Memory Lane (July Edition)

For us, July is a month full of memorable milestones and quirky anniversaries. One year ago this month, for example, Rowman & Littlefield published The Economics of the Undead. (Our contribution to this book–a little essay titled “Buy or Bite?” appears in Chapter 12–also led to this fun feature on Freakonomics Radio.) Two years ago this month, we started this scholarly blog. Although our tagline is “Hey, where did you get your priors?“–a strange question that lots of people refuse to answer or even acknowledge–this blog is really dedicated to the proposition that our subjective beliefs don’t matter as much as our ability and willingness to update our priors in light of new evidence. Three years ago this month, we wrote up a formal paper applying Bayesian methods to law in the friendly and timeless city of Amsterdam, our second-favorite city in the world (La Habana, Cuba is still our favorite)–a paper that would eventually lead to the publication of our first peer-reviewed article in the European Journal of Legal Studies–, and five years ago this month, we visited Southeast Asia for the first time: a memorable month-long excursion by rail through the city-state of Singapore, the polyglot metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, the island of Penang, the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and the temples of Angkor Wat. We definitely wish to return one day. We could go on and on … but, most importantly, fifteen years ago this month, our eldest daughter Adela Luisa was born in San Juan, P.R. Happy Birthday, Adela … We love you!

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Taxonomy of Sherlock Holmes’s Clients

Does Sherlock Holmes charge a fee for his detective services? Hat tip: bhip (via imgur).
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Mixed Emotions

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!Feliz 4 de julio!

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Consumer Surplus (“Print Wikipedia” Art Project Edition)

How much would it cost you to procure a complete set of English-language Wikipedia articles in book form? An art gallery in New York City is sponsoring an exhibition titled From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!, featuring work from the Print Wikipedia series by Michael Mandiberg. The Wikipedia exhibit, however, doesn’t actually feature a complete, physical copy of Wikipedia. Instead, according to the gallery’s description of the work, it “draws attention to the sheer size of the encyclopedia’s content and the impossibility of rendering Wikipedia as a material object in fixed form.” (Notice that the word “impossibility” in the previous sentence is really a substitute for “costly.”) But, in theory, how much would a complete copy of Wikipedia cost you? Here is James Vincent, writing for The Verge:

Mandiberg’s approach has been to code software that renders the online encyclopedia into book-sized chunks, and then upload these to self-publishing platform Fans will then be able to order individual volumes for $80 a pop. This sounds relatively reasonable, but it does mean that buying the entire set — estimated by Mandiberg to eventually cover some 7,600 books — will cost $500,000. Still, that’s a saving of around $100,000 compared to ordering each volume individually.

And here is Hannah Ghorashi, writing for Art News:

These individual volumes are discounted from the usual $80 to $68; the entire collection, should anyone want to order it, is $500,000. (Ironically, you can’t actually order it online, as the sheer size of the order would break the shopping cart. If you go to, Denny Gallery’s phone number is listed for interested buyers underneath a fake “Buy Now” button.)

denny_mandiberg_0046_webCredit: Michael Mandiberg

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Bandanas in the Courtroom

Anna M. Phillips, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times (warning: the Tampa Bay Times website at the previous link has an annoying video ad that starts automatically when you click on the link), is reporting that a county judge will allow former professional wrestler “Hulk Hogan” to sport a bandana in the courtroom during his invasion-of-privacy trial against the website Gawker, which is scheduled to go to trial next week. In addition, the judge ruled that the Hulkster must be called by his geeky real name, Terry Gene Bollea, during the trial proceedings:

Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell said on Monday that she will permit him one “plain bandana,” presumably ruling out the varieties for sale at his Clearwater Beach gift shop, emblazoned with the words “Hulkamania” and “Hulk Still Rules.” There’s no word yet on whether he will have to wear sleeves in the courtroom. * * * Bollea’s case against Gawker has been winding its way through the courts here for more than two years, and a two-week trial has been scheduled to begin in St. Petersburg next Monday. At its core, it’s a case about whether Gawker’s decision to publish one minute and 41 seconds of a roughly 30-minute sex tape violated Bollea’s right to privacy. His attorneys maintain that the video, which shows him having sex with Heather Cole — at the time, the wife of his best friend, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem — was made without his knowledge.

Does the common law tort of invasion of privacy apply to celebrities–to public figures or “fame whores” like Hulk Hogan or Kim Kardashian who actually enjoy being in the media spotlight? Bonus Question: Who owns the legal rights to this video? Gawker, Hulk Hogan Mr Bollea, Ms Cole, or Bubba the Love Sponge?

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Incentives Matter (Tom Brady Edition)

Roger Goodell, the unpopular Commissioner of the NFL, recently heard Tom Brady’s appeal in the now-infamous “Deflategate” or “Ballghazi” case. As things stand now, the Commissioner has only two options: (i) reduce Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, or (ii) do nothing (let Brady’s four-game suspension stand as is). Why doesn’t Mr Goodell have a third option: (iii) increase Brady’s suspension by n number of games? If this third option were available in pro sports, maybe fewer players would appeal their suspensions. As things stand now, there is no downside to a player appealing an adverse decision by his sports league …

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