by: Shannon Williams
A few weeks ago, Shannon Williams explained how fraud can be detected using a simple math theorem called Benford’s Law.
Money Share-EP 2
Today’s show uncovers how a bit of dirt on a math book helped discover a simple tool used by economists to track and discover a bit of dirt on accountants. The grimy pages of a logarithm chart revealed a simple formula that uncovers corrupt accounting, crooked tax evaders and unscrupulous fraud.
Dr. Frank Benford was a physicist at General Electric. He was also an employee there before modern computing. At least part of his job involved flipping through pages and pages of logarithms. These are the fractional exponents you probably learned about in your junior year of high school. Anyway, Benford began noticing a certain peculiarity – each of the beginning pages were more ruffled, worn, and dog-eared than the pages toward the back.
Rather than assume the engineers and physicists simply preferred the numbers leading with ones, twos and threes, Benford took this idea further. Are numbers with a lower leading digit more common?
It turns out they are.
Numbers with a leading digit of one make up nearly a third of all numbers in data. Imagine a descending slope beginning at around 30% and from there the percentages decrease. Numbers leading with two make up 18%, and threes turn up 13% of the time.
Now, you can’t use Benford’s discovery to win the lottery. There the numbers aren’t really real, they aren’t occurring naturally. Lottery numbers are as random as if the balls were each assigned a color. Benford’s law which relies on logarithms and each number growing statistically less significant. In random assignment like the lottery each digit 1-9 is equally significant where all of them max out their potential at an 11% chance of being drawn.
Where that’s kind of a bummer, it’s kind of not because it means that Benford was able to rely on real data to develop a theory that would accurately identify the schemers and cheaters of accounting.
From sizes of rivers, heights of skyscrapers, bank account sums to sizes of inventory – all naturally occurring data will follow this downward slope of probability. Knowing this, accountants can use Benford’s nifty law to weed out out the cheaters and call out their bluffs when their data doesn’t match this form.
Last week’s Money Share had a recap of Texas State’s McCoy College business leadership week, from former chairman of the International Trade Commission, Deanna Okun.
Money Share-EP 3
Business Leadership Week brought a discussion of international business to the halls of Texas State’s McCoy business school early February. Keynote speaker, Deanna Okun, former chairman of the international trade commission highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights in terms of international trade. Okun was nominated to the position by former president Bill Clinton.
“That is the job of the commission, is to figure out is the industry actually injured by those imports, and if the commission finds that it is the U.S. treasury collects a tariff or a tax.”
During her speech, Okun highlighted the importance of american innovation in business, and questioned the future of vital creative development. In an industry such as Intellectual Property, protecting new ideas in a competitive world market is a key role of the Trade Commission.
Findings in a study conducted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the entire U.S. economy relies on some form of Intellectual Property. Okun says a quarter of the nation’s jobs are in Intellectual Property intensive industries, and accounted for 35 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Okun warned that the U.S. economy might be growing soft in these industries.
“If you talk to their parents as you are going around and asking other lawyers, what are your kids studying? Engineering, science, computers, they are so focused on it. “
Okun quoted New York Times writer, Thomas L. Friedman.
“In China today, Bill Gates is Brittney Spears. In the U.S., Britney spears is britney spears. And that is our problem.”
In an article released February 5th, Friedman discussed the future of growth for China and India in the world economy. He stated that the economy most likely to succeed is the one that can convert their, as he calls it “youth bomb” – the large sectors of their demographics under 30 years of age- into a large educated work force. For the U.S., higher education costs creep up as restricted budgets limit government spending on funding for colleges and universities. Americans seeking degrees in innovative industry may have more than a mentality in their way.
More information can be found here.
by: Kelsey Nichols
A few weeks ago, Kelsey Nichols taught us how to start and maintain being healthy. By this time you may have given up on your new year’s resolution to be fit; but this episode will help you get into shape!
Fit Side-EP 1
If your New Year’s Resolution was to get into better shape, than you are in luck.
Something to add to your circuit workout this week is the burpee. A burpee is a squat thrust, which starts and ends in a standing position.
Here is the breakdown on how to do a burpee:
Start standing with your feet, shoulder-width apart. Jump down to the ground in the push-up position. Do a push-up and jump off the ground and into the air to finish the burpee. Circuit workouts generally ask you to do non-stop burpess for one minute. However, depending on your fitness level, you may only do five in a minute. Don’t let this discourage you, I can’t do very many in a minute. Burpee demonstrations can be found on YouTube.
Not only do you have to work out in order to get that winter glow, you need to eat right. The recipe re-do for this week is cauliflower macaroni and cheese.
If you want the comfort of mac-and-cheese but don’t want all of the carbohydrates that come with it, then toss out the noodles and purchase some cauliflower. The cauliflower mac-and-cheese recipe I used is from vegetariantimes.com. The recipe also has alternates that can easily make it gluten free.
If you are not a vegetarian, try adding some grilled chicken or tuna to your entrée to have a well-rounded meal.
After practicing burpees, learn a new move to incorporate into your circuit workout, in this episode with Kelsey Nichols.
Fit Side-EP 2
Now that you have been doing burpees in one minute increments, you can add something to your circuit workout that targets the oblique muscles. The oblique muscles are the muscles on each side of the abdomen that, without working out, can create over-the-pant flab.
This week we are adding the grasshopper to our circuit workout. This fitness move also works out the back, abs and shoulders. For this move, you will want to make sure that you have plenty of space for leg movement.
Start in the push-up position. Step your right foot out very wide to the side. Bring your left knee up and across to your right elbow. Return the left leg to the starting position. Now repeat this on the opposite side. Do as many reps as possible in one minute as part of your circuit workout. Or do 15 reps per side for three sets.
Grasshopper demonstrations can be found below.
As you know, you have to ditch the chips and soda if you want to achieve your dream body. Hamburger and French fries anyone? This week the recipe redo is a black bean burger with baked sweet potato fries. I have been making this forever and, in my opinion, the taste is better than the typical hamburger and French fries. The black bean burger recipe that I used can be found at wholefoodsmarket.com.
For the sweet potato fries, just preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut up the sweet potato, put it in a large bowl adding one tablespoon of olive oil per potato. Add salt and pepper and mix so that the olive oil and seasonings spread throughout the unbaked fries. Place in the oven on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes, flipping over after 15 minutes.
A perfect and easy American-style meal for any day of the week.
by: Dany Recio
A few weeks ago, Dany Recio covered The Grammy’s; a musical tradition. The Hollywood Walk of Fame has more to do with the Grammy’s than you might think.
One of the biggest nights in the music-recording industry wrapped up Sunday night; the 55th annual Grammy Awards once again honored the best musicians and performers of the last year. The Grammy’s have become a longtime tradition but many would have never guessed that the Hollywood Walk of Fame had a hand in their creation.
In 1953 E.M. Stuart the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce proposed an idea that would as he said it “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement…” Mr. Stuart proposed a memorial built into the sidewalk in Hollywood that would commemorate the works of artists in the four major parts of the entertainment business: motion picture, television, recording, and radio.
Four committees, representing the four groups, were setup to discuss possible honorees for the walk. When members of the recording industry met-up they discussed the possibility of honoring artists and performers of the recording industry with an Award ceremony much like the Oscars and Emmy’s. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences was formed with Paul Weston a Colombia Record exec. as president. The Academy was responsible for developing the statue, award show and gathering nominations. Chapters were setup throughout the country and entries began flowing in for consideration.
The famous “gramophone” award given at the Grammy’s was a result of a national contest held in 1958 that also gave it, its name. The gramophone was a great symbol since a paid homage to device that redefined music for the modern world. The First Grammys were held May 4th in 1959 and the show only had 28 categories; compared to now where there are 81 categories. When it was first held in Beverly Hills the Grammy’s were not even broadcasted on television. It would take a few years for the Grammy’s we know to really take shape. In it’s second year best new artist was added to the awards. A recap of the winners from that very first night:
Best vocal performance, Male
Catch a Falling Star
Best vocal performance, Female
Ella Sings Irving Berlin
Album of the Year
Record & Song of the Year
Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu
The Grammys have some critics for the emphasis on the industry rather than the artists; but this does not mean that the artists accepting these awards are any less historic. The ceremony was supposed to pay homage to those artists who have done great work in the recording industry, and it does. Many, if not most of the artists that I’ve discussed on Revolutions have either; been nominated or won awards for their great contributions to music. No amount of criticism can invalidate them as artists. The Grammys are great moment when some of the biggest artists in music gather to pay their respects to their fellow musicians and watch them as they make History.
Dany Recio covers a future plan with The Library of Congress in this episode of Revolutions. Our recorded history is endangered. The Library of Congress has plan to preserve these national treasures
For the last 100 years there has been a deluge of recorded sound. Every year audio recording technology has advanced and hundreds of millions of recordings, all chronicling the human experience, have been captured. There is a crisis though. There has been little effort put to preserving many of these recordings. Some of them are considered national treasures. Famous songs, speeches, and performances are in danger of being lost forever. The Library of Congress has announced a new plan to try to preserve many of recordings, so they can be protected and used for education for years to come.
According to their website the Library of Congress is responsible for “furthering the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.” They already have an inventory of millions of books, periodicals, photographs, and recordings; but there are still thousands of recordings that they have yet to catalog. If we’re going to further our knowledge and creativity in the world of music then there are still thousands-if not millions-of recordings that the library has yet to catalog. In the proposed plan the Library notes a few problems with preserving and cataloging so many recordings.First accommodating all the types of recording devices. Wiith vinyl records, cassettes, cds, and wax cylinders they have to figure out a way to preserve these in their original format and also convert them. The problems only compound from here because digital files may not be so simple. The preservation board chairman mentioned in an with NPR that as audio software updates it becomes difficult to know that digital format will endure and be compatible with future technology. Also there is some legality problems to preservation. The library estimates that only 14% of owners of rights to historical recordings have released them. This means that the Library cannot get a hold of most of the recordings that they’re hoping to preserve; thanks to outdated copyright laws.
The plan does address how they intend to solve these problems. They have put together six task groups that will study these problems and create recommendations on how to solve the problems. These six task groups were then broken down into 32 teams focused in four different areas: building the national sound recording preservation infrastructure, creating a blueprint for preservation strategies, promoting public access for educational purposes and outlining long-term national strategies.
The Library is hoping to also create a national collection standard for all sound recordings so that they can be used for academic degree-based programs. The goal is to preserve these recordings and ensure that they can be used for study in many academic areas and will endure for years to come. It seems the Library is really pushing to preserve America’s recoding heritage as much as our literature and publications. This will definitely help future generations appreciate and understand history in a much different way. Much of America’s history can be catalogued in sound and it is important that we take the measures to ensure that we preserve this history.
Last week, Dany spoke about one of the pivotal American Artists, Johnny Cash. A son of Rock and Roll and Country. A real American bred musician.
Not many artists can say that they have sold more than 90 million records. Nor can they say that they are both honored members of the Rock and Roll and Country Music Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash, born John R. Cash on February 26th, 1932, holds these very honors. With a life filled with struggle; MR. Cash defied all odds and has become one of popular music’s most time honored musicians.
Born to a rural family in Arkansas; Cash’s life was filled with music. His influences began early with his mother’s folk and gospel songs. He would listen and explore a variety of styles but well into his career these early influences would shine. Once he graduated High School he had a brief stay in Michigan where he was trying to find work. Without a lot of luck he joined the U.S. Air Force. There he would meet his first wife and they would settle in Memphis. Johnny would try to pursue music while working a few different jobs.
That same year Cash would get the opportunity to audition as a solo artist for Sun Records. Phillip’s liked Cash but contrary to what he had hoped Phillips did not want him to record a Gospel record. Rather, he wanted Cash to play some of the other songs he had written that seemed to sit somewhere between Rock and Roll, which was in it’s infancy at the time, and Country. Cash would cut four tracks with Sun Records, two of which are some of his most recognizable songs still; Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line. Walk the Line shot to Billboard’s No. 1 position and stood there for 42 weeks; it would go on to sell over 2 million copies.
Cash’s career would really begin to take off but the work was grueling for he and his family. He was performing 200 dates a year and pursuing opportunities at other recording companies for more creative. He signed to Columbia in 1958 and started recording with consistent charting. Ring of Fire, another Cash staple, would be a product of some of these sessions. Eventually the strenuous tour schedule, which was up to 300 dates, caught up with Cash. He became addicted to narcotics, which he used to keep up with the demands of touring. His marriage began to fall apart and he was now an addict. His life and career experienced a turnaround with the help of June Carter. She helped him overcome his addiction and his career took off again once he was refocused. He married June in 1968.
For the remainder of his career Cash was clean and built passionately on his music career. He won several awards in both the Country and Rock formats for several records. He was one of the few artists that seemed so comfortable performing in either genre. Cash tragically passed away in September of 2003; just a few short months after his wife June passed. Cash was one of popular music’s most treasured artists. He has been immortalized in both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash is one artist that has definitely left his mark on history.