Page 11234..1020..»

Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring if you have a one inch deep mind – The Fifth Estate

The evil gnome who has taken up permanent residence on the shoulder of British prime minister Boris Johnson and whispers dark instructions into his ears, last week pronounced energy efficiency as boring.

His name is demonic comings. Im sorry, that was a mistaken auto-correction by my dictation software; it should have read Dominic Cummings, who is chief political strategist to the UK PM.

If this view succeeds in influencing government policy it would represent a reversal of the Conservative party election pledge at the end of last year to invest 9.2 billion (AU$16.5b) in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.

As part of his much taunted new deal, Johnson announced last week a paltry 8 million (AU$143m) to cut CO2 from homes and industry, alongside 200 million (AU$358m) of funding for cutting edge R&D efforts, fuelling fears that the 9.2b efficiency upgrade program could be sidelined.

Cummings is said to want the money spent on building homes instead, with insulation perhaps added as an afterthought (which is never wise and often simply not possible).

Philip Dunne, the Tory chair of a House of Commons committee looking into home insulation, has urged the Prime Minister not to listen to this gnome.

And a major report from government climate change watchdog, the Committee on Climate Change, published on Thursday, warned that presently we are heading for a disastrous 4 higher world and said that low carbon retrofits were an essential part of avoiding this, as well as useful for tackling post-pandemic economic regeneration.

Perhaps that is boring too.

If he wants energy efficiency to be not boring, Cummings could do worse than take a look at what is going on in the Republic of Ireland (although he probably wont want to since it voted to remain in Europe).

There, a Climate Action Plan sets an ambitious target of 500,000 energy efficiency retrofits by 2030, to be supported by the Project Ireland 2040 allocation of 3.7b (AU$6b) as well as the range of other measures according to Richard Bruton, the minister for climate action.

A pilot whole house-based approach to deep retrofit was funded from 2017 to 2019 by the Sustainable Energy Association Irelands Deep Retrofit pilot program. A total of 17 service providers were funded to explore the pros and cons of various solutions on different housing types, securing some interesting results that could be replicated later and elsewhere.

Buildings treated have been transformed from an E or G Energy rating to A3, the highest, using techniques including airtightness, elimination of thermal bridges, underfloor heating, mechanical ventilation with any recovery, solar power and heat pumps.

The real Dominic Cummings

Sorry, perhaps I shouldnt mention underfloor heating since it might involve boring (holes that is).

The Irish government grants provided 50 per cent of the costs (95 per cent for those on low incomes) and the average deep retrofit household would beforehand spend between 1600 (AU$2593) to 2000 (AU$3240) a year on heating, a figure that would be slashed in homes with an A3 rating to around 500 (AU$810) per year. Bored yet? You wouldnt be if you lived in that home.

Whats more research from the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute suggests that an A-rated home has a significantly higher sale and rental price.

One organisation named SuperHomes has retrofitted over 200 houses, the majority to A3 BER but only by using grant funding for all of them.

It turns out that government or any investment in green construction is a highly effective way to create jobs and thus repay the investment long-term.

CCC chief executive Chris Stark, and Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, have both observed that construction and retrofit is one of the best ways to create jobs, for each 1 or 1 invested. Energy efficiency is shovel ready with labour-intensive projects rooted in local supply chains, Hirigoyen says.

A 15-year program of deep energy retrofit would return 1.25 (AU$2.24) to the government for each 1 (AU$1.79) invested from the increased tax take resulting from job creation plus supply chain activity, increased household disposable income, and a lower state welfare bill. This is according to research by Verco and Cambridge Econometrics for UK climate change think tank E3G in 2014.

Dominic Cummings should note that that makes government borrowing in order to fund energy efficient construction rather good sense. But perhaps he does not want to see sense.

Clean energy (both renewable generation and boring energy efficiency work) and construction yield up to three times as many jobs for each 1 invested than investments in fossil fuel, according to further research an Oxford University evaluation of 700 stimulus packages implemented after the 2008 financial crash. Construction projects also keep more of the investment locally.

Funding retrofits by savings on energy bills which the UK government has tried before hits the poorest hardest and should be avoided. Unless thats your policy objective, Dominic. Who knows?

If he did not think they were boring he could look at tax incentives (such as relief on stamp duty).

Or maybe hes turned on by subsidised lending, in the form of a rolling loan fund, where low cost finance is offered by private investors. Plenty of these are now seeking green, future-proofed investments, wishing to take their money away from unsafe fossil fuels.

This work would likely be undertaken in line with the retrofit quality protocol, PAS 2035, in order to give them the confidence they need to lend.

Since its a rolling fund, the returned investment is reinvested in further projects, boringly ad infinitum.

Dominic Cummings allegedly likes maths and data. There would be a great deal of both behind that approach. Then again he could just go back to playing Warhammer, as he did at university. Thats not boring at all.

David Thorpe is the author of Passive Solar Architecture Pocket Reference, Energy Management in Buildings and Sustainable Home Refurbishment. He also runs the online course, a Post-Graduate Certificate in One Planet Governance. He is based in the UK.

See the original post here:
Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring if you have a one inch deep mind - The Fifth Estate

Read More..

Breaking News – Documentary "Stockton on My Mind" Debuts July 28 on HBO – The Futon Critic

Documentary STOCKTON ON MY MIND Debuts July 28 On HBO

A Multi-Layered Story Of Michael D. Tubbs Jr., The Youngest And First African American Mayor Of Stockton, California

Directed By Emmy(R) Winner Marc Levin

STOCKTON ON MY MIND, debuting TUESDAY, JULY 28 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), is the multi-layered story of millennial mayor Michael Tubbs, whose own experience growing up amid poverty and violence inspired him to create innovative change in his beleaguered hometown of Stockton, California. Born to a teenage mother and an incarcerated father, Tubbs felt society destined him for either prison or death. Defying expectations, at the age of 26 in 2016, he became one of the youngest mayors of a major American city and Stockton's first African American mayor. The film follows Tubbs' efforts to reverse the fortunes of a city known as one of the poorest, most violent and least literate in the nation.

The documentary is directed by Emmy(R) winner Marc Levin (HBO's "Class Divide," "Thug Life in D.C.") and produced by Levin, Mike Marangu, Jonathan Angel, Cassius Kim and James Lester. Supervising producer is Daphne Pinkerson.

This film will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.

As a child growing up in Stockton, Tubbs felt he was "set up" for either prison or death, but he forged another path for himself. After excelling at Stanford on a scholarship, he returned to his hometown with a clear mission statement: to "upset the setup" and empower others to change the status quo through positive civil action.

In 2016, the picture was bleak for Stockton. The city had been ground zero for the subprime mortgage meltdown in 2008 and had become the first major U.S. city to declare bankruptcy in the wake of the Great Recession. Drawing on his own disadvantaged upbringing to shape his vision for change, Mayor Tubbs launches some of the boldest social and economic policy experiments in the country to lift up his city of 300,000 residents. With a holistic approach to change, the city becomes an incubator, using private/public partnerships to test ways of challenging the systems that create conditions of inequality and lack of opportunity in the first place. From the Stockton Scholars program that provides college funding for high school graduates, to the SEED program, an experimental "universal basic income" payment to citizens chosen by a lottery system, to Advance Peace, an initiative to prevent violence by engaging with communities around the root causes of conflict, Stockton is at the forefront of a dynamic transformation. Yet, change is hard, and there are many headwinds to contend with, including skepticism, criticism and even a recall effort from some of the residents.

STOCKTON ON MY MIND weaves Michael Tubbs' story together with a wide array of people living in Stockton, some of whose stories echo Tubbs' own, and many of whom are leaders working alongside him to reinvent the city. Subjects include:

Raymond Aguilar, who served over two decades in prison and now works to incentivize at-risk communities to deter violent crime

Jasmine Dellafosse, a community organizer and activist who seeks to dismantle the school to prison pipeline

Lavelle Hawkins, a Stockton native and former NFL wide receiver who now serves as an assistant football coach committed to guiding his students on the right path

Michael Tubbs, Sr., a Stockton native and former gang member sentenced to life in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping when Mayor Tubbs was a young child

Isaiah "Zay" Evans, a promising high school senior from a troubled home on house arrest and facing jail time on a burglary charge

Joy Almendarez, a teenage mother determined to beat the odds and make it to college

Rogelio "Junior" Vivero, a first-generation Latino student who messaged Mayor Tubbs on twitter and became one of the first student ambassadors of Stockton Scholars

In addition to the day-to-day challenges of running a city, STOCKTON ON MY MIND follows Michael Tubbs' personal milestones over three years as he welcomes a son with his wife, First Partner of Stockton, Anna Malaika Nti-Asare-Tubbs, and reflects on building a deeper relationship with his own father who hopes for parole at some point in the future.

Despite the critics and deep-seated challenges, Tubbs' political journey continues to have an impact. As of early 2020, the homicide rate in Stockton had declined by 38%. The first class of Stockton Scholars received 879 college scholarships totaling over $700,000. And the SEED program was extended an additional six months, through the end of 2020.

Culminating in a visit to the city by rapper and activist Common, STOCKTON ON MY MIND is a powerful, moving testament to the commitment and dedication of individuals making a difference by planting seeds of hope and opportunity in their community.

STOCKTON ON MY MIND is directed by Marc Levin; writers, Marc Levin and James Lester; producers, Marc Levin, Mike Marangu and Cassius Kim; co-producers, Jonathan Angel and James Lester; supervising producer, Daphne Pinkerson. For HBO: supervising producer, Jesse Weinraub; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

Here is the original post:
Breaking News - Documentary "Stockton on My Mind" Debuts July 28 on HBO - The Futon Critic

Read More..

The Importance and the Consequences of Writing a Will – The Wire

The COVID-19 pandemic is a prodigious global health crisis and perhaps the greatest challenge the world has seen ever since World War II. It has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars in the pages of world history. A lot of it can already be seen: Employment issues, recession, economic hit, migrant labour crisis, lack of jobs, no liquidity, cash crunch, breaking of supply chains and many such problems.

With the alarming rise in cases in India, even the youth are now beginning to re-think their future prospects because of the uncertainty that the pandemic has led us to. Times like these lead us to evaluate and introspect on what can be done to protect our loved ones.

Irrespective of age, sex, caste, creed, ethnicity, geographical differences and other factors, individuals are now interested in understanding the law governing the drafting, interpretation and execution of a will. In this background, we shall now attempt to understand the importance and the consequences of writing a will.

Understanding the legal document

A will is a legal declaration of the intention of a testator (the author) with respect to property which she desires to be carried into effect after their death. Every person of sound mind not being a minor is entitled in law to dispose of his property by writing a will.

Codicil, on the other hand, is a written instrument made in relation to a will, explaining, altering or adding to its dispositions, and is deemed and stated to form part of the will.

A will is liable to be revoked or altered by the testator at any time as long as she is competent to dispose of her property by will. A will or any part of a will, the making of which has been caused by fraud or coercion, or by such importunity as takes away the free agency of the testator, is void and cannot be enforced in law.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 is the codified law applicable and governing the law of succession and in case of any dispute, one has to look at the provisions, the interpretation and the jurisprudential developments under this law.

A will can be written at any time during the lifetime of a person but can be executed only after the death of the testator. A will can be changed a number of times and there is no legal restriction on it. However, it is advisable to not make very frequent changes for several legal reasons. A will can also be withdrawn or cancelled by the testator at any time during their lifetime.

Legal requirements

The testator should mandatorily sign or affix his mark to the will. In case of incapability, it can be signed by some other person in his presence and under his directions. This marks the intension to give effect to the writing of the document as a will, which should be attested by two or more witnesses, each of whom should have seen the testator signing the will.

However, suspicion may arise where the signature is doubtful or when the testator is of feeble mind or is overawed by powerful minds interested in getting her property or where the disposition appears to be unnatural, improbable and unfair or where there are other reasons to doubt the testators free will and mind. The nature and quality of proof must commensurate with such essentiality so as to remove any suspicion which a reasonable or prudent man may, in the prevailing circumstances, entertain.

Registration of a will

From a reading of Sections 17 and 18 of the Registration Act, 1908 which mandates registration of legal documents and instruments and provides a conclusive list it can be seen that the registration of a will is not compulsory. However, from a practical perspective, it is strongly advisable to register one to avoid any conflict or future litigation.

Mere non-registration cannot be a reason to doubt the validity or genuineness of a will. However, the doubt as to the validity of a will would be less significant if it is registered and the sub-registrar certifies that it was read over to the executor who, on doing so, has admitted the contents as well.

Once a will is registered, there is no scope for destruction, alteration or tampering with the document. More importantly, there is no stamp duty payable on registration and hence no overhead/hidden costs are involved. Therefore it is advisable that a will is registered.

Validity of a will

While there is no specified format, to avoid litigation and disputes, it is advisable that the will is written in clear, precise terms and the intension of the testator is mentioned with clarity of thought, precision and accuracy. Usage of technical words or terms of art are not only unnecessary but should be discouraged. The language used should be simple, leaving no scope for ambiguity. Doubtfulness, vagueness and ambivalence are all aspects to be completely avoided when drafting a will.

A declaration that it is the first and last written will and that it is devoid of any coercion, fraud and the testator understands the consequences of writing and executing the will are some points which help protect the integrity of the document. Mentioning that the testator has a disposing state of mind and has understood the nature and effect of the dispositions should also be emphasised upon.

All details of the assets/properties should be mentioned clearly to avoid disputes as to their identification and inclusion/exclusion. All details of the beneficiaries should also be mentioned. If the testator intends to appoint an executor who, after the death of the testator, will be responsible to ensure that assets/properties are distributed as per the will, then such intention to appoint an executor and her details thereof should also be clearly mentioned in the will.

The meaning of any clause in a will is to be collected from the entire instrument, and all its parts are to be construed with reference to each other. If the same words occur in different parts of the same will, they should be taken to have been used everywhere in the same sense. Lastly, the intentions of the testator need to be respected and should be given paramount importance when interpreting or executing a will.

It is with a deep heart and an un-willing state of mind that one wishes to talk, inquire and understand about the law of wills and its governance in India. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. As they famously say, Better late than never. Perhaps it is time for some of us to start thinking on these lines, for the security, safety and protection of our loved ones, which have taken paramount importance in these troubled and dark times.

Ananya Kapoor is an advocate, Delhi high court and specializes in civil, tax and commercial litigation and estate planning. She can be reached at

Read more:
The Importance and the Consequences of Writing a Will - The Wire

Read More..

Married to the Military: Dont neglect your mental health – The Fayetteville Observer

This is your reminder to take a deep breath and try to remember all the good in the world. If no one has told you, you are loved and supported, so give yourself a break from the world around you because you deserve peace of mind.

"Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset" - Saint Francis

Mental health days are so important. Thats especially true for anyone associated with the military because it is such a stressful lifestyle and it can be so hard to remember to take a second when you're dealing with the constant stress and pressure that many soldiers and spouses are under.

If you're reading this, how are you? Have you checked in with yourself recently? What about your spouse, kids, or family?

Take this as a sign to listen to your body and what you need for your mental health. Drink some water, watch your favorite movie or pig out on your favorite foods; don't be afraid to treat yourself, because you're the most deserving of your kindness.

Sometimes things can get very overwhelming, especially with the setting of 2020. The narrative of this year has been far too negative, and I've been seeing a lot more people wound up than usual.

A lot of people are fighting for what they think is right and just trying to hold on to the smallest bit of control or normalcy as possible. And with that I must ask: How tired are you? Have you given yourself a break or a time away from social media to recoup?

You should allow yourself some time to process without your mind going a mile a minute trying to figure everything out at once. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and its OK to give yourself time and patience.

If you have not been giving yourself or your family the best of you unwound, you should give it a try and let life's problems roll off your shoulders for a bit. Life gets tough, and for most of us among the younger generations, this is the first time in our lives seeing a global pandemic, economic crisis, a powerful movement for equality and all the other heaviness that this year has brought to our table.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself during these times of high stress. Take care of you. If you dont agree with someone, walk away and wish them peace, apply words of affirmations to your everyday life and do your best to be the light in someone else's life. Most importantly, take the time necessary to rest your body, soul and mind. No one is perfect, and were all living a new version of ourselves every day, slowly processing and learning as we go, so give yourself and others the virtue of patience.

This is your reminder to take a deep breath and try to remember all the good in the world. If no one has told you, you are loved and supported, so give yourself a break from the world around you because you deserve peace of mind.

Columnist Lauren Creamer can be reached at

Excerpt from:
Married to the Military: Dont neglect your mental health - The Fayetteville Observer

Read More..

Deep cultural shifts required: open letter from 500 legal women calls for reform of way judges are appointed and disciplined – UNSW Newsroom

In an open letter to Attorney-General Christian Porter, about 500 women working in the law from across Australia have sought changes to the way judges are disciplined and appointed.

The letter comes after former High Court judge Dyson Heydon was found by an independent investigation to have sexually harassed young female associates of the court, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The letter was also sent to Susan Kiefel, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, along with another letter to thank her

for her strong, decisive and compassionate responses to the complaints in the Heydon matter, and ask her to work with the government to see these reforms implemented in a way sensitive to the protection of judicial integrity and independence.

The full text of the two letters are below.

Dear Attorney-General

We are writing following the publication of the High Courts response to the complaints about the conduct of Mr Dyson Heydon AC QC during his time as a judge on the Court. As women working across the legal profession, we have welcomed the Chief Justices strong response to the independent inquirys recommendations about providing better protections to associates during their time employed at the Court, recognising their particularly vulnerable professional position.

We believe the abuse the allegations raise provides an important opportunity to implement wider reforms to address the high incidence of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct in the legal profession. Deep cultural shifts in how men treat women in the law are required, as well as reforms to prevent the manifestations of what many fear may be institutionalised sexism that has allowed this culture to continue. We must reach a position where all people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, age, race, ethnicity, or disability are treated with equal professional dignity. Of course, no single reform can achieve these shifts, and we understand many different forms of change must be pursued.

We are writing to urge you to implement two types of judicial institution reform the establishment of an independent complaints body and the introduction of a transparent appointments process. We believe these will prove to be important systemic contributions towards deeper cultural shifts.

To ensure these reforms are introduced and designed with appropriate levels of respect for the independence of the judiciary, we ask you to develop them with the cooperation and input of the judges. We encourage you to work with the Chief Justice of the High Court, to whom we have provided a copy of this letter, and the Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand to see them implemented. The Council of Chief Justices also offers an opportunity for these reforms to be considered at a national level to operate not just for the federal judiciary, but potentially across the federation.

First, we encourage the creation of an independent complaints body, with a standing jurisdiction to receive complaints against federal judges, investigate any complaints and provide appropriate responses to them. This institutional reform would ensure there is an established body to which future complainants may turn, whether they be court employees, members of the profession, the judiciary or members of the public. It would provide an independent avenue for individuals to seek redress with some guarantees of privacy and protection against recrimination, such as defamation actions.

An oversight institution such as this must be carefully designed so as to meet expectations of accountability for judicial misconduct, while protecting judges from unfounded allegations and not placing the judiciary in a subordinate position to any other branch of government. We underscore the necessity of any institution to respect judicial independence, and the requirements of Chapter III of the Constitution. If well designed with these considerations in mind, we believe such an institution could enhance public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

In respect of its design, any institution should be informed by best practice and the standards that apply to complaint handling, such as ISO 10002:2004: Quality Management Customer Satisfaction Guidelines for Complaint Handling in Organizations. It should also be informed, although not limited, by the design of institutions that are already operating in many jurisdictions, including the Judicial Commission of New South Wales, the Judicial Conduct Commissioner of South Australia, the Judicial Commission Victoria, the ACT Judicial Council and most recently, the Judicial Commission of the Northern Territory.

Informed by such standards and the experience of these jurisdictions, we propose the following principles for the design of a national judicial complaints institution:

there must be clear, publicly available standards against which appropriate judicial behaviour is assessed. These standards must be developed by the judiciary to ensure independence from the political branches. The Guide to Judicial Conduct, adopted by the Council of Chief Justices, provides an important starting point as to the types of conduct that are unacceptable in judicial office. However, these standards need to go beyond aspirational statements and set down enforceable standards of appropriate conduct, including examples of behaviour and the consequences that might follow from such behaviour. Further, these standards should specify that workplace harassment and bullying, including sexual harassment, constitute judicial misconduct; conduct which is currently not mentioned in the Guide

the body should be a standing body, separate and independent from the political branches of government. It should be appointed by the judiciary, to maintain judicial independence, but it must be separate from the ordinary judicial hierarchy and process

the body may include former judicial officers, and there should be diversity in its membership

the body must adopt a robust, fair and transparent process. It must have appropriate investigative powers and ensure procedural fairness is accorded to complainants and the respondent. It must also protect the privacy of complainants and provide them with guarantees against recrimination, including defamation proceedings

should the body determine that a complaint has been made out, it must have an appropriate suite of avenues for redress available to it. These might include: referral to Parliament for possible removal; referral to prosecutors in relation to possible criminal conduct; as well as intermediate forms of redress, such as public reprimand, orders for compensation, and recommendations for pastoral care and advice (eg mentoring). While there are concerns that such responses might undermine public confidence in the judiciary, we believe the revelation of misconduct without a mechanism for appropriate redress also poses a high risk of such damage.

the body must have jurisdiction that extends to the investigation of retired judges and chief justices. Its jurisdiction must include conduct on the bench, notwithstanding that a judge has subsequently resigned. Second, we urge systemic reforms to the process of judicial appointments to increase transparency and promote the independence, quality and diversity of the judiciary. These reforms must be targeted to select candidates that will bring not just excellent legal skills to the office, but also the highest personal integrity, and contribute to greater diversity in the senior ranks of the profession.

In respect of its design, we proposed the following principles:

the government should appoint an independent body, composed of a diverse range of members, appointed by the judiciary and the government through a transparent process, to advise the government in its role in judicial appointments

the bodys function should be to advertise widely for judicial vacancies, and to shortlist candidates who are suitable for appointment, from whom among the government may select.

shortlisting must occur against criteria that are set out in a public statement, and must include legal knowledge, skill and expertise in addition to essential personal qualities (eg integrity and good character). The value of diversity in judicial appointments should also be respected. The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administrations Suggested Criteria for Judicial Appointments provides an example of such a statement

the body must consult widely, with relevant professional bodies and officeholders, including those representing women and other minority stakeholders, before shortlisting candidates

The bodys processes must be transparent.

We hope government will seize the opportunity these shocking revelations have provided to implement these, and other, reforms that will contribute to making the law a safer profession for women into the future.

Yours faithfully,

See all signatories here.

Dear Chief Justice,

We are writing following the publication of the High Courts response to the complaints about the conduct of Mr Dyson Heydon AC QC during his time as a judge on the Court. We thank you and the Courts Principal Registrar, Ms Philippa Lynch, in particular for the decisive action taken to ensure the complaints were thoroughly investigated by an independent process. We are grateful that you took this matter so seriously and treated the complainants with dignity, compassion and respect. We welcome your response to the inquirys recommendations as to how to provide better protections to associates during their time employed at the Court, recognising their particularly vulnerable professional position.

Today, we have sent a letter to the Commonwealth Attorney-General urging him to seize this moment as an opportunity to implement reforms to address the high incidence of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct in the law. We have asked that he take action to implement two types of institutional reforms an independent complaints body and a transparent judicial appointments process. While no single reform will achieve the necessary cultural shifts in how women are treated in the law, we believe, if properly designed, these will prove to be important systemic contributions towards deeper change.

We are very conscious that these reforms must be developed through close cooperation between the government, through the Attorney-Generals portfolio, and the judiciary. In particular, the creation of an independent complaint-handling body with a standing jurisdiction to receive complaints against federal judges, investigate any complaints and provide appropriate responses to them, must be designed with care. It must meet expectations of accountability for judicial misconduct while protecting judges from unfounded allegations and not compromising judicial independence by placing the judiciary in a subordinate position to any other branch of government.

With these considerations in mind, we have asked the Attorney-General to work with you and the Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand as an important forum for input from the Australian judiciary into the design of these reforms. We applaud your initial response to this issue. The changes you and Ms Lynch have made will form a significant legacy and will make the law a safer profession for women.

See all signatories here.

Gabrielle Appleby, Professor, UNSW Law School, UNSW

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue reading here:
Deep cultural shifts required: open letter from 500 legal women calls for reform of way judges are appointed and disciplined - UNSW Newsroom

Read More..

Suddenly, The Investment Market Comes Out Of The Deep Freeze – Bisnow

Scientists are still not sure what tells salmon to return en masse to the same breeding ground every year, or how monarch butterflies know to migrate north from Mexico to Canada the length of the journey means no individual butterfly will reach its destination, but the group as a whole will survive.

And so it is with real estate investors. It is hard to pinpoint an exact trigger, but a couple of weeks ago, the London real estate investment market began to thaw out after a period of pandemic-induced hibernation. And the emergence is starting to spread beyond the capital.

There is both anecdote and evidence to highlight the phenomenon an uptick in properties officially registered for sale, owners kicking off sales processes for chunky assets and deals that were dropped during the early days of the pandemic starting to be picked back up. What changed to bring deal flow back? There is littleconcrete, but those in the market point to an increase in confidence among both buyers and sellers, as well as the economic and psychological imperatives thatfuel the circle of life that is real estate investment.

I agree that capital markets in London have opened up, and I think it has coincided with the easing of the lockdowns, Savills Head of Global Cross Border Investment Rasheed Hassan said. In a period like this you have investors who are risk-averse and wont do a deal under any circumstance, those who want to take advantage of a difficult market and look for distress, then a big group in the middle who might be buyers or sellers because they have different motivations driving them and they will more or less follow market pricing.

The number of properties listed for sale rose to 632 in June,37%up fromMay, according to CoStar. That figure is still well below the 900-plus listed in March, but is heading back toward the long-run average of 800 after falling to about 400 in April.

Thesecond quarter hadLondons third-lowest quarterly investment volume in 20 years, according to CBRE.

In London, new sales have been kicked off in recent weeks, and old sales revived. Landsec is selling a quartet of assets with a total value of 850M, in response to inbound investment enquiries,according to reports in Bloomberg and React News.

Numbers 1 and 2 New Ludgate on the western edge of the City, totalling 380K SF, could fetch as much as 600M, a 4% yield. In the West End, the 138K SF 40 Strand could be sold for 180M, and the 62K SF 7 Soho Square could sell for 75M.

As unlikely as it seems, some investors that have bought well and improved properties in recent years are now taking the opportunity to take a profit. Henderson Park bought the vacant 174K SF Athene Place in the City for 120M in 2018, and having leased the building,is now selling it for 260M.

Elsewhere in the City, DTZ Investors last week launched the sale of 47 and 50 Mark Lane, two assets totalling 132K SF, for 103M.

Deals that had fallen out of bed are now close to getting across the finish line, too. In March,Blackstone pulled out of a deal to buy The Cabot in Canary Wharf from Hines for 380M, but last month Link REIT, Hong Kongs largest listed property company, went under offer to buy the 453K SF building for about the same price.

Courtesy of Landsec

Landsec's New Ludgate scheme

AGC Equity Partners is in talks to buy 1 London Wall Place from Brookfield for around 500M, React News reported. A deal to sell the building to Korean investor Samsung alongside DTZ Investors fell apartearlier this year. And React saidBrookfield is still on course to complete the acquisition of Plantation Place for 700M.

There is an increasing amount of activity going on outside of London as well. Prologis launching the sale of a 435M UK logistics portfolio is big but perhaps unsurprising, given how well the industrial sector has performed even during the lockdown.

Of greater note is the sale of Aeons 240K SF Edinburgh HQ to Hyundai Asset Management for 167M, one of the first significant UK deals by a Korean investor outside of London.

Hassan said that on the buy side, investors had in recent weeks managed to look beyond the current uncertainty, and the imperative to spend that existed before the lockdown has not gone away. If youre a company with 100M of capital that you need to deploy, you might get 4M of income from real estate, but youre getting nothing if that moneysits in the bank: Investors seethat as 4M lost, he said.

If you buy real estate with long income that with a good covenant and your plan is to hold long term, the likelihood is that yields will go up and down during that time and there will be events over that period that we cannot predict today. However, if the real estate is good and the tenant can afford to keep paying the rent, then you feel secure.

Perhaps more interesting is the attitude of sellers after all, if no one is willing to sell, there is no market to be made. Hassan said the increasing pressure building up among buyers is giving sellers comfort they can achieve their pricing ambitions.

There are a large number of investors of all different types who have done very few or no transactions over the last six months now. There comes a point where some start needing to find a way to deploy capital, he said. In an environment where there is very little to buy, potential sellers are starting to get the confidence that they are going to get a lot of interest and a good reception if they do release something to the market. And if they dont get the price they want, they dont have to sell.

Real estate does not have the hive mind that controls fish or insects: Within the wider species of investors, there are myriad motivations guiding an individuals actions. But it can have the same result: Investors in London are on the move.

Read the original here:
Suddenly, The Investment Market Comes Out Of The Deep Freeze - Bisnow

Read More..

In Conversation: Thandie Newton – Vulture

Emmy Insider

The Emmy race has begun! Vulture is taking a close look at the contenders until nomination-round voting closes on July 13.

Photo: Dana Scruggs

This article was featured in One Great Story, New Yorks reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly.

As outspoken as Thandie Newton has been throughout her career, there are still stories shes been holding off on telling. Not because shes shy, but because shes waiting for the right moment. So careful what you do, everybody, she says. Because you might find yourself fucking over a little brown girl at the beginning of a career, when no one knows who she is and no one gives a fuck. She might turn out to be Thandie Newton. At 47, Newton feels shes more powerful than ever, which manifests in our Zoom conversations as a kind of stunning vulnerability. Its rare for an actress whose 30-plus-year career has ranged from odd art-house films with Bernardo Bertolucci to blockbusters like Mission: Impossible 2 to, well, Norbit to speak so plainly. Shes unsparing about her own career choices and yet maintains the wisdom and compassion to forgive herself. We got to press on, havent we, my love?

Are you in your bedroom right now?I am. Its very hard to find a quiet spot. We currently have my family in isolation. My son, whos 6, my 15-year-old daughter, and my 19-year-old daughter, whose girlfriend is living with us too.

What were you doing when lockdown first started?I was in Montana doing a movie, Gods Country. Its one of the most inspiring projects. I was loving it, but also willing its end because it was that demanding. And Id come off 12 months of pretty intense work with Westworld.

In Westworld, your performance is so poignant, both ferocious and beautiful. Do you have conversations with the showrunners around the arc of the season or where you would like your character to go?I like to stay sane about my position, which is that I am being employed to tell someone elses story. Where I do have a degree of choice is in taking the role, but once Im in, Im a team player. I do have frustrations with Maeve, but thats part of her story line.

What are some of those frustrations?Well, season one, the evolution of this robot who then has the revelation that shes not human, and that she had a past that involved a child, and the betrayal of that, and then using information to empower herself it was such a powerful story. Im not surprised that it hooked people in. And then the second and third season has Maeve with a different directive, but its not her own. Shes following other peoples leads, by and large. In the first season, she was driving, dominating, pretty straightforward. I think Maeve is a metaphor for the dispossessed in the world, and shes become that kind of leader, but shes not had a chance to lead, and I dont think she necessarily should. She certainly doesnt want to.

When you were a kid, you said you didnt feel like you were beautiful, but I think people consider you beautiful. When did things shift?I think its hugely to do with my ethnicity. When I set out in the adult world, I was pretty young 16 was when I started working in movies. I had no sense of myself. One of the reasons why is because I was not considered anything. There was a lot that people could have been interested in in me when I was young. They didnt want to express it, because they didnt want to praise the Black girl.

I had this dance teacher, cause ballet was my thing. I came from a very small town. We didnt have capoeira and this and that. Not even like jazz or fucking modern that would have been way too ghetto. Year after year, I was a star student. Id always be given the solo to make the school look good. So at the end of every year, thered be this big performance wed all do in this dance school. The dance teacher and I dont mean her any ill, Im not slagging her off, but its the truth at the end of every year, shed give prizes. She would give this ceramic ballet dancer, like a little kind of Oscar. It was screamingly obvious that I should have been given prizes. She never did. Not once.

I didnt even think about it. Because, look, this all instilled in me a work ethic and perfectionism. Its not pride in my work or pride in the perfectionism. Its If I dont do this, no ones going to let me do anything else again, ever. It was out of survival. The last year I was in her school, I remember I didnt get the prize, and my mom had obviously realized I wasnt going to get it. We didnt have much money, but when I got home, she had bought me this beautiful figurine of two dancers. Because she was so proud of me, she wanted to compensate.

We didnt talk about it at the time, but the damage was so done. It just made me super-vulnerable to predators. Thats the truth. Because theres so much about not having a sense of my value. I suffered quite badly for a couple of years from anorexia, and it all feeds into this. Just wanting to disappear. What happened for me was I had a very complicated relationship with I never chose. I let other people do the choosing for me. That saddens me.

What were you going to say? That you had a complicated relationship with ?With sexual relationships. It was like I had to give something back for being noticed. You get predators and sexual abusers, they can smell it a mile off. Its like a shark smelling blood in the water. All you need is one of those to really drive you into the dust. In a way, an eating disorder was just like, Okay, I need to finish myself off. I need to get fully rid of myself now. Unfortunately, that was while I was in an industry where a woman is utterly objectified. But a really key point, which began when I was like 21 and I met Eve Ensler

You saw The Vagina Monologues and then you talked to her afterward.She was performing in a pub in Islington in North London. Afterward, I saw her as she came into the pub and we chatted. I found myself telling her my story about being sexually abused. She didnt look at me with pity. For her, it was like, And youre here. It was the moment I turned from being a victim to a survivor. She just pointed out I was moving through it.

When youve talked about what happened in the past getting groomed and sexually abused as a teenager by the director John Duigan on the set of Flirting I noticed the language used by some journalists writing about it was quite odd. Some would call it an affair.Yes. For years. I would talk about it a lot in the press, as you know. I think its because I was traumatized. If someone brought it up and of course theyre going to bring it up in a fucking interview, man if they spoke about it in a way thats not sympathetic or they called it an affair, it was insult to injury. Its like re-abuse. I think the reason I talked about it a lot, too, is Im trying to find someone who understands. Im looking for help. Its so fucking obvious to me. What is the point if we dont expose what needs to be exposed?

When I look at my career and see how affected it was by my speaking out about sexual abuse in the industry, it was massively affected in two ways. One, because I was dealing with my trauma, and talk about being in a triggering environment, right? Also, Id come across people that were doing the same shit, and so I would challenge them, or want to get out of it, or not want to work with people. One of the biggest movies I didnt end up doing was because the director said to me, I cant wait for this. The first shot is going to be Youre going to think its like yellow lines down a road, and you pull back and you realize its the stitching, because the denim is so tight on your ass its going to look like tarmac. I was like, Oh, I dont think were going to go down this road together.

Then the head of the studio I had a meeting with her, and she said, Look, I dont mean to be politically incorrect, but the character as written and you playing the role, I just feel like weve got to make sure that its believable. I was like, What do you mean? What changes would you have to make? Shes like, Well, you know, the character, as written, shes been to university and is educated. Im like, Ive been to university. I went to Cambridge. She went, Yeah, but youre different. Shes like, Maybe there could be a scene where youre in a bar and she gets up on a table and starts shaking her booty. Shes basically reeling off these stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a Black character. Everything she said, I was like, Nah, I wouldnt do that. Shes like, Yeah, but youre different. Youre different. That was Amy Pascal. Thats not really a surprise, is it? Lets face it: I didnt do the movie as a result.

What was the movie?Charlies Angels. It was a big deal for me. Vogue had called to ask us to be on the cover, the three of us. But I just couldnt do it. I felt scared. Did I feel scared? Thats not true. Look, no one was ever going to sexually abuse me again. But I didnt want to be put in a position where I was objectified. That just didnt feel good. This is a long time ago anyway, and all those girls are brilliant. But if that was me now, Id want to disrupt rather than run away. I think thats probably the change in me.

Thats not the only thing that happened. Theres the disgusting thing that happened with the casting couch. Just this grossness. Ive got my little black book, which will be published on my deathbed.

Of names?Oh, of everything. Got to leave something behind, love. Im not doing it when Im alive. I dont want to deal with all the fallout and everyone getting their side of the story. There is no side of the story when youre sexually abused. You give that up.

Im also a Black girl, and I absolutely [felt like I was] being passed around. Being Black is important. Because certainly at the beginning of my career, when it was just, like, me and Halle Berry in our age group going up for every role: Oh, this is novel. This is a little quick flash in the pan. Well let you come in for a minute.

Its interesting how you two were positioned by the industry.Shes so cool, man. Im sure she has all her own things. Were very different. Quite interesting that we both have one white parent. Id like to just look at that. All these Black people in the public eye who are Black, and you dont think about their white parents. Like on my Instagram, its always my mum. I dont put my dad up much, and thats because I want Black people to feel they can trust me and feel safe with me that Im not a representative of this Establishment that degrades people of color. All my fucking career, I felt like, to Black people, Im not a legitimate Black person.

What I am evidence of is: You can dismiss a Black person. If youre a young Black girl and you get raped, in the film business, no ones going to fucking care. You can tell whoever the fuck you want, and theyll call it an affair. Until people start taking this seriously, I cant fully heal. There are so many problems to feeling disenfranchised. But I keep finding myself alone. There is now an appetite for listening to women, but theres women and then, right at the bottom of the pile, is women of color. So careful what you do, everybody, because you might find yourself fucking over a little brown girl at the beginning of a career, when no one knows who she is and no one gives a fuck. She might turn out to be Thandie Newton winning Emmys.

How do you feel about the movie Flirting? People sometimes bring up how its an underrated gem.I think its lovely. Its beautiful.

Is it complicated for you at all?I havent watched it again. I dont really want to talk about it. It doesnt make me feel good to think about it, really. Just in that moment, my stomach went a bit weird. Because of my loyalty to the film, to the people in it, to my performance in it, it feels a little bit like I approve of what happened to me during it, and its simply not true. It would be so much easier if the film was shit. Im good, though. What a shame I wasnt a shit actress. But it had Nicole [Kidman] in it as well and Naomi Watts.

There are definitely movies I regret, particularly the films I continued to do with the director I first worked with. Because I never really wanted to do any of them. He would bully me into them. He would shame me into doing them. I was in my early 20s, but when I read The Journey of August King all respect to John Ehle, who wrote it, all respect to everyone who got involved I remember saying to him, I just feel like its very simplistic. He criticized me for having an opinion. And I immediately felt like a little girl. Because, you know, when youre abused, its mental abuse as well. And we werent even together at the time Id finally managed to leave, and I still wasnt on the other side of judgment. I just thought I was fucked up; I didnt think that hed fucked me up. And thats not to say I did my best. I tried to do well. I wanted to give that character as much intelligence, humanity. Oh, and then I did another movie that his sister wrote. Oh!

Wait, what was that?Its called The Leading Man. Well, it gave me a down payment on my first flat. First ever. But that was fucking gross. And then there was one particular time where I mean, this is what Im talking about, where he lied about what parts of my body were being seen in the shot.

That was him?Yeah. And, like, this was supposed to be someone that loved you. And not just that, personally, as in a relationship, but also youve helped make his career. Hed be nowhere without me. For a number of years, there was a grain of hope that that person would atone, become someone on International Womens Day whos out there campaigning for women. Like, of course, you hope people will change, right?

So what changed? How were you able to say no and break free?Oh, by literally extricating myself physically and mentally from that individual. But I realize its not just an individual; its a system. Thats why I dont particularly like talking about the individual, because it makes that person more special. Its a whole fucking system of abuse, exploitation. Thats why watching [Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich], I couldnt even get through the first episode. I was just so undone by that. Just in terms of grooming, thats the closest to what I experienced. And its like, Oh my God, its so textbook.

Im curious about some other early roles, like Jefferson in Paris. How do you think about that now with the years gone by?I love James Ivory. He has his quirks, but I really enjoyed his kind of old-school gentleman director. I would definitely approach that film in a completely different way now. I would push for the film to be more about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. And I think that had the DNA tests been done before the movie, they would have definitely wanted to make it more about that. But it would have turned out to be a horror film, because you cant not have scenes of the two of them sexually, because obviously, lets face it, thats the main reason for that relationship. It wasnt like he was marrying her or even making his children free. His children would wait on tables and people would be like, Whoa, that looks like Thomas Jefferson. So I would want to try and focus on that if I were me now in that 21-year-old body and mind. Whereas when we made the movie, the DNA stuff was still controversial. Do you know that Sally Hemings was Jeffersons wifes half-sister?

Yes. Her dad was Jeffersons father-in-law. She wouldve looked a bit like his dead wife. Her children were his father-in-laws grandchildren, right? Or his nieces and nephews? Theyre all fucking related. I mean, she was his slave. It was rape.

It was my first big film. I dont want to name names and put words in peoples mouths, but any number of African-Americans take a shot at me for that one. Do it. Im here.

You mean they have or they should?Well, I dont think its paranoia. Spike Lee and I had a little moment. Were always respectful when we see each other. But he wasnt exactly knocking on my door asking me to work with him. I cant put words in his mouth of what he thought of it.

I know the nature of this business has had me play roles that Im embarrassed I played. Its had me misrepresent African-Americans. Because I didnt know. I have not been of great service in my career. I guess its been of service in one respect, because theres a person of color in a movie, but that can do more harm than good lets face it. Anyway, sorry. God, wow. Ive never cried in an interview before.

Im trying to understand the box that people put you in in those early years, and if you felt that colorism was a part of that.Oh, yeah. Crikey. I mean, I was perceived in so many different ways, and it was always about the individual who was perceiving. It was very much on the spectrum of Is she Black enough, or is she too Black? And the number of times I would put on a fake tan or take it down or up

When would you do that?Like the Sally Hemings story, with that movie, she had to be super-pale. With Beloved, they wanted me to be a lot darker. Jonathan Demme directed it. If he had been an African-American guy, would he have Oprah, I think she was concerned about me being light-skinned.

Did you ever talk to Oprah about it?No. When we were making the movie, we were all, Woo! We were in. I was Beloved to all of them. They deeply appreciated how far I went. Once I started croaking like a demon and made scenes that we were doing And Jonathan was extraordinary, how he created the context for your work. Nothing like it. No rehearsal. You came ready and open.

I remember another time it came up really strongly. I did this movie, Half of a Yellow Sun,which is one of my favorite characters Ive played. That, Beloved, and Maeve in the first season of Westworld. Half of a Yellow Sun is based on the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a stunning book. I was talking to Chimamanda about it because, again, Im on the paler side. I think there had been mutterings online when they found out I was being considered: Oh, shes so light-skinned. Chimamanda and I became friends very easily. Shes from Lagos, Nigeria, and she showed me a picture of her family. Her siblings ranged from pale like me to darker than Chimamanda. She just said, when she realized and looked to her own family, Why cant Olanna be me, be this color?

Nowadays, there is regret for me. I recognize how painful it is for dark-skinned women, particularly, to have to deal with being substituted or overlooked. For example, you watch Queen & Slim. I look at Jodie [Turner-Smith]. Or, you look at Lupita [Nyongo]. To see a woman of color, to see that dark skin, that beautiful chocolate skin, my mothers skin, onscreen Its holy. I do see so clearly why theres been so much deep disappointment.

Did the reaction to Beloved disappoint you? It was supposed to be such a major movie, an Oscar contender.We were on the floor. I was like, Oh God, Im so depressed. It had had some good reviews, but it hadnt done well at the box office. And Jonathan was like, Shame on you for not witnessing all the people for whom this movie meant so much. Thats so Jonathan. And Oprah took to her bed and just ate mac and cheese. It was hard because we put everything into that movie. Id love to see it again. Jonathan was fortunate in that he was working in a time when budgets went into the art. There were no actors there being paid extortionate figures. It all ended up on-camera.

Ill never forget Oprah saying to me She was the cover of Vogue. And apparently, she said, they had 20 meetings to decide whether she should be on the cover. Twenty. I was like, Thats disgusting. What is the issue? And Oprah, her response was, Thandie, these things take time.

To switch gears slightly, I wanted to talk about Crash.Crash. Thats got a chapter in my black book, Im afraid, babe.

How the sexual-assault scene got shot sounded dodgy, to say the least, and it was not clear to me what happened. I wanted to ask you what happened.I wouldnt say it was dodgy. It was certainly not from Paul Haggiss point of view. Everything that he did was right on. The irony is that in the script, it wasnt specific what his hand was doing inside her skirt. It was just, His hand goes up her skirt, and thats it. And then in the later scene, when shes screaming at her husband, she says, You just let him finger-fuck your wife. I thought she was being ironic. I thought she was saying the worst thing she could imagine because she was trying to make a point to her husband. Because frankly, if Id been finger-fucked by a cop, I wouldnt even be able to talk. But wed shot the argument scene already. So weeks later, we came to shoot the scene, the last scene for me, the scene with the cop. At the beginning of that night, oh God, Paul Haggis got me and Matt [Dillon] together, and in front of Matt, he said to me, Are you wearing protective underwear? And theyre both like looking at their feet. Im like, I mean, Im just wearing under yeah. Why? Because I really want this to be as real as, you know I really want to go there. Im like, What do you mean? Because I just want Matt to feel like he can And I realized what he was saying. I wasnt even thinking about the [earlier] scene that Id said finger-fuck. It wasnt until I saw the fucking movie, Im like, Oh, fucking hell!

I went into the makeup trailer and burst into tears. I was really worried, and I was upset. Not that I had to do the scene, but I was upset that I had no idea that thats what we were going to be conveying in the movie. Because as far as I was concerned, to insinuate that a cop would hand-rape a woman in the streets, and in a racially charged way, too, I felt this fear that I didnt want to be part of putting that out in the world, because I thought it couldnt possibly be true. Here I am now working with Kimberl Crenshaw for the African American Policy Forum, her amazing Say Her Name, which is basically a whole campaign trying to raise awareness of the fact that, yes, Black men are being killed by the police and its horrific, but the numbers of Black women who are sexually abused by the police, it is actually a phenomenon. There are so many cases, but you dont hear about them. But thats how much Ive grown. You could say that Paul Haggis knew a thing or two more than I did.

The movie has been very polarizing since its release. I dont know if youve read Ta-Nehisi Coatess piece about it. He really hated the movie.Maybe thats why he doesnt respond to me on Twitter. Im not kidding.

He called it the worst movie of the decade.I assumed because its Ta-Nehisi Coates that [his piece] would be pithy and interesting, but it was pretty ineffectual. It felt, to me, like the movie wasnt that bad really, because if it had been he would have taken more time and effort to defang the movie. I think hes an extraordinary thinker and writer, and Ive been deeply comforted and changed by his work. I dont take things personally if someone doesnt like the work Ive done. I blame the movie. The movie made him write a shitty piece.

One of the main criticisms of the film has been that it gives Matt Dillons character this redemption arc just because he saved you from a burning car.Yeah. Thats something even at the time I didnt buy into. There was a moment I remember, being taken away from the car, and I had to turn around and look at him. I had a sense that that look was supposed to be a look of connection, like, You saved me, but for me, the look to him was, Oh, okay. It turns out I got saved by the worst person in the world. Like, My trauma does not end here. Thats for sure. I didnt feel that it was redemptive. Certainly, not from my characters point of view. Its complicated.

Part of why its complicated to me is that, not to gas you up too much, but you are really good in the movie.Im quite good.

You are.Yeah. Weird.

It is weird because I think the movie does have this very deep white liberalism its trying to protect. Your character gets kind of swept up in that narrative, which is, to me, Matt Dillons redemption narrative.I completely agree with you. Even with Ludacris and Larenz Tate, when theyre annoyed about being treated as stereotypes, but then it turns out that they are carjackers. I feel like that was just for one joke. It was literally for that one joke, which is like, Ooh! Wow! Youre going to put that label on these guys for one joke?

The movie was clever and witty, but it basically stopped the judgment. It neutralized the very real rage that African-American people feel.

Post-Crash, I feel like you should have been in prestige vehicles. What happened after, in that period up until Westworld?Ive had a number of breakdowns, I guess. I remember going to the audition for the new Bond movie, the first one with Daniel Craig. Id just done Crash, and yes, I was really hot, and it was my moment. And I remember going into that audition, and I was so thin and so messed up. It doesnt have as much to do with the business as you might think. It was stuff going on in my life that was way more important and difficult than whether I was going to work. Its interesting to think of what I did do at that time.

Is that how Norbit happened?Norbit was in that time, yeah. The only movie my kids have seen that Im in.

No! Really?Yeah. Isnt that terrible? Oh my God. Eddie Murphy. They made me jump through hoops for it, too. Can you really be funny? People love Norbit, though.

Do you?I havent seen it for a very, very long time. I mean, its so offensive that its not offensive, I guess? Because I remember when we first did it, the background to Eddie writing the script was that he found himself watching these online home movies where really large women, African-American women, would beat up their tiny husbands. There was just this spate of stuff online. Eddie found them hilarious. Thats what the movie was born out of. When I went to talk about the project, the first draft I read was way darker. It was about this woman fucking abusing this guy. I think it was always supposed to be a comedy, but you can imagine how twisted that would be. Thats why I wanted to do it. And then it just got very I dont know how to describe it Its like it turned into a kind of Baskin-Robbins commercial. Eddie was hardly ever there, which was really sad. He has the best stand-ins youve ever seen. Literally, from five feet away, you would think they were Eddie. I think I probably did most of the movie with his stand-ins.

What was one of the first decisions you felt you made where you were in control?Oh, thats such a lovely question. Oh, lets try and think of a good one. I was doing a show and I feel sad saying this because I really loved the writer it was going to be something for British TV, and then it didnt happen, and then it got picked up in America, and we were so excited about it, but then a producer and showrunner was just sexist. I refused to do a scene where Id have to take my top off. I just thought, Its not that kind of sex scene. It was the first sex scene in the whole series. I was the lead in this new TV show.

Rogue?Yeah. And I didnt want to do it. It didnt make sense for the story with the two characters playing husband and wife who are kind of estranged. I was like, It just doesnt make any sense to take it off. He goes, Listen, kid. Thandie Newton. Top off. Ratings. And I laughed. I was actually really grateful for the honesty. And Im like, Well, listen. Then definitely fucking not. But he still got the other actor to pull my top down in the scene. And thats whats there.

Thats really fucked up.And then we were shooting in Canada. I guess its hard getting extras, people of color. And it was supposed to be set in Oakland, and Im continually saying, Weve got to populate this cast with more people of color. It doesnt make any sense. You cant get more fucking African-American than Oakland. He said, But we cast you. So we took care of that. This is the producer. That was in the second season. I thought, I cant do this. I just cant. We had this sort of sexist, casually racist idiot, you know? I had an agreement at the beginning of the second season because I was pregnant with my last baby. I was going to be in my third trimester when I made the show. And I said, Look, if you want me to do another season, I want to be released from my long-term, six-year contract if I come back. He refused to put it in writing but agreed.

And you know what happened. They got picked up for season three, and I said, I want to go, and then, of course, theyre like, You cant. He had a gentlemans agreement with my agent, and it was all very respectful, apparently. And I went through fucking hell because he hadnt told my dear friend, who was the writer of the show. So I ended up losing his friendship too, because he assumed I was just going, I dont want to do it. Obviously, I did get out of it. I just had to do a few episodes, which wasnt easy. Everyone hated me for leaving, but no one knew of the agreement a year before. It was extremely painful. I actually thought I might retire then, because I had my baby and my husbands career was doing great.

Then Westworld was sent to me. And if it hadnt been for Rogue, I wouldnt have wanted Westworld so much. But Ill tell you, this was so hideous. On the last days of doing Rogue I got killed miserably. I get dumped in a laundry container by this nasty guy, whos a great actor. I get taken down to the bowels of the hotel, where we had this huge fight where he strangled me to death, and then I get dumped in this garbage-disposal tank, and the last shot of me is sinking down into garbage, like into sewage, babe. But listen to this: On the side of the garbage-disposal tanks, it says WESTWORLD GARBAGE DISPOSAL. They all knew I was going to go on to do Westworld because Id already signed up to do it.

Thats so petty.Isnt it? I ended up in the fetal position, weeping, sobbing.I had put two years of hard work into that show. And there I was: Westworld Garbage Disposal.

Newton in Westworld. Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Im curious if you could talk about one mistake you made that you felt like later prompted growth.Its very difficult as an actor to know. You have so little to go on. You have the script and you have the director. Theres a lot of the other way around, where I did something and then it ended up not doing what Id hoped it would do. Doing something with all the best intentions and then feeling frustrated. I felt a bit like that with W., I must say. I really thought Oliver Stone was going to stick it to the administration.

But you felt like the film didnt?Yeah, very much so. We were making it, he was like, Were going to have this post-credit sequence. They are all going to be in cages in the Hague.

Okay. A mistake that ended up being a good thing.

Or one that made you think.I did a movie with Bertolucci [Besieged, 1998]. What a privilege. Hes a filmmaker.

I was trying to watch it. I couldnt find it.No shit. Its kind of beautiful. But that was supposed to be a one-hour movie made for television, based on a short story. I wanted to work with Bertolucci. And it was really great. Went to Rome for eight weeks. Shes an African student in Rome, a medical student, very bright. And there were a couple of dream sequences where shes in Africa, and there were a lot of problems wherever she was from. We went to Kenya to shoot for a week briefly for the dream sequences.

Anyway, when it came to editing and showing, he showed a few people, and it became clear that this movie was going to be more than a TV movie. It ended up being a feature, going to festivals, highly praised. Which youd think is a good thing. And I was proud, obviously. So he used all the footage from Africa, and [the film] ended up being an hour and a half. The footage from Africa was a big old chunk. But they never specified where in Africa it was. It was a generic African country in a state of serious unrest. And I remember being on a panel in Cannes with Bernardo and the producers. A journalist said, Isnt it offensive that youve painted such a broad stroke across the whole of Africa by making this generic African state? I remember saying, If thats what you perceive, it says more about you than it does about the movie. I was just defending the movie because I was so horrified that it could be perceived that way. But the truth was I actually agreed with the journalist. You can see how it happened because it was supposed to be a one-hour movie and it was supposed to be a little poem. But its not good enough. Certainly not now. And not then either. The casual ignorance of that is damaging.

I did want to know what you thought about Paul Haggis specifically.So I heard about Paul and the whats happened so far?

I think its stuck in the legal system, but multiple women stepped forward about rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Did that surprise you?Nothing surprises me, Alex. It really doesnt. If someones a colleague, you dont want to massively think about what theyre like as a partner. I dont know. It certainly wasnt apparent to me. He wasnt saying that my jeans are going to be so tight that it would look like tarmac on the road. I told you that with Paul, he was concerned that I was going to feel comfortable in that scene. I didnt feel anything predatory about him. Heres the other thing: I was only on the movie for a few days. So the time Ive spent with Paul has not been so much, but obviously we did the press thing together. I certainly didnt know him well. I was aware of his being a Scientologist, which was surprising to me. Just any person whos really smart, I find it strange. Ive worked with Tom Cruise, and he was very generous and open about sharing Scientological stuff. Christmas gifts would be something to do with Scientology.

Like what?Like a book with the greatest hits of Scientology, a bit like a Bible kind of thing. I was curious, because its like, Wow, if its going to attract people, powerful, high-profile people, theres got to be some glue that sticks this shit together. Didnt find any.

What was your experience like on Mission: Impossible 2? And why didnt you do another one?Oh, I was never asked. I was so scared of Tom. He was a very dominant individual. He tries superhard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done. There was one time, we were doing this night scene, there were so many extras with pyrotechnics and you name it, and it was a scene with him and me on the balcony. And I dont think it was a very well-written scene. I get angry with him. Were frustrated with each other. And were looking out over Spain. It wasnt going well. And John Woo, bless him, wasnt there. He was downstairs looking at everything on a monitor. And John had made a decision at the beginning of the movie, unbeknownst certainly to me, that he didnt speak English. Which I think was very helpful to him, but it was extremely unhelpful to the rest of us. So this scene was happening, and Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines.

And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, Let me just lets just go do it. Lets just rehearse on-camera. So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, Ill be you. You be me. So we filmed the entire scene with me being him because, believe me, I knew the lines by then and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful I cant think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.

I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not this is how his metabolism is so fierce he had a big whitehead where that red dot was. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit. I saw it growing, and it was like the zit was me, just getting bigger and bigger. I remember calling Jonathan Demme. I described the night to him: A nightmare. As I was describing it, it was clear that I thought I was the big fucking problem. And Jonathan was like, Thandie, shame on you for not backing yourself. He was really sweet. And then Tom called and I thought, Oh, this is it. The apology. No, he was just like, Were going to reshoot this next week. Im like, Way brilliant. And the next time we shot it, I went in there and I just basically manifested all the because I realized what he wanted. He just wanted this alpha bitch. And I did as best as I could. Its not the best way to get the best work out of someone.

He wasnt horrible. It was just he was really stressed. I had the most extraordinary time, and you know who got me that role? Nicole Kidman. Ive never actually outright asked her, but when your husband is like, Who would you mind me pretending to shag for the next six months? You know what I mean? Its kind of nice if you can pick together. Nicole was a huge advocate for me.

It sounds like a difficult experience, but I have to say its very funny.That was more just surreal than anything. Look, creative stuff is difficult. I was so tender and sensitive. And, also, if you think about the timeline of that, it was still early in my healing, in my recovery. Id had good therapy. Id realized that I was precious. If it was me now, I would want to go in and go, Hey! Id be it. You wouldnt need to play me and I play you on that balcony. And I would have squeezed that spot. Bam!

The one story you shouldn't miss today, selected byNew York's editors.

*A version of this article appears in the July 6, 2020, issue ofNew York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Newton auditioned for what would be her debut role after a back injury derailed her plans for a career in dance. She was 16 when she landed the female romantic lead in John Duigans Flirting (1991) alongside Noah Taylor, Nicole Kidman, and Naomi Watts. Eve Ensler, also known as V, is an award-winning playwright, performer, and activist best known for The Vagina Monologues, which premiered in 1996. In 2006, the New York Times dubbed it probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade. Newton has publicly spoken about the sexual abuse and exploitation she suffered as a young actress for years. Newton was 16 when Duigan who was 39 at the time began grooming her on the set of Flirting. I was a very shy, very sweet girl. I wasnt in control of the situation, she told InStyle in 2011. A 2006 piece in the Daily Mail called the relationship a passionate affair and quoted an anonymous source saying they had very good times together. In a statement, Pascal said she was horrified to hear Newtons description of their meeting. While I take her words seriously, I have no recollection of the events she describes, nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session, she said, adding, Ive long considered Thandie a friend; Im thankful that Ive had the chance to make movies with her; and I hope to work with her again in the future. In 2015, Pascal, the former head of Sony Pictures, was fired after the Sony email hack revealed numerous embarrassing emails, including exchanges with fellow mega-producer Scott Rudin where they speculated on Barack Obamas movie taste, wondering if he preferred those starring Black people, likeDjango UnchainedandThink Like a Man. Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu (who went on to play the role Newton turned down), Charlies Angels (2000) is an action comedy directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol, also known as McG, and a reboot of the hit TV series that first aired in the 70s. When she was 18, an unnamed casting director asked her to do sexually inappropriate things. A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my tits and think about the guy making love to me in the scene, she told W magazine in an interview. Years later, a drunk producer told her that the director had been showing that audition tape to his friends and that they would all get off on it. Following Flirting (1991), Duigan directed Newton inThe Journey of August King (1995) and The Leading Man (1996). In 2016, Newton told the Guardian of a then-unnamed director who promised to frame a shot above her breasts, something that turned out to be a total fucking lie, said Newton. In 1998, a DNA test published in the scientific journal Nature found strong evidence that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one child with Sally Hemings, a woman who was his slave. Based on the novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun, the 2013 film tells the story of the Biafran war through the lens of two sisters who return home to Nigeria in the late 60s as civil war breaks out. Oprah Winfrey became one of the first Black celebrities to grace the cover of American Vogue in October 1998. She lost 20 pounds after Anna Wintour suggested that she lose a little bit of weight before the shoot. Haggiss 2004 film, Crash, contains a controversial scene in which a racist police officer played by Matt Dillon sexually assaults Newtons character. Newton voiced her confusion about the scene in interviews. Scholar, lawyer, and civil rights advocate Kimberl Crenshaw is the co-founder and leader of theAfrican American Policy Forum, an intersectional think tank addressing gender and race. The forum coined the hashtags #SayHerName and #BlackGirlsMattter, which have brought attention to state violence against women of color. Newton played Condoleezza Rice to Josh Brolins George W. Bush in W., Oliver Stones dark and comic biopic about the former president. The films release came on the cusp of that years presidential election. In 2018, following a lawsuit filed by a publicist who said Haggis had raped her, the Associated Press reported that three more women came forward with sexual-misconduct allegations including another allegation of rape. He has denied the allegations and has been contesting the lawsuit.

Read more here:
In Conversation: Thandie Newton - Vulture

Read More..

What is artificial intelligence? – Brookings

Few concepts are as poorly understood as artificial intelligence. Opinion surveys show that even top business leaders lack a detailed sense of AI and that many ordinary people confuse it with super-powered robots or hyper-intelligent devices. Hollywood helps little in this regard by fusing robots and advanced software into self-replicating automatons such as the Terminators Skynet or the evil HAL seen in Arthur Clarkes 2001: A Space Odyssey, which goes rogue after humans plan to deactivate it. The lack of clarity around the term enables technology pessimists to warn AI will conquer humans, suppress individual freedom, and destroy personal privacy through a digital 1984.

Part of the problem is the lack of a uniformly agreed upon definition. Alan Turing generally is credited with the origin of the concept when he speculated in 1950 about thinking machines that could reason at the level of a human being. His well-known Turing Test specifies that computers need to complete reasoning puzzles as well as humans in order to be considered thinking in an autonomous manner.

Turing was followed up a few years later by John McCarthy, who first used the term artificial intelligence to denote machines that could think autonomously. He described the threshold as getting a computer to do things which, when done by people, are said to involve intelligence.

Since the 1950s, scientists have argued over what constitutes thinking and intelligence, and what is fully autonomous when it comes to hardware and software. Advanced computers such as the IBM Watson already have beaten humans at chess and are capable of instantly processing enormous amounts of information.

The lack of clarity around the term enables technology pessimists to warn AI will conquer humans, suppress individual freedom, and destroy personal privacy through a digital 1984.

Today, AI generally is thought to refer to machines that respond to stimulation consistent with traditional responses from humans, given the human capacity for contemplation, judgment, and intention. According to researchers Shubhendu and Vijay, these software systems make decisions which normally require [a] human level of expertise and help people anticipate problems or deal with issues as they come up. As argued by John Allen and myself in an April 2018 paper, such systems have three qualities that constitute the essence of artificial intelligence: intentionality, intelligence, and adaptability.

In the remainder of this paper, I discuss these qualities and why it is important to make sure each accords with basic human values. Each of the AI features has the potential to move civilization forward in progressive ways. But without adequate safeguards or the incorporation of ethical considerations, the AI utopia can quickly turn into dystopia.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are designed to make decisions, often using real-time data. They are unlike passive machines that are capable only of mechanical or predetermined responses. Using sensors, digital data, or remote inputs, they combine information from a variety of different sources, analyze the material instantly, and act on the insights derived from those data. As such, they are designed by humans with intentionality and reach conclusions based on their instant analysis.

An example from the transportation industry shows how this happens. Autonomous vehicles are equipped with LIDARS (light detection and ranging) and remote sensors that gather information from the vehicles surroundings. The LIDAR uses light from a radar to see objects in front of and around the vehicle and make instantaneous decisions regarding the presence of objects, distances, and whether the car is about to hit something. On-board computers combine this information with sensor data to determine whether there are any dangerous conditions, the vehicle needs to shift lanes, or it should slow or stop completely. All of that material has to be analyzed instantly to avoid crashes and keep the vehicle in the proper lane.

With massive improvements in storage systems, processing speeds, and analytic techniques, these algorithms are capable of tremendous sophistication in analysis and decisionmaking. Financial algorithms can spot minute differentials in stock valuations and undertake market transactions that take advantage of that information. The same logic applies in environmental sustainability systems that use sensors to determine whether someone is in a room and automatically adjusts heating, cooling, and lighting based on that information. The goal is to conserve energy and use resources in an optimal manner.

As long as these systems conform to important human values, there is little risk of AI going rogue or endangering human beings. Computers can be intentional while analyzing information in ways that augment humans or help them perform at a higher level. However, if the software is poorly designed or based on incomplete or biased information, it can endanger humanity or replicate past injustices.

AI often is undertaken in conjunction with machine learning and data analytics, and the resulting combination enables intelligent decisionmaking. Machine learning takes data and looks for underlying trends. If it spots something that is relevant for a practical problem, software designers can take that knowledge and use it with data analytics to understand specific issues.

For example, there are AI systems for managing school enrollments. They compile information on neighborhood location, desired schools, substantive interests, and the like, and assign pupils to particular schools based on that material. As long as there is little contentiousness or disagreement regarding basic criteria, these systems work intelligently and effectively.

Figuring out how to reconcile conflicting values is one of the most important challenges facing AI designers. It is vital that they write code and incorporate information that is unbiased and non-discriminatory. Failure to do that leads to AI algorithms that are unfair and unjust.

Of course, that often is not the case. Reflecting the importance of education for life outcomes, parents, teachers, and school administrators fight over the importance of different factors. Should students always be assigned to their neighborhood school or should other criteria override that consideration? As an illustration, in a city with widespread racial segregation and economic inequalities by neighborhood, elevating neighborhood school assignments can exacerbate inequality and racial segregation. For these reasons, software designers have to balance competing interests and reach intelligent decisions that reflect values important in that particular community.

Making these kinds of decisions increasingly falls to computer programmers. They must build intelligent algorithms that compile decisions based on a number of different considerations. That can include basic principles such as efficiency, equity, justice, and effectiveness. Figuring out how to reconcile conflicting values is one of the most important challenges facing AI designers. It is vital that they write code and incorporate information that is unbiased and non-discriminatory. Failure to do that leads to AI algorithms that are unfair and unjust.

The last quality that marks AI systems is the ability to learn and adapt as they compile information and make decisions. Effective artificial intelligence must adjust as circumstances or conditions shift. This may involve alterations in financial situations, road conditions, environmental considerations, or military circumstances. AI must integrate these changes in its algorithms and make decisions on how to adapt to the new possibilities.

One can illustrate these issues most dramatically in the transportation area. Autonomous vehicles can use machine-to-machine communications to alert other cars on the road about upcoming congestion, potholes, highway construction, or other possible traffic impediments. Vehicles can take advantage of the experience of other vehicles on the road, without human involvement, and the entire corpus of their achieved experience is immediately and fully transferable to other similarly configured vehicles. Their advanced algorithms, sensors, and cameras incorporate experience in current operations, and use dashboards and visual displays to present information in real time so human drivers are able to make sense of ongoing traffic and vehicular conditions.

A similar logic applies to AI devised for scheduling appointments. There are personal digital assistants that can ascertain a persons preferences and respond to email requests for personal appointments in a dynamic manner. Without any human intervention, a digital assistant can make appointments, adjust schedules, and communicate those preferences to other individuals. Building adaptable systems that learn as they go has the potential of improving effectiveness and efficiency. These kinds of algorithms can handle complex tasks and make judgments that replicate or exceed what a human could do. But making sure they learn in ways that are fair and just is a high priority for system designers.

In short, there have been extraordinary advances in recent years in the ability of AI systems to incorporate intentionality, intelligence, and adaptability in their algorithms. Rather than being mechanistic or deterministic in how the machines operate, AI software learns as it goes along and incorporates real-world experience in its decisionmaking. In this way, it enhances human performance and augments peoples capabilities.

Of course, these advances also make people nervous about doomsday scenarios sensationalized by movie-makers. Situations where AI-powered robots take over from humans or weaken basic values frighten people and lead them to wonder whether AI is making a useful contribution or runs the risk of endangering the essence of humanity.

With the appropriate safeguards,countries can move forward and gain the benefits of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies without sacrificing the important qualities that define humanity.

There is no easy answer to that question, but system designers must incorporate important ethical values in algorithms to make sure they correspond to human concerns and learn and adapt in ways that are consistent with community values. This is the reason it is important to ensure that AI ethics are taken seriously and permeate societal decisions. In order to maximize positive outcomes, organizations should hire ethicists who work with corporate decisionmakers and software developers, have a code of AI ethics that lays out how various issues will be handled, organize an AI review board that regularly addresses corporate ethical questions, have AI audit trails that show how various coding decisions have been made, implement AI training programs so staff operationalizes ethical considerations in their daily work, and provide a means for remediation when AI solutions inflict harm or damages on people or organizations.

Through these kinds of safeguards, societies will increase the odds that AI systems are intentional, intelligent, and adaptable while still conforming to basic human values. In that way, countries can move forward and gain the benefits of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies without sacrificing the important qualities that define humanity.

See more here:
What is artificial intelligence? - Brookings

Read More..

Artificial Intelligence | Johns Hopkins University …

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals will be one of the first schools in the country to offer a graduate degree in artificial intelligence that can be earned completely online. Beginning this summer, the program, intended primarily for working professionals, will prepare practicing scientists and engineers to design and create the essential AI-driven technology of the future. Enrollment is now open for the summer 2020 session, which begins May 26.

Read the rest here:
Artificial Intelligence | Johns Hopkins University ...

Read More..

Top Artificial Intelligence Courses Online – Updated [July …

Learn Artificial Intelligence (AI) from top-rated instructors. Find the best Artificial Intelligence courses for your level and job, from machine learning to neural networks and deep learning. Understand the most modern applications of artificial intelligence, and accelerate your career in data science, machine learning engineering, and other computer science jobs

Follow this link:
Top Artificial Intelligence Courses Online - Updated [July ...

Read More..