n. Tackling a particularly messy, and probably impossible, problem.
How do you measure happiness, anyway? Happiness, like pain, has a threshold that varies from person to person. Defining it is about as easy as nailing jelly to a tree.
He presents his data not merely to confirm the occasional altruism of these organizations but as partial confirmation of the hypothesis of the great theoretical sociologist Max Weber, who observed in the evolution of Western society a process of rationalization manifested in, among other ways, the direction of law reform. . . . Weber's hypothesis might thus be viewed as a more rigorous kin to Thomas Carlyle's dictum that the arc of history is long but points toward justice. An effort to quantify such a cosmic trend has some of the aspects of "nailing jelly to a tree."