March 14, 2016

Odds and Ends: Supreme Court rules on private prison liability

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Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

—Private prison companies can be held liable for assaults by employees, including guards.

Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

That is after a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

At issue is Anthony Townes, a guard for Corrections Corporation of America, who is now in state prison as part of a 16-year sentence for raping four women inmates as well as false imprisonment.

For the full opinion, see here. For an explainer from New Mexico Attorney Trace Rabern, see the tweets below.

—Happy Pi Day.

On Pi Day (3/14), let’s relive the hoax that claimed Alabama changed the value of Pi from 3.14159 (and so on) to 3. It actually has its origins in New Mexico, per Snopes.

This wonderful bit of creative writing began circulating on the Internet in April 1998. Written by Mark Boslough as an April Fool’s parody on legislative and school board attacks on evolution in New Mexico, the author took real statements from New Mexican legislators and school board members supporting creationism and recast them into a fictional account detailing how Alabama legislators had passed a law calling for the value of pi to be set to the “Biblical value” of 3.0.

This brilliant piece of humor was originally posted to the newsgroup talk.origins on 1 April 1998 as well as sent to a list of New Mexican scientists and citizens interested in evolution and printed in the April issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter NMSR Reports. Its talk.origins poster followed up a day later with a full confession and explanation of the prank, thereby allowing others to share in the fun. One would have thought that would have been the end of it.

—Did you miss our stories from today?

—Finally, our editor Matthew Reichbach was on KSFR this afternoon; if you missed it, we will post the audio in the morning. He will also be on KSFR again tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. That’s 101.1 FM in Santa Fe or at ksfr.org if you’re at a computer.

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