So much for the integrity business.

Really wish I could believe that SOMEDAY those responsible will pay, but I don’t.

Just read Matt Taibbi’s latest piece about the ratings agency’s complicity with the financial crisis.

A ‘money’ quote:

2008 was to the American economy what 9/11 was to national security. Yet while 9/11 prompted the U.S. government to tear up half the Constitution in the name of public safety, after 2008, authorities went in the other direction. If you can imagine a post-9/11 scenario where there were no metal detectors at airports and people could walk on carrying chain saws and meat cleavers, you get a rough idea of what was done to reform the ratings process.

 

He ends with this:

But we know now that it was no accident. What happened to the ratings agencies during the financial crisis, and what is likely still happening within their walls, is a phenomenon as old as business itself. Given a choice between money and integrity, they took the money. Which wouldn’t be quite so bad if they weren’t in the integrity business.

Titanic a fluke! Who knew?

You just never know what you are going to learn from Ars Technica. Today they have an article discussing the findings of some Swedish researchers on the survival rates of women and children in shipwrecks. Turns out the Titanic was a fluke (in more ways than one) and women and children historically haven’t fared well when a boat is going down. “What group has the best chance at surviving a sinking ship?”, you ask? Why it’s the crew, followed by the captain. IN YOUR FACE PASSENGERS!

 

EDIT: From the Ars’ comments:

The Long Recall Ends

I’m sad to say that the blog “The Long Recall” has decided to end. They had been doing a day by day recall of the news of the day from 150 years ago. It was so interesting to see the Civil War happen in real time that way. It was also interesting to see how partisan and inaccurate the papers were. The blog ended just as the ‘news’ of a ‘Union Victory‘ at First Manassas, or Bull Run if you prefer, was occurring.

To all the people involved in The Long Recall, good job! I’ve really enjoyed your hard work and dedication to such an interesting project. I wish you well in your future endeavors (and selfishly hope it involves work similar to The Long Recall.

Something I want to do

Being raised in the deep south as I was, Robert E. Lee was always looked up to as a great general and great man. I’ve studied a lot of the Civil War, but must admit I haven’t dug into the details as much as I could have. The thing that prompted me to write this post was I wanted a simple reminder to myself to eventually get around to finding out the answer to this question:

How many times was Robert E. Lee successful during an attack?

The reason I want to know this is because of the myth I grew up with that the South was just ‘better’ than the North at fighting but lost because it didn’t have the infrastructure or numbers to win. I’m now of the opinion that the South hung on as long as it did, because the weapons had far exceeded the tactics of the time, and the best way to win a fight and cause more casualties was to be on the defensive which the South was much more of the time. It’s a similar situation to WWI where the tactics of attack simply were not equal to the capability of a machine gun to cover an area.

Checking Robert E. Lee’s ‘stats’ while attacking would let me compare his generalship  in a similar way to those of the Northern commanding officers. Of course, checking the success/failure rate of Northern generals when in the defensive position would be an equally interesting comparison.

Now the REAL hard part will be to find the free time to start looking all this up. Maybe Wikipedia already has a page?