Earlier this month, a Belknap County Superior Court jury found a Barnstead man innocent of felony drug charges after the judge instructed jurors they could decide that acquittal was “a fair result,” even if the state had met the burden of proof.
It’s a legal concept known as jury nullification, a power that experts say has resided in the U.S. Constitution since the nation began but is rarely applied in modern courtrooms.
And it’s the basis for a new state law that permits the defense in all criminal cases “to inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy.” Thanx to Vermonter Carlton Plamer
Although poorer countries still limit themselves to ad hoc welfare offerings, fitting the spending level to revenues one budget at a time, there is an increasing trend towards entitlements served by statutory institutions that will outlive the budgetary cycle. As these systems mature, welfare provision will be demand-led, not supply-driven; welfare will become integral to the state. Asia’s tigerish economies are turning marsupial, carrying their dependants along with them as they prowl.
Some of the national leaders who unleashed those tiger economies would be shocked and disturbed by the development. To them the welfare state was a Western aberration that would serve only to undermine thrift, industry and filial duty.
It seems that every country that can afford to build a welfare state will come under mounting pressure to do so. And much of Asia has hit the relevant level of prosperity (see chart 1). Indonesia is now almost as developed as America was in 1935 when it passed the landmark Social Security Act, according to figures compiled by the late Angus Maddison, an economic historian. China is already richer than Britain was in 1948, when it inaugurated the National Health Service (NHS) which, to judge by political ructions—and Olympic opening ceremonies—has become crucial to its sense of national identity.
If you escaped to a Utopia and wanted to bring the discoveries that feed, build and power our civilizations along, these are the machines you would want to bring with you. The only thing that I see missing is the means to defend your colony from others who may want your technology, rather than build it themselves. Some of these have come to fruition, such as an inexpensive machine that can create 16 earth rammed bricks a minute. This creation should have great 3rd world applications today – in the best Stewart Brand “Whole Earth Catalog” tradition from the 60’s.
The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comfortset these.
THERE’S something mean and magical about Australia’s Outback. An Alice Springs filmmaker captured both when a whirlwind of fire erupted before his eyes.
Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television was scouting locations near Curtin Springs station, about 80km from Ularu, last week when confronted by a fiery phenomenon. He had just finished his tour of the station when workers encountered difficulties with a grader. So he went to help them. A small fire was burning in nearby bushland, so Mr Tangey decided to start filming. He caught the sight of his life. A twister touched down on the spot fire, fanning it into a furious tower of flame.
“It sounded like a jet fighter going by, yet there wasn’t a breath of wind where we were,” he told the Northern Territory News. “You would have paid $1000 a head if you knew it was about to happen.” The column of fire danced about the landscape for about 40 minutes, he said, as he and the station workers stood transfixed. There was talk of making a quick getaway, Mr Tangey said. But everyone was too hypnotised to feel scared – and he continued furiously filming. “The bizarre thing was that it rarely moved,” he said. “These things just stood there because there was no wind to move them … but it was flickering incredibly fast.”
Darwin weather forecaster David Matthews said small twisters were common in isolated areas. But the fiery vortex was highly unusual. “The flames would have assisted by trying to suck in air and that could have helped generate those circular winds,” Mr Matthews said.
A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ”
Eight of the top 10 states with the highest number of nonpayers are red states.
One important note about these numbers: This measures only those Americans who filed for taxes with no liability. Millions more didn’t even file; it’s those millions, added to the estimated 52 million here, who combine to make that 47 percent.
It’s important to remember that just because people aren’t paying income tax doesn’t mean they’re not paying taxes — they pay federal payroll taxes and state and local sales taxes, for example. One those taxes are factored in, the tax regime is basically flat. And the reason that most income tax nonpayers don’t pay is they simply don’t make enough income to qualify to pay. As one might expect, the map of states with the highest poverty levels resembles this map fairly closely. Many of them are also seniors, a highly contested voting bloc. Just more than 10 percent of households pay no income tax because they’re retired. They might also be voters in places like Florida who are already jumpy about the changes to Medicare and Medicaid that the Romney-Ryan ticket has proposed — although they would be mostly unaffected by those reforms.
Today Muslims are a fifth of the world’s population, yet contribute only 7% of the world’s GDP. Arabs comprise 5 percent of the world’s population, but publish just 1.1 percent of its books, according to the U.N.’s 2003 Arab Human Development Report. Between 1980 and 2000, Korea granted 16,328 patents, while nine Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., granted a combined total of only 370, many of them registered by foreigners.
What went wrong?
The Islamic turn away from scholarship actually preceded the civilization’s geopolitical decline — it can be traced back to the rise of the anti-philosophical Ash’arism school among Sunni Muslims, who comprise the vast majority of the Muslim world.
While the Mu’tazilites had contended that the Koran was created and so God’s purpose for man must be interpreted through reason, the Ash’arites believed the Koran to be coeval with God — and therefore unchallengeable. At the heart of Ash’ari metaphysics is the idea of occasionalism, a doctrine that denies natural causality. Put simply, it suggests natural necessity cannot exist because God’s will is completely free. Ash’arites believed that God is the only cause, so that the world is a series of discrete physical events each willed by God.
The Ash’ari view has endured to this day. Its most extreme form can be seen in some sects of Islamists. For example, Mohammed Yusuf, the late leader of a group called the Nigerian Taliban, explained why “Western education is a sin” by explaining its view on rain: “We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.” As Robert R. Reilly argues in The Closing of the Muslim Mind (2010), “the fatal disconnect between the creator and the mind of his creature is the source of Sunni Islam’s most profound woes.”
Inquiry into the history of Arabic science, and the recovery and research of manuscripts of the era, may have a beneficial effect — so long as it is pursued in an analytical spirit. That would mean that Muslims would use it as a resource within their own tradition to critically engage with their philosophical, political, and founding flaws. If that occurs, it will not arise from any Western outreach efforts, but will be a consequence of Muslims’ own determination, creativity, and wisdom — in short, those very traits that Westerners rightly ascribe to the Muslims of the Golden Age The New Atlantis » Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science.
Twice before, our species has been saved from starvation by science. But as we move towards a planet of eight billion people, we are in uncharted territory. Let’s hope a new Norman Borlaug is waiting in the wings.
Shortly after Malthus made his grim prediction, we saw the first Agricultural Revolution – the systematic application of science and technology to farming. New varieties of crops, an understanding of crop rotation and the development of mechanisation saw yields soar. Hunger was also averted by the development of a global trade in food, spurred by the advent of steam ships and refrigeration.
Still, the population kept rising – but along came a saviour in the form of Norman Borlaug, one of the most important human beings ever to have lived. Hitler will always be famous for killing millions; yet Dr Borlaug, an American food scientist, saved billions, and yet relatively few of us have heard of him. In the 1960s, he bred new varieties of wheat and rice and other crops, a breakthrough now called the Green Revolution. If it hadn’t been for him, then Asia and perhaps South America would have seen serious famine in the 1970s.
Now we are reaching the limits of the Green Revolution.