The Riot Act

The Riot Act

Ever wanted to read someone the Riot Act? Apparently all you need to do is find a group of 12 or more people “tumultuously assembled” and declare the following (preferably with a British accent, of course):

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George for preventing tumultuous and riotous assemblies. God save the King.

(A bit of Westlaw research suggests that this isn’t the entire act as passed in 1715, but it’s the part that had to be read to disperse the crowd; anyone who hadn’t dispersed in one hour after this was read was guilty of “felony riot.”)

Pith

Source: Watcher of Weasels

Bookworm is cleaning out her closet, and came across, among other things, some pithy sayings from her Contracts law class….

“Watch out for chameleon words. They change with the context.”

“The absolute best defense is a counter-claim.”

“Stay with something simple . . . like logic.”

“Always look to see what the reason for the rule is. If the reason isn’t applicable, then maybe the rule isn’t applicable.”

“It’s tooth fairy time. You are departing from reality.”

“Common sense says that’s crazy.”

“The peasants are restless. Let’s promise them a circus.”

“It’s not the village idiot you have to be worried about. It’s his attorney.”

“Put yourself where you were the day before you entered law school: intelligent and common sensible.”

“It’s like shopping for drapes to match the towels.”

“Article 9 comments [I assume it was the Restatement of Contracts, 2nd] were written by some cockroach flinging itself at the typewriter.”

“You can’t legislate common sense, but you can legislate lunacy.”

“To a litigator, perjury is just emphasis of different facts.”

Patterico’s Pontifications » How to Make the Comments of Annoying Commenters Disappear from Your Screen

Source: Patterico’s Pontifications » How to Make the Comments of Annoying Commenters Disappear from Your Screen

All credit for this ought to go to felipe and milhouse.

(1) I can’t reprint the script here in these comments because it uses characters that confuse the readers’ browsers and that will make the script incomplete. So instead of printing it here in comments for people to cut and paste, here’s instead a link to a tiny simple ASCII text file called “patterico_blocker_script.txt” that anyone can right-click and select “save link as” to download and save the file to his/her own computer. Feel free to rename it if you like. [But I can put it in this post using the <pre> </pre>”preformatted” tags. – Karl]

javascript:(function($)
{'use%20strict';var%20n=/^(name1|name2|name3|name4)/i,aa=$(".fn"),
end=aa.length,i,el,v,p;for(i=0;i<end;i++){el=$(aa[i]);v=el.text();if(n.test(v))
{p=el.parents(".comment-body");p.children().not("span,br,.reply").hide();
p.css("padding","1em%200%200%203em");p.css("cursor","pointer");
p.click(function(){if($(this).children()[0].style.display==="none")
{$(this).children().not("span,br,.reply").show();$(this).css("padding","");}else{$(this).children().not("span,br,.reply").hide();$(this).css("padding","1em%200%200%203em");}});}}}(jQuery));

(2) Once downloaded and saved, open that file with any text editor. Since it has “.txt” as its extension, whatever your computer is set up to use as its default ASCII editor will likely open it when you double-click the file name. I use the old reliable Windows Notepad for this type of dirt-simple text-file editing; other programs might add formatting and stuff you don’t want or need unless you’re careful to specify ASCII.

(3) Look (or text-search) for “name1″ and replace that with the screenname of the first commenter you wish to block. Extras don’t matter; you can leave “name4″ in the script, for example, if you only want to block three commenters. But likewise, if you wish to block more than four, just start adding those names in that same part of the script, using the up-and-down symbol | as the separator.
(I’m not sure if this is case-sensitive and haven’t tested that; I just copied the commenters’ names from here and pasted them verbatim to replace “name1,” etc., one at a time.)

(4) When you’re done editing, re-save the text file on your own computer. Again highlight the whole text string as edited (CTRL+A), copy it to your clipboard (CTRL+C), and then go back to your browser window.

(5) Now you’re then going to create a new bookmark. The difference from bookmarks you usually create and use is that this isn’t a bookmark that tells your browser to go to some particular URL. Instead, it stays at the URL you’re already at, and simply runs the commands in the script on whatever webpage you currently have open.

Every popular browser has multiple different ways to create and edit bookmarks. It might be easier just to bookmark some random webpage the way you’re usually used to doing, and then to simply edit that one, than to try to create one from scratch.

But to create one from scratch, for me, using the Chrome browser, the easiest way was simply to open an empty browser tab, and type CTRL+D to open the small text box for new bookmarks. There will be a suggested title of “New tab”; ignore that. Instead, left-click on the “Edit” button so that a slightly bigger window will pop up with more options. I decided to name my new bookmark “Patterico+script” and I decided to save it in my “Bookmarks bar” (which I have enabled regularly), but not inside one of my folders (because I don’t want to have to open a bookmarks folder every time I use this new bookmark — which is quite a bit, after every page reload.) Below the “Name” text field is one for “URL.” Delete whatever Google’s suggested, and instead paste (CTRL+V) your edited text script into that tiny field-box, like this. Don’t worry that it spills over and can’t all be read, it won’t matter. Click the Save box at the bottom.

(6) Now every time you visit a page with comments at Patterico.com, you can tap that bookmark and it will execute the script, which tells your browser to redraw that page leaving out the text — but not the comment numbers or commenters’ names — from all the objectionable commenters you’ve blacklisted, like this.

Starting Ideas

This was posted on one professor’s door where I went to college. It occurred to me to see if my Google-fu was up to finding it.

It was.

Source: Starting Ideas

A song by George Schultz, which goes like this:

A fact without a theory

Is like a ship without a sail,

Is like a boat without a rudder,

Is like a kite without a tail.

A fact without a figure

Is a tragic final act,

But one thing worse

In this universe

Is a theory without a fact

Are the aliens merely sleeping? – Marginal REVOLUTION

Some time ago, I realized that the cosmic microwave background at 2.7K meant the universe was too warm to allow superfluid helium to form “in the wild”. Superfluid helium shows up at temperatures below 2.17K, so the universe needs to expand and cool of a bit more before the science fiction stories involving superfluid helium life forms become even theoretically possible. Maybe alien civilizations have decided to wait until superfluidity and superconductivity are common outside of cryogenics labs?

“While it is possible for a civilization to cool down parts of itself to any low temperature,” the authors write, that, too, requires work. So it wouldn’t make sense for a civilization looking to maximize its computational capacity to waste energy on the process. As Sandberg and Cirkovic elaborate in a blog post, it’s more likely that such artificial life would be in a protected sleep mode today, ready to wake up in colder futures.

If such aliens exist, they’re in luck. The universe appears to be cooling down on its own. Over the next trillions of years, as it continues to expand and the formation of new stars slows, the background radiation will reduce to practically zero. Under those conditions, Sandberg and Cirkovic explain, this kind of artificial life would get “tremendously more done.” Tremendous isn’t an understatement, either. The researchers calculate that by employing such a strategy, they could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today.

Source: Are the aliens merely sleeping? – Marginal REVOLUTION