Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Anamorphisize this

You know, if you were going to go to the trouble of remastering a movie for DVD, including adding 5.1 Dolby Surround sound, you’d think it would be trivial to master the DVD in anamorphic mode so I’d get more than about 300 lines of effective vertical resolution on my 16:9 HDTV. Grr.

Missing the cartel

The failure rate on the bar exam appears to be rising, although the absolute number of individuals passing the bar seems to be nearly constant nationwide over time.

Multiple-choice question: which of the following explanations for this pattern is most plausible?

  1. Although more students are graduating from law school today than a decade ago, they are nonetheless dumber, at least as measured by the bar exam.
  2. Affirmative action is churning out large numbers of law school graduates who subsequently cannot pass the bar.
  3. The body of knowledge necessary to practice law in America has substantially increased in the past decade, thus requiring greater knowledge by new attorneys; thus the bar exam has become harder.
  4. The bar exam is designed to limit the supply of lawyers, not to test whether potential lawyers have sufficient knowledge to practice law.

Free hint: the bar exam is set by existing members of the profession who have a state-granted monopoly on the practice of law.

þ: Glenn Reynolds and Amber Taylor’s comments.

The future is already here

Division of Labour links a Reuters piece that says ”[t]he day is coming when carriers will require special fees even to check a bag.” That day has already arrived in Europe, which you’d think Reuters (of all news agencies) would already be aware of.

NCAA tournament thoughts

A couple of disconnected thoughts about the NCAA basketball tournament thus far:

  • If the NCAA wants us to treat the play-in game as part of the “real” tournament, they’re going to have to do better than producing “Opening Round” bunting for the scorer’s table. At the very least, they need to call ESPN and tell them that they’re not allowed to do bush-league phone-in blowout material over the game action. More realistically, the “opening round” needs to be a real round, with four play-in games—one for each region. And the games need to be played in front of a crowd that gives a shit about the outcome, which you’re not generally going to find in Dayton, Ohio.
  • I’d never accuse the selection committee of showing favoritism toward generating good product, but it’s a mighty convenient coincidence that a lot of good, name-brand major conference teams are free to play deep into the now NCAA-owned-and-operated NIT rather than facing a second-round “big dance” exit against like likes of UConn or Duke.

My brackets, incidentally, are pretty boring; I’m not at all sold on Gonzaga or Tennessee doing much in the tourney. I picked Duke to win it all, over North Carolina (in my Yahoo! bracket) and Boston College (in my ESPN bracket)—I think otherwise the two brackets are identical.

TiVo Series 3 HD speculation

PVRblog links a post by Dave Zatz that takes note of a new TiVo contest in which the grand prize is the long-awaited Series 3 HD TiVo; Zatz has started a side contest in which readers are asked to speculate on a release date and price for the unit. Although the official word from TiVo is “second half of 2006,” the betting money is apparently on “early September” at this point.

QandO posts so I don't have to

Over at QandO, Dale Franks mocks James Miller’s idea that what the voters are clamoring for is a space elevator—for starters, the name “space elevator” needs to go, since who wants to spend a week listening to The Girl from Ipanema while they trundle towards geostationary orbit?—and McQ does a post-mortem on the DP World ports deal.

The latter of course points out the futility of trying to ask the American public questions about Middle Eastern politics; if the average American has the emirate of Dubai (which has been a consistent U.S. ally for its entire existence) equated to al Qaeda in their heads, what hope could he or she possibly have of meaningfully distingushing between Saddam Hussein (a known bad guy) and al Qaeda?

I am ready to pronounce this experiment a failure

NRO has gallantly lept into the debate about the academy with a blog that, at the very least, should be as worthy of being relentlessly mocked as “The Corner.” Case in point would be this nonsensical post from Joel Malchow, who can’t even figure out what particular phenomenon (co-ed dorms? co-ed dorm rooms? co-ed bathrooms?) he is complaining about, only to make the statement that “like unisex showers, co-ed dorms are generally met with very little interest among students.” Proudly spoken like a man who’s never seen Undeclared. Or gone to college.

If that weren’t enough, the decision to grant posting privileges to the terminally vapid Kathryn Jean Lopez is surely the death knell for this project as any worthwhile contribution to debate over the current state of the academy.

þ: Orin Kerr and Stephen Karlson.