04 January 2011

Welcome to 2011

The cause of the delay in starting the year was a combination of a daylong 'net connection dropout, the need to reflect on the ingredients of some of these sausages, and TMI about Life. But it has resulted in a number of link sausages that are still inside their sell-by dates. Honest. Ignore that replacement label, ok?

  • Here's another example of kids contributing to scientific progress: A ten-year-old discovers a supernova. It's the attitude and opportunity, guys.
  • In a sign that Judge Chin may nonetheless decide the Google Book Search settlement-class motion himself, he issued a ruling on 29 December 2010 in a nasty case involving one of my favorite groups of bacterial parasites: Debt collectors. In Sykes v. Mel Harris Assocs., No. 2009–08486 (S.D.N.Y. 29 Dec 2010) (HTML requiring free registration), Judge Chin denied most of the various defendants' motions to dismiss against a "sewer service" scheme, in which the debt collector bought just the allegation of debt (and not the proof of validity); a law firm robofiled lawsuits, anticipating obtaining default judgments; and a process-server firm did not actually serve the complaints, but nonethless provided affidavits that it had done so. So the complaint alleges, anyway, and Judge Chin ruled that this is sufficient to proceed to discovery... noting similarities (without citation) to one of my old Chicago cases with his recognition that one employee was signing "personal knowledge" affidavits at the rate of once every three minutes.

    What bothers me the most about this is that the bar authorities aren't going to do anything, even if a judgment eventually issues against the law firm involved. Instead, they're going to continue focussing their efforts on keeping out-of-state lawyers from providing real competition in specialist matters.

    The real indication that Judge Chin may, just perhaps, still be writing his opinion in the GBS mess is that he signed the opinion in Sykes as "Circuit Judge"... and that there has been no formal redesignation of the GBS mess to another judge as of yet, over eight months after Judge Chin was confirmed to the Second Circuit.

  • The Economist tries to predict the course of 2011. Things start off with relying on Ariana Huffington's wisdom and rapidly go downhill from there... if that's possible. It's nonetheless quite amusing... but I have a really, really sick sense of humor.
  • The fabulous Sarah Weinman discusses some of the challenges of being a bookworm.

    So, to boil all this rambling down to a single goal, it’s that I have a great desire to trim the fat and focus as much as possible on the exceptional. Disappointing or bad books are fine every now and then to remind me why exceptional books are, in fact, exceptional, but mediocre books? I have no use for the likes of you and never will.

    The problem, as always, is to determine which parts of one's "to be read" list are the mediocre ones... and for my subspecies of bookworm, which mediocre ones are nonetheless required reading, such as current category fiction bestsellers.

  • The 1709 Blog discusses Public Domain Day for 2010 expirations.
  • Professor Arend points out a hole in education: Selective innumeracy in foreign policy. This isn't news to me; then, my undergraduate institution required completion of at least one semester of calculus for graduation, so even the poets had some exposure to numerical methods. In law school, however, it was shocking how innumerate many of my classmates (even accountants!) really were... and the less said about the antiintellectualism and antinumeric tendencies of the Reagan and Bush I administrations' hiring policies, the better.