### Post Prop 19 arguments

There simply aren't any good arguments in favor of prohibition. But people keep trying. Fortunately, there are smart people like Andrew Sullivan publicly destroying these bad arguments. A snippet:

This is a core freedom for human beings and requires an insane apparatus of state control and police power to prevent it from occurring. All you have to do is burn a plant and inhale the smoke. If humans are not free to do this in the natural world in which they were born, what on earth are they free to do? My premise is freedom; Josh's is not.

Should we ban roses because they give us pleasure with their beauty and their scent? Should we ban herbs, like rosemary or thyme, because they give us pleasure and encourage us to eat more? Should we ban lawn-grass because maintaining it consumes too many people's weekend afternoons? Should we cut down trees because the beauty of them can sometimes distract someone from the road? I could go on.

The point is the government has no business regulating how its citizens derive pleasure from a naturally occurring plant. Period. The whole idea is preposterous. And yet it is taken for granted.

I hope the prohibitionists continue to roll out their "best" arguments between now and the next time legalization comes up for a vote.

diabolical_mdog said…
Opium poppies are plants...shouldn't the criteria be whether it is something that humans are generally capable of using in moderation?
JohnJohn said…
Mdog! Good to hear from you!

Nope, I don't agree with that criterion at all, for several reasons:

1) Alcohol is made from plants, many people can't use alcohol in moderation, and alcohol prohibition was a tremendous failure. A failure that sadly we haven't learned from. Should we outlaw alcohol again? Should we outlaw tobacco? If not, then we shouldn't outlaw cannabis, even *if* people can't use it in moderation.

2) People can't eat fast food in moderation. By your criterion we should outlaw Big Macs. This wouldn't work any better than alcohol prohibition. People are gonna put bad stuff in their bodies if they want to, no matter what the law says.

3) Implicit in your argument is the idea that outlawing poppy seeds has helped prevent people from being addicted to heroine. This is dubious. I don't use heroine, but not because it is illegal---I've used illegal substances with little fear of arrest. I don't use heroine because I make the decision not to.

4) Anyone not convinced that drug legalization works to reduce drug use, addiction and crime, check out this Cato Institute report on drug decriminalization in Portugal...which started 9 years ago and resulted in far more good than bad.

Drug prohibition is a monumental failure. Why should we waste money, prison space and human lives to continue it?

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…