Thursday, April 26, 2007

From Freeze Productions: Car Trek!

From the Freeze Family Video Archives: Car Trek.

I like the sound they make when the car whooshes by. I think they just blow into the microphone. Very nice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As the Lawyer says: Sic faciunt omnes


This story in the Rocky Mountain News describes some "meetings" between a judge and prosecutor.

The story, in brief:
Douglas County judge and a female prosecutor admitted having sex in his chambers, and on more than one occasion he slipped into the women's showers at the courthouse for a tryst.

Those are some of the details included in a complaint filed Friday with the Attorney Regulation Council, which is looking into allegations that could result in their disbarment.

Grafton Minot Biddle, 57, resigned Dec. 18 after his fourth wife sent a letter to the chief judge saying he was having an affair with Laurie A. Steinman, 29.

Carol Chambers, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, fired Steinman on Dec. 22, the day she admitted to the affair, the complaint said.

As rumors of their romance became fodder for courthouse gossip, the complaint said, Biddle encouraged Steinman to permanently delete messages they exchanged using their e-mail accounts at work.

"If people read this stuff, we're dead," Biddle told Steinman, according to the complaint.

What I like is the expression on the judge's face. He is 57, she is 29.

Why Women Need Guns

Human males and females are dimorphic. Not just in terms of shape (though vive that!), but in size.

A gun in the purse, the glove compartment, or the dresser drawer is the most plausible of solving this.

A funny YouTube movie, sent by a reader. The description (I'm not making this up, check it yourself) is:

Hello, well...Me, kristen, and a big ass white guy named Munger go at it in locker boxing form.

Give Kristen even a small caliber handgun, and this would go a lot better.

Does make me wonder: not all "big ass white guys" are "named Munger." But it appears that most Mungers are big ass white guys.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Darned Sun....

Increased irradiance of the sun contributes to global warming?

Since ice caps on Mars are melting too....maybe.

And....hurricanes perhaps will be weaker, not stronger, on average? The reason being a large increase in wind shear....Of course, super-strong hurricanes would still be MORE likely if the ocean grows warmer; it is just that there is no necessary change in MEAN intensity. The right tail of the distribution of intensity frequency would get fatter. Leptokurtosis, actually, since both tails might get fatter.

The source for both of these tidbits? That right-wing rag, National Geographic. The problem with science is that it relies on evidence, instead of just people who hate human freedom as a matter of religious zeal.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boys and Dogs

My sons, and Hobo. Note the long hair. On my younger son, I mean.

LGM on Ted Nugent

Large Guns Man is conflicted:

Usually Ted Nugent comes off as a nut job but I can't help but agree with
this article.

I am licensed by the state to carry a concealed weapon. I am not permitted
to bring a gun onto campus because according to state law its a gun-free
zone. I am not sure that allowing licensed individuals to carry guns on
campus is the best idea but it sure beats hiding behind a desk waiting to
get shot. The VT shooting shouldn't be trivialized or really even used for
political gain but I can't help thinking things might have turned out
differently if a few Professors, Students, and Staff members had been able
to shoot back.

I am conflicted. The idea of bringing a gun to campus seems quite wrong
but I prefer it to being helplessly gunned down by someone who will find
the gun free zone has exactly zero enforcement.

For the record I rarely carry a gun, the world isn't that dangerous.

Yep, it is easy to say dumb things right now. I am conflicted, too. LGM is not saying we should all go about armed. But if we have some capacity to defend ourselves, maybe some duty to do so...I am conflicted. So, LGM is right, as usual.

Hobo, King of Dogs

In response to a request for more dog pix: Hobo, King of Dogs.

Exhausted from running with a bone, he lies spent.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Favorite Tree

There is this great oak in our front yard. It appears it was two trees, and they grew together. Can't say if it is codependence or support, but it sure is a great tree.

And the front of our house, same tree from different angle. Spring sure is nice in NC....

Hobo and Tanzie are certainly pleased....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So, We Need To Outsource Gordon Gekko!

An interesting paper....

Todd Mitton
Journal of Financial Economics, September 2006, Pages 625-647

I use firm-specific measures of openness to foreign investors to study the
impact of stock market liberalization on firm-level operating performance.
In a sample of over 1,100 firms from 28 countries, firms with stocks that
are open to foreign investors experience higher growth, greater investment,
greater profitability, greater efficiency, and lower leverage. Strategies to
address potential endogeneity suggest that the observed relation reflects,
at least in part, a causal effect of openness on operating performance.

So, openness and a market for managers does discipline firms, at least by comparison. But I bet average growth increases also come with an increase in variance.....

(Nod to KL, who would outsource the other gecko, too, and maybe even the cavemen.)

Props, and an Apology

Props to Radley Balko. A fine counterpoint, and well presented.

And a sincere apology, on behalf of a jusice system that can't control itself, to James Giles. (NOTE: The link I present is from the GUARDIAN, in the UK. You likely didn't hear of this in the U.S. media. I know I didn't.)

Gideon needs a louder trumpet. And public defenders need more resources.

Now, as I have said before, it is important to recognize that these young men at Duke were not prosecuted IN SPITE of their station in life. They were prosecuted, by the city and by the media, BECAUSE of it. So Radley's comparison is not perfect.

Still, he is absolutely right to ask, "Where is the outrage?" for the treatment of innocent people like Mr. Giles. It doesn't have to be the same outrage, but the balance of coverage is striking.

We are sorry, James Giles. I hope you are okay. Much is owed you. If nothing else, we should all know your name.

Fire Nancy Grace, Puppy Rapist

Fine, Imus deserved it. He's a race-baiting jerk, always has been. No argument here.

But where is the national outcry for the firing of Nancy Grace?

If you want the indictment spelled out, I have to give credit to John Stewart, here. (WHOOPS! They change the videos in the loop. HERE you go.) The Nazi Germany line, in particular, should be enough to get her fired. Remember, she used that on an analyst who had examined the evidence, in detail, and had concluded that there was just no case for going ahead with the prosecution. Nancy did NOT say, "Wait, you have ignored ...." No, her answer was to claim that allowing defense attorneys to defend clients, and to confront the evidence against them, meant we were in Nazi Germany.

I'm not sure what logical process would lead one to go from A to B there. But I do think that if Imus deserved to be fired (and he did), then Nancy Grace deserves to be fired, with prejudice.

(This thought, like most of my thoughts, is hardly original. For a selective sample, see here, and here, and of course here, though GR doesn't need links from me.)

(Nod to DiW...)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two Videos, re L'affaire L'crosse

Here are two videos, presumably worth 2,000 words or more.

First, the Potbangers II bit, where the mob confronts Peter Lange. Now, I consider Peter a good friend, so I may be biased, but he did okay under the circumstances. His statement here, facing an angry mob alone, is as fair and proper as it could possibly have been.

We don't know the facts
We don't know what happened
Let the legal process take its course

Would you have been able to do this? I don't think I would have done as well. I do think I look better in a baseball hat, though. Probably just a matter of taste on that last.

Video #2: the single best thing, as I have said before, to be done on the entire scandal. The SNL send-up of that remarkable bully, Nancy Grace. (Nancy Grace didn't even show up for the segment where HEADLINE NEWS broke the story that Nancy Grace had been completely wrong all along; imagine that).

Remember, this SNL show was aired in DECEMBER. That's a while ago. Pretty ballsy.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Smashing, Just Smashing

A smashing bit from the good Dr. Nokes, at UnLocked Wordhoard.

Originally from Anachronista, but I'm no link pirate. I found it first
from Nokes

Can you imagine learning about the B.T. from this source? There even appears to be someone puking from sea-sickness, though I may have that wrong. (No, I watched it again. Definitely puking!). Kids would love this. Incredibly educational.


That Won't Fly....

This from Andrew Sullivan, in the At Monthly:

Sunday, April 8, 2007
Enemy of the People
08 Apr 2007 05:57 pm

Meet Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University. He's a former Marine, with five years of active service and 19 years in the reserve, and a legal critic of Roe vs Wade and supporter of the Alito confirmation. He's also on the Terrorist No-Fly List:

"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said."

Just a heads up about what these people are up to.

(Nod to JT. I hope they let him fly to Chicago. He is a dangerous man....)

Monday, April 02, 2007

On the Other Hand....

Handedness and Earnings

Christopher S. Ruebeck, Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., Robert Moffitt
NBER Working Paper, July 2006

We examine whether handedness is related to performance in the labor market
and, in particular, earnings. We find a significant wage effect for
left-handed men with high levels of education. This positive wage effect is
strongest among those who have lower than average earnings relative to those
of similar high education. This effect is not found among women.

Strange, but accords with my own crude "survey" observations. Sometimes, in meetings of faculty for committees or some other (for this purpose) random event, I'll notice that 1/3, or even 1/2 or more of the people present are left-handed.

This compared to a handedness proportion in the general population of 10% or maybe a little more.

So, among faculty, it is not clear why this would be true. On a baseball team, one can see why there would be a premium on left-handed hitters, or pitchers, up to a point. But faculty just LEAN to the left, not select for people who use that hand. (Yes, that was an attempted political joke).

To balance that, a fun fact, which I think is bizarre: Even if both parents are left-handed, the child has only a 25% - 30% chance of being left-handed. What the hell is up with THAT?

My favorite book on handedness, though now a bit dated: M.C. Corballis, THE LOPSIDED APE, Cambridge, 1991.

(Nod to KL, who is preternaturally EVEN-handed.)