A Few Internet Tidbits

 Posted by on 7 December 2005 at 6:17 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 072005

Some interesting tidbits found in my rounds of the internet:

  • Reuters reports that “Terri Schiavo’s widower launched a political action committee on Wednesday aimed at defeating elected officials he accused of exploiting a tragedy for political gain by trying to block court orders that allowed his brain-damaged wife to die.” Based upon what I saw way back when, I very much admired Michael Schiavo’s quiet, principled fight for his wife’s values against the loud religious nuttiness of her family. The PAC is at TerriPac.org. I hope he defeats every one of those grandstanding Republican bastards!
  • Orin Kerr has some interesting thoughts on the legal status of machines. Based upon some particular cases, he asks, “do you treat the machine as a stand-in for a person, or do you treat it as something else?” In the ATM case, a man acquired money from a bank ATM machine, even though his account was closed, due to a computer glitch. I’m with the court: The ATM cannot and does not consent, so it’s not like the man acquired the money from a particularly dumb teller. However, even in that case, the man’s actions would be fraud, since he was attempting to extract money from the back that he knew was not lawfully his. He would have had to ask for the money under false pretenses, namely by pretending as if he had money in his account. (The same deception applies to the ATM version too.) So it’s still fraud, right? (If the man wasn’t aware that his account was empty, but accidentally acquired money not his own, then that wouldn’t be fraud, but he’d still be obliged to return the dough.) So in the end, I’m not sure that the human versus computer element is actually relevant to that case. But that’s all very off the cuff from my philosophical armchair, so I could be persuaded otherwise.
  • The NY Times reports that Intelligent Design doesn’t seem to be gaining too many adherents. It seemed to be steaming along quite nicely based upon some recent events. However: “Behind the headlines…, intelligent design as a field of inquiry is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for. It has gained little support among the academics who should have been its natural allies. And if the intelligent design proponents lose the case in Dover, there could be serious consequences for the movement’s credibility.” Yeah!
  • Ian Hamet observes that the Chinese do not offer the kind of quick benevolent help that Americans take for granted — and suggests that the Cultural Revolution killed it. (I wouldn’t be surprised.)
  • Sheldon Richman recently pointed me this this article on the mostly-unnoticed thriving private schools in the slums of the Third World. At least some people value education! (I wonder: Are private schools so costly here in the US due to government regulation? Or is it just our high cost of living?)
  • Last but not least: If you want to know why “Jeff’s nuts [are] roasting on an open fire” or why “Good King Wences’ car backed out on the feet of heathens” or why “shepherds washed their socks at night,” you simply must go entertain yourself with Snopes’ The Red and the Mondegreen.
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