2. theletteraesc:





    This is really the main thing you need to know about a house before you buy.

    (Forgive me a moment of former-lawyer nerdity - there is in fact a famous NY court case, Stambovsky v. Ackley, in which the plaintiff bought a house and only later found out it was supposedly haunted. He then sued the former owner, wanting to undo the sale. You’d think the former owner could just go, “pffft, no, there’s no such things as ghosts,” right? But no! They’d previously given newspaper interviews saying they believed in the ghost, which meant they were estopped from denying the ghost now, which meant — the judges declared, settling in for a long deliberation — the house was haunted as a matter of law. They let the plaintiff out of the sale. This is all 100% true.) 


    I’ve reblogged this picture before but not with the story of the legally-haunted house attached to it…

    okay, so not only is this way legit, but the court’s majority opinion was FULL OF GHOST PUNS, thus elevating this to the Greatest Thing Ever To Happen.

    first of all can we deal with the greatest sentence ever written by any judge since the beginning of time:

    "as a matter of law, the house is haunted"

    and that is not even touching the puns

    "no divination is required to conclude that it is defendant’s promotional efforts…which fostered the home’s reputation"

    "plaintiff hasn’t a ghost of a chance"

    "i am moved by the spirit of equity"

    "applying caveat emptor to a contract involving a house…conjures up visions"

    "lest the subject of the transaction come back to haunt him and his client"

    "the notion…is a hobgoblin which should be exorcised from the body of legal precedent and laid quietly to rest"

    and then this motherfucker quotes hamlet

    "pity me not but lend thy serious hearing to what i shall unfold (william shakespeare, hamlet, act i, scene v [ghost])"

    and ghostbusters

    "a very practical problem arises with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: ‘who you gonna call?’"

    god bless that judge

    god bless

    "As a matter of law, the house is haunted": one of the great sentences in American jurisprudence.

    (Source: ryulongd, via hijabeng)

  3. rtamerica:

    First synthetic biological leaf could allow humans to colonize space

    In order for humans to live in outer space, they must have a steady supply of oxygen they can depend on. Now, instead of relying on plants that may not survive, they can use an artificial biological leaf designed by a London graduate student.

    Julian Melchiorri, a graduate student in innovation design engineering at the UK’s Royal College of Art, created the synthetic leaf, which he called the ‘Silk Leaf Project’. The design was for an RCA course offered in collaboration with Tufts University’s silk lab in Massachusetts.

    Like the leaf from a real plant, the synthetic leaf uses photosynthesis to produce oxygen, by absorbing light, water and carbon dioxide. “The artificial leaves feature chloroplasts extracted from actual plant cells that are suspended in a material made from silk protein. So when given access to light and water they still produce oxygen, but they’re better suited to surviving off our planet,”Gizmodo reported.


  4. …Drivers of high-status vehicles were three times as likely to fail to yield at pedestrian crossings. In contrast, all the drivers of the least expensive type of car gave way to pedestrians.

    Fascinated by these results, Piff and his colleagues then looked at what created these impulses to bad behaviour. In their laboratory, the richest students were more likely to consider “stealing or benefiting from things to which they were not entitled” than those from a middle-class or lower-class background…

    The reason, it turns out, is that even thoughts of being wealthy can create a feeling of increased entitlement — you start to feel superior to everyone else and thus more deserving: something at the centre of narcissism. They found this was true of people who were, in real life, better off. Wealthier people were more likely to agree with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than other people” and place themselves higher on a self-assessed “class ladder” that indicated increasing levels of income, education and job prestige. This had straightforward and clearly measurable effects on behaviour.

    Well-off people were less likely to help a person who entered the laboratory in distress, unless they had just watched a video about child poverty. In a series of controlled experiments, lower-income people and those who identified themselves as being on a relatively low social rung were consistently more generous with limited goods than upper-class participants were.

    Outside the lab, Piff found that the rich donated a smaller percentage of their wealth than poorer people. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed 1.3% of their income to charity, while those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income. The trend to meanness was worst in plush suburbs where everyone had a high income, and never laid eyes on a poor person. Insulation from people in need, Piff concluded, dampened charitable impulses.

    (Source: downlo, via stringsdafistmcgee)

  5. Oh hey #Boston #Massachusetts


  6. (Source: quickhits)


  7. "Pre-viability, a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion."
  8. humanrightswatch:

    US: Surveillance Reform Advances in the Senate

    The US Senate should move swiftly to approve a surveillance reform bill introduced on July 29, 2014, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, is a significant improvement over a companion bill that the US House of Representatives passed on May 22 and, if approved, has the potential to end bulk collection of phone records in the US.

    “The NSA’s large scale collection of phone metadata has deeply undermined the public’s trust in government and is doing serious harm to basic freedoms and democratic accountability in the US,” said Cynthia Wong, senior Internet researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Senate’s bill is a much-needed first step, and Congress should act quickly to approve it without letting it be diluted.”

    Read more.

    Photo: An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. Handout via Reuters

  9. nerdwallet:

    The darker green the state, the more money needed to be happy living there.  Find out more.

  11. theeconomist:

    Remembrance: A chart of the first world war’s casualties on the centenary of the outbreak

    (via bookoisseur)


  13. gaywrites:

    About 150 people celebrated Pride in Russia this past weekend at the Field of Mars park in St Petersburg — a small number with major significance. 

    Not only is Russia notoriously homophobic, but its Pride events face huge pushback from officials who mock and degrade them. City authorities denied activists a permit to hold this year’s parade, and instead recommended they hold the event in a landfill. 

    Yury Gavrikov, the chairman of Ravnopraviye (Equality), said the suggestions made by the authorities are a ‘classic’ example of their attitudes towards gays.

    Despite this opposition, the pride event held yesterday went without any major incidents.

    Queerussia.com reports the event was secured by police, and there were no violent outbursts or counter-groups protesting.

    Bravery and strength in the face of so much hatred. Russia’s LGBT community never ceases to amaze me. 

  15. breakingnews:

    NC to stop fighting challenges to marriage amendment

    WRAL: North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office would no longer oppose challenges to the state’s constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

    The announcement comes after a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution.

    Follow updates on Breaking News.

    Photo: North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (WRAL)