November 24, 2007
Dogpile Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Search Engines for a Second Consecutive Year
"For a second consecutive year, Dogpile ranks highest among search engines in satisfying residential Internet service subscribers with primary search, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Residential Online Service Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.
The study, now in its fourth year, examines consumer behavior, experiences and satisfaction of Internet service subscribers with the most frequently used online services. These include search engine/functions, web portal, instant messaging, social networking, music downloading services and online console gaming systems."
See also: Is Dogpile really a better search site than Google?, Pandia Search Engine News
"While librarians and users have been inundated with advice on how to produce content for MySpace, blogs, and other Web 2.0 services, there's been much less discussion about using newer technologies to consume all this new content efficiently.
These technologies are new to everyone, and the flood is hitting us all at the same time. If you're drowning, imagine how your users feel. We must learn how to use information better and to share that understanding. By removing software as a barrier, we can focus on data." [RJ]
November 23, 2007
Friday Fun: The Blogosphere Covers Everything!
I reached the "end" of the "blogosphere" and this is what I found: The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. [JH]
A Quick Look at Knowledge Thoughts
Matthew Parsons and Neil Richards have launched Knowledge Thoughts, a KM and law firm KM encyclopedia. [JH]
Law School Attire: A Call for a Uniform Uniform Code
Case Western law prof Erik Jensen has deposited Law School Attire: A Call for a Uniform Uniform Code (forthcoming in Oklahoma City University Law Review) in SSRN. Here the abstract: "Law professors dress scruffily, and we need to do something about that."
The Joys and Dilemmas of Wealth or Coming Soon the Really Real Housewives of Orange County
From the Wall Street Journal:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is co-funding a study that is believed to be the largest and broadest survey of the American rich ever conducted. The questions will target American households worth $25 million or more, and the study aims to have at least 1,000 respondents -- a massive sample size for people of such a high net-worth level.
The study, called The Joys and Dilemmas of Wealth and scheduled for release next fall, will attempt to probe deeply into the private lives of the rich, from their family and values to their philanthropy and belief in God. It also will use the latest tools in "happiness research" to try to determine whether the rich are truly happy.
Until the study is published, we'll have to settle for The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Hat tip to Texas Tech law professor and Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog editor Gerry W. Beyer. [JH]
November 22, 2007
Freedom from Want
- The First Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1676
- Congressional Proclamation of Thanksgiving, 1782
- President George Washington's General Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789
- President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day, 1863
- President Bush's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 2006
For additional information about the history of Thanksgivings, see Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541-2001, compiled by the Library of Congress. [JH]
Comtemporary Accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving at Plimmoth
There are only two contemporary accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving: First is Edward Winslow's account, which he wrote in a letter dated December 12, 1621. The complete letter was first published in 1622, and is chapter 6 of Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth (see related post on Plimmoth Plantation source materials).
Our corn [i.e. wheat] did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
The second description was written about twenty years after the fact by William Bradford in his History of Plymouth Plantation (see related post on Plimmoth Plantation source materials). Bradford's History was rediscovered in 1854 after having been taken by British looters during the Revolutionary War. Its discovery prompted a greater American interest in the history of the Pilgrims, which eventually led to Lincoln's decision to make Thanksgiving a holiday. It is also in this account that the Thanksgiving turkey tradition is founded.
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
Source Materials on the Plimmoth Plantation
Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth
George Morton, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, and Robert Cushman (Dwight B. Heath, ed.)
List Price: $9.95
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Applewood Books, 1986
Book Description: Also known as A Relation or Journal of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England, this journal was written by George Morton, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, and Robert Cushman to illustrate the progress of the colony and encourage English investors. This book recounts the construction of New Plymouth as well as several journeys into the surrounding areas and subsequent encounters with the Native populations.
Written between November 1620 and November 1621, it describes in detail what happened from the landing of the Pilgrims at Cape Cod, though their exploring and eventual settling at Plymouth, to their relations with the surrounding Indians, up to the first Thanksgiving and the arrival of the ship Fortune. Originally printed in 1622, this is the first published account of the coming of the Pilgrims to the New World to settle Plymouth Plantation.
Good Newes from New England
by Edward Winslow
List Price: $8.95
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Applewood Books; Reprint edition, 1996
Book Description: One of America's earliest books and one of the most important early Pilgrim tracts to come from American colonies. This book helped persuade others to come join those who already came to Plymouth.
List Price: $29.95
Paperback: 470 pages
Publisher: Adamant Media Corporation (July 25, 2001)
Book Description: The most important and influential source of information about Plymouth, this landmark account was written by the colony's governor. It vividly documents the Pilgrims' first stop in Holland, their harrowing transatlantic crossing, the first harsh winter in the new land, and the help from Native Americans that saved their lives. This Elibron Classics book is a facsimile reprint of a 1908 edition by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
Governor William Bradford's Letter Book
by William Bradford
List Price: $9.95
Paperback: 62 pages
Publisher: Applewood Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2002)
Book Description: Gathered during Plymouth Colony's crucial first decade, Bradford's Letter Book served as a sourcebook for the Governor's well-known history, Of Plymouth Plantation. This intriguing set of letters and documents offers us valuable first-hand acquaintance with the leadership of New England's first plantation. From this collection, we can better appreciate the complex reality that lies behind our idealized image of "the Pilgrim Fathers." Here we can see the conflicting motives and internal struggles, the misunderstandings and misrepresentations, and the practical considerations which combined to shape the lives of the early Plymouth colonists.
November 21, 2007
Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device
From this link you can watch two videos: a video demonstration of Kindle, and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos discussing the vision behind Kindle. Kindle is featured in Newsweek's cover story, The Future of Reading. PC Magazine poses the important question: Will Amazon's Gadget Kindle eBook Sales? [JH]
"GovernmentDocs.org was created to advance the values of open and accountable government. This site gives the public an unprecedented level of access to government documents by allowing users to browse, search, and review hundreds of thousands of pages acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public disclosure, or “sunshine,” laws.
With the GovernmentDocs.org system, citizen reviewers can engage in the government accountability process like never before. Registered users can review and comment on documents, adding their insights and expertise to the work of the national nonprofit organizations which are partnering on this project." [RJ]
Nominations for CALI Board of Directors Due By November 28, 2007
The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is seeking nominations of qualified and enthusiastic individuals to fill vacant positions on its Board of Directors. If you know of someone who would like to contribute to the research and development, strategic planning and governance of CALI, then consider nominating them for the CALI Board of Directors. It would be a good idea to clear it with the person first to make sure they want to be nominated. Self-nominations are acceptable. Nominations should be accompanied with the phone number, email address and institutional affiliation of the nominee. Also, please send along a current CV or a link to hmoe page/bio for the nominee.
Directors are required to attend two meetings a year (June during the CALI Conference and January during AALS). In addition, Directors serve on committees at the behest of the President of the Board and work on other projects and issues relating to the governance, strategy-setting and promotion of CALI’s mission and activities. Directors terms are for three years at which time their service is evaluated by the Nomination Committee along with other nominees. Service on the CALI Board is voluntary and gratis. Travel expenses for the Board meetings can be covered by CALI if institutional support is unavailable.
The list of all nominees will be submitted to the Nomination Committee who will determine a slate of candidates to be presented to the CALI Membership at the Annual Luncheon held on Thursday, January 3, 2008 during AALS in New York, NY All nominees will be contacted during the first week of December. Nominees who are chosen by the nominating committee are required to attend the CALI Board meeting on Saturday, January 5, 2008 in New York, NY.
CALI is a dynamic and forward-thinking 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation with big plans and big ideas. Qualified Directors should have knowledge and experience that they can contribute to the ongoing research and development of CALI’s mission. If you have any questions or wish to submit a nominations, contact John Mayer, Executive Director at 312-906-5307 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the CALI website at www.cali.org to learn more about CALI’s activities.
High Attrition Rate at BigLaw
The National Association for Law Placement recently released statistics indicating that almost 80 percent of attorneys at large law firms no longer work there five years later. Why? Check out Kate Neville, Why Associates Bail Out of Law Firm Life -- and Why It Matters, Legal Times (November 14, 2007). [JH]
YouTube Video Identification
"YouTube Video Identification will help copyright holders identify their works on YouTube. We have worked with Google to develop one-of-a-kind technology that can recognize videos based on a variety of factors. As its Beta status indicates, our Video Identification is brand-new, cutting-edge stuff, so we will be constantly refining and improving it. Early tests with content companies have shown very promising results. As we scale and refine our system, YouTube Video Identification will be available to all kinds of copyright holders all over the world, whether they want their content to appear on YouTube or not.
No matter how accurate the tools get, it is important to remember that no technology can tell legal from infringing material without the cooperation of the content owners themselves. This means that copyright holders who want to use and help us refine our Video ID system will be providing the necessary information to help us recognize their work. We aim to make that process as convenient as possible." [RJ]
State Court Organization, 1987-2004
"Presents trend data from State Court Organization data collections covering the years 1987-2004. The report examines changes in the organization and operations of the Nation’s state trial and appellate courts over this time period. Topics include the selection and educational requirements of judges, regulations of criminal and civil juries, the development of unified court systems, and adjustments in court management and staffing to address growing caseloads."
Highlights include the following:
- Total trial court case filings increased by approximately 45% in limited jurisdiction courts and 43% in general jurisdiction courts.
- Specialty jurisdiction or problem-solving courts, such as drugs, family, mental health, and domestic violence courts, became more common.
- The ratio of trial judges to the population nationwide decreased slightly from 10 to 9 judges per 100,000 persons.
UNESCO and Library of Congress sign agreement for World Digital Library
"UNESCO and the US Library of Congress will join forces to build a World Digital Library, following the signing of an agreement by Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, and the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
The World Digital Library initiative will digitize unique and rare materials from libraries and other cultural institutions around the world and make them available free of charge on the Internet. These materials include manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, sound recordings, films, prints and photographs." [RJ]
Sore Losers Charge Transgendered Candidate Mislead Voters By Self-Identifing as a Female
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that two unsuccessful city council candidates in Riverdale say a fellow candidate committed fraud when she ran as a woman. The sore losers filed petitions last week asking a court to stop the upcoming runoff election. The lawsuit alleges that incumbent Michelle Bruce — who identifies herself as transgendered and goes by Michelle Mickey Bruce — misled voters by identifying herself as a female during the Nov. 6 election. [JH]
November 20, 2007
Professional Reading: Hack, Mash & Peer: Crowdsourcing Government Transparency
George Mason University professor Jerry Brito's Hack, Mash & Peer: Crowdsourcing Government Transparency is now available on SSRN. Here's the abstract for this very interesting paper:
In order to hold government accountable for its actions, citizens must know what those actions are. To that end, they must insist that government act openly and transparently to the greatest extent possible. In the Twenty- First Century, this entails making its data available online and easy to access. If government data is made available online in useful and flexible formats, citizens will be able to utilize modern Internet tools to shed light on government activities. Such tools include mashups, which highlight hidden connections between different data sets, and crowdsourcing, which makes light work of sifting through mountains of data by focusing thousands of eyes on a particular set of data.
Today, however, the state of government's online offerings is very sad indeed. Some nominally publicly available information is not online at all, and the data that is online is often not in useful formats. Government should be encouraged to release public information online in a structured, open, and searchable manner. To the extent that government does not modernize, however, we should hope that private third parties build unofficial databases and make these available in a useful form to the public.
Metavid, Archive of Legislative Proceedings
"Metavid is a project which seeks to capture, stream, archive and facilitate real-time collective [re]mediation of legislative proceedings. Metavid makes use of entirely free and open source software and video codecs to make both the footage and the architecture of the site available, accessible and recontextualizable."
- Search the archive
- Access an early version of the metavid remediator system
- Check out project news our blog
- And finally check out our wiki for more detailed explanation of the project