Friday, December 22, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ultrasound Pics from October 17

This was about the middle of the first trimester. We're in the third now, and soon we should have more pics to share.


We could see the little heart beating. My first thought was about abortion--i.e., how could anyone ever kill one of these beatiful little people? Before, I had always thought the point was arguable. Once I saw this, it became immediately clear that anyone in favor of abortion rights is absolutely, completely, wrong.

It appears that an ultrasound was first used to see a human fetus in 1958, so the only way I can imagine that a certain Supreme Court would decide such a thing in 1973 is that their wives never had an ultrasound done, either because their children were born earlier than that or ultrasounds had not yet become standard procedure by that time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Common Sense Education Bill Passes House

Members of the US House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday designed to ensure that all college students will have a grasp of the subject matter of common sense.

The measure, dubbed The Common Sense Is Altogether Far Too Uncommon Act, imposes a three credit hour general education requirement for a course in common sense on all public and private colleges that receive federal funding. Students will be permitted to test out of the requirement if they demonstrate "substantial ability" in "handling everyday life situations" and "avoiding obvious hazards." Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said that this requirement could be met by "mak[ing] the student give correct change, tie his or her shoes, show familiarity with the concept of 'not wearing shorts when it's below freezing outside,' and avoid the consumption of raw meats."

The push for the bill comes on the heels of a widely publicized University of Nebraska study that shows a direct correlation between population density and population density.

The bill is expected to come before the Senate in early 2007. Senators are split on the bill. Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was quoted as calling the measure "absurd." She also criticizes the bill because she deems common sense to be vague and arbitrary. "What is common sense? Who gets to decide? I certainly wasn't invited to the meeting."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), on the other hand, was in favor of the measure. "It's good for Nebraska. We've got some of the nation's foremost experts on common sense, and they'll be in great demand throughout the country."

Advocacy groups are sharply divided. Stupid-Heads of Relatively Tenuous Brain Understanding Society (SHORTBUS) has issued a statement to the effect that their group acknowledges the need for such education.

On the opposite side of the issue, Bill Pinkelton, the national president of Allies and Advocates for Idiots, the Learning Disabled, and Buffoons (ILDB) says that his organization is against the measure. "For hundreds of years the religious right and other intolerant people have tried to tell us what we can and can't do. If we make our own decisions about crossing traffic or what to do with our genitals, then who is the government to criticize us?" He then added, "Maybe you don't spit into the wind, or tug on Superman's cape, or mess around with Jim. But the ILDB's position is that we should be able to make our own choices." He also noted that his organization is discussing the possibility of a law suit with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He was hesitant to mention anything about what legal theories they would pursue, but he did say that the congressional record is supported largely by "antidotal [sic] evidence."

Businesses and professionals are showing mixed reactions as well. Publishers of various self-help books, such as the popular "for Dummies" series, along with a few prominent personal injury attorneys and the producers of several reality television series, are vigorously lobbying against the bill. An anonymous emergency room doctor from Chicago commented that he will have a hard time paying back his school loans if he gets no more cases of people with "various objects lodged in their nether regions." But other prominent doctors are on the record with the position that prevention of injury is more important.

Despite all the controversy, local support is heavily in favor of the bill. An anonymous, self-identified idiot student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, said that he "really needs" some help in this area, but he's concerned that he "might not be able to make it to the class." We interviewed him as he was resting from his attempt to push open a door that was clearly marked with a "pull" sign.

Farmer Bob, a well-known, self-taught common sense expert from the rural Lincoln area, said, "It's about time they got those kids some sense. What good's all that book learnin' gonna do ya if ya if yer too stupid to come in outta the rain?" Bob's wife Maggie, a well-known area mom, added, "Or if you follow one of your friends when he jumps off a cliff."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Law Review Books

As I'm just about to start my last final ever in law school, in about a half hour, and I've used several review books from several companies, I'd like to let anyone who's interested know which law school review books are the best. If you're going to buy a commercial outline, you need to know which ones suit you.

E-Z Review
These are the cheapest of the review books I have used. And that's about the best I can say for them. There are often holes in the subject, and it doesn't explain anything very well. They tout themselves as a review book that acknowledges that you've taken the class. Which is fine and dandy. But if you're prepared well enough that this is all you need, then you don't need a review book at all. Your notes will be much better.

The Black Letter Series
The Black Letter Series books are excellent for the situation when you've paid pretty good attention in class, but you're still worried about your understanding of it, or if your notes aren't very good. They explain things fairly well, and they're concise. I recommend avoiding the multiple choice and true-false review questions they put in these, because they're apparently written by monkeys. There often could be more than one correct answer, and that doesn't work very well for that format of question.

Emmanuel Law Outlines
These are the big guns. If you have senioritis, and you completely check out in your classes, or if you didn't take notes worth a damn, then this, my friend, is what you need. They go in depth on all the subject matter, and give examples, both hypothetical and real cases, to flesh it all out. You could teach yourself any subject area in less than two days with one of these books geared to the right subject matter.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yashica MAT 124: Initial Results

I just got my first batch of film back today for my new toy.

As you can see, there are streaks down the middle of all of them, probably due to something on one of the spools. There was also some color shift and some fogginess, which are probably due in part to the age of the film (it's more than a couple years old, I'm told) and partly to my inexperience in handling medium format film. There were also some light leaks, but they only showed up on the early shots, so I think it was the handling of the film, and not the camera itself. Finally, there was some double exposure, which is probably due to the parts of the camera needing some oil. So, in short, I think I've got a pretty darn good camera here, as soon as I get some fresh film and the camera cleaned up--and as soon as I learn how to handle the film when it's not in the camera.

Oh, there was one picture that I think might be worth saving in Photoshop, so I'm already excited:

It won't be a sharp image, I'll have to go with a concept on it, but it'll work nicely.

Incidentally, I've also learned my lesson about using year-old black and white film. A few pictures can turn out OK . . . most don't.