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Monthly Archives: March 2011

ILSA gives us a glimpse of Jessup 2012:

The 2012 Jessup Problem involves a dispute between two states over the destruction of a cultural site of great importance and the important question of who gets to represent a state internationally in the immediate aftermath of a coup d’etat. It also involves international responsibility for the use of force by one state while taking part in a regional operation to bring about democracy.

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In which the English Court of Appeal showed that you should never miss the chance to make a James Bond reference. The question they were faced with was whether a flick knife with a built in lighter was an offensive weapon per se. It was argued that a dual use item could not be seen as an offensive weapon per se because it depended on how it was seen in light of both its purposes. They held:

10…An object which has all the characteristics of a flick-knife does not cease to be a flick-knife because it also has the secondary characteristic of being a lighter. The same no doubt would also apply to a handgun which was also a lighter although possession of a handgun might be dealt with under a different statute. James Bond might no doubt carry an object of this kind for a dual purpose but a flick-knife does not, in our judgment, lose its character as a flick-knife because it is also a lighter. It is just as much an offensive weapon and potentially dangerous as if the lighter function were not there. In our judgment the Recorder’s ruling was correct for the correct reasons and the appeal is dismissed.


This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82

Truth is the foundational virtue. Its centrality can be seen in every aspect of life. Truth requires us  to identify our true selves, be true to others, be true in speech and stay true in action. There is no realm of life that  exists exempt from this core.

These cardinal principles manifest themselves in a variety of ways. They form the basis of every intention and action. If we learn, we seek to learn the truth. If we teach, we teach the truth. If we argue, we present the claim that is true. If we act, we act in a manner that strives to be true to what we have learned and spoken.

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I like having rules. These are some of my rules for using Facebook:

  1. Make a friend request only to friends or family. Friends means people I like and spend time with. Exceptionally, people who pass the first limb but not the second may be granted an exemption.
  2. Accept friendship requests from known people. This includes people who I’d make a friend request to, but, isn’t limited to them. Not all liking is reciprocal and not everyone uses Facebook the same way I do.
  3. When someone’s presence starts to irritate you don’t block them. Simply remove them from your news feed. It’s more satisfying to erase them then remove them and has the same effect.
  4. Read the news feed with a generous benefit of the doubt. It is all generated by a machine. People are used to having a context and the chance to provide an explanation. Facebook won’t give either.
  5. Be careful about your news feed. Things, once posted, cannot be undone. Especially not in a world where people will Google you and then search for your Facebook profile.
  6. On a similar note, try not to judge anyone by their Facebook profile. It’s the ultimate manifestation of judging books by their covers. This is impossible to achieve but is a worthy goal.
  7. When invited to an event, prevaricate. Nothing is gained by responding to an event early. Always wait until the last possible moment to decide what to do.
  8. Don’t invite people to an event. Anyone you want to invite is someone you already know. There’s probably a human way to get in touch with them.
  9. When reminded of a birthday by Facebook, always send your felicitations using Facebook. If you didn’t really remember the birthday don’t pretend you remembered by using another means of communication.
  10. Be generous with the like button – everyone likes a little interaction.
  11. Be sparing with comments. Things said are very hard to unsay. Especially after we’ve stopped meaning them.

We live in world built on preferential selection. A preferential selection is the constantly refined number of endorsements that are accrued as a result of being born to the right people, going to the right schools, attending the right university and finding the right job. Together they create the base that allows others to risk trusting their responsibilities to our capabilities.

Each step is intended to exclude people. Most never made it to the right schools. Many were dismissed by the gatekeepers of higher education. Some survivors will fail to fit the modern corporate machine. Each additional hurdle removes people from the path of the anointed.

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Character is created by conflict. The moral person can taste the temptation of immorality. The immoral person considers the moral response. How we respond to that conflict determines character. All individuality is created by our choice between two or more contradictions.

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Sincerity is undervalued. It is undervalued because we misperceive that it is oversupplied. This is because the sincere speaker mistakes sincerity for two things: criticism and venting. Those that hear sincerity know that it’s often a fig leaf to vent negative feelings.