Friday, April 29

How Eyewitness And Confessions Result in Convictions of Innocent People

I think this kind of stuff is super important and way under-reported. We have a lot of popular culture that puts people in the shoes of the police and prosecutors, and I write this as a solid fan of the original Law and Order. A parallel show of innocent people who every week have to battle wrongful arrest (think of the first person brought in to the station in every L&O episode - it's almost never the killer!) could be just as good and just as "ripped from the headlines."

How eyewitness and confessions can result in convictions of innocent people.

Thursday, April 21

Secrets & Democracy

"Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business... There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information."

Saturday, April 9

The Importance of Context in Quotes That Honor The Dead

The memorial inscription, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time” is an eloquent translation of the original Latin of “The Aeneid” — “Nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo.”

The impulse to turn to time-hallowed texts, like the classics or the Bible, is itself time-hallowed. In the face of powerful emotions, our own words may seem hollow and inadequate, while the confirmation that people in the past felt as we now feel holds solace. And the language of poets and great thinkers can be in itself ennobling.

But not in this case. Anyone troubling to take even a cursory glance at the quotation’s context will find the choice offers neither instruction nor solace.

Friday, April 8

Recommendations Based on Status Rather Than Substance

"A fifth theory, and one I favor, is that politics isn’t about policy. We (unconsciously) don’t care much about the consequences of such policies – we instead support policies to make ourselves look good. If our support for (policies) pushing high status actions is taken as a signal of our personal status, then we can want to support such regulation regardless of what results when such regulations are implemented."