Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Infield Fly Rule, Law Reviews and Biblical Baseball References

While doing some legal research I happened upon this hilarious law review article, suitable for both lawyers and non-lawyers, and most especially for baseball fans of both groups.

By Professor Anthony D’Amato. (link opens a .pdf version of the article).

Professor D'Amato does make one eggregious error in the article, that of agreeing with previous authors' mistaken conclusion that the Bible does not mention Baseball.

....despite the fact that the authors are technically correct in noting that baseball itself is not mentioned in the Bible, they overlook the more specific biblical reference to the Infield Fly Rule.

In fact, the game of Baseball is the very first thing mentioned in the Bible:

Genesis 1:1 In the Big Inning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Later this event was mistransalated as the Big Bang, instead it should be correctly referred to as it was originally: God throwing out the First Pitch.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Coin of The Week - A Tetradrachm of Lysimachos

Its been a long time since I posted a coin. Now that I have a new digital camera, a Canon A540, I thought it would be fitting to feature some coins from my own collection.

This is my Oldest Coin:

It is a Tetdracham (4 drachma) silver coin of Lysimachos from 323-281 BCE.

Lysimachos was one of the successor kings after the death of Alexander, and he ruled Thrace in Greece and parts of northwest Asia minor.

Details of the Coin:
Silver, 16.76grams, Kalchedon mint, in Good VF condition.

Obverse: Head of the deified Alexander The Great (the horn of Zeus on the side of his head in the picture shows his ascension to deity-like status).

Reverse: Athena Seated bearing a spear and shield. DI monogram in left field and grain ear in exergue. Legend: Basileus Lysimachoy - Of King Lysimachus.

This coin is over 2000 years old. Simply holding this heavy coin and staring at the portrait of Alexander the Great takes one back in time to the days of the end of Alexander's empire when his generals divided his empire and its spoils among themselves.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Armed Idiot and an Annoying Tailgater is a bad mix

What not to do when someone tailgates you:
Armed woman: 'I'm tired of people tailgating me'

Authorities say Bernadette Houghton Headd had an explanation for them when she was arrested on charges of pulling out a handgun and firing at another car:

"I'm tired of people tailgating me," she told police.

Headd, 39, of Macomb Township was charged Thursday in 41-B District Court with assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle and using a firearm during a felony. She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

People, there are only three reasons why you may use deadly force to protect yourself from harm. They are:

1. a reasonable and honest belief that you are about to suffer imminent Death

2. a reasonable and honest belief that you are about to suffer imminent grievous bodily harm

3. a reasonable and honest belief that you are about to suffer imminent forcible sexual penetration.

Suffering imminent tailgating did not make the list.

Headd, who you can see from her picture on the Detroit Free Press site, and from her actions does not appear to be the sharpest tool in the shed to say the least, clearly did not absorb this basic rule of the use of deadly force and certainly deserves a very stiff punishment and should never be allowed to carry a firearm again.

Luckily her aim was as bad as her judgment and no one was hurt.

Tailgating sucks, and can be horrendously dangerous in bad conditions, but it is not grounds for using deadly force.

Don't Melt or Export Your Pennies....

A new regulation from the US Treasury:

On December 12, 2006, United States Mint Director Edmund Moy approved an
interim rule that generally prohibits the exportation, melting, or treatment of
United States one-cent coins (pennies) and 5-cent coins (nickels), which became
effective upon publication in the Federal Register on December 20, 2006.
Because of the rising commodity prices of copper, nickel and zinc, the value of
the metal content of both pennies and nickels now exceeds their respective face
values. Accordingly, there is concern that speculators could remove pennies and
nickels from circulation and sell them as scrap metal for profit. Widespread
withdrawal of pennies and nickels from circulation could cause coin shortages,
and it would be extremely costly to replenish them, given prevailing metal
prices and production costs.

This measure has been implemented to protect the coinage of the United States.
A violation of the new restrictions can lead to a fine of up to $10,000,
imprisonment of up to 5 years, and forfeiture of the subject coins or metal.
The authority for implementing this regulation is Title 31 of the United States
Code, Section 5111(d).

Now I doubt this regulation prohibits you from taking some spare change across the border when you go to Canada or Mexico, but if you take more than $5 in change in these coins out of the country, or if you ship more than $100 in these coins out of the country in any one shipment for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes you're in trouble.

A copy of the Federal Register with this regulation can be found here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Must-Read Accident Analysis - A Review of Diver Down

A good way to learn is from your Own mistakes.

The best and often far safer way to learn is from Somebody Else's mistakes.

In Diver Down, Michael R. Ange analyses 20 accidents, fatal and non-fatal
that befell scuba divers in both recreational and technical dives. He
recounts in detail the series of events that caused the accident as
well as the aftermath.

Many of these accidents occur due to the divers disregarding the basic safety
rules of diving, such as attempting activities for which they lacked
training or equipment (wreck penetration, cave diving), taking
shortcuts with their equipment, or of breathing gas management.

Many of the accidents are such that the reader will think to himself "I
can't believe the diver just did that!". The choices made probably made
perfect sense at the time to the diver involved, but through either
ignorance or bravado the choices led to at best a near-death experience
or to injury or even death. Reading about these mistakes helps one spot
and prevent themselves from making similar bad decisions.

From these accidents Mr. Ange, a highly experienced scuba diver and
instructor, clarifies and reemphasises the "rules" of Scuba Diving.When
followed the rules keep diving a safer and much less dangerous,
although scuba diving is always an inherently dangerous activity.

Such rules include:

-Plan the Dive and Dive the Plan.

-The rules of thirds (use one third of your breathing gas to get there, one
third to get back, and one third for the emergency you didn't expect).

-The dive will not get any better. If there's something wrong fix it or
terminate the dive right there, don't let problems cascade into a
disaster, the dive isn't worth it.

-Listen to people who know. The divemaster or captain of the boat is giving a safety briefing for a reason. In addition, a more experienced diver telling you about the conditions or pointing out errors in your diving methodology is well worth listening
to, and your instructor is teaching you skills and impartingwarnings to you for a reason.

The only detraction to my enjoyment and learning from the book were the technical digressions (He has them labelled as "Special Topics")that were inserted into each incident. These shaded pages separated and slowed down the action involved in the accident story and distracted from it. While the technical sections were each relevant to their particular story and informative, inserting them inside the story was needlessly distracting and caused much flipping of pages (much like reading a magazine) to find the rest of the article. Placing these technical digressions either before each accident story or after them would have been much more reader-friendly.

This is a must-have book for a Scuba Diver's library. As divers, we can all learn from these mistakes and avoid repeating them.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

US to Release new one dollar coins

Base metal dollar coins have not had a history of success in the United States.

Since the demise of the silver dollar, both the old quarter-sized Susan B Anthony dollar and the recent Sacajawea Dollar met with very little sucess and even less common usage.

Since these base metal coins have no intrinsic value and are heavier and more cumbersome than dollar bills, they have not been well received or circulated.

Not letter past performance stop them, the Treasury is about to release a new series of dollar coins with portraits of the Presidents on them.

While I believe this will be a hit with collectors and may get the general public's interest much like the State Quarter series has done, I don't believe these will be accepted any better than the dollar coins that have gone before.

Short of removing the Dollar Bill from circulation as Canada did when they introduced the Loonie, The American public will not replace paper fiat money bills with metallic fiat money coins.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Who was that nut?

On the Lighter Side, Lagniappe's Keeper has a Interesting Theory as to the identity of the anti-semitic, holocaust-denying nutcase attacker of Elie Wiesel.

Too good to miss.

Apparently Global Warming is now beyond repair.

If so, then why the fuss? Just enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Look atthese great headlines and subheadlines: Earth's status beyond dire

Best case? Try to ease worst fallout of warming

Alan Zarembo / Los Angeles Times

Everybody in the United States could trade their cars for bicycles.

The Chinese could close all their factories.

Europe could give up electricity and return to the age of the lantern.

But all those steps together would not come close to stopping global warming.

Ok, so it won't help so lets quit worrying about it unless these "expert" truly propose taking these drastic measures, and attendant consequences.

A landmark report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released last week warned that there is so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that even if concentrations could be held at current levels, the effects would continue for centuries.

There is hope. The report notes that a concerted world effort could stave off the more dire consequences of global warming, such as widespread flooding, drought and extreme weather.

To reach the ultimate goal, however, of eliminating the threat of global warming would require radical action.

Stabilizing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide -- the primary contributor to global warming -- would require reducing CO2 emissions 70 percent to 80 percent, said Richard Somerville, a theoretical meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

Such a reduction would bring emissions into equilibrium with the planet's natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The last time the planet was in balance was more than 150 years ago, before the widespread use of coal and steam engines.

What would it take to bring that kind of reduction?

"All truck, all trains, all airplanes, cars, motorcycles and boats in the United States -- that's 7.3 percent of global emissions," said Gregg Marland, a fossil fuel pollution expert at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Scrapping all fossil fuel-powered electricity plants worldwide and replacing them with windmills, solar panels and nuclear power plants would make a serious dent in the problem -- "a 39 percent reduction globally," Marland said.

Of course, that calculation doesn't include all the fossil fuels that would have to be burned to build the green facilities, he said.

Given the scale of the problem, experts said there is no realistic way to lower the concentration of atmospheric carbon.

In fact, Robert Socolow, a carbon mitigation expert at Princeton University, said that even if the entire world stopped burning fossil fuels, it would take several hundred years for carbon levels to approach those found before the Industrial Revolution.

So the Global Warming theorists's goal from this seems to be getting CO2 emissions down to below the Industrial revolution period - i.e. to eliminate Industrialization and have us go back to pre-industrialized society and all of its wonderful associations such as disease, lousy standards of living and peasants living in hovels.

No. Thanks.

Such hysterics and proposed costs far outweigh any benefit to stop the very marginal increase in the earth's temperature that is caused by man-made CO2.

Never mind that the Global warming theory still can't explain and account for the Medieval Warming period or the little ice age, both of which occurred before the industrial era, when they go over the top predicting doom and the only solution is wholesale de-industrialization, you can see their real goals, and the anti-human and anti-western aim of their theory.

Today's AP Misleading Headline Award

Headline: 200 Israeli police descend on thousands of Muslim worshipers

What a wonderfully loaded and biased headline. Israeli police "descend" on thousands of Muslim worshipers - conveying an image of these Muslims simply peacefully worshiping.

What were these worshippers doing? The usual -
thousands of Muslim worshippers who hurled stones, bottles and trash in an eruption of outrage over Israeli renovation nearby.

The clash at the end of noon prayers came after days of mounting tensions over the work and raised concern that protests at the site could spread to the West Bank and Gaza, as they did at the start of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. No serious injuries were reported. About 200 police streamed on to the hilltop compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, to try to quell Muslims rioting over the repair work on a centuries-old ramp, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

So it wasn't the Police descending but rather responding to the riot of these "worshipers" who after prayer apparently continue to worship by

"thr[owing] stones, iron bars and at least one firebomb"

Of course, the headline is both misleading and biased as to what actually occurred. Not that we should expect any better from the AP.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Granholm's solution to economic woes - release prisoners and raise taxes

Yep, in order to alleviate the economic state of Michigan the Governor among other things wants to:

Levy a 2% sales tax on services

Great - exactly what the state needs - a tax to further drive businesses away and further costs on citizens.

Release prisoners

The releasing prisoner part is also quite troubling. While this will save costs of incarceration to the State, it will almost surely impose direct and indirect costs on the citizens of Michigan by increasing the criminal population in civil society.

Those to be released include:
3,400 prisoners who are serving time for such crimes as drug offenses, larceny, bad checks, home invasion and car theft. They would be placed in halfway houses and supervised with electronic tethers.
Sounds like a great idea. This would save the State $122 million in costs and likely lead to more crime, causing the citizens to demand the Governor to do something about crime, so she'll raise taxes to hire more police and pay for incarcerating those who she let out - its a brilliant solution!

If the governor believes that nonviolent criminals for such things as drug offenses, larceny, bad checks, home invasion and car theft etc., should not be in prison or should have lesser sentences, she should have the courage to request her party (in charge of the Legislature) have bills introduced to change the law accordingly, not do this early release game.

Friday, February 02, 2007

As if you were expecting a different result

So what does Governor Granholm's blue ribbon panel say about how to deal with Michigan's economic situation?

Raise Taxes of Course.

From the Detroit Free Press:
A financial emergency advisory panel appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm concludes that Michigan policy makers have no choice but to raise taxes to address the state’s looming budget deficits without sacrificing essential services.
A definite example of a Governor handpicking a panel to get the Governor's desired result.