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Monday, June 17, 2013

Geeks, nerds, and zingers

Two items that admittedly have nothing to do with one another.

1) This post, from the blog Slackpropagation, attempts to explain the distinction between geeks and nerds. While the terms overlap (one can be both a nerd and a geek), the basic distinction, which has some appeal, is as follows:

  • geek - An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
  • nerd - A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.

The post then does a pointwise mutual information analysis, looking at what other words commonly accompany geek or nerd. I won't pretend to understand that part. But it's a fun read. (H/T: My FIU colleague Manuel Gomez).

2) At the close of his dissent in Alleyne v. United States (overturning Harris v. United States and applying Apprendi to the floor of a mandatory minimum), Justice Alito closes with the following line: "The Court's decision creates a precedent about precedent that may have greater precedential effect than the dubious decision on which it relies." Colin Starger (Baltimore) wonders about the origins of that line, noting the SSRN abstract for his book chapter in which he speaks of "precedent about precedent" and expressly asks "does the Court's contemporary 'precedent about precedent' have genuine precedential value?" Hmm. Maybe some of what law professors write is of value to judges, at least in dissent.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM in Howard Wasserman | Permalink

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