Readings and Novelties

Lawyerly Humor

June 9, 2008

I don’t think Letterman or Darrell Hammond have a lot to worry about, but it’s nice to see a lawyer making fun of himself once in a while. Tom Goldstein: Hire Me For Your Supreme Court Case

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The TimesMachine

May 23, 2008

If you have a home delivery subscription to the New York Times (even only the Sunday Times), check out the TimesMachine — a collection of full-page image scans of the newspaper from 1851-1922. That’s every issue and every page and article, advertisements and all, viewable in their original format. April 16, 1912 To read how this was done, click here. “Using Amazon Web Services, Hadoop and our own code, we ingested 405,000 very large TIFF images, 3.3 million articles in SGML and 405,000 xml files mapping articles to rectangular regions in the TIFF’s. This data was converted to a more web-friendly 810,000 PNG images (thumbnails and full images) and 405,000 JavaScript files – all of it ready to be assembled into a TimesMachine. . . . “

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The Amazing Nathan Myhrvold

May 8, 2008

Caption: “The history of science is full of ideas that several people had at the same time.” Link to the full article in The New Yorker, May 12, 2008 here. Teaser: Myhrvold started Microsoft’s research division, leaving, in 1999, with hundreds of millions. He is obsessed with aperiodic tile patterns. (Imagine a floor tiled in a pattern that never repeats.) When Myhrvold built his own house, on the shores of Lake Washington, outside Seattle-a vast, silvery hypermodernist structure described by his wife as the place in the sci-fi movie where the aliens live-he embedded some sixty aperiodic patterns in the walls, floors, and ceilings. His front garden is planted entirely with vegetation from the Mesozoic era. (“If the

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Evan Schaeffer's "17 Types of Lawyers"

April 16, 2008

Humor is just another defense against the universe. Mel Brooks Legal humor is almost always an oxymoron, but Evan Schaeffer, author of The Legal Underground blog, had me in silent hysterics (I was in the office) with his list of 17 types of lawyers. The descriptions are so cleverly written, and so on point, that … well, enough, here they are, with links : Types of Lawyers #1: The Big Firm Summer Associate Types of Lawyers #2: The Partner Who Talks Too Fast Types of Lawyers #3: The Lawyer Who Advertises on TV Types of Lawyers #4: The Lawyer Who Carries Another Lawyer’s Briefcase Types of Lawyers #5: The Lawyer Who Brings Her Breast Pump to the Office Types of Lawyers #6: The Mafia Lawyer Types of Lawyers #7: The Modest Lawyer Types of Lawyers #8: The Partner Who Golfs Types of Lawyers #9: The Lawyer on the Run Types of Lawyers #10: The Lawyer Who’s in the Wrong Profession Types of Lawyers #11: The Lawyer from the Planet Og Types of Lawyers #12: The Lawyer Who’s Writing a Legal Thriller Types of Lawyers #13: The Stereotypical Lawyer Types of Lawyers #14: The Lawyer Who’s on The Apprentice Types of Lawyers #15: The Associate Who Knew Where the Bodies Were Buried Types of Lawyers #16: The Lawyer with the Shiny New Gadget Types of Lawyers #17: The Associate Who Finally…

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Lawrence Summers and "The World is Flat"

January 30, 2008

Lawrence Summers gave his version of a “the world is flat” speech at the SKAGEN conference in Oslo on January 10, 2008. The speech, which covers a bit of everything — the industrial revolution, the rise of capitalism, the environment, the roles of China, India and other emerging economies in the world’s economy, the 2008 presidential election, the subprime crisis, the housing crisis (and more) — is worth a listen. Summers is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and he’s quite controversial; you might not want to spend a semester or two in his classroom or have him as your dissertation advisor. But, he is a bona fide “very smart guy”: Harvard Ph.D in economics, tenured professor at Harvard by age 28, Chief Economist of the World Bank, Secretary of the Treasury, President of Harvard College, and (some think) on the short list of candidates for future Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Bernanke and Summers are almost identical in age). Link here – click on Summers’ name.

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David Byrne on the Evolution of Business Models in the Music Industry

January 18, 2008

David Byrne has published a very interesting article in Wired on the various business models in the music industry, and how the Internet and digital music is changing those models and offering artists more opportunities. David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists – And Megastars Where there was one, now there are six: Six possible music distribution models, ranging from one in which the artist is pretty much hands-off to one where the artist does nearly everything. Not surprisingly, the more involved the artist is, the more he or she can often make per unit sold. The totally DIY model is certainly not for everyone – but that’s the point. Now there’s choice. . . . Click the image below for larger version of the graphic.

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Life: What A Concept

January 15, 2008

Edge has posted as a free online publication the complete transcript of this summer’s Edge event, Life: What a Concept! as a 43,000- word downloadable PDF book. This is a transcript of an event that took place at Eastover Farm in Bethlehem, CT on Monday, August 27th, 2007. Invited to address the topic “Life: What a Concept!” were Freeman Dyson, J. Craig Venter, George Church, Robert Shapiro, Dimitar Sasselov, and Seth Lloyd. These scientists are some of the most visionary scientific thinkers in the world. Warning: this is heaving going …. Click here to download the pdf file.

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The Greater Boston Innovation Map

January 10, 2008

Xconomy has created a Google Map showing the location of each company they have covered in their first six months as a web magazine (125 so far, and counting). The pins are color-coded to indicate software, hardware, energy, life sciences, finance, media and nonprofit. Clicking on a pin on the large map embedded in the article (scroll to the bottom of the article) gives you the address of the company and the Xconomy stories about that company. Very cool ….

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You Can Judge a Man by the Poetry He Reads

October 30, 2007

According to the October 22, 2007 Time Magazine cover article on the Supreme Court (“Inside the Incredibly Shrinking Role of the Supreme Court, and Why John Roberts is O.K With That” (link)), every year, in January, Chief Justice John Roberts rereads the poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” written by Samuel Johnson and first published in 1749. This is, the article says, a ritual John Roberts has followed since he was an undergrad at Harvard in the 1970s. The poem, according to Time, is “a devastating reflection on remorseless fate.” “Life protracted is protracted Woe,” quotes Time. Here is the opening stanza of the full poem, and a link to the remainder of the poem, which is lengthy and, it almost goes without saying, challenging: Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life; Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate, O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate, Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride, To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide; As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude, Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good. How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice, Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice, How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres’d, When Vengeance listens to the Fool’s Request. Fate wings with ev’ry Wish th’ afflictive Dart, Each Gift of Nature, and…

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Party Like Its 1999

October 17, 2007 is a well written and produced web site that describes itself thus – the authoritative voice of on the exponential economy, the realm of business and innovation characterized by exponential technological growth … Sounds a little Wired/Gilder-like, true, but this is the best way I’ve seen to keep up with developments in the Massachusetts technology markets. For example, their October 17, 2007 article, Boston: The Hidden Hub of Music and Technology, with its list of local music/technology companies, is an example of the kind of thing you would be unlikely to find elsewhere.

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Supernova 2006: Connecting in Complex World

July 21, 2006

I usually find the Knowledge@Wharton reports and articles interesting. Here is a series of articles summarizing some of the topics discussed at their annual Supernova Conference, which was held in San Francisco in late June. The topics include: What’s the Future of Desktop Software — and How Will It Affect Your Privacy? Kevin Lynch on Adobe‘s Plans for a New Generation of Software The Rise of the ‘Videonet’ Tantek

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"If America Wants to be the Massage Capital of the World, We're Well on Our Way"

June 27, 2006

What I’m Reading. Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, held in London on June 22, 1897, was one of the grandest fetes the world has ever seen: 46,000 troops and 11 colonial prime ministers arrived from the four corners of the earth to pay homage to their sovereign. The event was as much a celebration of Victoria’s 60 years on the throne as it was of Britain’s superpower status. In 1897, Queen Victoria ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and a fifth of its territory, all connected by the latest marvel of British technology, the telegraph, and patrolled by the Royal Navy, which was larger than the next two navies put together. “The world took note,” says the historian Karl Meyer. The New York Times gushed: “We are a part … of the Greater Britain which seems so plainly destined to dominate this planet’.” Click here to continue reading this Newsweek article, entitled “How Long Will America Lead the World?”

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