Recent Articles

My attorney will only pay attention to my case two minutes per day.

My attorney will only pay attention to my case two minutes per day.

| February 27, 2007 | Reply

Missouri’s overloaded public defender system is threatening to stop taking new cases, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  This is “an unprecedented move that could put courts from St. Louis to Kansas City into turmoil.” With an average workload of 305 cases, the lawyers who represent 80 percent of the state’s criminal defendants say they are […]

Read More

Poop song

Poop song

| February 27, 2007 | 2 Replies

I’ve previously written about the enormous number of synonyms for poop, speculating on why there are so many synonyms. I don’t know if my suggestions were convincing to others, but the issue still intrigues me. As an epilogue to that earlier post, I offer this video, one of many elaborate musical numbers comprising a truly […]

Read More

Inconvenient federal prosecutors

Inconvenient federal prosecutors

| February 27, 2007 | 16 Replies

According to a little noticed change in the Patriot Act, the Bush administration is firing (not promoting or commending) some of its star prosecutors. Why? Because they became inconvenient. Worse, the fired prosecutors have all been replaced with political hacks whose jobs will include NOT prosecuting law-breaking friends of the Administration, among other nefarious duties. […]

Read More

Seeing with one’s tongue

Seeing with one’s tongue

| February 27, 2007 | 2 Replies

What is the name of that organ we use to see? The brain, of course. Admittedly, our eyes are critically important for interpreting light rays, at least for those who have eyes that work. For those whose eyes don’t work, however, hope is on the way. Using a special device consisting of a camera and […]

Read More

Bush’s new plans for Iran, Syria and Lebanon

Bush’s new plans for Iran, Syria and Lebanon

| February 25, 2007 | Reply

If you want to sleep well and not worry about Bush’s new plans for the Middle East, don’t read this New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh: “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” 

Read More

The U.S. should stop characterizing China as an inevitable military threat.

The U.S. should stop characterizing China as an inevitable military threat.

| February 25, 2007 | 3 Replies

Dick Cheney and other conservatives constantly warn us of the “China threat.”  Check out these headlines and articles: Chinese bid for Unocal, Pentagon worries over military spending lead to fresh discussion of Chinese ‘threat’.  Revving Up the China Threat  US exaggerates China defense – report Cheney, the Neocons and China  This belligerent U.S. attitude that […]

Read More

Stop your paltering!

Stop your paltering!

| February 25, 2007 | 2 Replies

You don’t know the word “palter”?  I didn’t either, until I read a recent paper by Frederick Schauer and Richard J. Zeckhauser of Harvard.  The paper’s abstract defines this incredibly useful term, palter: Abstract:      A lie involves three elements: deceptive intent, an inaccurate message, and a harmful effect. When only one or two of these […]

Read More

To the Power of N

To the Power of N

| February 24, 2007 | 2 Replies

This is not about math. I just had a pre-somnolent image of a cluster of words that I just have to let out. In less pretentious language: I thought of this as I dozed off last night. “A mnemonic pneumonic gnu’s knees.” Nglish is a weird language. Note that of the 4 words that are […]

Read More

Is it theoretically possible to be unselfish?

Is it theoretically possible to be unselfish?

| February 23, 2007 | 3 Replies

Such a strange question to ask!  Here’s what brought it on.  Yesterday, I attended a lecture by Sarah Brosnan, a post-doc who works with Frans de Waal at Emory University (I’ve written about de Waal’s work several times).  Brosnan’s lecture, “Fairness and Prosocial Behavior in Non-Human Primates,” was sponsored by the Washington University School of […]

Read More