Saturday, March 12, 2011

One Million Lawyers...

Conversation with the Red-Headed Menace, concerning his track coach, who in addition to being a former Olympian attended Stanford Law and graduated a couple of years ahead of me.

RHM:  There are sports lawyers?!?!?
Mom: Of course there are sports lawyers.  Wherever a field of human endeavor exists, there are lawyers involved.
RHM:  Cutting down trees.
Mom:  EIRs, Endangered Species Act issues, suits from loggers, suits from the Sierra Club...
RHM: Nuclear power plants.
Mom:  Give me a break! Permitting, liability for negligent releases of radioactive materials...
RHM: Battlefield reenactments!!
Mom:  Potential personal liability issues, permitting and possible land use.
RHM:  Art.
Mom: Copyright.  And disputes over ownership.  And museum tort liability in slip and falls.
RHM, clearly frustrated, ponders....:  AHA! THEORETICAL ASTROPHYSICS!!!
Mom:  Patent law.*
RHM:  Dammit. 
At which point, he sullenly got out of the car and stomped off to Phys Ed.

Mom: 1
RHM: 0

Because Mom, trained as a lawyer, may not know the law anymore, but she still does know how to bullshit convincingly. 

*This is, of course, a totally bogus answer.  I have absolutely no clue whether patent law has any bearing on theoretical astrophysics whatsoever.  In fact, given that it is, um, theoretical, the only legal implications I can see (other than copyright issues implicit when one publishes work) are if two astrophysicists lose it completely and starting hitting each other with their Powerbooks.  And then the issues are potential claims of assault and battery.  If anyone can actually think about the ways in which lawyers could be involved in theoretical astrophysics, please let me know. 


  1. One of the best presentations I saw at an American Meteorological Society cloud physics conference in Portland, OR, last summer was on a redesign of the tips of an aircraft probe used for counting cloud droplets and ice particles, because the original tips shatter the crystals that hit them and skew the resulting data. The speaker definitely mentioned a pending patent on the redesign. So, yeah, lawyers everywhere. :-)

  2. Tom Paxton did a wonderful song about how in ten years there was going to be one million lawyers. In 2001.