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Comment Re:Musicians (Score 3, Interesting) 257

As I remember it, all of that repetitive fine motor control musicians need is handled by the cerebellum at an unconscious or preconscious level once the necessary movements have been learnt (this is why practice is important). So yeah, there is division by delegation of many tasks, like you said, but I'm not sure how many pure "thinking" processes could be performed at any given time.

Comment Everybody dies (Score 1) 793

Even if you halt the ageing process the probability of suffering some lethal injury or event, whether through accident or malice, approaches one as lifespan increases. I'm not saying that agelessness is necessarily a bad thing, just that most might prefer to have the chance of dying in their sleep over a painful, traumatic and unpredictable end, even if the trade-off is a few decades of old age.

Comment Re:Sure they can claim it (Score 1) 399

The grandparent is right that bullshit is no excuse for a lawyer when he or she knows that it is, in fact, bullshit. That said, most people, and most lawyers, have got better things to do than pursue some rogue practitioner for ethics breaches if the client behind the practitioner ends up just going away without costing the recipient too much. There's not much in it but a lot of work and maybe a bit of satisfaction at the end.

Comment Re:Sure they can claim it (Score 2, Insightful) 399

AAL? Excuse me, are you defending a gratitious lawsuit based upon... what seems to be a lost cause, but whatever? Are you trying to be serious right now? I'm just a stupid scandinavian, but in our neck of the woods the civil court would certainly fine you, and possibly disbar you for wasting their time. Bullshit is never an excuse.

No, my comments were based on "exposure to the practice of law", by which I meant real-world experience, and not the principles and rules of professional conduct and ethics, of which you may take it that I am aware.

You should disabuse yourself of the notion that the law is exempt from the usual and ordinary disjunction that exists between theory and practice; it will not assist you if you do someday find yourself involved in a legal dispute.

Comment Re:Sure they can claim it (Score 4, Informative) 399

I'll stand as a citation for the GP's statement that "most lawyers' letters are bluffs" where "letters" means initial letters of demand, and yes, IAAL. I'm not aware of whether any relevant data has been collected on the point, but any significant exposure to the practice of law will confirm the truth of the proposition.

Comment Re:Pathetically ignorant and condescending (Score 4, Insightful) 288

The difficulty with jurors accessing material outside of the evidence led in court is that the party against whom that material is used has no means of challenging or testing it, since (a) it's not been disclosed to anyone outside the jury room and (b) even if it were disclosed, who's available to be cross-examined on that material? Are you going to go out and drag the journalist, dictionary editor, Wikipedia contributor, blog author, etc into court after both sides have closed their cases? How are you even going to be able to identify or locate that person?

Jurors (and judges, in judge-only trials) are limited to considering only what has been formally admitted into evidence to ensure that basic procedural fairness applies to all the material used in the case. Further, the public would be prejudiced in their ability to assess the result of the trial if they didn't know about all the evidence themselves, which can't happen unless it is all led in open court.

This doesn't stop jurors from applying the general knowledge and "common sense" of the ordinary person to resolve conflicts in the evidence as directed by the judge and after hearing counsels' arguments on the point, but the rules of evidence in most jurisdictions also say that if a party doesn't challenge a piece of evidence then the court is obliged to accept that evidence.

Finally, your point about criminal histories is based on a half-truth: criminal history is admissible when an accused brings character into issue, e.g. by suggesting that a prosecution witness is lying. Otherwise, it's on the prosecution to prove that the person committed this particular offence (at least it is outside the US).

Comment Re:No, no, no. (Score 1) 158

I tend to agree that trends in law tend to arise as a result of the interplay of many factors, both legal and non-legal in character. IIRC juries were still in charge of questions as to, e.g., standard of care back then, meaning that prevailing social attitudes about such things as risk vs cost had their part to play.

Comment Re:No, no, no. (Score 1) 158

No it doesn't, because it's not the basis on which the fees are calculated. In fact, the local Law Society where I am enacted a professional rule a while ago to the effect that fees under no win, no fee arrangements couldn't exceed half of what the client ended up getting. This followed a rather embarrassing case where a firm charged more than the amount of the payout made to the client, claiming that since money had been paid out by the defendant the client had achieved a "win".

Comment Re:No, no, no. (Score 4, Informative) 158

Contingency fee arrangement of the "no win, no fee" variety are not champertous, and have always been allowed in Queensland (my home jurisdiction) were champerty was not abolished as it was elsewhere in the Commonwealth. What is prohibited as champertous are fee arrangements under which lawyers' fees are calculated as a percentage of the final award in a proceeding. It's a fine line, but that's what comes out of the cases.

I'm not sure of the precise historical reasons for the abolition of these torts in New South Wales, but I note that they also create difficulties for types of litigation funding that are considered legitimate, e.g. funding by public interest groups or unions. IIRC, union lobbying was behind much of the Victorian Wrongs Act, which (in its original form) abolished maintenance and champerty in that State as well as making a whole load of other changes in relation to civil liability for negligence and personal injury.

Comment Re:We just need those little mouth shields... (Score 1) 203

Any reason why a transcription pool couldn't be used for everyday voice recognition? If coupled with an automated system so that anything with a high confidence of being properly recognized isn't passed on to the humans...

If the transcript needs to be certified correct by an authorised recording/reporting officer, as is often the case, then that can only be done by the transcriptionist or someone watching the process. It would certainly be easier on the typist to sit and watch the software while listening to the audio, which could be paused while recognition errors are corrected manually, but a human would still need to be involved in the process.

Comment Re:We just need those little mouth shields... (Score 1) 203

But the mouth-hood is new and wasn't present in the digital tape era? That's odd, although it could be that there's been an unrelated change in the relevant rules for recording trials and evidence that say that body language and other non-verbal communication now has to be recorded in case it's of interest to an appellate court.

Of course, I've no idea which court you've done jury duty in and probably wouldn't be familiar with its practice and procedure anyway. I've just worked in courts that use a system similar to the one I originally described.

Comment Stylus and touch screen, please (Score 1) 203

For me, text entry isn't that important a feature for a tablet; the mobile nature of the device makes it an unlikely choice of platform to generate documents of any length or complexity. Rather, the benefit of a tablet is the ability to consume or peruse data wherever I want.

To that end, I'm more interested in tools for tagging, noting up and generally scribbling on content generated elsewhere. Right now, I'll print drafts of documents just so I can have the freedom of leaning back in my chair or getting up and walking around while I review them, or putting them next to whatever (hard copy) source material I was using to create them to do side-by-side comparisons. Out of desktops, laptops and netbooks, no device lets me do that, and the screens on PDAs and smartphones are too small.

A screen that can take both stylus and touch input would likely fit the bill, with a virtual keyboard on the rare occasions I'd need it. We already have devices that handle extensive text entry in the conditions where that activity is best done.

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