Yesterday's Tank McNamara:
The previous day's strip:
The lawyer's towel-snapping fixation is apparently a slightly obscure reference to a slightly obscure aspect of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. The towel-snapping business emerged as a way to explain some sounds previously attributed to a much less innocent activity, as suggested in this passage from Bob Costas's interview with Jerry Sandusky ("Jerry Sandusky to Bob Costas in exclusive 'Rock Center' interview: 'I shouldn't have showered with those kids.'", 11/14/2011):
Q: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?
A: OK, we were showering, and- and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on, and was actually sliding across the uh the floor, and um and we were as I recall possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.
The whole interview is here:
A less intentionally humorous reaction took place at an Atlanta television station, which brought in an expert in "voice analysis" to apply "mathematic algorithms" to determine the truthfulness of Sandusky's statements ("Sandusky Truth Test", 11/16/2011):
Voice analysis measures the frequency of the human voice as someone is speaking and unlike a polygraph test, no one has to be hooked up to wires. It can analyze a phone conversation, or as in the case today, Jerry Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas.
Lynn Robbins, the president of Voice analysis Technologies, says it is 95 percent accurate and is being used by law enforcement around the country. Robbins says it's an investigative tool and is not used to pronounce someone guilty.
Robbins says, "It works off the frequency of the human voice and analyzes a person as they're speaking. It's the way the frontal lobe of the brain communicates through the vocal cords and comes out through the mouth and it measures differences, mathematic algorithms are applied to that and it measures the differences." […]
Robbins says law enforcement uses voice analysis with sex offenders because it is very effective. She said Sandusky's interview results were very similar to those of interviews with other sex offenders.
Robbins stresses this isn't her opinion, it's the finding of a computerized analysis that attaches mathematical algorithms to the human voice.
That's from the online text, which includes material not present in the video below — and as usual, I need to insert a caveat about not trusting journalists' transcriptions of interviews.
For a discussion of how we know that these "scientific" techniques apparently perform no better than chance at detecting deception, and why I'm appalled by the nature of this industry and the ill-defined technologies that it's allegedly based on, see "Speech-based 'lie detection'? I don't think so", 11/10/2011.
Lynn Robbins is the president of Voice Analysis Technologies, which apparently sells Nemesysco's voice analysis products. Before taking up a position selling Nemesysco products, "Her background includes both civil and military duty in domestic Air Traffic Control. Her responsibilities included operational tower control, training, FAA coordination and communications as well as the direct control of air traffic. Throughout her civilian and military careers, Lynn has consistently made measurable, positive changes in the fundamental operations of both businesses and military units. […] Lynn received her Bachelor's degree in International Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, with specialized studies in several republics of the former Soviet Union."
TJ Ward, who was featured in the analysis of Herman Cain's statements about sexual harassment accusations in the TV News segment discussed in that earlier post, is listed as working for the same company.
Voice Analysis Technologies is apparently based in Madison WI, so I'm not sure why their personnel have recently been so popular with Atlanta-area TV news outfits.
Here's the best part of Ms. Robbins' interview again (as transcribed by the 11 Alive news site):
Robbins says, "It works off the frequency of the human voice and analyzes a person as they're speaking. It's the way the frontal lobe of the brain communicates through the vocal cords and comes out through the mouth and it measures differences, mathematic algorithms are applied to that and it measures the differences."
I'm moved to join H.L. Mencken in giving thanks for this wonderful country, where
… more than anywhere else that I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly–the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages, and throat-slittings, of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances–is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night, and to awake every morning with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows. ["On Being an American", 1922]