Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I'm not completely back yet, but I hope you've liked the top 21 inventions list. I will post the last five in the next few days. For now, enjoy these Christmas pictures.

Friday, December 23, 2005

History's Greatest Inventions, 10-6

#10: Chia Pets

Nothing rocks harder than the song on the commercials: “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” The crowd holds their lighters in the air. They want more! Okay, an encore: “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”

No, but seriously. For anyone who has ever confused flora for fauna (or vise versa), this invention is what you can point to and say, “See, everyone. It’s not always cut and dry.” As a young lad I saw the commercials for these venerable pets, and thought that it was a fad that would stick around for a year and then disappear. I don’t know if other kids think that way. But these things are still around today, and as far as I know they haven’t changed that rockin’ jingle. So I salute the Chia Pet for its extraordinary resilience and staying power in a very tough market.

#9: The Staple Remover

It’s hard to pull out staples by hand, and often you can hurt yourself by doing so. Therefore, we salute this scariest-looking of office supplies for protecting our fingers by striking fear into the hearts of staples everywhere.


#8: Low-Ball Glasses

OK, maybe it’s just me, but the low-ball glass is, in my opinion, the premiere drinking container. Not only is it easy to figure out how much ice/liquor/etc. to put in it, but it’s really easy to clean. Try to reach your hand to the bottom of a high-ball glass. I’ll wait for you.

. . .

OK, now go to the hospital and have them take it off. You may need stitches, because I suspect they may have to break it. I’ll still be here when you get back.
Obviously, one wouldn’t drink beer out of a low-ball (a pilsner—or the bottle—is a much better option there) but for any cocktail it is the ideal. And you don’t even need a cocktail. Just add ice and Irish Crème or whiskey, and you’ve got yourself a classy little beverage. Now, many people aren’t aware of this fact, but you don’t even have to use alcohol! Kool-Aid is a fine alternative, as is chocolate milk.

#7: Alcohol

Well, it’s related to the low-ball glasses. And it’s good. Check out the recommended products links in my sidebar to find some good, not cheap, but affordable alcohol products. Martin Luther once said that beer is proof that God exists. It’s sure a lot better than the ontological argument, as far as I’m concerned. And how could you argue with this guy?

Considering he was German (and a one-time law student), I certainly understand his sentiment.

#6: ?????

Nobody really knows what the sixth greatest invention of all time is. I suppose it’s just one of those mysteries that will never be solved.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

History�s Greatest Inventions, 15-11

#15: The Internet

Where else can you get the latest movies, cable TV shows, and music without paying for them? (Well, that is, besides Wal-Mart. And there you’re risking a run-in with the security guards.) And that’s not to mention the free news and e-mail, and the revival of the town square that is blogging. But the best part about the Internet is the pop-up ads! I’m still waiting on my free iPod, and my $10,000, and my new car, and all the other things, but I sign up for all of those free pop-up deals every chance I get. Now, if only I could check my e-mail . . . I have no idea how all those spammers got my e-mail address.
And for the more lecherous among you, there’s lots and lots of free porn to be had! No more will you have to deal with the shame of walking into the store with the boarded-up windows and/or brightly colored signs and walking out with an opaque bag while looking around your shoulder to ensure that you haven’t been seen by anyone you know. You can indulge your perversions from the comfort of your own home! Just make sure nobody else sees your cache. It’s not so much that there’s porn there. The problem is the kind of porn that you’ve been looking at. Sicko.

#14: Chainsaws

Chainsaws are probably what won the West. I don’t know. What the hell do I know about the history of the Old West that wasn’t related to me in Tombstone? Anyway, chainsaws are really cool, and they make a really cool noise. You can really freak someone out if you take the chain off of it, rev it up, and then assault them with it. But please, do it outside, because they may soil themselves (and prepare yourself with legal counsel). Of course, chainsaws have many more practical applications. For instance, they can be used for cutting branches from trees, or cutting down the trees themselves, in the instance of a smaller tree, or for mowing down cheerleaders at a slumber party. Heck, while they’re not quite as good as a berserker pack, they can even be used to kill some pesky imps and demons when you run out of chain gun and shotgun ammo and you need to save your rockets for the cacodemons and revenants.

#13: The T-1000

Although technically it hasn’t been invented yet, one of them was sent back in time to the early 90’s to eliminate John Connor. It failed, but we can all plainly see the potential there.

How many other robots can take a punishment the way the T-1000 can? Not many, and out of them, only the T-1000 can fit in a Volkswagen, let alone pilot a helicopter or mimic your shape before poking a finger through your skull.

#12: The 1966 Pontiac GTO

You think the wheel is a good invention? This is the ultimate use of the wheel. This is the first true gas-guzzling giant beauty of a muscle car. And its curves make it sexier than 80% of the women you’ll ever see. My uncle had one of these once, but alas, they were working on it when the machine shed caught fire. There was scant left to salvage. This was a tragedy akin to the Hindenburg, or maybe even the canceling of Hellsing after the first season. When movie-makers wreck one of these, it’s a crime against God.


#11: Indoor Plumbing

It just struck me that the word “indoor” is kind of unnecessary. Is there such a thing as “outdoor” plumbing? I mean, yes, there is outdoor plumbing, but not in the sense of outdoor toilets that flush. I don’t think that a hole in the ground really qualifies, in any normal sense of the word, as “plumbing.” Anyway, as a member of the second generation of my family who grew up with indoor plumbing (not counting some of my dad’s older siblings), I salute whoever came up with it. If we didn’t have it, I would be in mortal fear of having to number two at two in the morning in the middle of a blizzard. That would expose me to frostbite in ways that take all the fun out of frostbite.

Monday, December 19, 2005

History's Greatest Inventions, 20-16

#20: The Clapper

Despite the fact that a woman sued the makers of the Clapper because she hurt her hands by clapping too hard, this is certainly one of the best convenience-enhancing inventions ever made. What would we do without it? Well, I suppose you could have a remote control, but good luck finding it. Evil gnomes stole it and hid it in their lair under the couch cushions! And God forbid we have to get up off our lazy asses and walk over to the switch . . . that would be un-American!

#19: The Trebuchet

What is a trebuchet? you may ask. Pronounced treb-yoo-shay, it is nothing less than the only useful thing the French have ever contributed to society. Here’s a picture:

According to this site,
From about the middle of the thirteenth century, the trebuchet in great measure superseded the catapult. This preference for the trebuchet was due to the fact that it was able to cast stones of 300 lbs. and more in weight or five or six times as heavy as those which the largest catapults could project.
Cool! Let’s see you do that. What’s that? You can’t? Well, now you see why the trebuchet is so freakin’ cool. You want some more? Here you go:
The stones of 50 to 60 lbs. thrown by siege catapults would no doubt destroy towers and battlements, as the result of the constant and concentrated bombardment of many engines. One huge stone of 300 lbs., as slung from a trebuchet, would however shake the strongest defensive masonry and easily break through the upper parts of the walls of a fortress.
If the Big Bad Wolf had one of these, he probably wouldn’t have lost the Bay of Pigs invasion.

#18: The Rubber Band

What else would you fling at classmates in elementary school? Certainly not your own feces, you dirty animal. This invention combines the pain-infliction abilities of a stapler with the humiliation factor of a spitwad, but with flight capabilities that surpass even the most advanced paper airplane designs. Take a bag to your first day of school and make a good impression on your hot teacher! And when she tells you to stay after school for detention, slap her on the ass and say, “I saw a porno that started like that. And I think you were the star.”

#17: Edible Underwear

Finally, we have a decent excuse not to wash our underwear. At the end of the day, take a midnight snack before you go to bed. Or, for the person on-the-go who rarely has time for breakfast, munch on yesterday’s underwear on your way to work. Add cream cheese or jelly to taste. Or, for a little more of a kick in the pants, put a few drops of Tabasco sauce on your unmentionables. (CAUTION: DO NOT add Tabasco sauce to your intimate apparel before you put them on or while you are wearing them. . . . I wish somebody would have told that to me.)

#16: The Enema 2-Pack

Some of you are no doubt wondering why the 2-pack of enemas is more important than the enema itself. There are four possible answers:
1. Do you really want to suffer the embarrassment of buying one of these things twice when you could do it once?
2. Sounds like it would be rather difficult to self-administer. You might need help. And they might require the favor to be returned.
3. It’s a party-pack, for you and a friend to have a good time.
4. . . . Once you pop, you can’t stop?
Side note: has anyone else been a cashier at a major retailer (Target/Wal-Mart/ShopKo/K-Mart, etc.)? Or more likely at a pharmacy? In my six years at Target, I only had the good fortune to ring up one of these. You just can’t make eye contact with a person when they walk up to the counter with it. And in my situation, they didn’t even try to hide it among hundreds of other items, as many do with condoms. What do you say? “Did you find everything okay?” It’s not like when someone comes up with a movie, tortilla chips and salsa. “Looks like you have big plans for tonight.” No. “I really like this brand. You never can trust your colon to an off-brand.” You can’t utilize any of the tips they gave in the Target training video on “schmoozing.”
Side note 2: I wonder what the diagram in the instructions looks like . . . .
Side note 3: a guy I knew in high school said he and some friends got some of these and tried them out, in private, I presume, but at a gathering. I assume it was one of those weird things you just do in high school (like my adventures with lawn ornaments and car chases in Creighton, a town of 500), and he was the kind who perhaps shared too much. Anyway, he said it gave him a small taste of what being gay is like. And he added that he didn’t “recommend it.” I couldn’t even bring myself to try out a bidet when I was in Spain, so I’m certainly not looking forward to prostate exams.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

History�s Greatest Inventions

Many people have put forth their own lists of the most important inventions. Be it the greatest inventions of the century, the millennium, or of all time, all these lists will fall before this one and tremble, in awe or otherwise.

See, I’m no expert on what you might call “science,” or “engineering,” or “common sense,” or any of that other nonsense. I’m a practical person when it comes to inventions. I know the wheel is apparently a “good” thing, at least until someone realizes that the octagon allows for greater stability.

So, I’m going to do History’s 21 Greatest Inventions. Why 21? Because that’s all I thought of before I decided the list was finished.

And now, a teaser: you just get #21 today.

#21: Leather

It’s tough, it lasts forever, and it looks cool. There is really nothing better to wear on your body than leather. Yes, indeed, a full-body leather suit is the way to go for me, with a zipper over the mouth and no eye holes. Of course, if that’s not really your “thing,” then you could always wear a leather jacket, leather gloves, and leather shoes. And if you ride a motorcycle, then for the love of God wear leather pants/chaps too. The reason real bikers wear leather all year around is not just because it looks cool. It’s armor. It protects from road rash.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It Hit Me

I'm done with all my tests, and I think I did okay on them. It's really impossible to tell when it's graded on a curve. I went to my apartment yesterday after hitting the bar so I could get some stuff together for about a week's absentia from Lincoln. I took big baskets of clothes and put them in my trunk and drove to Laura's house. After she left to head north (I leave today) I brought those big baskets of clothes in and placed them on the floor of . . . my bedroom. That's when I realized that it's MY bedroom the next time I see it. It never really hit me until then.

"Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline."
-- GK Chesterton

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Substantive Due Process: an Oxymoron

In my near-continuous discussion of the issue of substantive due process, the doctrine used to make philosopher-kings of the Supreme Court Justices, I have neglected to point out the most obvious criticism of the whole concept.

The Eighth Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary defines substantive law as
The part of the law that creates, defines, and regulates the rights, duties, and powers of parties. Cf. PROCEDURAL LAW.
It necessarily directs us to what is considered the opposite to substantive law. It defines procedural law as
The rules that prescribe the steps for having a right or duty judicially enforced, as opposed to the law that defines the specific rights or duties themselves.
The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees in its text only “Due Process of law.” It says nothing about “Due Substance of law,” as Justices Blackmun, Brennan, and numerous others would have you believe. Substance and process are two completely different things, as different as cow and milking. Back to Black’s, the definition of substantive law includes the following quote:
“So far as the administration of justice is concerned with the application of remedies to violated rights, we may say that the substantive law defines the remedy and the right, while the law of procedure defines the modes and conditions of the application of the one to the other.” John Salmond, Jurisprudence 476 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).
So what’s the problem, Supremes? Do we need to buy a law dictionary for all of you? It’s not like you don’t understand the difference. Granted, the two often overlap, but judges have to sort it out all the time when they apply the Erie doctrine, so it’s not like they don’t know how. And the Court makes no pretense at being confused on the issue. They just create some kind of chimera in the law and call it something analogous to dog-cat, or liberal conservatism, or tasty lite beer.

As Justice Scalia notes in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, comparing a law against homosexual sodomy to laws prohibiting prostitution, adult incest, adultery, and bestiality,
The Fourteenth Amendment expressly allows States to deprive their citizens of “liberty,” so long as “due process of law” is provided . . . .
(Emphasis in original.)

And the best part about the doctrine, from their perspective, is that on its own terms you can’t beat it. No argument that anyone can make can ever sway the decision from side to side because it is completely irrational and subjective. Lawyers (and legislators) are equipped for conventional courtroom warfare, not for tactical nukes and terrorism.

Back to Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence:
Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct. . . . [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed. . . . Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means. . . . But persuading one’s fellow citizens is one thing, and imposing one’s views in absence of democratic majority will is something else. . . . One of the benefits of leaving regulation of this matter to the people rather than to the courts is that the people, unlike judges, need not carry things to their logical conclusion.


D/P is a not only a common shorthand for Due Process, but is also porn industry slang for “double penetration,” a fitting metaphor for what the Supremes are doing to the Constitution every time they use it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Korn: See You on the Other Side

On Tuesday Korn released their first album as a quartet, now in the absence of Brian “Head” Welch. In short, the band never disappoints. They have continued to evolve and experiment with new sounds on their seventh studio installment.

The album cover is telling, to an extent. It is a Through the Looking Glass-esque musical experience. Their traditional unbridled rage and fury is gone. In its place is something entirely different—it’s like Tool-meets-Snoop Dogg.

Korn has always had a hip hop influence, but until now it was greatly overpowered by the metal-ness of the riffs. While it is still unarguably metal, (listen to “Coming Undone” or “Liar” for example) and the riffs have not disappeared, they have perfected the hip hop element of their sound. The rhythm, which Korn has always been conscious of, has taken precedence over the riff. Perhaps this is out of necessity, since now they only use one guitar, or perhaps Head wrote most of the riffs, or perhaps it’s simply the natural musical evolution of the band. The rhythms, of course, are still almost exclusively performed by the band with their normal instruments, and another blessing is that on this one they have not invited any rapper to mangle one of the tracks in place of Jon Davis’s vocals. But there is some electronic music in this one, which adds to the very atmospheric sound of the album, hence the feeling that you may have met the band on the other side of the mirror (perhaps a reference to their last studio album, Take a Look in the Mirror).

In any event it is certainly a fitting title and album cover. It is a musical experience akin to watching Spirited Away or some other bizarre animated flick.

It’s a little like Tool, but less pretentious and more accessible.

It’s a little like Snoop Dogg, but less cocky and more interesting (and with talent).

Bagpipe fans also will not be disappointed.

Finally, if you decide to buy the album, do so at Target. If you buy it on any time through Saturday, it’s only $9.98. Sure, you might be able to get that price elsewhere, but at Target you get an access code to an exclusive download track that you can’t get anywhere else.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Finals Week"



Well, I haven't posted any new photos lately. I haven't even touched my camera in well over a month, and it's sad. But here's an old one with a pertinent title.

Image © 2005 Kelly Hoffart

From Actual Court Records

This was on my calendar the other day:
Lawyer: Did you actually see the accident?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Lawyer: How far away were you when the accident happened?
Witness: Thirty-one feet, six and one-quarter inches.
The lawyer is trying to undermine the witness’s credibility by attacking his capacity to see the accident, like when you ask the witness whether they were wearing their glasses. At this point, of course, the lawyer thinks he has the witness trapped into backing up a bizarrely precise claim.
Lawyer: Well, sir, will you tell the jury how you knew it was exactly that distance?
Witness: Because when the accident happened I took out a tape and measured it. I knew some annoying lawyer would ask me that question.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Thanks to My Readers

OK, I’m not trying to be sappy here or anything, but to everyone that is a regular reader of my blog: thank you. I put a lot of work into this, and I enjoy it immensely, and I’m glad that you enjoy it too. I know you appreciate it. Every time I’m worried about posting something, it turns out that you enjoy it. First, I was worried that a little low brow humor would turn people off and turn them away from the site. It turned out to be one of my most popular posts. Then I posted a proposed tax system that I feared would make me nothing more than someone who blogs about his own pet peeves. And it turned out to be okay. And then I posted on a highly controversial and emotional issue, worrying all along that I would be labeled a mindless bigot. Again, it turned out I was wrong. Finally I did something that makes many blogs boring: I talked about my own life. And it turned out to be a big hit, too.

So from now on I will take all of your encouragement to heart, and post whatever I want to post. I will continue to strive for the most interesting writing style and topics possible, and to ensure that you, who make the blogging worthwhile, are not disappointed.

That said, my first final is today, and I have one Thursday, and Friday, and next Tuesday and Wednesday. Each one of them is 100% of my grade for the class. And then I get married and go on a short honeymoon. I won’t be around a whole lot after next Friday and for the following week or two, but I will turn over the reins to Moise (assuming his offer stands), the guy who got me into blogging in the first place, who will post some things that I’ve been working on so you won’t be totally without my input.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Further Discussion of War

The following quotes were at the end of the Jet Li movie Hero, which is, in all honesty, probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’ll talk about that some other time, though.
To reconstitute political life in a state presupposes a good man, whereas to have recourse to violence in order to make oneself prince in a republic supposes a bad man. Hence very rarely will there be found a good man ready to use bad methods in order to make himself prince, though with a good end in view.
Nor will any reasonable man blame him for taking any action, however extraordinary, which may be of service in the organizing of a kingdom or the constituting of a republic. It is a sound maxim that reprehensible actions may be justified by their effects, and that when the effect is good, it always justifies the action. For it is the man who uses violence to spoil things, not the man who uses it to mend them, that is blameworthy.
A prince should therefore disregard the reproach of being thought cruel where it enables him to keep his subjects united and loyal. For he who quells disorder by a very few signal examples will in the end be more merciful than he who from too great leniency permits things to take their course and so result in chaos and bloodshed; for these hurt the whole state, whereas the severities of the Prince injure individuals only
It is essential therefore, for a Prince who desires to maintain his position, to have learned how to be other than good, and to use or not use his goodness as necessity requires.
Everyone sees what you seem to be, but few know what you are.
-- Niccolo Machiavelli

To what extent, if any, do the ends justify the means?

In a democracy, politicians tend to act in ways that make themselves appear better, rather than being free to act in ways that they consider best. Is democracy then not the ideal form of government?
Is the United States Supreme Court, being given life tenure and therefore free from worrying too much about what is popular, an example in favor of or against Machiavellian politics?

Friday, December 02, 2005

(Just?) War

As promised, today I discuss the subject of war. I will discuss this complex subject in the most logical and abstract way possible, making as few judgments about past or present wars as possible.

Usually I try to simplify things and clear them up so people can discuss the issue intelligently and re-examine their own beliefs. I still want you to re-examine your beliefs, but for once I hope this actually makes the issue less clear than it was before. So many people have black-and-white views on the subject. But the issue of war just isn’t that simple. There are far too many factors that can make a war more or less justified than it was before, and it comes down to things that good arguing (and lawyering) are all about: characterization of factual situations and line-drawing.

The most interesting concept when speaking about war is the concept of a just war. A just war is one that is justified, i.e. there are good reasons for the war. It will be useful to think about the reasons for going to war on a spectrum from 0 to 100:

Least Just 0_______50_______100 Most Just

There are few people, I think, that would argue that a war is never justified. For example, a defensive war is almost always just in most people’s eyes. When X Nation attacks Y Nation, there are only a few peacemongers out there who would say that Y Nation should not fight back. So we’ll put defensive war at the far right end of the spectrum (100). At the far left, we’ll put a war for the sole purpose of killing and destruction (0). I think most can agree on these placements.

Beyond this point is where it gets a little tricky. War for the purpose of training soldiers or testing weapons may be around 1-10, and war for resources/territory may be somewhere between 11-20. On the higher end of the spectrum we have war to defend a non-aggressing nation against an aggressor, somewhere between 90-99. Beyond that is where things get more difficult, but for the sake of argument let’s say that the middle ground is a war of retaliation/revenge for a previous war, somewhere in the 45-55 range.

What else is near the top end of the spectrum? Well, let’s think of other things that are similar to military aggression between nations. One that comes to mind is government oppression. If Z Nation treats its people very poorly (tortures them without reason, starves them, etc.) then that is at least similar to X Nation’s unjustified attack on Y Nation. So let’s put that in the 80-89 range.

At this point we can already identify three areas where reasonable minds can differ.

1. No doubt some think that war for resources is more just than war for retaliation. And some people think that it’s all black-and-white, but surely that can’t be true. You may want to mess with the scale I’ve set up in all kinds of ways. There is no easy way to decide what makes a war more/less just.
2. Where do you draw the line? In other words, at what point on the scale do you go from saying “This war is unjust” to saying “This war is just”? Is it at 100? Surely that’s unreasonable. Or maybe 90? 75? 50? 25? There must be a point at which a war becomes “just,” but where is that point?
3. And finally, in the real world, how do we decide where a particular situation lies on the spectrum? To take the Iraq war as an example, is it simply a war for oil (somewhere in the 11-20 range)? Is it a war of retaliation for 9/11 (45-55)? Is it a war against terrorism (60-69)? Is it a war to free the people of Iraq from oppression (80-89)? If the last one, is their oppression maybe not that bad, dropping it to the 70-79 range? Not only that, but surely most wars have more than one motive. Does it take on the ranking of the best motivation? Does it take on the ranking of the primary motivation? Or does it fall somewhere in between? The American Civil War was about slavery (80-89), wasn’t it?

Thus far, however, we have only discussed the motivations for war. But there is another factor: tactics. No matter how just your motivations are for going to war, if you target civilians your war becomes less just. Attacking only military targets is more just. Also, any tactics that reduce the total number of casualties (on both sides) are more just. But even these are just general statements. Imagine this hypothetical: three tactics are available. Each of them will result in the following casualties:
A. 1000 friendly, 1000 enemy, 0 civilian
B. 400 friendly, 400 enemy, 100 civilian
C. 100 friendly, 1000 enemy, 100 civilian
Tactic A results in 2000 total deaths, but none are civilian casualties. Tactic B results in 900 deaths, fewer than half of Tactic A, but 100 are civilian deaths. Which is more just? In other words, how many civilian lives is each soldier’s life worth? The exchange here is 12 soldiers for every 1 civilian. Is that worth the difference? And finally, Tactic C results in 1200 total deaths (300 more than Tactic B), but far more are enemy deaths. Surely no one would fault a nation for using a tactic that results in more enemy dead than friendly dead, but when the exchange is not 1-for-1, at what point does it become unjust? This is a 1-for-2 exchange. Is it just? What about 1-for-5? To illustrate, three more examples are in order:
D. 0 friendly, 50,000 enemy, 0 civilian
E. 0 friendly, 10,000 enemy, 50,000 civilian
F. 10 friendly, 100 enemy, 50,000 civilian
Tactic D would be an ideal war for the winner, wouldn’t it? Isn’t it great when none of “our boys” have to die? To compare it to Tactic A, it’s a 1-for-49 exchange, with no civilians dead. Is it worth it? What about when you throw in costs? Tactic D is obviously a very high-tech (and therefore expensive) war. If you agree that this is a fair tactic, given a perfect 100 motivation, would you still agree if it cost $1 trillion more than Tactic A?
Tactic E looks a lot like a nuclear strike. Sure, it doesn’t sound good, with the high total number of deaths and especially the high number of civilian deaths. In an absolute sense it doesn’t sound just. But that may change when you consider the alternatives. In WWII, for example, they estimated millions dead on both sides in a ground war if the U.S. were to invade Japan. Does it therefore become just?
And Tactic F looks a lot like a massive terrorist strike. Does any motivation ever justify this result? What alternatives would make it look better?

And what if the result isn’t what you expect? All these tactics look better if you assume that the war will be resolved at the end. But what if it triggers retaliation instead? Essentially, is that the only thing separating Nagasaki from the World Trade Center?

Now, to synthesize the motivation with the tactics. It’s a cost-benefit analysis. The tactics are the cost and the motivation is the benefit. As the costs of war increase, a better motivation is needed to go to war. Assume that in the year 2010 the number of deaths from a war will be 25,000. Let’s say that we can agree that a motivation of at point 80 on the scale will make that war just. In 2020 the number of deaths will reduce to 20,000, making a motivation of 75 just. Is there any point at which a motivation of 5 will be just? To make it more concrete: in the year 2100 we have the opportunity to gain all the world’s gold by killing only 10 enemy soldiers. Does a war become “just” when you can say that it’s “just” war, that is, that war is no longer all that bad? Or does the scale simply stop at some point, after which the costs are irrelevant? Is that even logical? Does that make the whole analysis fall apart?

Finally, what bearing does global overpopulation have on the issue?

And now my command: discuss.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Both Sides of the Story

The "I love bacon" side

Idiot activists were arrested in New Zealand for chaining themselves to a bacon delivery truck. Look, if you don't think it's nice to eat meat, then don't eat meat. My brother will be happy to refer you to the campaign: if you eat with a vegetarian/vegan, you must eat meat from three animals rather than one. This way it defeats their moral crusade.
Note, too, that the site calls itself "independent news." Yes, it's so independent that it's blatantly biased in favor of the idiot activists.

The "I love animals" side

A terrier chewed through a refrigerator cable, sustaining severe injuries. Her owners now call her "Sparky," and she will recover with some permanent injuries. The disturbing part about this article is that "they took her to the vet's a few days later." Why did they wait? Is it for the same reasons that Black Sabbath hasn't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet?

More Movies I Want to See

Boogie Knights
Starring: Mark Wahlberg
Follows the rise and fall of Galahad the Chaste, Knight of the Round Table by day, porn star by night.

Halloween: H3O
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Michael Myers
Michael Meyers is back! This time, he’s played by the former Saturday Night Live star.

Law Clerks
Director: Kevin Smith
“I’m not even supposed to be writing this memorandum!” Details all the bad things that happen when the protagonist has to write a memorandum that was assigned to someone else. Jay and Silent Bob hang out around the attorney’s office selling drugs and quoting George Lucas movies.

Twelve Angry Women
Remake of the classic Henry Fonda film. Instead of talking about the facts of the case, they call each other bitches and get into cat fights. (Burn! Take that, fairer sex! If there was ever a good way to get comments on a post, this is it. Now, to figure out how much traffic I have, I just have to multiply the number of flame messages by two.)

You won’t get these unless you study law:

Terminator 4: Summary Judgment Day
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger
The machines send a new, advanced lawyer-bot back in time to sue John Connor. The humans send a reprogrammed robot (Schwarzenegger) back to defend the suit. Both get clothes by suing the pants off of people. The climax of the movie comes when the machines lose on a summary judgment motion because there is no factual issue in dispute (their evidence doesn’t yet exist).

Titles for the next Star Wars trilogy:
Episode 7: The Phantom Mens Rea
Episode 8: The Empire Files Countersuit
Episode 9: Anticipatory Repudiation of the Sith

Rambo: First Blood (remake)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone
This time, instead of getting out of jail on the vagrancy charge and then killing everyone in the forest, Rambo gets a good lawyer and challenges the vagrancy law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court!