Mentioned in dispatches

The Guardian has published a very nice puff-piece today on the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub.

There are no suggestions the Blockchain Innovation Hub or any of its researchers have acted improperly or were not entitled to the grants.

Ah yes. The lawyers have been all over that story.       🙂      It seems to me, that was the original story The Guardian had hoped to tell. To be fair (why? Because it is the right thing to do) the journalist would have been led to believe that was the case by, at least two, anonymous academics.

One RMIT staff member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.

“The university has embarked on a severe austerity drive, including retrenchments,” the staff member said. “Given the generous funding involved in blockchain research, the university must satisfy itself that that the research is agenda-free and funds are appropriately spent.”

Another RMIT staff member, who also requested anonymity, said there was limited knowledge within the university of the hub, its links to the IPA and the level of funding it has received.

“I think it’s long overdue to actually put it out in the open and ask, ‘Well, what is going on?’ It is a reckless move that suggests there is something very wrong within the university. Staff deserve answers.”

Hmmmm. Anonymous academic values transparency. But moving on.

… the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.

If the journalist had actually reached out to me and asked how I came to be involved with the IPA as formerly a “Senior Research Fellow” and then as an “Adjunct Fellow” I could have told him that RMIT seconded me to work at the IPA in 2008 under the university’s Industry Engagement program. This was a program where academics were sent out to work in a non-academic environment so that they could observe actual work-place practices and acquire “real-world” skills that could inform their education practices and RMIT could credibly claim that we produce work-ready graduates.

… the university must satisfy itself that that the research is agenda-free and funds are appropriately spent.

Our research output is open and transparent and can be viewed here (use the drop-down box under publications to toggle between categories). As to the use of funds, I too hope that they are spent wisely – that is mostly salary costs and capital allocations for our work-space).

… said there was limited knowledge within the university of the hub, its links to the IPA and the level of funding it has received

Hmmmmm. Unit reports to University Council via the Deputy Vice-Chancellor after having been set up by the Vice-Chancellor, but university has “limited knowledge”? The limited knowledge of my IPA links is also implausible – RMIT sent me to work there in 2008, the IPA has been written into my workplan as “Industry Engagement” every year since 2008, and into my “Conflict of Interest” Declaration. Below is a picture of the awards the university have given me as a result of my media work, industry engagement, and public intellectual status.

It seems to me that the only two people who have limited knowledge of the Hub are the two anonymous complainants. But I put to you, dear readers, that these individuals have limited knowledge of what it is their employer is doing and values.

That the university is making a big technology play is not a secret. It is in the name of the University. It is written into our strategic documents:

… we’re a global University of design, technology and enterprise …

Now I understand that people are worried about their employment.  But if you are the sort of employee who doesn’t know what your employer is doing and why they are doing it, perhaps you should seek alternate employment.

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37 Responses to Mentioned in dispatches

  1. stackja

    Alternate employment at ABC?

  2. C.L.

    Have you seen Sinclair, the movie?

    I have. Seven Stars. 🙂

  3. Behind Enemy Lines

    Someone’s positively aching to be doxxed.

    After all, social justice requires that social transparency be delivered to The social People.

    And of course the Peter Ridd precedent means that criticising fellow academics is fair grounds for a witch trial followed by unpersoning and dismissal.

    Presstitutes are lazy. Rather than working at boring old journalism, it’s always easier to go back to established sources for established stories. So, which RMIT staff have previously been crying on The Guardian’s shoulder about IPA and/or blockchain?

  4. H B Bear

    Is that a gold Logie?

  5. Bronson

    ‘RMIT staff member speaking on the condition of anonymity’ – hey Sinc have you been upsetting the cleaners again by not sorting your recycling properly?

  6. Hay Stockard

    IPA is nice if you like hops.

  7. Alan

    I defer to the ancient proverb: “Beat the Grass to Startle the Snakes”.
    Defamation is a powerful threat, esp given recent cases:
    eg Fairfax Media v Gayle [2019] NSWCA 172.
    One ‘Karen’ in Qld was ordered to pay almost $30,000.
    Send an amusing short letter: Check The Facts Before You Write A Review

  8. NuThink

    Looks like you got a few Ninja Stars.

    What is a ninja star called?
    A shuriken (Japanese: 手裏剣; literally: “hidden hand blade”) is a Japanese concealed weapon that was used as a hidden dagger or metsubushi to distract or misdirect. They are also known as throwing stars, throwingstars, or ninja stars, although they were originally designed in many different shapes.

    Note you may even be a Karaoke Star – seeing the microphones or the right hand side. At least they are not hidden microphones.

    Or maybe even the RMIT Covid-19 Sheriff Stars?

  9. calli

    Below is a picture of the awards the university have given me as a result of my media work, industry engagement, and public intellectual status.

    Sinclair Davidson P.I.

    Has a nice ring to it.

  10. Leigh Lowe

    A bit of sunlight is being shed on Chunky influence over universities and, right on cue … “Hey! Over there! Right wing unicorn!”

  11. Tom

    Mentioned in dispatches

    No, no, your Doomlordship.

    The correct headline for this post is: Failed gotcha attempt by the tribal zombie media.

    They really, really wanted to get you, Sinclair. And they failed.

    The Guardian‘s report was meant to win a Walkley for gotcha “journalism” that they could brag about at dinner parties for the next 25 years.

    To the tribal left post-Christian media, the IPA is a hex — a voodoo they don’t understand because it cherishes and defends freedom, which they hate hate with a passion. And nothing — nothing — matters to leftists but victory for the tribe.

    You shouldn’t be surprised that your fellow academics loathe you. And it’s par for the course that they do so anonymously because they’re cowards — all leftists are cowards.

    You’re a libertarian. Ninety-nine per cent of 21st century academics hate liberty. And you’re surrounded by them.

  12. Scott Osmond

    Sinc pinched someone’s favourite parking spot again? or just more acodemic bitchyness. When I was at uni some of the most passive aggressive nonsense came from the academics. Made high school girls look positively sane and reasonable.

  13. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    if you are the sort of employee who doesn’t know what your employer is doing and why they are doing it, perhaps you should seek alternate employment.

    Or be made to seek alternate employment by your (erstwhile) employer.

  14. Lee

    The two anonymous academics are probably the same sort of people who think that The
    Australia Institute and The Guardian are “unbiased.”

  15. ExIronCurtain

    Thumbs up, Sinc!
    Keep up the good work and the good blog.
    You got me interested in blockchain technologies just by what you explained on this blog, already making me 100% wiser than I was before.
    I also spread the knowledge around by sending links to the blockchain articles.
    Add that to your list of achievements! Wider and wider audiences for your primary interest – science and technology!

  16. Very funny stuff.

    The Guardian article is written overtly that being right wing makes one a leper and a Very Bad Unperson.

  17. thefrollickingmole

    So an attempt at an anonymously sourced hit.
    No story so they wave the “ogga booga” IPA stick around

  18. John A

    … the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.

    I venture to suggest that this “academic community” displaying “deep concern” comprises two (currently anonymous but I daresay under-employed) members.

    However, there is an academic community which “values independence and transparency” but its membership does NOT include these two.

  19. Of course commies hate blockchain and BTC.

  20. Bruce of Newcastle

    We should blockchain news articles.
    They have a mysterious way of changing or disappearing.
    Especially from certain sources not blessed with good spelling.

  21. Fair Shake

    Should be ‘ two controversial anonymous academics ‘.
    Or ‘two Guardian journos who anonymously came up with a cunning plan m’lord .’

  22. Morsie

    defamatory – go and see your lawyer

  23. Tom

    defamatory – go and see your lawyer

    Yep. The Guardian in Australia is bankrolled by a Greenfilth sugar daddy (and in the UK by a slush fund called the Scott Trust, which has billions).

    Go after them, Doomlord. Leftard media is a giant money tree for litigants as it’s more emotionally important for them to publish gotchas against tribal enemies than to have defamations checked by company lawyers.

  24. Siltstone

    Looks like you are upsetting the right people Sinc, keep it up.

  25. Alan:

    One ‘Karen’ in Qld was ordered to pay almost $30,000.

    That little story is lovely.
    ‘Karen’ learnt nothing.
    (Apart from a bit of reinforcing of her notion that she is ‘special’.)

  26. Ozman

    Too many stars on your report card, Professor. Now you have become a target the old “wrap-up smear”.
    The trick is cashing-in on the merchandising component by making the most of the free publicity.
    You have book coming out shortly?
    Interesting title.
    “Sinclair’s Sensational Blockchain Breakthrough For Blockheads: the currency clowns, communists and kleptomaniacs hate.”

  27. Marcus Decius Cornelious

    If you are taking fire, it means you are over the target!

  28. Boambee John

    One RMIT staff member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the connection between key RMIT blockchain researchers and the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.

    One academic staff member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the connection between key Australian researchers and China was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency”.

    Fixed that for the “anonymous” weasel.

  29. David Brewer

    Staff at RMIT University have expressed concern about the level of funding flowing to its blockchain research body and the links it shares with the Institute of Public Affairs.

    Hold the presses! A couple of academics are jealous of some other academics and wish to smear them in our paper, anonymously.

    But this is even better:

    “The university has embarked on a severe austerity drive, including retrenchments,” the staff member said. “Given the generous funding involved in blockchain research, the university must satisfy itself that that the research is agenda-free and funds are appropriately spent.”

    AGENDA FREE??!! Government-funded research must be “agenda free”? ROFL.

    The whole article is pure guilt by association. The mere fact of being associated with the IPA is bad bad bad, because it’s a “conservative”, “right-wing” thinktank. But neither the author of the article nor the anonymous whingers can find anything substantive to complain about. Not that they don’t try, in multiple directions. Does the IPA have a financial interest in the outcome of the blockchain research? No. Did the researchers who got the money fail to publicly declare their association with the IPA? No. Are IPA fellows paid? No. Has the IPA lobbied the government to get money for the researchers? No. Is the IPA even interested in blockchain as a topic? No.

    “What is going on?” is indeed an appropriate title for this article. What is going on at the Guardian Australia that they think it is worth trying to smear honest researchers in a new field that is likely to have huge implications for the Australian payments system and economy, and where the country otherwise has very little knowledge and expertise?

  30. Freedom fighters, “Blockchains = Less Government.”
    Anonymous commie pinkos, “TARGET ACQUIRED!”

  31. Squirrel

    I’m looking forward to the RMIT blockchain bogey-personages providing the means to eliminate at least one level of government – or if that’s a bit too ambitious, to eliminate an awful lot of duplicative bureaucracy.

  32. Petros

    Prof there is no need to call yourself a public intellectual. You’re a decent, hard-working, good person. Don’t put yourself down.

  33. Louis Litt

    My iPad comes up with a message “ozblogistan is broken”;
    Cannot access data webpage.
    How do I fix this.

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