Daily Archives: December 15, 2014

Wienies take over Harvard Law

Harvard student

Harvard Grad

Students now can’t stand seeing “trigger” words such as “violate”, as in, “does this provision violate the constitution?”

A professor at Harvard Law School warns that law students have grown so sensitive to psychological “triggers” that it is becoming difficult to teach about rape law in law school, and that many professors are considering abandoning the subject entirely.

In an article penned for The New Yorker, Professor Jeannie Suk begins by asking readers to “imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood.” That situation now more or less exists at Harvard, she says, where a number of students are actively avoiding instruction and discussion on the topic of rape law.

Student groups at Harvard, Suk says, now routinely advise students to simply avoid classes and subjects entirely that may traumatize them. Sometimes, it goes beyond avoidance, and students intend seek to modify the classes themselves to accommodate their neuroses.

“Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well,” writes Suk. “One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word ‘violate’ in class—as in ‘Does this conduct violate the law?’—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.”

Depending on how she pronounces it, Professor Suk’s last name could in itself be a trigger – change it!

UPDATE: It occurs to me that much of our body of law is off limits to these fragile flowers. Real estate law, for instance, includes a provision against forcible entry and detainer.


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It’s okay; I think the Danes have a Santa Claus too

Julemanden er stadig kommer til byen

Julemanden er stadig kommer til byen

Denmark just claimed the North Pole


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Yes, but we will only end ethanol, if at all, when presidential primaries are no longer held in Iowa

Study debunks all-electric cars as being cleaner than gasoline, but this bit about ethanol, while not new, bears repeating.

The study finds all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline. Coal produces 39 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the Department of Energy.

But if the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car produces half as many air pollution health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths.

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas.

But ethanol isn’t, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.

“If we’re using ethanol for environmental benefits, for air quality and climate change, we’re going down the wrong path,” Hill said.

And then there’s the quaint custom of “rolling coal” over Priuses


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Riverside sale

34 Miltiades Ave

34 Miltiades Ave

34 Miltiades, non-railroad side, sold for $1.1 million. A good friend of mine grew up here, long ago, with his brother, sister, grandmother and both parents. The children were quite successful in later life, somehow. What’s sort of sad is that my friend’s father’s job was to empty parking meters for the town of Greenwich, yet he lived barely 100 yards away from the president of a large NYC bank. The days of that kind of economic diversity in Riverside are long gone. I’m certainly not calling for some sort of government leveling program here, just observing that the town’s a far different place than it was when I was growing up.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 4.59.45 PM


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A lovely home, but when will its time finally come?

1 Harbor Drive

1 Harbor Drive

The listing for 1 Harbor Drive, Belle Haven, has been renewed again today, almost five years after it started off at $20 million. Like the house itself, the price is still there, unchanged over all this time. No one admires a stubborn seller more than I do, but clearly, either the market has to rise significantly or these owners must content themselves with continuing to live in a house with a very expensive price tag that isn’t tempting buyers.



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Perhaps we could ask for volunteers among her crowd to show us how it works

Seattle architect proposes human composting.

The Urban Death Project’s plans call for a three-story-high polished concrete composting structure called “the core,” which would be surrounded by contemplative spaces for visitors.

Bodies would be refrigerated on site for up to 10 days. No embalming would be necessary, since decomposition is the goal.

After a ceremony – religious or not – friends and family would help insert the body into the core. Over several weeks a body would turn into about one cubic yard of compost, enough to plant a tree or a patch of flowers.

The compost could be taken by the family or left for use or donation by the Urban Death Project.

“In this system, we transform from being human to being something else,” Spade said. “And at the end, what’s coming out, the material that we use – it’s special and it’s sacred, but it’s not human.”


Spade said human composting uses the same process as animal composting, in which deceased cows, horses and other animals are buried under wood mulch, sawdust and wood chips.

Thomas Bass, a livestock environmental associate specialist at Montana State University, agreed.

“The science follows,” he said, adding that livestock composting has grown in popularity because it is less expensive than incineration and is more ecological.

The prospect of feeding an apple or avocado tree in her post-life appeals to Grace Seidel, 55, a Seattle artist who has announced to friends and family her desire to be composted after she dies.

“The idea of being reduced to dirt and being able to be put under a tree sounds lovely to me,” she said.

Spade said the reception to the idea has been positive – mostly.

“People love the idea of growing trees,” she said. “They get really squeamish with tomatoes.”

Actually, I don’t see this as any different than what many societies, including ours, have done for thousands of years. Although I agree with those who are squeamish about using the remains in vegetable gardens.


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Waterfront sale, Lucas Point

11 Cove Road

11 Cove Road

11 Cove Road, Old Greenwich, $3.5 million, asked $5.4 million. Still a hefty price, but I’m not the only one who loves the Lucas Point neighborhood. Listing says the house stayed dry in Sandy, and I’m sure it did, but I imagine that whatever gets built here will still have to be elevated quite a bit to meet FEMA standards.


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Good catch

Pistol-packin' mama - damn, that's hot!

Pistol-packin’ mama in camo and tight jeans – damn, that’s hot!

A family from the delightfully named Warrior, Alabama, spots the men who robbed their house and holds them at gunpoint until police arrive.

The victims of a burglary captured their alleged intruders after spotting them in the street – on the way back from another break-in.

The Wyatt family’s surveillance system filmed the moment a woman and two men took two TVs and numerous Christmas presents from their home in Warrior, Alabama, last Friday.

Just two days later, Chris Wyatt spotted the suspects’ Ford Ranger pickup truck driving down a road and swerved to block them into a corner.

Mr Wyatt, his wife Sarah, and two other relatives ordered them out of the car – apparently full of stolen goods – and held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

According to Chief Deputy Randy Christian, officers received the 911 call on Sunday afternoon while they were interviewing the victims of another burglary.

When they reached Mr Wyatt and his detainees, they found the computer monitor, trumpet, knife collection and jewelry that the second victim reported missing.



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Phew! I was beginning to think even an untrained monkey could make money trading on Wall Street

(Former) UBS trading desk, Stamford

(Former) UBS trading desk, Stamford

NY Magazine’s headline story about 17-year-old trading genius who’s earned $72 million while attending Stuyvesant High is a hoax. I guess it takes a trained monkey.

Folks, we should know this by now: if a story appears with a sensational headline yet with few, if any facts or background, presume it’s false. When journalists actually do stumble across stories that obviously require verification, we know to do the verification, and to include the verification in the article. We don’t write 300 words and move on.


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A bit of real estate news in what promises to be a very quiet fortnight

172 Cognewaugh Rd

172 Cognewaugh Rd

172 Cognewaugh Road, Cos Cob, asking $1.999 million, reports a contingent contract. It last sold in 2007 for $2.050.

20 Carpenters Brook

20 Carpenters Brook

20 Carpenters Brook Rd, Westchester (well, almost), sold for $3.3 million. Builder originally asked $4.1 million, which was steep for this location, but he paid $1.1 for the bank-owned property in 2012, so I’m sure he made out fine.

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