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Join the conversation! There are now 19 comments on this chapter's page 48. Faces and Working Memory. What are your thoughts?
  1. Lord Action says

    Is it just me, or does this whole section feel like a massive digression from the topic of law? Couldn’t a panel or two do it justice?

    • 1. Yes: It is a huge digression from the law. I would be surprised to find a single appeals court decision that brought up any of this stuff about the neuroscience of memory.
      2. No: one or two panels could not do it justice. To do the neuroscience of memory justice, you would need to study it like you were majoring in it.
      Nathan can’t tell us all to get degrees in psychology or neuroscience and then come back afterwards. He also can’t ignore all of this stuff and trust us to look up the stuff he omits on our own. This section is a compromise between the two impossible extremes.

    • I think one of the main reasons it feels like such a massive digression is that we’re reading it in real time as Nathan produces it, and his busy schedule limits how quickly he can churn out new pages. I have a feeling that, if we were to come back a year from now and read the complete criminal procedure webcomic from start to finish, this section wouldn’t seem like quite as much of a digression as it does now.

      • Yes, I have been inexcusably slow with this chapter. It’s taken a very long time to just put out this brief intro — which believe it or not is only going to be as long as the intro to the Fifth Amendment was. Which seems insanely shorter by comparison only because I cranked it out faster.

        This time dilation happened partly because I’ve been busy with work (always a good thing), partly because my wife went back to work and so I’m spending more of my remaining time with the kids than before (yay!), and partly because I was deep in a blank hole of depression for a few months earlier this year (Got better!).

        Also, I have been deliberately repetitive with a few things here. This stuff is so counterintuitive, so impossible to believe until it happens to you personally, that I’ve tried hitting the concepts from a few different angles to make them more familiar and reassuring and ultimately acceptable. Sure, I could have thrown out a single panel saying memory isn’t trustworthy and eyewitnesses are wrong as often as not… but how much better to provide the evidence for the unbelievable conclusion rather than hoping the audience blindly accepts the conclusion that’s been fed to them? Varied repetition is a valuable method of instruction, but it’s also time-consuming. I only hope it’s not boring everyone, and you’re all not just shouting:

        • I don’t understand why this stuff would be “unbelievable”.

          Maybe I’m just more sensitive to my mind’s failings than other people are to theirs’.

          I rely on external aids *a lot* (like the

          • …like the electromechanical clock reminding me it was midnight as I was typing my reply. So I left to take care of something, and when I came back, I forgot to finish the preceding sentence.

  2. Tim says

    Interesting stuff. I understand it takes time.
    That being said, any chance of civil procedure next?

    • Sorry, not doing Civ Pro next. I’m gearing up for Constitutional Law!

      Two reasons:

      1) Civil Procedure is for lawyers and law students. I write this comic for everyone else (my target audience is high school students and interested adults without legal training). Very few non-lawyers will ever need to know the ins and outs of in personam jurisdiction, or what Erie R.R. v. Tompkins stands for, no matter how fascinating it may be.

      2) Con Law is fucking fascinating. I can’t wait to finish this bit up and get started on that. Every hot-button issue of the day is a Constitutional Law issue. And most of us have no idea how any of it works. And most of the rest of us have some myths and skewed takes that mess with our understanding. I’ll probably alienate half my readers in the first chapters on what a constitution is, and what our constitution is supposed to do. I’ll probably alienate the other half in the following chapters on how the law works and doesn’t work and why. And I’ll enjoy myself immensely the whole time. Civ Pro doesn’t offer me any of that. I’ll get to it when I get to the other lawyer stuff like advanced crim pro and the like.

      • Constitutional law?

        You mean, like how the Constitution effectively says whatever the Supreme Court wants it to say?

        • That’s the fascinating thing. The constitution, which appears to be a writ of the values of the past is a living document that must be interpreted in the values of the present. As a Brit, watching the wranglings caused by the american legal systems tie to a single document mostly written that long ago is indeed fascinating.

        • Well, I would imagine it would be more along the lines of “what has the Supreme Court already said that the Constitution says”.

      • I agree 100% that Con Law is fascinating. However, I’m taking Civ Pro THIS semester. Con Law can wait until next year, if you ask me…

  3. Ryan says

    interestingly this is basically how computer face recognition works. except since computers can focus on a lot more things at once they aren’t limited to a few likely face variables.

  4. Janet Lewis says

    There is also something some people have called “Face Blindness” which means basically *everyone* looks alike, even people of your own race. People with this can have trouble recognizing even family members and close friends, let alone somebody they saw only once. What’s more, one doesn’t necessarily know that one has this problem if it has always been there from birth. I have this and I dread anyone asking if I recognize someone.

    If you’re having trouble recognizing people wearing masks due to the pandemic, then you get some idea of the world that people who are face-blind live in.

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