stick a finger in my eye

After wearing glasses for thirty-odd years, I’m tired of it. I’m thinking of surgery; since I’m on the verge of needing bifocals, my bright idea is to have one eye adjusted for distance and the other for arm’s length (the typical distance of a computer screen or a gun sight). It did occur to me that this might be a Bad Idea for some reason I hadn’t thought of, so I decided to bring it up with my optometrist. To my surprise, as soon as I mentioned LASIK he brought up monovision. He pointed out that some people find it very hard to adjust, and suggested that it would be wise to try it with contacts first before risking anything permanent.

So now I have contacts; temporarily accepting a lot more optical fuss in the hope that later I’ll have much less. With them, my dominant eye is (according to Doc Lowe) about 3/4 diopter more farsighted then than my, er, submissive eye. (Presumably there is a term of art but I don’t know what it is.) I think his plan is to increase the difference every few weeks.

I haven’t got the knack of taking soft contacts out. With hard ones, you just put tension on the lids and pop!. These I have to drag out with a fingertip. Today and yesterday I stripped one eye on the first try, but had a much harder time with the dominant eye – which is counterintuitive; you’d think the thicker lens would be easier to grab.

Entirely unrelated: In The Atlantic, an article on the rationale of the naked streets movement (though it doesn’t use that phrase). The key point: when rules take the place of judgement, people learn not to use judgement. A similar argument has been made about safety regulation in general.

the horrors of anarchy

Since Somalia’s state collapsed in 1991, life expectancy has increased by two years, vaccination rates have increased, deaths from measles have dropped by close to a third, telephones and radios have multiplied . . .

I wish I’d said that:

The golden apple in Somalia is the expectation that there will soon be a central government. As long as there is that expectation, the clans must fight over who will control it.

(Wait, I did say something like that, circa twenty years ago, about Lebanon.)

Most of the article (cited by Perry Metzger) is about the traditional system of law.

do they didn’t done it or don’t they?

There’s an old joke that “there are no guilty men in prison,” i.e. that practically all inmates claim to have been unjustly accused. I’ve also heard that in fact most convicts cheerfully admit to the charges. The latter seems more likely given that reporters find it worth mentioning that so-and-so (e.g. the late Tookie) “has always maintained his innocence”.

I recently found (but did not save the address of) a website listing the last words of convicts put to death in Texas. I read the most recent dozen or so. Almost half expressed remorse, and just one expressed a hope that the real criminal would someday be found.

classifying legislation

I find that I wrote in private mail a few years ago:

I’d divide legislation into three broad classes: that concerned with the structure and management of the state itself; codifications and harmonisations of existing custom (basic criminal law, the Uniform Commercial Code); and economic interventions, what Hayek and I disapprove of.

Funny that I haven’t thought of that taxonomy since. Can you improve on it?

a symptom of something or other

Each member of the California State Bar Association (which is a state entity) has a number, and the Bar’s website lets you search by number or by name. Barrister No. 1 was William Harrison Waste, admitted in June 1894. The highest number is 237747, belonging to Rex John Phillips, admitted in September 2005. You might ask, how long has it taken for the roster to double? Easy: look up barrister #118874, Andrew Henry Milinkevich, admitted in July 1985.