Thursday, July 19, 2012

On political blogging: choosing a role model

There are a great many Benjamin Franklin Baches out there -- but a bare handful of Benjamin Franklins.

If you aspire to be a political blogger, which one should you imitate?

And, if you don't even know who Benjamin Franklin Bache was, should you really be inflicting your opinions on the Blogosphere?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

About this Higgs boson business

Scientists recently claimed to have proved the existence of the elusive "God particle," the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson would not (if it really exists) be the smallest particle; apparently Higgs bosons break up into smaller particles after a momentary existence, but in that brief existence, the Higgs field imparts mass to otherwise massless fundamental particles.

The foregoing is not intended to be funny; it represents my honest effort to make sense of what I've read on the subject. It's just that there seem to have been a few changes in physics since I last took the basic course. I hear there are more than four elements now, too....

I reacted to the news of the apparent confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson in my dull, uncomprehending way by recalling a cartoon posted by Randall Mulroe on xkcd last September, when the news carried claims that faster than light particles had been discovered.

(Click to enlarge. See original for embedded comment.)

And then I found this cartoon on Fake Science:

This explains everything neatly, don't you think?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

QT post leads to West Virginia weirdness and three interesting stories

An item from Zay N. Smith's June 29 QT post caught my attention:
News Headline: "Lawsuit: Kim Kardashian a terrorist, had sex on tape while unicorn watched."

There is probably an interesting story behind that.
Actually, there are three interesting stories there. Allow me to explain.

Mr. Smith's quoted headline refers to not one, but two suits filed filed recently in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The "unicorn" matter is Kimberly v. Kardashian, et al., No. 1:12 CV 105. The "terrorist" reference comes from Romano v. Kardashian, et al., No. 5:12 CV 90.

Gino Romano alleges that, just this past June 17, while "deep in the hills" of West Virginia, he stumbled across an "Al-Qaeda Secret Training Camp," organized by none other than Kris Jenner. Plenty of senior Al-Qaeda members were present including, per Mr. Romano's pleading (styled "Preliminary Injunction [/] Temporary Restraining Order"), shoe bomber Richard Reid's cousins and the parents of convicted terrorist "Johnny Walker Lindh."

Mr. Romano claims to have witnessed quite a spectacle: Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kanye West, and Bruce Jenner all "plead allegiance (sic) to Al-Qaeda," then burned an American flag and stomped their feet on "Baracks Picture." Then Kanye West performed a concert for assembled Al-Qaeda throng and then everyone "drank Jim Jones Juice" (apparently without any ill effect). Indeed, after the Kool-Aid break, the Defendants were sufficiently refreshed to pitch in with the campers and help dig coal to "get fuel to make weapons of mass destruction" -- all except for Kris Jenner, that is -- she was busy enriching uranium.

Sadly, according to his court filing, Romano was not able to get away cleanly to alert authorities. When Romano was spotted, Kim Kardashian fired a rocket at his head, Bruce Jenner chucked a grenade at him, and Khloe Kardashian tried to behead him. Despite these efforts, Romano got away and filed this pleading.

The Kardashians must have broke camp shortly thereafter, too. At least that's what Jonathan Kimberly says in his pleading (also styled "Preliminary Injunction [/] Temporary Restraining Order").

According to Mr. Kimberly, on June 22, whilst he was whiling away the evening in Room 68 of the Days Inn outside Clarksburg (or was it Bridgeport?) he was disturbed by a "bunch of banging, and sounds of sheep." Kimberly traced the sounds to the room next door, Room 69 (*ahem*). He looked through the peephole and saw "Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries, and Myla Sinanaj making a sex tape together."

(For those of you who, like me, can't keep track of all the various "personalities" chronicled in the tabloids and their online equivalents, Ms. Sinanaj was apparently linked romantically to Mr. Humphries at one time and is now rumored to be carrying his child.)

And now back to our story: According to his pleading, Mr. Kimberly thought the situation, as viewed through the peephole, was a trifle weird. What struck him as weird was not so much the alleged activity engaged in by the human occupants of the room or the presence of recording equipment (including, apparently, a tripod and a 'cannon') that was "E! Network stamped and sealed," but rather the presence of a menagerie: in addition to the aforementioned sheep, Kimberly alleges, there were two goats and a unicorn.

Things really got strange, Kimberly says, when Charlie Sheen showed up with a bag of "Esctasy." Kimberly wound up with Mr. Humphries pointing a shotgun at his head (one he obtained from fellow Net Jayson Williams) and forced to watch for five hours as the sex tape was made. And he was forced to watch reruns of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" for another six hours after that. He says he wound up a broken wrist, violated, humiliated and unconscious, finally waking up at a truck stop, his wallet gone, and Kardashian lipstick all over his clothes. Naturally, in his view at least, he too needs protection.

The common titles of the pleadings and the choice of defendants and venue are not the only similarities between them. The consecutive chronology raises questions. Moreover, while both documents are riddled with spelling errors, the names of all those prominent in Tabloid America are spelled correctly, meaning that the drafters could spell when it suited their purposes. And both pro se plaintiffs seem to have gone to the ALL CAPS SCHOOL OF PERSUASIVE PLEADING. All these similarities would seem to reduce the chances that these pleadings were coincidental matters filed by two unrelated (and perhaps mentally disturbed) individuals.

Thus, in addition to the very interesting stories of Messrs. Romano and Kimberly, a third interesting story is suggested, namely, what sort of sanctions will be imposed on the fraternity brothers that concocted these papers. Rule 11 may be only the starting point. I don't practice in the area of criminal law, but I have to wonder if the authors of these tales may also be subject to criminal prosecution.