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Showing posts from September, 2016

Levels of Multiplicity

Just thinking aloud here. There are several theories extant about how what we think of as the universe, the totality of spaces you could in principle get to from here, and of moments in time that came before or will come after this one, is only one of many. A multiplicity of multiverse theories, so to speak.

I'll still to three (I'm sure there are more).

1) A multiverse exists because every black hole is also a big bang. I'm told that mathematical modeling of a black hole leads to the inference that a mass of any size may somehowishly be reduced to a single infinitesimal point (meaning: infinite density). Also, that this makes the formation of a black hole look like the big bang postulated as the start of our universe in reverse. From such premises, the italicized inference above seems possible. If every black hole you can get to from here is a big bang, though, then it is the big bang of another universe, one you can't get to from here, one with its own space and t…

The Supreme Court and the '90s

Continuing my line of posts creating an arbitrary list of THE landmark case for each year. This time, we'll work our way from the moment of the lip syncing of Milli Vanilli to that of the sexual orality of Monica Lewinsky. I've posted one of them as the image for this entry.

1990, Cruzan v.Missouri -- States may require "clear and convincing evidence" of patient's end-of-life wishes (living wills).

1991, Harmelin v. Michigan -- life sentence without possibility of parole for possession of cocaine held not to be cruel and unusual punishment.

1992, Casey v. Planned Parenthood -- re-affirmation of right to an abortion as part of privacy right.

1993, Daubert v. Merrill Dow -- creation of the Daubert standard for the testimony of expert witnesses.

1994, Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet -- Satmar Hasidic Jews can't get their own public school district.

1995, Adarand Construction v. Pena -- affirmative action as race-based set asides. Strict scrutiny.

The Light Between Oceans

I'm thinking about The Light Between Oceans, a movie in the historical romance genre. It opened on September 2, which is called a "fall release" in Hollywood marketing terms, though sticklers will point to the calendar and say it was released in the summer.

It was not a huge commercial success. I saw it, in a less-than-packed theater, that first weekend. It was sixth at the box office that weekend.

SPOILER ALERT. Don't read further if you plan to see the movie and may want to be surprised by the plot twists, such as they are.

But commercial success isn't what I'm thinking about this morning. I'm thinking about the "compare and contrast" the movie makers set up between t

The Ethics of Memory

Avishai Margalit formerly of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, has written a book on THE ETHICS OF MEMORY.

The very title evokes a number of thoughts. We are often told that we have an obligation to remember this or that. "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot ...Camelot...." and other such sentiments. But is that really meant literally? is it even coherent as literally understood?

Galen Strawson has reviewed Margalit's book, here:

Strawson thinks it a fine book, but the point he wishes to make is that one of Margalit's points seems to him too selective. Margalit treats it as a near-universal point that humans don't want to be forgotten, they/we want fame that will live on after our death, and this is one reason our friends and family want to help us with that, and thus feel an ethical obligation to our memory.

Strawson says that…

The Supreme Court and the '80s

I'm continuing my list of most-important-decisions from the US Supreme Court, year by year. Today I'll cover the 80s. Again, each choice is extremely subjective.

If you don't care about SCOTUS, you might at least enjoy the photo of Molly Ringwald. Proceeding....

1980, Pruneyard Shopping v. Robins -- free speech, property rights, state sovereignty, shopping malls

1981, Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery -- bottle bills survive constitutional challenge

1982, Arizona v. Maricopa Cnty Medl Society -- antitrust price fixing, physicians

1983, INS v. Chadha -- separation of powers, legislative veto

1984, Chevron v. NRDC -- deference to administrative discretion

1985, Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises -- "fair use" of copyrighted material

1986, Batson v. Kentucky -- jury composition, racial bias

1987, Edwards v. Aguillard -- creationism and establishment of religion

1988, Morrison v. Olson -- separation of powers & special prosecutors

1989, Wards Cove. v. Atoni…

Some Korean History

North Korea has been lobbing missiles in the direction of Japan, as a deliberate act of provocation and bravado.

Commentators on television can't mention this fact without at once saying "Japan is the country's former colonial overlord." And so it is, but I don't think the pertinent history has anything to do with the choice of missile-test target, or whatever 'this' is.

Just so no one will say I ignored it, though, let's say a few words about that history, even though we're just taking this stuff from wikipedia.

Korea was never colonized by one of the usual suspects, one of the western European powers one thinks of when the subject comes up.

The Russo-Japanese War was fought at the start of the 20th century largely over the issue of in whose sphere of influence did Korea fall. The Japanese won.

Not long thereafter, in 1910, the Japanese forced on the Koreans a Treaty of Annexation. This begins the period referenced when the news talking heads sp…