Wednesday, April 30, 2014
However well-meaning they may be, the Obama administration's guidance and task force recommendations yesterday on campus sexual harassment and rape contain an insidious attack on cross-examination (as KC Johnson discussed at Minding the Campus.) As the Task Force Report notes (pg. 19), "this new guidance clarifies that: . . . the parties should not be allowed to personally cross-examine each other." Similarly, the guidance itself says (pg. 31): "OCR strongly discourages a school from allowing the parties to personally question or cross-examine each other during a hearing on alleged sexual violence." These attacks by the administration ignore the fact that the Supreme Court has lauded cross-examination as the "greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth." (See Lilly v. Virginia, 527 U.S. 116, 124 (1999).) The new guidance will create serious legal problems for both public and private colleges, as I will explain in future commentaries.
It may be obvious, but there is a basic tension between discovering the truth and treating people with sensitivity, tact and generally being nice to them. By increasing the first you decrease the second.
The news that longtime bachelor George Clooney was engaged to a human-rights lawyer has surprised more than a few celebrity watchers. The Oscar-winning actor has torn through a bevy of beautiful women but none was ever Mrs. Right — until now. Postmedia’s Brad Hunter explains how Amal Alamuddin captured Clooney’s heart:
The neg conquers all.
But Douglas Fudge, an integrative biologist at Canada’s University of Guelph, in Ontario, has given us a reason to embrace the goo: It may one day be used to produce a strong, eco-friendly fabric.
Ah yes. The old hagfish slime fabric ploy.
Male body odor “induced a robust physiological stress response that results in stress-induced analgesia [pain relief],” according to the study, published April 28 in the journal Nature Methods.
The effect on lab rodents that was produced by the presence of male researchers—and by the presence of their T-shirts after being worn overnight—lasted 30 to 45 minutes, reported a team led by Jeffrey Mogil, head of the Pain Genetics Lab at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Mogil said the phenomenon, triggered by a cocktail of male-related pheromones released in sweat, is unlikely to be confined to mice and rats: “I would predict that we will eventually find that this is true in all mammals.”
Not sure what to do about this, especially in the work place. Perhaps men should be confined to special areas.
Love is a fickle thing—even in barn owls. These normally monogamous birds sometimes call it quits and move on to new partners—nearly a quarter of the time, in fact, says a new study published April 28 in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Among people in the U.S., the divorce rate is about 40 percent.
Well, better that than to risk the long term effects on barn owl happiness.
But there’s more bad news for the males: New observations reveal that some females don’t even wait for mating to begin before they start snacking on their mates. Called pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism, this behavior occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of spider species, including the burrowing wolf spider.
Uhm, yes. This makes sense.
But the new Corona Atlas of the Middle East, unveiled Thursday at the Society for American Archaeology's annual meeting, moves spy-satellite science to a new level. Surveying land from Egypt to Iran—and encompassing the Fertile Crescent, the renowned cradle of civilization and location of some of humanity's earliest cities—the atlas reveals numerous sites that had been lost to history.
Okay, we’re second, at 475,000 deaths annually. But it’s a distant second to the lowly mosquito, which, according to Bill Gates, kills 725,000 people a year; 600,000 of them by transmitting malaria. Another 200 million people are incapacitated annually by the disease.
I was right. Horrible, nasty and not even that little.
President Obama even took something of a victory lap, declaring the debate over his signature health-care law over.
When it comes to the American people, though, there has been basically zero rallying effect. And in fact, they still expect Obamacare to do significantly more harm than good -- in about the same proportions as before.
I think the American people (all of them!) are in a pretty sullen mood. Yeah, it's going to do more harm than good, what else is new?