Re: What everybody ought to know about Baze v Rees (redux)

Interesting post. I'd like to comment on only one narrow aspect of it: the citation of Scalia's comment that the standard is 'cruel and unusual' rather than 'painless.' As you said (quire rightly, I think), 'cruel and unusual' carries some cultural connotation; it's meaning has certainly changed with time. Moreover, the words by themselves are somewhat vacuous - there isn't really much content in that concept to help the judicial system with figuring out some guidelines regarding methods of execution. But if we are going to have some guidelines (we must!), then we - well, the judicial system - must give those vacuous words some content. I am not here going to suggest an argument for one method or another (though I happen to agree that if there is a less painful method, why not use it?), I simply want to make the point that in excluding certain notions (e.g., pain), Justice Scalia has already begun to give some content to the otherwise vacuous phrase. In excluding some content, he is already committed to the idea of delineating the content of the phrase 'cruel and unusual.' If he is thus committed to the idea of delineating some content for the phrase, what does he suggest?

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • There are 2 different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.
  • One is a morality/order approach. The other is a bottom-up approach.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright says there are many benefits to having no one central authority on what is appropriate speech.

Is there an optimal time of day to exercise?

Two new studies say yes. Unfortunately, each claims a different time.

Bronx, N.Y.: NYPD officer Julissa Camacho works out at the 44th precinct gym in the Bronx, New York on April 3, 2019. (Photo by Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday via Getty Images)
Surprising Science
  • Research at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences declares evening to be the best time for an exercise session.
  • Not so fast, says a new study at UC Irvine, which replies that late morning is the optimal workout time.
  • Both studies involved mice on treadmills and measured different markers to produce their results.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
  • Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
  • Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.