Various 23-10-2012

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1761333
Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination and the Duty of Child Support

Abstract:
Nathaniel was a California teenager who became a father in 1995. The mother of Nathaniel’s child was named Ricci, and at the time of conception, she was thirty-four years old. Nathaniel, however, was merely fifteen. Although Nathaniel admitted to having sex with Ricci voluntarily about five times, the fact that he was under sixteen years of age at the time made it legally impossible for him to consent to sexual intercourse. In other words, under California law, Nathaniel was not only a new father, but was also a victim of statutory rape. Nonetheless, in a subsequent action for child support, the court held that Nathaniel was liable for the support of the child who was born as a result of his rape. According to the court, “Victims have rights. Here, the victim also has responsibilities.”

Much of the law relating to child support is based on the fact that it is typically in a child’s best interest to receive financial support from mothers as well as fathers. So strong is this precept that courts will hold a father liable for child support even in the face of wrongful conduct by the mother. Thus, child support is essentially a form of strict liability with the justification being that the child is an innocent party, and, therefore, it is the child’s interests and welfare that the court must look to in adjudicating support. At first glance, such a standard seems eminently reasonable. Few would argue with the proposition that, if a man voluntarily has sex with a woman and a child results, then he should be liable for child support. The problem with the court’s current approach, however, is that the standard is so strict that even those men who never consented to the sexual act that caused the pregnancy are nonetheless liable for the support of the resulting child. These men include males who became fathers as a result of statutory rape and also adult males who became fathers either as a result of sexual assault or having their sperm stolen and used by a woman for purposes of self-insemination. In all such cases, these “fathers” have been held liable for child support.

The purpose then of this article is, first, to underscore the criticisms that other commentators have raised on how the strict liability approach poses a grave injustice not only to the men who are pressed into the obligations of fatherhood but also to society, which has an interest in protecting all citizens from sexual assault. More importantly, however, I also offer a new objection and, on that basis, a proposed solution. Specifically, the courts’ justification that all children are entitled to support from both biological parents has been seriously undermined by the laws regulating artificial insemination. In that context, a man (regardless of whether he is the sperm donor or the non-donor husband of the inseminated female) only becomes the legal father of an artificially inseminated child if he affirmatively consents. I argue that it is incongruous to allow exceptions for formal sperm donors yet wholesale deny similar protections for those who, although not in the setting of a sperm bank, never consented to the use of their sperm. Accordingly, I propose a solution whereby courts adopt an approach similar (albeit narrower) to that used in artificial insemination cases to adjudicate child support claims against those men who were forced into fatherhood as a result of nonconsensual insemination.

O_o

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/sewage-mozart-germany

Anton Stucki, Swiss-born chief operator of the sewage centre in Treuenbrietzen, an hour south-west of Berlin, believes the chords and cadences of the compositions speed up the way the organisms work and lead to a quicker breakdown of biomass.
“We think the secret is in the vibrations of the music, which penetrate everything – including the water, the sewage and the cells. It creates a certain resonance that stimulates the microbes and helps them to work better. We’re still in the test phase, but I’ve already noticed that the sewage breakdown is more efficient,” he said.

“But my theory as to why it works is that Mozart managed to transpose universal laws of nature into his music. It has an effect on people of every age and every cultural background. So why not on microbes? After all, they’re living organisms just like us.”
The plant expects savings of as much as €1,000 a month. It has welcomed requests from any scientists who wish to follow the process.

the article doesnt even have criticism of this and how it wont work… i checked the author. she is apparently a foreign correspondant – iow, not relevant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer%27s_Law

the most useless law ever?

Jennifer’s Law is a law in the state of Texas, in the United States that permits school districts to award posthumous diplomas to students who die during their senior year of high school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_hole
never heard of this (didnt read the novel) – found via this: http://thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/the-comments-pz-myers-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

i was curious about the whole bsnss after having watched c. video appeal to PZ Myers. apparently PZM is a moron. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wmMXiqbD9Dc

“I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!” – Robert A. Heinlein, Guest of Honor Speech at the 29th World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, WA (1961)

source

Initiative 502: Legalizing marijuana (via LEAP on Facebook)
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/oct/20/initiative-502-legalizing-marijuana/

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121008/14334820644/study-viewing-cat-videos-work-can-make-you-more-productive.shtml
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0046362

Abstract
Kawaii (a Japanese word meaning “cute”) things are popular because they produce positive feelings. However, their effect on behavior remains unclear. In this study, three experiments were conducted to examine the effects of viewing cute images on subsequent task performance. In the first experiment, university students performed a fine motor dexterity task before and after viewing images of baby or adult animals. Performance indexed by the number of successful trials increased after viewing cute images (puppies and kittens; M ± SE = 43.9±10.3% improvement) more than after viewing images that were less cute (dogs and cats; 11.9±5.5% improvement). In the second experiment, this finding was replicated by using a non-motor visual search task. Performance improved more after viewing cute images (15.7±2.2% improvement) than after viewing less cute images (1.4±2.1% improvement). Viewing images of pleasant foods was ineffective in improving performance (1.2±2.1%). In the third experiment, participants performed a global–local letter task after viewing images of baby animals, adult animals, and neutral objects. In general, global features were processed faster than local features. However, this global precedence effect was reduced after viewing cute images. Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing. For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.

in other words, translated by TD:  I love academic speak trying to basically say “seeing cute animals makes you happy, and helps you focus” and turning it into: “a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.” Either way, while the study really only focused on “cute” images, it didn’t take long for people to (perhaps reasonably) extrapolate the findings to cat videos as well.

Sad: 75 Year Old Explanation For Why Copyrights Are Bad… Locked Up Behind Paywall
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121016/17553220724/sad-75-year-old-explanation-why-copyrights-are-bad-locked-up-behind-paywall.shtml

While I’ve seen a number of historical arguments along those lines (Fritz Machlup’s economic review of the patent system comes to mind), I had not heard of Plant’s two articles. So I went in search of them… and discovered that they’re locked up behind a paywall. Plant’s key paper, entitled “The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions” can be found on JSTOR, where they want… $43 for the 21 page article. Yes, it’s more than $2 per page. For a 78 (almost 79) year old document. Then there’s his other key article, “The Economic Aspects of Copyright in Books.” It, too, can be found on JSTOR for $43, though this one is 28 pages, so you get a per-page price of slightly under $2 this time… which still seems crazy.

It’s not just ridiculous that these two publications, both published in 1934, are not in the public domain — considering they argue that such locking up of information and ideas is bad for society, it’s particularly ironic that they are so hard to get and and that JSTOR charges such ridiculous fees for them. Though, I guess if you want to keep such prices high so you can act as a gatekeeper, what better way than to effectively hide these works by pricing them out of the market?

i hav access to those papers thru my university – here they are:

The Economic Aspects of Copyright in Books

The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions

Dyson on philosophy and the gravitational free lunch
http://infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/10/dyson-on-philosophy-and-free-lunch.html

See also my comment there:
I agree with the conclusion “Philosophers became insignificant when philosophy became a separate
academic discipline, distinct from science and history and literature
and religion.”. Many people don’t like this conclusion. I think of it as obvious. Philosophers who do not concern themselves with modern information about reality are not particularly interesting.
I think the most interesting areas for modern philosophy are:
First, the area of meta-science – making breakthroughs with things like how to do good systematic reviews, how to set up good peer review systems, designing proper laws for the information society.
Second, the claiming of new ground – the establishing of new scientific fields of study. Working together with scientists to push the limits of human knowledge. Combining their broad knowledge of many fields of science to combine into new fields.
Third, research into rationality, especially instrumental rationality. Working together with logicians, AI designers and psychologists to squeeze the most out of the human brain. And how to improve our cognitive abilities through whatever means we can find.
Fourth, as policy makers, polymaths or science generalists who have a very broad knowledge of many scientific fields and can thus make good decisions about which way to take society. Politicians as they are now are notoriously bad at this.
Personally, I’m trying to get myself into the position of especially #4 above. I’m a board member of the Danish Pirate Party, and I’m pushing for evidence-based policies having to do with whatever. I studied philosophy for two years at university, and thought it was a waste of time. So instead of following classes, I started reading up on a host of other things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox (via econstudentlog)

“The domesticated silver fox (marketed as the Siberian fox) is a domesticated form of the silver morph of the red fox. As a result of selective breeding, the new foxes became tamer and more dog-like.
The result of over 50 years of experiments in the Soviet Union and Russia, the breeding project was set up in 1959[1] by Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev. It continues today at The Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk, under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut. […]
Belyaev believed that the key factor selected for in the domestication of dogs was not size or reproduction, but behavior; specifically, amenability to domestication, or tameability. He selected for low flight distance, that is, the distance one can approach the animal before it runs away. Selecting this behavior mimics the natural selection that must have occurred in the ancestral past of dogs. More than any other quality, Belyaev believed, tameability must have determined how well an animal would adapt to life among humans. Since behavior is rooted in biology, selecting for tameness and against aggression means selecting for physiological changes in the systems that govern the body’s hormones and neurochemicals. Belyaev decided to test his theory by domesticating foxes; in particular, the silver fox, a dark color form of the red fox. He placed a population of them in the same process of domestication, and he decided to submit this population to strong selection pressure for inherent tameness.[3]
The result is that Russian scientists now have a number of domesticated foxes that are fundamentally different in temperament and behavior from their wild forebears. Some important changes in physiology and morphology are now visible, such as mottled or spotted colored fur. Many scientists believe that these changes related to selection for tameness are caused by lower adrenaline production in the new breed, causing physiological changes in very few generations and thus yielding genetic combinations not present in the original species. This indicates that selection for tameness (i.e. low flight distance) produces changes that are also influential on the emergence of other “dog-like” traits, such as raised tail and coming into heat every six months rather than annually.”

for many news related to prostitution (an interesting area!), neofeminism, blank slatism and the like, see Maggie McNeil’s blog which has weekly link collections and updates:

https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/that-was-the-week-that-was-42/
https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/links-120/

random example: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/915286-police-use-taser-on-blind-man-whose-stick-was-mistaken-for-samurai-sword

Police use Taser on blind man whose stick was mistaken for samurai sword
Police in Lancashire have apologised to a blind stroke victim after he was hit by a Taser when his white stick was mistaken for a samurai sword.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121022/10072320787/italian-scientists-convicted-manslaughter-sentenced-to-6-years-jail-over-earthquake-they-failed-to-predict-properly.shtml

beyond insane

 

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