Self Improvement


The Supreme Court has exclusive discretion over its caseload and hears about a hundred cases per term, which begins on the first Monday of October and ends in late June. 

It receives about 7000 review requests over decisions each year, called certiorari requests, which at least four justices go through.

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Self Improvement

The Supreme Court Of The United States

The Supreme Court Of The United States is the final expositor(an entity explaining complicated ideas or theories) of the U.S. Constitution and also the final court of appeal.

It was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and formally established after the Judiciary act of 1789. It serves mostly as an appellate court, where decisions are sent for appeal, hoping for a reversal.

The decision-making process is first made in secret voting, and then the official decision is issued.

  • If the voting is in favour of the Chief Justice, the justice who will issue the official decision is chosen by him/her.
  • If the Chief Justice is in the minority, the longest-serving member of the majority will create the official decision.
  • The Supreme Court comprised six justices till 1807, after which they were increased gradually, amounting to ten in 1863.
  • Appointments to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts are made by the President along with the Senate.
  • These appointments are made for life terms, and there has been only one case of impeachment till now, which also resulted in an acquittal.
  • As the volume of cases increased, nine intermediate appellate courts having final authority over appeals were added.

Executive administrative and judicial actions by the Congress and the State are subject to be reviewed by the court, through the process of judicial review. The Supreme Court has nullified state laws and regulations that were unconstitutional or discriminatory.

There are various clauses and amendments, like the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment that have been used to protect people and companies against repressive or draconian acts of the government.

  • My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999) is a tale that starts as a family comedy but then turns into surreal territory.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (2003) A 13-year-old witch, Kiki, hops on her broomstick with her cat to offer her witchy services to the citizens of a town. Things don't go as planned, and Kiki learns from her mistakes.
  • Princess Monoke (1997) was Ghibli's most successful movie before Spirited Away. A young prince is caught between the ecologically greedy inhabitants of an industrial town intent on clearing a huge forest to mine for iron, and the diverse spirits who live in the threatened woods.
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is about a poor couple who find a tiny girl growing inside a bamboo shoot.
  • The Cat Returns (2002) is a fantasy story about a young girl who can talk to cats. After she saves an apparent street cat, she gets inducted into the world of the Cat Kingdom.
  • Ponyo (2008) is the name of a goldfish found by a young boy, but in reality, she is one of many shape-shifting siblings who live in an underwater community.
  • Porco Rosso (1992) is an Italian WWI flying expert who by a curse changed into a humanoid pig. Now he is working as a bounty hunter battling sky pirates over the Adriatic.
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988) tells of Seita and his younger sister fighting to survive in Japan at the end of WWII. Their mother died in a bombing raid, and their father is fighting in the Japanese Navy, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
  • The Wind Rises (2013) tells a fictionalised life story of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi Zero that formed the basis of Japan's aerial might in WWII.
Studio Ghibli movies

Japan is famous for its animated movies. Ghibli, meaning "desert wind" in Libyan, is one of a kind, and its beautiful painted visions set the stage for many more subsequent movies.

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and have produced 21 movies to date. Those who have seen the films love them with all their heart.

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) takes place in a post-apocalyptic future with gigantic marauding insects. A young woman hopes to find a way for humans to co-exist with mutated insect creatures in the jungle.
  • Laputa: Castle In The Sky (1986) is an adventure with an aerial city, sky pirates, airships, giant old steampunk robots, and a quest by two young heroes to protect a magic crystal.

This movie has often introduced people to Ghibli. It won the best-animated feature trophy at the 2003 Academy Awards.

The story is of a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, who moves with her parents to a new home. When her father takes a shortcut, she ends up lost and alone in the spirit world and has to navigate a landscape to save her parents.

  • Whisper of the Heart (1995) is a story about a bookish girl, Shizuku, who finds that all the books she borrows from the library have been checked out by a boy, and she sets out to find him.
  • Only Yesterday (1991) is about a 27-year-old woman recollecting her life and the choices she's made.
  • From up on Poppy Hill (2011) is the recurring Ghibli theme of supposed progress replacing tradition. Two young people fight to save a school clubhouse from demolition.
  • My Neighbour Totoro (1988) is the tale of two young girls and their father who move to a new country home near the hospital where their mother is recovering. They meet Totoro and his friends.
  • Pom Poko (1994) has a strong environmental message. A tribe of raccoons have to deal with their differences to stop developers from destroying their wooded hillside.
  • When Marnie was There (2014) is based on Joan G Robinson's 1967 novel about a 12-year-old girl who starts a friendship with Marnie, who is not all she seems.
  • Arrietty (2010) is based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers (1952).
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006) is loosely based on Ursula K Le Guin's quartet of novels.
  • Howl's Moving Castle (2004) is loosely based on the 1986 Diana Wynne Jones novel and features a strong anti-war message.

Being kind to the mind depends on understanding how our minds work.

For example, studies show that people often overestimate how transparent they appear to others. In one study, participants induced to lie overestimated the extent to which others could tell they were lying.

Being kind to our minds

Our cognitive resources are one of the most valuable individual and collective assets we possess.

Cognitive kindness is extending a generosity of spirit toward others' minds and one's own mind. It starts from valuing our individual and collective cognitive abilities - to reason, to understand, to imagine, create, dream, enact.

  • Broadcast your intentions. Even if we think our intentions are apparent to others, they may not be.
  • Broadcast or even exaggerate your interest. If you are attending a presentation that you're very interested in, exaggerate your interest by leaning forward, nodding your head, and making eye contact.
  • Find other ways you can overcome the illusion of transparency with the goal of making another's thinking easier.

The emotion we feel when we see a fire is the same feeling we have when we need to have a difficult conversation - it keeps us safe.

We will never stop being scared in this world. Fear doesn't make you weak. But if we give fear power in our lives, it can stop us from doing what we're supposed to do, say what we're supposed to say, and be who we're supposed to be.

Being an authentic person means having specific opinions and values, and people who have different values will not like what you say or do.

To overcome the fear of being your authentic self:

  • Show that excellence is not tied to external packaging.
  • Bring yourself to work, then be excellent.
  • Show that your work is going to bring value, even with blue hair or braids.

We can create monsters of our fears in our heads.

  • We have to stop giving fear power. We do that by saying, "I'm afraid, but I'm going to do it anyway."
  • Saying your fears out loud or writing them down helps - you see how small the fear really is.
  • We can decide always to do the thing we feel compelled to do, even if we feel scared about it.

When you have to do something difficult, ask yourself these questions to determine if you're impulsive or need to speak up.

  • Do I really mean it, or do I just want to hear my own voice?
  • Can I defend it if I'm challenged on it?
  • Can I say it thoughtfully?
Fear is the default for many people

Fears can keep us safe throughout our lives. We lock our doors at night and check for ticks after a hike. But fears can also hold us back - especially at work. We may wonder which valuable ideas got left behind because we couldn't find the courage to speak up.

There is nothing wrong with being afraid, but fear should not rule us.

At the forefront of modern-day clowns are Joseph Grimaldi and Jean-Gaspard Deburau who excelled at making people laugh, but in real life, Grimaldi died as a penniless alcoholic and Deburau murdered a boy in the street.

They were not unusual. John Wayne Gacy, a professional clown, turned out to be a notorious serial killer. He used to say "A clown can get away with anything." Since then, the perception of the clown seems to have taken a turn.

People may also feel uncomfortable with clowns because the painted-on and exaggerated face pose a false expression, and that breeds distrust.

Sigmund Freud called this disconnect "uncanny". This "uncanny valley" is something computer animators and robot creators have difficulty with.

How clowns are perceived

When some people think of clowns, they picture brightly coloured hair, big smiles, and lots of laughs.

Others find clowns creepy with evil intentions hiding behind a cheerful, gruesome mask. The intense fear of clowns is called coulrophobia.

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