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Very Short Introductions

Oxford University Press has a line of small books — each somewhere around 150 pages in length — known collectively as “Very Short Introductions” and, well, introducing you to 173 subjects, such as Engels, Atheism, Feminism, American Political Parties and Elections. (The list is so eclectic that it can’t really generate a representative sample.)

These are serious books — hardly Wittgenstein for Dolts — typically written by noted academics or other experts. They are also books that have little to do with Slaw’s usual beat, I admit. At a stretch I could point out . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous

Dumpr.net Is One Cool Tool

I came across a great web-tool this morning via Stephen Abram called Dumpr. You can pick one of several free effects, upload your existing images, and then Dumpr creates a new composite image. For anyone in a rush to put together a graphic for a blog or a newsletter, this could be very helpful.

I’ve mangled my company logo for a couple of examples below:

. . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Law and the Semantic Web

One of the things that surprised me when I started working with law firms is that most firms and most tech people ask one question repeatedly that seems to stifle innovation and the development of new concepts and ideas. When presented with something new, most ask: “which other law firm is doing this?’ While this makes some sense and provides a way of weeding out wacky ideas with no traction, it also limits innovation and creativity. What about ideas emanating from other professional service firms? Other service firms? From industry in general?

Take for example the semantic web:

  • “…
. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Civil Justice Reform Report

The Civil Justice Reform Project in Ontario, chaired by Coulter Osborne issued a Summary of Findings and Recommendations today. The Report is posted on the Attorney General’s website, available in both French and English. This Summary is a seminal report which will be studied closely across the country. Mr. Osborne is expected to deliver his full report later this year. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Curehunter: Visual Medical Dictionary

Curehunter, the “visual medical dictionary,” is worth your taking a look at for at least a couple of reasons: it’s likely that some people in your firm have a practice that touches upon medical affairs one way or another; and as information presentation fans — we are, aren’t we? — we should, once again, pay homage to the interesting technological efforts of a sister profession.

The visual dictionary (don’t think pictures of diseases; unlike this visual dictionary, Curehunter is more a graphic display of words dictionary) presents you with three columns and a search box. Enter . . . [more]

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

Yahoo! Pipes Article

For those of you interested in playing with Yahoo! Pipes, the article “Mashing up multiple web feeds using Yahoo! Pipes” (Computers in Libraries – November/December 2007 issue, subscription required) discusses all the great things you can do with Yahoo! Pipes (one of my favorite examples: LegalPubs.ca by Steve Matthews) and its drawbacks. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Daisy, Daisy: A Scottish Ayr

This was supposed to be my Monday posting. Oh, well. 

You’ll have to follow the bouncing ball, a bit. Humour me.

First, open this YouTube link.

There is a legal connection (here, here and for Canadian content here), even though it’s not Friday. Or April 1.

More from Edinburgh on the subject

And, of course, a Queenly take

As an acquaintance wrote, elsewhere:

“Maybe this guy is a very literal-minded Billy Connolly fan . . . A year ago this week we heard him joke about ridiculously skinny supermodels: “Having sex with one of them

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Rate of Incarceration Increases

Statistics Canada reported today that that rate of incarceration in Canada increased for the first time in more than a decade in 2005/2006.

The rate moved from 107 to 110 prisoners per 100,000 population.

“Canada’s incarceration rate tends to be higher than most western European countries, yet far lower than that of the United States. For instance, Sweden posted an incarceration rate of 82 and France a rate of 85 per 100,000 population in 2005/2006. By comparison, the incarceration rate in England and Wales was 148, and in the United States the adult rate stood at 738 (the United States

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Roundtable on Restitution

This from Eoin O’Dell, Fellow, Senior Lecturer and Director of Research at the School of Law, Trinity College, Dublin:

On 14 December 2007 the Frances Lewis Law Center, of the School of Law, University of Washington and Lee, Lexington, Virginia [where Professor O’Dell is currently a Visiting Professor] will host a Roundtable on Restitution and Unjust Enrichment in North America.

Full details are available on the Restitution Roundtable website.

They are eager to get as much Canadian involvement as possible. John McCamus, Tony Duggan and Jason Neyers are scheduled to speak. And if that’s not enough to tempt . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Law and Cultural Cognition

Some time back I noted briefly that there’d been a conference at Berkeley on law and the emotions. Shortly afterwards I got an email from Dan Kahan, one of the academics involved, pointing me to work done by him and his colleagues on the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School. To quote from the Project’s own description:

The Cultural Cognition Project is a group of scholars from Yale and other universities interested in studying how cultural values shape the public’s risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous

Law Firms and Linux?

As I was browsing the Backbone magazine that came with my Globe and Mail last week, I came across an article listing 10 tech-related pre-New Year resolutions (yes, it’s almost that time of year again…).

One of those resolutions (scroll down to #8) is to try running the open-source Linux operating system on your desktop PC. And before you ask, “Why would I ever want to do that”, they add that Whitelaw Twining, a medium-sized Vancouver law firm, has managed to reduce their hardware costs by 20% and their software maintenance costs by 30% after switching to Linux.

I have . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

British Universities Shed Books

Universities dispose of more than 1.8 million books and journals a year, according to official figures… Statistics obtained by The Times Higher [Education Supplement] show that 36 institutions got rid of more books and printed volumes than they acquired.

Seems it has to do with the need to create space for e-learning environments, or so the claim goes. In aggregate, however, libraries acquired more print materials than they “decomissioned,” some 2.8 million volumes in 2005-2006. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information