EU digital tax plan flounders as states ready national moves | Reuters

The plan is aimed at changing tax rules that have let some of the world’s biggest companies pay unusually low rates of corporate tax on their earnings.

But it requires the support of all 28 EU states and is opposed by a number of them, including small, low-tax countries like Ireland that have benefited by allowing multinationals to book profits there on digital sales to customers elsewhere.

My Reaction to the Death of Google+ –

Google+ is shutting down next year. My disappointment is great. It’s been my social network of choice for years. I’ve kept at it even after I deleted both my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

While I found those to be distracting, Google+ has and continues to be a terrific source of entertainment, information, wide-ranging news, and even humor.

Before I jump onto another platform I’ve decided to examine how I’ve been using Google+ and what I enjoy the most about it. What follows are my initial thoughts.

When Your Boss Is an Algorithm – The New York Times

There are nearly a million active Uber drivers in the United States and Canada, and none of them have human supervisors. It’s better than having a real boss, one driver in the Boston area told me, “except when something goes wrong.”

When something does go wrong, Uber drivers can’t tell the boss or a co-worker. They can call or write to “community support,” but the results can be enraging. Cecily McCall, an African-American driver from Pompano Beach, Fla., told me that a passenger once called her “dumb” and “stupid,” using a racial epithet, so she ended the trip early. She wrote to a support rep to explain why and got what seemed like a robotic response: “We’re sorry to hear about this. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and share details.”

The rep offered not to match her with that same passenger again.

Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling | Environment | The Guardian

A court in The Hague has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts, a day after the world’s climate scientists warned that time was running out to avoid dangerous warming.

Appeal court judges ruled that the severity and scope of the climate crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020 – measured against 1990 levels – higher than the 17% drop planned by Mark Rutte’s liberal administration.

The First Rule of Microsoft Excel—Don’t Tell Anyone You’re Good at It – WSJ

“If someone tells you that they ‘just have a few Excel sheets’ that they want help with, run the other way,” tweeted 32-year-old statistician Andrew Althouse. “Also, you may want to give them a fake phone number, possibly a fake name. It may be worth faking your own death, in extreme circumstances.”

The few Excel sheets in question, during one recent encounter, turned out to have 400 columns each, replete with mismatched terms and other coding no-nos, said Mr. Althouse, who works at the University of Pittsburgh. The project took weeks to straighten out.

Lights and shadows of decarbonization – MefCO₂

According to some studies, there are 90% chances that by the end of this century, the average global temperature will have increased between 2ºC and 4.9ºC, with a median of 3.2ºC. So in order to address this, decarbonization needs to happen sooner rather than later. We are talking about a transition towards a new energy model: the electrification of the economy and the increase of energy efficiency. Renewable energies will be the key point that will enable this change. In fact, the European Parliament proposed in May 2017 to increase the renewable energy target from the current 27% to 35%.

China’s exceptionalism rewrites the Western political playbook – Open Future

First up, though Beijing’s use of technology has been horribly effective in infiltrating and controlling public discourse in China, and seeps into our own virtual worlds, that’s a generic outcome of technology. We need to share the blame: look at how uncontrolled the empires of Facebook and other Western companies have been.

We created this particular monster. China has been opportunistic in developing it. And as the Chinese proverb said, when you want to get rid of the bell round the tiger’s throat you may as well ask whoever put it on to take it off. The West needs to create a more effective regime to deal with the threat to personal liberty—and that means combating our own companies, not just those in China.

We created this particular monster. China has been opportunistic in developing it.

And before agonising about the days when mandatory study of Xi Jinping’s works becomes part of the British, French or Australian curriculum, we need to see things in a different context. The extraordinary thing is not how successful the promotion of China’s values to the outside world has been, but how clumsy and inept.


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