Monday, February 28, 2005


In the crowded theatre of the blogverse, somebody's yelling FIRE.
It's those free speech on campus guys.
Note to self: add to sidebar.

Meanwhile, I rant in the volokhian comments about my fixation:
anonymous politicar speech on the internet.
And i'm about to cut and paste that to here, but first an interlude.
The New Yorker's grammarian has died. The obit conjures the era of Harold Ross.

Miss Gould once found what she believed were four grammatical errors in a three-word sentence. And yet the sentence, by Lawrence Weschler (and, alas, no longer remembered), was published as written.
In some cases, Miss Gould’s suggestions took the ideal of clarity to Monty Python-like extremes.

I've been wrestling with this issue in the context of Talley v California and McIntyre v Ohio. These cases held that the government cannot require identification disclaimers on political literature. In 96 and 97 I contacted states asking them to revise their campaign guides in light of McIntyre. I was usually told that they would continue to enforce their (void) statutes until someone sued them. Due largely to my ineptness, I haven't done too well at suing them.
Judge Posner at the seventh circuit mistakenly thought that McConnell had overruled McIntyre, and upheld the statute in Majors v Abell. In Anonymous v Delaware, the judge found that the statute was so obviously unconstitutional we didn't have standing to contest it. One of my main bottlenecks is lack of cocounsel in the 20 or so states where I'd like to bring these cases.
I would prefer of course, that the officials simply comply with what the Supreme Court has held. I personally think they have an ethical and legal duty to do so; others see it differently.

Homeless depressed disbarred lawyer gets his case heard by Supreme Court.
That's a wonderful story. Howard is back from the Bahamas and is catching up.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I found this interesting paragraph in an article about the space elevator.

Similarly, a hypothetical company can pursue gaming enterprises and send a thousand little rovers to the moon, renting time out to customers who want to control one with a joystick for an hour back here on Earth.

The concept is interesting for two reasons at least.
1) It's a distributed model for telepresence on the moon; it doesn't rely on government funding or corporate dollars.
2) It's, as they say, scalable. You could build the game as a virtual reality thing,
then build the rovers and run them in say, utah, then, when the price is right, send the first one to the moon.

According to Fark,
None of this is verified, grain of salt.
Each year, more people are killed by teddy bears than by grizzly bears.
The New York Jets were unable to find hotel rooms for a game in Indianapolis recently because they had all been booked up by people attending Gencon, a gaming convention.
71% of office workers stopped on the street for a survey agreed to give up their computer passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar.
The Swedish pop group ABBA recently turned down an offer of $2 billion to reunite.
Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
All polar bears are left handed.
Pope John Paul II is the world's Scrabble champion in the over-70 category.
The little hole in the sink that lets the water drain out, instead of flowing over the side, is called a "porcelator."
More people are killed annually by donkeys than die in air crashes.
1 pound of lemons contain more sugar than 1 pound of strawberries.
The longest word in the English language with only one syllable is "screeched".
Pinocchio is Italian for "pine eye".
The youngest pope was 11 years old.

Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80
Percentage of American women who say they would marry the same man: 50
Percentage of men who say they are happier after their divorce or separation: 58
Percentage of women who say they are happier: 85
Percentage of bird species that are monogamous: 90
Percentage of mammal species that are monogamous: 3

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I now have again a working comment forum.
Old one broke.
It may be used not only for comments for this blog, but comments for any blog that (usually)doesn't have comments,e.g. volokh, crescat, instapundit.
Of course right now nobody knows about this option so it's there in theory as an available structure, but won't get used unless it gets publicized, and at some point reaches a critical mass. It will probably sit there empty.

Welcome, newly named moons of saturn.
Methone and Pallene,Polydeuces.

Friday, February 25, 2005

case mod: microcomputer

http://www.whowantsabalti.co.uk/piccies/mild/ more like that.
way too many..


Kelo case makes history, one way or another.
That created an opportunity for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the most senior remaining justice, to become the first woman to preside over an oral argument at the court.

zoupi's blog a stuffed elephant family that blogs, very nice. turned up in a search for princess aiko, who will be the next empress of japan when she gets around to it. (she's three now.)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

word for the day:
from the all your basis belong to us department:
By the way, "octopi" as a plural of "octopus" appears to have originated from a misunderstanding of the word's etymology (see the Oxford English Dictionary folks' comment on this), except to the extent that it has simply been a bit of a joke. It's quite acceptable English now, but I bristle at it, and prefer "octopuses," if only to annoy the octopi fans. Volokh.
Or the generic 'tentacle monsters."
ok he's right, octo, 8, pus, footed, so it's not an -us 2nd declention masculine ending that would be pluralized with -i.
backformation, that's one of the words i couldn't remember for a comment i didn't leave at agoraphilia's discussion of 'misunderestimate.'

I like how this guy things:

Mark Draughn (mail) (www):
I think you need a more methodical approach. First you find a tagline for the site, then you add a logo to the site. Once you've found something that people approve of, then you market the paraphernalia: T-shirts, mugs, mousepads, hoodies, boxers, thongs, your own line of legal attache cases, pens, key fobs, a book listing honorary conspirators (they can order a copy for $38.95 plus S&H), action figures, a video game, a fragrance line, franchise rights to set up other "Conspiracy" blogs, a designer label, and a 60-minute History Channel documentary about how the Volokhs came to America and built their empire.

That was a first - a phone call seeking blogging tips. Unfortunately rss syndication is beyond me, although I've been a syndicalist from way back.
Met Ed* and other folks last night in a co-op owned cafeteria in bloomington.
* raccooncreek.blogspot.com
oops that's the wrong link - those are star wars pictures. raccooncreek.blogspot.com better.
The lentil soup was excellent, and not like any I've ever had.
Then we went to a slide show by some folks about how they are builing a homestead from straw and clay ('cob') and stone. Ed and his crew are looking at doing cohousing on a 100 acres in owen county. It was so great to meet people who speak my language -
graywater, passive and active solar, superinsulation, strawbale construction, etc.
And I stopped at some of my other favorite places in bloomington, the snow lion, a reggae bar that used to be The Wok, bullwinkles, etc.
I now know that the location is basicly in the woods west of bloomington - that would work.

I read a few pages of one-L in the bath today - today's been mostly recuperating from a busy yesterday. Cres-cat Amy is on book 2, going for quality over quantity, so I feel less overwhelmed by Mr. Thunder's 13 and counting. Meanwhile I have, after months, plugged in the tv. Luckily the sound is mostly broken, and I need one more piece of cable to plug in more things so the remote would work and be able to access the cable stations.

I see Cres-cat Will (the only person actually known to occasionally read this blog) will be working for IJ this summer.
That's good news, part of the master plan >yale>ij>clerk for Kozinski>clerk for Thomas>jr professor/full professor/judge/justice/philosopher-king.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This just in -
Justice Stevens was not at oral argument at the Kelo case today, because his plane was cancelled. Possibly due to snow? I know my mom was worried about missing her plane to Mexico Monday due to snow. Traditionally, Justices who don't hear the case tend not to participate in the decision. The Chief Justice says he'll vote to break a tie, but not otherwise. So how about O'Connor writing for Scalia, Thomas, and a justice to be named later? It could happen... I'm thinking Souter Ginsberg Breyer and Kennedy lean pro-eminent domain, even when abusive, and I'll call O'Connor unpredictable. Kennedy might be the fourth vote for a 4-3 majority. All this is just speculation of course.
Stevens may choose to participate.

I'm told the court denied cert in the Alabama sex toy case - I had missed the circuit decision in June. I was busy in June. Bad news for Alabamans.

"Federalism, boundaries, discretion, and precedent."
Those five words are the four words the landnabber didn't get to say.
I think they are fine words.

Mr. Smith goes to Washington
Melvin Smith was found guilty by a jury in Massachusetts of keeping and bearing arms.
Trouble was the judge had already found him innocent and dismissed his case.
Justice Scalia, that guy hated by liberals everywhere, said that that was double jeopardy.
Bill of Rights for $1000, Alex.
"This constitutional provision protects against being tried twice for keeping and bearing arms."
"What is the second amendment?" -buzz-
No, sorry, it's "What is the 5th Amendment?"

I'm about to read the 4-person dissent.pdf. Breyer, Ginsberg, Kennedy, Rehnquist.
It bothers me that there is no hint by any of the nine ringwraiths justices that the offense he is charged with is unconstitutional, at least under U.S. v. Miller, since a pistol is certainly a militia weapon.
I was also troubled by his conviction, now overturned, on a three-strikes provision, where the three strikes seem to consist of three different ways of describing the same event. He was convicted of wanting to kill somebody, using a gun to do it, and having the gun he did it with. Very bad, but one crime, not three.
Right result here, because Scalia and Thomas voted, as they usually do, to uphold civil liberties set forth in the text of the constitution.
Let's see how much press coverage this gets:
"Scalia, Thomas, Uphold Constitution." Or not.
The other opinion today is covered by dredgereport.com.
It's one of those "when is a ship not a ship, for Jones Act purposes" cases,
that are pretty dull even to us court wonks.

Argued today was at least one of the takings cases, Melo, the www.ij.org one, no Lingle was too.
Word on the street is that plaintiffs will lose, but the opinions may move the standard slightly towad the pro-freedom side, which would be enough for IJ to claim a moral victory.

Comments left at Panda's Thumb

Comment #17418
Posted by arbitraryaardvark on February 22, 2005 10:23 AM

“Justice Thomas explained in his opinion in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002), a very strict disestablishmentarian reading of the Fourteenth Amendment causes some very serious conundrums as far as the limits of state authority are concerned”

I’m unclear here. Are you for or against the position held by Thomas and the antidisestablishmentarianists*? In the interests of devil’s advocacy, I’m going to disagree with you. So if you are a proantidisestablismentarianist, I’d be an antiproantidisestalishmentarianist, otherwise an antiantiantidisestablishmentarianista**.
1,3,7-trimethylxanthine brings out my sesquipedalian tendencies.
Comment #17422

Posted by arbitraryaardvark on February 22, 2005 10:58 AM

About dogma:
I have not seen or read the textbooks the non-forbidden stickers were stuck to.
But I can draw on my experiences as a former public school student.
What I’m wondering is do the texts teach evolution as received wisdom, or as a testable replicable theory students can validate for themselves?
In 9th grade we had a class called “chem-phys” in which physics and then chemistry were taught by the scientific method. Starting with gallileo and the speed of falling objects, we went through Hook’s Law and Boyle’s Law and Cole’s Law with experiments that demonstrated that they worked.
But by 10th grade biology and senior year economics, we had gotten away from this use of scientific method and critial thinking, and were just supposed to learn by rote the received wisdom. The authority was the teacher, and behind the teacher was the principal, and behind the principal was the government, and the government was allpresent, allknowing, and allgood, but a jealous government, saying, thou shall have no other governments before me.
I did not learn until college that evolution is testable and readily verifiable, and that biologial evolution is a subset of the general role of evolution as a key component of systems theory. I also learned that they Keynesian macroeconomics fed to us as dogma in high school was unsound -
it wasn’t after all that I was too stupid to understand economics, it was that they’d been preaching a set of lies to support statism.
I suspect that some of the objection from the creationist camp to the social function of the teaching of evolution in public institutions, is that it is being used to support “scientific socialism” and statism. This might be a form of either violation of the establishment clause or of free exercise. It’s also bad science.
I think it is in the interest of creationists and evolutionists to oppose the teaching of evolution in a dogmatic manner, and that it is in the interests of the military-industrial-NEA complex to teach it that way, with resulting harm to society. From this perspective, the alliances shift, and forces that are currently bitterly opposed have a common cause, if they can somehow learn to work together.
One simple way to disrupt the cooptation of evolution is to loudly and widely spread the meme that Darwin got his key insight from reading Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Smith shows how no central authority or intellegent design is needed to efficently manufacture something like a pencil. Darwin applied those ideas to finches in the Galapagos. The economic principle of comparative advantage results in specialization and speciation, so that from lower forms of life evolve higher ones, culminating in God’s magnificent creation, the aardvark.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Not book #8:
The birdman and the lap dancer. Seems to be selling well. If I had it, I'd read it, but I don't.

S Ct Blogging
Tomorrow a major takings case will be argued, the Hawaii one. The CT one is up soon too. Scotusblog has a good breakdown of the briefs. Epstein has a brief for Cato.
Scotusblog now has comments.

Who killed Hunter Thompson?
The duke is dead.

I'm trying to remember if i posted a review of the review I read about a hunter thompson movie.
an interview.
here's the movie:
Breakfast with Hunter.

i wrote a whining post about being tired, then i deleted it, now i'm revising it to try to look on the bright side. i had oatmeal with blueberries and raisins, unclogged the sink, washed dishes, had saute'd zuccini, canned peaches, sorted laundry still to be done, drank lots of coffee, still feel tired. more coffee, take clothes to car, bring book... I can probably accomplish that much. Post ended up being whiny again.

Over at Crescast Sententia, Waddling Thunder has written a brilliant Swiftian parody of the politcal economy.
He invents a mythical country, "France", and procedes through a parade of horribles:
Minimum wages so high people are thrown out of work. Crushing levels of taxation that fall hardest on the poor. Regulated hours and working conditions. Once hired, a worker cannot be fired, so worker is a euphemism. One in 4 works for the state, and gets higher wages than in the private sector. The best colleges are structured to train bureaucrats. Government monopolizes key sectors of the economy, like transportation infastructure. The citizens are angry and appalled - they want more government, higher taxes, shorter hours, fewer incentives to productivity. It's very dry and straight-faced. You could almost believe in this "France". But of course he's really talking about Massachusetts.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

50 book challenge update:
I finished out January having started book 6, the Kennedys, by
David somebody, that neoconservative guy. Horowitz. The book
was 15 feet away and I was having a mental lapse. Anyway, it's nearly March,
and I'm still on the kennedys. Only a couple hundred pages into it.
For now, that is all. I've apparently been spending Febrary on slashdot and webcomics and not sleeping well. Meanwhile Waddling Thunder is on book 13, and in his spare time attends Hardvard and is on the Law Review. See above entry.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A post inspired by marginal revolution

Over at marginal revolution there is a post on micro insurance.
Overall a good post although I have a few quibbles.
But, since I just drank two cups of coffee, and am running late to see the slurs at punk rock night, I had one of those insights I get when I drink coffee.
If you are new here, I'm an idiot savant - lots of solutions to the world's problems,
difficulty tying my shoes or getting anywhere on time or anything done.

There's a big todo these days over "social security". Including an elaborate metaphor at agoraphilia about a bathtub model for the lockedbox trust fund.
Bush, pretending to be a conservative so he can later pull a bait and switch,
wanted to let people invest part of their ssi tax into market-based investments,
which would grow into a retirement fund to replace ss payouts.
This is because ss is a huge scam, with about a 3% return, similar to the whole life scam, in which the insurance company invests your money at 15% and pays out 3%.
A decent mutual fund will average, over time, about 7%. Over a 40 year life cycle, 7% isn't just more than twice 3%, it's way more, because of compounding.
Bear with me, I'm getting there.
The mutual fund a better investment because it invests in a basket of big evil companies, that either produce goods and services in the market or to the government monosopy. This is a better return with less risk than investing it all in tbills, the all-your-eggs-in-one-heavily-armored-basket approach. The less risk part is disputed.
But here's my bright shiny new idea.
Let people invest some of their ss funds in a microcapital fund.
This would provide small loans to people in developing countries.
The idea has been tested among women in bangladesh, the poorest of the poor,and actually works. The risk is spread out among many borrowers, so average rates of return are stable, even if the occasional individual borrower can't repay because she starved to death or was washed away in the flood or killed by jealous husband.
The returns are high. The loans are secured by cosigners or collateral such as a cow.
This happens to be a pretty good investment, but that's not why I'm pushing it.
It would need to be given a catchy label, something "peace corps" like. No acronyms.
It would appeal to liberals, and they could drag along the compassionate conservatives. Both of them.
Retirement savings for citizens.
Capital for the 3rd world where it's needed most.
Goodwill for US in developing countries.
Risk is acceptable because of the charitible component - this is money that, if it never comes back, at least it does some good.
A program like this could be a "both sides of the aisle" kinda thing.
No program is so wonderful a government can't screw it up.
It is unclear how to structure the program so there are incentives to keep it running well.
Anyhow that's the idea.

Now about those quibbles:
In a development context, this means that the people who most need insurance will be the least likely to buy it.
Now, I know what he's trying to say here, and generally I agree.
But he equates "most likely to have a claim" with "need it most."
These aren't really the same.
The very poor, and the non-risk-averse, have rational reasons for not needing insurance.
My time is short and not going to write a few pages on why that is and how it works.
I'll just leave at this for now and unpack it if asked.

More on micro-insurance.
India: 1% gnp on insurance.
USA 5%.
But, most of that 5% is driven by the legal structure - either directly compelled, or tax-incentivized, or driven by market distortions, I almost wrote extortions.
Car insurance: mandated by law, at least minimum levels.
Health insurance: A tax shelter. Which in turn affects the demand-elasticity curve for medical services, and results in some hidden forms of price discrimination.
The elasticity factor drives the prices way above their otherwise market price.
So you can't aford to buy it, so you invest in health insurance like a lottery ticket where if you win, you lose.
Homeowners: you need this to qualify your mortgage for the secondary mortgage market driven by fannie mae. You need a mortgage because building codes make it impossible to build your own home the way grandpa did.
Similar with full-coverage car insurance.
Isn't that most of US consumer's insurance right there? Oh, and liability insurance, a million for everybody, because we are overly litigious. I say that as a plaintiff's lawyer. Some of the liability insurance is genuine and is an economic good, but much of it goes to transaction costs of the inefficient legal system.
So I'm not, yet, convinced India underinsures, rather the US overinsures, driven by the damn liberals. lack of law and economics input into social planning.

Very important news from marginal revolution: half the missing women of asia found.
Hep B results in more male than female babies, as much as 3:2. So my second thought was, there's a vaccine for that. My third thought was, but wait, maybe then in India hep B would be seen as a benefit rather than plauge. Most people who get hep B have mild symptoms, like a cold. Only now and then does it destroy the liver and cause death, although I suppose the death rates would be higher in an undeveloped region.
Hep C is nastier; the woman I got my HIV and Hep tests from has hep C.
(I am negative to everything I've been tested for. The lack of social skills results in a lack of sex results in less exposure to std's. I forget this week's buzzword, they aren't called std's anymore.)

Friday, February 18, 2005

The man who never returned:
slashdot link
That movie where Tom Hanks is a castaway in an airport?
I didn't know it was a true story.

slashdot ad: windows to linux.
this is more for my future reference than anything else,
it's certainly not an endorsement.
my bookmarks are not well-organized.
ok, it sort of assumes you are a big company, rather than
say a grandmother-type home user.

So I was at agoraphilia and clicked on some blog* and that led to tequila mockingbird.
She works, blogs smart and funny, get hundreds of comments, volunteers
for adult literacy programs. Me, I have a couple blogs nobody reads, and I drink a lot of coffee. Maybe I'd get more comments if I installed comments.
Maybe I'd get more links if I figured out how permalinks worked. If I figured out how permalinks worked, I could probably do that trick of hiding a long rant behind a short opening paragraph. Since this is the tomorrow I put some chores off to, I guess I should get up and do something useful. I'm at least going to have some more coffee.


Serious scholarship on the third amendment.
And it's by Tom Bell, someone I've known online for 10 years, before he became a law professor and blogger.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

-- I've got no problem with gay male prostitutes. Or even gay female prostitutes (they have those, right?
You know, I'm not sure.
I think of myself as well-read, and up on the perverted side of things, but I can't think offhand of anyone I know, or know of, strictly in the sex-with-other-women-for-money business. Possibly I'm sheltered; certainly I'm not in manhattan or such places where there's more specialization. Data welcome.

Virtual therapy:
Very interesting article via froomkin.
It's about using virtual reality to cure fear of spiders.
I don't have a fear of spiders, per se.
But I used to have a girlfriend who had a fear of spiders.
What I do have a fear of freaked out girlfriends.
This is an extension of my general social phobia.. if I have to be around people, I want them calm, not screaming in panic.
So for years, even after we broke up, I'd be nervous around spiders.
So they were doing a virtual reality therapy thing for people with fear of heights.
I have that.
And this lady, "miss muffet", said she'd like to try it for her fear of spiders.
They built a spider simulator, she spent some time using, voila, she was cured.
I wonder if it would work for my fear of bureaucrats.
I need to send this article to my boyfriend tech support guy. He lives in his game, elfclear or something, is entreprenuerial, has phobias.
Maybe that's what fairy tales, brothers grimm style, are about,
getting innoculated to scary monsters under the bed.
So Disney versions might not work.
I think Bruno Bettleheim advanced this thesis once, not the Disney part.
Just saying I didn't invent the idea.
Phobias are useful, to a point. Spiders can bite, some people are allergic. Falling from heights can be hazardous. My writer's block may have some useful function ...
if I published more, I'd have more enemies.
Anyway, we have all this hollywood technology for scaring people.
Maybe it could be put to some productive use.
Thanks to robertopia.com I learned the strikeout tag.
and found this silly lotr gif.

good coverage of journalists kiled by americans in iraq.
they weren't targeted, it was made to look like an accident.

Two-letter codes for standard nonresponsive argument formats. Funny, sad, true. Useful?
Hat tip tehsoapbox.net http://www.tehsoapbox.net/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=4505

Word for the day:
How much wood would a hollywoodchik chik if a hollywoodchik could chik wood?
Apparently the plan is also to have such a billboard outside the Academy Awards venue. I know nothing about the group that's putting these out, and I can't say that the billboards constitute High-Minded Productive Political Discourse. But I can't deny being amused . . .
Citizens United, if I'm right, is the group that wanted to put out an anti-Kerry documentary. Also noted for books on Clinton and Gore and Kerry, and participating in McConnell v FEC, and having a president who lives in a firehouse, a former senate committee Whitewater investigation staffer. I suppose one could just click on citizensunited.org.

This just in - coffee may help prevent liver cancer, Volokh reports.
Among japanese anyway. Study says 1-2 cups helps, 3-4 helps more. So with my 10-20 cups a day, my chances of dying of liver cancer are pretty low.
Chances of being eaten by sharks after being struck by lightening also low.
Chances of being shot by annoyed cops - higher. Don't mind me it's the coffee talking.
Blogger is glacially slow today, and that's not a seque to a story about melting glaciers and global warming.
Now I've forgotten what I came here to blog about.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

http://www.kemplog.com/ an indiana lawyer blog. wayne county, where ever that is.
he links to soem more useful resources,
indiana daily insight - ed feigenbaum is a noted election law scholar.
http://www.masson.us/blog/ indiana legislature stuff

Monday, February 14, 2005

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Journalist deliberately targeted by American troops of bloggers.

instapundit points to book about hypomania and americanism. settled by people who didn't fit in anywhere else, a bit of craziness cross-bred, developed hybrid vigor, and produced america's greatness.
The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a little) Craziness and (a lot of) Success in America, by John Gartner. It looks like an interesting thesis: America, a place just crazy enough to work!

i've been looking into this theme myself a bit.
inspired by an a e van vogt story, which might have been the worlds of null-A, or not,it looks like being a little bit crazy can be an advantage.
first came to light in in depth study of johnson. monomania, manic-depressive, king of the hill. that led to jfk, and the kennedy gene for risk-taking. not a gene so much as a cultural pattern. win at any cost, knock up lots of chicks, die trying.
the things that make me a little bit crazy are also the things i like about myself.
creativty, lust for power, delusions of grandeur, not hung up on the small stuff.
i have the absent minded professor type personality.
it's easy to see that a tribal band which includes a diversity of personality types has a competitive advantage over a tribe that is all alike.
so being different is ok.
the trick is to learn to compenate for my weaknesses and take advantage of my streghths. comparative advantage. what am i good at? seeing injustice.
what am i at best just barely adequate at? fighting injustice via the system.
so the trick would be to have minions to delegate the shit-work to, only 'minions' 'delegate' 'shit-work' is not going to fly as a cooperation strategy.
i could be like an injustice broker, setting up the cases, for a dull plodder who knows how to do the work, but not set up the cases. i'm doing it again .. a steady worker without rainmaking skills.
ok, this was a rant, but a rant inspired by an instapundit post.

sort of like slashdot, but geekier..http://www.sciscoop.com/

Sunday, February 13, 2005

So I'm going thru Penny Archade archives.
early fan service.
they get names. 8/99
somewhere in may 2000 the squirrel shows up, and i was going to link to it, but blogger wasn't responding.
second appearance of a tentacle monster. non shibi sed tentacli.
later that day: finished 1998-2002. saving 2003 for some other time. it's not dark yet.
it's not that i wasted all day online reading webcomics; it's that i was too tired to do anything more productive.
ok, it is now "some other time" wil wheaton episode Meanwhile my bittorrent of desperate housewives only has about another hour of downloading. More tentacle monsters. with ray guns.

update: howard linked to my rat pic:
Giant rat celebrates recent Sixth Circuit free speech victory: Thanks much to the reader who forwarded the link to this photo.
Howard reports this story about a giant inflatable rat found to be free speech and not a violation of zoning rules. Rats, I say, because the article doesn't have pictures. A blogger posted pics of himself with the rat - very cute, as giant rats go, but now I can't find those pics. My own giant rat problem has been dealt with with poison. Now if there were just some way to deal with overzealous zoning inspectors. Ah here we go.

Friday, February 11, 2005

This just in:
Google is evil.
The company who's motto is don't be evil serves soylent green.
wired reports:
Mountain View, California
Size: 22 acres
Employees on campus: 850
Signature benefit: Engineers get salaried time to work on pet projects.
Perks: Free meals, onsite massage, communal bikes, shoreline running trails, grand piano
Sample lunch menu: Grilled petite New York sirloin seasoned with Creole spices and Crescent City steak sauce and served with organic onion rings
Campus news: Restrooms are outfitted with robotic toilets with seat warmers and built-in bidets.

Neal Stevenson, Mike Godwin, and Reason. Contains the word for the day: shaftology.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New address for scotusblog.

cheery thought for the day from
men in hats.

"Well, not to abruptly shift to business, but how tall are you?" He said.

"How tall do they want me to be?" I said.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

galt's law.
laught out loud funny stuff from volokhistan.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Lots of comics here.
geez, there's hundreds of them, and i misplaced the one i spent all day reading
adventures of a bi-dyke from montreal and her st. bernard.
aha. http://liliane.keenspace.com/archives.html

Hey there!

Thanks for the notes at my guestbook! I'm glad you liked liliane enough
to read the whole dang thing! LOL! :) Hope I'll manage to keep your
interest and you'll visit again!

Watch out for the books in bookstores if you like, or you can order them
online if you want to read more.

thanks again for the compliment!

... a new page of bi-dyke comics daily

... children's illustration

Next up Howard covers a 6th circuit decision saying that kentucky schools can make students wear hitler youth uniforms or otherwise impose a dress code.
(ok, godwin's law - the opinion does not actually mention hitler youth uniforms -
but that is the consequence of its holding that schools can ban expressive dress.)
Plaintiffs properly cited to the Kentucky constitution, which got a one-line response.
What this case shows is that being right on an O'Brien test analysis does not mean you win if the court is prejudiced against your case and dismissive about your rights.
I'm avoiding work on just such a situation, where the statute fails the O'Brien test but the Court is unlikely to be receptive.

points to a DC federal circuit case dismissing a second amendment case on standing grounds. Halbrook as counsel. If I understood right, a large number of states joined as amici in support of plaintiffs. That would be an interesting brief to read.
The standing analysis was wrong, but plaintiffs could easily cure that and refile.
I think what the case suggests is that after Emerson, second amendment issues are going to be litigated, and the Supreme Court will have to step in. I don't think this court is prepared to uphold Emerson, but to at least reach the issue would be important.
This won't happen right away, I'd say in the next five or ten years.

GARRY KASPAROV WRITES that Russia is relapsing, via instapundit

Illegal expropriation is becoming institutional policy. The Duma rubberstamps Putin decrees. In the criminal courts they have brought back an old Soviet law allowing the state to confiscate the property of the convicted. Not to be outdone, tax authorities can now seize money and property from corporations or individuals without a court decision.
Luckily that sort of thing can't happen here. *bobby fischer*

Monday, February 07, 2005

earth first, mars next.
gobal warming with octafluoropropane, a greenhouse gas. nasa scientist kicks idea around.discussed at slashdot which i've been following more lately.
outdated list of terraforming articles

The things one finds while googling for confederate railroad lyrics.


I love the New Yorker. More than I love New York. I grew up somewhat afraid of the actual city. The New York I love is that of Harold Ross and Thurber and Parker and Nash.
It's a story about the smartest woman in the world, who lives on an island and writes novels in French. After many years, a lost box is found. She opens it, but the jewels are missing. Among the junk in the box she find a half-written novel from when she was 20, and spends two years finishing it.
It's a story about a man who is a god-emperor, and his love for a teenage boy. They live happily ever after until the boy, noticing he's not a teenager anymore, throws himself in the river. Yo, Hadrian.
Being an enlighted sort, he orders the Jews to stop mutilating their childrens' gentials. They object. He, like she, prefers peace to war, so he is sad when everybody dies. He dies. I get my god-emperors mixed up, but they went downhill fast after that.
Her next big novel is the abyss, a sort of "system of the world" look at emergence of the enlightement from medieval Belgium.
She gets older, and, I assume, dies*. I'm off to finish the article.
My lawyer was sick today so I didn't have to go to court so I'm downloading porn, er,
doing a bit of research online and posting webcomics to a forum i'm in.
ourcenar often voiced the conviction that her characters actually existed, and lived with her, but there is no character she felt closer to than Zeno. He was a brother to her, as she put it. When she couldn’t sleep, she would hold out a hand to him. Once, weirdly, she recalled going to a bakery and leaving Zeno there; she had to go back and get him, she said
I can relate to that. I once dated a young woman who either had multiple personalities or just got very into some of the roles she played in community theatre. She was, I think, a bit mad at the time, so she seemed, in my solipsistic world peopled mostly by non-player characters, to be real, so I reached out to her,
breaking out of my austistic-like shell. Got my heart broke, of course, stalked her for a few years, still stay in touch now and then. She dated my roommate then I dated hers, etc, in those chains of connections and events that happen between people.
Without that history between us, I wouldn't have wound up a lawyer, at least where and when I did, and she wouldn't have met her first husband and had the boy who introduced her to her second husband.

* She does die, after outliving her girlfriend and her less-than-half-her-age boyfriend. Her house on the island is now a museum.

I have court tomorrow - in the sense of today - so naturally I can't sleep. At least it's in the afternoon.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

pretentiousity watch department:
There's nothing pretentious about scrabble and wine instead of beer and super bowl.
exactly like Welsh's white grape juice.... A simple and yummy bit of tipple
I don't know one wine from another, and I like Welch's. I can usually tell white from red from blue (Nun) but don't know what a malbec is.
I enjoy provencal cooking better than haut parisien. I am inclined to say oui as way rather than wee, and mildly object to the teaching of parisien french as though it were the only dialect, what with quebequois and french being the second most common language in africa, but rabbit's blood stew sounded pretentious until I read that he made it without the rabbit or the blood. That's how I like to cook.
I do happen to know that the score was 7-7 at halftime, Eagles versus somebody,
that Sir Paul did the halftime show. I have misplaced the url where the ads are online. But my life does not revolve around the Superbowl. I did price some TV's in the $30 range the other day, since I have cable anyway, but didn't buy anything,
and haven't bothered to carry the TV with the fuzzy sound upstairs to the cable cable, but maybe I'll do that this week.

I discovered the golden bough while visiting an internet friend in 1992, just after the EFF CPF2. I dound I've yet read all the way through it.
It explains, well, religions and elections and ceremony and rites of passage and all sorts of things that make culture tick.
Some of the details might be disputed now, but the general idea that there are recurring cultural patterns is widely accepted.

Once, christianity was challenged by the idea that life evolved rather than being divinely inspired. the golden bough suggests that christianisty evolved as well, another challenge.

some 25 movies i won't see in 2005, briefly reviewed.
previews courtesy of www.apple.com/trailers
The pacifier:
vin deisel is kindergarten cop.
much more watchable than superbabies.
brit school boy in africa genre, those can be ok,
but seems too national geographic.
le choristes:
this time the schoolboys are french.
gimmick - they sing.
plot - goodbye mr chips.
better than i first thought,
i may end up seeing this someday.
the green butchers:
eating raoul, with a danish twist.
cinderella man:
russell crowe as depression era working class hero boxer. yo adrian.
i liked the part at the end where he gets paralyzed and they have to put him to sleep. jerry lewis did this one first.
kingdom of heaven:
thud and blunder. cast of thousands. connecticut yankee.
house of flying daggers:
ok if you liked hero, crouching tiger woods, etc.
kinsey: liam neeson plays a nerd - can he pull it off?
I can't tell from the trailer whether I'll like the movie.
Could be the best indiana college movie since rudy.
My exwife left me for a nerd from bloomington, so I have mixed feelings.
Flight of the phoenix:
Dennis Quaid as the hunky plane repairman: it'll be a couple of weeks if we can get the parts.
Finding Neverland: the michael jackson story. saw this one, it was ok, 2 1/2 stars.
Nobody Knows (Daremo shiranai): party of five, set in tokyo.
Probably won't play in peoria, but this looks good, I'd like to see it.
Melinda and Melinda: adequate woody allen, what's the term, a kind of a play where smart people banter over luncheon. will farrell pulls of an understated performance. swimming upstream: soccer dad rage movie.
i'm reading a bio of the kennedies. joe kennedy was like that. the competition between joe jr and jack got them both killed.
cute aussie you men in swim trunks is not enough to lure me to see this.
(I have issues about angry fathers.)
Mr and Mrs Smith:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolei in Echs versus Sever. Takes domestic violence to a new level. True lies was fun, this might be too.
Man of the House:
Tommy Lee Jones manages a hooters and fights aliens.
King's Ransom: Like Ransom, only ghetto and trying to be funny.
Even Jay Mohr doesn't help.
Kung Fu Hustle:
Could be this year's Shaolin Soccer. As a musical. <= that means see it.
Watermarks: if Swimming Upstream wasn't depressing enough here's a documentary about nazi swimmers.
The Final Cut:
A movie about what if memories could be erased.... hmmm...
Williams ins't the bad guy here, but it's another dark scary movie like the photomat one or patch adams.
Sahara: wants to be Raider of the Lost Ark, more like Jewel of the Nile. I haven't seen Ishtar so I won't draw comparisons. What was that Brooke Shields movie?
First daughter:
Poor litle rich girl movie. I like Katie Holmes, shame she got stuck with this.
It worked better with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
Dark Water: ick. scary/boring. not my genre.
Bride and Prejudice: Bollywood culture clash. This is a movie I would want to love, but I'm not sure.

Ah now here's a musical culture clash i can get into!
Schulze gets the blues:
Once upon a time, my ancestor Charlemagne ruled an empire including what is now france and germany, and at some point the accordian was invented. So Germany has oompah bands and fat guys who work in the mines. Meanwhile the french brought their accordians to quebec and wound up in arcadia and became cajuns. Schulte, bored and retired fromt he salt mine, hears some zydeco on the radio, and gets the blues.
Road trip! les bon temps roullez.

Rebound: martin lawrence as the gipper. could be one of his best movies yet. which would not be enough to get me to go see it.
Assisted Living: slacker hired at nursing home. cocoon, awakening, but with a heart.
Willy Wonka: It has Deppth, but the original was wilder.
Bewitched: The trailer just shows Nicole Kidman, with the theme song and the lip twitch thing. I think that's all it needs. When we were allowed to watch one hour of TV a day after school, bewitched was it, and whatever came on before or after.
Hostage: I an handle Bruce Willis in a shoot em up like this. It's when he tries for a serious role I don't care for him.
E.g. Sin City: has potential, but has bruce willis.
The New World: Jamestown 1607. Tries to show it from both cultures. Ambitious. Don't know yet if it works. The Emerald Forest did this well.

Friday, February 04, 2005

This just in -
A new york court has ok'd gay marriage.
Here we go again.
Hint: the "new york supreme court" which issued the ruling is not the top court in new york, so there will be an appeal.

manual high school is about three miles from here.
it made the drudgereport when cops attacked and maced students having a sit-in.

mp3 players for bagdad, and fixing the gay marriage issue.

Will Baude has a post called
"Admonished to draw near" which reminds me of Jay and the Americans
Come a little bit closer
You're my kind of man
So big and so strong
Come a little bit closer
I'm all alone
And the night is so long

His post is about using mp3 players for something actually useful - supreme court oral arguments.
I'm assuing the ipod is an mp3 player - at any rate these things are small, relatively cheap, have a lot of memory to store audio files.
Unlike most new technology, driven by pr0n, this market has been driven by music, mostly of the three minute hit single variety.
And music could be classified mostly as entertainment.
In the diamond age, neal stevenson writes about a notebook computer type thingy which is a teaching machine and virtual reality device. There's a plot device about millions of third world girls students turned into an army of mice, and that's a little weirder than I'm shooting for here.
But, let's say bush "wins" in iraq and afganistan, what then? A young country with lots of illiterate girls. One solution would be a peace corps - amanda and susan blogging from kazakstan gives insight to that world. But invariably that will result in beheaded or otherwise defiled corpspersons, and be labor intensive and limited.
They can be replaced by a machine. A generic massproduced mp3player could be a way to provide educational programming to girls in the third world. The koran, bible, socratic dialogs, english lessons,... content can be provided readily.
These things can store x hours of programming, and then be restocked anywhere there's net access, or sneakernet to net access.
Why girls? Because they tend to be underserved by current schooling. Maybe we double the expense of the program by giving them to boys too. But girls, given an opportunity to get an education, start having fewer kids and having higher hopes for the ones they do have. R strategy versus K strategy. (Elephants use R strategy - lots of investment per baby elephant. Spiders use K strategy, lots of baby spiders so it's ok that most of them die off.)
Maybe the funding for this comes from melinda gates foundation, where the programming on the non-apple mp3 player would have info on aids and malaria and hepatitis and so forth. Maybe it's government funded.
Can these things be subverted and used to promote fundamentalist jihad?
Of course. So it takes some faith in the "marketplace of ideas" approach to think that bringing the information revolution will be a net plus. What about batteries? I'm assuming some sort of solar charger or kinetic device would be needed.
So far, all I have is a handwaving idea. Like most of my ideas, it won't go anywhere, but ten years later I'll notice somebody somewhere has done that sort of thing independently. It could be scaled up gradually by being formalized into a business splan or grant aplication or project proposal. I think early development could be funded by the ad budgets of the companies that sell these things. The buzz about new applications for the technology would generate publicity to pay for the development cost. If actually implemented, you are reaching a whole new market of potential consumers.
update: i'm now listening to watchtower v stratton.

Ok, on to my next rant - fixing the gay marriage issue.
I've been asking this for years, but it takes on a new urgency after November.
For the fans of gay marriage:
What exactly is it that you want from gay marriage that you can't get from a well drafted partnership agreement?
Now, it may be that indeed there are a few things not reachable by a partnership agreement - but 90% or more of what you get from legal gay marriage can be handled this way.
Partnerships are well recognized, have a thousand years of history behind them, are flexible enough to handle almost any situation. Judges are going to be supportive if Ohio tries to ban partnerships.
What I'm looking for right now is a
model open source domestic partnership agreement.
Findlaw Forms probably has a few basic partnership agreements that could be customized. The purpose of the agreement is to create a legal structure for running a household. It's not about sex. You could have a domestic partnership agreement between two brothers, or three college roommates, or whatever.
The partnership then could do things - buy a house. Become the guardian of a child.
Hire an accountant and file taxes. Plan for retirement and medical care.
The fundies would have no reason to object to these arrangements, and no basis to deny them to gay couples any more than to anyone else. While I'm proposing these specificly to deal with the current controversy over gay marriage, these would be useful for anyone forming a household - other-sex people living together, other-sex people getting married. The partnership agreement there would function as a prenuptual agreement, simplifying divorce, but more importantly simplifying marriage, by spelling things out.
The model agreement would be a fill in the blank kind, easily customized.
I don't know if this already exists. I'm confident something like it does, where
"something like it" is vague and flexible.
I will hit "post", then go look for examples.
Then I think I'll walk to the store and buy some decaf. Decaf at the local store costs a lot more ($3? $5?) than regular, which is $1 for 4 ounces of a drinkable instant coffee, but I think I've been overdoing it.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

word for the day: whataboutery.
origin: david vellman. useage: a rhetorical device of shouting, look, behind you! instead of addressing a point.

This just in:
Torquemada confirmed as Attorney General, 60-38.

Sao Tome and Principe
I thought I knew my small island nations - used to be a hobby of mine, but I'd missed these - smallest country in Africa. 200,000 people, newly oil rich, no US trade presence to speak of. Next elections 2006, new at the whole elections game. Average age 16. Principe is autonomous, the smaller island. Mostly raises cocoa for the Netherlands.Ave income around 1,000/yr. About 10,000 of the local currency to the dollar. So the average islander is a millionaire by their standards.
This isn't anything I plan to do anything with.
The usual opportunities are there... consulates, trade missions, flag of convenience, golf course, political party, spaceport, numismatics, ...
It was listed in Sasha Volokh's song of countries.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

heavy mettle

slashdot epigrams
(possibly wise or funny)
1. The first rule of PATRIOT act is do not talk about PATRIOT act
2. "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." -- Goethe
This is from an article about painting your lightsail for quicker mars trips.

Baby it's cold outside.
My method for dealing with february:
instapundit how appealing slashdot tehsoapbox.net.
Should do the trick.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Geez, how long have i had this blog? i dimly remember i may have written about farnsworth once.
not the restatement of contracts farnsworth who died today, but philo t farnsworth, inventor of the television. it's a heck of a story. idaho plowboy, about 1915.
and he's about 15. in his spare time, he reads einstein on relativity. he has the mules hitched up and he's plowing the field when it hits him. what if he could get a stream of electrons to go across a screen like a couple of mules plowing a field? only faster.
the resulting pixels could paint a moving image on the screen.
so, like, ten years later he has a working model and goes to get a patent, and sets off to try to find somebody to manufacture the thingy. and somebody else steals the idea and the glory, and david sarnoff ends up rubnning the show, and tv turns into a monster, and farnsworth dies a bitter broken man. it would make a heck of a movie.

I don't follow sports. I don't even follow the sub-genres, like sports related crime,
or sports-related politics.
But I think I heard something about the Montreal Expos got outsourced and moved to DC,
perhaps because labor is cheaper and environmental regulations are lax.
There was some discussion of what the new name would be - my vote was for the Expatriots. They are now called the nationals, and the new papers has shorted that to the Nats. So, a friendly amendment - how about the Gnats?
Sort of a buzzword.

I'm going to cheat a little on the 50 books challenge and start including books I haven't read cover to cover.
yesterday, after a good nmeeting with my lawyer, i was downtown with time to kill so i stopped into the library, looking for books about the kennedies, and wound up reading "the funnies", a book about newspaper comics. several chapters on krazy kat and ignatz, and a chapter by walt kelly.

Instapundit points to a new DC newspaper.
Katharine Graham's "personal history" was a story about how her father bought the washington post, nursed it to health, and how her husband then she made it the dominant paper in town, rivaled only by the washington times, an openly conservative paper.
Maybe there's soemthing local that caters to the black community that makes up more than 1/2 of DC, I don't know.
So it's interesting to see a new paper. In the post-drudge world, I think it would be easier than ever to start a paper. Do it online first,then print and deliver one you have a fan base established. This isn't too different from my great great grandfather hiram's newspaper, the switch - it's always been possible for one person to get ahold of a printing press and crank out their own paper.
I remember trying to explain circa 1980 to the folks at Delaware Alternative Press how much easier it was to typeset an article online rather than with a manual typewriter.
I'm reminded another thing about "the funnies." Ben Franklin didn't invent them.
There were comic book versions of punch and judy in the 1600's, and comic art from roman times. But he was an innovator, a pioneer of the modern american editorial cartoon.

7 1L. still on chapter 1.
6 The Funnies. [edited anthology]
5 The Kennedeys, David Horowitz
4 Speaking Truth to Power, Kerry Kennedey [cuomo]
3 Personal History, Katharine Graham
2 American Gods, Neil Gaiman.
1 Pattern Recognition, William Gibson.

ukrainian story puts the pun in instapundit.

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