Friday, 24 May 2019

Weekly Reading - Some Interesting Stuff


1) Finland is teaching school students how to identify fake news (and we should follow suit)
As the trolling ramped up in 2015, President Sauli Niinisto called on every Finn to take responsibility for the fight against false information. A year later, Finland brought in American experts to advise officials on how to recognize fake news, understand why it goes viral and develop strategies to fight it. The education system was also reformed to emphasize critical thinking.
“It’s not just a government problem, the whole society has been targeted. We are doing our part, but it’s everyone’s task to protect the Finnish democracy,” Toivanen said, before adding: “The first line of defense is the kindergarten teacher.”
The students broke off into groups, grabbing laptops and cell phones to investigate their chosen topics – the idea is to inspire them to become digital detectives, like a rebooted version of Sherlock Holmes for the post-Millennial generation.
Her class is the embodiment of Finland’s critical thinking curriculum, which was revised in 2016 to prioritize the skills students need to spot the sort of disinformation that has clouded recent election campaigns in the US and across Europe.

2) The slow building of the second iron curtain - China and US fight it out with Huawei caught in the crosshairs
The worries about Huawei have historically stemmed from the fact that the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was a technician for the People’s Liberation Army prior to founding Huawei — not to mention the tens of billions of dollars the Chinese government has invested in the company. Fears have been exacerbated in the wake of China’s passage of its National Intelligence Law and other cybersecurity laws in 2017, which, according to Lake, “compel corporations to assist in offensive intelligence operations” instead of just requiring them to cooperate with law enforcement on national security matters.

3) India starts spending meaningfully for solar energy
India's investments in renewable sources are now outpacing those in fossil fuels. The falling costs of bringing solar power online as well as favourable government policies have seen solar’s star rise in recent years. At a time when other nations are curbing coal use, India is bucking the trend and the vast majority of the country is still powered by fossil fuels, mostly coal.

4) One of the oldest industries (meat industry) is about to be disrupted by factory produced meat
In the foothills of a mountain in a rural part of Japan northwest of Tokyo, a farm called Toriyama painstakingly breeds and raises cattle to make Wagyu beef–delicately marbled meat that sells for around $100 a pound. In a lab in San Francisco, food scientists now plan to recreate Toriyama’s meat in a bioreactor.
The best way to deal with the meat challenge is just to make better meat without all the issues associated with killing animals today.” Those aren’t just issues of animal ethics; the meat industry is also one of the world’s largest contributors to climate change. The basic techniques aren’t new and have been used in medical research for decades–for example, in tissue engineering of organs for drug discovery. The company still has major challenges ahead. After researchers figure out how to make cells grow quickly enough to address cost issues, it will move its focus to flavor; the nutrients fed to the cells can be tweaked to affect the taste of the meat.

5) How could auditors miss the issues in IL&FS?
There are a host of allegations against the auditors, from missing out on the sprawling IL&FS subsidiary empire and not highlighting the asset-liability mismatch on the company’s books, to inappropriate valuation of assets, poor recognition of non-performing assets (NPAs), and non-detection of circular rotation of funds between group entities.
The glaring failures prompted the government to set an example with this case. “Do the auditors work for the management or for stakeholders. Can auditors blindly accept the version of the management and rely on comfort from management?" asked a senior SFIO officer.

No comments:

Post a Comment