Saturday chit-chat and good news

By Legal Eagle

First, the good news is that my PhD passed with minor revisions (mostly typographical). Hurrah! I am getting the final version bound as we speak.

Secondly, sorry I haven’t been around much. I was giving at paper at this conference hosted by the CMCL, and I only had the brief interlude between finishing marking and Thursday to write the paper. Media law is not my central area of study, but I think it’s fair to say that blogging and the encouragement of a few of my colleagues has increased my involvement in the area. Consequently, I really enjoyed the conference, and found all the speakers to be fascinating. My paper was on government secrecy, breach of confidence and all the spy cases, including Spycatcher, and the traitorous George Blake. It’s based on a chapter of a forthcoming book about breach of confidence.

Thirdly, we’ve got a State election in Victoria today. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I am finding the choices as uncompelling as I did in the Federal election. ‘Twill be interesting to see what happens.

Feel free to raise anything in the thread below. What’s news with you? Have you seen any interesting titbits you’d like to share with us?

38 Comments

  1. Posted November 27, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, LE, I feel so pleased.

  2. Posted November 27, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Congratulations DR Katy!

  3. Posted November 27, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping for a hung parliament as the best option… with the two majors having the same policies if they got government, a minority gov allows at least some chance of better scrutiny and under-the-table contracts.

    O for some openness!

    Joh Brumby’s right wing mates in the ALP deserve to be tossed out, yet those in the Libs to the right of Ballieu scare me. Is there a chance we’ll ever have decent folk of the likes of Hamer, Thompson and Cain?

    I’ll vote, wash the bad taste out of my mouth, and head off to see “Agora” on Hypatia as I think this is the only weekend I’ll see it. I’m pretty sure I’m be dampeyed when the books are burning.

    Have a good weekend all.

  4. Patrick
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    God save us from decent folk such as Cain!!!

    Congratulations, too, Dr Eagle 😉

  5. Posted November 27, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    whimsy titbit: http://failblog.org/2010/11/24/epic-fail-photos-tough-cat-fail-gif/

  6. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Congratulations Dr 2B LE 🙂

    As a fellow Victorian, I would point out that happy societies have boring elections.

    Unlike DB, I have no nostalgia for Premier Cain: honest fiscal stupidity is not good government. And the bigger the operation of government gets, the more it becomes a management problem.

    A great book begging to be written about Victorian politics that probably never will be — how Stockdale ripped off the buyers of the assets flogged off under Premier Kennett: normally, privatisation is handled about as badly as government typically manages things. (I have always loved the “look, they are screwing up privatisation, so clearly we should rely more on government management!” argument for its unreflexive cluelessness.)

  7. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    This is not to say there are not a lot of fascinating debates and issues in working out where the public/private divide should be and why. (It is the people who seem to think it is always “easy” that annoy me–the “of course government should/should not do it” mindset, as if either intentions create consequences or there are no collective action issues, as the case may be.)

  8. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Hooray! Congratulations.

  9. Posted November 27, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Lorenzo: the debate on public/private would be a lot easier if tenders, specifications, contracts and penalty clauses were written better. It’s the “off balance sheet so we don’t have to show all the details” attitude that stuffs things up I reckon. Victoria has suffered from a lack of transparency and abuse of “commercial in confidence” for a long time.

    I reckon the shredders have been working overtime. I hope the Libs go through the books with a vengeance if they get in, and we can find out whether the stench of Brumby ALP dodginess has any substance.

  10. Sinclair Davidson
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Well done.

  11. Posted November 27, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Good news for MS people.

  12. Posted November 27, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    This explains war.

  13. Posted November 27, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Sex, nitric oxide, and bacteria.

    Extract from link:

    NO is a signaling molecule, it is generated at a site, diffuses a distance and then activates a NO sensor. Every NO sensor only “senses” the sum of NO from every source, including the basal NO level. Changes in either the signal generated NO, or the basal NO level affect the output of the signaling pathway with no threshold.

    The no threshold aspect of basal NO levels affecting NO signaling is extremely important. There is no threshold because the pathway is already in the “active range”, that is NO is already actively controlling the pathway, so a change in the NO level affects the NO signaling with no threshold.

    So more NO from my bacteria lowers the threshold for vasodilatation mediated by NO that produces the physiological effect potentiated by Sildenafil. It is neurogenic NO that produces the effect in the first place. With my bacteria it starts sooner, happens faster and lasts longer. The same is true for every NO effect. Some are quite important, such as mitochondria biogenesis.

    The point about the horses is that the presence of bacteria on their skin is so important that they have evolved behaviors to reinoculate their skin when they don’t have enough. Low NO causes the skin to itch by disinhibiting mast cells making them more sensitive, compelling the behavior of horses to roll in the dirt. It is low NO in the skin that causes the intense itching of primary biliary cirrhosis, end stage kidney failure, cocaine abuse and of Morgellons.

  14. Posted November 27, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    And in other news, Hussey and Haddin are spiflicating the Poms in Brisbane.

    Hussey and Haddin, I tell you. Wonders will never … etc etc

  15. Posted November 27, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    A common perceptionis that the brain is partitioned into regions that serve specific functions. There is some truth to that but the very approach dooms one to forever failing to understand brain function. This recent study highlights that Karl Lashley with his mass action hypothesis was right.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/66497/title/A_few_stray_hairs

    The new study, published November 26 in Science, shows that it’s not the brain’s motor cortex, which is in charge of voluntary motion, but rather the sensory cortex that tells a mouse to pull its whisker away from danger.

    “This study furthers the whole line of thinking about the brain — that really, all these systems are deeply interconnected,” says neuroscientist Michael Graziano of Princeton University. “There’s a growing realization that it’s difficult to chop the brain up into little pieces and study them separately.”

    When Matyas and his team blocked the activity of the sensory cortex with a toxin, the mice could no longer move their whiskers away from a signal. What’s more, inactivating the motor cortex with the toxin had no effect on the whisker flick.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/66497/title/A_few_stray_hairs

    The new study, published November 26 in Science, shows that it’s not the brain’s motor cortex, which is in charge of voluntary motion, but rather the sensory cortex that tells a mouse to pull its whisker away from danger.

    “This study furthers the whole line of thinking about the brain — that really, all these systems are deeply interconnected,” says neuroscientist Michael Graziano of Princeton University. “There’s a growing realization that it’s difficult to chop the brain up into little pieces and study them separately.”

    When Matyas and his team blocked the activity of the sensory cortex with a toxin, the mice could no longer move their whiskers away from a signal. What’s more, inactivating the motor cortex with the toxin had no effect on the whisker flick.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/66497/title/A_few_stray_hairs

    The new study, published November 26 in Science, shows that it’s not the brain’s motor cortex, which is in charge of voluntary motion, but rather the sensory cortex that tells a mouse to pull its whisker away from danger.

    “This study furthers the whole line of thinking about the brain — that really, all these systems are deeply interconnected,” says neuroscientist Michael Graziano of Princeton University. “There’s a growing realization that it’s difficult to chop the brain up into little pieces and study them separately.”

    When Matyas and his team blocked the activity of the sensory cortex with a toxin, the mice could no longer move their whiskers away from a signal. What’s more, inactivating the motor cortex with the toxin had no effect on the whisker flick.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/66497/title/A_few_stray_hairs

    The new study, published November 26 in Science, shows that it’s not the brain’s motor cortex, which is in charge of voluntary motion, but rather the sensory cortex that tells a mouse to pull its whisker away from danger.
    “This study furthers the whole line of thinking about the brain — that really, all these systems are deeply interconnected,” says neuroscientist Michael Graziano of Princeton University. “There’s a growing realization that it’s difficult to chop the brain up into little pieces and study them separately.”

    When Matyas and his team blocked the activity of the sensory cortex with a toxin, the mice could no longer move their whiskers away from a signal. What’s more, inactivating the motor cortex with the toxin had no effect on the whisker flick.

  16. kvd
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done LE! I won’t ask you what my father usually said: “Very good. So what’s next?”

    A “Hussey-fit” at 195. Oh well. But with this, and an election broadcast this evening – quite a good day, really.

  17. Posted November 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    LE, this isn’t good news: this is Great News!!! Balloons and streamers and champagne news!!! Congratulations and very well done you. I know only too well how hard it is, doing the PhD and working, and I don’t have a young family. I tips me hat to you.

  18. Posted November 27, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] As one of the spruikers (I was helping out a mate who probably will not quite be the next Member for Albert Park: I reviewed his two volumes on how to be successful as a student here and here) I was thankful for my wide-brimmed leather hat and, in my second (2-4pm) stint, blue plastic poncho.

    I found there was a certain pleasant companionship among the spruikers and the voters were generally polite.

    Fairly amazed by the result though. I put it down to the Libs “lots of small local promises” being a case of “quantity having a quality all of its own”, to the ALP anti-Ted ads being way overdone and backfiring and Ted telling the Greens to go jump leading folk to re-assess him a bit.

    The Greens have marginally increased their vote overall, with some reasonable local swings.

  19. Posted November 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Yes, well, transparency is good.

  20. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    “I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I am finding the choices as uncompelling as I did in the Federal election.”

    I’d have said quite a bit less compelling, though Mrs Exile pointed out that the advantage is it doesn’t take long to vote informally 😉

  21. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    SL and other brains trust members:

    In “Agora” (which I saw today) there is an interesting scene with the well dressed slave (owned by academics) being asked to donate bread he’d “bought with his own money” to free beggars in rags.

    Any comments on whether this rings true? From what I’ve read this was not an impossible scene, but I may be wrong.

  22. Movius
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    The 2010 Bent Spoon Award to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority for apparently severely cutting back on the teaching of evolution. With Power Balance and Homeopathy Plus (promoters of ‘homeopathic vaccines’) coming in as close runners up.

    Seems to be a much more controversial choice than recent winners. It was only announced a few hours ago and already certain sections of the internet are up in arms.

  23. Movius
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    re: For previous post to make slightly more sense is should be

    …for apparently severely cutting back on the teaching of evolution in the proposed national curriculum.

  24. Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what the Greeks were like, but a paid slave was standard among Romans. The payment mentioned was called ‘peculium’. Sometimes — if the slave had a good head for business — he or she would be granted a much larger peculium, out of which he would be expected to pay himself and then make money for his owner. Because slaves (as ‘instrumentum vocale’) could not contract, any contract they made was automatically sheeted home to their owner as principal. The relevant writ — in the case of unpaid creditors — (‘actio de peculio’) limited the owner’s liabilty to the size of the peculium, and was an early instance of limited liability. It was possible to ‘pierce the corporate veil’ (‘actio quod iussu’), but only if the owner had expressly authorised the slave’s transaction with a particular party.

    Although the slave in Agora calls the ‘peculium’ his own money, under Roman law it was always the property of his owner, in this case Hypatia.

    I have mixed feelings about Agora as a film (I should watch it again, then write a review, but no time as yet). They have tried to be so painfully historically accurate that the film’s integrity as cinema is undermined, and in certain respects it is plotless, which never works well.

  25. Posted November 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Nice one, LE. Now you get to go around saying suggestively, “Trust me, I’m a DOCTOR!”…

  26. Sinclair Davidson
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Are you sure? – Many uni’s now have a system that you can begin using the title once the graduation office notifies you that the official copy has be received and that you will graduate at the next graduation.

  27. conrad
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    After a discussion a few weeks a go, I finished reading “The Year 1000” as recommended by Lorenzo. It’s great. Thanks.

    LE: well done on your PhD. Now the papers…

  28. Posted November 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Conrad: glad you liked it. “1215: the Year of Magna Carta” is recommended too!

  29. Martha Maus
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations and felitations, Triple well done, I say, when I consider that you also lived your other lives as a mother and human being as well as the life academic!

  30. Posted November 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick apology to all our regulars, but we are having a few transmission problems at the moment… the blog managed to eat one of LE’s posts and has somehow split DEM’s latest funnie into two (kvd then managed to comment on the ‘splitter’). We will try to sort it out and resume normal service as soon as possible.

  31. Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes, a post on the Victorian election turned up on my blog feed but nowhere else!

  32. Mel
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    You’re a Super Eagle!

  33. Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    LE is working on the Victorian election post, so you will get it eventually, but until then we are trying to work out why the blog has gone funny. It’d be convenient to blame power outages at this end but I suspect it’s probably something Too Complicated To Explain.

  34. JC
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Sometimes — if the slave had a good head for business — he or she would be granted a much larger peculium, out of which he would be expected to pay himself and then make money for his owner.

    Huh, so nothings really changed only that the more you make the less you keep.

  35. Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    JC: You are being very rude about modern taxes 😉

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