Category Archives: Excerpts

(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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1934: Building a brick & mortar archive

The logo I’ve always used for the site is an image of the National Archives Building.  Amazingly, Congress did not approve such a building until 1926.  The architect was John Russell Pope, who also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.  Ground was broken in 1931 and the building was mostly completed by 1935.  According to the online history:

By the time President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone of the building in February 1933, significant problems had arisen. Because the massive structure was to be constructed above an underground stream, 8,575 piles had been driven into the unstable soil, before pouring a huge concrete bowl as a foundation. Another difficulty arose over the choice of building materials. Both limestone and granite were authorized as acceptable, but construction began during the darkest days of the Great Depression, and suppliers of each material lobbied fiercely to have the government use their stone. Ultimately, as in the other Federal Triangle buildings, limestone was used for the exterior superstructure and granite for the base.

Here’s construction images:

September 30, 1932


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The hindsight of archives: “Popular Science” & incorrect technology predictions

Sci-fi and tech site reports that Popular Science Magazine is now making its archives available online dating back to 1872.  The archives can be searched either at the magazine’s website or via Google Books.  In the archive, I was able to quickly find articles of historical interest, each showing a technological prediction that didn’t […]

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BoingBoing “unpublishing” blog posts

When is it ok to delete a blog post?  Dan Solove wrote about this a few years back at Concurring Opinions, where he points to additional posts at Prawfsblawg (here, here, and here). More recently, BoingBoing faced public scrutiny when one of its authors removed posts related to blogger and sex columnist Violet Blue, although […]

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