They had style, they had grace …

(With apologies to Madonna.) While many of you are fast asleep or binging on contemporary Netflix shows, I have been staying up late all week savoring many film noir classics. Last night, for example, the Movies! TV Network broadcasted the 1945 film noir “Detour” at 3:00AM Eastern!

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Summer books

I will resume blogging next week about my European travels (Paris and Venice) as well as about legal positivism. In the meantime, now that I am done with teaching until the fall, I will be turning my full attention to my modest pile of unread or partially-read books pictured below:


Note: In the oval picture frame to the left, yours truly is pictured with Hilary Hemingway, one of the great Ernest Hemingway’s nieces, who. I had the honor of meeting in May of 2003 at the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana, Cuba.

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Postcards from Paris

Following up on my previous post, below are four nocturnal snapshots from my 2019 summer sojourn with Sydjia in the City of Light. Faites-vous plaisir!

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We’ll always have Paris!

Last year on this day my wife and I arrived in Paris, where I attended Brian Leiter’s summer seminar on legal positivism. I will finally get around to blogging about Professor Leiter’s excellent seminar soon …

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Did someone say “infrastructure”?

What if the leaders of the world got together and agreed to build a universal metro system for the entire globe? Via Reddit (u/picrazy2): “Presenting MetroWorld … a network of 276 stations and 11 lines, with 11 hubs and 11 super-hubs.”

Here is a larger version of this wonderful world metro map, and here is a detailed description of the logic and design choices that went into the making of the map. What foreign city would you visit first? (For me, it would be Cape Town!)

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Farewell to my summer students

This summer was the first time I have ever taught a course online from start to finish, and somehow, I ended up having a wonderful experience recording my low-budget videos and using Tiger King to explore the legal and ethical environments of business. My summer course ended a few days ago, so I recorded a farewell video for my students (see below). In this video I talk about two of my favorite contemporary athletes–Tim Tebow and Mike Tyson–and discuss some life lessons we can learn from them. (As an aside, here is Tim Tebow’s first “Spring Training” home run, which I had the honor of seeing in person last February!)

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Alternative salutations

Hat tip: @DopeEthiopian

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Noche de San Juan

Tonight is “la noche de San Juan”, one of the quirky traditions that I miss the most about the Island of Puerto Rico, where I lived from 1993 to 2009. On June 23, “sanjuaneros” (people who live in the San Juan metro area) of all ages will head to the beach after work, hang out with their family and friends, and at the stroke of midnight take at least three backward plunges to symbolically mark a new beginning. Feliz Noche de San Juan to all my family and friends, wherever in the world you are!

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Memo to Nate Silver

Updated and expanded (4:00pm): Instead of relying on public opinion polls, which were notoriously unreliable last time around and which–as you yourself ended up conceding–caused you to screw up big time, why not use a proxy–such as online sales of campaign masks–in order to measure public support of the presidential candidates? One of the problems with polls is that “people lie”! Also, polls don’t measure one’s likelihood of actually voting on election day. By contrast, one of the advantages of this particular proxy (online sales of campaign masks), is that if you are willing to purchase (let alone wear in public) a Biden or Trump mask, then you are probably more likely to actually go out and vote.

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Paternalists versus doers (pandemic edition)

Chalk up another victory for markets and free enterprise! The polemical Nassim Nicholas Taleb (or NNT of “Black Swan” fame) recently wrote up and posted this excellent essay identifying six errors in reasoning about face masks. Among the usual suspects are “paternalistic bureaucrats” and Ivy League-educated public-health experts, both of whom at first implored the general public to NOT use masks–yeah, the same nitwits who are now making unprincipled exceptions based on your politics. As NNT explains, these bureaucrats and experts lied to us (NNT’s words, not mine) because they failed to see the power of people to respond to incentives, or in the eloquent words of NNT: “they did not get the inventiveness and industriousness of people who do not need a government to produce masks for them: they can rapidly convert about anything into well-functioning protective face covering appendages, say rags into which one can stitch coffee filters…. Nor did bureaucrats heed the notion of markets and the existence of opportunists who can supply people with what they want.” Also, via Marginal Revolution, here is another spectacular example of government failure.

Photo credit: F. E. Guerra-Pujol

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