Re: Easy, Perry

1

This is almost exactly my reaction. He also seems to be trying to set up a trap of the form "Prove me wrong! Confess to a felony!"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:37 AM
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How do you sequester a dissertation? I thought if you just wrote "Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D." on the front, nobody would read it regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:41 AM
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You can prevent them from being checked out for two years after filing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:47 AM
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Is that so you can turn it into a mediocre book?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:48 AM
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Or articles!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:56 AM
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I should write an article, as opposed to just writing the methods section of an article.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:57 AM
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Or maybe I should drive around with a Glock and a sociologist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:59 AM
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I think what's being called "sequestering" is actually more typical and benign than it sounds. Dissertations are now easily available online via Proquest, whereas people used to have to write to UMI to get the microfilm, and so graduate students now worry about people stealing their ideas before they're able to publish their books. So, they refuse to provide digital access. Whether anyone would actually bother to scoop the typical humanities dissertation is, of course, another question.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:04 AM
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To the OP, it seems to me that Lubet has the better of the argument on whether AG has significantly changed her story, from 'I committed a crime' to 'I acted like I was committing a crime, and said I was committing a crime, but now that you mention it, no, I wasn't really committing a crime, and just said I was because that's a better story.'

There are plenty of people in jail who deny having had the requisite mens rea.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:06 AM
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Yeah, I've only read a tiny bit of the book and have no reason to think she didn't make everything up, but Lubet's been pretty unpersuasive. In his longer piece, focusing on how Goffman must be making everything up because it's all just too incredible, he gives a grand total of two examples of things he finds impossible to believe. And one of them--cops couldn't have looked at hospital records to find people because HIPAA prohibits that and also I asked some cops and they said no they'd never do that--is based on a misunderstanding of the HIPAA regs (which allow disclosure of names and certain other identifying to law enforcement for the purpose of locating fugitives; and which I'm pretty sure don't protect visitor info in the first place, which is what Goffman was talking about), to say nothing of a stange willingness to believe that cops never engage in illegal practices. I'm not saying cops do this--I have no idea--but Lubet doesn't offer any more reason to believe they don't than Goffman does to believe they do. And if 50% of his case is based on him not bothering to check the law, that suggests he's writing a hit piece rather than an honest review.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:07 AM
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And I agree with 10 -- looking at the law to judge the credibility of an anecdote is the kind of thing that justifies the low opinion many of us have about law professors.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:12 AM
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Driving around with a gun and a target in mind seems distinguishable from, say, "Dude, we should start a band! I've got my older brother's guitar!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:13 AM
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Why do you hate the Second Amendment?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:15 AM
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The OP was basically my reaction as well. Also my baseline level of trust in law professors meddling outside their immediate field is near zero.* I think it's totally possible she did make things up, there are indeed some possible signs, but his attack was weak sauce. Also, why is random legal ethics guy, as opposed to some sociologist/ anthropologist/ ethnographer with actual field experience, taking this on?

*"this couldn't have happened because people can't be arrested for or convicted of crimes that I as a non-expert think wouldn't be prosecutable," and "cops don't act this way because I, legal ethics professor, talked to a guy," were particularly non-convincing and law professory.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:16 AM
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The word is embargo.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:17 AM
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Yes, yes it is.


Posted by: Opinionated Masterblaster | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:18 AM
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14 already pwnd in the time it took to write it.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:18 AM
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You probably get slowed down while writing because of the traffic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:19 AM
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Huh. The 'planning to do something, and taking steps to accomplish it, but really not planning to complete the action' state of mind you describe -- while I agree that it's recognizable, and that it's a state of mind where it's far from certain that you're going to do the planned thing -- it seems to be to be a state of mind where it's not actually unlikely that the thing will happen (say, in Goffman's case, if they unexpectedly saw the guy they were looking for, and just went through with the shooting on autopilot, kind of), even if you didn't wholeheartedly intend to do it while planning it. At which point, it seems wrong to me to say that you didn't actually intend to carry it out; it's a sliding scale of intent, but you absolutely intended to do things to make it more likely that the event would happen. (None of this is lawyering. Charley covers the lawyering point -- that if the shooting had happened, "I didn't really mean it" wouldn't be much of a defense. But I'm just rambling about states of mind.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:24 AM
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This reminds me of some movie where Spencer Tracy (I think) was playing a lawyer arguing that his client was being subject to an absurdly disproportionate penalty because of the "conspiracy" element. But maybe I'm just imagining it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:30 AM
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why is random legal ethics guy, as opposed to some sociologist/ anthropologist/ ethnographer with actual field experience, taking this on?

I've had the sense for a while that Lubet is the kind of asshole who's looking to be a go-to guy when you need a hit piece on a lefty from an even-the-liberal. His take on the Salaita affair was memorably odious. "Sure, it's possible that we should be concerned about the academic freedom implications here, but can't we focus on the important question and all agree that Salaita is a vile racist who has no place in decent society?" He employs the same hit-piece strategy of stringing together highly tendentious readings of a handful of things plucked out of context (e.g. the infamous tweet in which Salaita supposedly characterized antisemitism as honorable; particularly impressive is his attempt to transform the phrase "antisemitic shit" into an endorsement of antisemitism by observing that, according to Urban Dictionary, "the shit" is high praise).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:39 AM
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19. I don't think you'd actually have to have a shooting to have a chargeable offense. If the target was, say, Barack Obama, rather than some unnamed Philadelphian, driving up and down Penn Ave armed saying you were going to kill him if you found him, and asking people who know his schedule where the hell he is, would likely get you in front of a jury.

I haven't been following this thing closely, but have a vague recollection of someone saying something like if they charged everyone, the other guys would plead the Fifth, and the state would have nothing. That's law professor logic. And leaves out the very real possibility that one of the other guys would get immunized . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:40 AM
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Other academics' norms confuse me. If the dissertation is publicly available, I would have thought that by definition it has been published and so can't be scooped.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:40 AM
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Another reasons to not get immunized.


Posted by: Opinionated Jenny McCarthy | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:42 AM
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19: Yeah: Jim jumped. He wouldn't have said he was planning to do so.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:42 AM
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If the dissertation is publicly available, I would have thought that by definition it has been published

It has to be published by a press, not just "made public".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:03 AM
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Another lawyer here who thinks Lubet is correct but annoying as hell. All you can do is what we're doing here, express disgust.

So, LB, we've finally got a presidential candidate who leads by demanding metricisation. Are you fired up?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:04 AM
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Nah. I'm enraged that he's trying to usurp Al Gore's rightful role as our first metric president.

I try not to let go of grudges.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:08 AM
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I may be among the last former physics majors who remembers college problems in feet and inches, pounds and slugs, quarts and gallons. None of that Newtons crap.

To be fair, such were never set in class or on exams. But they were in commercially-available practice problems, and I did a bunch of those.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:16 AM
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AIPMHBO, we had a new guy who changed all the height and weight data we used into inches and pounds just because. That was annoying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:20 AM
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It was high school, but supposed to be a college level class, and AP Physics in 1987-88 definitely incorporated English units as well as metric. I recall trying to figure out a sensible problem where the answer would be expressed in units of mass x distance for that reason: slug-feet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:22 AM
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Pounds and slugs? There ain't no such unit.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:24 AM
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Is the point that the a dissertation is only halfway to a book, and so you want to keep your couple year head start? I mean surely it's not ok to actually steal from a dissertation just because it hasn't been published by a press?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:25 AM
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32: Sure there is. Pounds are force, slugs are mass. (Specifically, that mass which, when one pound of force is applied to it, accelerates at 1ft/second squared.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:27 AM
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28: would it be uncouth of me to bring up whom you voted for in 2000?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:27 AM
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You mean Nader? Who I also voted for in 1996? I am vast, I contain multitudes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:31 AM
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re: 34

Jesus!

SI, FTW.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:31 AM
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37: we learned it from watching you, Dad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:33 AM
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39

Jesus, SI! Diablo, NO!


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:33 AM
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Googling suggests that the bigger motive for embargoing theses is that book publishers demand it. There's a difference here between book publishing and journal publishing: if half the articles in a journal are freely available then libraries still have to subscribe to get the other half, but for books they can just not buy the books that are already available for free.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:35 AM
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The phenomenon of gearing up to do something with all seriousness, and taking all due steps to do that thing, while deep down knowing--or at least suspecting--that you will never do that thing, has to be a near-universal human experience.

I really can't relate to this. Not for anything remotely approaching murder. Or for anything else, for that matter. To me it looks like the reason she's not an accomplice to murder has to do with the competence of her accomplices in finding the other guy, not some super-secret mental reservation that she psychically shared with the other people pretending (but not intending!) to try to commit murder.

Assuming the experience referred to above is one I just happened to miss out on (and I'm skeptical about the near-universality of it), at best Goffman assumed that her companions were as serious-but-not-really as she was. Is she still not guilty if she was serious-but-not-really and they rolled up on the guy they were looking for and it turned out that her assumptions about the seriousness of her accomplices was incorrect?

Her entire claim to innocence seems to rest on a nonverbal understanding with the shooter that this was all just posturing. If that's the case she really should have included it in the book. Instead we get something about her knowing what it's like to want someone to die, taking action to make that happen, and boasting about it. I sort of doubt that she was ready to participate in murder, but her judgment seems exceptionally crappy, both participating in creating a situation where murder was a possibility and in writing about it without caveats.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:36 AM
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38: you certainly did not, young man. Your mother and I use cubits, parasangs and scruples as G-d intended.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:39 AM
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41: Yeah, exactly. The additional point that, whatever her own mental reservations, she was actively doing her part to make it possible for someone else to commit murder, and so her beliefs as to whether he really meant to do it are a weak basis for exculpating her is a good one. She wasn't relying on "Even if we see this guy, I'm not going to kill him, even though we're all saying openly that's the plan." She was relying on, at best "Even if we see this guy, I'm pretty sure the guy with the gun I'm driving around doesn't really mean to kill him."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:42 AM
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Can't it be the case that Lubet is an asshole making mostly bad points, and simultaneously Goffman is doing unconvincing special pleading to try to have it both ways about the core incident?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:42 AM
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42: Hence the ancient adage: "Spare the rod, and spoil the child."

Let the kids grow up ignorant of proper units of distance, and who knows what could happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:44 AM
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Isn't the posturing taking place in her presumably borderline ficticious write-up of the whole thing? Maybe I should read what everyone has said more closely.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:44 AM
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Yeah, she's in a bit of a cleft stick -- from the story she's told, she's either a criminal or a liar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:47 AM
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Conversion to SI, for ttaM: one joule of energy = 200 gigascruple parasangs per fortnight squared.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:47 AM
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45. Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:48 AM
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The name for this unit is the "hartebeeste".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:48 AM
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The book Measuring America, which I highly recommend, contains a semi-convincing argument for why traditional units based on powers of two (rods, chains, etc.) are more practical and intuitive than metric for surveying land.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:59 AM
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Does any place in America use metric units for surveying land?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:00 AM
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I don't even see hectares.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:01 AM
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51: A middleaged British journalist of my acquaintance who started out his career as an engineer designing engines for Rolls Royce (I think? Helicopter engines? Does Rolls Royce make helicopters, or did they back in the eighties?) argued once to me that fractional inches allowed for more precision than metric units because of that powers of two thing.

I restrained myself from pointing out to him that (a) that was idiotic and (b) he'd stopped being an engineer because he was, in his own estimation, kind of terrible at at, so why should I listen to him?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:08 AM
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47 -- "I'm a liar, you shouldn't take what I say seriously" is one of those academic conundra people argue about on trolleys, right?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:08 AM
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re: 54

Helicopter engines, yes.

http://www.rolls-royce.com/customers/civil-aerospace/products/helicopter-engines.aspx


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:11 AM
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If he was a terrible British engineer in the 80s, he should have gone to work for Jaguar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:12 AM
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I think her best play is 'the book was completely true; my emotional state was complicated, but I was not actually expecting anyone to get shot; if anyone tells me that the story I told is a confession to crime, gosh, I'm not a lawyer and I find that terribly surprising, but that seems minimally relevant given that no one is seriously talking about prosecuting anyone in relation to those events, during which no one actually got hurt."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:12 AM
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54.1 I've sued RR over a defective helicopter engine.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:13 AM
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I don't know if he counts as British anymore, anyway, he's been in NY for decades now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:14 AM
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58 Yes, although just sitting quietly while people buy her book is maybe a close second . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:15 AM
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59: Probably this guy's fault. Lovely guy generally, but a bit on the scatterbrained side.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:17 AM
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The one RR factory I have been in (an obscure component unrelated to aerospace) was the most decrepit manufacturing facility I have ever seen in a first world country. In fairness to RR, they had just sold it. AIMHMHB, the engineer I spoke to explained that the physics behind this particular (very common, though obscure) component were not well understood, so they did everything based off of empirical experience captured in a bunch of thick log books rather than a mathematical model. This seemed highly suspect at the time, and still does.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:21 AM
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In my youth, I've certainly gone along with dumb-as-fuck things that friends were doing, out of a mistaken sense of solidarity and a desire not to seem unsupportive and/or a wimp, all the while hoping whatever the dumb-as-fuck plan was didn't actually come off. Some of those times, I'd certainly have been hoping that everyone else was just going through the motions, too, but I'm not 100% sure.

In a similar, but not entirely identical, type of thing, I also told some friends who the person was who beat me up once. Probably not necessarily expecting them to go and life-threateningly fuck him up, but aware that it was a possibility if his name became known. In the event, they went looking for him, and didn't find him.*

* he left the place he was staying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:22 AM
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Lubet's Salaita article was definitely at the back of my mind. Potchkeh's 21 is a good description of Lubet.

I do think Goffman is in for some hurt if she wrote the whole thing as memoir-truth rather than academic-truth, and it will be deserved.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:25 AM
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63: The laser I used for my dissertation had a component manufactured according to that method. There was some complicated fluid dynamics involved (it was a dye laser) and the solution was just to try a bunch of things until something worked and then ritualistically follow the same set of steps for each laser. It was an insanely sophisticated device with a bit of stone-age engineering plonked down in the middle of it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:26 AM
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The experience of 63 recalled to me the theory expounded by David Landes among others that Britain fell behind Germany in the "second industrial revolution" once the products and manufacturing processes could no longer be meaningfully improved by mechanical "tinkering", but rather required a scientifically educated workforce.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:27 AM
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How? Isn't it all uncheckable? The point of accusing her of committing a felony is to get her to back off her story for fear of prosecution, but if she sits tight, who's in a position (other than her informants) to call her a liar?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:27 AM
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I think I need to schedule your deposition, then!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:27 AM
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This comment fully subject to that most mockable of internet-comment-disclaimers, and I'd love to be completely refuted: This careful parsing of Goffman's intent, possible mendacity and possible violations of academic standards looks to be in pretty stark contrast with what I very strongly suspect would be the total lack of any consideration of possible mitigating or exculpatory factors that her companions on the ride would have gotten had they been pulled over by the cops, let alone had the gun been fired at anyone or there been a murder. Including apparently a lack of reflection on this in the telling of the tale in a book ostensibly about the iniquities of our systematic criminalization of back boys and men. Neither the author nor her editors thought any comment was called for. Ha ha ironic! Except it isn't, it's pretty revolting and strongly supports the criticism I've read by black people that the entire approach is dehumanizing.

Again, would really like to be told I'm wrong and the book includes a deep reflection on risk differential between the author and the other participants in the ride.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:10 AM
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Oh, disclaimer is - haven't read the book. Obviously.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:11 AM
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68 -- maybe there are other things that can be independently verified, but I basically agree with you, and I agree that 58 is her best response.

Incidentally, the whole deal makes her destruction of her notes to protect her research subjects from criminal prosecution more understandable, given that based on what she did write there is a guy running around in national magazines aggressively calling her an (attempted) murderer based on (accepting her original account as true) a legally chargeable but practically un-prosecutable offense.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:13 AM
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The point of accusing her of committing a felony is to get her to back off her story for fear of prosecution

You think anyone accusing her cares whether she does or does not tell this story? Isn't it more a combination of (a) take AG down a notch and (b) establish/burnish public intellectual credentials of accusers?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:27 AM
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Isn't this a general: someone is talking about how the current criminal system is shit, quick lets use that same system to shut her up.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:30 AM
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Isn't it more a combination of (a) take AG down a notch and (b) establish/burnish public intellectual credentials of accusers?

I think this is right. I didn't feel like I had quite enough to make the case in the post, but Lubet is doing something similar to what Goffman did: tailor his piece for the most impact/attention. He's not an idiot; he knows his response to "it was just posturing" is weak, but he strings some words together and there you go.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:42 AM
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...with what I very strongly suspect would be the total lack of any consideration of possible mitigating or exculpatory factors that her companions on the ride would have gotten had they been pulled over by the cops, let alone had the gun been fired at anyone or there been a murder.

I suspect that also, but I don't see what the problem is. I think lawyers are just uncomfortable with the probabilistic nature of the system in which they participate because they have to pretend that absurdly hand-wavey standards like "reasonable" are somehow objective or consistently intersubjective.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 10:59 AM
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We don't really pretend that as a practical matter, but it's true that in making arguments to courts we're compelled to, at least to a limited extent.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:03 AM
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"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime based on very incomplete probabilistic models of and the district attorneys who reify indefinable abstract concepts. These are their stories."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:08 AM
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78: ♥


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:11 AM
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Now I feel bad about the typo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:12 AM
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Turns out Goffman's dissertation isn't even embargoed. Princeton exempted her from filing it at all.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:14 AM
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I'd watch that show.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:17 AM
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Does anybody have J/ll H3nnessy's phone number? For research.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:19 AM
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Goffman and Lubet are both full of shit.

What she did could totally be chargeable...with an identifiable and cooperative victim, which is why, even if her account is totally true, charges are never going to happen. Still, totally chargeable in the right circumstances. Murder for hire plots are intercepted all the time, it's not like law enforcement is actually waiting for a body to drop before making an arrest.

But Lubet is a total idiot, basically just pulling everything right out of his ass Ezra "this is literally unbelievable" Klein style. Like that HIPPA thing, FFS, take the 30 seconds on google to find out that they can disclose people's info to law enforcement "for purposes of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:20 AM
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51: in my brief vivid attempt at learning old-style surveying with a Brunton and a literal chain, omg yes. Solid geometry when you're losing a boot* needs all the help it can get. I like binary for cooking, too, though I think the best base unit would be the egg.

54: ....but.... The thou is 10^-3, not 2^-10. Isn't it?

63: not surprising at all! In fluid dyn math and civ eng classes we'd go through these comical assumptions for the proofs, moral: this is why practitioners are rude empirics; and then we'd try numerical methods and discover that all the terrible edge cases and instabilities were right there laughing at us. What Buckingham** said we wouldn't figure out in a century we mostly haven't.

* when surveying or re-surveying, one finds single boots. Worrying.

** of the pi, honor to him.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:22 AM
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The phenomenon of gearing up to do something with all seriousness, and taking all due steps to do that thing, while deep down knowing--or at least suspecting--that you will never do that thing, has to be a near-universal human experience.

Sort of the way I felt when I was trying to write my thesis.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:30 AM
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85.2: yes, was explicitly to replace base-two in the 1850s. Wikipedia on the hand- knowledge then used for fine measurements is great:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousandth_of_an_inch


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:46 AM
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Come to think, that looks familiar -- I guess he wasn't talking about English measurements being preferable because of the powers of two thing, but because "thou"s were somehow the right size to measure things in round numbers. That is, if you wanted something that was exactly 1 thou, you only needed one significant figure, whereas to measure the same dimension in metric, you'd need three: 25.4 μm.

This is idiotic, of course: it was one of those conversations where you find yourself having a hard time getting across how fundamentally wrong the other person is without being insulting. I think I poured another round of margaritas and changed the subject.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 11:57 AM
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I'm spending a lot of time lately scaling cake recipes up and down and damn I love metric. Also, please please for the love of all things baked publish your damn recipes in WEIGHTS people!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:00 PM
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I have serious, nuanced opinions about Goffman. I actually read the book! But it's so much easier to write complete nonsense on topics I know nothing about.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:03 PM
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78 made me laugh.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:05 PM
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I actually read the book!

My God.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:06 PM
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Surely there's a WiFi kitchen scale and an app for that? Should also be useful for diabetics, etc.

A balance scale with your eggs on one side is Clearly Better, though. (Not as clear to people who didn't learn baking with homegrown, funny-weight eggs. The standard- ish eggs went to the feed store in barter, AIMHSHB.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:06 PM
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Surely there's a WiFi kitchen scale and an app for that?

You still have to enter what you're weighing. I manually convert volumes to weights (because dq is right, it's much easier), but it's a hassle. If I baked enough, I'd remember the common conversion factors, but I don't remember anything but butter and water.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:11 PM
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92: Well, it is admirable, but it's not necessary to worship me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:14 PM
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There are conversion charts out there, but you have to calibrate them with dry ingredients because of differences in settling, scooping style, etc. All this becomes tediously more important when you are, eg, taking a recipe for 2 8" layers and scaling it for 3 12" layers.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:39 PM
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At least you got to use all sorts of geometry that most people don't have to use after tenth grade.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:41 PM
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Actually, Moby, is why one has a retinue aka the guys I'm shacked up with. They're in charge of the math, I just provide the kitchen skills.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:46 PM
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Pi for pie?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:47 PM
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Pi for cake, I guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:48 PM
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Geometry for virtually unlimited buttercream!

There is something satisfying about looking back on a weekend in which 4 lbs of butter took it in the neck.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:50 PM
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Buckingham's pi for nondimensionalization, amazingly useful:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_%CF%80_theorem

He also thought about fluid dynamics and soil function earlier than about anyone else.

Surveying is satisfactory, though in my inexpert tries all the equipment more complex than a chain breaks all the time and the fancier it is the longer it will be before you know. I have a lot of numbers that probably can't ever be interpreted as ground based lidar, dammit.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:54 PM
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As long as they didn't cheat as use beans or something to work out a ratio by brute empiricism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:55 PM
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It does make me very happy that an 8" square pan is an almost perfect substitute for a 9" round pan -- the area is the same to within half a square inch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:58 PM
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94.2: Insanity Rose gives both, easy lookups.

Though if an app can't OCR a fairly constrained set of ingredients out of a photo, I am disappoint. I will put a bignesse of butter like a walnut in size on a sufficiency of toast, in a fast oven, to comfort me.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 12:59 PM
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That seems like it would be brutally difficult to program, but I'm an amateur.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:16 PM
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OCR ingredients out of a photo of a recipe?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:20 PM
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Wikipedia on the hand- knowledge then used for fine measurements is great:

Interesting. Also, this:

. . . to make possible, for example, designing an assembly to the point of an engineering drawing, then having the mating parts made at different firms who did not have any contact with (or even awareness of) each other--yet still knowing with certainty that their products would have the desired fit.

Didn't work out for Boeing. (I like the note on this article. "Hart-Smith's paper includes the best footnote ever: 'The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Boeing management. Conversely, the visible policies of the management are not necessarily those that the author would have recommended, had he been asked.'")


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:21 PM
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107: helped along by the human touching the relevant words? No?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:23 PM
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I see. Maybe? OCR is still surprisingly bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:29 PM
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Constrained set of probable ingredients should help a lot, shouldn't it? Prepopulated from the many usefully-formatted recipes online.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:32 PM
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This is pictures, not really OCR in the sense of where the 'c' is 'character'? Maybe we should look at whatever automated programs exist to minimize dick pics without requiring a person to flag the offending member.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:34 PM
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111: maybe? If you think about the kind of images that show up in ReCAPTCHA, they tend to be pretty constrained (generally just a set of numbers), and there's probably a ton of variability in recipes (fonts, printing quality, food spills, handwritten notes etc etc).

112: pretty much the same thing. Those don't work all that well either, which is why there are warehouses full of glum Malaysians staring at goatse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:37 PM
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Let's assume that's revealed preferences.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:38 PM
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If you're going to take out your phone and take a photo of something, why not just pick "honey" or whatever it is from a list? I use this app.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:39 PM
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Our intentions: unknowable to ourselves, telepathically available to that woman from Princeton.

But even putting that aside, the book version-- which, I assume, is going in her tenure dossier-- makes it sound an awful lot like the guy she was driving around had the intention to kill someone, and now she's saying "oh not really, it was just a ritual of catharsis, as one does among the Philadelphians," which is going to raise some questions about the integrity of her work vs. her willingness to lay it on thick for the audience.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:43 PM
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Isn't "laying it on thick" a good thing for frosting and sociology?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:44 PM
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Laying it on Thick Description, yes.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:53 PM
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Clifford, the big white anthropologist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 1:54 PM
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I can't believe that phrase has no google hits, but apparently it does not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:00 PM
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Conversely, the visible policies of the management are not necessarily those that the author would have recommended, had he been asked.

I can hear the silent "which they never fucking do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:24 PM
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Coming in so late, and after a quick CTRL-F, I'm surprised that no one has come to Lubet's defense on the ground that his musical taste is okay: http://tinyurl.com/nq9vgc9

I'm disappointed in the commentariat. He's a cool dood.


Posted by: marcel proust | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:24 PM
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"


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:24 PM
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I can hear the silent "which they never fucking do.

The snarky touch that I appreciate is the use of "visible" to imply, "perhaps they have some guiding plan that they haven't shared with the rest of us, but I can't see the reason for their actions."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:29 PM
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121: The Silent Scream


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:29 PM
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||
Is there a name for the phenomenon where someone largely in the right says "this behavior is a problem" and the wrongdoer with the behavior says "let's not point fingers here. We shouldn't be casting blame."?

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:29 PM
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You're right, NickS. That is nicely done.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:30 PM
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126: homo sapiens


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 2:48 PM
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126: Deflection?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 3:10 PM
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122 -- so, he's an overly litigious Deadhead. Immediately consign him to the asshole bin, under Halfordismo he's off to a labor camp.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 3:22 PM
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130: I found myself trying to explain Halfordismo to a friend who does not read Unfogged the other day, and found myself really wishing for a succinct statement of the highlights. I'm sure it exists in TFA, but could anyone direct me to it?


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:00 PM
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Once you described Halford to her, wasn't she able to derive Halfordismo for herself?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:07 PM
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I am concerned that our imaginations did not do it justice.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:09 PM
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Six shots of tequila, a Gwar cd, and a pound of buffalo jerky will make it all clear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:09 PM
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All used to construct a little Guy Fawkes figurine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:11 PM
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Cosma, the algae is growing in my fur but I don't have good books in my library queue. Please help me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:17 PM
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136: The monthly post was delayed by the NIPS deadline but is going up tonight.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:20 PM
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136: I said six shots, but eight.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:22 PM
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Thank you!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:28 PM
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1.5x lifesize Statue of social justice borne on a shield by a phalanx of uniformed amazons, preceded by a leopard. Statue is made of chewing gum, yelling into an iphone while stuck in traffic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:31 PM
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The core principles of Halfordismo is (1) no losers! and (2) Halford decides who the losers are.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:31 PM
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is are


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:31 PM
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John Darnielle has published a novel. I haven't decided if I like it or not yet.

I like the new music about wrestling though.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:32 PM
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134 -- that comment reminded me that I hid a pound of venison jerky in my office in case of an emergency and had forgotten about it. Venison jerky snack time!


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:50 PM
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139: You're welcome.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 4:55 PM
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143: The wrestling music is so great. JM and I saw them a couple of months ago, and they came onstage to this fine rant.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 5:00 PM
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I've already fully admitted to my anti-Goffman bias. I'm prepared to believe that this law professor is a) arguing in bad faith, b) gullible in believing his own bs, AND c) putting his finger on something truly wrong.

Two of my many reasons for disliking/distrusting Goffman are:

1) the disturbingly prevalent attitude among researchers I've dealt with of flippancy and/or willful naivete regarding potential negative fallout for the subjects of their research.

2) the hypocrisy in purporting to draw attention to a societal problem, while exploiting your privileged position in relation to that problem to build your own career and reputation.

Like I said, I'm biased.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:05 PM
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further to my point 1): I've seen this play out specifically from Penn people and specifically in West Phila, so Goffman is a very familiar type in that sense.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:06 PM
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Even callous, flippant and privileged Ivy League social researchers add more general social value than law professors.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:18 PM
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Especially overly litigious Deadhead legal ethics professors.*

*It's a sweet gig. First, you write the mediocre article. Then you get the expert consulting fees when lawyers pay you to bless things as "ethical." Then you get the women.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:22 PM
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Also, togolosh at 41 and Minivet at 44 are making sense.

Also also, criminal charges entirely aside, I did see somewhere that apparently Goffman's actions may have violated research ethics for her profession, a la "do no harm." I would be curious to know from people who are better-informed than I if this is true.

The New York Times has just published a pretty kid-gloves story on the general controversy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:24 PM
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the hypocrisy in purporting to draw attention to a societal problem, while exploiting your privileged position in relation to that problem to build your own career and reputation.

What would you say is an acceptable way to do this research?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 6:32 PM
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If he was a real deadhead he'd have trusted in the cosmic justice certainty that he'd be admitted free at some later point.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:01 PM
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Speaking of overly litigious law professors: Has America produced a bigger putz than Alan Dershowitz?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:04 PM
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I am pretty sus of Goffman's actions here. I would have real concerns about her ethical standards, especially . Apart from anything else, the way that she tells her story in two different ways like that is pretty bad inasmuch as it looks like she's trying to dramatise and exaggerate the violence of the community she was observing and then minimise it when it comes to herself, which I think is pretty fucked.

See Bett's critique as well as Sharpe's for a more specifically ethnographical critique which mentions IRB issues.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:16 PM
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152: I don't know that I have a perfect answer, but some general parameters I would have are:

1) study somewhere where you are invited -- not that you invite yourself

2) don't put yourself in an immediate position of power over the people you are studying (I believe Goffman began by tutoring the daughter of a woman she later ended up studying; there is also the issue of being roommates with people who had a lot less economic/social power than she did, meaning she could potentially have evicted them*)

3) run your proposed research project with people who are knowledgeable about the area you are hoping to study -- ideally, people who grew up in similar circumstances, even if they are now your professional peers. These should be people who have no institutional power over you and over whom you have no such power -- i.e. NOT your fellow student in the Ph.D. program

4) prepare thoroughly for your research by reading critiques of similar projects that have been done before, if any are available, and by pre-planning how you will handle ethical dilemmas that may arise

This isn't a comprehensive list, but it's a good sampling of the kinds of things that came up over and over when I was in a nonprofit organization getting approached by researchers who hadn't thought through their projects.

*in the colloquial rather than the legal sense of the term


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:20 PM
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Sorry, 3) should be "run your research project BY people who..." -- as in, get feedback from them before you start.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:22 PM
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Also maybe in this case white people simply shouldn't be doing this research? Maybe the ethical thing to do would be to facilitate and support and amplify the work of black researchers from the communities affected?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:24 PM
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155.2 last -- I find anything at that website to be immediately self-discrediting. This is not an endorsement of the Goffman book, but please.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:26 PM
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159 - in general maybe, but a female black academic working in black studies is someone that I have a fair amount of time for on this issue.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:31 PM
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Other than #1, which I don't understand (Is it a vampire thing?), 156 seems like it reflects scholarly best practices.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:37 PM
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On the hospital issue (where I am pretty willing to believe that Goffman's subjects may have BELIEVED they could be arrested for visiting a hospital, even if it wasn't true), this comment at LGM is interesting:

i am a philly defender and exclusively represent west philly clients. half of my job is to examine all of the west philly cases to look for patterns of police abuse and corruption. besides never ever hearing anyone say the police showed up at the hospital during child births, i've never seen a pattern of people being arrested at the hospital to support such a standard practice. it's possible that police fake the arrest location of the circumstances of the arrest but if this was even remotely standard practice someone in my office would have heard this from a client. we hear lots of crazy stories, many of which are true, but i have never heard this one from anyone, client or attorney. and it's all something we could easily follow up on. just subpoena the video from the hospital. we do it all the time.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 7:37 PM
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154 - There are so many magical things in that article. I think my favorite has to be this interesting new interpretation of what a statute of limitations means:

"Dershowitz, a Celtics season ticket holder since 1965, told The Globe he didn't want to sue the Garden, but had no choice with an upcoming three-year statute of limitations deadline."

I didn't want to do it, but if I didn't do it then I couldn't have done it!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:13 PM
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Also Hannibal was already the most beautiful show on television before they decided to film in Florence. I think that they're just cheating now.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:32 PM
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159: I find New Inquiry to be about as good as Jacobin in terms of credibility or lack thereof.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:32 PM
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I haven't read Goffman's book, but it sounds like if someone really wants to track down verifiable details, they should pick out everything Goffman mentions that would have left a record and try to track that down. Is her name on hospital visitor logs? Is she on record paying bail for people? etc.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:35 PM
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Other than #1, which I don't understand (Is it a vampire thing?), 156 seems like it reflects scholarly best practices.

Also, ethnographers aren't able to cross bodies of water.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 8:37 PM
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Ethnographers would have a much better rep if they didn't cross bodies of water.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:14 PM
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Ethnographers would have a much better rep if they didn't cross bodies of water.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:14 PM
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Ethnographers would have a much better rep if they didn't cross bodies of water.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:14 PM
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Ethnographers would have a much better rep if they didn't cross bodies of water.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:14 PM
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Oh man that was embarrassing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-15 9:15 PM
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Between Goffman and LaCour, it's interesting that within a very short period of time we now have reminders of the tricky ethical issues involved in both qualitative and quantitative social science.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 12:43 AM
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I remember Goffman's work coming up in conversation with my mom and sister a while back, I think before any of this controversy erupted, but I don't remember what either of them said. (I said nothing, since I hadn't read the book at that point and still haven't.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 12:46 AM
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My sister is a social worker in West Philadelphia, so I think her take on this would be interesting. I should ask her about it some time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 12:49 AM
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I guess it would have made more sense to post 175 and 174 in the opposite order. Oh well. At least I didn't quadruple post either of them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 12:54 AM
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Ethnographers are Nazgul.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 5:08 AM
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139: Here you go.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 6:28 AM
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I think I probably have an older Barry Eichengreen book around the house, from my previous life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 6:32 AM
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179: I liked Globalizing Capital, too.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 6:38 AM
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It's the one on the gold standard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 6-15 6:53 AM
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