Friday, May 26, 2023

Scar Experiment

Something a little different. But interesting. I am still trying to figure out what it means. 

A scar experiment done at Dartmouth University painted disfiguring scars on subjects to determine how people would react to them. But in a twist, the scars were actually removed before the interactions without the subjects knowing. 

The subjects, thinking they were disfigured but actually not, "overwhelmingly reported back that people stared at their scars, and were mean and rude to them."

As I say I am still trying to figure out what this means. Maybe being uncomfortable with your looks makes you feel discriminated agaisnt even when you are not. And conversely being comfortable in you looks makes you more likely to feel you are treated fairly. 

And I suppose it might extend to more than looks. Intelligence, wealth, or basically nay thing you feel uncomfortable about. 

But take it with a grain of salt as it was a very small study. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Lawyers, Lawyers, Everywhere

There are a lot of lawyers. Especially in the United States. We are, after all, know to be a quite litigious society. The U.S. has 1.26 million lawyers. That is one for every 248 people

Ireland, in contrast, has one for every 2062 residents. Finland one for every 2672 people. 

I suspect when you add in all the non-lawyers involved in the legal industry, the number is much, very much, worse. 

I have yet to find good numbers but the amount of money our legal system consumes has a substantial impact, and that would be a negative impact, on our GDP. Yes, of course, there is a need for some lawyers but we have a huge excess which is just a waste of brainpower. Such intellect would be better utilized on work which actually improves society. 

Worse, much of our legal system is nothing more than influence peddling and outright crime. As I well know

Friday, May 12, 2023

Bow Street Runners

Something I learned recently. Henry Fielding, the English author of the fantastic novel Tom Jones among many other works, was also a magistrate in London and just prior to the formation of the Metropolitan police reformed the first professional police force called the Bow Street Runners

Before the introduction of the Bow Street Runners and anything of the like, policing took the form of privately paid individuals used to maintain law and order without a formal system connected to the state. This resulted in unofficial policemen who were known as ‘Thief Takers’ who would capture criminals for money and negotiate deals in order to return stolen goods whilst claiming rewards. People who partook in this activity, such as a figure called Charles Huitchen and his accomplice Jonathan Wild, were voluntarily policing the streets of London for big profits when in fact, these men and others like them were often behind much of the crime in the area. The informal, volunteer based system was not working.

Fielding was different from most magistrates at the time in that he was honest. This would make him different from many judges and prosecutors today as well.

In 1729 Thomas De Veil became a justice of the peace, eventually settling in Bow Street. He was as corrupt as any; he had some 25 children to provide for, however in 1748 Henry Fielding took the post, and he just happened to be honest.

It was Henry’s half brother John who showed that in order to stamp out corruption, magistrates must not be given an incentive to arrest and take bail money; instead they should be paid a stipend. John followed Henry to the position of Principal Justice and raised Bow Street’s reputation to the point that he became what would in modern terms be the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police.

Fielding's novels are pretty risque so it was a bit surprising to me he had another life reforming the judicial system but then again it it often the ones who promote themselves as being holier than thou who are the most corrupt. Take Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Please. 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Fiction Of Alimony

I ran across a page on alimony in a divorce mediation website from a law firm in Massachusetts  specialized in divorce mediation. I cannot help joking they are quite divorced... from reality. 

Practically speaking, alimony represents an attempt by the court to solve two very real issues that lower-earning spouses often face in a divorce:

  1. To avoid leaving one spouse “empty handed” after the marriage when that spouse provided uncompensated work during the marriage, such as raising children or homemaking.
  2. To avoid forcing a spouse to suddenly fend for him or herself in a working environment (in which they are unfamiliar and unprepared) after the spouse dedicated years of his/her life to the marriage at the expense of their own professional growth.

Not true, at least normally true in reality. If it were true. why would my ex-wife, who was not the primary care giver for the children during the marriage and who was able to earn just a much as me obtain such a huge amount of lifetime alimony? 

I understand I am just one case but I have talked to a lot people who have gone through divorce and looked at a lot for the statistics which assure me that my experience is pretty normal. 

Alimony is not about justice. It is an often a criminal game to see who can take the most from the other. Those willing to commit crimes and other unethical actions have a clear advantage. By willing to lie and commit fraud my ex-wife was able to extract close to $2 million from me. All it cost her was her self-respect and the respect of and relationship with the children.