Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Democrats Have Found Their Harold Stassen

News that (long-ago) former Senator Mike Gravel is joining the scrum that is the Democratic Presidential primary made me think not just of the GOP’s Harold Stassen, but also provides an occasion for me to re-run what just might be the all-time zaniest Presidential campaign video, from the Gravel campaign a dozen or so years ago:

Bonus fact: This time, Gravel’s, er, unorthodox campaign is run by an orthodox Jewish teenager.

Posted in 2020 Election | Leave a comment

Real or Onion? (Gator Edition)

Vacationers Find Alligator Lounging on Alligator Pool Float at Their Miami Airbnb
Continue reading

Posted in Onion/Not-Onion | Leave a comment

Modified Legal Writing Tips

I’ve been tweaking my student legal writing tips again.  Comments and suggestions for improvement are always welcomed.

Posted in Law School | 2 Comments

Firefox Borks Almost all Extensions, Fix Coming

Late yesterday something happened to Firefox that disabled almost all extensions. According to Mozilla, it was something about the certificate they used to sign extensions, they know about it and are fixing it:

Late on Friday May 3rd, we became aware of an issue with Firefox that prevented existing and new add-ons from running or being installed. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to people who use Firefox.

Our team has identified and rolled-out a fix for all Firefox Desktop users on Release, Beta and Nightly. The fix will be automatically applied in the background within the next few hours. No active steps need to be taken to make add-ons work again. In particular, please do not delete and/or re-install any add-ons as an attempt to fix the issue. Deleting an add-on removes any data associated with it, where disabling and re-enabling does not.

Please note: The fix does not apply to Firefox ESR or Firefox for Android. We’re working on releasing a fix for both, and will provide updates here and on social media.

They also describe a way to get the fix faster, but I tried it and it has yet to work for me….

Update: 5/5/19 – the fix, using the “studies” option is working for me today.

Posted in Software | 1 Comment

Miami is #1!

…. in fraud. And according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission last year Florida was home to 18 of the country’s top 50 cities for consumer fraud.

This is both unsurprising and misleading.  It’s unsurprising because something about the Florida lifestyle seems to attract smooth-talking grifters (the less smoothing-talking ones go into local politics).  But it’s misleading because it only measures garden variety consumer fraud; to do fraud on an epic scale requires a bank.  Places like California (Wells Fargo) and New York (Wall St.) surely have us beat six ways from Sunday in that department. Unless of course the FTC counts those by victims too in which case we could well be #1 after all…

Posted in Law: Criminal Law | Leave a comment

In Which I Take Google’s New “Poemportraits” for a Spin

Google has a new toy, created by Es Devlin called the PoemPortrait. Google, unpretentiously, calls it

An experiment at the boundaries of AI and human collaboration.

We are all invited to

Donate a word to become part of an ever evolving collective poem and create your own POEMPORTRAIT.

So I went to try it. It starts by asking you to “donate” a word. At that point, philistine that I am, all I could think of was Groucho Marx on the old game show ‘You Bet Your Life’, which always began with Groucho telling contestants that “Say the secret word and a duck will come down and give you 100 dollars.” (Shockingly, there seems to be no ringtone online with Grouch saying that. So here’s a video clip instead:)

Anyway, back to Google. I gave it my word (“Discourse” of course) and it announced that “An algorithm trained on over 20 million words of 19th century poetry is generating your unique POEMPORTRAIT.” I declined the offer to have my picture taken, and…voilà:

The poem was

That discourse of the word,
Spellbind the corn, sighing and streaming.

It offered me a chance to save the ‘portrait’ so I did.  But this is how it came out:

I’m reassured to see that AI’s too can be dyslexic.

Posted in Internet, Kultcha | 1 Comment