Trump in Your Head

Folks from Miami make a video about Donald Trump:

Could be better, but it’s a start and it has its moments.

The Miami Herald has more details about whodunnit.

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | Leave a comment

Soon We’re All (Economic) Robots

Uber 2.0: Human Self-Driving Cars on Stratechery by Ben Thompson is the most interesting thing I’ve read about Uber in some time. Maybe ever.

Posted in So-called Sharing Economy | Leave a comment

MiamiLaw Enrollments Jump 30+%

Our first year class is up about 30% and LSATs are (officially) the same as last year. In fact, they look a bit stronger, but not enough to move the US News needle. If the trend were to continue, however, we could potentially raise them next year.

We matriculated more than 310 students this year; last year we matriculated about 240. We’re told that all the other indicators, e.g. minority enrollment 46% (dominated by Hispanic students), also are basically indistinguishable from last year. I gather that 2L transfers in were also notably higher than transfers out — although the #1 student in the class inexplicably chose to transfer to Yale Law.

These astonishing and (to me at least) unexpected admission numbers are good news — great news — for the law school’s finances and near-term future. Last year, despite suffering a smaller drop in applications than the national average, we under-admitted to keep up academic standards. This year thanks to increases in applications and in yield over last year we did not need to do that: we now have approximately the number of students in the first year class needed for long-run financial health at steady-state — at a size considerably smaller than our peak 1L classes. Those used to run at a gargantuan 380 … and sometimes more when yield fluctuations caught us by surprise.

I hope, of course, that these numbers translate into good news for our graduates three years from now. That means work for them, and for those of us on the faculty too.

In one way, however, the numbers are not quite as great news for me: there are 41 students in my Torts class where last year there would have been 30. It’s a bit more crowded in there.

The interesting question, though, is why? Why were our applications and yield and up so sharply this year, in what I expect must be well above national trend given the number of LSAT takers?

At present, I have only one idea, and it’s not one that I hold with much confidence: perhaps the lag time for gains in US New rank to reflect in student choices is much longer than we think. Results come out in Spring before the deadline for students to choose a school. Even so, by that point they’ve already decided where to apply, and many may also also have decided their priority list or even sent in a deposit. So this year’s outcomes are a product not of last year’s rankings but of at least the last two year’s rankings, and maybe more. (Please note that I’m not in any way endorsing the US News rankings method, nor the idea that a sensible student would place weigh on anything more than a very large variation in the rankings. That said, it’s conventional wisdom that prospective students care a lot about even small deviations.)

To have any shot at a better guess, I’ll need to know more about the national data. I hear rumors of a diverse set of outcomes at other law schools — some also did well some not so well. We have some nice new programs, but they’re small; the football team is doing better, but it still doesn’t feel quite like championship material, so those traditional explanations seem insufficient to explain a jump of this magnitude. I do know that our Admissions office worked really, really hard, but then they worked pretty hard last year too. The law school gave out more scholarships, which also must have contributed to the jump, although from what I hear we are nowhere near what Brian Leiter suggests may be a national average of 48% for private law schools.

Whatever the reason for Miami Law’s enrollment rebound, I’m happy about it. I just wish I knew the cause so I could bottle it.

How did your law school do?

Posted in Law School, U.Miami | Leave a comment

Something-ization of Society Continues (Luxe)

Luxe.

Should I call this phenomenon “Uberization” or “TaskRabbitization”? The first is catchier, the second maybe more accurate. Whatever it is, it’s deeply classist and to some apparently devilishly useful.

Also, I note the existence of an AirBnB web aesthetic developing here, in which certain kinds of companies have these scary good graphics — with no visible lines separating text from the fills-most-of-your-monitor video. And the videos depict somewhat-nicer-than-normal people using the stuff they are pushing. Spooky. And runs on a pretty long loop.

Posted in Econ & Money, So-called Sharing Economy | Leave a comment

Bingo

“If you think privacy is unimportant for you because you have nothing to hide, you might as well say free speech is unimportant for you because you have nothing useful to say.” (source)

I have seen this attributed to Edward Snowden but I’ve also seen it said that his original was “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” (Snowden in this reddit interview.) Either way it’s good.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Law: Privacy | 1 Comment

Beyond Trumperdome

This kind of talk, from a WashPo piece quoting supporters at yesterday’s rally, is what powers the Trump machine:

Cheryl Burns, 60, was on a road trip from California when she heard that Trump would be in Alabama. She turned her car around and got in line, warning people of what happened to states when liberals took them over.

“There is no more California,” Burns said. “It’s now international, lawless territory. Everything is up for grabs. Illegal aliens are murdering people there. People are being raped. Trump isn’t lying about anything — the rest of the country just hasn’t found out yet.”

Various online commentators have suggested that the two attackers of a homeless Hispanic man in Boston, who cited Trump as their motivation, are the forerunners of American Brownshirts. And, certainly, Trump’s weak initial reaction was yet another indication of his general ugliness. Trump did get around to a proper condemnation of the attack after two days; either Trump didn’t want to upset his base, or (equally likely) he’s terribly staffed: either is pretty bad.

As a big fan of It Can’t Happen Here, I’m always alert for those brown signals, but I didn’t find nearly as strong signal in the actions of a couple of thugs (so long as it remains just a couple…) as I do in quotes like the one above. If large numbers of voters are living a reality-distortion zone in which California is now Mad Max land, anything is possible.

Posted in 2016 Election, Politics: The Party of Sleaze, Politics: Tinfoil | Leave a comment

Cynic.al Indeed

The new Ashley Madison Hack lookup tool is at https://ashley.cynic.al/.

As the site notes, just because an email is in there doesn’t prove the person who uses it signed up. But I would find it at least suggestive once we have some evidence that the DB itself is the real thing. (I suppose this doesn’t suffice.)

Thirty-six million — 36 million! — names in the hacked Ashley Madison database? Perhaps North Americans really are not that different from the French when it comes to affairs, just sneakier.

That said, (unlike some and some more) I don’t look forward to an orgy of outing with much pleasure, and think it likely will hurt more people than it helps. I guess I believe that at least in some cases, although certainly not all, the pig really is happier than Socrates.

Posted in Internet, Law: Privacy | Leave a comment