December 30, 2011

Keep Watching the Skies

What actually killed the birds, which inspired Daphne du Maurier to write that short story which Alfred Hitchcock eventually turned into a 1963 thriller? Researchers say it was poisoned plankton, which entered the food chain, and which the feathered flyers eventually ingested. Here's more via an LSU press release on the harmful algae bloom, which LSU professor Sibel Bargu says are "naturally occuring" toxins. Mr. Hitchcock turned the natural phenomenon which occurred in 1961 into a malevolent force--an intentional but seemingly inexplicable attack by the birds of Bodega Bay on the humans of the area--and terrified the dickens out of Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and the rest of us.

December 29, 2011

From the Capitol Steps: Happy Newt Year (and Other Song Stylings)

That irreverent group, the Capitol Steps, turns thirty, and has added some Newt Material to its repertoire. I'm referring, of course, to its song, "Three Little Wives of Newt" (cribbing from the Gilbert and Sullivan staple "Three Little Maids From School Are We"). Isn't the protection of the First Amendment wonderful?

December 27, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Bodies

From the New York Times: a review of P.D. James' newest novel, Death at Pemberley. It's Darcy and Elizabeth six years on, dealing with a murder.

December 26, 2011

Keeping Streets Safe, One Superhero At a Time

By day they are ordinary citizens. By night they take their inspiration from comic book superheroes and fight crime where they see it on public streets, in subways, in restaurants--wherever they think they're needed. Of course, sometimes their crime-fighting efforts go awry, and duly appointed representatives of the law fight back, as in the case of Seattle-based Phoenix Jones. While Mr. Jones (born Ben Fodor) was never charged for mistakenly intervening in what he thought was a fight but what the people involved said was dancing, he is still awaiting the return of his superhero equipment, which the Seattle PD seized back in October. Such are the challenges of the cape.

December 25, 2011

Unbuttoned Bob Dylan

Renee Newman Knake, Michigan State University College of Law, has published Why the Law Needs Music: Revisiting NAACP v. Button Through the Songs of Bob Dylan in volume 38 of the Fordham Urban Law Journal (2011). Here is the abstract.

The law needs music, a truth revealed by revisiting the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in NAACP v. Button through the songs of Bob Dylan and Sandra Seaton’s play Music History. The Court decided Button in 1963, just a few months before the debut of Dylan’s acclaimed album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. In Button, the Court held that the First Amendment protected the NAACP’s legal assistance to individuals for the enforcement of constitutional and civil rights. The decision was a victory for the NAACP, yet success in the courtroom did not translate entirely to success on the ground. Indeed, in the same year, NAACP Mississippi Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated, and the Birmingham Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed. These events serve as reminders of law’s inadequacies, in that the constitutional protection of legal services in Button did little to stop the needless loss of life and violence that was characteristic of racial desegregation efforts. Not only did tragedy persist, but the NAACP’s long-term vision for racial equality has never been completely realized. Playwright Sandra Seaton focuses on the law’s inadequacies in her drama Music History, also set in the turbulence of 1963. Her characters endure the law’s failings firsthand when a University of Illinois student, Walter, the beloved of Etta, is killed during his work on the voter rights campaign in Mississippi.

Music of the 1960s captured the struggle inherent in attempts to achieve equality when the law proved impotent, particularly as evidenced by Bob Dylan’s work in 1963. This Essay, written for the Fordham University School of Law Bob Dylan and the Law Symposium, offers three connections between the law and music using the works of Dylan and Seaton as illustrations. First, music criticizes the existing cultural and legal regime in a manner that empowers social change in the wake of the law’s failure. Second, while the Button legal opinion memorialized the history of the civil rights era, music (and Seaton’s Music History) continue to influence modern culture in a more pervasive way. Third, Button, Dylan, and Seaton remind us about the importance of exercising our free speech rights, whether the speech involves offering legal assistance to minorities shut out from the political process at the ballot box, singing a song silenced by record and television network executives, or recreating history through drama. In short, we see why the law needs Bob Dylan and Music History.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Dickens and Christmas

Maureen Dowd considers Charles Dickens' thoughts on Christmas at the end of his life, noting that we will celebrate the bicentenary of his birth on February 7, 2012. Michiko Tanukani reviews two new biographies that explore his life and accomplishments.

December 24, 2011

Imagining Gringo Alley

Steven W. Bender, Seattle University School of Law, is publishing Gringo Alley in the UC Davis Law Review. Here is the abstract.

As a tribute to the late Professor Keith Aoki, this piece engages an uncompleted collaboration with Professor Aoki sketching through art and words a profoundly dystopian immigration nightmare centered in the Southwestern United States. In detailing the plot and themes of the borderlands gauntlet of "Gringo Alley," the article confronts some of the disturbing recent developments in immigration policy that approach or match the horrors imagined in fictional Gringo Alley. Finally, the article draws on science fiction influence and demographic reality to suggest a frightening future for all U.S. residents -- the prospect of economic collapse in a landscape of stifled Mexican immigration coupled with an aging U.S. population, that leaves us scrambling to meet labor needs in a real-life "Day Without a Mexican."
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 23, 2011

The History of the Idea of "Balance of Power"

Miloš Vec , Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, has published De-Juridifying ‘Balance of Power’ – A Principle in 19th Century International Legal Doctrine in the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Conference Paper Series. Here is the abstract.

“Balance of Power” has always been one of the leading justification narratives in international relations. In the introduction section this paper gives an overview of the usages of the principle which is not limited to a particular epoch or geographic area. However, it was classically attributed to the European state system, to brand the era between the treaty systems of Utrecht 1713 and Vienna 1815 when it was discussed as legal and political principle. My paper argues that the international legal doctrine of the 19th century became increasingly reluctant in juridically approving this principle. This shift indicates a vanishing sympathy for the balance of power as an adequate instrument to regulate 19th century interstate relations; this was likewise related to a rejection of the restorative Vienna order. Most international lawyers disguised their reserve behind the formal-positivist distinction between international law and politics (which could be understood as moral and political decision). The principle of the balance of power was devaluated as a mere expression of Realpolitik. At the end of the 19th century, the majority of international lawyers regarded the balance of power as political, not juridical principle. It was shifted to the historiography of international law and to political sciences.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 21, 2011

The FTC Versus Santa

Poor Santa. As if he didn't have enough problems, what with having to contend with all those jets in his airspace, and children who question his existence, now he's been hit with a fine levied by the FTC. Apparently he has violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Read coverage by Jeff Jarvis here.

Hat tip to Daniel Solove at Concurring Opinions.

Lest you think that the FTC action is an isolated occurence, here are accounts of other litigation with which the Jolly Old Elf has had to deal.

Emotional distress and environmental lawsuits
Lawsuit filed over Santa's trampling of Grandma

By the way, can Santa sue you over those tempting (but calorie-laden) treats you leave him under the tree? Fear not. Check out this waiver.

A Gift Idea For the Sherlock Holmes Fancier

For the Sherlock Holmes fan who has nearly everything, perhaps a Holmes-themed stay at a London hotel? Check out this article at for ideas.

December 20, 2011

The Top Law-Related TV Series For 2011

A number of law-related television series have made various "top ten" critics' lists for the year, including Justified, Boardwalk Empire, Southland, The Good Wife, Homeland, and Treme. Here are some lists, compiled by Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter, Adam Vary (listing the AFI's picks) and Willa Paskin  of New York Magazine. Here's  a link to Metacritic's comprehensive collection of critics' lists.

Here are my choices, some for their originality, some for presenting us with really good acting and writing in nearly every episode, and some because they're just a lot of fun. In alphabetical order they are: Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Drop Dead Diva, The Good Wife, Justified, The Mentalist, Person of Interest, Sherlock, Treme, and True Blood.

Which shows are your choices for the best law-related tv series of this year?

Comparative Latin American Law

José Calvo González, University of Malaga, has published "Justianiano en Latinoamérica. Una crónica sobre Técnica legislativa en Derecho comparado", in Cuadernos Electrónicos de Filosofía del Derecho [CEFD] (Universitat de València), n.24 (2011), pp. 22-36. Here is the abstract.

The text reviews the initiatives and development policy from the legislative power in Argentina and Nicaragua have forged in recent collections of their respective legal systems. Such compilations are the Argentine Legal Digest and Nicaraguan Legal Digest and have responded to principles early clearance, inventory, harmonization, normative consolidation and unification of legislation. The author is interested in the achievements of his legislative program of technical development, as well the extent of such approaches in legal and political terms of contribution to legal security and strengthening the rule of law.

Download/read the text (in Spanish) at the link.

December 18, 2011

Professor Moriarty

Reviewing the new Sherlock Holmes movie, the Huffington Post's David Germain notes that Professor Moriarty actually appeared in only two Sherlock Holmes stories. Yet he now stands as the ultimate Holmes enemy, says Mr. Germain, "the grandfather of all super-villains." Someone as cerebral and as superior as Holmes needs a rival as clever and as powerful as Moriarty. More here.

December 15, 2011

British Gun Control and the American Revolution

David B. Kopel, Denver University College of Law, is publishing How the British Gun Control Program Precipitated the American Revolution in the Charleston Law Review. Here is the abstract.

This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.
From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if their purpose is to disarm the public, rather than for the normal purposes of import controls (e.g., raising tax revenue, or protecting domestic industry). We can discern that broad attempts to disarm the people of a town, or to render them defenseless, are anathema to the Second Amendment; such disarmament is what the British tried to impose, and what the Americans fought a war to ensure could never again happen in America. Similarly, gun licensing laws which have the purpose or effect of only allowing a minority of the people to keep and bear arms would be unconstitutional. Finally, we see that government violence, which should always be carefully constrained and controlled, should be especially discouraged when it is used to take firearms away from peaceable citizens. Use of the military for law enforcement is particularly odious to the principles upon which the American Revolution was based.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

A New Website To Search Supreme Court Decisions

Faculty at Michigan State University Law School and Emory University School of Law announce a new website, LegalLanguageExplorer (in beta test). Julie Seaman, a faculty member at Emory, urges people to try out the site.

Check it out and please feel free to share with others including blogs, etc. We would love to get some web-traffic so we can identify bugs, etc. and make the site better for everyone.

Feel free to play around with the site - have your students try it out - it is tons of fun!

For Free, we offer you the chance to search the history of the United States Supreme Court (1791-2005) for ANY PHRASE and get a frequency plot and the full text case results for that phrase. Additional corpora such as US Ct. of Appeals Coming Very Soon!

We are just getting started here with this project and anticipate many features that will be rolling out to you in the near future. We have announced it to world - so please feel free to share it with others.

In addition, as we are still in Beta Pre-Release -- please feel free to send us your feedback / comments on the site. Subject to resource and feasibility limitations, we are looking to make improvements to the site as we go.

SCOPE OF COVERAGE: In the current version, we are offering FULL TEXT results for EVERY decision of the United States Supreme Court (1791-2005). We plan to soon expand to other corpora including the U.S. Court of Appeals, etc.


Instant Return of a Time Series Plot for One or More Comma Separated Phrases.

When you access the site, the default search is currently interstate commerce, railroad, deed (with plots for each of the term displayed simultaneously).

Feel free to test out ANY phrase of Up to Four Words in length.

Here are just a few of our favorites:

Habeas Corpus

Clear and Present Danger

Custodial Interrogation

Due Process






Each of the Phrases you search will be highlighted in Blue. If you click on these highlighted phrases you will be taken to the full list of United States Supreme Court decisions that employ the selected phrase.

Click to export the list to Excel or Click on an individual case and you will be able to access this case for free thanks to Carl Malamud at Public (a Google Sponsored Public Interest Non Profit).


Check out the advanced features including normalization (controlling for docket size) and alternative graphing tools.

Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J. Bommarito II, Julie Seaman, Adam Candeub & Eugene Agichtein, Legal N-Grams? A Simple Approach to Track the ‘Evolution’ of Legal Language in Proceedings of Jurix: The 24th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (Vienna 2011) available at


Go Here and You Will Be Directed to a Brief Slide Based Tutorial Designed to Highlight Various Functions Available on the Site.

Again, I hope you enjoy the site. Please feel free to send along any feedback. This is just phase one - there are lots more really cool features to come.

Others involved in creating the site are Daniel Martin Katz (MSU), Adam Candeub (MSU), Eugene Agichtein (Emory), and Michael J. Bommarito.

December 12, 2011

All In the Family

The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff discusses incest on tv in three current HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and Bored To Death. (Hmmm, talk about keeping it in the family). And by the way, what is that language they're speaking on Game of Thrones?

December 10, 2011

Theodor Mommsen's View of Roman Public Law

Fabio Espitia Garzon, Universidad Externado de Colombia, has published Dictadura,'Estado De Sitio' Y Provocatio Ad Populum En La Obra De Mommsen (Dictatorship, 'State of Siege' and Provocatio Ad Populum in the Works of Mommsen) in number 21 of the Revista de Derecho Privado (2011). Here is the abstract.

In this contribution the author returns to the Mommsen’s Roman Public Law, to establish if addressing issues of dictatorship and provocatio ad populum, the imposing German jurist also adopted bourgeois ideology, and in doing so superposed ideas and schemes foreign to the Roman concepts, ignoring the specificity of the different powers granted in the Roman dictatorship. The author indicates that the view of Mommsen’s Roman dictatorship reflects the design of Montesquieu, ignoring that this attribution was a summa potestas limited only in some cases led to discretionary exercise of criminal repression; hence the easy confusion between dictatorship and tyranny as a form of government, this confusion is characteristic of bourgeois thought. Likewise, the author notes that the Mommsen’s proposal also ignore Machiavelli, who asserted that no dictator ever caused to the republic than benefits, and emphasized its temporary and limited powers, and Rousseau, who remembered that a dictator could in certain cases suspend civil liberties but without ever undermining them.

Download the full text of the article from SSRN at the link. NB: the text is in Spanish.

December 9, 2011

Haldane In Context

David Schneiderman, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has published Haldane Unrevealed, in volume 57 of the McGill Law Journal (2012). Here is the abstract.

When historians proffer historical truths they “must not merely tell truths,” they must “demonstrate their truthfulness as well,” observes Hackett Fisher. As against this standard, Frederick Vaughan’s intellectual biography of Richard Burdon Haldane does not fare so well. Vaughan argues that Viscount Haldane’s jurisprudential tilt, which favoured the provinces in Canadian federalism cases before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), was rooted in Haldane’s philosophizing about Hegel. He does so, however, without much reference to the political and legal currents within which Haldane thought, wrote, and thrived. More remarkably, Vaughan does not derive from his reading of Haldane and Hegel any clear preference for the local over the national. We are left to look elsewhere for an explanation for Haldane’s favouring of the provincial side in division-of-powers cases. Vaughan additionally speculates about why Haldane’s predecessor Lord Watson took a similar judicial path, yet offers only tired and unconvincing rationales. Vaughan, lastly, rips Haldane out of historical context for the purpose of condemning contemporary Supreme Court of Canada decision-making under the Charter. Under the guise of purposive interpretation, Vaughan claims that the justices are guilty of constitutionalizing a “historical relativism” that Vaughan wrongly alleges Hegel to have propounded. While passing judgment on the book’s merits, the purpose of this review essay is to evaluate the book by situating it in the historiographic record, a record that Vaughan ignores at his peril.
Download the essay at the link.

Justinian's Influence

Mariateresa Cellurale, Universidad Externado de Colombia, has published Romani Y Gothi En Italia. La Comunión De Derecho En La República Unida De Justiniano (Romani and Gothi in Italy: The Community of Law in Justinian’s United Republic) in Revista de Derecho Privado, no. 21 (2011). Here is the abstract.

The pragmatica sanctio pro petitione Vigilii of 554 did not extend Justinian’s codes to Italy, but rather reaffirmed more vigorously the obligation to apply such codes which had entered into force since the very moment of their previous transmission sub edictali programmate. The Ostrogoth kings acted as magistrates of the Empire and guardians of Roman law, which was applied as ius commune for Goths and Romans, while at the same time the “national” Goth law remained in force, in accordance to the federative principle that was the basis for the building and expansion of the imperium populi Romani.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 7, 2011

Law, Cultural Anthropology, and Rehabilitation

José Calvo González, University of Malaga School of Law, has published Odia el delito, y compadece al delincuente». Memoria de Correccionalismo, Antropología cultural y Literatura popular [Hate crime, and pity the criminal». Memory of Correctionalism, Cultural anthropology and Popular literature] in the online journal  ISLL Papers. Here is the abstract.

The work covers the circumstances of misleading ascription to the writer Concepción Arenal (1820-1893) as creator the slogan "Hate crime, and pity the criminal". Place the place and date on which this author is mentioned and its context and scope. Determines the direction of the reference according theory of correctionalism to a new horizon; that of social reintegration based on the principle of fraternity. Also use of cultural anthropology and popular literature to show the excesses and deficits of interpretation of the idea of fraternity among the pious institutions (Compagnia del Santissimo Crocifisso in Italy, XVI-XIX centuries) and mendicant groups (Hermandad de Ciegos de Madrid in Spain, XVI-XIX centuries) related to offenders sentenced to death. Finally, the Author suggests that the motto "Hate crime, and pity the criminal" back in the news as a marker of our convictions in the field of public morality and the idea of Human Dignity.
Download the article at the link.

Chinese Legal Philosophy

Alex Chu Kwong Chan and Angus Young, Department of Accountancy, Hang Seng Management College; School of International Law, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Centre for International Corporate Governance Research, Victoria University, have published Reinterpreting the Chinese Legal Doctrine of Li: Beyond Rites, Ritual and Ceremonies. Here is the abstract.

For thousands of years Chinese scholars had characterized China’s system of regulation as li yi zhi bang. This literally means that China is governed by the doctrine of li. However, there a general misconception that the doctrine of li was conceived by Confucius, in fact it predates his birth. This paper aims to re-examine this doctrine with the aid of Chinese classics from 1100 B.C., in conjunction with Confucius’s works to explain the meaning and workings of this regulatory concept. Li is multifaceted, versatile, and dynamic doctrine because it more than mere rituals, rites, and ceremonies. It is a form of non-legal and non-rule based regulatory doctrine that centre upon virtue, actualized and practiced through unwritten codes of conduct and behavior. This regulatory doctrine is also varies according to the social hierarchy between individuals, the context of the application, and the heritage of a particular li. The ultimate goal of li to create a civil society, where everyone is in tune with the cosmic order that li is a sub set. Thus, this pre-modern regulatory doctrine has elements of natural law. Yet, the plurality of this regulatory doctrine appears to be similar to postmodernist views about law and regulation.
Download the text of the paper from SSRN at the link.

Cross-Currents: Reassessing a Relationship Between French and Louisiana Law

Benjamin West Janke, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, and François-Xavier Licari, University of Metz Faculty of Law have published Des rives de la Seine à celles du Mississipi: le fabuleux destin de la maxime contra non valentem agere non currit praescriptio (From the Banks of the Seine to Those of Mississipi: The Fabulous Destiny of the Maxim Contra Non Valentem Agere Non Currit Praescriptio) at 63 Revue Internationale de Droit Comparé, Vol. 63, 809 (2011).

The relationship between Louisiana and France is not limited to written law. It also exists in one important extra-codal principle of prescription law: "contra non valentem agere non currit praescriptio". In this regard, the juridical parenthood is tight. We will show that "contra non valentem" in Louisiana is the fruit of French doctrine and jurisprudence. Furthermore, we will bring to light the noticeable similarity of the maxim’s fate in France and Louisiana. Courts in both jurisdictions proclaimed it as dead, but despite the antagonism it faced, contra non valentem evolved as a major component of prescription’s institution. Finally, we will dispel a deep-rooted myth that contra non valentem does not apply to the domain of acquisitive prescription and reveal another strong convergence between Louisiana and France.

La relation entre la France et la Louisiane ne se limite pas au droit légiféré. Elle se manifeste aussi en ce qui concerne un important principe non écrit du droit de la prescription: "contra non valentem agere non currit praescriptio". En ce domaine, la parenté juridique est étroite. En Louisiane, "contra non valentem" est le fruit de la doctrine et de la jurisprudence françaises. Nous mettrons aussi en lumière la similarité notable entre le destin de la maxime en France et en Louisiane. Dans ces deux pays, les tribunaux l’ont déclarée morte, mais malgré l’hostilité à laquelle elle a été confrontée, elle est devenue une pièce majeure de l’institution de la prescription. En dernier lieu, nous briserons le mythe bien enraciné selon lequel contra non valentem ne s’applique pas en droit louisianais de la prescription acquisitive, révélant ainsi une autre convergence de taille entre la France et la Louisiane.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

They Shouldn't Have Gone On; They Went On

James C. Oldham, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Only Eleven Shillings: Abusing Public Justice in England in the Late Eighteenth Century in the volume for 2012 of The Green Bag. Here is the abstract.

This eleven-shilling tempest started in 1786 in a local Court of Requests in Yarmouth, then generated, sequentially, a perjury indictment, three jury trials at the assizes (all before special juries), a jury verdict for £3,000 with costs of £800, an indictment for libeling the public justice of England, and a fourth jury trial (also before a special jury). Among the questions that the proceedings invite are: Why did the parties risk being bankrupted by this seemingly trivial dispute? How open to challenge were jury verdicts? When could a jury verdict be overturned because the damages assessed by the jury were considered by the reviewing court to be excessive? Could a jury verdict be thrown out based on a post-trial affidavit of one or more of the jurors claiming that the verdict had been reached by an improper method? How impressionable were the jurors, even special jurors, in response to the eloquence and forensic skills of the barristers? Who ultimately paid for the preparation and conduct of this pile of proceedings?
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 6, 2011

Arizona Attorney's Creative Arts Competition--For Attorneys!

Critical Autopoiesis: Law and the Environment

Andreas Philippopoulous-Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster, the Westminster International Law and Theory Centre, has published Critical Autopoiesis: The Environment of the Law, in Law's Environment: Critical Legal Perspectives (Bald de Vries and Lyana Francot eds.; The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2011). Here is the abstract.
Law and Environment enter a connection of disrupted continuum. The recent 'turns' in law towards materiality, spatiality, corporeality, disconnect the usual distance between law and its environment and enhance the visibility of materiality continuum between the two. Law is no longer abstract but spatially emplaced, corporeally felt, materially present. The environment, be it in the form of human/non-human bodies, technology, weather phenomena, and the wider, open ecology of material presence, destabilises the system, rendering it more precarious and more distant from its usual self-description.

Building on Luhmann's theory of autopoiesis, I present my reading of what I call Critical Autopoiesis, namely the autopoietics of materiality, spatiality and corporeality as they emerge from contemporary legal theory. I am employing Deleuze and Guattari in connection to Luhmann in order to multiply and indeed fractally explode the Luhmannian boundaries between law and its environment.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

December 1, 2011

Some New Books Of Interest

Reading over the holidays?

Bailey, Quentin, Wordsworth's Vagrants: Police, Prisons, and Poetry in the 1790s (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2011).

Freeman, Nicholas, 1895: Drama, Disaster, and Disgrace in Late Victorian Britain (Edinburgh University Press, 2011).

Voss, Ralph F. ,Truman Capote and the Legacy of "In Cold Blood" (University of Alabama Press, 2011).

Rex Stout's Influences

Ross E. Davies, George Mason University School of Law & The Green Bag, and Cattleya M. Concepcion, The Green Bag, have published Fore-Shadowed: Where Rex Stout Got the Idea for Fer-De-Lance,  at 2012 Green Bag Almanac and Reader 151. Here is the abstract.

Researchers describing the discovery of something they are not equipped to fully understand run the risk that their reach will exceed their grasp. And so, as mere enthusiastic newcomers to the study of author Rex Stout, we will limit ourselves to: (1) reporting that we have run across an early (1916) detective story written by Stout and (2) sharing a few thoughts that would likely occur on first reading to anyone - and especially a lawyer - familiar with Stout’s later (beginning in 1934) detective stories featuring his Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin characters.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

An Artistic Mystery In Edinburgh

Over the past few months an unidentified someone has left ten paper miniatures in various cultural sites and libraries around Edinburgh to signal her (and it seems to be a her) gratitude for the inspiration that the humanities bring to our lives. The miniatures are made from appropriate materials--in the case of a mini Tyrannosaurus Rex, a copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. More here (discussion and photographs) from the site Community This Is Central Station and Krulwich's blogpost The Library Phantom Returns!

A Charles Dickens Exhibit

Care for a little Dickens with your December? The British Library has mounted a new exhibit, A Hankering After Ghosts: Charles Dickens and and the Supernatural, which features, in addition to materials from "A Christmas Carol" (we have to see those), a letter from Dickens to his wife Catherine (marital flap), and documentation of his views on spiritualism (he had his doubts). More on the exhibit, Dickens, ghosts, general spookiness, and whether the writer might just have gotten his idea for one ghost story from another author from the Guardian.