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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Henrietta Lacks and property in body parts

I have just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010). It raises all kinds of social, ethical, scientific and legal issues. I thought I’d explore them in this post. I don’t intend to offer any firm conclusions, but I would like to generate discussion about the kinds of conflicts medical […]

Repossessing houses with tenants

Once upon a time, I was a lawyer who acted for mortgagees. I used to repossess houses and call on guarantees. Sometimes I’d get mortgagors calling me in distress, saying, “How can the bank take my property? It belongs to me.” Sigh. Well, yes you do own it – but it is subject to the […]

Bloody Brothers

David Cameron has said he has “no bad blood” towards Conservatives who defied orders to oppose a call for a referendum on the UK’s EU membership. Ministers won the vote but 81 Tories backed the call, the biggest rebellion on Europe against a Conservative PM. The prime minister said he knew people felt “strongly” about […]

This too shall pass

I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on […]

Patenting stem cell technology legally ‘immoral’ in Europe

The Daily Mail reports that the European Court of Justice has just ruled that it is illegal to patent technological processes and treatment which use of embryonic stem cells because this constitutes ‘commercial exploitation’ which is contrary to morality: Scientists warned the ‘devastating decision’ will stop pioneering treatments for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and […]

Why did the Middle East select for monotheism? – Guest post by Lorenzo

[SL: On September 18, I published a piece on the religious transformation currently going on in Europe, pointing out in passing that monotheism -- if one examines its geographic origins -- is almost as foreign to Europe as it is to India or China. In the post below, regular commenter Lorenzo has attempted to explain why: […]

Early Intervention

PARENTS who allow their children to become truants will lose welfare payments under Labor’s plan to toughen elements of the Northern Territory intervention after a report found widespread acceptance of the controversial program in Aboriginal communities. In a redesign of its attack on indigenous disadvantage, the Gillard government will announce plans to legislate to continue […]

Pontificating on the Bolt case again

This post involves further thoughts on the Eatock v Herald Weekly Times case. I have attempted to clarify a few things, and to illustrate on a practical basis exactly why I think the legislation and the decision could be problematic. Introductory remarks on Bolt, affirmative action and group rights First, I should reiterate that I […]

We’re on the radio…

This week, we published Lorenzo’s cracker of a guest post on the slow demise of the Euro, and someone at ‘Aunty’ ABC must have noticed, because he’s been interviewed on the strength of it. The show in question is called ‘Counterpoint‘, and airs on Monday October 17th. The show itself starts at 16:05; Lorenzo’s segment […]

Vigilante justice, meet the justice system

“Phoenix Jones”, a self-styled superhero vigilante (complete with home made body armour) has ended up on the wrong side of the law. The Herald Sun reports that Phoenix could be charged by police after he intervened in what he thought was a fight and allegedly pepper sprayed a number of people: Phoenix Jones – known […]