Friday, December 11, 2009

The Year in Punchlines

Liberal black women from New York City drive like maniacs:

Victor Harris was rendered quadriplegic after the police rammed his car, ending a nine-mile high-speed chase outside Atlanta. The issue was whether a suit by Harris against the officer who rammed him should be allowed to proceed to a jury trial. Lower courts were inclined to give Harris his day in court, because he had committed no crime except speeding before he fled, and while he topped 85 miles per hour during the chase, he was in theory in control of his car.

The Supreme Court disagreed and defended its position in an unprecedented way: by posting a video of the chase, taken by the police, on its Web site. "No reasonable jury," Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, could watch the video without agreeing that the chase had to be stopped, even if it meant killing Harris.  "We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself," Scalia wrote.

Did it? Kahan, Hoffman and Braman showed it to a diverse group of 1,350 Americans. Most of the test subjects saw things as the Supreme Court did: 75 percent concurred that deadly force was justified. The dissenters, however, were not randomly distributed: they reflected distinct subcategories of Americans, like liberal African-American women from cities in the Northeast.

Don't shaft drunk people:

Morewedge and Krishnamurti took a "data truck" to a strip of bars on the South Side of Pittsburgh (where participants were "often at a level of intoxication that is greater than is ethical to induce")

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse your loved ones:

... powering a crematorium requires an enormous amount of gas and also sends carbon dioxide and other pollutants skyward. Enter resomation, an alternative to cremation for the eco-conscious cadaver.  Unlike cremation, resomation doesn't vaporize the toxic mercury of dental fillings and doesn't char joint implants, leaving them clean, shiny and potentially recyclable.

In a way, Austen's novels are already zombie novels

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