Legal Origins of Terms (good /. comment re: Anglos and Saxon)

I used to read /. a lot.  Waaay too much when I was doing some admin work for a marketing company.  I would do some fairly intensive (for the day) information joins which left me with lots of time to surf the net and read good comment threads.  BTW, Credit Card Companies have every piece of data on every thing you’ve ever bought in your life.  They crunch this data and sell it to people…who then use it to sell you more stuff.  Just a quick, FYI.  And it’s more a science than an art.   So in my spare time, as the numbers were crunching, I would do “technology research” by reading /. threads (which does, to be honest, cover a lot of technology stuff).

/. is famous, and infamous, for some wide-ranging comment threads.  It is really the birth of a well-designed comment system.  And by that I mean one that maximizes the ability for anonymous speech (a very big concern in computer security and other sensitive industries) while maintaining the ability to promote good speech and keep the trolls and chatter at bay.  This is not such an easy thing to do, as many have found when they wonder into an anonymous, unmoderated, forum (4chan B, I’m looking at you…and wincing NOTE: DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK FROM WORK.  IT IS *ONE* (of many) OF THE EASILY AVAILABLE INTERNET CESSPOOLS.  IF YOU CLICK ON THAT LINK FROM WORK AT A REPUTABLE COMPANY **ALARMS** WILL SOUND).  Anonymous human interactions can become very nasty things, very quickly.

There is a lesson here on human nature.  An important one. When no one is watching and no one knows who we are, our range of acceptable action increases dramatically.  Watch me play Fallout 3 for another example.

Or go online and play some FPS’s against sexually frustrated teenagers…

With no coherent system of enforceable rules, chaos reigns supreme.  All tit and no tat makes Homer go something something.

This aspect of the human condition (i.e. that some all of us are assholes, sometimes) is a big part of why we ended up having to have series of laws and guidelines in order to function as a society.

Which brings us to the bit of trivia that inspired the post.

Two of the great western powers of the pre-Obama era (hehe) were the Normans and the Saxons.  They came together on some island east of here and had to figure out how to get along.  As some of them spoke ye Olde Englishe and the others spoke French they had to make sure the laws they wrote could be understood by all.

Which brings us to the reason why we have some of the following terms that show up so much in the legal system…

If the door’s unlocked, it’s hardly “breaking in,” is it?

Yes it is.

The “Breaking” part of “Breaking & Entering” refers to breaking the plane of entry, not physically damaging anything.

“Breaking” is not actually a separate action from “Entering”. The reason they are used together is for clarity…one word derives from Old English, and the other word derives from French. Writing laws this way was useful when the Normans and Saxons were trying to cohabitate on the same island.

There are many legal terms constructed the same way:
Null and void
Cease and desist
Last Will and Testament
Aid and Abet
Goods and Chattels
Terms and Conditions

What I always thought was a simple tool of repetitive emphasis, turns out to be bilingual communication.

This comment is, of course, from a /. article on how to “root” (gain complete control of) Android (Linux)-based cell phones. The G1 to be specific.

And that’s why I liked reading those threads.   Now let’s go check on those queries…

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