Archive for May, 2019

The legal gospels according to St. Robert and St. James … GUPI

May 31, 2019

Mueller & Comey seem to have their own rules of jurisprudence.

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Here’s an example that should leave you scratching your head.

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GUPI is an acronym that I coined and oft-used in my courses.

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GUPI

For example, I’d assert that – in business turnaround situations – all costs should be considered GUPI – Guilty Until Proven Innocent.

I thought GUPI was a cute(and potentially memorable) play on the legal principle of Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

Never – not for a moment – did I think that GUPI would become foundation to American law as exercised by Special Counsel Mueller … who was explicitly granted prosecutorial; authority.

‘’Prosecution’ – not ‘exoneration’ -’is what prosecutors do.

Otherwise, they’d be called ‘exonerators’ … not prosecutors.

Apparently, Mueller missed that class in law school/

By stating that he didn’t have sufficient evidence to exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, tossed a critical legal principle.

Now, defendants must prove their innocence … otherwise, they should be presumed guilty … subject to public criminal branding … until they prove their innocence beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.

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Come to think about it, GUPI is kinda how traffic court works.

Maybe Mueller was just elevating the principle to a higher level.

Think about the implications … some day, you may be on the hot seat.

How might you feel if the judge compels you to prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt?

That might be a high bar that you wouldn’t want to face.

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About those pesky robocalls …

May 30, 2019

There’s a simple, low cost solution.
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Yesterday, we whined about the high and increasing number of nuisance calls – most using robocall technology.

According to YouMail – a company that tracks robocall activity – Americans are now getting almost 3.5 billion (with a “b”) robocalls each month … “equaling roughly 10.4 calls per person affected”.

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What to do besides yelling at the phone?

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Shocker: Number of robocalls annoyingly high (and still increasing)…

May 29, 2019

Which calls annoy you the most? “Sally from cardholder services”, “Selected for a free vacation”, “Detected a virus on your computer”, “Clean your air ducts” … or, something else.

Hard not to notice that the “do not call list” is an emasculated relic.

According to YouMail – a company that tracks robocall activity – Americans are now getting almost 3.5 billion (with a “b”) robocalls each month … “equaling roughly 10.4 calls per person affected”.

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Why the surging numbers?

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Is Mickey positioned to walk all over Netflix?

May 28, 2019

Is the “disrupter” now going to get disrupted?

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Interesting opinion piece by investor Stephen McBride in Forbes and channeled through the Daily Wire

With 150 million subscribers, Netflix is the undisputed king of streaming … at least for now.

Netflix understands that content is the name of the game … and has invested more than $12 billion in orignal content … and gets high marks from viewers for having the best original content.

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But Netflix has largely financed the new content development with debt … now owing creditors more than  $10 billion … and faces a formidable threat from cash-rich Amazon and recently announced streaming services from  Disney…

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On this Memorial Day …

May 27, 2019

 Remember all who gave their lives on our behalf
   … and thank those who are serving us now. 

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Jeopardy is taking a financial drubbing … or is it?

May 24, 2019

Let’s look at he economics of the current champ’s winning streak.

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Jeopardy wunderkind James Holzhauer extended his winning streak to 26 games and upped his total haul to $1,991,135.

Note: Last night, Holzhauer was off his game, but won in a nail-biter.  He was slow with the buzzer (despite a relatively easy set of questions) and faced a formidable competitor who would have mopped-up  ‘normal’  competitors..

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Today, let’s take another angle: Financially speaking, is Holzhauer’s winning streak good or bad for the Jeopardy show?

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Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that the a contestant can win on one show?

May 23, 2019

Here’s the solution to yesterday’s question.

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Note: Refer back to yesterdays post if you need a refresher on the question and the Jeopardy game essentials

See Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?

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OK, let’s get started with the Jeopardy round’s gameboard:

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For starters, assume that our contestant first-buzzes and correctly answers all of the gameboard’s questions.

Each category has questions totaling $3,000 … and there are 6 categories … so the gameboard has an “displayed total value” of $18,000.

That’s not the most that a contestant can win in that round because it doesn’t consider the impact of the hidden Daily Double square.

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Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?

May 22, 2019

You don’t need to be a Jeopardy fan to solve this math problem.  Try it!

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Current Jeopardy champ James Holzhauer – a professional gambler – has now won 24 consecutive games and amassed over $1,867,142 in winnings

See our prior post How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy for a recap of his strategy

 

I was chatting with a friend who is a Jeopardy fan and former insurance industry exec.  The question on the table was whether Jeopardy has an insurance policy to cover a runaway winner like Holzhauer.  If yes, what’s the insurance risk?

Analytically, that led to today’s math problem: What’s the most that a contestant can win on one show?

For reference, Holzhauer has won more than $100,000 five times (so far) … his best day ($131,127) is an all time Jeopardy record. A typical Jeopardy winner hauls in about $25,000 per show.

Today, I’ll set-up the problem.  Again, you don’t have to be a Jeopardy fan or know the rules.  I’ll tell you all that you need to know to solve the problem.

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Reprise: How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy…

May 21, 2019

Current champ has now won almost $1.8 million in 23 consecutive wins.

He is smart and calculating. Is that cheating?
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I posted this a couple of weeks ago.  Now that the 2-week Teachers Tournament is over and “regular” Jeopardy has resumed, I’m updating the post to remind regular Jeopardy watchers of what’s going on … and provide some background to new watchers who have been caught by the PR blitz around the champ’s success.
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Though I’m not particularly strong at trivia, I enjoy watching Jeopardy

In part as a daily test of whether I can hang in there with the contestants (Answer: not in most categories) … and, largely because – in my stint as a teacher – I became a student f how people think … how they store, combine, and retrieve information. Think: connect the dots.

The current Jeopardy champ — James Holzhauer– is a professional sports bettor … and, he’s  setting records.

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Holzhauer has won 23 straight games … that’s the 2nd most on the all-time list … the record is 74 by a “normal” guy named Ken Jennings … the average Jeopardy champ only wins 2 or 3 games..

Most impressive is that Holzhauer has already won almost $1.8 million about 2/3s of the way towards Jenning’s haul of $2.5 million. Working the arithmetic, Holzhauer has been winning about $75,000 per day … which is more than double Jenning’s daily take.  His biggest day’s winnings were $131,127 … and he already has marked the best 12 days in Jeopardy history.

How Holzhauer is doing it is raising eye-brows in the Jeopardy community. Part astonishment and part calls of “foul”.

So how exactly is Holzhauer doing it?

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What’s the “magic number” that makes you wealthy?

May 20, 2019

Several years ago I asked a colleague “What do you need to retire?”

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His answer: “$5 million and playmates.”

Playmates?

What he meant was having enough leisure-time folks to hang out with during the day.

So, about the  “magic number” …

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Test: How many border apprehensions this year?

May 17, 2019

Before you keep reading or glance at the chart, take this current events test…

About how many people do you think will be caught trying to enter through the southern border this year?

A variant of that question was asked in the April Harvard-Harris Poll.  Specifically, the survey asked:

About how many people do you think are caught trying to enter through the southern border each year?

Here are the results:

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Source (p.156)

Note that about half of respondents think the number is less than 100,000; only 12% peg it at more than 500,000.

So, how accurate are people’s perception?

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The Chinese cyber-threat…

May 16, 2019

Yesterday, we channeled Michael Pillsbury’s warning that It’s not Russia that we should be worrying about … it’s China!

Today, let’s dive down on a specific … the Chinese cyber-threat..

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Michael Pillsbury nails the point in his book The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower

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It’s not Russia that we should be worrying about … it’s China!

May 15, 2019

Keep that in mind during the emerging tariff war … there’s a higher purpose. 

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One of my summer reads has been The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

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Pillsbury is a bona fide China expert, having served 8 administrations in a variety of high-level positions in the state and defense departments and having worked for heralded think tanks, including RAND and the Hudson Institute.

Note: To me, guy seems very credible since (a) he footnotes every major point with compelling source documentation, and (b) he is very self-effacing – often pointing out the mistakes that he had made in his China analyses.

As the title indicates, Pillsbury concludes that China is about midway through a 100-year strategy to replace the U.S. as the global superpower…

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The worm may have turned…

May 14, 2019

DOJ focus shifts to counterintelligence effort that Barr called ‘spying’

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According to the NY Times…

AG Barr has assigned a top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation.

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John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials.

Opening a DOJ investigation is “a move that President Trump has long called for but that could anger law enforcement officials who insist that scrutiny of the Trump campaign was lawful.”

Now, there are 3 related investigations…

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Nadler calls off Mueller testimony … hmmm.

May 13, 2019

GOP gambit makes Mueller’s testimony less appealing (to Dems)
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After weeks of hyperventilating about the need for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler abruptly cancelled this week’s planned inquisition.

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Note: The story isn’t that Trump wouldn’t let Mueller testify – he said it was up to Barr and Mueller.

So, why did Nadler suddenly back off?

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Psych 101: The one thing that I remember…

May 10, 2019

Long ago, one of my students  observed that students  remember, at most,  one or two things from any course they take.

At the time, I would have bet the over on that one … at least for my courses!

Over time, I’ve concluded that he was more right than wrong and that I would have lost the bet.

Partial evidence: I sometimes self-test on what I remember from courses that I took long ago in college and grad school.

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Fast forward to today.

One of my friend’s daughters is graduating today with an degree in psychology.

That prompted me to think back to my undergrad Psychology 101 course.

Here’s what’s stored in my long-term memory…

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Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

May 9, 2019

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.

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At the risk of piling on during FB’s stock “correction” (single day drop of 20%), let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.

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Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT

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And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.

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Miranda 2019: Your DNA can and will be used against you.

May 8, 2019

You know the drill …

CSI techs find some DNA at the crime scene … they run it through the criminal database … and BAM … they got a match and the perp is arrested.

Only problem: the police database of DNA profiles is relatively limited to criminals.

What about bad guys who don’t have a criminal record?

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Well, it seems the police have come up with a clever way to to expand their DNA files … by a lot.

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Study: Chances of dying are greater if your doctor is over 60.

May 7, 2019

And, some advice for hedging your bets.
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Researchers at Harvard scoured the records of 730,000 patients treated between 2011 and 2014 by more than 18,800 hospital-based internists (now called “hospitalists”).

The results were originally published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and recapped in StudyFinds:

Patients are 1.3% more likely to die when treated by doctors over the age of 60, than if they’re treated by doctors under 40.

That translates to one additional death for every 77 patients under the care of a doctor over 60.

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What’s going on?

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How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy…

May 6, 2019

Current champ is smart and calculating. Is that cheating?
==================

Though I’m not particularly strong at trivia, I enjoy watching Jeopardy

In part as a daily test of whether I can hang in there with the contestants (Answer: not in most categories) … and, largely because – in my stint as a teacher – I became a student f how people think … how they store, combine, and retrieve information. Think: connect the dots.

The current Jeopardy champ — James Holzhauer– is a professional sports bettor … and, he’s  setting records.

clip_image001

Holzhauer has won 22 straight games … that’s the 2nd most on the all-time list … the record is 74 by a “normal” guy named Ken Jennings … the average Jeopardy champ only wins 2 or 3 games..

Most impressive is that Holzhauer has already won over $1.6 million about 2/3s of the way towards Jenning’s haul of $2.5 million. Working the arithmetic, Holzhauer has been winning about $75,000 per day … which is more than double Jenning’s daily take.

How Holzhauer is doing it is raising eye-brows in the Jeopardy community. Part astonishment and part calls of “foul”.

So how exactly is Holzhauer doing it?

(more…)

I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

May 3, 2019

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

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In a prior post, we reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

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First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

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I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

May 2, 2019

Discussing creativity in class, I casually mentioned that I seem to do my best thinking when I’m asleep.

Specifically, I reported that I like to get to work as soon as I jump out of bed (literally) … and that I often find myself doing a brain dump of thoughts that weren’t top of mind before I’d gone nite-nite.

The revelation initially got some chuckles … then some folks started nodding and chiming in with “me, too” variants on the story.

Of course, some remained unconvinced.

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For the skeptics, here some science …

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Cancer ads: The power of anecdotes over hard data ……

May 1, 2019

Yesterday, we channeled the results of a study that found that patients facing major health challenges often select their course of treatment based on isolated success stories they might hear rather than hard data.

Specifically, the study found that when a success story was used to “validate” a low success rate treatment, patients would ignore or dismiss the hard scientific data and be swayed by the anecdote – even if the case history was a remote outlier, not a general case.

Deep in selective attention mode, my eye caught an opinion piece in the WSJ:

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The author’s punch line:

“The multibillion-dollar cancer treatment industry appeals to emotion in misleading ads … mounting  less a war on cancer than a war on truth —and on vulnerable consumers.”

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