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Folklaw 5 May 2006

Folklaw 5 May 2006

Eating for justicePrisons have been ideal locations in which to test the hypothesis that aggression and violence are triggered by poor nutrition. In the eighties, Bernard Gesch, a physiologist…

Eating for justice

Prisons have been ideal locations in which to test the hypothesis that aggression and violence are triggered by poor nutrition. In the eighties, Bernard Gesch, a physiologist at the University of Oxford, found that British prisoners who were fed vitamin supplements exhibited 37 per cent less violence.

Now, in a second study in Finland, violent criminals were found to have lower levels of omega’3 fatty acids than ordinary, healthy subjects. Apparently omega’3s foster the growth of neurons in the brain’s frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls impulsive behaviour.

In a recent double’blind trial, when omega’3s were given to people with a history of substance abuse, symptoms of anger fell by 50 percent.

It’s as Folklaw has always said. Instead of Bushell’s Driver Reviver, John West and Woolies should sponsor tuna and broccoli stations for road rage.

Round and round we go

It’s handy for this magazine to be informed, with pithily written press releases, about law firms’ achievements. After all, it takes the pressure off us having to make news up. But Folklaw was wondering just what a certain American law firm wanted the press to do with this release: “[Law firm] Publishes Article — How to Prove Damages and Ask for the Right Remedy.”

The article, goes the release, is written in a “professional yet comprehendible style and tone”, and “provides unique insight and guidance.” Folklaw wonders if the firm will now have to issue a further press release: “Lawyers Weekly publishes article about [Law firm] having written an article.” Would we then pick that up and write something about it? Where would this end?

Am I boring you?

It’s what every socially aspiring lawyer needs. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a high’tech boredom detector. The speaker, wearing a special camera and software that measures facial expressions and movements, gauges whether he has lost touch with a listener via signals from eyebrows, lips or nose. The device, originally designed for the autistic, would be useful to anyone for whom being interesting is a growth area. But, in an indication perhaps of the people skills of the IT personnel working on the detector, it’s accurate only 64 percent of the time, according to a March report in New Scientist.

Jackson jury notes on eBay

How come no one thought of this before? An ‘alternate’ juror (one not required to deliberate) in last year’s Michael Jackson child molestation trial sold his notebooks on eBay for US$2,550 ($3,400).

Alternate juror No. 2 is also known as Jeffrey Welbaum, a white 36’year’old male UPS truck driver with three kids. The buyer was a former aide of Jackson who, presumably, wanted to keep the content out of the public eye.

This is how Welbaum described his eBay item: “These are in good condition. I was alternate # 2 in the Michael Jackson Trial. I sat in the jury box for the duration of the trial. I have my original notes and badge and official certificate that says juror # 207 in the Michael Joe Jackson Trial signed by Judge Melville.”

Folklaw finds this extremely enterprising. Apparently Mr Jackson is only just managing to stave off bankruptcy; perhaps he can auction some courtroom memorabilia himself.

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