Sunday, November 6, 2011

What REALLY Caused The Financial Crisis?

This is an excellent article on the REAL reasons for the financial crisis.  Below is a snippet from The Washington Post today.  The article is written by Barry Ritholtz who is the chief executive of FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation” and runs a finance blog, the Big Picture.

"Rather than admit the error of their ways — Repent! — these people are engaged in an active campaign to rewrite history. They are not, of course, exonerated in doing so. And beyond that, they damage the process of repairing what was broken. They muddy the waters when it comes to holding guilty parties responsible. They prevent measures from being put into place to prevent another crisis.

Here is the surprising takeaway: They are winning. Thanks to the endless repetition of the Big Lie.
A Big Lie is so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. There are many examples: Claims that Earth is not warming, or that evolution is not the best thesis we have for how humans developed. Those opposed to stimulus spending have gone so far as to claim that the infrastructure of the United States is just fine, Grade A (not D, as the we discussed last month), and needs little repair.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them."

The da Vinci of Robots is at Virginia Tech - Dr. Dennis Hong

This is a GREAT article in The Washington Post Magazine by Daniel de Vise on robotics AND it is where my two oldest sons are going to college at Virginia Tech.  Below is just a small snippet:

"Virginia Tech’s engineering school ranks 24th in the nation, according to the latest graduate rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Penn all field bigger, older, better-funded robotics programs.
But none of them has Hong.
He arrived at Virginia Tech in 2003, still in his early 30s, with a baby face and a thick shock of black hair. There, working with a small team of bleary-eyed graduate students and a shoestring budget, Hong built several of the most compelling designs to emerge in American robotics.
Hong and his students “are really trying to change the world,” said Daniel Lee, a robotics researcher at Penn who collaborates with Hong.
Hong’s dream, though, has always been to win RoboCup, a little-known international competition that is one of the premier academic events in robotics.
RoboCup is an annual soccer tournament for robots. Designing a robot that can find and kick a soccer ball is termed the ultimate challenge in robot design; not long ago, no humanoid robot on Earth could do it. The goal is to field a robot team by 2050 that can beat the human World Cup champions."

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