Give Your IP Address a Unique Nonaneticon + Legal & Policy Aspects of IP Numbers

IP Addresses are Unique, but…

IP Addresses are unique but, as noted by the NRO, they “are not property, cannot be bought, sold, traded…, [are] provided on non-permanent basis for use and [are] returned to [the] provider when no longer required.” Moreover, IP Numbers are shifting from the old, soon to be overcrowded IPv4 address form such as (limit 4 billion addresses, of which only 1.5 billion are left) to the new IPv6 form 2001:0503:OC27:0000:0000:0000:0000 (16 billion addresses).

Get a Unique Nonaneticon for Your IP Address

We discover at Alex Mayrhofer’s blog, that he is, among other things, co-author of an RFC at IETF. Alex at his NoNa.Net website not only has a useful (to us) personal world-wide city mapping service (try it here), but he also has a feature at his page which can create a unique if not necessarily exclusive nonaneticon for one’s IP Address using the least significant 25 bits of the address (33554432 possibilities). We write “unique but not necessarily exclusive” because every device that connects to the internet must have a unique IP address, so that this can also be a router, a switch or a server, which means that IP addresses can be “dynamic” (e.g. temporarily assigned by an internet service provider) and not “static” (permanently assigned)” and that they can be shared by multiple users, often without their knowledge.

When you visit the NoNa.Net site, you will see a small icon which asks you to guess what you think it is. We guessed – before we knew that it was a graphic representation of our IP Address – and wagered the idea that the icon looked a bit and a byte like a coffee cup, so we guessed “cup”, and received the following automated answer from Alex’s resulting page:



nonaneticon – to you it looks like a ‘cup’

the creativity of coincidence ::
Why always try to be creative when coincidences can provide surprisingly ‘semi-creative’ results? The tiny 5×5 pixel icon above is rendered using a technical requirement of any internet connection, namely the client ip address of your web browser’s connection. A binary, world wide unique number of 32 digits, more or less randomly assigned, depending on where and how you connect to the internet.

the internet equivalent of the inkblot test? ::
It’s close to impossible to choose a specific ip address. It usually does not matter at all which one you use, but it matters here. It determines how your icon looks like. What it resembles is up to your imagination.

33554432 different ones – even more chances ::
Despite an ip address may look short (and even memorizeable) there are 33554432 different nonaneticons (using the least significant 25 bits of the address). Not all ip addresses out of this range are in use, but anyway only a very small percentage of that range has been explored by visitors yet.


Find your IP Address and more detailed information about it at: English, Deutsch
or at

Note at the first site linked that the second “d” in address is struck out and colored red because “address” is spelled “Adresse” with only one “d” in German.

The first result – as an example for this process – we obtained at (you need not enter anything, this all happens automatically) . To create the image below, we captured the screen result for the IP address location, cut out a section via Paint Shop Pro (Corel), added a border, and then saved it as a .png via Image Optimizer (

ip address locator example result
The second result – as an example for this process – we obtained at the IP locator at (you need not enter anything, this all happens automatically). To make the image below, we captured the screen result for the IP address location, cut out a section via Paint Shop Pro (Corel), added a border, and then saved it as a .png via Image Optimizer (

ip address locator example result
Notice in both examples – as will usually be the case for most users – that the exact location of the user can not be determined, but only the general location of the service provider (ISP), who has a range of IP addresses that are temporarily assigned. Note also that these alleged geographic locations can be random in a given geographical area and can vary considerably, not actually showing the user location at all, but only nearly so.

Legal and Policy Aspects of IP Addresses

In this connection, an important paper on Legal and Policy Aspects of Internet Number Resources was recently presented in Edinburgh, Scotland (Sept. 6, 2006) to the Sixth Computer Law World Conference by Raymond A. Plzak, President and CEO of ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) and Stephen M. Ryan, Esq., General Counsel, American Registry for Internet Numbers. The contents of the paper are described as follows in their introduction:

First, we provide background on what IP addresses are….

Second, we describe the history of the evolution of Regional Internet Registries (“RIRs”)…. We also describe the more recent creation of the Number Resource Organization (“NRO”)….

Third, we describe the open and transparent public policy process that currently creates Internet number resource allocation policies….

Fourth, we address and contrast the legal nature of domain names, which is increasingly well understood and settled, and IP addresses, which is equally clear but different from domain names, but which has not yet been the subject of a definitive judicial review.” [emphasis added]

One should be aware in this regard that IP addresses are considered “personal data” in Europe and that misuse of them can put you in jail, ownership or not. See the Wikipedia, last viewed January 31, 2007 for a general discussion of this, with citation of the applicable laws.

The paper by Plzak and Ryan contains interesting observations concerning the internet as a new type of territorial geography:

It may be useful for lawyers to conceive of the Internet’s “geography” by analogy to the more familiar concept of nation states. The “nations” of the Internet do not end at national borders. Networks are the new “nations.” The “frontiers” of these Internet “nations” are border routers between networks. The “treaties” are voluntary peering relationships between networks. The Internet has a dynamic geography. New “nations”/networks are formed each day. New “borders”/border routers are established hourly. Routing tables are changed by the minute, and all of this activity takes place in most parts of the world without government control or intervention, and with no centralized control, although in some countries Internet activities inside the country are carefully controlled.

Courts struggling to adapt to the Internet have stated as much. In ACLU v. Reno, 217 F. 3d 162 (3rd Circuit 2000) the Court stated:

The Internet has an international, geographically-borderless nature [citation omitted]…Indeed, the Internet negates geometry…it is fundamentally and profoundly anti-spacial. You can not say where it is or describe its memorable shape and proportions or tell a stranger how to get there. But you can find things in it without knowing where they are. The [Internet] is ambient – nowhere in particular and elsewhere at once.” [Citation omitted.

Such statements definitely give the reader cause to again read Lawrence Lessig‘s CODE and other Laws of Cyberspace.

In any case, in this new territorial geography called the Internet, as Plzak and Ryan write – examining the prevailing case law – domain names ARE property, but IP addresses are not:

Not a single reported decision has indicated any plaintiff has successfully argued they should be permitted to “own” an IP address, in the manner famous trademark domain names can be “owned.”

Swedish Rock Drawings Deciphered as an Ancient Astronomical Sky Map of the Zodiac

This posting is not about modern law but about ancient law. It was the ancient ordering of the stars of the heavens, which, according to Bertrand Russell, gave men their first conceptions of natural law.

We have been successful – so we allege – in deciphering the entire complex of Scandinavian rock drawings at the World Heritage Site of Tanum, now in Sweden, and formerly in Norway (until the year 1658 – see the Treaty of Roskilde).

Our decipherment shows that the more than 1500 petroglyphs (rock drawings) at Tanum and its rock art affiliate locations form an enormous ca. 70 square kilometer planisphere (sky map of the heavens).

The graphic presentation of the decipherment is found below:

Tanum petroglyphs rock drawings art deciphered by andis kaulins

The Decipherment of the Tanum Petroglyphs by Andis Kaulins 2007

This sky map forms a shape of the stars along the Milky Way which was probably intended by its makers to represent a heavenly boat of the ancient Nordic seafarers. We have drawn in the line of the Milky Way to show this, but it is not, as far as we know, actually drawn on the ground.

As we shall be presenting a paper on this topic in May of this year in Horn / Bad Meinberg, Germany, at the Machalett Conference on Preshistory and Early History, this posting just contains the basics of our discovery.

It was 30 years ago in the year 1977 that this author first visited the petroglyphs (rock drawings) of Tanum, located in Tanumshede, Västra Götaland (historically Bohuslän), about a two-hour drive north of Göteborg (Gothenburg). Tanum was not well known internationally in 1977, in spite of over 1500, in part gigantic, rock drawings.

Tanum includes the following petroglyphic locations covering many square kilometers of countryside: Vitlycke (where the museum is located), Tanum, Tegneby, Aspeberget, Gerum, Ryland, Oppen, Slänge, Varlös, Fossum, Lycke, Hoghem, Västerby, Ljungby, Tuvene, Litsleby, Kyrkoryk, Orrekläpp, Rungstung, Satetorp, Ryk, Tyft, Hovtorp, Björneröd, Bergslycke, Kalleby and Trättelanda.

One key to our decipherment was the Tanum rock drawing location map found at the World Heritage Site for Tanum. Without such a complete overview of the area, such a decipherment as ours would be impossible, since it is the entire complex of petroglyphs which builds the secret to this enormous site. All of these petroglyphs as a whole represent the stars of the heavens, with multiple petroglyphs in clusters representing constellations of stars known to us today. Many of these along the ecliptic of course form our modern Zodiac.

One cannot escape the feeling at Tanum that we are witnessing the birth of modern astronomy among the ancient seafarers, whose need for a knowledge of star orientation in sea navigation is beyond dispute.

These ancient men formed these constellations primarily for practical purposes and not, as mainstream archaeology persists in advocating regarding these petroglyphs, for unproven rites and rituals, which may have been a part of the complex of the ancient world, but certainly not as its moving force.

It is in fact little wonder that there are so many boats (ancient ships) represented in the petroglyphic figures. To the seafaring ancients, the night sky was a sea of stars. We think it possible that this might be the location at which our modern stellar constellations were initially “grouped” by European man – for purposes of navigation in seafaring travel.

There are other proofs – beyond the evidence of the rock drawings themselves – that this astronomical decipherment is correct, e.g. the names of locations at which the rock drawings are found, but these proofs will first be discussed in a paper in German to be presented to the 41st Conference of the Machalett Study Group on Prehistory and Early History in May of this year.

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Golf and the Human Brain

We knew it all along.
The answer to why we still lag a few golf strokes behind Tiger Woods.
It’s the brain.

The January 17, 2007 Stanford Report points to a Stanford study which indicates that our golf swing and golf score will never be perfect, because “movement is not primarily a mechanical phenomenon”.

David Orenstein gives us this explanation:

For athletes, the inability to replicate the perfect movement might seem to be a frustrating problem that needs to be solved. But ….

[as we are told by the authors of the study]
“The nervous system was not designed to do the same thing over and over again…. The nervous system was designed to be flexible….”

The value of practice and training is that they can reduce the variation in the mind’s abilities, but they don’t change the variable way the mind plans motion. An analogy might be to doing math problems. Someone who has studied will find it easier to solve a new problem than someone who has not prepared.

Now, when they can tell me how to get the mind to keep from guiding that ball out of bounds, i.e. to simply eliminate that as a potential “motion variable”, we will have something serious to talk about.

A Coming Future Evidence-Based World ?

J. Peder Zane at the News & Observer in Scientists see dazzling future writes concerning the EDGE 2007 question, “What are you optimistic about? Why?:

The overriding hope among Edge respondents is that our increased capacity to gather and analyze information will spark the rise of an “evidence-based” world. We see this already in the field of criminal justice, where people convicted on faulty “eyewitness” testimony have been freed thanks to DNA. In the future, respondents argue, the instincts and perceptions that inform so much of our political, legal and cultural decision-making will be replaced by hard facts.

A very interesting article on Evidence by Clay Shirky, Social & Technology Network Topology Researcher, Adjunct Professor, NYU Graduate School of Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) is found at the EDGE World Question Center 2007.

Shirky puts eloquently some of the rants and raves that we have been throwing at the academic community for the last 35 years when he writes:

In school, the embrace of evidence is often taught as if it were a one-time revolution that has now been internalized by society. It hasn’t. The idea of evidence is consistently radical: Take nothing on faith. No authority is infallible. If you figure out a good way to test something, you can contradict hallowed figures with impunity.

Evidence will continue to improve society, but slowly — this is long-view optimism. The use of evidence dragged the curious mind from the confusion of alchemy into the precision of chemistry in the historical blink of an eye, but its progress past the hard sciences has been considerably slower. Even accepting that evidence should shape our views is inconsistent with much human behavior….

It is only in the last hundred years that evidence has even begun spreading from the hard sciences into other parts of human life….

Social science is expanding because we are better about gathering data and about understanding it. We have gone from a drought to a flood of data about personal and social behavior in the last generation. We will learn more about the human condition in the next two decades years than we did in the last two millennia, and we will then begin to apply what we learn, everywhere. Evidence-based treaties. Evidence-based teaching. Evidence-based industrial design. Evidence-based parenting.

Beautifully written, and correct.

Similarly, J. Craig Venter, Human Genome Decoder and Director, The J. Craig Venter Institute writes at EDGE that:

I am optimistic (and hopeful) that one of the key tenets of scientific investigation, “evidenced-based decision making” will be extended to all aspects of modern society.

We agree.

Science a Go Go : Evolution, Astronomy, and Authors at Law

Science a Go Go ( has a zippy website from down under devoted to “the latest science news, research tidbits and science discussion“.

What caught my attention were their science book reviews. See:
Science a Go Go Book Reviews 2005
Science a Go Go Book Reviews 2006
for a good overview of what is going on in science,
through the medium of books.

Online book reviews, still fairly rare outside of e.g. Amazon,
or involving the payment of online fees for viewing, as at Antiquity magazine,
will surely play an increasingly greater role in science and literature,
and we were gratified to see Science a Go Go review our book Stars Stones and Scholars
on the same page as their review of Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory
by legal expert and Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward J. Larson (2006).

Tim Radford in an interview with Larson in the Guardian titled A Life in Writing: A Voyage to the Origin of Species, writes:

Larson won the Pulitzer Prize for his Summer for the Gods, a book on the Scopes trial, in which American anti-evolutionists challenged science in the 1920s. He followed with Trial and Error, once again about the creation-evolution controversy. Right now, he is contemplating one book on the coming of telegraphy, another on Antarctica. Evolution’s Workshop grew out of a preoccupation with the history of ideas, rather than of kings and presidents. In the course of looking at the progress of the great Darwinian idea, it seemed to him that the Galapagos were the Clapham Junction of biology: all sorts of people passed through.

“I believed that ideas in general are the most powerful thing in the world. An idea was more powerful than an army. In the western world it seemed to me that science was the criterion for truth,” [Larson] says. “Darwin wrote his Origin of Species in 1859. At that time Queen Victoria was on the throne in England and James Buchanan was president of the United States. Now who has a greater impact on us today? How we think, how we live, who we are?”

We agree.

Take a look at Larson’s publications and awards and you will see that it surely can not be long before Larson begins to write about our books too.

All LawPundit Predictions for 2006 Came True

Not incredible at all
but fact,

the LawPundit Incomparable Predictions for 2006
all came true.

Compare our results with those of other crystal ballers linked at that same posting.

Important for Readers of Books: Entire World affected by New ISBN Numbers

Are You Ready for ISBN-13?
and the fact that:
Beginning January 1, 2007, all books will be published with ISBN-13s.”

Click this link to go the ISBN-13 Online Converter.

Not everyone needs this, but every reader of books should know about it, and most authors and readers out there probably are not yet aware of what is going on, so we alert to it here.

The reason for this posting is that a monumental change which affects the entire world of books on our planet started January 1, 2007 (actually, the sunrise period began in 2005). It is a change in ISBN numbers. ISBN numbers are the unique numbers given to books by publishers and used to order books wherever you order them as a user. The reason for this change was that ISBN was running out of numbers.

Take a look at the following numbers for our book Stars, Stones and Scholars where the ISBN-10 numbers (the ISBN-10’s) have been converted by our publisher to ISBN-13 numbers (the ISBN-13’s). These will be called ISBN-10s and ISBN-13s.

Stars Stones Scholars (softcover)
# ISBN-10: 1412013445
# ISBN-13: 978-1412013444

Stars Stones Scholars (hardcover)
# ISBN-10: 1412201357
# ISBN-13: 978-1412201353

ISBN-10 Numbers

Prior to January 1, 2007, ISBN numbers had 10 characters.
Those are the ISBN-10 numbers.

ISBN-13 Numbers

Beginning on January 1, 2007, ISBN numbers are 13 characters.
Those are the ISBN-13 numbers.

Beginning January 1, 2007, all books will be published with ISBN-13s.”

Important Links

Below are important links from ISBN for authors, retailers, publishers and everyone interested in books and the book trade:

Are You Ready for ISBN-13?

  • An overview for publishers with the critical do’s and don’t and the recommended implementation timeline. Why is this transition taking place and how does it impact your copyright page, your book covers and your bar codes? Find out now.

Pubnet EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) 13-Digit Conversion News

  • If you receive EDI orders via Pubnet, be sure to learn more about changes needed to support EDI transactions.

BISG Resources on ISBN-13

  • The Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG) ISBN-13 Task Force maintains this site as a source of authoritative information and recommended implementation guidelines for ISBN-13.

ISBN-13 Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

  • Brochure from Bowker, the US ISBN Agency

Guidelines for the Implementation of 13-Digit ISBNs (PDF)

A BISAC Briefing on How to Manage the Transition (PDF)

  • Information from BISG on operations planning.


The readability score for this posting:

Gunning-Fog Index: 20
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 12
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 41

LawPundit Postings at

Until further notice, all LawPundit postings are in the future
to be found solely at the website
with the main page at

We may return to Blogspot
if user visits increase traffic to the degree
that we have no option but to return the blog to Blogspot hosting.

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn from Guy Kawasaki

At his blog, How to Change the World, what he calls “A practical blog for impractical people”, Guy Kawasaki has a useful post titled

How to Change the World: Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn

where he has discussion of the following eleven (yes, eleven) points.

If you are curious, take a look:

Increase your visibility
Improve your connectability
Improve your Google PageRank
Enhance your search engine results
Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks
Increase the relevancy of your job search
Make your interview go smoother
Gauge the health of a company
Gauge the health of an industry
Track startups
Ask for advice

Website and Blog Readability Tests Online

Website and blog readability tests are found online at these internet locations:

Juicy Studio – Readability Test Online
ILoveJackDaniels – Check Text Readability
Lingua::EN::Fathom Perl CGI
Online Readability Software
Leicht Lesbar ? (German language)

and they will give you DIFFERING RESULTS.

We got into this whole subject initially via a readability link placed by Kinja at our Kinja Card for LawPundit which intrigued us and subsequently took us to Juicy Studio, whose mission “is to promote best practice for web developers in a fast moving industry“.

Juicy Studio offers an online readability test for websites which is potentially useful for analyzing written material on the internet.

The JuicyStudio Readability Test analyzes websites and blogs from the standpoint of three reading level algorithms:

1) the Gunning Fog Index,
2) Flesch Reading Ease, and
3) the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
(see e.g. the analysis of the Inaugural Addresses of US Presidents),

all of which determine how readable some particular written content online may be.

We emphasize the phrase “potentially useful” above for the Juicy Studio readability test because it has one major limitation deriving from the fact that it aggregates all written material on a website in its results scenario. As written at the Juicy Studio readability page:

This service analyses the readability of all rendered content. Unfortunately, this will include navigation items, and other short items of content that do not make up the part of the page that is intended to be the subject of the readability test.

In other words, all words on the web page are counted, including all website and blogroll links (often single words) and other formatting material (titles, headings, etc.) . This skews the results considerably downward (in terms of the appropriate reading level of the audience) for many online pages, making it appear as if the writer uses many more “one word sentences” than he actually does.

There are thus only two ways to really test the readability of online writing:

1) make a simple “.txt” file of the text on a website or a blog posting, or
2) use a readability text analyzer as that found on ILoveJackDaniels – Check Text Readability, which only analyzes inserted text and not actual website texts

As for option 1) above:

make a simple “.txt” file of the text on a website or a blog posting, removing the headings, titles, separate numbers, quotations by others, etc. and then upload that .txt file as a separate, independent page to the server. Then plug the appropriate URL into the JuicyStudio Readability Test.

To illustrate how this is done, we have done that with the following page at LawPundit
and we have then put it online, reducing it to a pure text (except for incomplete sentences followed by a quote) at

The Readability Test then of course looks entirely different for what is essentially the same material.

As a pure website, the results are:

Gunning Fog Index 11.44
Flesch Reading Ease 48.12
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 7.83

When the website is actually cleared of links and formatting text,
to give pure text, the results for the pure text at the Juicy Studio – Readability Test Online gives the following result for

Gunning Fog Index: 17.00
Flesch Reading Ease: 38.76
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 12.00

Note that results over 17 are reported as 17
whereas results over 12 are reported as 12.

As for option 2) above:

The readability test at ILoveJackDaniels – Check Text Readability gives the following result for the same identical text as above:

Gunning Fog Index: 25
Flesch Reading Ease: 26
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 16

The readability test at Lingua::EN::Fathom Perl CGI gives the following result for the same identical text as above:

Gunning Fog Index: 19.01
Flesch Reading Ease: 31.64
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.71

Online Readability Software in its Analysis Report gave us the following results:

Number of words analyzed: 545
Readability: 4 % more difficult to read than the average writing on the Internet, which means:
Writing greater than 30% easier to read than the Internet is ideal.
Writing between 10-30% would be considered for high school graduate or higher.
Writing less than 10% easier than the Internet generally is meant for college graduates or higher.
Writing that is more difficult to read than the Internet should be avoided regardless of audience.

Leicht Lesbar ? is a German-language site with the following results:
Unsere Analyse hat ergeben:
Ihr Text besteht aus 26 Sätzen mit 723 Wörtern, wovon 323 verschiedene. Sie haben total 1233 Silben benutzt (Endsilben auf -e zählen nicht).
Das ergibt einen Flesch-Wert von 34.

Even Microsoft Word provides us with readability statistics, indeed, for this text as follows:

Flesch Reading Ease 27.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 12.0

Not to forget the Gender Genie, which rates our text as follows in terms of gender:
Words: 723
Female Score: 455
Male Score: 1177

Here is the text used:

There are advantages, disadvantages and pitfalls both in the exercise of judgment as well as in the exercise of intuition. Socratic education – in our view – is one method to make students aware of the complexities of thought and to inculcate the ability (viz. habit) to engage in critical thinking in analyzing evidence and in formulating proofs. What interests us particularly is Bateman’s discussion of judgment and intuition, the former – in his definition – involving what we know or think to know in an appeal to shared knowledge and the latter – in his definition – involving the subjective expression of how things look or feel to us as individuals. To see a graphic of Muller-Lyer lines, see the Epistemology of Perception at The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. In other words, to employ a phrase used by Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions), if the paradigms (viz. “mechanical” proofs) underlying a given view of “shared knowledge” are wrong, then that knowledge is likely also wrong. What this means is that someone along the way has done an intuitive “hand proof” which does not conform to the judgmental mechanical proofs in vogue. A hand proof made by a skilled prover is thus always at the root of progress, in any field. Another example of “hand proofs” is the method by which our legal system relies upon the opinions of judges, rather than on computer-produced verdicts applying fixed mechanical theorems. Here, “skilled” provers are viewed as superior to a computer theorem. As concerns the progress of science (and law), Thomas Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions is thus in our view more accurate than Karl Popper’s ideas concerning scientific thought as the falsifiability of mainstream statements because “hand proofs” – also in fields other than mathematics – are generally made to conform to the observations at hand, often initially ignoring completely any presumed attempt to “falsify” existing mainstream ideas. In law, precedents may in fact have to be overturned, but that is not the main purpose of an opinion which overrules prior judicial decisionmaking. Rather, new rules are being made to conform to new observations and events. Only after an observation-fitting hand proof is made and then compared with the mechanical proofs in vogue does the battle with the inertia of existing paradigms begin. Mainstream scientists want the ensuing discussion to proceed under their terms and thus demand that their theories be proven false. This, however, does not accurately describe the process of scientific discovery, nor does it describe the primary motivation for overturning precedents in law – and this constitutes Popper’s main error in analysis. Popper, by concentrating on mainstream science, does not actually describe the actual process of scientific (or legal) advance – rather, he describes the process of mainstream resistance to advance and the inefficient mechanisms by which that resistance is or can be broken. The true pioneers in science (or law), on the other hand, and this is where Kuhn’s analysis is the more accurate, have no interest to waste their time on developing proofs to falsify the erroneous theories in vogue, but rather, prefer to be busy building up their own systems which correspond to the evidence at hand. The falsification process of the erroneous prevailing theories is then later carried out by others, i.e. the innovators and early adopters of new theories. Good examples here are the “hand proof” works of Isaac Newton, which presented new interpretations of observed phenomena and spent as little time as possible wasting time in disproving the erroneous ideas of others. Another example of new paradigms and hand proofs is the Constitution of the United States, which is a “new discovery” that concentrates on new things to be achieved, rather than on old things to be “disproven”. This in fact is still the genius of America, several hundred years later. America is a “Kuhnian” world of new paradigms and “hand proofs”, whereas the Old World (Europe, Middle East) is in part still caught in a maelstrom of Popperian inertia of resistance to change, functioning by antiquated and long outdated mechanical solutions (unreformed social systems, entrenched social classes, overemphasis on tradition, no longer state-of-the-art customs, deference to nobility at the cost of modern social innovation, etc.) As the “hand proof” says, “go for it”. That’s the American way which is sorely lacking in the Old World.

Social Graces & Manners in the USA

What is the state of American social graces and manners?


For background, see The American Upper Class, Etiquette Training, Put those Hands where I Can See Them, Please Pass the Manners, Character Education, Hope in a Rude World, Raising Well-Mannered Kids, Parents Kids & Character, and Was a Harvard President fired primarily for Bad Manners?


Someone close to me was born in New Jersey so that I was quite interested in a controversy which recently erupted over some events which occurred in connection with the New Jersey state high school football championship game between Don Bosco and St. Peter’s, which Don Bosco won this season 41-0 after having lost against the same team the previous year.

Mike Farrell of at Yahoo Sports who writes:

The behavior of Don Bosco quarterback Matt Simms during and following his team’s state championship win over St. Peter’s has come under some scrutiny. Simms, who has been the target of much verbal abuse by the St. Peter’s fans over the years, taunted the sidelines and the fans following his team’s blowout win. Simms has the talent to be a very good college quarterback, but some question his maturity.

Social Graces, Manners, Class and Maturity in the USA

We googled the above story, which led us to the Auburn Football Blog at the AOL Sports NCAA Fanhouse and a posting by Charles Rich titled Not Your Daddy’s Simms, a posting which has numerous comments touching upon various class-related issues in American society, including manners and social graces.

In defense of Simms, several commentators to Rich’s posting point out the social nature of the squabble between the two high schools and the prior events which precipitated Simms’ actions. Other commentators give us some interesting social glimpses into issues of class structure in the USA at the high school level.

As an American living in Europe, it would seem to us – as an educator – that there are several partial solutions to the problems at issue, which derive in part from American history and development as well as from a person’s own particular background, education, family income and social training (i.e. such things as manners and social graces).

Environmental Influences Form Our Behavior
but Can Be Changed by Education and Personal Relationships

Whether we like it or not, each of us is a product of our environment, and we are
– for better or worse – formed by that environment.

Education and our personal relationships are the main means by which we can improve upon that forming environment – or, in some cases, make it worse, if our education and/or personal relationships are bad.

Educational Systems are Inadequate in Teaching Young People Essential Skills

One problem with elementary, junior high and high school education in America, however, is that there are generally few courses taught on subjects which we find to be important to young people when they get out in “the real world”.

Knowing how to behave in certain social situations certainly tops our list, and behavior by players and spectators at football games (or in the period prior to them and after them) certainly falls into that category. When are people taught how to behave in such social situations and who does the teaching? What are the rules of behavior and how are people to learn about those rules? What role do schools play, if any, in transmitting these rules to their young people?

Specific Skills Not Adequately Taught by Our Educational Systems

Other important areas often not covered adequately in early education (so our opinion) are:

1) personal time and money management and financial savvy
2) personal and family health and wellness management
3) successful parenting
4) rights and obligations of citizens generally
5) personal relations between spouses and partners, and
6) essential matters of conflict resolution, i.e. how does one deal in a mature and successful manner with disputes, differences of opinion, etc.

Parents are Assumed to Teach Such Specific Skills but Often Do Not

These are FUNDAMENTAL skills of great importance required for living in any human community and yet these are often precisely the skills which young people are not taught or are inadequately taught in our modern educational systems, systems which presume that the parents can and will provide this training to young people, which is often simply not the case.

Better Education Also Means Teaching Courses More Relevant to Real Life

Those who clamor for more or better education usually do so in the sense of the needs of the educational establishment rather than the needs of the students: bigger schools, more money, more teachers, more supplies and equipment, etc.

But better education also has greatly to do with the issue of WHAT is taught in those schools, by whatever means are presently available. In our view, not nearly enough attention is paid in schools to actually PREPARING young people (pupils, students) for their life in the real world. In fact, do most schools even have a clear idea of WHAT they are preparing their customers for?

When I taught law at the University of Trier here in Germany, I was absolutely flabbergasted at the then unexpectedly limited knowledge among the student body about computers and the internet. I had presumed they had learned that all in high school or at home, which turned out not to be true. Somewhere along the line, the entire establishment of the family and the schools had been asleep to the realities of the world. In my view, that should be changed. What we are teaching our young people in our schools must be updated to keep pace with the development of knowledge and state of the art learning.

More Questions for Modern Education

Here are some other important questions concerning modern education:

Are young people being prepared to be employers, entrepreneurs, inventors or employees, and is there an awareness of this on both sides of the teaching and learning equation?

Example: In their courses, are young people reading biographies of entrepreneurs, leaders and inventors, or are they predominantly reading books about the problems of the working classes or the complaints and views of minorities or similar materials.

At the least, there should be a balance in the materials being used, so that all levels of society, low AND high, including failures AND successes, and problems AND solutions are included.

You are what you eat. You become what you read. Learning materials are mentors in media form, whether as books, websites, videos, or whatever. Every exposure of the brain to certain kinds of materials is a programming of that brain in a given direction. Each stage of education is PREPARATION and the selection of teaching materials determines what exactly is being prepared for. Workers reading about workers will remain workers. People enamored of their plight will remain in their plight. People who read about success will tend themselves to reach for success.

Are young people being prepared for college or some other kind of institution?
and if so, are they learning the skills they need for success in that endeavor?

Example: Some years ago, we taught legal writing at the law school level and discovered that numerous students had substantial deficits in writing – an ESSENTIAL skill far more important for future success than formal grades in selected courses.

What is taught in school about what employers expect from employees?

Most people will work for others during their life, or perhaps be the ones to employ them, yet little is apparently taught about the many and varied important details of this often life-long relationship. The employer-employee relationship should be a required course of study.

What is taught about the responsibilities that attach to independent professions and activities and are these responsibilities known and understood?

Those who enter independent and self-employed professions have different responsibilities than persons who become employees. More should be done in schools to encourage entrepreneurship and to support the needs of people in the professions.

What is taught about the nature of and responsibilities that attach to the benefits of any and all human relationships – especially the most important such relationships – spouses, parents, children, relatives, friends, and professional, business and job associates?

Various courses in human relationships should be required in our schools, in which we would include:

1) Human Relationships: Benefits and Responsibilities
2) Spouses: Life in an Alliance
3) Successful Parenting and Childraising : Problems and Solutions

Are young people taught to design a successful life in early school years ?

Everything in life is planned in one way or another by the powers that be, and yet, we do not require courses in Life Design for our own lives, which generally would profit the most from sensible planning. A course in Life Design should be required.

Are young people made familiar both with their IQ and EQ and the useful applications of each?

We know someone who was told by chance at the end of their college career at one of the largest universities in the United States that they had obtained the highest score on the social skills aptitude part of the entrance examination that had ever been obtained. The key phrase is “at the end of their college career”. No one gave that person this information for their career planning at the time that it should have been communicated, which was at the start of their college career.

All young people should be made aware of their individual intellectual and social skills and talents as early as possible so that they are guided in the right direction of life design rather than floating about in the ocean of chance and serendipity opportunity.

Are young people given mentors and are they taught why mentors and mentoring are important?

Nothing has changed as regards mentoring in thousands of years. You best “learn the ropes” from someone who “knows the ropes”. 50% of all Nobel Prize winners were somehow affiliated with previous Nobel Prize Winners. Everyone needs a mentor or coach. Indeed, those who can afford one, such as world champions in various sports, have a mentor or coach FULL TIME. Even if someone is the best in the world at what they do, they still need coaching and mentoring. Imagine how great the need is if you are not the best in the world at what you do.

Don’t Blame the Young People – Blame the Educational Establishment

In any case, whenever we read about controversies such as above at the high school level, we regard them to be indicative of failings of the educational establishments to do their job properly – in the above case – at both schools.

Facebook and Social Networking Online is a Blockbuster Success

In case you have never heard of Facebook, you ought to take a look, because this social networking website is a blockbuster success. As written at Wikipedia at the entry Facebook:

Facebook is an English-language social networking website, popular among college students. It was originally developed for university students, faculty and staff, but has since been expanded to include everyone, including high school, corporate and geographic communities.

As of December 2005, the website had the largest number of registered users among college-focused sites (at over 7.5 million US college student accounts created with an additional 20,000 new accounts being created daily).[1] It is the number one site for photos, ahead of public sites such as Flickr, with 2.3 million photos uploaded daily[2], and is the seventh most trafficked site in the United States, according to comScore‘s Media Metrix.

The name of the site is based on the paper facebooks that colleges give to incoming students, faculty, and staff depicting members of the campus community.”

One thing that makes this site popular is the necessity to have some kind of an official connection to the organization or institution whose network one wishes to join.

Through our Stanford alumni email address, for example, we have been able to join the Stanford network, which includes students, alumni, staff and faculty.

We are not sure that there is any benefit to us through this network at the moment, but just imagine what a powerful tool this is – or could be – to get the word out about something to a specific target audience of any kind. Just imagine if you were a college fundraiser, for example, and had access to this kind of a university network. Many things would quickly become easier.

One can argue about whether or not the new digital age is – as some allege – actually creating “new” communities. But for already existing communities, there can be little doubt that online networking sites are vastly increasing the opportunities for better communication among members of those communities in the future.

Music Gift of the Year 2007 : Club Hits Mixed by DJ Giuseppe D. MicMac Records Hothead Productions (incl. Kristy Kay)

This is not an ad, but our own opinion. We like this music.

Kristy Kay is our Selection for Female Music Artist of the Year
this 3-volume CD (see below)
is our CD / DVD Music Gift of the Year 2007
for Dance Floor Music and Club Music lovers
which we received as a mail-belated Christmas gift today
(i.e. allow some time for delivery)
and which we obtained solely because CD 2 (Evolutions II)
of the 3-volume set includes a song (Track Nr. 12) by Kristy Kay

THE SONG: When You Find Love
THE ARTIST: Kristy Kay

which for us us was the Song of the Year 2006

and as an unexpected bonus
Track Nr. 2 of CD 2 also features Kristy Kay in two songs including
Kristy Kay’s fabulous
Don’t Break My Heart
a sample of which you can hear here
(use the music bar below at that linked page to shift to the song you want,
which also includes Who’s That Loving You Now)

As noted previously, this is in our opinion for
Dance Floor and Club Mix music lovers
Music Gift of the Year 2007 :
Club Hits Mixed by DJ Giuseppe D.
MicMac Records
Hothead Productions
available at
CD Universe
MicMacRecords (168546 requests since Wednesday 28 July, 2004)

We always say that the music you love mirrors your own inner voice and inner beat.
Music is not a matter of taste, rather, it is a taste of the true matter of life.
Each to his own, ENJOY.

Welcome New Year 2007 : It is an Opportunity : Make the Best of It

In our view, every New Year is an opportunity. Make the best of it.

One year down the road, we will all be one year older and one year wiser.

What will we have learned?

What will we have achieved?

Lay the foundation today for what you want to look back on tomorrow.

Success is an accumulation of good decisions.

What good decision are you going to make today?

Happy New Year from the LawPundit.