Friday, August 27, 2010

Ohio Lawyer Suspended for Billing More than 24 Hours in a Day

A cautionary tale for all who practice (and who are apparently very busy).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Bizarre Last Statements of Death Row Inmates

The introduction to this pages says: "Before being put to death, criminals are given the opportunity to say a few parting words. Some use this opportunity to apologize for their wrongdoings; some try to let their families know they love them; and others use it as a chance to proclaim their innocence. Then, you have the death row inmates who use their last statement to bewilder the public, leaving us saying “Did he really say that?'"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YouTube Launches Mobile Website

Courtesy of, YouTube, now owned by Google, has launched a new mobile website. It is a new version of the traditional video-sharing YouTube website.

It is designed to offer a better video experience across mobile devices, and deliver better quality videos to viewers, faster. It is built on the HTML5 standard and accessed through the phone's web browser.

Related Readings:

Monday, August 23, 2010

About To Start Law School?

Summer is coming to an end and school year is about to start. The fall semester at Pace Law School starts next week when we welcome the incoming class of first year law students. Students often wonder what the experience will be like, how can they succeed, how can they survive?

Perhaps the following materials will be of assistance (all available at Pace Law Library):

Ruta K. Stropus & Charlotte D. Taylor, Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success (2d ed. 2009).

Gary A. Munneke, How to Succeed in Law School (4th ed. 2008).

Nancy B. Rapoport and Jeffrey D. Van Niel, Law School Survival Manual: From LSAT to Bar Exam (2010).

When it will be time to prepare for final exams in the end of the first semester, the library also has the following materials:
  • Strategies and Tactics by Walton and Emanuel
  • Strategies and Tactics by Finz
  • Questions and Answers Series
  • Examples and Explanations Series
  • Hornbooks, Nutshells, and Understanding Series
For more assistance and additional materials, you can also view Guide to First-Year Law Students compiled by Cynthia Pittson, the Head of Reference.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Does music hurt your ears?

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on the topic of music, and whether or not listening to music helps you to study. This morning I read a story in the New York Times about the effect that today's music technology is having on our hearing. In Room For Debate: Why Teenagers Can't Hear You the effect of high rates of use of portable music devices on hearing is discussed.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week found that one in five American teenagers now has some hearing loss. This is a 30 percent increase from just 15 years ago.

If you are playing your iPod loudly enough that I can hear it as I walk through the stacks.... you should probably turn the volume down.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Customary International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Database

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the creation and launch of a new database, the Customary IHL database, to mark the 12 August anniversary of Geneva Conventions.

Developed in association with the British Red Cross, the database is designed to be used as a legal reference international and non-international armed conflicts, including by courts, tribunals and international organizations. As one of the principal sources of international humanitarian law, customary law enhances the legal protection of victims of armed conflict.

Customary international humanitarian law is a set of unwritten rules derived from a general, or common, practice which is regarded as law. It is the basic standard of conduct in armed conflict accepted by the world community and is universally applicable. In contract to treaty law, it is not necessary for a State to formally accept a rule of custom in order to be bound by it, as long as the overall State practice on which the rule is based is widespread, representative and virtually uniform.

The new customary international humanitarian law database features 50 percent more content than the original study .... Divided into two parts, the first includes 161 rules which the original study assessed to be of customary nature. The second part contains the practice on which the conclusions in part one are based. The database offers practitioners and academics easy access to the rules of customary international humanitarian law identified in the ICRC study and gives the, the opportunity to investigate underlying practice by means of three search parameters: subject matter, type of practice, and country.

Rules can be viewed by chapter or rule, and practice can be viewed by chapter, rule, or country. Basic as well as advanced searches are both available. Among the listed sources of law are: Treaties, Other Instruments, Military Manuals, National legislation, National case-law, Other national practice, United Nations, Other international organizations, International conferences, International and Mixed Judicial and Quasi-judicial bodies, International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and others.

Free E-Books at

Writing the last post about Lending Library by the Internet Archives inspired me to write about For those who own or plan on owning digital e-readers, the project might be of interest. It offers over 28,000 digitized books that are free to download and keep. Books are available in variety of formats to satisfy the various e-readers' requirements.

Users may browse books by titles, authors, genres, or languages. Users may also view the most popular titles or the recommended titles. RSS feeds to all new titles, new titles sorted by category, new titles sorted by language, or site news are available.

And where did all these books come from?

Many of the etexts are from the November, 2003 Project Gutenberg DVD, which contains the entire Project Gutenberg archives except for the Human Genome Project and audio eBooks, due to size limitations, and the Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks, due to copyright. As of July 2004 most current PG texts are available here, usually within the week of release. There are also public domain and creative commons works from many other sources.

Donations are welcome and for more information about the project, the site, or new titles, you may subscribe to any of the RSS feeds, or to twitter account or you may email to Matthew McClintock who maintains the website.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Digital Lending Library By Internet Archives

I have always been a fan of the Internet Archives, or as many call it (including me) the Wayback Machine. I use it to see what websites looked like years ago or to locate a website that has been taken down. The Internet Archive periodically takes snapshots of the web and archives it; a pretty neat concept. Users can browse through over 150 billion websites that have been archived since 1996. The Internet Archives work on many projects including the Bookmobile, Scanning Services, Archive-It, or the already mentioned Wayback Machine. One of the newest initiatives is the Digital Lending Library.

Checking out digital versions of books that are automatically returned after two weeks is as easy as logging onto the Internet Archive's Open Library Site, announced digital librarian and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. By integrating this new service, more than seventy thousand current books - best sellers and popular titles - are borrowable by patrons of libraries that subscribe to's Digital Library Reserve. Additionally, many other books that are not commercially available but are still of interest to library patrons are available to be borrowed from from participating libraries using the same digital technology.

Currently, is making available:
  • More than one million digital versions of older books are now available for free download in a variety of formats.
  • Over 70,000 current digital books to those with a library card from many of the over 11,000 libraries that subscribe to the OverDrive service.
  • Genealogical books from the Boston Public Library.
  • How-to and technical book collection via the Internet Archive
  • Marine life reference materials from the Marine Biological Laboratory and Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
  • Spanish texts from Universidad Francisco Marroguin in Guatemala.

Good Bye To Google Wave

The big buzz over Google Wave is officially over. Google has announced that it has ended support for its Google Wave collaborative communication tool for lack of users. Google Wave, only a little over one year old, brought a new way of collaboration - collaboration and communication in real time. Even though Google Wave has gained some true loyal users and supporters, it is not enough for Google to continue to support it. See related stories.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Does Listening to Music Help You Study?

Working at the Law Library, I meet a lot of students who spend time in the library, wearing their earbuds. I don't know what they are listening to, nor do I ask. But sometimes, I hear music in the stacks. A few stray notes will escape the earbuds and drift down the quite aisles of books.... Have you ever wondered whether listening to music while studying really helps people to learn? A recent study reported in the Daily Mail indicates that listening to music does not enhance a student's ability to concentrate.

Background music - a staple of students cramming for exams the world over - interferes with concentration, research shows.
Students who listened to their tunes while trying to memorise a list of letters fared worse than those who worked in silence, the British study found.
Even songs from their favourite bands proved more of a hindrance than a help.
Researchers from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, tasked 25 students with memorising lists of consonants.
Some were shown the letters while sitting in silence, others while listening to music by their favourite bands or by groups they had a strong aversion to.
Listening to music - including tunes that they liked - hampered their recall, the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology reports.
This shows that listening to music, regardless of one's opinion to it, impairs the ability to memorise information in a set order, said researcher Dr Nick Perham.
The students were also tested while listening to a voice simply repeating the number three over and over again and while listening to a voice saying random numbers - something known as a changing-state sound.
Although the random numbers proved a distraction, the repetition of the number three didn't.
This suggests that it is not peace and quiet that is important when studying - but lack of change in any background noise.

What do you think? Does listening to music help you study? Does the information in this article give you any insights into music and other noises, and the impacts they can have on your ability to concentrate?