12 June 2009

Sausage Pot Pourri

This one's for you, Dittoheads:

Non Sequitur, 11 June 2009

  • Did altruism arise from the pointy end of a spear? I suspect this says much more about dubious assumptions in the model than it does about anything else... because "altruism" appears in species (such as T. truncatus) with no comparable analog to intra-species warfare. What is more likely is that altruistic behavior only left archealogical artifacts identifiable as "altruistic" in correlation with the acheaological artifacts that are identifiable as "warlike" — which leads to far different conclusions.
  • When The Economist gives a positive review to a book claiming that maybe markets aren't "efficient" after all, it's worth taking notice. Market-based hypotheses form critical parts of so much modern policy — including bestseller lists and the Intellectual Property Clause — that questioning that orthodoxy requires some thought.
  • Speaking of failed economic postulates, perhaps instead of worrying about trading Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton, we should be more worried about, say, trading John Stirratt for Mike Mills and a session player to be named later.
  • Professor Levinson muses on the continuing value of "the great experiment" — the quasisovereignty of the states in our federal system — over at the ironically appropriately named Balkinization (think about it for a moment). Whether or not one agrees with the conclusions, one can definitely say that it's not "efficient" (and think about that in relation to previous sausages). Now further contrast that with Professor Buchanan's comments on bad state governments... and stop to think for a moment about the purportedly inconsistent theories of "command authority" (and "span of control") and "voter rights". Then go get plastered, because the hangover will feel a lot better than your head does after that.
  • Staying in the academic blawgosphere for a while longer, Professor Goldman has an important note on how (not) to write contracts. And this isn't just related to the 'net, either; consider the unenforceable (and, in the worst case, possibly evidence of fraudulent intent) ipso facto clauses common on publishing contracts, that purport to return the rights to the author if the publisher files for bankruptcy. It's only been thirty-one years since this became facially unenforceable (see 11 U.S.C. § 362), and about a quarter of a century since the courts made clear this applies to ipso facto clauses.

    Why, then, do we continue to see them in publishing contracts? Probably because so few publishing contracts actually get read as a whole by competent counsel... on either side of the negotiating table.