Thursday, June 28, 2007

crossposted at volokh
I noticed today that the plaintiff in the Bong hits for Jesus case claimed that the school district violated his right to free speech under the US and Alaska constitutions. The Ninth Circu[it] declined to address the state grounds, deciding on First Amendment grounds, which were reversed by the Supremes. Thus, his case should remain live, on the question of whether his speech was protected by the Alaska constitution.
§ 5. Freedom of Speech

Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

§ 6. Assembly; Petition

The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government shall never be abridged.

I just had some mail from the Mertz law firm in response to my inquiry on this point:
Douglas Mertz
to me
11:45 pm (33 minutes ago)
I'll be conferring with Joe Frederick on that
point next week. If we go ahead to seek a ruling
on the protections of the state constitution,
we'll naturally emphasize the greater protections
in the Alaska Constitution, but we'd also seek to
make even clearer the fact that Joe had a serious
intent -- protesting the lack of free speech in
his school and community -- and was not in any
way promoting or commenting on drugs. The
Supreme Court majority opinion hangs together
only by using the tactic of ignoring the evidence
in the record on those points. It is somewhat
premature to know what help we can use, however,
other than to keep the issue alive by urging
local and state governments and school boards to
advance policies that do more to protect rights
than the minimums under the Supreme Court decision.
Thanks for your note.

At 06:58 PM 6/28/2007, you wrote:
>Hi. I write an obscure blog.
>I'm writing to ask if you are planning to pursue the state
>constitutional claim in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case, now that the
>federal question has been lost.
>If yes, is there anything people could/should do in support, amici,
>donations, publicity etc?
>Thanks in advance,
>Robbin Stewart.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rube Goldberg device video.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Because I've done nothing at all this week, I've been killing time on the internet and run into the rare situation where the links in my blogroll aren't enough.
So the next step is I go to the blogrolls of blogs I'm linked to, such as volokh and bashman, to blogs I should have on my blogroll but haven't gotten around to, partly because they are only an extra click away. John Scalzi's Whatever blog was entertaining - he's raised $5000 for charity in exchange for a promise to visit the kentucky anti-evolution museum. Meanwhile it's been a day of giant water bug coming into my bedroom and currently a cicada is trying to bash its way through the window screen.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What I'm reading: Who moved my Cheese?
It's short; I just read it in the bathtub. It is a parable and an allegory. It's a self-help book about how we process change.
My favorite self-help books do this; use simple stories that demonstrate profound truths. The Richest Man in Babylon, the Gospels, Aesop's Fables (Ethiopian talking animal stories), all do this. The Celestine Prophesy is a bit more complex,and then you move into the realm of didatic fiction such as Heinlein or the utopian novels.
Anyway, it's about these two mice, and one day the cheese has moved, so one of the mice goes to find new cheese. Fairly simple.
It's prefaced with a backstory of a few friends meeting for dinner and drinks at which the story of the mice is told, to make it clear that it's an allegory. It's further prefaces with lists of what other best-selling business self-help books the guy's written, to make it harder to miss the point.
It's a treatise on Austrian economics. Neoclassical, Keynsian and Marxists economics are mostly about managing static economies, but the Austrian insight is that economics is about evolution,and dealing with change. As the singularity approaches, it should be increasingly obvious that the Austrians are on to something.

During my life, I've sometimes had jobs that I understood were short term, while I've had other jobs that I thought of as careers. I've sometimes held the short term jobs longer than the career jobs. I'm well aware that my current employment is temporary, for a year or two in this industry, a few weeks at any given gig. Becoming a lawyer has sort of locked me into a situation where I'm not going to go back to being a dishwasher, but I don't have a paying law job either, so I've been coasting.
Recently I've been .. I have a shortage of get up and go; I take the path of least resistance and don't try to do much. I haven't always been that way.
Same with relationships; I had a girlfriend 20 years ago to 15 years ago, who I still feel emotionally invested in, in ways that I don't feel about, for example, the guy who called earlier and might want a date tonight. (He had to work last night and stood me up for the play.) Anyway, the book is about change, and how we deal with it.
I liked it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Todays's steven hawking joke: steven hawking is as smart as a 2 year old.

singularity watch: rumors of an alzheimer's cure.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

what i'm reading: action philosophers comics #8.

I figured my nephews would have a myspace page for their awesome metal band. Yup.
Luckily, I don't have audio on this computer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marc Andresssen on sf today:
Charlie Stross, John Scalzi, Vernor Vinge, and some people I haven't heard of.
I still remember a wired headline "Bill Gates wants to be the next Marc Andreessen."

I have a date friday night, which means i can expect to get stood up*, to see
Southern Baptist Sissies at Theatre on the Square.
That's Dannon Crews, one of the cast, and Del Shores, the playwright. *http://www.stripcreator.com/comics/arbi/398813

Yahoo bought Flickr, and broke it. I wanted to view some guy's portfolio,and it's telling me I have to sign up for an account. Screw that. Millions of people used flckr because Yahoo photos no longer worked. Sigh. Update: Hmm. Or maybe that set has been deleted. Flickr otherwise seems to be working.

For instance, Matthew Bindle's portfolio.

GQ's May issue has a great story about a 13 year old minor league manager. It's fiction, too well written to be true.
The also have Kylie in a tennis outfit (nsfw)
I couldn't find their article on salvia online. Salvia is the latest drug fad. wsj article.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Where are they now department:
Hasen gives a lot of coverage to the Brad Blog's coverage of Thor Hearne's voter ID efforts. Brad had a recent post crossposted to Fired Up! Missouri. I thought to myself, isn't that Roy Temple's blog? Roy was briefly in my law school class at Mizzou before becoming a honcho with the Carnahan campaign. Former senator Jean Carnahan also helps run Fired Up! That got me thinking about Jean's son Tom, who was a friend of mine at Mizzou. I thought maybe google would turn him up. It did. He's running a wind farm company. This year they are putting online enough wind power for 100,000 people. This is cool news. Wind has gone from pipe dream to solid conservative investment in just the last few years, so it's nice to see somebody I knew, getting a piece of that pie.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Water shortage in US due to climate change.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Right now this is a just a rough note for a future entry on genome decoding.
The institute and its international partners have already sequenced -- or have been approved to sequence -- the genomes of several non-human primates, including the chimpanzee, rhesus macaque, orangutan, marmoset and the gorilla.
"The gibbon genome sequence will provide researchers with crucial information when comparing it to the human genome sequence....

Let's see, we've got men, mice, fruit flies, sea urchins. Dogs? Two specific people, craig venter and i forget the other one, steve ballmer? No aardvarks yet.
rats.I don't mean rattus rattus, i mean, darn. i lost the second half of this post, which listed more species that have been genemapped. Cave bears, poplar tree, amoeba, sundry bacteria, oyster mushroom and other fungi, fugu fish, the sea squirt, some worms, corn rice sorghum soybeans.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Levy-watch department:
Via Howard I learned that former crescateer jeremy blachman, aka anonymous lawyer, has a blog again. It's not rip-roaring funny, but has a nice voice, personal and humble. He gets bad service* at an indian restaurant, forgets to bring his passport to canada, worries about stuttering at a book reading, worries about parallel parking, gets a comment from dr laura, likes a book about chess which he doesn't play**.
*"Come on, I will get you dessert, I will go in the back, let me bring you dessert," the waiter says, forcefully, as if he has already poisoned it for us.
**I don't even really know how one wins a game of chess... I know it has to do with capturing the queen, but I have no idea what you do to put yourself in that position, and I've never actually played a game of chess at all.
Festival downtown today, saw a bunch of people I know and thousands I didn't. Off to Ann Arbor for a few weeks work. I'll either blog a lot or not much, depending on computer access; I haven't picked up a laptop yet.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Secure building against raptors.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It isn't just me: this was the hottest spring in 30 years, the paper says, even including the April cold snap that killed my hibiscus. Partly I'll need to start turning off the monitor and tv when not in use.
I finally planted today, squashes and cantelope, okra, sunflower, peas, pansies, zukes, pumpkins, corn, cosmos. I have a few tomato and potato plants I started earlier, and some herbs that came up on their own. I got the gig in Ann Arbor that I'd looked into last week, and made an appointment to interview in Wisconsin for a gig in July, so I'm on track to make my minimum goal of at least $10,000 earned income this year. A five-figure income that covers my basic needs while I spend most of my time online, and a comparable amount of unearned income, so I can start rebuilding my liquid assets - had some irs troubles last year that gave me a liquidity problem. I'm now going to take my shovel and steal a mint plant from my neighbor, who thinks they are weeds.
What I'm reading: Clausewitz, On War. Because I've misplaced my book on japan.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

At the xkcd forum, there's a discussion of microstates, a hobby of mine, and a mention of dean kamen's dumpling island. the local town council wouldn't let him put up a windmill, so he secceded and now has his windmill. This blog is getting 20-30 hits a day, which approximately equals google noise, so it's safe to assume no one's reading.

googlemania: ipo price: $85, 2004. Today, $520.
Macular degeneration curable by stem cells?
My mother has macular degeneration. She's in her late 70s. She's an avid reader, so loss of her sight is a major lifestyle problem. A couple of laser operations have helped. This article suggests that a cure is 5 years away. She, like the rest of us, is in a race with time, aging versus technological change. I'm 47. My major risk factors are cancer or getting run over by a bus. If I don't get cancer for the next 20 years, it may be curable by then, even if the singularity hasn't yet arrived.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another slashdot post:
FCC Indecency Ruling Struck Down
Journal written by arbitraryaardvark (845916) and posted by Zonk on Tuesday June 05, @10:04AM
from the mebbe-everybody-should-calm-down dept.
Television Censorship United States Politics
arbitraryaardvark writes "Reuters reports that the 2nd circuit has struck down the FCC's recent ruling on indecency, in a case brought by Fox. The court said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission was 'arbitrary and capricious' in setting a new standard for defining indecency. 'Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin angrily retorted that he found it "hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that 'sh*t' and 'f@ck' are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience ... If we can't restrict the use (of the two obscenities) during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want," Martin said in a statement.' No word yet on whether the agency will appeal.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm blogging more than usual today because i'm not doing anything useful.
2nd circuit strikes down FCC indecency rules.

From Crescat I surf to Margin Revolutions, where there is a link to language log, which has an article on two genes that two scientists think might be related to whether a given population uses a tonal or non-tonal language. The newer gene variants tend to be found more often in places where non-tonal languages, like english, are used.
Apparently in cultures which have tonal languages, all kids can learn it, but adults from non-tonal cultures may have untrained ears and have a hard time learning tonal languages. One reason I haven't moved to thailand.
So from there I read some links about tonedeafness. I have an untrained ear. I found this out in 8th grade when I couldn't tune a guitar, and this was reinforced in 9th grade when I was thrown out of choir.
I don't have the speakers working on this machine, so I wasn't able to take the pitch tests that are out there online. The articles say pitch is something that can be learned - I just need something remedial enough to get started with.
If this were a longer rant, I would tell the Dr Hoffstetter story,about a guy who wanted to teach ear training,and wound up helping develop a whole computer-based education system, back in the days of big iron before personal computers. He was ahead of his time,and the project fell apart, but that's where I caught the bug of wanting to be an online journalist, which I am, if in a very small way, with this blog no one reads, and an income of $100 today.
Meanwhile, it seems my roommate is probably in jail,and I suppose I should go visit him at some point. His dad stopped by and we compared notes.

language log. http://www.thismodernworld.com/

Will Baude has ended his blogging career, as we know it at least. He also graduated Yale, had his 1 millionth blog hit,and will be clerking for the 10th circuit. Probably will apply to clerk at the supreme court next year. Jacob Levy was spotted in the comments to the last post.
I think, for most of us, blogging is over. Not sure what I'll do next. Did I mention I won $100 today for a forum post? It's a new forum at an ad-driven site on a topic I follow closely, so I thought I had a good chance of winning. But I'll need to do a bit more with my life than blogging. Not sure what's next; I can't seem to make the practice of law work for me, my current gig will be ok for a year or two but is not a long term thing, I don't want to go back to washing dishes,and I haven't figured out how to make money fast on the internet,as some friends have done.

soccer-playing elephant video.

I just won $100 for a post I made to an internet site last month.
I always knew there would be big money in the computer industry for me.

Crystal Rain - first third of acclaimed sf novel online.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

coffee art video

The internet as a series of tubes:
arbitrary aardvark>
laughing squid>
billboard liberation>
>my first 8 drains by ninjalicious:
I resolved to bring a hat and a marker next time. In spite of such obstacles, it was tempting to continue further and further up Metal Cave, because we had a suspicion that this drain's Really Cool Thing would turn up just a few meters beyond the point where we gave up. The sad fact is that drains often don't end well. They go on forever, or they just get really small. Very rarely is there a big checkered flag and a trophy waiting for you at the end. And the rooms full of naked women are really few and far between. The reward really has to be in the doing, rather than in the completion.
Meanwhile, today I went rollerskating and to a vietnamese grocery warehouse and dropped off my car at the backyard mechanic and am waiting for him to bring it back.

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