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I just released the World Freedom Atlas — my project for the past 6 months or so (on and off). I describe it thusly:
The World Freedom Atlas is a geovisualization tool for world statistics. It was designed for social scientists, journalists, NGO/IGO workers, and others who wish to have a better understanding of issues of freedom, democracy, human rights, and good governance. It covers the years 1990 to 2006.
The beast includes over 300 variables from dozens of datasets. It is meant to complement efforts such as GapMinder World and the World Bank Online Atlas of the Millennium Development Goals, though I intended my atlas for a somewhat more expert audience (social scientists and the like). This was a great project for me. I solidified my knowledge of Flash/Actionscript, learned a bit of PHP, even some Python, and worked for the first time with mySQL databases, web servers, and whatnot.
I have been lucky enough to get some attention from the blogosphere — so far the foreign language blogosphere. Check out this Spanish blog and this Italian site.
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After years of unquestioned dominance in the blogosphere, JttM now has two worthy competitors:
412 Science Hall
The former is penned by my office mates here in Science Hall and is dedicated to all things wholesome (example). The other, written by our across-the-hall enemy, Reyerson, is dedicated to baby-eating and reactionary politics. Check em out!
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As my title will have you believe, this has to be the hippiest-ass idea I’ve ever seen.
And yet, stylistically (musically), I’m getting some serious “long night in Rio” vibes.
Still, who can argue that this is a pretty sweetastic idea. Who’s in?
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I can finally finish my three-part series on academic notes. My third and final article has been published in the Stanford Technology Law Review. The article is available for free online here. It nominally deals with copyright law and online file-sharing. But it’s really an article about the cognitive nueroscience of moral decision-making and how science may explain the disparity between the law (spefically copyright law) and people’s actual behavior (specifically online file-sharing).
Coincidentally, along with my article, the STLR published another article that may interest Joel. It’s an empiriclal study on whether courts have interpreted the obviousness requirement in patent law too broadly, so that its never really a bar to acquiring a patent. (For example, check out this recently granted patent for a swing.) According to the article, the answer is “yes”.
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[Today, movers came, took 99% of my possesions, packed them, and loaded them onto a truck destined to my new home. Divorced from my daily possessions, for the next couple of weeks, I'm living a spartan life-- no bed, no TV, no radio, no cookware, and few clothes. Bored, lying in my sleeping bag in a corner of my now-empty bedroom floor (unable to watch the playoffs), methinks it's a good time to knock out the second of my hopefully three part series on academic notes.]
During spring break this semester, I recieved some great news. A paper I had written the semester before won the Elliot A. Spoon National Business Law Writing Competition sponsored by the Journal of Business and Securities Law, a relatively new scholarly publication of the Michigan State College of Law.
This was great news for two reasons. First, I got $1000 as the author of the winning paper. Second, and more importantly for me, my paper was to be published in the Spring 2006 volume of the Journal of Business and Securities Law. That volume was published this month and is available free online here. A direct link to my article, admittedly pretentiously titled “INDETERMINACY AND SELF-ENFORCEMENT: A DEFENSE OF DELAWARE’S APPROACH TO DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE IN DERIVATIVE LITIGATION,” can be found here.
Although this is not my first publication, it is certainly my favorite because it marries my favorite legal subject area, corporate governance, with my favorite approach to legal analysis, critical legal theory (a topic that I’ve previously blogged about here and here). Like my other article, I wouldn’t recommend reading this one unless you’re (1) interested in corporate governance law or (2) doctrinal indeterminacy, or (3) if you’re irresitably curious about what I’ve been up to this last year of school. Even I haven’t read the final, published draft yet; but as soon as I recieve my bound copy, I will.
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[I wrote the bulk of this about a year ago after reading Anthony Wild's Coffee: A Dark History but never posted it. I recently became reinterested and decided to finish it.]
It’s fascinating to me why we call some things what we do. Take, for example, your everyday coffeeshop café mocha. This was my entrée into the world of coffee way back in high school. I later moved on to iced mochas, grasshopper mochas, and, yes, mochachinos before deciding I liked my coffee strong and black. As everyone now knows, mocha just refers to some combination of chocolate and coffee flavors, whether it be in the form of steamed milk, chocolate syrup, and espresso, or in a mocha-flavored ice cream. But what is this “mocha”? Unlike most of the terms we use to refer to coffee/espresso, this one has not descended to us from Italian.
The irony here is great. What Starbucks is naming their Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino after is a squalid, disease-ridden town of decaying ruins and qat addicts. Al-Makha (also al-Mokha, al-Mukah, al-Makkha) lies across the Bab el-Mandab strait from the southernmost point of Eritrea’s fingerlike coastal holdings on the Red Sea. It also may be the worst place on earth — being in one of the more isolated areas in perhaps the most isolated (and poor) of Arab nations, Yemen. But, man, if you were there a few hundred years ago it’d be a different story. It was in Yemen (probably) that coffee was first drunk in a form similar to that which we now enjoy (that is, an infusion of the roasted and ground seed of the coffea arabica bush; it was previously enjoyed in Ethiopia as an infusion of the bush’s leaves or in a form known as qish’r in which the sweet flesh of the coffee cherry is infused — neither of these methods, though, result in a very caffeinated beverage).
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This is scary stuff: A statistical study suggests that a community’s exposure to Fox News increases the Republican vote in that community.
Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. … Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share [for Republicans] in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000…. We also find a significant effect of Fox News on Senate vote share and on voter turnout. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its viewers to vote Republican.
Crap! Now, I haven’t read the full article, because it costs $5 to do so, but I’m curious how the authors show that exposure to Fox News actually causes people to vote Republican, rather than simply correlates with an increase in people voting Republican. For example, how do they show that the preferences in the communities studied weren’t becoming more “conservative” due to some other factor, and that this increase in conservativism within the community contributed to both market demand for Fox News and an increase in Republican voting?
Either way, thanks to Peter for the link.
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No not for me, for Renata.
She is starting to think about applying for grad schools, and has been asking me about the GRE. I told her what i know about the test, but the fact that I considered taking it at one point hardly makes me an expert. Therefore I’m asking you…
If you’ve taken it, what advice do you have? What helped in your preparations? What didn’t? Did you use a book and/or softare? Would you recomend said book and/or software to her? What math skills should she be brushing up on?
Thanks in advance.
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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.By Lynne Truss. (New York: Gotham Books, 2004. Pp. 209.)
As I strode up a steep trail branching off from the Lakeshore Path I came up behind a car with the title of this blog emblazoned in shoe polish upon its back window. Now, I’m hoping this was a recent high school graduate, and not the product of the school from which I currently hold a degree, but I must admit that it could be either. Do little grammatical mistakes like this drive you guys a bit nuts? I mean, strictly speaking “Senior’s Rule!” can only mean two things: either a recent rule was enacted, named after a particular senior or someone nicknamed “Senior” (the driver of the car being particularly keen on this new rule) OR the driver is particularly fond of the word “senior”, so much so that he thinks senior’s rule! Now, I know what you’re thinking (if you’ve made it this far): I’m a jackass. Well, yes, but as I’ve recently found out by reading the above book, there are a lot of us jackasses out there (the author prefers to call us sticklers), though not nearly enough to stem the tide of poor punctuation brought on by emails, text messages, and lawyers.
I should mention, before going any further, that I’m no better than most people when it comes to proper punctuation. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs (thank you) you’ll notice misplaced commas and a never-ending stream of dashes where parentheses, periods, semicolons, or colons would do just fine. The dash is a strange bird - I can’t seem to remember using it before grad school, but ever since it’s been an integral part of my emails, blogs, notes, and even academic papers. Which is fine: there’s nothing wrong with dashes. But, as Truss points out, their proliferation is slowly edging out other forms of punctuation that carry with them subtle differences of meaning. More on this in a bit.
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best movie moment ever (I’m drunk):
Hope I’m not disturbing you, but uh I saw you from across the party and
I don’t usually do this, but I felt compelled to tell you something.
You have an absolutely breathtaking heinie. I mean that thing’s good. I wanna be friends with it.
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drunken post @ . let me tell you s. I’ve never been hit on so many times in my life. Beign a TA rocks, all the girls want to sleep witgh me. Most of them say “I have a boyfriend, bnut it doesn’t matter” and I say “no, it does matter.” Her I am, hom alone, having dturned dwn half my lass, but it’s the right thing to do. I don’t sleep with young girls that are in my class. Dozens of them. Oh man are the y hot Ooooooohhhhh baby. What was I thinking. I’m crying right now beause my eyes hurt. Coffee 1 that
‘ts what i mned . oh baby. time to crash. Call me tomorrow and we’ll cha tab bout all the htings ij the ata we did and didn;t ado.
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I haven’t been excited about a network sitcom premiere in probably at least two decades. Yet, tonight, all that changes when
The Office takes center-stage on NBC at 8:30 central. This show should rule. I just saw three episodes of the
British version that it’s based off last night and laughed my arse off. It’s mockumentary at it’s best. I mean, I LOVE mockumentary, and then, when it’s at its best, well, that’s just all the better. Steve Carrell (aka ‘Brick’ in Anchorman) will play the boss (who, by the way, is the biggest douche-bag this world has ever seen) in the Americanized version.
C’mon, men, We all owe it to Brick to watch his new show at least once.