The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TaxProf Blog: Death of Marvin Chirelstein

Columbia Law School, Marvin A. Chirelstein: Revered Professor and Leading Scholar of Federal Taxation, Corporate Law, and Contracts:

Columbia Law School Professor Emeritus Marvin A. Chirelstein, a leading scholar of federal taxation, corporate law, and contracts whose textbooks are still used by students across the country, died on Feb. 16. He was 86.

via taxprof.typepad.com

All the greats are dying.

February 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Holman Jenkins: Oregon Is Greener Than Thou - WSJ

Gov. John Kitzhaber, the four-termer who will step down Wednesday amid a conflict-of-interest scandal involving his fiancée, was “a bright and idealistic young man, totally committed to the environment,” writes local political observer Floyd McKay of Western Washington University. Mr. Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, the author of his downfall, boasts a master’s degree in environmental studies. The two came together, says the New York Times , over a “shared passion for a low-carbon energy future.” But not to worry. Mr. Kitzhaber’s successor, Oregon’s secretary of state, is a lawyer with a degree in environmental conservation.

Are you getting that icky feeling yet? There comes a moment when you should hear echoes of Pope Francis ’s complaint of a Catholic hierarchy full of cynics bathing in easy grace as they pursue self-advancement.

via www.wsj.com

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog: Systematic Inequality and Hierarchy in Faculty Hiring Networks

The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network—who hires whose graduates as faculty—we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

via taxprof.typepad.com

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

BBC - Future - The last place on Earth… without life

Even if there are some lone holdouts of sterility in the natural world, however, the environment exists in a constant state of flux – and if extremophiles teach us anything, it is that organisms are always capable of adapting. “Give them enough time and they will find a way,” says DiRuggiero.

via www.bbc.com

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

BBC - Future - The surprising downsides of being drop dead gorgeous

According to the available evidence, the bubble is a reality. In education, for instance, Walker and Frevert found a wealth of research showing that better looking students, at school and university, tend to be judged by teachers as being more competent and intelligent – and that was reflected in the grades they gave them.

What’s more, the bubble’s influence inflates over the years. “There’s a cumulative effect,” explains Frevert. “You become more confident and have more positive beliefs and more opportunities to demonstrate your competence.”

via www.bbc.com

Yup yup yup. And there's an ugly effect too.

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

To Be or Not to Be Signaling the Aliens: That Is the Question for SETI - NBC News.com

Vakoch wants to send repeated radio transmissions of messages to hundreds of stars that lie within 82 light-years (25 parsecs) of Earth — using a focused beam from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the world's largest radio telescope.

Physicist Stephen Hawking has argued against that strategy, saying that the signals could attract the bad kind of aliens depicted in movies ranging from "War of the Worlds" to "Independence Day." He imagines that our first contact with extraterrestrials could be like the Native Americans' first contact with Europeans, "which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

via www.nbcnews.com

Hawking is absolutely right about this. Indeed, it should be illegal to attempt to contact aliens.

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ukraine truce unravels as battle rages, arms pullback stalls | Reuters

Two days after a truce went into effect, the agreement reached at all-night talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk last Thursday was unraveling rapidly.

via www.reuters.com

Not a shocker.

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Female Libido Pill Fires Up Debate About Women And Sex : Shots - Health News : NPR

Women like Price, who see their decreasing sex drive as a problem, are at the center of an intense, emotional debate that's been raging for years over whether the Food and Drug Administration should approve the first drug that claims to boost a woman's libido.

via www.npr.org

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Jersey man facing ten years in prison for possession of 300 yr old flintlock pistol « Hot Air

The outright stupidity of this case is no assurance that it will simply be dismissed when a judge is presented with the facts. In the more crazy, anti-gun sections of the country, stranger things than Mr. Gordon going to prison have happened. But there may be a faster and better solution to the problem. Let’s imagine for a moment that a governor of a blue state who is having a lot of trouble with the conservative base was interested in running for the presidency. Let’s further imagine that he could use a quick shot in the arm to bolster his conservative credentials. A possible scenario comes to mind, no?

via hotair.com

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

YouGov poll: Whites support gay marriage by nine points, Latinos oppose by eight, blacks oppose by 20 « Hot Air

I’m guessing this is an outlier, but let’s flag it in hopes that a little attention will convince other pollsters to follow up. If it’s anywhere close to accurate, it’s big news.

via hotair.com

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)