attempt to present just a few of the many voices within the Yugoslav Jewish population.[n.2] I do not adopt a structuralist or post(anti)-structuralist approach. If anything, I try to give visibility to what may be for many the invisible individual Yugoslav Jew. An argument can be made that it is precisely individual Jews, outside the context of the organized community, who gave visibility to the Yugoslav Jews as a whole. I recognize that they were a post-traditionalist population, and the ethnographic reality of the postwar Jews of Yugoslavia reflected not one but many Jewish minds, not an integrated and unified Jewishness but an ethnic bricolage, and not one voice but many voices. I am not referring to multiple interpretations of a single voice, but to many voices, each with its own set of meanings that must be understood in terms of where the individuals were socially, culturally, and psychologically situated. My aim is to show how these individuals constituted or situated themselves (i.e., how they engaged in private and public symbolisation), how they were situated by others and the external factors that touched their lives, and how I analytically and interpretively situated them within the framework of my research problem and assumptions. In addition, I assume that there is commonality that underlied or potentially underlied (e.g., when Jewishness became visible in times of crisis, when there was a perception of threat to the Jews collectively) the diverse particulars found in the narratives that follow. One unfulfilled analytical task is to locate the common strands in all of the individual webs. This is problematic because I do not have the well-developed webs or the life histories of these individuals. A subsequent research objective would to collect life histories and many more strands of the individual webs. In contrast to the collective forms described in chapters 3 and 4, whose structures and patterns are more apparent and amenable to traditional anthropological analyses, my understanding of individuated Jewishness is very partial and tenuous. Hence my presentation of the individual narratives that follow is fragmented just as their Jewishness is fragmented to them. [n.3]

I have been asked, Are these typical individuals in the narratives?  How typical are they? I am not sure I know what typical means. Certainly I make no claims for any individuals being typical of some "existing type." Instead, what the individuals in the following narratives reflect in varying degrees are the strands of significance within the Yugoslav Jewish population. Some of the strands are structural, such as generation and gender; some are experiential, such as whether or not an individual experienced prewar Jewish life, Holocaust, and the National Liberation Struggle; some are ideological, such as whether or not an individual supported the politics of the state. If one was a member of the senior generation, he or she carried the experiences and memories of a vibrant Jewish past, whereas members of the middle and youth generations could not draw upon that which they never knew or experienced. All generations, however, felt an acute sense of disjuncture. The following narratives show how individuals, each different from the others, have confronted and dealt with this disjuncture.

Voices of Yugoslav Jewry

Commitment to a Secular Jewish Community in Socialist Yugoslavia

( ... ... )

My novel is a collection of interrelated stories. Each story is framed by the idiosyncrasies and prejudices of a different first-person voice. There are gaps in narrative time and there is disparity between the narrators' voices. The result is a 'discontinuous narrative'; this term describes the early work of Frank Moorhouse; 'an innovative narrative method using interconnected stories' (Griffith University 2011).

As I draft and re-draft the stories, I am forced to assess the interaction between the voices. I am aware of the disjuncture, and I ask my self: Why not tell the story through the eyes of one narrator? Why not choose a third-person perspective, an omniscient narrator who might collect all of the voices together, in a coherent way?

As I second-guess my approach, I realise that the splintering of voices feels like the right way to tell the story and, in this way, I approach the question of methodology. I am aware that a sense of disjuncture arises out of the medley of voices, but I also realise that the disjuncture is carefully constructed; it is not accidental. This is an intuitive judgement.

If I edit my novel ethically, I ask what the discontinuity achieves, rather than how it fails in the context of logic. This means that I recognise that the narrative begins from a place that does not worry about logic, and I realise that second-guessing the surface content of the narrative, from a rational perspective, may be counterproductive.

The conscious mind, ( ... ... )

3. a paper

Appearance to the contrary, no systematic orthodoxy exists in American higher education. No single institutional form, curricular conception, professorial tole, structure of regulatory oversight, system of external funding, or student demographic has defined American higher education from its beginning to the present. Instead, American higher education has periodically adopted new institutional forms as it has adapted to the changing needs of American society (Brubacher & Rudy, 2004; Rudolph, 1990; Veysey, 1970).

These changes have been concentrated at moments of social disjucture when the received systemic orthodoxies of American higher education no longer matched emerging social realities. Frederick Rudolph (1990) captured this sense of disjuncture when discussing the changes in American higher education from the late 1800s through 20th century:

Hidden in the absurdity of [overabundant course] offerings [of emerging 20th century universities] and in all of the impulse to growth was that fact that between 1890 and 1925 enrollment in institutions of higher education grew 4.7 times as fast as population. ... The road from the Yale Report of 1829 to the University of Nebraska course offerings of 1931 was paved from the bodies of friends of the old-time college who tried to hold them true to intellectual and social ideals that could not adequately serve a democratic society. (pp. 442-443)

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