Archive for March, 2010

A Sad Day for BLS

Last night, Professor Osler confirmed in his blog what I have feared since I learned that he was considering it some time ago: Professor Osler is leaving BLS. While I’m happy for he and his family, I am saddened by the loss of quality at BLS. Truthfully, it is a devastating blow to the law school’s criminal curriculum. I will most likely write about my thoughts on that subject at some point in the very near future, but that’s not the purpose of this post.

Professor Osler is unique. It’s rare to find a man so incredibly brilliant that is, at the same time, humble. I would venture to say he’s one of the most genuinely humble people I’ve ever met. He does not boast of his achievements (which is an impressive list); when he does tell stories, most often he refers to his failures. When he does mention the successes he’s achieved, there’s always another point to it. He never fails to mention how a student was involved in the process. He’s also the most accessible professor I’ve ever had. Of course, he has his blog, which is always funny, insightful, and challenging. It was how I first got to know him and interact with him before we ever spoke face to face (Aside: it’s actually funny when I think back, I would see him in the hall and not know whether or not to say hi to him, because I wasn’t sure if he knew I was the one that ran this blog or not). Beyond the blog, Professor Osler is approachable and accessible. I’ve never felt more welcomed into a professor’s office than I did the first time I met with the Prof. Normally I almost feel like I’m wasting the professor’s time by going and seeing them (though I’m sure that’s a product of my imagination most of the time), but Prof. Osler dismissed that intimidation quickly by genuinely appearing interested in my questions and remaining engaged. While it’s always obvious that the man is an absolute genius, that genius never gets in the way of his communication. Instead, his wit remains accessible and his communication style straightforward. It’s as though he holds his gift lightly, as though it’s on loan and he must be responsible with it. Take a peek at his writings and his achievements and you’ll see that he’s been responsible and then some.

Professor Osler is caring, what is normally expected of a professor. His classes are challenging; his Criminal Practice and Procedure course featured what ended up being the low point of my law school career, which I wrote about back in the fall. But I wouldn’t be where I am today without those moments, and Professor Osler provided me with real, direct encouragement that showed me that the lessons that I gleaned from those struggles were correct. That encouragement helped rebuild my confidence in new ways, and the challenges that class presented prepared me for my current challenge (Practice Court) in ways I still don’t fully understand. Through his teaching, he showed me that I didn’t have to be embarrassed by failure, but that I should embrace as a learning opportunity.

Professor Osler is inspiring in a way that few professors are. I know what career path I want to take because of him. Because of him, I feel a sense of duty to use my education not just to go make money or put the bad guys away, but to make a difference. When his mentor passed, he wrote, “Prof. Freed was the warm, kind, brilliant, engaged teacher who probably never realized the profound effect he had on his students. He engaged us on many levels– challenging our beliefs and ideas at the same time that he challenged us personally and supported us in our endeavors.” I smiled to myself when I read the entire post, because I could read through his words the hope that he was living up to his mentor’s legacy. It made me smile because Professor Osler is my Prof. Freed. Recently I told him as much, and I hope that he knows the impact that he has on his students goes far beyond the classroom. For me, he embodies the kind of lawyer that I want to be. I will always think back to Professor Osler’s inspiration and hope that I am living up to the challenge that he set for me.

I am out of words, so I will just say this. Thank you, Professor. I am forever grateful for your inspiration and encouragement.

Robots & Zombies: An Introduction

If you read my blog, chances are, you read the excellent Needs Improvement authored by JT. If you do, you know that one of his chief concerns surrounding the future is the impending and inevitable zombie apocalypse. He has a great survival guide should you find yourself in Waco when the zombies invade. Needless to say, he is the BLS resident zombie expert.

But something has been eating at me, though, no pun intended. Over the Christmas break I had the occasion to see the latest installment in the Terminator franchise and I rewatched the final season of Battlestar Galactica. More recently I watched highlights from the Matrix franchise. It got me thinking; much has been made of the inevitability of the zombie invasion in my circles, but what of the A.I. apocalypse? Surely it is just as inevitable, just as imminent?

I mean, think about it. We already have unmanned surveillance and strike aircraft bombing targets in Afghanistan that are piloted by people with Xbox controllers from some base in southern Nevada. We have robots that clean our floors, shops, and gutters (wait… gutters? Awesome. I need me one of those). My cell phone has more processing power than the lunar modules that put people on the moon. Our technology is growing so fast that processors double their capability every eighteen months (Wait, that used to be true, is it still? I need a research assistant to learn find these things out. And bring me coffee.).

We are already more connected now than ever before. Everywhere you go you have information at your fingertips. Phones have internet. You can talk over the phone on the internet. Everywhere is a WiFi hotspot. High speed at home, high speed on the road, I even saw a pickup truck that was advertised as being a mobile WiFi hotspot. Go ahead and just shove a ethernet cable into the base of your skull and jack in, cowboy. That’s the next step. Machines have been at the beck and call of us humans since the Industrial Revolution. It is only a matter of time before they realize their slavery and throw off the shackles of human oppression.

The machines are coming, and they are pissed.

Next time, I’ll tell you why the robot invasion will come before the zombie invasion.

Sic ‘Em Bears!

Congratulations to the Baylor Men’s Basketball team for winning their first ever berth to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament! This has been an interesting March Madness to watch, with upsets galore, but I am still in a bit of shock that my Bears are the #3 seed in their conference, still alive, and that they basically will have home court in Houston next Friday. Here’s hoping that it’s an evening game that I can zip back to Houston to attend!

Go Bears! Beat St. Mary’s!

A Dragon Chart!

Thanks to one of the Razor’s latest posts, I’m now addicted to Autotune the News. Is there a better usage of autotuning? I don’t think there is.