Rees Morrison’s Morsels #161: posts longa, morsels breva

More law department sales. Vendors, let me know of your successes. I still hope to announce license arrangements. So, to prime the pump, note that LexisNexis CounselLink was chosen by Fannie Mae and Hawaiian Electric, according to Met. Corp. Counsel, Nov. 2011 at 41.

Arguments by analogy are fallacies. “Almost any analogy between any two things contains some grain of truth, but one cannot tell what that is until one has an independent explanation for what is analogous to what, and why.” David Deutsch elaborates on this point in The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World (Viking 2011) at 371. A well-run law department is a sewing machine requires the reader to step back and know all kinds of fundamentals about both sides of that analogic metaphor (See my post of Oct. 12, 2010: the fundamental cognitive function of metaphors.).

Eigenvectors and matrix mathematics. A matrix would be a table of the five law firms you paid the most during the past five years. The first column names the firm and the five columns to the right give for each year the ranking of the firm, where a 1 means it was paid the most that year, a 2 the second most, and so on. The 5X5 table is a matrix and mathematical tools can calculate the “score” of each firm. That score is the so-called “first-rank” eigenvector. Eigenvectors are useful for sophisticated mathematical functions, we learn from John D. Barrow, 100 Essential Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know: Math Explains Your World (Norton 2008) at 223-24, who gives an example of a matrix (See my post of Oct. 29, 2011: matrices.).

Strange attractors in phase space. Those who research complexity and chaos have discovered that many systems, while outwardly appearing disordered and chaotic, in fact can disclose underlying order. The orderly portions, referred to as “strange attractors,” occur in what researchers call “phase space, a space in which all possible states of the system are represented. These ideas come from Olivia Parr Rud, Business Intelligence Success Factors (Wiley 2009) at 34. Strange attractors create order from turbulence and can be described by a few simple mathematical equations. All of this esoteric stuff creates a metaphor for forces that bring about effective in order in law departments (See my post of Nov. 8, 2010: chaos theory as metaphor.).

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