Cows and the Constitution

These were forwarded to me again recently >>>>>  >>> >> and I can’t remember where they came from. It said it was Maxine but I’m not sure I buy that.  Research is called for here.


Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq …. Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.

How to Lie to Computers

How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers
New York Times (09/18/08) Hansell, Saul

Most Wall Street computer models radically underestimated the risk of complex mortgage securities, partially because the level of financial distress is “the equivalent of the 100-year flood,” says Capital Market Risk Advisors president Leslie Rahl.

Rahl, and others, say that the people who ran the financial firms chose to program their risk-management systems with overly optimistic assumptions and to provide those systems with oversimplified data, preventing the systems from detecting the problem before it was too late. Top bankers cannot simply ignore computer models, because after the last round of significant financial losses, regulators required financial institutions to monitor their risk positions. If a model says a firm’s risk has increased, the firm must either reduce its risk or provide more capital as a cushion should things turn south.

“There was a willful designing of the system to measure the risks in a certain way that would not necessarily pick up all the right risks,” says RiskMetrics’ Gregg Berman. “They wanted to keep their capital base as stable as possible so that the limits they imposed on their trading desks and portfolio managers would be stable.”

Berman says one way this was accomplished was to make sure the computer models looked at several years of trading history instead of just the last few months, which made the computers slow to report that risk had increased as defaults started to rise because the markets had been placid for several years.

Something else we need

Software Spots the Spin in Political Speeches
New Scientist (09/17/08)No. 2674, P. 22; Hutson, Stu

Queen’s University researcher David Skillicorn has created an algorithm
that evaluates word usage within the text of a conversation or speech to
ascertain whether a person is being truthful. The program counts usage of
first person nouns, seeks out phrases that offer qualifications or
clarifications of more general statements, and looks for increased rates of
action verbs and negatively charged words, which signal higher levels of

Skillicorn used the algorithm to study speeches of 2008 presidential
contenders John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and determined
that the level of spin in their addresses reflected the occasion.

Voice analysis is another technique for determining spin, and Vox Institute
founder Branka Zei Pollermann uses auditory analysis software to build a
voice profile by mapping seven parameters of a person’s speech and then
comparing the profile with the speaker’s facial expressions by using
researcher Paul Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System as a guide.

Pollermann’s analysis of McCain’s speeches demonstrates that the
candidate’s flat tone and mismatched facial expressions could work against
him, while Obama, who exhibits greater pitch modulation and closer
correlation between speech and facial expressions, is a more politically
astute speaker.

Meanwhile, University of Tokyo researcher Yoshimasa Ohmoto
and colleagues are working on a facial recognition system for robots and
artificial intelligence agents that studies basic eye, nose, and mouth
movements to determine whether a person is lying.

and now, back to our regularly scheduled posting

Whew, I had a little political-itis today.  If my blog won’t load, that would be all the link backs to the video.  Give it a day or two.

Here’s Scuff, enjoying her new Kitty Wig.

Or not.

Lewi The Lobster –

Here’s Lewi in his new Halloween costume.  It looks more like he’s being attacked by a Giant Lobster than wearing a costume, doesn’t it?   He’s got a new squeaky toy in the first one which is monopolizing his attention.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by a little dress-up.  Maybe his prior owners did this a lot.

Or, maybe he was like that Paris Hilton Chihuahua.  Not Paris’ dog, but a dog named Paris Hilton who was on Dog Whisperer and owned by the two gayest young men (Nelson and Jhett) I’ve ever seen.  Marvelous!

This is all coming up because Cesar Millan’s 100th Dog Whisperer show was on today.   I bawled like a baby through the entire thing.  Twice. It was enchanting to see it (on NatGeo).    I loved re-visiting all those obnoxious-then-healed dogs and owners, all re-habbed and socialized.   They were mostly, dare I say it?  All Grown Up.   Jhett wasn’t there, though.   I have to assume Paris’s parents broke up, and Nelson has gone on to become the most androgynous person ever.  Or maybe he was just pretty.   [Gawd,  I love cable.  And weird people.  I didn’t see any capes, though.  And to be honest, the Blues Brews and BBQ here in town last week had a lot weirder people.  I need to post that, I got two superior mullet shots.]

We watched a little DogTown right after Dog Whisperer.  Sissy loves DogTown and stays focused right on the screen for the whole thing with her ears up in interest.  The other two dogs run around and bark and wonder where the dogs are.