Assorted Stupidity #157

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  • I may have mentioned this before, but the Ig Nobel Prizes gang have reminded me of the study that found judges tended to impose harsher sentences during weeks that followed an unexpected loss by local college football teams. “The impact of upset losses on sentence lengths is larger for defendants if their cases are handled by judges who received their bachelor’s degrees from the university with which the football team is affiliated,” the authors reported. Please plan accordingly. “Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles,” American Economic Journal 10(3): 171–205 (2018).
  • Riddle me this: when does falling asleep in a car result in being charged with eight crimes? The answer: when it’s a stolen car, doesn’t have plates, you’re drunk, there are “controlled substances” in the vehicle, you tried to flee from a police officer, and you were on probation at the time. A couple of these resulted in two charges, which is how we got to eight alleged crimes.
  • A San Francisco official said the “Downtown Doom Loop Walking Tour” he offered for $30 a head, and then canceled, was just “satire” designed to call attention to how bad things are in the city. He said this in his resignation letter, which is a thing you have to write if you are a city official who does this. Things are indeed bad in the Tenderloin, the area of the proposed tour—and have been bad there since, like, the 19th century. SF has its challenges, but using words like “doom” and “squalor” to describe the entire city is just goofy. Unless you own property in the city, Goofy, in which case I would be happy to buy it from you at a doom-and-squalor price.
  • “There was something about the phrases ‘vexatious litigant’ and ‘dead ferret’ that make [this] article seem like Lowering the Bar material,” the submitter of this one said, and I take great pride in that.