16 August 2004

A miscellaneous trip around the news yields some interesting things, both from a cynic's and from an academic's perspective.
  • The Seattle Times reports that Microsoft and the film industry don't trust each other, especially through intermediaries. Imagine that.
  • The Court for Arbitration in Sport might not be impartial enough to be called a "court". Like that's a surprise; see, e.g., "Form Over Substances: The Legal Context of Performance-Enhancing Substances," in ed. M.S. Bahrke & C.E. Yesalis, Performance-Enhancing Substances in Sport and Exercise (2002) at 341 (my most-recent article on procedural issues and defects in sport antidoping efforts). Sometimes I really hate being right.
  • On the other hand, "lawyers behaving badly" should come as a surprise to no one. Especially in Texas. What is surprising is that the big-firm insurance/defense counsel seem to have borne the brunt of the judge's ire… this time…
  • On the third hand—or is that fourth hand?—European and US antitrust law appears about as close together as anything else across the Atlantic. A piece in the IHT puts the blame on differing bases for antitrust law. It's not just the theory, though, contrary to what the article says; the governments' levels of scrutiny (even aside from their methods) are, shall we say, incompatible. What's most interesting, though, is who wrote the particle piece (scroll to the bottom).
  • I've run out of hands this morning, even after borrowing a couple from the kids. The Vaterlandsecuritätsburo's enthusiasm for preventing demonstrations at political conventions has gotten out of hand. The last time I checked, none of those conventions were scheduled for Port-au-Prince. Of course, our law enforcement and security officials would never allow their partisan disdain for the gay heathen commies preferences to get in the way of their even-handed and fully justified security operations. After all, they were strict with DNC protesters, too. (Do I really need a tag on this paragraph to show that it's sarcastic?)
  • The so-called "Dream Team" had its head handed to it by Puerto Rico—because, as Michael Wilbon points out in today's Post and Bob Costas pointed out last night on NBC, it's not a team. As Wilbon puts it, "USA Basketball put together a team to market, not a team to win;" I think he was being unduly generous.
  • Last, and far from least, is the question of political designation of what is scientifically reliable. And this isn't somewhere that it matters, like in a criminal trial or a live dispute between actual litigants, one of whom has suffered an injury that it blames on the other; this is at the prevention stage. What's that old saw about the relative weights of prevention and cure again? In any event, the real irony is that some very-well-accepted scientific and evidentiary principles, such as the uniqueness of fingerprints, can't meet the standard of proof being put forth; conversely, some now-debunked scientific and evidentiary principles, such as the purported relationship between intelligence and racial heritage, quite possibly can. The course of the particular controversy used as a paradigm in the article should remind you of the tactics and history of Inscrutable Design.