Dr. Ronald B. Standler
my professional website
my essays at my personal website
Who is Dr. Standler?
By way of introduction, here is a terse synopsis of my career:
On a personal note, my principal hobbies are writing parodies or satires, and
arranging baroque or classical keyboard music for small wind/string ensembles.
I also spend hundreds of hours each year writing and revising
essays at my websites.
- programmed computers since 1968
(mostly numerical models of physical phenomena,
automatic collection of data from scientific instruments,
statistical analysis of data, and
design of numerical algorithms),
- earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1977,
- was a professor of electrical engineering for ten years,
- designed electronic circuits and instrumentation 1973-1989,
- wrote more than 35 archival technical papers and one book,
- consulted to litigators since 1981 on scientific evidence,
- and — since December 1998 — is an
attorney in Massachusetts, who concentrates in copyright law and
academic issues in higher-education law.
I also consult nationwide with litigators
on scientific evidence in torts involving technology.
go to my professional website
If you are seeking either my essays on:
or information on my services as an
attorney or consultant, then please
go to my professional website.
My curriculum vitae
gives full details of my credentials,
including a bibliography of my publications.
How to contact me.
I have organized my essays at my personal website into sections:
- miscellaneous (e.g., favorite links,
computer hardware and software)
- politics and law
- legal history
- subhomepage: history and photographs of old buildings
in northeastern USA
terms of service
I have posted my essays and webpages here for people to enjoy,
but for neither copying nor distribution.
It is a violation of copyright law to make or to distribute
copies of any material here without my written permission.
Terms of Service
My disclaimer for errors and disclosure
that I have no financial interest in any suggestions or links that I make in
1. Miscellaneous Essays
My annotated list of my favorite bookstores and sources for sheet music,
links to information about my favorite baroque and classical instrumental music,
my collections of links to my favorite websites, and
my comments and suggestions on computers and software that use Microsoft Windows.
My favorite software and hardware for the Apple
Mac OS 9, with emphasis on
wordprocessing, music notation software, and utility programs.
I have a separate webpage on Apple OS X.
My hints for writing webpages in HTML.
Some personal recollections on the
history of computers and computing since 1968.
My personal testimonial about Prof. Mario Iona, who greatly influenced me
during 1967-71, and my memory of him continues to inspire me.
People who live in northern climates often complain about snow in winter.
I posted a webpage about the snow in Concord, New Hampshire
during Dec 2007 to April 2008.
My subhomepage with links to my webpages about
especially for old buildings in the northeastern USA.
I hope that my photographs preserve some history
and that my webpages inform people of some historical details.
2. Essays/Handouts on Education
My essay about creativity
in science and engineering, with emphasis on personality attributes
in highly creative people, and suggestions for education and
management of creative people.
In 1988, I wrote a discussion of essential
that are needed by physics and electrical engineering students,
as a guide to the development of curriculum in mathematics departments
in high schools, two-year colleges, and four-year colleges.
My handout, Technical Writing,
contains style that physicists and electrical engineers
need to know (e.g., use of numbers in sentences, scientific units,
equations in text) for technical writing.
This handout also includes general material that all writers need to know
(e.g., common misuse of words in American English,
use of hyphens). I wrote the first draft of this handout in 1978,
when my engineering students needed help with writing style.
I have also posted
More About Writing
that contains links to other websites on writing style,
my recommendation of books about grammar and style,
some comments on differences between American and British English,
the use of the subjunctive mood in English, and other topics.
My essay on
Technical Babble discusses the misuse
of scientific or engineering terms by laymen, with examples from
judicial opinions in the USA.
My terse guide to legal research, format of citations, and style in
legal writing in the USA.
As a resource for students and professors, I have posted at my professional website
my collection of
legal resources in the USA.
My brief essay on Why Attend College?
in which I urge broader goals than merely acquiring vocational skills or
increasing one's earning potential. Earlier, I wrote a separate essay
on the value of a liberal arts education
for someone intending to earn a doctoral degree in science.
I have also posted lessons that I learned
from experience, as advice for students.
Evaluating Credibility of Information on the Internet,
discusses how readers can make their own evaluation of credibility of
sources of information, instead of blindly relying on peer review, or
instead of ignoring non-peer-reviewed sources.
As a resource for journalism students and law students,
I have posted at my professional website
examples of prejudicial pretrial publicity in newspapers for both
(1) the 1954 trial of
Sam Sheppard and
(2) the arrest in 2004 of
who kidnapped, raped, and murdered a girl in Florida.
These two sets of examples support my long, technical legal essay
Pretrial Publicity Prevents a Fair Trial in the USA.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. Government gave generous financial
support to physics professors for scientific research and encouraged young
people to become scientists and engineers. However, during the 1970s and
1980s, the U.S. Government annihilated research funding in physics and
electrical engineering, leaving many scientists and engineers
unemployed. I have posted an essay
that sketches the history of funding for science and
suggests reasons for the drastic change in U.S. Government policy.
I have posted two provocative essays, one suggesting that the
recession of 2009
is partly caused by the lack of funding for scientific research, the other explaining reasons
for colleges' financial problems
in the USA.
In considering many examples of criminal or unethical conduct by
educated people and their subsequent specious excuses, I wondered if
more education makes people less moral.
My essay on morality reviews some examples, discusses
the issues, and concludes that education has no effect on moral behavior.
In particular, I am skeptical that teaching ethics will affect behavior.
My essay on propaganda and how to recognize it.
My terse essay on what is history and why history is important.
My tutorial on photography, including a comparison
of film and digital photography, and a list of links to other websites.
My collection of interesting meteorological surface pressure
maps, showing intense pressure gradients.
3. Essays on Politics and Law
During the security hysteria after 11 Sep 2001, I wrote a brief essay on
the Value of Dissent in a democracy.
In September 2005, during the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts
to the U.S. Supreme Court, I wrote an essay,
Is "Judicial Activism" Bad?, that argues
that interpreting the U.S. Constitution according to the original meaning
of its authors in the year 1790 is undesirable.
My brief essay on How to
Select a Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court
reviews some history and gives my opinion.
Syrian civil war
There has been a civil war in Syria since March 2011 that diplomats have
been unable to stop. On 8 Sep 2013, I decided to collect and preserve
some of the historical details of the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and
the futile peace negotiations:
To assist students, I have uploaded copies of some public domain (noncopyrighted)
documents on the Syrian civil war to my website.
- President Assad of Syria is alleged to have used chemical weapons on his citizens
on 21 Aug 2013, during the Syrian civil war.
During 24 Aug to 9 Sep 2013, U.S. President Obama
threatened military strikes on Syria to punish Assad,
but on 31 Aug Obama decided to seek a vote in the U.S. Congress,
and on 10 Sep Obama abandoned Congressional approval of military strikes
in favor of international diplomacy.
The diplomacy resulted in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118.
This history is discussed in my
first essay on Syria, which
contains 190 links to news stories and documents,
and 62 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
- My second essay about Syria
covers both removal of chemical weapons and futile peace negotiations
from 6 Oct 2013 to 31 Dec 2013.
Contains more than 495 links to news stories and documents,
and 129 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
- My third essay on Syria
covers January 2014, and chronicles the history of
removal of 4% of chemical weapons from Syria,
the war against ISIL by rebels/jihadists,
the United Nations conference in Montreux on 22 Jan 2014,
the negotiations in Geneva on 24-31 Jan 2014,
the failure to implement the agreement of 26 Jan to deliver food to Homs, and
the reasons for failure of Geneva2 negotiations.
Contains more than 315 links to news stories and documents,
and 89 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
- My fourth essay on Syria
covers February 2014, and chronicles the history of
removal of 26% of chemical weapons from Syria,
humanitarian relief in Homs (e.g., evacuation of civilians, delivery of food)
during 7-12 Feb,
the negotiations in Geneva on 10-15 Feb 2014,
the reasons for failure of Geneva2 negotiations,
a truce in six Syrian towns without U.N. involvement,
and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2139.
Contains more than 270 links to news stories and documents,
and 101 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
My fifth essay on Syria
covers March 2014, and chronicles the history of
removal of 49% of chemical weapons from Syria,
failure to resume negotiations in Geneva,
the failure of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2139,
and recognition that Assad seems to be winning the Syrian civil war.
Contains more than 185 links to news stories and documents,
and 59 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
- Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012
- Framework of 14 Sep 2013, Lavrov/Kerry agreement
- U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, 27 Sep 2013
- U.N. Security Council Presidential Statement 2013/15, 2 Oct 2013
- Communiqué of London-11 on 22 Oct 2013
- OPCW original schedule destruction of chemical weapons, 15 Nov 2013
- Proposal of Syrian National Coalition on 12 Feb 2014
- U.N. Security Council Resolution 2139, 22 Feb 2014
- Secretary General Ban's Report on 24 Mar 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139
4. Essays on Legal History
As a resource for students, and other people interested in legal history, as well as
citizens who want to understand how government really works,
I have posted:
- Quotations from Judge Wright finding Bill Clinton
in contempt in Jones v. Clinton, 36 F.Supp.2d 1118 (E.D.Ark. 1999),
and Bill Clinton's subsequent suspension from the practice of law in
- A collection of links
to the Whitewater investigation, the Jones v. Clinton case,
and the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
- A history of the Oct 2005 nomination of
to the U.S. Supreme Court, as a case study in how not to
select a nominee.
- A history of the confirmation of
Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- HTML version of Alito's memorandum
to the Solicitor General about Thornburgh,
a case at the U.S. Supreme Court
involving a state statute on restrictions on abortion.
- My history of the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor
to the U.S. Supreme Court contains a detailed discussion of:
and collects quotations of contemporary commentary.
My discussion of Sotomayor's confirmation
by the U.S. Senate (13 July to 6 August 2009) is in a separate document.
My confirmation essay includes an explanation of why judges are not charged
with perjury for testimony at their confirmation hearings.
These two documents total 280 pages and have 320 links
to newspaper articles, blogs, government documents, and webpages.
- the legal requirement that every judge be impartial — quotes the judicial oath,
federal statute, and U.S. Supreme Court cases that hold that an impartial judge is a
constitutional requirement of due process, and quotes the federal judicial code of conduct;
- the selection process, which is purely political and not based on objective merit;
- her statements that a "wise Latina" would be a better judge than a white male;
- how and why she was nominated by President Obama;
- her membership in the Belizean Grove, an all-female organization;
- Nicely formatted, printable Adobe PDF version of Ricci v. DeStefano,
a case in which Judge Sotomayor was a member of a three-judge panel that
wrote an inadequate appellate opinion. I have included the pagination from West's Reporters.
- My history of the nomination of Elena Kagan
to the U.S. Supreme Court.
During August-September 2007, I wrote my essays on FISA,
the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the history of the PATRIOT Act, and
began my essay on modifications to the FISA statute.
In 2007, I hoped these essays would attract paying work as an attorney.
However, I have never had any paying work in either surveillance law or privacy law.
As a self-employed attorney and consultant, I can not afford to do many hundreds
of hours of legal research in areas of law that are not income producing.
Consequently, I turned my attention to other areas of law
where I have paying clients who appreciate my advocacy.
That is why I have neither updated nor revised my essays on surveillance law.
- My terse history of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001,
explaining why Congress hastily passed this unconstitutional Act in Oct 2001,
including quotations from senators and newspapers to capture the mood at that time, and
including links to other websites.
- My technical legal essay on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
in the USA.
- A history of attempts to modify
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act after July 2007,
including the hasty "Protect America Act of 2007" and the
"FISA Amendments Act of 2008".
This essay chronicles how Americans lost some privacy rights.
- A history of the illegal Terrorist Surveillance Program
in the USA during the years 2002-2006, including quotations and links.
In May 2013, Edward Snowden disclosed classified information on
illegal surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency
of telephone calls by U.S. citizens.
While some people were outraged, both the U.S. Congress
and the U.S. Attorney General failed to stop
the unlawful surveillance by the Government.
I have posted my essays and humor here for people to enjoy,
but for neither copying nor distribution.
It is a violation of copyright law to make, or to distribute,
copies of any material here without my written permission.
Terms of Service
My annotation of Der Froschkönig,
a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, to show the underlying
lesson in law. There are both serious and
humorous points in my annotation. There is another fairy tale about
The Elves and the Shoemaker, to which I have
added an algebra problem. <giggle>
Here is my parody
of the Millennium celebrations planned for 1 Jan 2000.
Thinking of attending school for a year to earn a MBA degree?
Save your time and money instead, read my two pages of
Rules of Management!
My favorite Christmas card was drawn by
Sandra Boynton in 1980.
My favorite comic strips
in American newspapers.
Formal writing by attorneys is often pompous and pretentious, which makes
an attractive target for parodies and satires. <grin>
Here are some of my legal parodies:
- An agreement between the Easter Bunny and me
for the distribution of candy to women in blighted areas, such as the
- The Statute of Trolls, which regulates the
placement of Trolls beneath bridges, complete with annotations to
court cases and a legislative history.
Copyright 1997-2014 by Ronald B. Standler
This document is at
first posted 5 Jan 1997, revised 1 April 2014
Terms of Service
How to contact Dr. Standler.