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Archive for October, 2006

The Friday Fillip

I had a conversation recently with a young person who was in a state of wonder and scepticism about evolution and natural selection: how could mammals have come about, what about eyeballs, etc.? Now don’t worry: I’m not about to step in front of anyone’s religious bus; we don’t go there on Slaw. No, it’s just that, as I explained to him, one source of our puzzlement is that we can’t easily imagine the effects wrought by small changes taking place an immensely large number of times. What’s a billion? to paraphrase someone whom I can’t recall at the moment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


If any of you have ever visited Fredericton, NB you might be familiar with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Located across the street from the provincial legislature it is a small gallery of international repute. Over the past couple of years a dispute has arisen between the gallery and the heirs of the estate of Lord Beaverbrook – Sir Max Aitken. If you have spent any time in NB you are probably familar with the name, as much of the province is named after him. From buildings to parks, rinks and scholarships, you name it, there is a good . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

My Little Open Source Sandbox: OpenSourceCMS

I’m a neophyte in the Open Source world, so having a “sandbox” in which to play with various applications before committing to any is really what I need.

Voila! OpenSourceCMS fits the bill. It allows me to try out demo versions of all sorts of lesser-known blogs, wikis, portals (content management systems) and the like. I can play with applications the likes of WordPress, Drupal, Textpattern, Mambo and Papoo (I’ve never heard of Papoo, have you?), testing out the various features, trying to figure out what they do. The demo version on the site changes as I . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Citizendium Project

It appears there is a middle way between Encyclopdia Britannica and Wikipedia. Wikkipedia’s cofounder, Larry Sanger has launched a six-week pilot project that will combine citizen input with “expert” guidance according to the recent press release. Potential contributors can apply but it is by invitation only. There is a companion introductory essay to the press release as well, “Towards a New Compendium of Knowledge”.

All of which brings to mind one of the catchlines from the Rowan and Martin “Laughin” tv show: “put that in your Funk & Wagnalls!”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Translate a Word, Phrase or Document

Even though Canada is a bilingual country, few people in this law office are fluent in French and it just so happens that I’ve recently had a handful of lawyers desperately needing French documents translated. None of these lawyers were aware of there being translators available online. One lawyer had a 60 page pdf document and when I told him it would take only minutes to translate it using Altavista’s Babelfish, he didn’t believe me. He ran back to his office to email the document to me only after giving me strict instructions NOT to run it through the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

La Saine Administration de La Justice: Qu’en Est-Il? – Honorable Andre Wery, j.c.a.c.s.

J’ai assisté hier à l’excellente présentation du juge en chef adjoint André Wery qui avait lieu dans le cadre d’un diner-conférence de la section litige civil et assurance de l’ABC-Québec.

En débutant, le juge Wery a avisé les personnes présentes que sa conférence s’intitulerait plutôt “La justice civile du XXIe siècle” et comme si ce baptême en direct n’était pas suffisant pour que celles-ci s’accrochent à ses lèvres, ses premiers mots furent les suivants: “le système de justice civil québécois est désincarné”! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Thomson Announces Strategic Realignment of Operations

In addition to recently announcing its intention to sell the Thomson Learning businesses, Thomson Corp. also intends to realign its remaining operations. In an effort to carry out its long-term strategy of delivering mostly electronic products and services, it will reorganize its remaining operations into six Strategic Business Units: North American Legal, Financial, Scientific, International Legal and Regulatory, Tax and Accounting, and Healthcare. These six units will be supported by a corporate centre, and will eliminate the current market group structure (Legal and Regulatory, Learning, Financial, and Scientific and Healthcare). Thomson Corp. currently offers information products and solutions to healthcare, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario’s Law Reform Commission Gets Closer

Today’s the day the Law Society of Upper Canada (orse. Ontario) decides in Convocation whether to bestow money and approval on Attorney General Bryant’s proposal to resurrect the Law Reform CommissionThough there’s no specific mention of it in the agenda [pdf]; presumably it will come up under the Finance and Audit Committee’s report re the 2007 budget.

Apart from the advisability of bringing the province’s lawyers on side, Bryant wants to ensure that any new commission has non-governmental funding to make it more difficult for it to be axed in the future by a hostile government, at least according to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Fallout From the Khawaja Anti-Terrorism Law Ruling

As many people already know, Justice Douglas Rutherford of Ontario Superior Court has ruled that a section of Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation that seeks to define “terrorism” violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The ruling was in the case of Mohammad Momin Khawaja, who was arrested in 2004 in connection with an alleged terrorist plot in the United Kingdom.

The part of the law that was struck down deals with the motivational dimension of the definition of terrorism under the legislation. The part that was declared unconstitutional stated that a terrorist act was one carried out or planned out . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Same-Sex Rights Win in New Jersey

From the “syllabus” (headnote) of Lewis et. al. v. Harris, an opinion of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, decided today:

Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Firefox 2.0

Simon F. quite likely has it up and running, but I just saw that Mozilla yesterday released Firefox 2. I have yet to download and explore, but I hope to do so later this week. (A 3 year old child’s halloween costume takes priority at the moment, I’m afraid – and I should be, as it is to be “very, very scary”.) I do look forward to checking it out soon; Mozilla’s press release of yesterday reviews several features of the “major release”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous