(Batman’s) advice for new law students, part VI: “always mind your surroundings”

One common mistake of new law students is conclusory argumentation, as discussed in this post on avoiding “Monty Python” argumentation.  Another common mistake is incomplete analysis.  An essay answer might include analysis that scratches the surface but doesn’t explore deeper.  But it’s crucial to consider the strengths and weaknesses of any argument, and to explore valid counter-arguments.

Failure to consider and address valid counter-arguments may leave an essay answer on thin ice, as illustrated by Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman Begins. Below is a video showing Wayne (pre-Batman) being trained in combat by Henri Ducard, who later turns out to be the villain Ra’s al Ghul. Ducard/Ghul reminds Wayne to “always mind your surroundings.”  But Wayne, hoping for a quick and easy win, ignores the fragile ice below his feet, leading to an equally quick and humbling defeat.  At about 1:00 into the video the battle reaches its climax:

Wayne: Yield!
Ducard/Ghul: You haven’t beaten me.  You’ve sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke.

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RIP Doug Fieger, 57, leader of The Knack

RIP Doug Fieger, leader of 70s pop band The Knack, who died of cancer.  The Knack wrote classic power pop tunes combining a gritty edge with a Beatlesque gloss, including classics My Sharona and Good Girls Don’t.

Like many teens learning to play guitar in the 70s, I spent far too many hours torturing my parents and neighbors with the riff from My Sharona (along with, of course, the obligatory Smoke on the Water).

RIP, Doug.

New Star Trek trailer

The new Star Trek trailer has had mixed reviews on the internet.  Me, I think it’s frakking awesome.  Sure, the trailer is mostly action, but that’s ok.  It’s is trying to attract an audience beyond the pointy-ears-and-forehead-ridges wearing set, and does so successfully.

Based on watching the trailer (repeatedly) and reading around the web (see fansite TrekMovie for at-times heated commentary), I think that the pic has great potential of combining great action, character development, and big ideas.  (Think Wrath of Khan.)


For a list of spoofs and parodies of the new Trek trailer (such as Smallville Trek, etc.), go to TrekMovie.

UPDATE (11/27): AICN has posted a new trailer with an appearance by old Spock played by Leonard Nimoy.  I’ve substituted the video for the updated trailer.  (H/T to TrekMovie.com.)  The older trailer can be found here.

Physics and rap music

Geek alert: the Large Hadron Collider (“LHC”), making its debut this year, is the world’s largest particle accelerator.  Built by CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research), the LHC is a 27 km particle accelerator near Geneva, running through both France and Switzerland.  As noted in the NYT, the LHC “will smash together subatomic particles at a rate just short of the speed of light in search of new forms of matter and new laws of physics.”

Some have objected to the LHC as creating an unnecessary risk of, um, destroying the world, such as by creating a micro black hole that swallows the planet.  Several LHC opponents have filed a federal lawsuit seeking delay of its operation, and the government is seeking dismissal.  Ultimately, it’s somewhat moot, as the LHC makes it official debut on “Red Button Day,” Sept. 10, about a week after the court hears the motion to dismiss.

Although I love physics, my physics knowledge is more of the “wouldn’t warp travel be really cool” variety.  So I don’t know how risky the LHC really is.  However, I can say with more confidence that this rap video explaining the operation of the LHC, apparently done by folks connected to CERN, is pretty entertaining (if you’re a physics geek, that is):

Bonus assignment: check out PBS’ program The Elegant Universe, a three-hour miniseries on the development of physics string theory.

H/T on rap vid: SlashDot