Friday, September 29, 2006

Tales from the California Driver's Manual

In preparing to take the laws exam as part of a misguided effort to drive in the State of California, I came across this particular gem on page 16.
Allow older pedestrians more time to cross the street. They are more likely to die as a result of a crash than younger pedestrians.
So, to be clear, if a younger pedestrian takes too long, don't feel bad about crashing into them... they can take it.

Some other qualities items include:
  • Never make a U-turn when other vehicles may hit you.
  • Do not shoot firearms on a highway or at traffic signs.
I am most dubious about this one.
The force of a 60 mph crash isn’t just twice as great as a 30 mph crash, it’s four times as great!
Now, I admit I'm no physicist, but I know that force = mass x acceleration. Now, the mass in this situation is constant... so did it really take four times as much acceleration?! Can anyone fill me in?

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Race to the Top

Those who study global politics know all about the race to the bottom. In an effort to attract foreign investment countries compete with eachother to tear down barriers to trade... barriers like environmental regulations, labor rights, taxes. You know, laws.

Well, the race to the bottom is usually fueled by an equal and opposite race to the top. Foreign investors looking to make the next quick million dollars... and what do the spend that that hard earned ROI on, you might ask? Well, apparently sending their children to college where they can live like kings.

Behold, the future of residential life in American colleges.

When I lived in the dorms (from 1999 - 2003), I lived in either a double or a triple, usually bunk beds, and always a twin size bed. According to the AP, many colleges are competing with eachother not on academics or opportunity, but with full size beds and luxury rooms. The article makes reference to maid service, professional movers, even limo rides to campus.

During my Junior year the UW upgraded a great deal of its food outlets, brought on a fancy four-star chef to plan the menus, the whole nine-yards. It was outrageous. The cost of food almost doubled, and while the quality got better, it's freaking college. You're not there to eat food.

With college tuition breaking $40,000 a year in some places and college professors making significantly less then their peers in industry, you would think we could refocus that money to more wortheir aims.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wanting it Both Ways

I must admit that I don't yet read the Santa Cruz Sentinel. I'm sure it's a fine paper and I will add it to my daily routine in due time, but for the moment I continue to satiate my non-national news needs with the Seattle Times and PI. Today, in the News section of the Times I found a foolish editorial by Nicole Brodeur regarding abortion.

She is lamenting the fact that the State doesn't collect enough information from women seeking abortion services. Currently the State asks for the woman's age, race, residency, the procedure performed, and whether there were any complications. Personally, I wonder why they even need that much information.

Now, I'm all for voluntary disclosure of information that can help the State better plan medical services. I don't like the idea of the State mandating that disclosure in exchange for access to medical services. There are lots of reasons why a women may not want to disclose personal facts about who they are or why they are seeking an abortion. Seen at a higher level, a large state-controlled database of all abortion procedures seems like a big target for anti-choice activists to use to embarrass or intimidate future abortion seekers. Lord only knows what the Bush administration might do with such a list.

Nichole ends her editorial with by saying "...if we're going to help women prevent abortions, we have to know more about the lives of those who have had them, all the while respecting their privacy and their choice." That's all well and good, but blasting the limited information that is collected without advancing any concrete ways to collect additional information that won't be used to categorize and control future abortion seekers isn't very helpful.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bar Update

On Thurday I received notice regarding the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The webpage informed me that a 50 was low, that a 150 was high, and a 79 was necessary for admission into the California State Bar. I received a 115.

So, apparently I am sufficiently ethical to be a lawyer here.

New Adventures in Sun Burns

I'm back! Or, perhaps more accurately, I'm here!

Where? Santa Cruz, California. Just today the Comcast service man came, declared my perfectly fine cable modem to be "broken," and gave me a new one. Oh, and he connected my home to the only utility more important than water.

Now that my apartment is online, most of the boxes are unpacked, and Sarah and I are getting settled down, it's time to start blogging again. I promise a few photos of the apartment later for those who are interested in seeing how my stuff jives with Sarah's stuff.

In other news, I went camping with a good friend from my undergraduate years and several of his work colleagues (Googlers, apparently, is the term). There was a nice lady there who graduated from UW Law a few years back and now works as in-house counsel at some big internet advertisement company. We got into something of a legal argument over whether the behavior described in this Seattle Times article is legal or not.

She thought the dude was okay... whereas my recent bar training says this guy violated the tort of public disclosure of private facts. See, if I convey private facts to you that a reasonable person would not want to be made public, and you go ahead and do so anyway, that's a tort regardless of the truth of those facts (where as truth would be a defense in a defamation suit). No criminal liability, but if I can prove damages then you're going to pay. This guy from Craig's List collected private information about people's embarrassing sexual preferences and then published those facts online. Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Oh, and about the post title... I managed to sunburn just my knees the other. Seriously.