Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Cornelia’s opinion was not recorded"

[Snicker Alert]

Present-day developmental biology is indebted to both the tremendous efforts of centuries past and also to those fascinating cells, the gametes, without which there would be no new embryonic organisms to awe and intrigue us.

That said, OxBlog has ever so kindly provided the teaser for today's history of science interlude, a review with the delightful opening paragraphs:

Not for Antoni van Leeuwenhoek the post-coital cigarette that day in 1677. No sooner had he finished making love to his wife Cornelia than he was up at his home-made microscope, discovering in his semen a “vast number of living animalcules”, little wriggling creatures with rounded bodies and long, vigorous tails. The Dutch draper and microscopist had confirmed, for the first time, the existence of spermatozoa.

Van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery is the climax of Cobb’s lively if sometimes uneven account of the endeavours of 17th-century scholars to understand the reproductive process in man and other animals. It was a period of remarkable process. In 1650, knowledge had hardly advanced beyond the misguided imaginings of the Ancient Greeks - Aristotle believed the embryo originated from the union of semen and menstrual blood. Yet by the early years of the new century, the roles of the human egg and sperm had been established and a reasonably accurate account of embryonic development published.

Grins aside--I saw that--I think this will probably be going on the to-read list.

Egregious Procrastination...

...does yield interesting items. Among them, Likelihood of Confusion's mention (under the catchy title "No More Star Chamber Rulings") of a new ruling handed down from On High: starting next year, lawyers in federal courts may cite unpublished opinions. (The non-lawyers or non-law students out there may in fact have been unaware that there are such things as unpublished opinions--yes, there are, and there are lots of them.)

This move is, I think, correct--to my mind the continued existence of unpublished opinions is an uncomfortable concept of questionable constitutionality--and am therefore in agreement with Mr. Coleman's comments:

"The issue of non-citability and “not precedential” rulings in the federal courts is a troubling one, because it goes square against the idea of the common law and statutory interpretations as being based on accretions of precedent. There is usually no way for the mortal to know why one decision is regarded as worthy of being deemed precedential and others are not, nor to understand why, if it is not good enough for precedent, the ratio decidendi (if you will!) of a given opinion was good enough for that case. Judge Kozinski takes a shot at explaining why citation to unpublished opinions is not allowed here, essentially arguing from the not-too-principled position that they’re not written all that well, but this still leaves us with the question of published TTAB decisions not being citable."

...Back to work...

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Ah miss mah fishies...

Only a few more days--the project approaches its end, whether I like it or not. As usual, when searching for answers in the realm of muddly legal problems (and I maintain this is a pretty muddy, if entirely futile, one), I am inevitably frustrated at being unable to dice up the collected materials and run them out on a gel; or I lean towards dropping the whole thing in a huff, picking up a pipet, and running a therapeutic PCR or two. On the other hand, an approaching deadline means I'll stop whining soon. Exciting, no?

<Oh my Lord, she'll find something else to talk about! Cheers from the peanut gallery!!>

Ha! Careful what you wish for, or you may find yourself stuck with a "Fun Transposon Fact of the Day" feature or some such thing. Actually, that's not a half-bad idea...

Unfortunately, methinks I may have to take multiple law classes next semester due to some technical requirements on the part of the law school. On the up side, Patents is being offered at a reasonable hour (read, afternoon), and the Lottery kindly gave me both the Patent Prosecution seminar and the IP Transactions seminar, of which I would take one. At this point, I'm unclear as to which that would be, although I lean toward the prosecution one.

However, I inwardly echo a lab mate's sentiments: enough with the classes, already! They take time away from research!

On a non-personal--and therefore more interesting--note, Christina Hoff Summers' review of Harvey Mansfield's Manliness book is here. While tempted to make comment, I shall not do so until after I've read the book. I remain intrigued to read his work. (But I must say, if the relative big-screen depictions of Achilles and Hector were remotely faithful The Iliad, which I admit to not yet having read, then my vote for the most manly is for Hector all the way--no, not just because of Eric Bana, although that certainly doesn't hurt.) [h/t Corner, of course]

And if you're looking to read beautiful thoughts exquisitely expressed, run to Think Denk.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fanfare for the College Senior

I believe some congratulations are in order... my Little Brother for completing his thesis! I believe it was on something econ-y ;-)
I'm proud of you, Little Bro! And someday, after you've graduated and moved on, you may even look back (almost) fondly.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What Would Beethoven Think?

It is well known that Yours Truly has great affection for nerdiness &/or geekiness in their various incarnations, is terribly proud of her "nerd's dream girl" title, and herself aspires to be a supreme nerd of zebrafish development and transposon biology--and possibly of IP law as well, but that remains to be seen. She, however, was previously unaware that scanners could play music. No, really.

Does this explain my long-dead printer that insisted on printing a page with a solitary happy face when it was turned on?

{quasi-h/t Sandmonkey}

Travel Bleg

Hi y'all...a travel bleg on behalf of a friend...this is the sort of thing I should know, but as I've been shamefully bad at keeping in touch...which '03s are in or around London?? (I can only think of one at the moment; to all the rest, I apologize.)

Please email me if you think of some names!! Grazie!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Ghosts of Congresses Past

Since the theme of late is the Paper of Doom...The Legislative Branch: Resistance is futile?

"The 3 percent federal telephone excise tax was a temporary funding tool for the Spanish-American War. The U.S. defeated Spain on December 10, 1898, yet this "temporary" tax creeps into its third century. Enough." The entire article is here.

I'll acknowlege that the Court's position, which in my reading more or less leaves the door open for Congress to act under the guise of "necessity" due to a war's "rise and progress" even after said war is "over," is not specious (not entirely). However, it is precisely this sort of power creep, this metastasis, to which I strenuously object. Sigh. Maybe I should just capitulate; maybe the dream of legislative responsibility is an impossible dream...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

What better way to celebrate Easter than by listening to Symphony of Psalms? And, of course, the Hallelujah Chorus!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I know, I said I wouldn't be blogging, but given the sheer enormity of the task before me, this won't kill me.

Behold, the excerpt whose import is of some concern:

"...the war power includes the power 'to remedy the evils which have arisen from its rise and progress' and continues for the duration of that emergency. Whatever may be the consequences when war is officially terminated, the war power does not necessarily end with the cessation of hostilities. is adequate to support the proservation of rights created by wartime legislation."

Your task, should you choose to play, is to guess at the author. I did leave out some identifying bits, but the substance is pretty much there.

The above excerpt encapsulates my problem, which I don't yet know how to tackle. Is that really constitutional? If yes, how the heck do you transition out of a wartime legal regime?

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Usual Suspect

Es yo.* Mea culpa, as per usual. Although I've always lived more or less "on the back of the beat," there was a time in my life when I was fairly good about getting things done and not leaving them until the very lastest of minutes. I'm a little foggy as to when exactly that was but I do know it existed. Such capabilities also seem utterly to have vanished.

Case in point: it's been a long week filled with frantic studying and the two exams are now complete, the final take-home portion having been turned in today. But will it be an enjoyable weekend filled with delightful activities like a lecture, a friend's little gathering, and otherwise savoring the sunshine, chirpy birds, and warm(ing) air marking the beginning (more or less) of Spring? Oh no, no it will not. It will be spent indoors on the clock, reading, noting, highlighting, and frantically typing away--with no TV or movies or cybergoofing.** This evening marks the beginning of the effort to gather more material and sit down and produce the paper draft due Monday. All I have to say is thank God it's a draft. It's a difficult and complex subject that I should have started on a long time ago. It will be a rather drafty sort of draft, at that. I know the error can be remedied and a respectable, upstanding paper produced by making it the primary focus of my existence until the end of April, but it won't be anywhere near that by Monday. However, at the end of Monday, something will exist at least. Pretty, no; something, yes.

Therefore, the Nomad commences an "Imitation of Reading Period" in...5...4...3...2...1...Now!

*Soy yo? I've never been entirely clear on the grammatically perfect way to say "It is I" in Spanish.
** Even more poor timing on my part, for I very much want to see Take the Lead.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006