Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Post-Mortem

The 2014 season ended last week and it was even quieter than the 2013 season, with the “fewest tropical cyclones and fewest named storms since 1997” (see Weather.Com).And, now for nine years running, no Category 3 storm or greater making landfall on the U.S., despite the Washington Post's breathless anticipation that 2014 might be the year that this "record streak" would be broken! (Sorry, WaPo, but thanks for the nice graphs!)

Anyway, after the jump is my updated graph of the 2014 Colorado State University predictions and what actually happened.

Full blog post...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Don't Remember that Plot Point

Looking for books on the French law of successions and this came up on Worldcat:

I don't remember that part of the movie from when I was a kid. Don't think the professor needs this.
Full blog post...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New York Times: One Letter, One Hell of Typo

Reading yesterday’s New York Times - in print - this sentence caught my eye:

Wait, why was someone protesting “the Church of Scientology for the Killing of Michael Brown in Fergeson, Mo.” ?

Of course, it’s a typo, but a hell of a typo: that same article on-line now reads:

"For" vs "or" - a single letter makes a big difference. The online version also has a correction statement apologizing for the error; the print version, as of this morning, did not.

Full blog post...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ian Fleming and the "Terrible Grip of Blood Lust"

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ian Fleming. His novels and short stories flesh out the character of James Bond more than most of the movies do, and you can see him arc from youthful idealism to cold realism over the course of Fleming’s corpus of work. From Russia with Love was one of JFK’s favorite books, and Anthony Burgess listed Goldfinger in his 1984 compendium Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939–A Personal Choice.

In You Only Live Twice, the last work published before his death, James Bond catches up with Ernst Stavro Blofeld and exacts vengeance for the killing of his wife in the previous novel. Battling in hand-to-hand combat in Blofeld’s Japanese castle, Bond seems to be flailing:

Blofeld saw his advantage and began attacking, making furious forward jabs that Bond could only parry by hitting at the flat of the sword to deflect it. But now the stave was slippery in the sweat of his hands and for the first time he felt the cold breath of defeat at his neck. Blofeld seemed to smell it, for he suddenly executed one of his fast running lunges to get under Bond’s guard. Bond guessed the distance of the wall behind him and leaped backwards against it. Even so, he felt the sword-point fan across his stomach. But hurled back by his impact with the wall, he counter-lunged, swept the sword aside with his stave, and, dropping his weapon, made a dive for Blofeld’s neck and got both hands to it. For a moment, the two sweating faces were almost up against each other. The boss of Blofeld’s sword battered into Bond’s side. Bond Hardly felt the crashing blows. He pressed with his thumbs, and pressed and pressed and heard the sword clang to the floor and felt Blofeld’s fingers and nails tearing at his face, trying to reach his eyes. Bond whispered through his gritted teeth, “Die, Blofeld! Die!” And suddenly the tongue was out and the eyes rolled upwards and the body slipped down the ground. But Bond followed it and knelt, his hands cramped round the powerful neck, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, in the terrible grip of blood lust.

One of my favorite passages from all the books.

Full blog post...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Number Crunching for Fun and Profit (Well, for Fun and Coffee, at Least!)

After my post back in March about my color-coded table of the new rankings showing changes from last year to this year, I got a handful of e-mails asking about the raw data. I've gotten good at taking the PDFs of the rankings and turning them into spreadsheets, which is how I made this and other charts, and was happy to share the results of my work.

So imagine my surprise when I got this in the mail:

How nice! There's a Starbucks two blocks from my house, and though I rarely go there, they do have a CD I've been interested in.

So now we have a going rate for my spreadsheets! Ha!

Full blog post...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 Hurricane Season Predictions

Hurricane Season started this week and both of the big players in the prediction game are forecasting “average or below average” seasons:


Named Storms:     8-13
Hurricanes            3-6
Major Hurricanes:  1-2 

Colorado State University (PDF)

Named Storms:     10
Hurricanes:           4   
Major Hurricanes:  1

In past years I’ve only tracked CSU’s predictions at the end of each season, so maybe I should go back and see what NOAA’s track record has been since 2005 as well.
Full blog post...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 Jazz Fest and “Climate Disruption”

The National Climate Assessment that the White House released this week, according to media talking points, has given us a new piece of jargon: since rising temperatures have plateaued, the alarmists can’t say “global warming”; and “climate change” sounds too mild, so the new term du jour is apparently “climate disruption”.

Full blog post...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sloppy ABA Employment Statistics

The new ABA job numbers for the Class of 2013 were released yesterday. US News & World Report asks the same basic questions and divides graduates into the same basic categories as the ABA, so these will be the numbers that will make up 14% of next year’s USN&WR rankings and everyone is looking at how their schools’ numbers changed. (Screen caps after the jump).

Full blog post...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Law School Rankings: Color-Coded Changes, 2013 to 2014

Ever wonder what it would look like to take the US News & World Report Law School Rankings - all schools, all reported data - and color code the changes from the previous year in green (good change), red (bad change) and yellow (no change)? It would look something like this:

The entire, 29-page PDF of this is embedded below via SCRIBD.Com.

For good measure, I got the median LSAT and UGPA figures from the ABA that USN&WR uses to rank schools, but doesn’t publish, and put them next to the 25th and 75th percentiles of LSAT and UGPA, that they DO publish, but do NOT use to rank schools.

More explanations are on the first page of the document itself.

March 27, 2014 Update: Thanks to Paul Caron of Pepperdine School of Law and TaxProf Blog fame for catching that I had the math backwards in the Overall Score column. Those numbers now indicate +/- correctly and have the correct colors.

March 28, 2014 Update: Well, crap - I didn't know SCRIBD required people to join before they could download the PDF - sorry for that! Anyway, here's a direct link to it:

US News and World Report Law School Rankings: 2013 to 2014 Color-Coded Changes for All Reported Law Schools
And here it is embedded for on-line viewing at SCRIBD:

Full blog post...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where’s the Burning Bush?

And Morses then summoned all legal academia and said "Hear, ye law schools, these Rankings which the Lord Our God, U.S. News, hath given to us this day" ...

Full blog post...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Let the Law School Rankings Games Begin ...

The U.S. News and World Report rankings for law schools will be out next week and one blog post making the rounds is Paul Caron’s “Student Selectivity” ranking of schools based on the new data, or, more likely, an advance copy of the ABA take-off data, which includes some of the same statistics that we all report to the US News folks.

Someone in the comments to that post asked about last year’s data; I had jumped on that so we could see how we did by those two numbers last year, but I decided to post the list for all schools. Prof. Caron’s blog doesn’t go into detail, but, like I say in the document below, I presume he took the median LSAT and UGPA and plugged them into the US News percentages to get a raw number. That’s what I did, so here’s the law school rankings of these stats side by side for this the 2015 and 2014 Rankings. (For anyone reading this who's new to the rankings, U.S. News publishes an "edition" of the ranking titled a year ahead of the calendar year: so we're waiting breathlessly in March 2014 for the "2015 Edition" of the rankings - one of many aggravating little things about working with all this data.)


I screwed up the math in my original chart - thanks to Professor Jerry Organ of the University of St. Thomas School of Law for pointing that out. So the new ranking below is my comparison with the correct formula that I should have used to start with - see the explanation before the table for details.

The third leg of the “selectivity” stool - acceptance rate -  is not included in the above. We’ll have to wait until next week for that.

Full blog post...