Your Daily Hot Air

Law & Disorder

Any time a high profile or landmark legal case plays out, we learn at least a little bit about our holy land.

We learned a lot last night.

Here’s what we know: It is now perfectly acceptable for a person who is carrying a deadly weapon to track and confront another person whom the first person doesn’t like the looks of. Then, when the second person objects and a scuffle ensues, the first person may kill the second person.

This is part of what we consider to be civilization today.

The Conclusion: Suicide

Here is Robert Zimmerman, Jr., telling CNN’s Piers Morgan how he’d feel if the roles of his brother and Trayvon Martin were reversed (all sic):

“If Trayvon were my brother and he was the one who was armed, legally armed, and able to carry that firearm in a legal way, and [George] blindsided him by breaking his nose and pummeling his head into concrete and continuing to punch him, I would find, and the jury has found, that unfortunately he had the greater hand in his own demise, which was causing, by his own hand, his death. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality.”


Bobby Zimmerman: Positively Retreat View Circle

So, acknowledging that Zimmerman frere is not a professional orator and he is trying to lay out a theoretical, emotionally fraught scenario, we can decode his response to conclude that:

1) The Trayvon death was “unfortunate”

2) He killed himself


Laws & Order

I think you’ll get a kick out of this. It’s a selected list of eponymous laws, principles, rules, and effects.


Sutton’s Law Willie Sutton, American bank robber: When asked why he robbed banks, he said, “Because that’s where the money is.” Ergo the law is Go where the money is.

Lewis’s Law Helen Lewis, British journalist: “The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.”

Humphrey’s Law (aka hyper-reflection) George Humphrey, British psychologist: “No man skilled at a trade needs to put his constant attention on the routine work. If he does, the job is apt to be spoiled.”

Shirky Principle Clay Shirky, American writer and Internet expert: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

Parkinson’s Law C. Northcote Parkinson, British naval historian: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Corollary: “Expenditure rises to meet income.”

Shermer’s Law Michael Shermer, American writer, skeptic: “Any sufficiently advanced alien intelligence is indistinguishable from God.”

Littlewood’s Law John E. Littlewood, Cambridge University professor: An individual can expect miracles to occur at the rate of one per month; in other words, in a large enough sample size, anything can happen.

Dunbar’s Law Robin Dunbar, British anthropologist: The theoretical limit to the number of people one can maintain stable social relationships with is approximately 150.

Peter Principle Laurence J. Peter, Canadian author and “hierarchiologist”: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

Hofstadter’s Law Douglas Hofstadter, IU Distinguished Professor of cognitive and computer sciences: “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s law.”

Hanlon’s Razor Robert J. Hanlon(?), unknown: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

Godwin’s Law, (aka) Playing the Hitler card Mike Godwin, American author and internet attorney: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

Brooks’ Law Fred Brooks, American software engineer and computer scientist: “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

Poe’s Law Nathan Poe, American Internet forum commenter: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

Corollary: “It is impossible for an act of Fundamentalism to be made that someone won’t mistake for a parody.”

Sayre’s Law William Stanley Sayre, Columbia University professor of political science: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.”

Corollary: “That is why academic politics are so bitter.”

Segal’s Law Unknown origin: “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”


Does Anybody Really Know…?

Hawthone Effect After a study conducted at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works factory: Subjects being studied for a specific behavior improve their behavior because they are being studied.

Dunning-Kruger Effect David Dunning & Justin Kruger, researchers at Cornell University: The erroneous belief in unskilled people that their abilities in a specific area are greater than average; this comes about because they don’t know enough to know they are not proficient.


Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, Ian Betteridge, Brit tech journalist: “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no.’”


Occam’s Razor William of Ockham, British Franciscan friar and philosopher: The simplest explanation for a phenomenon is preferable.

Kranzberg’s 1st Law of Technology Melvin Krnazberg, American professor of history at case Western Reserve University: “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”

Clarke’s Three Laws Arthur C. Clarke, British science fiction author and inventor:

1st Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2nd Law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3rd Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Newton’s Laws of Motion Isaac Newton, British physicist and mathematician:

1st Law: A body remains at rest, or keeps moving in a straight line (at a constant velocity), unless it is acted upon by a net outside force.

2nd Law: The acceleration of an object of constant mass is proprtional to the net force acting upon it.

3rd Law: Whenever one body exerts a force upon a second body, the second body exerts an equal and opposite force upon the first body.

Hubble’s Law Edwin Hubble, American astronomer: All galaxies are speeding away from all observers at a rate proportional to their distances from the observers; in other words, the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it is speeding away from you.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (more accurately, Indeterminacy Principle) Werner Heisenberg, German theoretical physicist: Certain pairs of quantities (e.g. position and momentum) cannot both be measured for precision in subatomic particles; one can measure for either one or the other.

Orgel’s Second Rule Leslie Orgel, British chemist and evolutionary biologist: “Evolution is cleverer than you are.”

That’s it. Go in peace.

Don’t Take Your Guns To Town

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