Quote of the day on women’s rights

This quote seems appropriate given the day ..

“Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them. “

Source: “Ain’t I A Woman?”, by Sojourner Truth, Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Danah Boyd (2007) wrote an interesting discussion of class issues in America as revealed by usage of Facebook and MySpace. Her article , Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace, raises some interesting questions about corporate reactions to social networking being based on class issues (e.g. the military blocking use of MySpace for soldiers but retaining use of Facebook which is used mainly by officers).

Wonder what the usage patterns are in Australia? Also wonder if they reveal any class distinctions?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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IT failures and social media

It is worth having a look at Krigsman’s interview on IT failures and social media. Shel Israel, co-author (with Robert Scoble) of the influential book on blogging, Naked Conversations, recently interviewed Michael regarding on social media and IT failures. He used the interview to summarize his views on some key, failure-related issues. There is a summary of the interview; the topics were from Shel, the answers from Michael.

The key issue of communication in preventing failure is discussed, as is user adoption of the technology.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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Climate Change Music

Fifikins mentioned desert island music today, which somehow got me thinking about favourites of mine. Mozart’s Requiem is one fave. Then I came to suspect that this little piece by Mozart is good climate change music 😉

The words translate as:

Day of wrath, day of anger
will dissolve the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.
Great trembling there will be
when the Judge descends from heaven
to examine all things closely.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

I’m wondering why I have not seen anything about this in the mainstream media? All very interesting …

“Global warming” is not a global crisis

We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,

Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;

Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;

Recognising that the causes and extent of recently-observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed ‘consensus’ among climate experts are false;

Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing human suffering;

Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:

Hereby declare:

That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.

That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.

That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

Now, therefore, we recommend –

That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as “An Inconvenient Truth”.

That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008


[Source: Climate Science International]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Can Accounting Tools Lead to, Rather than Prevent, Executive Mistakes?

For the last two weeks I have been lecturing on information systems controls and using the recent internal control failures at Societe Generale as an example. Issues of internal control generally lie at the heart of corporate failures be it deliberate fraud (as at Enron) or general incompetence.

Each corporate failure generates an avalanche of increased compliance regulation from the authorities. Yet the failures continue and the general public continues to suffer in one way or another, as do the staff who are required to undertake the additional compliance activity.

When thinking about better controls it is often argued that better, more timely and useful accounting data would help. That it is like the canary in the coal mine, giving early warning of potential problems.

However, there is an interesting article by Gavin Cassar over at K@W on Biased Expectations: Can Accounting Tools Lead to, Rather than Prevent, Executive Mistakes? He argues that:

“It’s been shown in many studies that people are overly optimistic,” saying that “What’s interesting here is that, when you use the accounting tools, the optimism is even more extreme. This suggests that using the tools, which a lot of academics and government agencies say is good practice, can lead to even bigger mistakes.”

Cassar then goes on to discuss how new entrepreneurs create storylines of their success that influence the spreadsheets upon which they rely for their business plans. The tendency for optimistic projections becomes part of the “objective” business plan. Given these tendencies for humans to think optimistically and to create narratives that support their optimistic views it is not surprising that companies and individuals can get into trouble.

The interesting question, is if we know how people think and the problems they have in being objective how can we control for that in business? I don’t know the answer, but it is definitely something to think about.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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