Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Thought:

Star Wars and Plastic Surgeons

Yesterday afternoon, I was studying most of the time. In the background, I had the TV on Spike TV, which was airing the Star Wars Trilogy. There was one scene where Luke took off Darth Vader's helmet to reveal a hideously transmogrified face. I'm talking grotesque.

Then I started thinking about how advanced technology was in that setting. There were gravity defying levitating autos. There were space ships so huge and complicated that they practically had their own gravitational field. There was also sources of energy tapped into that physicists and engineers can only dream about.

This led me to think. Why didn't medical technology catch up with that culture and give Darth Vader a new face?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More About the Bluebook

I have a love-hate relationship with the Bluebook. The index could be clearer and not so cursory. There could also be some extra room around the edge of the pages or in the back for notes and annotations.

 On the other hand, it's fortunate we have a a systemized citation system that law students are exposed to early in law school. Even better is the instruction we receive from our writing skills professor and TA.

This is in complete contrast to grad school. We didn't hear a fucking peep about bibliographies, footnotes and other forms of citation. Hell, we weren't even told about any Manuals of style. I had to find out the hard way that the American Chemical Society does indeed have a style manual.

I remember when I turned in my first draft of my thesis to my advisor. The bastard was a real shit-ass about my format and style. I had no damn clue how to do this, and he sure as hell wasn't going to help me, and even worse, he expected me to pick this crap up through some form of osmosis or something like that. I fucking hated that "sink-or-swim" attitude those assholes had in grad school. In this regard, law school is much better than grad school.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is it Racist?

Discover Card Commercial

On the surface, those Discover Cashback Reward commercials are not racist with the guy name 'Peggy' answering the phone. After all, the person being mocked is a guy of Nordic/Slavic descent. But on a deeper level, the commercial does have some racist overtones.

In my experiences, if the customer service representative is a foreigner, he/she is most likely from India. Imagine the public outcry if the commercial mocked an Indian. The PC police would be screeching like howler monkeys. And for good reason. But having the person on the commercial be a burly, bearded Nordic/Slavic man in a flannel shirt, the racist element was removed from the equation

So, hats off to the admen for skirting the racial issue the way they did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Year Ago on This Day

I received notification that I was accepted to law school. I was surprised that I was accepted and accepted so soon. I heard within weeks after applying. I didn't know if I'd get in or not. I barely got into grad school, and I thought I had stronger credentials for getting into a chemistry graduate school program than a law school. There were no guarantees  I'd be accepted anywhere. Some schools even offered me money to boot.

Exams are coming up soon. I guess in a couple of months I'll find out if I get to stay in law school after grades come out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Muhammed Ali & Law School

A few years ago, I read a biography on Muhammed Ali written by Thomas Hauser. The author interviewed one of Ali's opponents (I forgot the name). The opponent commented on Ali's punching power. Ali was not known for his power such as Liston, Foreman or Tyson were. However, many of Ali's fights ended in KO's.

The opponent remarked that after taking his first hit from Ali, he thought "This isn't so bad. I can take this guy." He said after a few rounds of relentless punching, he couldn't take it any more. Those hits added up.

In some ways, my being in law school has been like that. The information at the start wasn't so bad or complex. I thought "I can do this." However, after a few months of this, the info adds up, and now my legs are wobbly, and I'm trying my best to finish this fight.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Old Advice from a P-Chem Professor

At the top of each exam in my physical chemistry class in grad school was the admonition above given by our pchem professor. Usually, the acronyms were in some funky font, underlined followed by a few exclamation points for good measure.

I think this advice may serve me well when I take exams next month. I can be absent minded at times, so I especially need to focus or I will fall into an ugly trap set by a wily professor.

For those who haven't figured it out yet, RTDQ & ATDQ stand for: Read the Damn Question & Answer the Damn Question.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Extraneous Information

There is a saying in drama that "if there is a gun hanging on the wall at the beginning of the play, it must be used before the end." That right there is the difference between a law school exam and a chemistry exam.

A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar given by a law school professor about taking law school exams. An important note he made was that everything in the hypotheticals have meaning, are relevant and should be addressed in the student's response. I think he said that he doesn't include things in a test just for the sake of good writing and reader interest.

In chemistry, things are quite different, especially in physical chemistry exams. Chemistry professors will give the required information to solve a problem along with some useless information for the problem at hand. Suppose a professor asks for the density of an ideal gas at a given temperature. Off the top of my head, I think one or two other pieces of data are needed, notably the molecular weight of the gas. A sadistic pchem professor would throw in some irrelevant information such as the specific heat of the gas or the root mean square. The unsuspecting student will furiously try to incorporate the extraneous information that has no bearing on the question asked by the professor and subsequently get the wrong answer. Often times after the exam, the cries of "that's not fair" can be heard from the class. The professor doesn't even bother to act sympathetic or understanding and only stands there a smiles thinking "I tricked your little ass."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Information Processing and Computer Screens

I have a hard time absorbing words on a computer screen. It seems like I can't retain information and pick out details as well on a computer screen compared to what is on paper. I wonder if it's something as simple as the angle the screen is at and that it is different than what I call my 'study' position. My study position is my sitting at a desk in a certain way with a book that has its own particular place. Maybe I've conditioned myself over the years to be able to study in only one position and that any changes from that will screw up my ability to study.

I've also wondered if looking at a computer screen activates different parts of the brain so that the information is processed differently.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tick Tock

Exams start in about a month. I'm nowhere near prepared for this. I have yet to get a handle on the material we will be tested on. I also am not ready for the format of the typical law school exam. This will be so different from an organic chemistry exam. At least in organic chemistry, we had homework assignments allowing us to gauge how we were doing in the class. Here in law school, we are kind of bopping along without any kind of feedback to see how we are doing. Do I really have a handle on the Erie Doctrine? What about future estates?

I guess I'll have to wait until December or January for the answer to that.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Asshole Cops and Southern Accents

Have you ever noticed that the bigger jerk a cop is on TV or a movie, the stronger his Southern drawl is? It doesn't matter if the cop is in Mississippi, New York City or Oregon. The asshole cop will most likely have a Southern accent. For example, in Rambo when the cop was trying to clean and shave Rambo, the cop had a strong Southern accent and capped off his sentences addressing Rambo with "boy."

Then on The Cable Guy, set in NYC, the cop who arrested Matthew Broderick, too, had a rich and authentic Southern accent. That guy, Charles Napier, was born in Kentucky and has been in notable films such as Rambo II, The Silence of the Lambs and The Blues Brothers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

An Epiphany

I had an epiphany a while ago when I was watching the O'Reilly Factor--It's a big damn informercial! At every turn, the man is trying to sell one book or another. Then at the end of every show, he directs his viewers to , a distinct entity from Fox News. At, the viewers have the choice of "premium membership" or some crap like that where they get to see more of Bill, his opinion pieces and interviews. And if that is not enough of the man, he now is promoting this tour he and Glen Beck are giving throughout the nation. What they do on stage, I don't know. They could sit around and do a circlejerk for all I care. But it's the viewers money, and if they want to pay to watch Bill and Glen complain about liberals and the man, well, that is their gosh-darn-right.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Black Armbands

I was watching CNN last night discussing the upcoming election. I've seen jollier faces on funeral directors. These guys were somber and morose to say the least. But don't worry Democrats, a House or Senate in Republican hands will almost guarantee Obama reelection in 2012. The Republicans won't get diddly done in the next two years and will get all the blame for whatever goes wrong. There is no way Obama's veto power will allow the Republicans to achieve their agenda, whatever that may be.

So chin up, Dems, there is a silver lining for this election.