The United States Golf Association sets forth Rules and Decisions about professional Golf game play. This week, in the final round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Sergio Garcia hit his second from atop a tree near the fairway on the par-4 10th hole.
The maneuver was not only permitted, but his careful examination of the ball and the placement of his stance follows recommendations from the USGA. I present to you an excerpt from “Rule 13: Ball Played as it Lies:”
13-2. Improving Lie, Area Of Intended Stance Or Swing, Or Line Of Play
A player must not improve or allow to be improved:
the position or lie of his ball,
the area of his intended Stance or swing,
his Line Of Play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the Hole, or
the area in which he is to drop or place a ball,
by any of the following actions:
pressing a club on the ground,
moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable Obstructions and objects defining Out Of Bounds),
creating or eliminating irregularities of surface,
removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position, or
removing dew, frost or water.
However, the player incurs no penalty if the action occurs:
in grounding the club lightly when Addressing The Ball,
in fairly taking his Stance,
in making a Stroke or the backward movement of his club for a Stroke and the Stroke is made,
in creating or eliminating irregularities of surface within the Teeing Ground or in removing dew, frost or water from the Teeing Ground, or
on the Putting Green in removing sand and loose soil or in repairing damage (Rule 16-1).
Unlike defamation laws (e.g. slander) in the United States, the Italian calunnia law protects against a special type of incriminatory defamation that obstructs justice. The term is related to the English term calumny. Although many news sources translate calunnia as slander, it is actually a different concept altogether. From the Italian Wikipedia entry:
Calunnia is a crime under Article 368 of the Italian Criminal Code, which provides:
“Anyone with denunciation, complaint, request or application, even if anonymously or under a false name, direct judicial authority or another authority to have the obligation to report, blame someone of a crime that he knows innocent, or simulates against him the traces of a crime, shall be punished with imprisonment from two to six years. ”
The law punishes the behavior of those who,…blame someone of a crime in awareness of this innocence. The subject of false incrimination must necessarily be a crime, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor. This can be either a crime never existed, or of a crime committed by others. The prevailing opinion in legal doctrine and case-law is that, in order to constitute the offense, the complaint or accusation must be capable of initiating criminal proceedings.
The calunnia term was made famous by Italian Renaissance painter Botticelli, whose work was based upon the description of a non-surviving work by Greek painter Apelles.
In the latest report from the American Assembly at Columbia University, statistics have been released from a phone survey completed in the US and in Germany. The study used a randomized sample of 2303 Americans and 1000 Germans in August-September 2011. The full report is available in PDF form.
Nearly half the population in the US and Germany (46% US; 45% DE) has copied, shared, or “downloaded for free” music, movies, and TV shows. We call this “copy culture.”
Much of this activity is casual and small scale. In both countries only 14% of adults have acquired most or all of a digital music or video collection this way. Only 2%–3% got most or all of a large collection this way (>1000 songs or >100 movies / TV shows).
Copy culture tracks strongly with youth. Among adults under 30 in both countries, around 70% copy, share, or download media for free (70% US; 71% DE). In the US 27% in this age group acquired most or all of their digital music/video collections this way, and 10% acquired most or all of a large collection this way. In Germany the corresponding numbers are 33% and 7%.
In both countries offline “private copying”—copying for personal use or sharing with family and friends—is comparable in scale to online file sharing. In the US, private copying and online file sharing contribute roughly equal shares to the average digital music collection: 22%–23% among those under 30. In Germany, online file sharing contributes more to average collection size (34%, versus 18% for private copying among those under 30) but less when controlling for collection size (17% for downloading; 25% for private copying). Put differently, most Germans copy more than they download.
Copying and online file sharing are mostly complementary to legal acquisition, not strong substitutes for it. There is no signficant difference in buying habits between those who copy or file share and those who do not.
P2P file sharers, in particular, are heavy legal media consumers. They buy as many legal DVDs, CDs, and subscription media services as their non-file-sharing, Internet-using counterparts. In the US, they buy roughly 30% more digital music. They also display marginally higher willingness to pay.
In Germany much of this copying is legal under the “private copy” provisions of copyright law, which carve out a space for noncommercial personal uses, including passing copies to family and friends. This exemption does not extend to downloading or to copies made from “evidently unlawful public sources.”
In the US little to none of this private copying is presumed legal, and much of it is now subject—in law if rarely in practice—to high criminal penalties.
This White House infographic was probably formulated by a debater. It has distinct sections that discuss plan text, inherency, harms, solvency and advantages. The way I see it, the Republicans are running the Renew Bush Tax Cuts 1AC. The Democrats are running a PIC that excludes the top few percent of earners and businesses in order to gain extra revenue advantages. This puts the Republicans in a tight spot, since their plan now shares the vast majority of its advantages with the Democratic counterplan, not to mention the new competitive advantages that the 1AC cannot capture. Since the Republicans concede the competitiveness of the CP by refusing to negotiate or permute the plans, that leaves debating the relative pros and cons of just the severed portion of the 1AC. And defending the top bracket cuts is no simple task given the lack of empirical evidence to support its benefits. I guess that’s why the middle section of this Middle Class Tax Cuts infographic focuses entirely on the net benefit of partial revenue increases for the top percentages of earners.
Some of the organisms you find most pesky are so because of evolutionary pressures to adapt to urban ecology. Here’s Joshua Klein pitching the idea that some scavenger species, specifically crows, could be retrained through simple reinforcement techniques for the benefit of humankind.
Crows are quite capable with their beaks, especially when one considers that they lack the dexterity that prehensile fingers offer. Which brings us to raccoons, who join crows, rats, cockroaches, and wasps. The BBC recently produced a documentary entirely focused on the success of raccoons as a species in North America.
Charlie Stross, futurist and science fiction author, suggests in his new article what life of Earth might look like 500 years in the future. It is a world in which genetically modified flora exist alongside psychologically retrained fauna. Stross writes:
I’d expect to see lots of — to our eyes — odd vegetation. Freeman Dyson’s suggestion of GM mangroves that can grow in salinated intertidal zones and synthesize gasoline, shipping it out via their root networks, is one option. Variant food crops that can grow in 50 celsius climates and still make stuff we can eat would be a bonus. Modified animal or bird pest species, re-purposed as agricultural stoop labour? It might be easier to work with the intelligences that nature’s dropped all around us rather than trying to design artificial ones from scratch. (Think racoons. Think racoons programmed to come out at night to harvest and wash fruit because we’ve invented racoon Heroin™ and trained them to take their fix in payment for crop-picking. Or something like that.)
In this less biologically diverse future, what might be the ecological impacts that result from repurposing certain animal species to achieve human ends? Could the Earth’s ecosystem suffer if raccoons become robots that function as agricultural helpers? What about all of the scavenging they would perform otherwise, and the relationship they have to other species? If you are worried about the potential slavery of raccoons in 2512, then you should certainly join PETA in outrage over the current and widespread enslavement of cows and chickens.
Speaking of animal slavery, would not a more peaceful and scientifically-oriented future population on Earth wish to conserve the few species remaining? As opposed to say, addicting them to a substance? I mean, humans would certainly be up in arms if they were being domesticated by an outside force, subjugated to live a slave life while addicted to heroin or similar.
Until this point, I have referred to humans as if they held complete mastery over the environment. Indeed, this is how most people think about agriculture. Wikipedia defines agriculture as follows:
Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel and other products used to sustain life.
Human life is implied. Who else would be reading or composing Wikipedia entries in the first place?
But what if we consider for a moment the hypothesis, that plants are actually domesticating humans to help propagate their species? Famously, Michael Pollan proposed such a scenario in The Botany of Desire. Pollan’s theory is relatively simple: flora have evolved to satisfy the desires of humans in exchange for the guarantee of their own survival. He dedicates his third chapter to plants which intoxicate. There are many examples of intoxicating plants that humans cultivate at their own peril. Heroin, also known as a synthetic product of plant Papaver somniferum, has been contentious in many conflicts, due to its ease of production and the quickness with which it addicts and devastates human life. Cannabis sativa and Nicotiana tabacum, or as they are better known, marijuana and tobacco, possess a similar capacity to intoxicate humans. Recently, two states even voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Pollan suggests that the human desire to cultivate, harvest and consume these plants allows the same plants to domesticate us.
PBS recently produced Pollan’s work into an educational television series. The book focuses upon the proliferation of four all-too-familiar plants: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato.
I’ll conclude this post with one final thought: are we all that far removed from the plight of the raccoon in 2512? Is is possible that we’re actually slaves to Maize, addicted to his high fructose corn syrup heroin and working to help proliferate his species at allcosts?
The New York Times just published an op-ed piece by David Brooks entitled, “The Party of Work” (tip of the hat to Andrew). It seems to me that business-oriented thinkers like Brooks tend to magnetize toward the notion of a policy framework that creates a no-strings opportunity-incentivizing environment. In this vision for the future, Brooks imagines a worker-oriented economy. One of these futures creates an atmosphere which reverses the following frustration among workers
It’s a modern economy in which you can work more productively, but your wages still don’t rise.
Although I’m sure many would like for increased productivity to warrant increased compensation, that is far from the situation of the typical American worker, who often is employed at the mercy of the employer, with little if any job security. Where are these throngs of people who demand more wages for greater performance? In the unemployment line, I suspect. Is Brooks suggesting that small and big businesses in his opportunity utopia will offer wages that deviate from the minimums required by the labor supply and demand curve? If the Party of Work aims to create a labor utopia, it would have no need to undermine worker’s unions, unemployment insurance, payroll-centric tax incentives, and health care solutions that are divorced from one’s employer. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood what Brooks means by the “Party of Work” — maybe it is just a euphemism for the “Party of Employers.”
The pattern continues in 2008. In both 2004 and 2008, the Republican areas are more strongly republican than any other elections.
This image of election results from the 2008 Presidential Election has been overlaid with another map. This background map that expresses geological features, shows the outline of an ancient Cretaceous period coastline, which correlates directly with the most fertile soil, and hence the region that was home to the most productive cotton plantations in the Deep South. Steven Dutch, Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, argues in the following article, that the Democratic Party will continue to carry this crescent of the electorate, where black voters reside in high numbers, due to the fact that the geological composition of these farms made the area more attractive to slave-operated farms.
[Mississippi and Alabama] is where the geologic story is clearest and simplest. The band of poor, black counties along the Cretaceous outcrop corresponds to the Black Belt, named for its fertile soils. Cotton production was heavily concentrated here and the black population remains concentrated.
Today I pitched my plan for a new technology-in-the-classroom initiative for the first time. My supervisor in the department was interested by the project concept and curious to learn more. What’s the pitch? Use new technologies to capture all of the interactions in the classroom and allow students to review and edit these instances together to create customized learning materials. Simply put, I intend to strap a GoPro camera to my forehead, and film everything that happens so that students can study it later.
This month The Atlantic published an article about genome analysis, synthetic biology, and custom pathogen creation. If I was still involved in policy debate, I think that a synthetic biology WMD line of argument would be very effective. The article begins with a description of a scenario in which an individual’s DNA is used to create a custom virus designed to make many people sick but assassinate one individual in particular. Imagine a Stuxnet virus for a world leader and you have the gist of the article.
Still, it would take more than just a gene sequencer to build a personally targeted bioweapon. To begin with, prospective attackers would have to collect and grow live cells from the target (more on this later), so cell-culturing tools would be a necessity. Next, a molecular profile of the cells would need to be generated, involving gene sequencers, micro-array scanners, mass spectrometers, and more. Once a detailed genetic blueprint had been built, the attacker could begin to design, build, and test a pathogen, which starts with genetic databases and software and ends with virus and cell-culture work. Gathering the equipment required to do all of this isn’t trivial, and yet, as researchers have upgraded to new tools, as large companies have merged and consolidated operations, and as smaller shops have run out of money and failed, plenty of used lab equipment has been dumped onto the resale market. New, the requisite gear would cost well over $1 million. On eBay, it can be had for as little as $10,000. Strip out the analysis equipment—since those processes can now be outsourced—and a basic cell-culture rig can be cobbled together for less than $1,000. Chemicals and lab supplies have never been easier to buy; hundreds of Web resellers take credit cards and ship almost anywhere.
I’ve been a big fan of Apple’s iMessage service since its inception, and the iCloud backend has only improved over the last year. But this program has more bugs than any Apple application that I have ever used. It experiences functional and visual glitches on a regular basis. I use it primarily for video chat, but it crashes so frequently that it makes more sense to use the iPad’s FaceTime feature, which is incredibly stable.
Minnesänger in Ausübung seines Berufes. Das mitgeführte Tier steht stellvertretend für die Aussage: “Ich bin gut zu Vögeln.”
Today I was perusing articles about German love poetry of the High Middle Ages, as one does, and I stumbled across this fantastic explanation of the Minnesang. I’ll just excerpt a few portions of this article for your reading pleasure.
Minnesang gilt seit Jahren als unschlagbarer Garant beim Umwerben der weiblichen Liebe. So konnte vom beginnenden Mittelalter an der Minnesang als einziger Lichtblick halbwegs zivilisierter Umgangsform in einer durch barbarische Rituale geprägten Zeit angesehen werden. Die Sänger dieses Genres bedienten sich der Multitask-Fähigkeit des Weibes, die gleichzeitig ein Huhn rupfen, in Gedanken an ihren auf dem Schlachtfeld kämpfenden Gatten sein UND dem Werben der Minnesänger lauschen konnten. So hatten diese Troubadoure einerseits Erfolg beim anderen Geschlecht, mussten aber von Anbeginn an mit einer feindlich gesinnten Einstellung richtiger Männer rechnen.
The article also provides an example of free translation from Middle High German into High German. (If you happen to be a student of Middle High German, this should not be considered instructive.)
Ich will mit minen frouwen tuischensolhiu mære,deste bad vûl mit flazal der werlte suln behagen:âne grôze chaûme tuon ich daz.waz wold ich ze lône?si sint mir ze hêr:sô bin ich ir gefüegetund bite si nihtes mêr,wan daz si mich nu fessln schône.
Ich will mit meinen Frauen duschen
Schubidu und mehr,
ein Bad voll (nackten) Fleisches
die ganze Welt soll es erkennen
ich mach es ohne Schaum!
Was soll ich ihnen zahlen?
Zwar sind sie mir hörig
dennoch bin ich gefügig
und bitte um nichts anderes
als das sie mich nur schön fesseln tun.
I just drank half a gallon of this in half a week. It is delicious and is way more adult sounding than drinking Yoohoo. I think it is a major competitor to iced coffee at Dunkin, McDonalds, and Starbucks.
In the 2008 Presidential campaign cycle, Mitt Romney presented his foreign policy platform in the journal Foreign Policy. Romney’s foreign policy is so interesting to me because it appears to loosely revolve around Israel. It does not appear to have changed at all since he wrote this article yet this article is rarely referenced in the campaign or press. Although I find his comments in the article incredibly generic, I do wonder if the article reveals a little about his Mormon motivations. He talks about how WW2 and the Cold War left US military strategy and institutions outdated and that Iran and the jihadists are the major threats to US security. Many commentators in the US (including the Obama campaign) indict Romney for misunderstanding Russia’s role in the world.
Of course, if you listen to the entire interview, Romney explains that Russia is the largest geopolitical opponent to the US, but that the jihadists and nuclear Iran are the actual military threat. Interestingly enough, I think that Romney’s focus on the jihadists and Iran has more to do with his love for Israel than anything else (see also Mormons and Israel). In the article, he notes that Iran threatens genocide against Israel, which precedes actual genocides in his list of harms.
Today’s challenges are daunting. They include the conflict in Iraq, the resurgence of the Taliban, and global terrorist networks made even more menacing by the threat of nuclear proliferation. While Iran’s leaders relentlessly pursue nuclear weapons capabilities and spout genocidal threats against Israel, the world largely stands silent, unable to agree on effective sanctions even as each day the danger grows. Genocide ravages Darfur even as the world stands frozen. In Latin America, leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez seek to reverse the spread of freedom and return to failed authoritarian policies. AIDS and potential new pandemics threaten us in an interconnected world.
He argues that multilateral (even multi-agency) approaches don’t work, citing how the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel nine times.
Finally, we need to strengthen old partnerships and alliances and inaugurate new ones to meet twenty-first-century challenges. The inaction, if not the breakdown, of many Cold War institutions has made many Americans skeptical of multilateralism. Nothing shows the failures of the current system more clearly than the UN Human Rights Council, an entity that has condemned the democratic government of Israel nine times while remaining virtually silent on the serial human rights abuses of the governments of Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, and Sudan. In the face of such hypocrisy, it is understandable that some Americans would be tempted to favor unilateralism.
And he concludes the article with an anecdote from the Israeli PM.
I recently had the privilege of spending some time with Shimon Peres, the former prime minister of Israel. Someone asked him about the conflict in Iraq, and he said, “You need to put this in context. America is unique in the history of the world. During this last century, there was only one nation that laid down hundreds of thousands of lives of its own sons and daughters and asked for nothing for itself.” He explained that in the history of the world, whenever there has been a war, winning nations have taken the land of losing ones. “America is unique,” he added. “You took no land from the Germans, no land from the Japanese. All you asked for was enough land to bury your dead.”
This article gives rise to a question in my mind: to what lengths would a Romney administration go to preemptively protect Israel?
This photograph shows President Barack Obama, who is seated at a table with his advisers, watching news reports from Sandy as it makes landfall. How does it come to pass that everyone at this table drinks a beverage from a disposable container and President Obama is the only one drinking from proper drinkware?
I am really getting into Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city. It makes me feel like Compton is back all over again and I am a huge fan of Kendrick Lamar’s ability to flow so freely over these Dre beats, swerve in and out of different voices and tempos, and focus on narrative. I think it is a big win for the genre.
If it is Tuesday afternoon where you are, you are probably asking yourself, what would Tristan do? I find myself asking this sort of question all the time. Out of groceries? Tristan will lead a hunting party and help with field dressing any wild game you find. Kidnapped by pirates? Don’t bother with Liam Neeson—you need Tristan to convince those feeble-minded sailors to return you to your uncle’s place. No electricity because Superstorm Sandy knocked out the power? Tristan would transform into Tantris and serenade your queen with his harp. This rambling talk brings me to the important part of the post: notes examining Tristan’s relationship to other works of the period.
Today I found myself preparing notes for some colleagues who are studying for their comprehensive examinations in the German department. I figured it might be helpful to upload my own reading lists to my website so that anyone studying these works could easily get in touch with me. So please consider this an open invitation to begin a discussion on any of the texts from my reading lists, which I have linked as a separate page.