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Year: 2017

Money Laundering 2.0 or Changing Laws to Rob the People

A gentleman-farmer (actually he’s more like a gentleman-builder) by the name of Charles Hugh Smith recently put into clear words a concept which has been bothering me for a few years now. There is never ending talk of shortfall of revenue to fund Western social systems and medicine. At the same time, our largest companies are not paying taxes – or at least very few. With a corporate tax rate at 35% (United States, Europe is similar) but real payments hovering around 10% with technology companies aiming at less than half that, it’s not a wonder our social systems are falling apart.

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NiceHash $64 million hack: inside job or not?

A Bitcoin investor friend of mine asked me if I thought the guys from NiceHash, Marko Kobal and co-founder Sasa Coh, were involved in the recent $64 million hack of their own bitcoin mining co-operative.

I didn’t watch the screencast but the guys don’t look particularly evil or guilty to me. They looked like guys who’d just been burned. Guys who thought they were smarter than they are. Sure, they could protect themselves (or you and I) from the kind of hackers who are interested in a $2 million heist but not those accustomed to a $50 million score. There’s a difference between high school ball and the NFL.

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Kirk Cousins (non) contract: treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen

The Washington Redskins appear unable to sign their star quarterback. Appear is the key word. The guaranteed money Kirk Cousins wants is high enough to make any sensible GM hesitate. It’s over $50 million. If the Redskins were to sign that deal, Kirk Cousins could heave a sigh of relief and become the good but unspectacular quarterback he’s always been:

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Did Donald Trump Jr. and the Trump Campaign Collude with Vladimir Putin

There’s a great deal of noise right now about Donald Trump’s contacts with Russia and particularly a couple of emails his son Donald Trump Jr.’s interaction with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Those who should know better have suggested that Russia and its president Vladimir Putin were directly seeking to interfere with the US Presidential election. Remedies include Trump’s impeachment and some kind of war with Russia. This viewpoint strikes me as both highly naive not to mention deeply hypocritical.

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2017 Junge Choreographen des Wiener Staatsballets

Often Choreo.lab is the ballet highlight of the season at Vienna State Opera. Choreo.lab was originally the brainchild of Vienna Ballet Club founder Ingeborg Tichy-Luger and Staatsoper director Renato Zanella whose first edition took place in 2003. I’ve been fortunate to see each Choreo.lab since 2004 (I believe it was the second one) with full photo essays for many of them. 2017 is another Choreo.lab year (it seems to take place every second year now instead of every year).

Since French √©toile Manuel Legris took over the reins at Staatsoper, he’s insisted on rebranding Choreolab as the rather dull “Junge Choreographen des Wiener Staatsballets”. Vienna ballet lovers remain grateful for his enthusiastic support under its new moniker.

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Misguided ideas about dance film: Angelo Silvio Vasta

For years I’ve been a member at a site called NoFilmSchool – short form – NFS. Originally the online workbook of aspiring filmmaker Ryan Koo. Gradually Koo’s film projects (Vimeo) took him away from writing NFS and publishing standards have fallen.

1. They steal content from more reputable writers and re-post it as “click bait”
2. Judging by the brief and easily agreeable copy it’s easy to tell that the newer writers barely understand what they’re writing about nor do the writers even watch some of the tutorials/case studies they post anymore.
3. Ryan Koo, Robert Hardy and Joe Marine don’t write enough. And when they do it’s half-assed. They are this blog, and they are dropping the ball.
4. Quality over quantity has been lost and the reputation of the blog is suffering as a result. The basic idea of “think before you speak” could really benefit some of the writers here.

Gordon Robert’s critique is pretty much right on.

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Wiener Volksoper: Eifman’s Red Giselle a Triumph

There are few companies in the world who can pull off the first scene of Red Giselle. Boris Eifman puts eight princes on stage in glittering classic princely raimant and eight princesses in exquisite white tutus.

It’s a hallucinigenic and disorienting spectacle to face that many principal dancers at the same time, each dancing his or her grand role. Staatsoper is a particularly beautiful ballet company with the men for the most part fine featured and long limbed. The Staatsoper corps-de-ballet women are slim, soft curved and graceful. Thanks to their pretty faces and fine dancing skills the illusion of eight princes and eight Giselles convinces.

Staatsoper is a better match than Eifman’s own company for Red Giselle as the Staatsoper dancers perform the classics every week and are prettier. Eifman’s own group are a bit shorter and more muscular – primarily modern dancers.

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