Friday, May 14, 2010

"We Seemed To Float Right Through the Air"



I've had this song stuck in my head the last few days (here in a beautiful arrangement set to the classic dance scene from Picnic), and it's impossible to not feel hopeful, romantic, and wildly optimistic listening to it.

Perhaps that's why I get such a kick from this story:

When asked to predict the outcome of civil and criminal cases, lawyers are often too optimistic.

That's the result of a survey co-authored by Elizabeth Loftus, a University of California-Irvine psychologist and law professor, along with other academics, published this month in the American Psychological Association's Psychology, Public Policy & Law.

The article is titled "Insightful or Wishful: Lawyers' Ability to Predict Case Outcomes."

“The higher the expressed level of confidence, the more likely lawyers were to fall short of their goals,” Loftus said in a UCI release about the survey. “In addition, male attorneys were found to be more overconfident than female attorneys.”

This strikes me as so empirically true.

How many times have you had to deal with a lawyer on the other side who is ridiculously overconfident of his chances of success?

Again, I recognize bluster serves a function and is part of the game, but at some point it actually enhances your cognitive decision-making process to realistically assess negative outcomes.

Oops, I'm getting all jargony again.

Remember we were discussing that magic 5000 barrels a day number?

Turns out it's probably total bullcrap:

Scientists said that the size of the spill was directly related to the amount of damage it would do in the ocean and onshore, and that calculating it accurately was important for that reason.

BP has repeatedly said that its highest priority is stopping the leak, not measuring it. “There’s just no way to measure it,” Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, said in a recent briefing.

Yet for decades, specialists have used a technique that is almost tailor-made for the problem. With undersea gear that resembles the ultrasound machines in medical offices, they measure the flow rate from hot-water vents on the ocean floor. Scientists said that such equipment could be tuned to allow for accurate measurement of oil and gas flowing from the well.

Richard Camilli and Andy Bowen, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who have routinely made such measurements, spoke extensively to BP last week, Mr. Bowen said. They were poised to fly to the gulf to conduct volume measurements.

But they were contacted late in the week and told not to come, at around the time BP decided to lower a large metal container to try to capture the leak. That maneuver failed. They have not been invited again.

Note to BP lawyers assisting in or facilitating this strategy: F^&K YOU.

Oh hail.
It must have been moonglow, way up in the blue
It must have been moonglow that led me straight to you
I still hear you sayin', "Dear one, hold me fast"
And I keep on prayin', "Oh Lord, please let this last"

7 comments:

  1. FYI: Akerman will be representing BP nationwide along with Kirkland & Ellis. Akerman's effort will be spearheaded from the Miami office...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Look at that, SFL's an old softie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @10:02- He's mushy too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Need the Friday 'health' post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @10:25-- and classy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. SFL is late with the 'health' post. Has he gone 'windsurfing?'

    ReplyDelete