Category Archives: Blogs

Palsgraf, Circa 1933

Torts mavens will like this posting about the immediate reception of Palsgraf v. Long Island R. Co., a Cardozo decision that is arguably the most famous US tort case about causation.

I happen to hate Palsgraf for all sorts of reasons, not least what I consider the opinion’s dishonesty, and try to teach it as fast as I reasonably can. Even so, or perhaps particularly so, it’s fun to read the account of what a contemporary hornbook, James M. Henderson’s Questions and Answers with Problems and Illustrative Matter on the Law of Torts, Based on all the Standard Text and Case Books made of it back in 1933.

This is an early effort from a promising legal history blog,, one that seems to offer just about the right mix of history, whimsey, and obscurantism.

Posted in Blogs, Tort | 1 Comment

Random Life Advice

Business pundit Seth Godin offers some almost-random advice tips:

  1. No stranger or unknown company will ever contact you by mail or by phone with an actual method for making money easily or in your spare time. And if the person or company contacting you asserts that they are someone you know, double check before taking action.
  2. Don’t have back surgery. See a physiatrist first, then exhaust all other options before wondering if you should have back surgery.
  3. Borrow money to buy things that go up in value, but never to get something that decays over time.
  4. Placebos are underrated by almost everyone.
  5. It’s almost never necessary to use a semicolon.
  6. Seek out habits that help you overcome fear or inertia. Destroy those that do the opposite.
  7. Cognitive behavorial therapy is generally considered both the quickest and most effective form of addressing many common psychological problems.
  8. Backup your hard drive.
  9. Get a magnetic key hider, put a copy of your house key in it and hide it really well, unlabeled, two blocks from your house.
  10. A rice cooker will save you time and money and improve your diet, particularly if you come to like brown rice.
  11. Consider not eating wheat for an entire week. The results might surprise you.
  12. Taking your dog for a walk is usually better than whatever alternative use of your time you were considering.

I guess I’d endorse ## 1, 6, 8 & 10. I’m not at all on board with # 5, although it’s certainly the case that many people get them wrong. [Update: And why is it wrong to borrow to buy a car, so long as you understand how it depreciates?]

Maybe I’ll start accumulating a list and post it some day. Once in class, I told my students to make a will, especially if they had kids or assets, and was shocked by how many got a startled look in their eyes.

Meanwhile, what’s your best piece of random life advice?

Posted in Blogs | 4 Comments

Blogging: The Rules (per Jonathan Rauch)

My friend Jonathan Rauch discloses his plans.

While I’m blogging, I’m going to try to observe a few rules.

1) No second drafts. There isn’t time.

2) No reporting. There isn’t money.

3) Factuality is approximate.

4) Crabbiness is allowed.

I think he could be quite good at it.

Posted in Blogs | 2 Comments

I Don’t Believe It

Grant McCracken, my favorite contemporary ethnographer-provocateur, writes:

We are adding a new name to our blog roll. Please welcome Ruby Kariela. Ruby is 10 and I believe this makes her the youngest ethnographer working today. I like to think of her as “reporting from childhood” but she will have her own way of describing what she does. Please visit her blog at here.

Visiting the blog, you might see an extraordinarily precocious ten-year-old. Or not. While I just might buy most of it, I cannot believe that a ten-year-old would think to use one of my favorite bizzaro cultural incidents from 1986 as the title for a blog post. I suppose it is vaguely possible she heard the 2008 REM song, but I doubt it.

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The Road Not Taken

If and when someone smart writes the obituary of the by then late and unlamented Miami Herald, she will point to this moment in 2000 when the Herald had a chance to make a turnaround hire, and didn't.

Earlier relevant posts:

Posted in Blogs, The Media | 1 Comment


I, for one, salute our new South Florida blog overlords.

Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

Phil Agre Found

Missing Internet Pioneer Phil Agre Is Found; the original report says “found safe”, but there seems to be uncertainty about that among his fans and friends.

Earlier post: Where's Phil Agre?

Posted in Blogs, Internet | Leave a comment