Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

I Blame the CIA Mind Control Rays

New FBI statistics show that the “number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.”

How significantly? Robberies are down 17.5% in the last two years. In cities with less than 10,000 residents, murders were down 25% last year. Nationally, murders are down 4.4% from last year.

The Sentencing Law and Policy Blog speculates why people are getting along so well. My favorite: “modern technology like the internet and HD TV leads a lot more people to spend a lot less time in crime-prone areas (like outside).”

Published in The News on

Missed it by That Much

Herman Cain, Constitutional scholar and Presidential hopeful:

“We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution. … And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those who are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”

The “little section” he’s talking about is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Because otherwise, this wouldn’t be funny.

Published in Irreverently Irrelevant on

Download All of the Internets

From Boing Boing:

The Boston Globe reports that AMC, National Amusements, and Regal cinema chains are leaving 3D projector lenses on for 2D movies. This means that the projected image is polarized and far dimmer than it should be. The chains won’t acknowledge that they’re doing it, but one quoted insider says its an “unspoken” corporate policy. Given that your HD TV set shows it just fine, and your living room doesn’t smell of weaponized butter, aren’t they driving customers to piracy?

Try this for irony: one reason operators hate changing lenses is reportedly because of crippling DRM on Sony’s digital projectors, which “will shut down on you” if a mistake is made when resetting the system. So, they just don’t change them, because serving a ruined product is better than serving no product at all.

You know guys, it’s really hard to sympathize with your dwindling ticket sales when you do stupid stuff like this. Also, I’m using the phrase “weaponized butter” next time I go squint at see a movie.

Published in The News on

Resume Sent

A couple months back, I ran a conference about the future of legal education. The legal industry is undergoing a massive restructuring; entry-level legal jobs are being automated in ever greater numbers. As it turns out, paying someone $160,000 a year to search through documents is slightly absurd these days. Computers do all that work, and you don’t need to pay them, because all they eat is old peoples’ medicine.

One guy is streets ahead on this whole thing, and has formed a law firm with our future overlords. The coolest law firm ever: Robot, Robot & Hwang.

Published in Irreverently Irrelevant on

A Tangled Web

Wikileaks employee leaks Wikileaks NDA; universe implodes upon itself. From the New Statesman blog:

“This blog has previously described the bizarre legal world of WikiLeaks where, for example, the organisation claims some form of commercial ownership over the information that has been leaked to it.

“Today, the New Statesman can reveal the extent of this legal eccentricity as we publish a copy of the draconian and extraordinary legal gag that WikiLeaks imposes on its own staff.

“Clause 5 of this ‘Confidentiality Agreement’ (PDF) imposes a penalty of ‘£12,000,000 – twelve million pounds sterling’ on anyone who breaches this legal gag.

“This ludicrous – and undoubtedly unenforceable – amount is even based on ‘a typical open market valuation’ for the leaked information that WikiLeaks possesses.

“This phraseology is consistent with WikliLeaks’s perception of itself as a commercial organisation in the business of owning and selling leaked information. Indeed, there is no other sensible way of interpreting this penalty clause.”

The confidentiality agreement is itself under a separate confidentiality provision; even talking about it is a breach. Stay classy, Wikileaks.

Published in The News on

Overzealous

I read a humorous article last week regarding the Florida senate outlawing sex with animals. The late night comedy show punchlines were “can you believe sex with animals has been legal in Florida this whole time?”

This week, Southern Fried Science points out that the act outlaws sex with all animals, including humans. The specific statutory language reads:

A person may not knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.

Most people who’ve taken middle school biology will understand that humans are a kind of animal. The act itself fails to define animal, but SFS helpfully includes a chart confirming that human beings are, in fact, animals. For my part, I will now present Betty White rapping about humanity’s place in the animal kingdom on the fantastic show Community.

Published in The News on