Monthly Archives: May 2017

Very Cool Use of Technology

Build 2017: Project Emma is a watch-sized device with tiny motors in them that ‘short circuit’ the brain-body feedback look that seems to cause tremors in suffers of Parkinson’s Disease.

It was created by Haiyan Zhang, the Innovation Director at Microsoft Research. More details at betanews.

Spotted via Slashdot.

See the video:

Posted in Science/Medicine, Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Leave a comment

The Comey Firing (Updated)

I have to agree with almost everything in the letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Comey botched the Clinton email disclosures and deserves to be fired for it.

Of course, this being Trump’s World, and given the suggestive timing of the firing, one cannot help but suspect an ulterior motive.  Unwillingness to share raw investigatory data relating to counter-intelligence regarding Russia?

Update: Of course the whole world has known about the issues about Comey’s treatment of Clinton. It is hard to believe it took over 100 days to decide to fire him over that. CNN says Trump decided Comey had to go a week ago and told Justice to come up with a reason. What was happening a week ago? Why, this. Sounds like enough to set Trump off, doesn’t it?

And, of course, it’s the coverup (or appearance of one) that gets you more than the crime. People in DC are already seeing a rerun of the Saturday Night Massacre, and calling for a special prosecutor. The law is different these days, so special prosecutors have less formal independence than they did in the post-Nixon reforms. Indeed, their independence is just about what it was in the Nixon years: not enough to prevent their firing, but enough to cause a crisis if it happens.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Trump | 5 Comments

Corporate Social Responsibility

Every day Tiffany & Co runs an ad at the top of page three of the New York Times. For as long as I can remember the ad has been for overpriced baubles, interspersed with the occasional holiday message. Today, however, the ad looked like this:

Tiffany Supports Paris Agreement

Posted in Global Warming | Leave a comment

The Sandwich Alignment Chart as a Teaching Device (Updated)

I think I could teach a terrific law class around the sandwich alignment chart. Students so often underrate the problem of assigning meaning to (or deriving meaning from) words.

Sandwich alignment chart

For what it’s worth, temperamentally I seem to be mostly an ingredient purist, except that I would count a burrito as a sandwich. I might count myself as more ingredient neutral, in that a chip butty does look like a sandwich, except that they are so disgusting no one should eat one.

I should also note that there is actually a case about this exact issue, White City Shopping Center, LP v. PR Restaurants, LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rptr. 565 (Massachusetts Superior Court for Worcester County, 2006). There was a shopping mall agreement that allowed a Panera Bread franchise to object to the opening of businesses in the mall “that primarily sell sandwiches”. The issue was whether a Qdoba, makers of burritos and tacos, was caught by that provision. Judge Jeffery Locke held that–at least as regards the interpretation of that contract–a burrito was not a sandwich. For more on the issue see Marjorie Florestal, Is a Burrito a Sandwich? Exploring Race, Class and Culture in Contracts, 14 Mich. J. Race & Law 1 (2008).

Some people think words have absolute meanings. Others think they are cultural. I tend to the cultural, but recognize that some legal documents, like contracts, should be interpreted to fix a meaning in a time and place. The hard question is to what extent our Constitution does that, and to what extent either its framers, ratifiers, or inheritors rightly treat those meanings as evolving over time.

Posted in Law School | Leave a comment

Truth From Fiction

Stephen Colbert Goes One-On-One With Trump

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment