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O-H! I-O!

Script Ohio

Image by icadrews via Flickr

Finally, college football begins in Columbus!

I have changed the wallpaper on my Nexus One to Script Ohio, I have listened to Buckeye Battle Cry about 10 times already today, Mrs. Sergeant Law has agreed to make nachos for the game, and I found out that The Game will survive the changes to the Big 10 next year.

It should not be much of a battle. If nothing else, Doc Holiday is 0-0-0 as a head coach going against Jim Tressel. But I don’t think Tressel will show much on either side of the ball, making it harder for Miami to prepare for next week.

Bring on the Thundering Herd… go Buckeyes!


So tired


Image by Sapphireblue via Flickr

This next eight weeks is brutal.

Full time job at 8.5 hours a day, a computer engineering class on modern operating systems at 5 hours a day (twice a week), engineering senior project, LSAT prep at least 2 hours a day, and associated homework and projects.

Oh, and a sick puppy.

At the very least this should be good practice for the kind of whirlwind chaos that will accompany life as a 1L.

Best. Ad. Ever.

Truth in advertising?

While checking my email, I happened to check the context-sensitive advertising. Somebody out there has a great sense of humor (or is incredibly wise).

This made my morning.

(And yes, everybody to whom I have described the LSAT says it must be evil.)

Coffee + LSAT + Networking = Success?

I decided to take a practice LSAT test yesterday at my local Starbucks. If I took it at home either Mrs. Sergeant Law would choose to stay silent (and be miserable for hours), or watch tv and provide too much distraction for my needs. Starbucks was a good compromise – a constant buzz but never too much noise for concentration.

I was at it for hours (I took way too long on logic games, the little devils). At some point, a man sat next to me while I was taking and grading my test. I only got a score in the mid-150s and was not happy, so I was examining where I screwed up. He wanted to know what I could be concentrating on so hard. I told him I was practicing for the LSAT.

Turns out he is a lawyer who graduated from the law school I want to attend and gave me the name of someone I should call to discuss it. A random person in a coffee shop could end up being a great networking opportunity.

I am shocked that these things actually happen, much less to me.

LSAT Logic games

I have been focusing my LSAT study time on logic games recently. In the gifted program we had at my elementary school, we used to do matrix logic puzzles, logical reasoning games, and other similar activities. So they are not totally foreign to me.

That said, I have done anything more difficult than a crossword puzzle for twenty years. So I can remember doing work like this, but not how to do it. It is a very odd, frustrating feeling.

I am doing fairly well in diagramming the games, very well in making visual representations of the clues, but am struggling with making deductions. I am not sure if it just my rush to get to the questions or a fundamental problem with making that logical leap.

But they are starting to make more sense. I am not as frustrated by each puzzle. So this means one of two things:

1. I am making a mistake, because I should not be feeling good about something so inherently evil.

2. I am going crazy.

I feel there is no option 3 wherein I am actually learning how to do them, because that is just not possible.

Sci-fi law: AI

HAL's iconic camera eye.

Since there seems to be a dearth of lawyers in sci-fi, it is interesting to look at the topics that a future lawyer might face and the issues that surround them.

First up is Artificial Intelligence (AI). John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956, defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” That is to say, a machine that is capable of independent, rational thought.

This raises some serious legal questions. If the AI is capable of thinking for itself, does that make it an independent entity? Is the AI alive? What if the AI was placed in a cadaver, giving it control of the biological processes, thus acting like a brain…

The questions just keep mounting. Let us look at a few key questions first.

Slavery – If the AI is able to think for itself, does that make it independent? If so, wouldn’t keeping the AI crippled or owned be a form of neo-slavery? One could purchase the components to create an AI and own the parts, but once it is created does that person then own something that may be greater than the sum of its parts?

Citizenry – Assuming that the AI is recognized as its own entity, could something mechanical be a citizen? How would the government regulate something that is not biological? Of course, for the government, the big question – can you tax an AI? Can an AI hold a job, own property, and then be taxed accordingly?

Culpability – Since an AI is, for our intents, a giant computer program, it is reasonable to assume that it could be hacked and given imperatives that are counter to the law. It would be roughly equivalent to hypnotizing or brain-washing a human. Now, if the AI is hacked and “forced” to commit a crime, is the AI culpable for that action? It did not willingly or perhaps even knowingly do it. But can that be an affirmative defense?

These are just a few of the issues that could arise with the advent of AI and the legal system. There are several assumptions made, such as the AI being recognized as analogous to a human, but given those assumptions the legal questions are varied and thought-provoking.

Feel free to add your own questions and arguments in the comments!

Future owner of Earth?

Sometimes I swear people think that legal-ese is akin to magic. If they say the right combination of words, they can conjure up whatever they want.

Today’s contestant is John Theodore Anderson, a Nevada man who is suing for more money than exists on the entire planet:

Our winner…

Just to be clear, he is suing for 38 QUADRILLION dollars. If he wins, there is not enough currency in the world to cover it. Perhaps they will just give him the deed to the Earth.

Personal Statement

I am working on my personal statement for my application packet.

Now, I hate talking about myself and am normally quite self-depreciating so this is proving difficult. It doesn’t help that this could be a deciding factor in my admission depending on my LSAT score.

One of Mrs. Sergeant Law’s friends provided me with the books she used to get into law school three years ago, including a book on personal statements. The problem is that all of the statements in that book seem to be written by people with extraordinary lives. My life has not been boring, but I am not sure how to turn it into a compelling read.

I am not sure if this or the LSAT is more agonizing.

Finals already

No substantive post today.

I just finished taking a programming final and my head feels like it is going to split open and allow my brain to finally flee in abject terror.

Dinner and a Sam Adams Irish Red await…

Sci-fi lawyers

The Son Also Rises

While watching Eureka last night on the DVR, I was struck by the lack of lawyers in sci-fi. You often see some form of law enforcement and jailer, but that is the extent of it. In Eureka, you have Sheriff Carter and Jo (and Andy, I suppose). They are the law enforcement, but nothing they do ever seems to go to any higher authority. There is no justice system in place. No judges, no juries, no lawyers.

One of the best parts of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica was the trial of Gaius Baltar. You had a true trial, complete with Apollo and Romo Lampkin (played brilliantly by Mark Sheppard, pictured) as defense counsel. Introduction of evidence, cross examination of witnesses – elements of a real trial (or at least, as real a trial as can appear in sci-fi). Even in a fractured and nearly exterminated society, there was still a justice system in place.And even there the verdict was respected – once (SPOILERS, I suppose) Baltar is found not guilty, he is allowed to resume as normal a life as is possible for him.

Think about other major sci-fi franchises. Where are the lawyers?

Star Trek – nope. There a few instances of the ship’s captain or others acting as an ad-hoc prosecutor or judge. Think Riker presenting Starfleet’s case against Data’s independence.

Star Wars – not really. Theoretically, it does exist as the Republic/Empire must have it. But we never seem to see anything past the Jedi as extra-territorial agents.

Babylon 5 – again, no. Interrogators, shadow agents, spies, and assassins… but no lawyers. Granted, it would be mind-blowingly difficult to create a Uniform Code of Justice to include all of the worlds represented in B5, but even within those worlds we don’t see much of their justice systems.

Is there something about lawyers that make them anathema to sci-fi writers? BSG managed to make a trial one of the best parts of the series (better than the finale by a long shot). I am not looking for Law & Order IN SPAAAACE! (although the original Star Trek made Wagon Trail in spaaaace work), but a working judicial system is almost a requirement for a functioning society, why not show it at work?