Saturday, October 30, 2010

And the Age of Accountability is . . .


The Volokh Conspiracy � The Negligent 4-Year-Old: "[I]nfants under the age of four are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence (Verni v Johnson, 295 NY 436, 438 [1946]).... Juliet Breitman, however, was over the age of four at the time of the subject incident. For infants above the age of four, there is no bright line rule, and “in considering the conduct of an infant in relation to other persons or their property, the infant should be held to a standard of care ... by what is expected of a reasonably prudent child of that age, experience, intelligence and degree of development and capacity”"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Loyal Readers

It's not you, it's me.

I have started blogging at Bull v. Elephant. I'm not sure how it all happened, but it just did. I'm not sure if I'll be able to continue giving both this blog and the new one the attention they deserve. It doesn't seem quite appropriate to post every random thought over at B. v. E. like I can here. However, I like that fact that more than Danny, Brett and Val (and maybe Dallas?) read the other blog. In short, I do not know how much blogging time will be left to blog here. I think you are more than welcome to read and comment at B. v. E. if you'd like. I don't really know that for sure, though.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010


That's the name of the opening band that played last night. Here's a song of theirs I like.

But we were at the Wonder Room to see Teenage Fanclub.

They were good, but they looked twenty years older than in the video. Of Course, that video was made twenty years ago.

BONUS: What's the link between Telekinesis! and The Velvet Teen?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FIFA, Soccer, FIFA Soccer

1. When we were in Scotland I discovered I very much like watching soccer. We went to a Rangers game and had great seats. It was very cool. We also watched a lot of soccer on TV. Even though the first two games I watched ended 0-0 ties, they were still interesting.

Soccer has its strengths and weaknesses. Its most obvious drawback is not very much scoring. These Simpsons clips speak much truth about the sport's drawbacks:

Low scoring is also sort of a virtue because scoring a goal in soccer is kind of like catching a long bomb in football or hitting a home-run in baseball. Goals are rare enough that they're always exciting.

I also like the fact that the game is a constant flow of action. There's really only one break at the half.

There seems to be a conservative divide on soccer--that is liberals like it and conservatives think American sports are better. I'm not sure why that is. Also, I find most American fans of soccer really annoying for some reason. Like I saw a bunch of galaxy fans with their scarfs on in LA and just thought it was kind of obnoxious and not very authentic.

2. I really haven't played video games that much in the last 4 years, but in Scotland I played a lot of FIFA 10, and got really into it. I thought maybe it was only fun because I had a lot of people to play with, but I've had FIFA 11 for 2-plus weeks now, and I still look forward to playing every day. There are some differences between 10 and 11. Passing is harder in FIFA 11, and so is making that chip/lob-shot over the goalie. But it's more or less the same game I've been playing straight for over a month. Not sure why the game has such depth, but it does.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Material

The new Velvet Teen EP is recorded. You can listen to the song, No Star, here.

Update: or here:
No Star by The Velvet Teen

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The author of that trolley problem has died:

The most arresting of her examples, offered in just a few sentences, was the ethical dilemma faced by the driver of a runaway trolley hurtling toward five track workers. By diverting the trolley to a spur where just one worker is on the track, the driver can save five lives.

Clearly, the driver should divert the trolley and kill one worker rather than five.

But what about a surgeon who could also save five lives — by killing a patient and distributing the patient’s organs to five other patients who would otherwise die? The math is the same, but here, instead of having to choose between two negative duties — the imperative not to inflict harm — as the driver does, the doctor weighs a negative duty against the positive duty of rendering aid.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bad Example

Here's a comment I tried to post at EconLog:

I mostly liked your EconTalk podcast about immigration, and thought most of your arguments for open immigration were pretty good. But your thought experiment where a person goes to Haiti to do humanitarian work only to discover he can't return to the U.S. is, I think, off. What I think you're trying to show is that only country of birth--which is a matter of luck --separates poor Haitians from comparatively well off Americans. The randomness is unfair! Well, the listener certainly gets a sense of outrage, but, I think, for the wrong reasons.

I think the biggest source of outrage in the example is not the randomness of allocation to countries, but the random government rule change mid-trip. The humanitarian was relying on the fact that he would be able to return to the U.S. The reaction would be much different if the humanitarian knew before he left that he could not return. I don't see how outrage over a sudden rule change helps your case for open immigration.

The hypothetical is also unsettling because the humanitarian had something that was taken away from him, as opposed to having had less to begin with. I'd feel bad for a billionaire that lost his fortune and had to make due with $100,000 a year, even though that income is actually quite good by most standards. But maybe that is parts of your point--that we should be just as outraged about the unseen consequences of immigration policy as the seen consequences in the hypothetical? Maybe we should lament missed opportunities as much as a loss? At least the humanitarian got to live in the U.S. for a while. But psychological, I don't think we do, which makes the U.S.'s arguably unduly-restrictive immigration policy at least more psychologically benign than your hypothetical.

Finally, your hypothetical misses the mark because the humanitarian is permanently and involuntarily relocated. I think people would find the idea of a person who lives in Portland, OR going on a business trip to New York, NY and then discovering that he can't return to Portland mid-trip troubling, even if he could take his family and friends with him. And by your account, New York is better than Portland. So I don't think this sense of unease has much to do with different standards of living. The average person is going to find this sort of involuntary, permanent relocation and disruption of life troubling, regardless of economic opportunity.


Just watched part of a Muse concert on Pallidia, and the base line from the song Hysteria is seriously hard. The base player has serious chops.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Are there any objectivists out there? Danny? Anyone? Because I have a question. If I understand objectivism correctly, the basic premise is that you should not live for others. Instead, you should do what is in your self interest.

The common objection to this is, what if an objectivist sees someone drowning? Acting only in their narrow self interest, they would let the person drowned. But objectivists always respond, that self interest should not be construed so narrowly, or that's not a proper understanding of self interest. That's fair enough. I mean, it's arguably in a person's self interest to save another. It would create a relationship. Or it might impress others.

So here's the hypothetical I have. Suppose an objectivist happens upon a drowning person he doesn't know. He has no reason to believe that he wants to know them. Or maybe it's someone he dislikes. There's no one else around. All he has to do is throw a life vest at the person to save him. Can an objectivist decide not to? If not why not?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Can Someone Explain to Me. . .

why BYU's football team sucks so bad this year?

The only good I can see coming from this season, is it will be particularly embarrassing if we beat Utah.