Funny Tale of Street Justice

Jan 312011

Here’s a funny real-life story of street justice, “How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase“.

Here’s the setup:

I had tickets to a sporting event and couldn’t attend. I made a 1-day listing and clearly stated that the tickets must be picked up in person within 24 hours (the game was the evening after the auction ended, so there wasn’t any time to ship the tickets).

A woman won the auction for about $600. The auction had ended at 10:00am and by 5:00pm she still hadn’t responded to my emails trying to organize the exchange. Finally, at 9:30pm, I got a one-liner email: “I overbid and my husband won’t let me buy these. Sorry and enjoy the game! ”

I first tried explaining that I wouldn’t have the time to resell the tickets (I already got turned down by the losing bidders). She said, “… that’s not my problem. It’s eBay, not a car dealership. I can back out if I want.” I still don’t understand the car dealership reference.

I was pretty upset. I was basically going to be stuck with tickets to an event that I couldn’t attend. That’s when I got the idea to convince her to change her mind…

You can read the rest of his post to see what he did.

My immediate reaction was that this was a perfect example of unofficial “street” justice. But the author of the post does ask the legitimate question, “Was it unethical?” If anyone wants Diana to cover this question on her webcast, they should submit it through this page.

(Story found via Keith Schacht.)

Hsieh PJM OpEd: "2010: Dawn of the Terran Empire?"

Oct 012010

PajamasMedia has published my short, tongue-in-cheek piece, “2010: Dawn of the Terran Empire?

My theme is that we must have entered a bizarre political parallel universe if Democrats are now running on how they voted against universal health care, and France is now telling us that we’re being too soft on our enemies.


Clever Homeless Signs

Oct 192009

Although I don’t give out money to panhandlers, some of them do use clever signs.

And as Steven Malanga reports, the successful techniques are often disseminated across the country via the internet.

(Via Found On The Web.)

Today’s Radiology History

Sep 032009

Another history from our Nebraska practice:

Our internal e-mail comments included the following exchange:

“[Dr. X] ‘says’ he is on vacation… But then this history came through from Nebraska… hmmmmmm”

“I’m sure that was no vacation for the goat.”

Today’s X-Ray

Jul 012009

One could pretty much guess the history from this image:

Yes, that’s a foreign body in the patient’s rectum.

More specifically, it’s an electric toothbrush.

And according to the ER doctor who removed it, it was in the “ON” position.

ER History

Mar 032009

I worked the “nighthawk” 9pm-7am shift all week not long ago, which is mostly emergency radiology. Here’s a history from a middle-of-the-night CT scan of the head and face that I recently interpreted:

As my on-call partner said, “I’m sure we’re getting paid for that one!”…

Asking the Right Question

Mar 022009


That’s great! Unfortunately, it is hilarious because what it refers to is so widespread.

The lesson to be taken from this “sign of insanity” is a key epistemological principle in Objectivism: that arbitrary notions — ideas with no basis in reality — must be rejected if you want your mind to actually be useful in pursuing life here on earth.

A familiar application can be seen in our justice system: When someone brings a baseless charge before a court, it is rightly dismissed as beneath consideration (and could even earn penalties for wasting the court’s time). Chaos would reign if this were not the standing practice, with spurious claims sapping precious resources and inviting injustice. Well, the same should hold in the fact-finding forum of your own mind: if someone brings a baseless idea before a rational mind, it ought to be dismissed as beneath consideration or argument — as “not even wrong.”

As Leonard Peikoff discussed in his lecture series presenting “The Philosophy of Objectivism”:

An arbitrary claim has no cognitive status whatever. According to Objectivism, such a claim is not to be regarded as true or as false. If it is arbitrary, it is entitled to no epistemological assessment at all; it is simply to be dismissed as though it hadn’t come up … The truth is established by reference to a body of evidence and within a context; the false is pronounced false because it contradicts the evidence. The arbitrary, however, has no relation to evidence, facts, or context. It is the human equivalent of [noises produced by] a parrot … sounds without any tie to reality, without content or significance.

In a sense, therefore, the arbitrary is even worse than the false. The false at least has a relation (albeit a negative one) to reality; it has reached the field of human cognition, although it represents an error — but in that sense it is closer to reality than the brazenly arbitrary.

It is not your responsibility to refute someone’s arbitrary assertion — to try to find or imagine arguments that will show that his assertion is false. It is a fundamental error on your part even to try to do this. The rational procedure in regard to an arbitrary assertion is to dismiss it out of hand, merely identifying it as arbitrary, and as such inadmissible and undiscussable.

This can be a subtle and tricky topic, and gaining clarity on it represents an important mental upgrade. For further exploration I recommend Peikoff’s excellent book, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, where he reorganized, systematized, and strengthened the material of those lectures.

[HT: Pharyngula]

Get Your Own Federal Bailout

Feb 092009

Here’s the easy application form:

If the porn industry can request a federal bailout, why not you?

Patience and Wisdom

Feb 042009

“Two of the greatest qualities in life… Patience and Wisdom.”

Miracle on the Hudson

Jan 222009

[HT: PZ Meyers]

Home | Live Webcast | Archives | Blog | Question Queue | Connect | Support Us | About Us
Copyright 2012 Diana Hsieh | Email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog
Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha