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Monday, June 08, 2009

I've decided to radically alter every aspect of my life from diet to exercise to procrastinative laziness, beginning today. Let's start with some blogging.

* I'm with Alex Greenberg: why were judges ever allowed to rule on cases concerning major campaign contributors? For that matter, why are jurisdictions still electing their judges? It's nuts.

* Also on the legal front: I'm beginning to suspect that "judicial activism" is just an empty buzzword designed to discredit court decisions the right-wing doesn't like.

* Almost seventy percent of Americans support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military. What the hell is Obama waiting for?

* George Dvorsky on the top ten existential movies of all time. (Thanks, Bill!) It's a good list, but when your top ten list of existentialist film is missing The Seventh Seal it's time to consider whether limiting yourself to English-language film was a wise choice.

* Blogging wasteland: According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled. (Thanks, Steve!)

* Kids today have it easy; in my day, we had send professors corrupted files we'd made ourselves. And what happened to pretending to forget to attach the document? Too low-tech for you?

* 'Manufactured Controversy': A new report by Free Exchange on Campus, a coalition of groups opposed to David Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights" and similar measures, argues that the entire movement is built on false premises and is designed to attack higher education.

* Enjoyed this from Boing Boing: lecture from Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky on evolution, religion, schizophrenia and the schizotypal personality, arguing by analogy to sickle cell that schizophrenia is the hypertrophic result of genes that in isolation reward their holder with feverous religious certainty. I've become increasingly skeptical of attempts to map every feature of human existence onto genomic evolutionary pressure—and Sapolsky's lecture is much more speculative than empirical—but it's an interesting notion.