#news and #comments #digest (@robertolofaro) for 2014-11-17

#Burkina #Faso – #Kalando to lead the transition http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2014/11/17/burkina-faso-michel-kafando-dirigera-la-transition_4524414_3212.html #politics

#Japan in #recession http://economia.elpais.com/economia/2014/11/17/actualidad/1416185225_256515.html #details http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2014/11/17/apres-un-nouveau-recul-de-son-pib-le-japon-retombe-en-recession_4524427_3234.html #economy

#Romania – #elections – #Iohannis #president http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/11/16/actualidad/1416169932_085182.html the #German side http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/europa/deutschstaemmiger-wird-neuer-praesident-in-rumaenien-13269728.html #EU

#Moldova – #elections – #Ukrainians and #Russians #suspected of interferences http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2612357 #politics #Russia

31 countries will finance keeping #Auschwitz #memory http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2014/11/15/actualidad/1416075007_940407.html #society

#UK – #case of #bird #flu http://www.lemonde.fr/sante/article/2014/11/17/des-cas-de-grippe-aviaire-detectes-dans-une-ferme-du-yorkshire_4524429_1651302.html #health

#New #Zealand – 6.7 #earthquake http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2014/11/17/un-puissant-seisme-enregistre-au-large-de-la-nouvelle-zelande_4524425_3244.html #environment

#Gulf #states – surprise meeting in #Riyad http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2014/11/17/les-pays-du-golfe-ouvrent-une-nouvelle-page-dans-leurs-relations_4524423_3218.html #diplomacy #security

#Italy – #number #crunching #politics http://italie.blog.lemonde.fr/2014/11/16/dun-matteo-lautre-renzi-chute-salvini-monte/ #Renzi #EU

#Facebook at work http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/netzwirtschaft/der-facebook-boersengang/neues-firmenprodukt-geplant-facebook-will-das-buero-erobern-13269736.html #business #Linkedin

#Napoleon’s #hat ? 1.9mln EUR http://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/kaiserlicher-zweispitz-1-9-millionen-euro-fuer-den-hut-von-napoleon-13269671.html #history #society

1. #business and #law schools students should have at least awareness of options made available by #big #data – to retain control


2. language skills and their impact on the brain?

answer that I posted when asked within a closed FB group of a club I belong to:

English, French, Italian, survivable Spanish,

plus on-and-off German (restudying each decade), and some Russian while learning Mandarin; in the past, for business and study I had to have a quick dive into Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese, and for personal reasons I had a Latvian that once was defined “fluent”, while years ago while in Brussels every 6 months I toyed with the language of the country that had the rotating presidency (did quick courses in Danish and Hungarian)

but generally learning languages is like my business&technology learning: I acquire relatively quick skills when needed, and then have a “background awareness” when not needed anymore, that I turn again into something useful if needed

oh, yes, and I studied 2+5 years Latin while attending school in Italy (French is the only foreign language that I learned in school)


2. hosting an international circus?

can have positive side-effects; if Paris had the Tour Eiffel, Sydney might get something from the #G20 🙂


3. unhackable typewriters

yes, typewriters cannot be hacked- but, as anybody old enough to have used them in the 1970s (I started as a kid) and read news about them knows… they used to be even easier to trace than an Internet point without cameras 🙂

of course: unless, as I saw in a Rotterdam flea market once, you can find portable typewriting machines from unknown sources 🙂

PS: it used to be something as the “dental print”, as both mechanical and electric typewriters could have “prints” of their typing taken before being sold 🙂

PPS: the article forgets a portable typewriter that we Italians remember as an example of style and technology… http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettera_22


4. utilities and revenue streams in Italy

#Italy’s unusual public-private (i.e. private when it comes to management, public when it comes to income and funding) #utilities- a traditional “pay-per-use” converted ex-post into a “costs plus”

a contract type used more often in developing new advanced systems, not to deliver a service as a public utility; or: water as a weapons system 😀

reason? following invitations to save water (akin to the NY campaign “don’t be a water rat”), citizens cut down consumption too much, so to balance the books… an additional fee will be added for the next three years 🙂

not the best way to increase responsible citizens’ use of shared environmental resources

really private utilities would either cut costs, find other revenue streams, or have a provision within their contract that allows to increase prices, temporarily or on a continuous basis (it would make sense: if, after reducing administrative staff+overheads and variable costs due to reduction in volumes, infrastructure and associated human resources plus maintenance etc costs are still there, this would imply an increased cost-per-unit)

I do not know the specifics of this case, but traditionally public-private utilities whose shareholders are local authorities in Italy have been a prime destination for “sponsored” hiring, i.e. payroll and purchasing considered part and parcel of the Italian spoils system- the winner doesn’t take it all, but adds his/her own

therefore, utilities in Italy usually have less flexibility in making business choices that affect prices, staffing, and procurement

incidentally: this “additional fee” could actually pave the way to de facto increased taxation at the local level across the country through the adoption also by other utilities of the same approach, while avoiding both a dilution of the ownership by local authorities and a restructuring of the costs/operations



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