Wild Poker Hand

Last night, I played some Hold ‘Em, and went all-in with top pair (kings), holding AK offsuit. The problem was that two other players had AK offsuit, as well! One of them caught a K-high flush on the river, and the other caught the A-high flush on the river. Ouch. Of course, the pot was a monster.

Probability of (at least) 3 players in an 8-handed game having AK (suited or unsuited) = .000029% (1 in 3,465, 531 hands).
Probability of (at least) 3 players in an 8-handed game having AK offsuit = .000013% (1 in 7,921,215 hands).

So, that was probably a once-in-a-lifetime hand. Too bad I got busted on it.

Frist Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), M.D., today announced that he supports a bill currently before the Senate, which would allow federal funds to be used in the destruction of embryos in order to extract stem cells.

I’m not going to dive into the merits of embryonic stem cell research, itself; as I’ve said before, embryonic stem cells are not even necessarily the most promising stem cells, in terms of potential therapeutic value. Numerous treatments have been developed – some with remarkable results – using non-embryonic stem cells, and there is little evidence that embryonic stem cells would be easier to use in therapies, without raising new problems (rejection, etc.).

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School Board Offers Theological Defense of Homosexuality, Gets Taken to Task

In case you haven’t heard, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools tried to implement a sex education curriculum that endorses homosexuality as a normal and amoral (not “immoral,” “amoral”) lifestyle choice. Whether or not one agrees with that proposal, the fact is that the school system gets its facts wrong and makes theological arguments – including making statements about the proper interpretation of the Bible and other religious texts and endorsing specific religious groups over others – in the proposed course materials. Eugene Volokh does a good job explaining the problems.

You can view the court ruling against the school system here.

UPDATE: I should note that the question of whether or not the school system can implement this curriculum is still open; the ruling above is only on granting a restraining order.

Going to Yale Law at 16???

Seamus Farrow, only son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, is heading to Yale Law, at age 16. It sounds like he’s had a very interesting life, for somebody of that age, but I can’t say that it makes sense for a 16-year old to go to law school, or for any law school to admit a 16-year old. I have known a lot of people who felt they had it all together at that age – I was one of them – but I have yet to meet a person who really knew himself or herself and what he or she really wanted in life before age 20 or so. Well, best of luck to him.

Hat tip to JD2B.

University of Texas Student Earns a 180 on the LSAT…

… and advises students to sell their souls. Okay, not really, that’s what the article says a lot of students would do, but the student in question, Jesse Townsend, does advise aspiring law students to pick a major based on the GPA they would expect to earn.

Congratulations to Jesse, by the way, but his advice is just what’s wrong with the law profession, from what I can see. Too many people go to law school because it’s “just what to do” if one isn’t going to med school or business school. If the deciding factor in your choice of a subject to spend 3 or 4 years on is the GPA you expect to get, you can expect to be unhappy and stressed as an undergrad, possibly unhappy as a law student, and probably unhappy as a lawyer. Have a life! Pick something you like! Be different; law schools like that. If I were admitting law school students, I’d take somebody with modest grades and a passion for ancient languages over yet another 3.9 GPA PoliSci student, who chose his or her major to get that 3.9, any day.

That’s just my $0.02, but if you’re pre-law and reading this, I strongly encourage you to explore different subjects and figure out who you really are before getting to the LSAT or applying to law schools.

Hat tip to JD2B.

It’s Not Just in the US of A

No, bureaucrats do stupid things, everywhere. It turns out that UK officials prevented the US from interrogating one Haroon Rashid Aswat, one month before the London bombings; of course, it turns out Aswat was lending support to the bombers. Details on CNN.com.

Social Studies

Kids used to study History, Geography, and Western Civ. Well before the time I hit middle school, though, we switched over to Social Studies, which presumably is supposed to evoke the idea of sociology.

My main memories of social studies were obscure listings of the principal exports of a handful of African countries, a few discussions about the havoc wrought in Latin America by one Christopher Columbus, a teacher who read North Carolina ghost stories on Fridays, and one teacher who obsessively played, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” apparently whenever she thought we had touched on a name or topic mentioned in the lyrics. Sure, I learned the names of U.S. Presidents and a bit about local history and geography, but topics like any reasonably detailed discussion of, say, the Civil War, were relegated to electives. American history or political theory wasn’t covered in much of any detail until AP US History.

I’m not complaining about my education or my teachers; I got to college much more well-read than was average among my peers, because my middle school and high school were excellent. I think, though, that something might be wrong in our multi-cultural approach to classroom education when people graduate high school, but disturbingly high numbers of them cannot explain what Watergate was, name either of the Presidents during WWII, or identify the decade of the Civil War. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that any educational system in the United States which fails to embed any of that basic knowledge in at least, say, 98% of each graduating class needs to be razed to the ground and rebuilt from scratch.

It’s not just us, either; a teacher’s union in the UK wants to abolish the term “fail” from classrooms. Tongue Tied calls this, appropriately, Deferred Intelligence.

The Hypocrisy Continues

John Kerry is insisting that the White House release “in their entirety” all documents and memos from John Roberts’s time there. Kerry, despite repeated claims to the contrary, never made public most of his (relevant) Vietnam records, including medical forms, discharge papers, and award citations. Apparently, routine memos are important if John Kerry is to fairly evaluate a SCOTUS nominee, but the nature of his own (original) military discharge was not important to voters choosing a Commander in Chief.