Look, they're just journalists!

Slate's explainer tackles the seemingly absurd question of whether the felon involved in the PHX car chase can be liable for the deaths of the news chopper crews that died while filming the action. He makes it sound like there is a chance of liability here, comparing it to possible traffic deaths during a chase.

Felony murder is a legal concept that converts any inadvertent killing during the course of a felony into murder. Rob a store with a gun and you are liable for the death of a customer even if she dies when you drop the gun by mistake and it goes off. So far so good. The woman, like the traffic deaths in a car chase, was an unwitting bystander and her death should be considered murder.

The analogy fails when you get to people who chase down the danger. These people are assuming the risk of their actions. Where that risk is taken to stop the attacker or help save someone else, I think killing the actor is still murder. (i.e. I jump into the store to stop the guy -- he kills me, that's murder). We want to encourage people to do that.

But where the people hurt are the media, just there to record the event? That's, well, nothing. They aren't serving any higher penal purpose by reporting the accident. If anything, there is evidence that celebrity (the chance to be on TV) is what creates car chases in the first place. Regardless -- the incentive here is to clear people out of the area. If you rush to the scene of the crime just to watch, knowing the risk of your actions, I don't know that we can blame the felon when you get hurt.

1 Delorean (refurb.), Please.

DeLorean Motorcar Company of Texas has licensed its name to a CA company that will begin refurbishing and, more importantly, reproducing the cars from scratch this coming year. A frame-up refurb costs about $42,500. I can't imagine a new one will cost much more.

I want one. Mostly, because I have always wanted one. Not the tricked out copy of the movie machine, but the austere aggression of the unpainted steel shell, the gull wing doors, and the pseudo-spoke tires. DeLorean understood what it meant to design a beautiful car. Now if we could just get them to make a hybrid...

... you can call me "McFly."


For those wondering, it is broken.

My fifth metatarsal. 6 weeks in a walking cast + post-cast rehab. un-w00t.
Oh, and can someone please explain to me why insurance will cover a $300 fiberglass cast that must be replaced at least once, but will not cover a $150 walking cast that will last the term of my injury? My doctor and I were reminiscing about the days when he could prescribe what he thought was best for me simply because it was, y'know, the appropriate medical treatment. Ah, those were the days.


I'll watch the Tour de France ... implode.

The Tour de France is imploding. The favorite was outed for doping 2 days ago; french riders held back at the starting line in protest of doping yesterday; and, finally, the overall leader of the race was kicked out of the Tour, by his own team, under pressure from their sponsor. I assume the thinking is, "If you can lead the Tour, you must be doping." I can't argue with the logic. This is simply one of the most gruelling races in the world. Either you are more than human or something other than human is helping you get there.

I know Lance is gone, but this might be the most interesting Tour to watch yet. Interesting like the "Real housewives of the OC", not interesting like the Superbowl.


...normally, I let the man speak for himself, but tonight's word included this nugget:

"A mind is a terrible thing to change."

"The Word" to live by.


The Line Between Stupidity and Genius is Blurred

You're looking at a cure for st-t-t-tutering. (That's probably unduly harsh. I have a few friends who stutter, so I know full well that it bears no relationship to intelligence -- just the impression thereof.)
What is so ingenious about this is its simplicity. It operates on the choral effect. It turns out that a stutterer will be able speak normally if speaking in harmony with others (a kind of "tag-along" effect). Solution: feed the stutterer's own words back into his/her ears via a hearing-aid-like device and modulate it so it sounds like a chorus of voices.
What amazes me is that nobody managed to come with this sooner. I mean, "duh!"


Personally, I think they set him up for this. He is the winningest player of all time, after all.

Comment Comets

AboveTheLaw.com has come under the onslaught of "comment comets," to coin a phrase. It's simple really: Post goes up, and the "Comets" see who can post a comment first. The text of the comment simply says "first." It has evoked this reaction:
Posted by: Anonymous July
24, 2007 03:07 PM


Posted by: jdr July
24, 2007 03:08 PM


Posted by: Anonymous July
24, 2007 03:09 PM

David - can you seriously tell these
fools to stop wasting comment space that claimthey are first, second, etc. I'd
like to see a legitimate flow but having these on EVERY post is not even funny
anymore. Not that it ever was in the first place.

Oh, and the remainder of the post is about right. I think those outside Big Law just dont understand how often people get assignments at 5,6, even 8pm. Many of those people are in the office until 5am the next morning. Asking them to return at 9:30am because those are "regular business hours," is not just shortsighted with regard to the firms productivity, it is insulting to someone willing to put in that kind of time to begin with.

And for those who would say, "but you are being paid...." At 2300 hours, even $170K is only $73/hr. ($73/hr would add up to $118K at a normal, yearly billing requirement of 1600. That might seem high, but (a) this is highly skilled labor and (b) this does not take into account that hours billed over 1600 should really be 1.5x overtime, lowering the overall pay grade to about $60/hr).


Barker to be Replaced By Carey

Drew, not Jim, that is. Drew Carey has been tapped to be the new Bob Barker. I think it is a good choice, but will likely be poo-pooed because Carey's "aw-shucks" persona will not fill out the gap left by papa Barker. Still, he has his own charisma that will age well. He'll have to bring up his own following, and I think he can do that.

More impressive still: he finalized the contract just in time to announce it on the Late Show with David Letterman. His publicist must have messed him/herself.


Geek Tatoos. Coming up next: Military Intelligence.

These were just too good to pass up.

Expecto Polizei

Turns out that simple meta-data might trap those-who-would-release-copies-of-Potter. Canon confirms that its cameras, like most others, save the Serial No. of the camera that took the photo in the resulting file's meta-data, much like Word or Windows itself will store information the user the created a file, when it was created, and when it was last accessed.

The message is purported to be "beware!" In reality, the message should be "use a meta-data scrubber" or go in an edit it yourself. Just select "file properties."
[ The photo? That was just irresistable. ]


Travolta, As Fat As Fierstein Was Gay

I can't imagine it is a good sign when reviewers appear to giving a thumbs-up despite themselves.

The surprise may be that this “Hairspray,” stuffed with shiny showstoppers,
Kennedy-era Baltimore beehives and a heavily padded John
in drag, is actually good.
- AO Scott.

Still, with Christopher Walken back in dance shoes (see: the video for "Weapon of Choice" by Fat Boy Slim), and someone on screen bigger than Queen Latifa (a woman coming off of her own "Gigli" in the form of "Taxi"), this might just have the right amount of "campy" needed to make it.

Of course, I miss Ricki


Today's Enormous Rubber Duckie Brought to You By The French

This quaint lil' duckie measures 26 x 20 x 32 meters and is masquerading as a work of art. Or is that "art." I can't tell when I am supposed to be ironic any more.


I am a user on the e-shoulders of giants!

You just have to try it to believe it: http://www.1-click.jp/.

Pass it on.

Endevour Spelling Endeavor

NASA initially misspelled the name of its own shuttle yesterday, posting a massive sign under the vertical beast reading, "Go Endeavor."

Far be it from us to deride an engineer that actually knows the word endeavor, which the unlucky writer spelled correctly, but the shuttle is not named after the noun, meaning "A conscientious or concerted effort toward an end; an earnest attempt." Rather:

The orbiter is named after HM Bark Endeavour, the ship commanded by 18th century explorer James Cook; the name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15. This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, according to Answers.com. (From the Local 6 link above)

Of course, then there is Local Channel 6, which considers a definition from "Answers.com" (literally a link at the top right of a Google search) to be good enough for the news.



The above was the title of a renaissance english literature class during a colleague's time at Woodbury College. Best...course...name...ever.



Check out this stuff! The gas is Sodium Hexaflauride.

Your Keyboard is Disgusting, But Put it on Quick Rinse

No surprise: your keyboard is dirtier than most toilet seats. At least people wash those with some frequency.

Big surprise: you can wash your keyboard in the dishwasher. This was featured on NPR.

No surprise: doing it correctly takes a lot of time and effort. (read: you have to remove all the keys in order to let it dry properly.

Darwin Award Winner Takes Second Flight.

If you are reading this blog with any regularity, you must have already heard about the man who took flight in his lawn chair using helium balloons to go up and a BB gun to come down. Well, he exists and he did it again.

His name is Kent Couch and he flew 193 miles from his home in OR and touched down just short of Idaho, having sailed over 193 miles topping out at 13,000 ft.

For those wondering about the urban myth, here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Walters


Librarians are People Too.

McSweeney's is an internet mag for a new wave of librarians. I stumbled upon it a few days ago. The NY Times, ever following in my footsteps, wrote about it today.

A sampling... (Read the entire article here)


- - - -
To: Royce
As you can see, I added you as a nemesis
on uSuckbook.com.
I noticed I'm your 113th nemesis. That sucks. I only have
34. And most of those are probably jokes.
I don't know why you even joined
uSuckbook. It was not a good move. I mean, I don't mind, since I wouldn't have
been able to register my disdain for you any other way. I'm not one for
Anyway, just thought you'd like to know. You can stop
flicking me.


Wireless goes the ways of medicine

HMOs have long been infamous for offloading the neediest patients, creating competitive pricing by making sure that they only had the healthiest patient pools. This, of course, meant that the economies of scale that HMOs were supposed to provide for the neediest patients, or, more importantly, those patients that started out healthy but deteriorated over time in a complex medical process known as aging, instead kicked them to the curb when they really needed the help.

What do those people do? Well, they can subscribe to other, far more expensive plans. Or they can become wards of the state. i.e. you and I foot the bill.

But I digress. It now appears that Sprint is doing much the same thing. I suppose the major difference is that cell service, unlike healthcare, is not a public good. Still, I wonder if the is the harbinger of a secondary market of expensive cell service for those black listed by the big boys.


Best of Robot Chicken

For those of you not familiar, this is a 15 minute show on Cartoon Network. This "Best of..." season 2 is worth all 10 minutes.

Blackberry Saves Lawyers From Kidnapping; ATL shocked, mildly disappointed.

The AP reported yesterday about several ATL lawyers who sought and got help from the authorities after being taken captive. The lawyers sent text messages to loved ones asking for assistance.

I have to assume "text message" here means "SMS from a Blackberry Device." I would bemoan the possibility that this embolden future lawyers to use their BB more often, but I think the keys would be at risk of melting clear off the things if that happened.

More disturbingly, the victim's brother, recipient of the text message, initially thought it was a joke. "Hi hon, hope dnr is on tbl for kids. Been kdnpd. OMG. Call 991."


Optimus Prime Voice Changing Helmet

This is the brand new O.P. voice changing helmet. Admit it, you want to see a review. Never one to disappoint, here you go.
One oddity: I know "one size fits all" usually means "really big," but this thing easily fits adult heads. So, who is the real target market?

I am not surprised, just disappointed

The NYTimes reported that Bush has commuted Libby's 30 month sentence, calling it "excessive." Perhaps, but to replace 30 months with none seems just as excessive. It's pretty clear this man broke the law, and it is hard to see this move as anything but an admission by this administration that it can fall no further by doling out obvious political favors.

To those who will complain about this post. Tell me, what is wrong with commuting the sentence after 12 months? Or how about letting this man twist in the wind like so many prior staffers?


New Position

Just started a new job. This is the first time in my life that I started a new job but didn't start a new job function. The people, the hierarchy, the cases...all that is new. But I know how to do it. Odd really.

Wish me luck!