Category Archives: Uncategorized


I’m late in learning about this; it apparently went public  back in May, but doesn’t seem to have attracted much blogospheric notice.

Mark Davis, the proprietor of the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA), has made another corpus available via the same interface as COCA and COHA. This one’s a little bit bigger though.

155 billion words, 62 billion of them the 1980s-2000s.

Billion with a b.  Bill-yun.

Update: Apparently some of the features of the interface aren’t available yet.

Sherley v. Sebelius: What does “research” mean?

This is the second installment of my look at the recent court of appeals decision in Sherley v. Sebelius, the litigation over federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The first installment, which sets the stage, is here. And before I begin, let me repeat that I represent the Genetics Policy Institute as an amicus curiae in support of the government in the case, and that some of what I say here will be adapted from my brief.

I ended my last post by noting that one of the points of disagreement between the majority and the dissent was about whether the word research could be understood to denote a “discrete project.” The majority concluded that the word as used in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment could in fact be understood in that way—an understanding under which the focus is on the specific work for which funding is sought:

NIH funding decisions are forward-looking, requiring the NIH to “determine  whether what is proposed to be funded meets with its requirements.” Therefore, a grant application to support research that includes the derivation of stem cells would have to be rejected….The definition of research is flexible enough to describe either a discrete project or an extended process, but this flexibility only reinforces our conclusion that the text is ambiguous. [paragraph break deleted]

Continue reading