Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Blog on Complexity Models and the Law

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

There's a new entrant to the legal blogosphere - the Computational Legal Studies blog - run by Dan Katz and Michael Bommarito at the University of Michigan.  Katz and Bommarito are both Ph.D. candidates in political science; Katz already has his Masters in Public Policy and J.D. from Michigan.

The blog includes the following:

(1) Online Simulation where a user can diffuse ideas (at any level of infectiousness) upon the structure of the American Legal Academy.

(2) Zoomable Visualization of Campaign Contributions to the 110th Congress. Both the Senate and the House.

(3) Visualization of Hiring/Placement Network within the American Legal Academy

Dan Katz got in touch with me some time ago when I made a couple of forays into the matter of complexity.   When I was in tenth grade, I wrote an English paper that I recognize now (it's still in a box inPicture-19 the basement) as my adolescent effort at expressing a personal epistemology and moral philosophy.  My teacher, obviously completely bedazzed by the BS, said something like it reached the true simplicity that lies beyond complexity.  Well, when you look at the work Dan and Michael are doing, that's precisely the paradox you have to confront.  In other words, this stuff ain't easy (see image, right).   My simple-minded question is whether there are simple universals about complexity that you can draw from the work.  And that's enough to give somebody a headache early in the morning.  

As a thirty-year holder of University of Michigan football tickets, and the parent of an about-to-graduate Michigan senior who is most likely going on to be a student at the Medical School, I'll be in Ann Arbor a few times over the next couple years, and I've challenged Dan to explain this stuff to me in short sentences consisting of words with three syllables or fewer.

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