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Archive for November, 2007

Universal Human Rights Index

The U.N. has a Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents that lets you search the database by country, the right in question (e.g. “acceptance of international norms” “right to life”) and by the relevant Treaty Body (e.g. Committee on Migrant Workers, Committee on the Rights of the Child). The index is accessible in English, French and Spanish. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Preferential Trade Agreements Database

Professor Armand de Mistral’s project on PTAs has just been published on the internet. The announcement from McGill describes it as follows:

The database is an information center that lists international PTAs, and contains links to their texts, and the official websites of the government department responsible for them. It also contains an interdisciplinary bibliography on PTAs-related issues. The database was built two years ago and since then, we are constantly adding information to it to keep it as current as possible. In fact, we believe that it is the most up-to-date and comprehensive database of its kind.

Some sections . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Sticker Shock

I’m going to be teaching a first year Property Law course in the winter term, my first for about three years, and thinking to do things differently, I explored the possibility of requiring students to purchase a textbook along with the casebook I’m preparing. There’s a pretty decent text in property law and so I checked: yep, there’s a recent edition. And then — whammo! — the price: $151.


I know law books are expensive. The market is, after all, minuscule compared to others. And we can thank our stars that we’re not educating doctors, where book prices approach . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Sometimes Less Is More

Our goal at slaw is usually to help you find information as efficiently as possible, integrate it into your life and work, and share it with the right people. However, it’s always worth keeping in mind that more isn’t always better. I was reminded of that this weekend while reading about Timothy Ferriss, an author who’s become a bit of a cult hero among the internet productivity set (think lifehacker and 43folders readers).

Mr. Ferriss’ method can be summed up as “selective ignorance”, or filtering out information that isn’t essential. While we probably all subscribe to that, his definition of . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

The PORTIA Project on Privacy and Technology

I don’t think we’ve mentioned the Yale / Stanford PORTIA Project before on Slaw:

The PORTIA goals are (1) to design and develop a next generation of technology for handling sensitive information that is qualitatively better than the current generation’s and (2) to create an effective conceptual framework for policy making and philosophical inquiry into the rights and responsibilities of data subjects, data owners, and data users.

Much of the material is inaccessible to the average reader because of a high degree of technical material (e.g. On the Implementation of Pairing-Based Cryptosystems or Private Multiparty Sampling and Approximation of Vector . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

No Wooden Nickels: Encouraging Millennials to Want the Right Job

What a different world law school would be if Jordan Furlong’s recent column, Millennial Fever was required reading for current law students. While I hold out hope in the accuracy of Furlong’s vision of generational turnover and its resultant culture change in Canadian firms, the balance of power is still largely seen by students to rest in the hands of the employer.

Early November is the time of year when many 2L’s from Ontario law schools are off to interviews (the majority of which seem to be in Toronto), with the hopes of winning a job offer for next summer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

One Laptop Per Child: Give One Get One

SLAW has been following the progress of the One Laptop program (formerly the $100 laptop program) since 2005. This program is finally kicking off with a 15 day “Give One Get One” (G1G1) campaign. It started yesterday. For a donation of $399 (not including taxes and shipping) you will receive one of these specially designed computers. One computer will also be given to a child in a develping country. $200 of your donation will be tax deductible (less the approximate value of the computer you will receive).

The computer is designed especially for children and is intended to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The BlackBook of FaceBerry

Hello, my name is Dominic Jaar and I am a crackberry.

I also happen to be a Facebooker, even if I not too active on that front. Nevertheless, on October 24th, I installed the new Facebook application on my Blackberry 8830 to give it a test drive. If you do not want to read through my complaint, let me just tell you that it has been uninstalled… . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Nerd Handbook: Who Me?

The blog Rands in Repose just published a Nerd Handbook, ostensibly aimed at helping someone attached to a nerd understand that nerd. Here the nerd is understood in terms of involvement with a computer.

You could, of course, understand the handbook as applying to lawyers or legal librarians, it seems to me. The fit isn’t perfect (observation 5 doesn’t carry over for lawyers in my experience), but it’s enough to give one pause.

Herewith the topic heads from the handbook, with substitutions suggested where appropriate, and a few quotes under the first heading to give you the flavour:

  1. Understand
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Legal Threats Database Launched


The Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP) today unveiled its new Legal Threats Database (, a catalog of the growing number of lawsuits, cease and desist letters, and other legal challenges faced by those engaging in online speech. This publicly accessible database — already containing hundreds of entries — will provide lawyers, citizen journalists, and mainstream media alike with a valuable resource for assessing the validity and possible outcomes of legal threats to online speech, based on actual cases and legal actions.

Center for Citizen Media Press Release

The Citizen Media Law Project is an affiliate of both Harvard’s Berkman . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

A Prophylactic for MTDs

The StupidFilter Project: Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.”
*MTDs = Memetically Transmitted Diseases, similar in concept to STDs. After all, communication is a form of intercourse. I haven’t seen this acronym before, so maybe I’ve coined one.
The dictionary (Random House Unabridged) includes these definitions of intercourse.

1. dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.
2. interchange of thoughts, feelings, etc.

Those of us old enough (or otherwise informed) will remember the remarkable euphemisim: “criminal conversation”. (It’s related to the third of the definitions.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Word Perhect

Click image to enlarge

Because we at Slaw work hard to ensure that you are kept up to date on the latest developments, particularly as far as technology is concerned, it is with great pleasure that we draw your attention to a new online word processor, Word Perhect. It is my consdidered opinion that you will find it a hoot, a riot and generally quite witty. As an extra bonus, there is the fact that it works, more or less.

PS. Be sure to try the food, drink and smoke buttons in the second toolbar.

[via Things Magazine] . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous