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Worldwide Governance Indicators

The World Bank has released the results of its ongoing examination of world governments along six dimensions: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. Government Matters 2007 offers you various ways to see the data. For instance, you can call up a graph that compares Canada and the United States. Initially I looked at Canada’s current values compared to two prior years and was scratching my head a bit about the less than perfect record for “political stability,” understanding that it was about Quebec but thinking . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Nasty Nosh Niche

Odd where hyperlinks will take you. Thanks to a piece in Slate on what to do about e-coli in the food supply, I wound up finding the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark LLP, which specializes in food poisoning cases — indeed the title on their home page declares it and the first paragraph of text claims that

Marler Clark is the nation’s foremost law firm with a practice dedicated to representing victims of food poisoning.

If you’d asked me this morning, I’d have said that the idea was a bit far-fetched, but there is indeed a niche for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

E-Grammar

I understand that strict adherence to good grammar is, in some circles, considered to be a slightly annoying trait. And I understand that e-mail is a rapid, off-the-cuff communications medium to which formal correspondence etiquette isn’t always expected to apply.

But I’m still rather aghast that I received two e-mails today that contained spelling errors in the subject line – one a professional press release (“Reserach Highlights”) and the other, believe it or not, a job application for an editorial position (“Piublication”).

A former boss of mine in the publishing industry once sent a company-wide e-mail with a subject line . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Your Weekend Sports Round-Up

I know we can count a number of sports fans among our readership, many of whom probably rely on today’s technology to help follow whatever game catches your fancy. The sports industry has been a leader in using the internet to get content out to its fans, and is also a leader in using technology to control the footage that does get out.

Last spring, for instance, the CBC began streaming its hockey playoff coverage online – but it was available only to fans watching from Canada. This follows a long-standing practice of the BBC to stream its soccer coverage . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Virtual Worlds Beyond Second Life

Second Life has received plenty of media coverage both here and elsewhere (for example, Simon’s post about a Canadian law firm opening up a virtual office). But there are a number of other virtual worlds out there where people congregrate to share their interest in everything from new music to Japanese animation.

For those of you with an interest in joining the “avatar age” (I haven’t taken the plunge yet myself), here’s a story with a list of some of the more popular sites. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Google Buys Jaiku

Google just bought Jaiku, “an activity stream and presence sharing service that works from the Web and mobile phones.” (See also Slaw’s Jaiku Your Feeds.) Robert Scoble opines that this is a good fit for Google, which, he says, plans to compete with Facebook. Watch out for November 5, he tells us. (Which also happens to be Guy Fawkes day…the Gunpowder Plot… but I digress.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Spires, Antennae and the Court of Arches

There’s an interesting report in the Times Online of a judgment by the Court of Arches. Presided over by the Right Honourable and Right Worshipful the Official Principal and Dean of the Arches, it is the ecclesiastical court for the Province of Canterbury (i.e. the south half of England). Seems that a church and a local telephone company wanted to install a base station and antennae for mobile phones in the church spire. At the trial level, the Court of Arches refused permission on the ground that

some of the material to be transmitted through the antennae was not

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

One Laptop Per Child

The long-running One Laptop Per Child program is about to bear fruit this fall when the XO laptop becomes available. Last week’s NY Times had an article summarizing all of the innovative features included in this rugged machine. The laptop that is now to cost $200, or twice the initial goal of keeping the cost under $100. It’s features, particularly its networking and collaboration capabilities, look really interesting.

In a new direction in their strategy, the program is asking for a donation of $400, which will provide the donor with their very own XO and provide a child with another. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Dealing With Conflicts of Interest

Presumably all Canadian Bar Association members received an email early this morning updating members on the work of the Task Force on Conflicts of Interest (Simon Chester is a consultant to the Task Force), which has just published a consultation paper “Practical Difficulties with Today’s Conflict of Interest Rules”. As the website notes, the paper “describes the current state of the conflicts requirements, reviews areas of particular concern, and asks a series of questions to find out what changes members of the legal profession feel may be necessary.”

Conflicts are an issue of growing importance. While large law firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Following Slaw on Twitter

We posted about Twitter back in January pretty much as soon as it came out (Some Folks Are A-Twitter). I was skeptical then, treating it more as a location device — where are you now, rather than what are you doing now — so the office and others could keep track of you. Connie got on to it a few months later (Jaiku Your Feeds), and again we gathered a few comments. It wasn’t going away. Two more posts in August (Twitter , Mr. Speaker, Bacn versus Spam) suggested some momentum. And now . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Thankful for Publishers Listening – Publisher RSS Feed Update

It has been a long time coming, so I must make a big deal that we are there! The majority of English Canadian legal publishers now have feeds for their new titles.

On October 3rd Thomson Carswell sent out the message that they now have RSS feeds available. It had been in the works for a while, but they wanted to ensure they did it right, not just for the one new titles use, but for other uses as well. They started with new academic print titles, and have now moved to new and upcoming titles. The feeds are available . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Turkey Day

As we sit down, in Canada, to honour the Great Turkey in the sky, and we recall Columbo’s place in the litany, let us not forget the distinction between the butterball turkey, the wild turkey and Wild Turkey, and let us intone, in unison, the immortal words of WKRP’s Athur Carlson:

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

For the play-by-play, listen to Les Nessman‘s “Not since the Hindenberg” (follow the Real Audio link). Video clips are no longer available on YouTube on account of copyright. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous