Yo! Good timing, Re: ANN: SCOT specification

are you using SCOT in any financial applications?  Law enforcement  
applications, like white collar crimes?
see below,

Final Report of the Advisory Committee on
Improvements to Financial Reporting to the
United States Securities and Exchange Commission

Prepared by: SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to
Financial Reporting,  Honorable Robert C. Pozen, Chairman, with
a Stellar  Committee and SEC Staff: Conrad Hewitt , James Kroeker ,
John W. White, Shelley Parratt, Wayne Carnall , James Daly, Paul  
Adam Brown, Bert Fox, Todd E. Hardiman, Stephanie Hunsaker,
Shelly Luisi, K. Ramesh, Nili Shah, Amy Starr, Dana Swain, Brett  
and Official Observers Robert Hertz, FASB; Charles Holm, Federal
Reserve Board; Kristen Jaconi, U.S. Department of the Treasury;
Phil Laskawy, International Accounting Standards Committee
Foundation; and Mark Olson, PCAOB
August 1, 2008
Reviewed by Dwight Hines

This is a near revolutionary document in that it stresses the  
importance of transparency,  and notes repeatedly how complexity  
blocks, masks, and inhibits transparency.   In addition, they are  
forcing the issue of tags, metamarkers, XBRL (eXtensible Business  
Reporting Language), and KPIs (key performance indicators) that will  
allow rapid and thorough contrasts and comparisons within and across  
industries that are not humanly or machine-based possibilities at  
this time.   What is wonderful about all of this is that the Report  
acknowledges the context of international financial standards,  
standards that are evolving more rapidly than anyone thought possible  
just five years ago, and the recommendations are in harmony with the  
international context.

I believe, without any data, and not knowing of a single, simple  
empirical study, that the logic and facts that support this Reports  
embrace of private sector transparency, a substantive, real  
transparency at the different levels of understanding that exist for  
commercial arenas such as the stock market — a transparency the  
Report states repeatedly must be a transparency from the perspective  
of the investor, not the perspective of someone in management or  
accounting or government — such transparency will be a positive  
material influence on government transparency.   It is not surprising  
to you, if you have engaged in  attempts to obtain government  
generated or captured data, that one of the most persuasive arguments  
to use with those who are reluctant to provide the information, as  
required by state or federal law, is that the private sector makes  
similar information available in their SEC filings and you can  
download, without charge, those filings from the websites of all  
publicly held corporations.

My personal feeling, after spending another few days of my life going  
through financial statements that have improved logarithymically  
since the 1980s and 90s, partially because the SEC put out their free  
downloadable book, A Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC  
Disclosure Documents, 1998, < http://www.sec.gov/about/offices/oca/ 
acifr/acifr-finalreport.pdf>,  a book emphasizing that murky writing,  
unnecessary complexity, or necessary complexity that could be  
explained in simpler language, is that we still have a ways to go on  
increasing transparency by increasing the clarity of writing in the  
private sector.   It’s not just the accountants, auditors, and the  
gnomish actuaries who like to swim in jargon and multifaceted  
buzzwords that make the wasteful Byzantine organized crime  
bookkeeping practices look desirable, it’s also the faceless ones who  
write the documents with footnotes that are muddy, distortion prone  
in crafty ways, and misleading because the information is not given  
in a complete, or completely accurate context.

I believe, without data specific to private sector transparency or  
government transparency, that people have a need to understand that  
makes transparency not just healthy for fair and honest government  
and not just so the investors who do their homework can maximize  
their returns on investments, but because the need to understand, to  
grasp how things work, even abstractions like derivatives and  
different buying and selling strategies, is an inseparable part of  
our being human.  So, when patterns or systems or mechanisms are not  
open, when they are reified into poor explanations or worse,  
misleading or false descriptions, we miss out on an experience that  
is uniquely human — understanding.   When understanding happens — and  
if you have taught in a university, you know it happens fairly often,  
you are warmed by the knowing that wisdom is not far away, and she is  
always a welcome visitor.

I see this report as being a stimulus to needed research on the  
causal interweavings of government transparency and private sector  
transparency.  Intuitively, the relationship must be a reciprocal  
one, with government leading the private sector at different times,   
but constrained by context, and then the effect becomes the cause and  
identifying the context, which will have changed, will be the more  
difficult task, and you find that the private sector leads the  
government in transparency.  The people who have been studying the  
complex dynamics of ecological systems, live systems,  like the  
Comparative Toxigenomics Database <http://ctd.mdibl.org/>,  are  
clearing paths for us with their use of XML in multiple large  
databases of genes, diseases, and chemicals, using simple causal, and  
not so simple robust multivariate statistical methods.

Today is a good day to write these hardworking friends of  
transparency who wrote this Report to thank them because the major  
effects of these new levels of transparency — they write “consistent  
transparency” — will be an increase in fairness in competition, an  
increase in innovation, and an increase in the quality of economic  
progress, or economic development, as Stiglitz wrote about not so  
many years ago (Joseph Stiglitz, “Transparency in Government”, pp.  
27-44, in Roumeen Islam, Editor, The Right to Tell: The Role of Mass  
Media in Economic Development, 2002, World Bank).

If you know any of the committee members or staff members or  
observers who worked on this Report, let them know that you owe them  
a lunch or a dinner for work well done.  Be sure to treat them to one  
or the other because they have done right and good.

Dwight Hines
St. Augustine, Florida

On Aug 6, 2008, at 12:31 PM, Kim, Haklae wrote:

> Hi all,
> We are happy to announce that an initial version of SCOT  
> specification has recently been published at http://scot- 
> project.org/scot/spec.
> This document describes overview and background of SCOT ontology,  
> and classes and properties consisting of SCOT vocabularies.
> You can also see SCOT ontology : http://scot-project.org/scot/ns
> More information available in http://scot-project.org
> Best,
> Haklae.

Received on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 22:37:24 UTC