Friday, December 31, 2010

The dangers of digital storage

When a multitrack digital tape is missing or inaccessible, the music isn't completely gone; it still exists on backup tapes or CDs. But it's the multitrack masters that soundtrack supervisors and video-game companies need for their projects. The Wallflowers wanted to license one of their songs to Guitar Hero — but discovered that the drum track, recorded on a separate file, couldn't be found. "If people can't figure out why a song isn't on Guitar Hero, there's a good chance it's because there's no way to revive the digital master file," says one industry source.

Just a reminder - digital storage is often not as safe as it seems at first.

Hat tip to RISKS newsletter.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Justice you shall pursue

Filming a police officer committing a crime - now a crime even when legal!

Since photographing police is still legal in California, they charge him instead with "attempted lynching of a police officer".


Who needs science?

Thanks to TCJ for finding this one:

After being presented with the biological evidence of the unborn child’s humanity, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman proudly proclaimed to the audience, “We are not going to try to use science or evidence — the fact of the matter is, this is, this is opinion. We all have our own opinions as far as when human life begins.”

Hmm. Well my opinion is that if you make such inane statements, it is clear that you aren't quite yet human. Or at least that you don't have a functioning brain.

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The book event horizon

Now I have wondered if there is a technical term for the time it takes a book to suck you into the story. Sometimes a book gets you going from the first pages and sometimes much more is required to be setup before you really enter the story.

I pretty much am always into a book, outside of a few real stinkers. But for the rest of the world, this is an interesting analysis.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Ratings agencies

Or, why they are somewhere worse than useless.

The investor tries to protect himself from risk by insisting that his money only be put in "safe" investments, but who decides whether they are safe or not? Enter the ratings agencies who then carve up a normal curve of risk into thick histogram buckets with Hoover Dam-like edges.

. . . .

What is more, as the rest of the investor community can see the ratings agency changes coming a mile off, it means that any portfolio changes based on their actions hit a market that has already discounted them, undermining performance even further. But the really magic trick is that it doesn’t matter because performance is measured against a benchmark of similar passive funds that have to follow the same rules! And as a benchmark reflects the average, then on average, they are average. Collect the fees and shrug.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Is the Pope my boss?

In his post on Catholicism and contraception, which I criticized earlier, Judge Richard Posner opines that:

The Roman Catholic Church is a huge “corporation,” ....

Wrong again. Neither as a legal, theological, nor practical matter is the Roman Catholic church viewed as a single corporation. I address this issue in my article The Bishop's Alter Ego.

No, it turns out that different parts of "the Church" have their independence to various extents. Mr. Bainbridge explains why.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Headline of the day

"A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face a felony charge in Colorado for an alleged hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job".

Visit Mark Shea's blog for the details.

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Hanukkah FAIL

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A happy Chanukah to all

Or at least those of the Hebraic persuasion.

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