What is a White Paper?

Christine and Jimmy Wales
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As per Jimmy Wales and his merry band at Wiki (pedia not leaky-ah)- The emphasis is mine

What is the best white paper you have read in the past 15 years.

Categories are-

  • Business benefits: Makes a business case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describes how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combines business benefits with technical details in a single document.
  • Policy: Makes a case for a certain political solution to a societal or economic challenge.
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white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to documents used by businesses as a marketing or sales tool. Policy makers frequently request white papers from universities or academic personnel to inform policy developments with expert opinions or relevant research.

Government white papers

In the Commonwealth of Nations, “white paper” is an informal name for a parliamentary paper enunciating government policy; in the United Kingdom these are mostly issued as “Command papers“. White papers are issued by the government and lay out policy, or proposed action, on a topic of current concern. Although a white paper may on occasion be a consultation as to the details of new legislation, it does signify a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law. White Papers are a “…. tool of participatory democracy … not [an] unalterable policy commitment.[1] “White Papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them.” [2]

In Canada, a white paper “is considered to be a policy document, approved by Cabinet, tabled in the House of Commons and made available to the general public.”[3] A Canadian author notes that the “provision of policy information through the use of white and green papers can help to create an awareness of policy issues among parliamentarians and the public and to encourage an exchange of information and analysis. They can also serve as educational techniques”.[4]

“White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation”; as such, the “publication of a White Paper serves to test the climate of public opinion regarding a controversial policy issue and enables the government to gauge its probable impact”.[5]

By contrast, green papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open ended. These green papers, also known as consultation documents, may merely propose a strategy to be implemented in the details of other legislation or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.

White papers published by the European Commission are documents containing proposals for European Union action in a specific area. They sometimes follow a green paper released to launch a public consultation process.

For examples see the following:

 Commercial white papers

Since the early 1990s, the term white paper has also come to refer to documents used by businesses and so-called think tanks as marketing or sales tools. White papers of this sort argue that the benefits of a particular technologyproduct or policy are superior for solving a specific problem.

These types of white papers are almost always marketing communications documents designed to promote a specific company’s or group’s solutions or products. As a marketing tool, these papers will highlight information favorable to the company authorizing or sponsoring the paper. Such white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or to educate customers or voters.

There are four main types of commercial white papers:

  • Business benefits: Makes a business case for a certain technology or methodology.
  • Technical: Describes how a certain technology works.
  • Hybrid: Combines business benefits with technical details in a single document.
  • Policy: Makes a case for a certain political solution to a societal or economic challenge.

Resources

  • Stelzner, Michael (2007). Writing White Papers: How to capture readers and keep them engaged. Poway, California: WhitePaperSource Publishing. pp. 214. ISBN 9780977716937.
  • Bly, Robert W. (2006). The White Paper Marketing Handbook. Florence, Kentucky: South-Western Educational Publishing. pp. 256. ISBN 9780324300826.
  • Kantor, Jonathan (2009). Crafting White Paper 2.0: Designing Information for Today’s Time and Attention Challenged Business Reader. Denver,Colorado: Lulu Publishing. pp. 167.ISBN 9780557163243.

Cognitive Biases exploited by Spammers and Phishers

"Keep Walking"

Since they day you arrive on this planet, you are programmed into accepting reality as good and bad.

Beautiful people good. Ugly people not good.

Fellow countrymen good. Fellow earthling not so good.

Same religion is good. Different religion is awkward.

These cognitive biases are exploited in social media in the following manner-

1) Same Name Bias- You like people of the same name as you. or people who remind you of your brothers name. or uncles name.

All that information is already known. Esp true on Linkedin.

2) Same Orientation Bias- People tend to react better to photos considered attractive of opposite sex / opposite preference. Especially true on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Nationality Bias- Israeli Americans tend to respond better to Jewish looking phishers who claim to be from Israel but are not. Ditto for Indians- Arabs etc. E|sp true on Linkedin and Facebook.

You are positively biased to people of same country or of friendly nation states and will likely accept invites/friend/poke

4) Same organization/ alumni bias- People at end of phishing attack will have higher response rate if proxy identity claims familiarity with organizations or schools attended. Especially true on Facebook and Linkedin.

5) Same interests/movies/books bias- Your likely response rate is higher to someone who has seen your profile page on Facebook for interests, and checked the RSS stream of your tweets for stuff you like.

Bias is just maths. Period.

Assumptions on Guns

This is a very crude yet functional homemade g...
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While sitting in Delhi, India- I sometimes notice that there is one big new worthy gun related incident in the United States every six months (latest incident Gabrielle giffords incident) and the mythical NRA (which seems just as powerful as equally mythical Jewish American or Cuban American lobby ) . As someone who once trained to fire guns (.22 and SLR -rifles actually), comes from a gun friendly culture (namely Punjabi-North Indian), my dad carried a gun sometimes as a police officer during his 30 plus years of service, I dont really like guns (except when they are in a movie). My 3 yr old son likes guns a lot (for some peculiar genetic reason even though we are careful not to show him any violent TV or movie at all).

So to settle the whole guns are good- guns are bad thing I turned to the one resource -Internet

Here are some findings-

1) A lot of hard statistical data on guns is biased by the perspective of the writer- it reminds me of the old saying Lies, True lies and Statistics.

2) There is not a lot of hard data in terms of a universal research which can be quoted- unlike say lung cancer is caused by cigarettes- no broad research which can be definitive in this regards.

3) American , European and Asian attitudes on guns actually seem a function of historical availability , historic crime rates and cultural propensity for guns.

Switzerland and United States are two extreme outlier examples on gun causing violence causal statistics.

4) Lot of old and outdated data quoted selectively.

It seems you can fudge data about guns in the following ways-

1) Use relative per capita numbers vis a vis aggregate numbers

2) Compare and contrast gun numbers with crime numbers selectively

3) Remove drill down of type of firearm- like hand guns, rifles, automatic, semi automatic

Maybe I am being simplistic-but I found it easier to list credible data sources on guns than to summarize all assumptions on guns. Are guns good or bad- i dont know -it depends? Any research you can quote is welcome.

Data Sources on Guns and Firearms and Crime-

1) http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

Ownership

* As of 2009, the United States has a population of 307 million people.[5]

* Based on production data from firearm manufacturers,[6] there are roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million are handguns.[7]

* Based upon surveys, the following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010:

Households With a Gun Adults Owning a Gun Adults Owning a Handgun
Percentage 40-45% 30-34% 17-19%
Number 47-53 million 70-80 million 40-45 million

[8]

* A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership:

Category Percentage Owning 

a Firearm

Households 42%
Individuals 30%
Male 47%
Female 13%
White 33%
Nonwhite 18%
Republican 41%
Independent 27%
Democrat 23%

[9]

* In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

Protection Against Crime 67%
Target Shooting 66%
Hunting 41%

2) NationMaster.com

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms

VIEW DATA: Totals Per capita
Definition Source Printable version
Bar Graph Pie Chart Map

Showing latest available data.

Rank Countries Amount
# 1 South Africa: 31,918
# 2 Colombia: 21,898
# 3 Thailand: 20,032
# 4 United States: 9,369
# 5 Philippines: 7,708
# 6 Mexico: 2,606
# 7 Slovakia: 2,356
# 8 El Salvador: 1,441
# 9 Zimbabwe: 598
# 10 Peru: 442
# 11 Germany: 269
# 12 Czech Republic: 181
# 13 Ukraine: 173
# 14 Canada: 144
# 15 Albania: 135
# 16 Costa Rica: 131
# 17 Azerbaijan: 120
# 18 Poland: 111
# 19 Uruguay: 109
# 20 Spain: 97
# 21 Portugal: 90
# 22 Croatia: 76
# 23 Switzerland: 68
# 24 Bulgaria: 63
# 25 Australia: 59
# 26 Sweden: 58
# 27 Bolivia: 52
# 28 Japan: 47
# 29 Slovenia: 39
= 30 Hungary: 38
= 30 Belarus: 38
# 32 Latvia: 28
# 33 Burma: 27
# 34 Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of: 26
# 35 Austria: 25
# 36 Estonia: 21
# 37 Moldova: 20
# 38 Lithuania: 16
= 39 United Kingdom: 14
= 39 Denmark: 14
# 41 Ireland: 12
# 42 New Zealand: 10
# 43 Chile: 9
# 44 Cyprus: 4
# 45 Morocco: 1
= 46 Iceland: 0
= 46 Luxembourg: 0
= 46 Oman: 0
Total: 100,693
Weighted average: 2,097.8

DEFINITION: Total recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm. Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

SOURCE: The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2002) (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention)

3)

Bureau of Justice Statistics

see

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/Search/Homicide/State/RunHomTrendsInOneVar.cfm

or the brand new website (till 2009) on which I CANNOT get gun crime but can get total

http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/

Estimated  murder rate *
Year United States-Total

1960 5.1
1961 4.8
1962 4.6
1963 4.6
1964 4.9
1965 5.1
1966 5.6
1967 6.2
1968 6.9
1969 7.3
1970 7.9
1971 8.6
1972 9.0
1973 9.4
1974 9.8
1975 9.6
1976 8.7
1977 8.8
1978 9.0
1979 9.8
1980 10.2
1981 9.8
1982 9.1
1983 8.3
1984 7.9
1985 8.0
1986 8.6
1987 8.3
1988 8.5
1989 8.7
1990 9.4
1991 9.8
1992 9.3
1993 9.5
1994 9.0
1995 8.2
1996 7.4
1997 6.8
1998 6.3
1999 5.7
2000 5.5
2001 5.6
2002 5.6
2003 5.7
2004 5.5
2005 5.6
2006 5.7
2007 5.6
2008 5.4
2009 5.0
Notes: National or state offense totals are based on data from all reporting agencies and estimates for unreported areas.
* Rates are the number of reported offenses per 100,000 population
  • United States-Total –
    • The 168 murder and nonnegligent homicides that occurred as a result of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 are included in the national estimate.
    • The 2,823 murder and nonnegligent homicides that occurred as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, are not included in the national estimates.

     

  • Sources: 


    FBI, Uniform Crime Reports as prepared by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data


    4) united nation statistics of 2002  were too old in my opinion.
    wikipedia seems too broad based to qualify as a research article but is easily accessible http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States
    to actually buy a gun or see guns available for purchase in United States see
    http://www.usautoweapons.com/

    Book Reviews- Hindu Myths- Mere Christianity

    A statue of Hindu deity Shiva in a temple in B...
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    Over the month long break I took, I was helping firm up my ideas for R for Analytics , I also took a break and read some books. Here are brief reviews of two, three of them-

    1) Hindu Myths

    This is a classical book translated from original Sanskrit written by Professor Wendy O Flaherty of University of Chicago. I found some of the older myths very interesting in terms of contradictions, retelling the same story in a modified way by another classic, the beautiful poetic and fantastic imagery evoked by Hindu myths. Some stories are as relevant in prayers, fasts and religious ceremonies as they were around 11000 years while most have morphed , edited or even distorted.

    It should help the non Indian reader understand why hundreds of millions of conservative Indians worship Shiv Ling ( or literally an idol of the Phallus of Shiva), the Hindu two cents of creation of the universe, and the somewhat fantastic stories on super heroes /gods/ in the ancient world.

    The book suffers from a few drawbacks in my opinion-

    1) Sanskrit is a bit like Latin- you can lose not just the flavor but original meaning of words and situational context. Some of the stories made better sense when i read a more recent Hindi translation.

    2) An excessive emphasis on sexual imagery rather than emotional imagery. The author seems wonder struck to read and translate ancient indians were so matter of fact about physical relationships. However the words were always written in discrete poetic than crass soft pornography.

    3) Almost no drawings or figures. This makes the book a bit dense to read at 300 pages.

    I liked another book on Hindu Myths (Myth= Mithya which I read in 2009) and you can see if you can read it if you find the topic interesting.

    A Handbook of Hindu Mythology

    Hindus have one God.
    They also have 330 million gods: male gods, female gods, personal gods, family gods, household gods, village gods, gods of space and time, gods for specific castes and particular professions, gods who reside in trees, in animals, in minerals, in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects.
    Then there are a whole host of demons.
    But no Devil.


    Mere Christianity by C S Lewis is a classic book on reinterpreting Christianity in modern times. However the author wrote this when World War 2 was on and it seems more like a British or Anglo Saxon interpretation of beliefs of Christ Jesus– who was actually a Jewish teacher born in Middle East Asia.

    While the language and reading makes it much easier to read- it is recommended more at Western audiences, than Eastern ones, as it seems some of the parables are a more palatable re interpretation of the New Testament. The Bible is a deceptively easy book to read, the language is short and beautiful-and the original parables in the Gospels remain powerful easy to understand.

    C S Lewis tends to emphasize morality than religiosity or faith, and there is not much comparison with any other faith or alternative morality. Dumbing down the Bible so as to market it better to reluctant consumers seems to be Mr Lewis intention and it is not as scholarly a work as an exercise in pure prose.

    However it is quite good as a self improvement book and is quite better than the “You Can Win” kind of books or even business concept books.

    Note- I find reading books on religion as good exercises in reading the fountain source of philosophies. As a polytheist- I tend to read more than one faith.