Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quotes of the day

Ask for money and you will get advice. Ask for advice and you will get money.--unattributed

It is a real problem in modern society that most folks don’t understand statistics at all, and they are used to scare folks all the time. (Mark Twain was right that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.) My favorite recent example is the H1N1 influenza virus. I lecture quite a bit about this to both medical and lay groups. My standard beginning is the following: “If I told you that 99.9 percent of people who get the H1N1 influenza will suffer no significant complications, would that make you feel better?” (Almost everyone says, “Yes.”) “If I told you that 1 million people in Houston will get the H1N1 influenza, and 1,000 of them will suffer significant complications, would that make you feel better?” (Almost everyone says, “No.”) Of course, both examples are the same number expressed in different ways. These are difficult concepts for most folks to grasp, and so many “experts” take advantage of this.--Jeffrey Starke

... the concept of law schools as the preferred vehicle for entry into the legal profession is little more than one hundred years old. Great lawyers, like Daniel Webster, John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, learned their craft in the apprentice of others. In fact, clerkships or internships were the standard route to practice well into the 1800s. The reconsideration of such alternative routes today would certainly limit what is now a virtually limitless capacity by the law school professionals to define standards and, at the same time, could dramatically address the cost issue. It may actually be a matter of survival since as costs have grown, prospects have diminished; with employment opportunities slowing and lawyer salaries being reduced.--Frank J. Macchiarola and Michael C. Macchiarola

In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different. First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities. Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective.--David Drummond

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