The profound joys of the silliest awards in modern science.
I'm all the way in with this topic in general, but I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is reading decisions from the US Supreme Court. Even with opinions I disagree with, I just love the direct and thorough writing style (in contrast with the "legalese" permeating so much of legal agreements and contracts). I'm not sure why there's such a divergence there, maybe it's well-understood by people in the field, but there you go. There are even cases where Justices take potshots at each other in their dissents -- the one that comes to mind is the Heller (2008) case regarding individual gun rights. Downright entertaining! :)
Because reasons, I once had to read (in painstaking detail) the lease for my flat. I came across a sentence I simply couldn't understand. Once you'd removed all the notwithstandings and peradventures and heretofores and so on, it basically said something on the lines of "this shall apply only if this thing but also only if this other, completely opposite thing". Thinking I just wasn't clever enough to understand it, I called a solicitor friend (also a cricket team-mate, and therefore not as relentlessly on the clock as he might have been). I read him the sentence. "Does that make any sense?" "Nope. Classic lease language, written by someone who has no idea what the eff they're writing. That'll be forty guineas." (I bought him a pint the next Sunday, in lieu.)
"On the one hand: of course they need to create a standard for experiment purposes, and on the other, what the actual eff is this thing." 😂
What a fun read, Mike!
Honestly, after plowing through John Locke and William Blackstone for the Land Ownership circle on Threadable, I really do start to wonder how lawyers and certain kinds of philosophers have survived for so long. In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, they would have landed on a planet where a swamp mattress would have oomped them or something.
I enjoyed this. I worked for at least six lawyers in the dark days of having to wear a suit and I have to tell you that their biggest crime was..crime. They were all thoroughly or partially bent. Some went for the biggee - raiding the client account and scarpering to Venezuela - or getting caught before they could. A Scottish one, now he was perfect. Offers for houses in Scotland are sent to the solicitor as sealed bids. His mate wanted one so he opens the sealed bids, gets his mate to up the ante and bingo, the mate gets the property. Another one had me working in an office where all I did was to sit there and do an hour's work each day. Nobody came through the door. I packed him in because he didn't pay me. It was an obvious scam but I never figured out what it was. Another one had a partner - single practitioners are largely shunned. This partner would come in for an hour, two or three days a week and did nothing. Nada. He was also a drunk. I remember it well because he told us of the attacks on the Twin Towers and frankly, nobody gave it credence. I also worked for one who was as mad as a Lloydloom garden chair. Only God knows the tangled web of legal catastrophes I left behind because the partners left me to do the tedious stuff like conveyancing. On one occasion I was mocked up as the boss in order to deal with a difficult client. I never actually pretended to be the boss, but a good suit and a nice voice works wonders. How they ever understood the legal jargon is beyond me. Not one of them was really a first rate brain.
Yes humor it's a magical thing medically speaking and all other. Small towns, disadvantaged communities are rife with it. Humor is the armor and hold against despair. The Scots and Irish are prime examples of the weight of humor in communication & community. Now Lawyers and laws, yes they love words and are keen observers from my experience. I wrote about the Amber Vs DEP parade a while ago. Guilt Vs Innocence is not the winning note. The 'prize' is awarded to the team who swayed ' believable' proof. This fact gleamed from a Criminal Lawyer of my accaintance. All spelling errors and grammar sticks aside, as happens when texting on phone to lend comments.
More honest comment- I’m struggling with notes and how to not get caught up in all the noise? Do you have any tips?
Our science students study dog poop, and each year we are asked to share samples. Feel like they could be future winners. Going to share this post with the teacher in charge of all that. Not loving notes- feels like way too much noise. Not feeling like the benefits will outweigh the downside, but I appreciate your optimism as always.
Excellent piece. Restocked on Notes because I ❤️ it, genteelly.
As a writer and editor, Including editor of some lawyerly columns, I can attest to the truth that, well, sometimes their phrasings are supremely confounding. One word that I always excise: "promulgate." Yikes!