03 December 2010

Good A Capella Arrangement of Let It Snow

I was listening to the radio recently and heard an a capella arrangement of Let It Snow by Ricochet.  They have a music video here.  Ricochet is a country music group, but you shouldn't write them off because of that.  The arrangement is a capella and is quite good (and there really isn't much country in it).  I'm surprised it hasn't attracted my attention before, since it's a relatively old song (from 1996).

02 December 2010

Article About Hanukkah

There was a good article that talks about Hanukkah in the Times recently.

29 November 2010

Items You Mark as "Private" on Facebook Could be Discoverable if Someone Sues You

The Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board discussed Facebook/MySpace and how two trial courts -- in New York and Pennsylvania -- have issued orders compelling parties to turn over their Facebook/MySpace passwords.
Here are links to the New York and Pennsylvania cases.
In these cases, I'll concede that the parties foolishly posted information relevant to their cases on the social networking site.  Nonetheless, I am not sure I agree with the two judge's decisions.  Just because the privacy policies of both these sites say that the information can be disclosed pursuant to a court order does not give a court carte blanche to grant someone access to someone's Facebook or MySpace profile.   While people can choose to make information public on social network sites, they also might store personal information as well.  In some ways, these sites are similar to any email provider.  Gmail's privacy policy says something quite similar about disclosure.
The moral of this story, though, is that people should be very careful with what they post on MySpace or Facebook.

23 November 2010

Scrabble-esque Game

If you're bored over Thanksgiving, there's a Scrabble-esque game to keep you busy.
Mozilla (the company that runs Firefox) runs the website, I think.

22 November 2010

On Men in the Army

The New York Times had an article about what men in the Army (no women mentioned in the article) do in their spare time.  It sounds slightly cliche, but I admire what they do.  See: http://nyti.ms/gQmbiX.

08 November 2010

Neat Song by Sara Bareilles

Thomas pointed me to this song (King of Anything) by Sara Bareilles.
The tune is catchy, the lyrics are creative, and the video is well done.

31 October 2010

Vampire Killing Under Federal Contract

I wonder if this company (which I saw through Ryan's Facebook) is listed in the Central Contractor Registry.  And if it is, could I do a sole source justification under Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1?  There can't be that many companies that do vampire killing

30 October 2010

A Unique Motion for a Continuance

My brother passed me this motion for a continuance, which, in part, states:

Since 1972, when Darrell was but a lad of thirteen, he has been a fan of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club (hereinafter referred to as "Rangers").
You should read the whole thing as well as the footnotes, which are also very funny.
Here's a link.

29 September 2010

Story on NPR About Maglites and How They Are Still Made in the USA

There was a story on NPR this morning about Maglites and how they are still made in the United States.
Besides the fact that they are virtually indestructible, it's also nice that I can support American industry when I buy flashlights.

19 September 2010

On Not Lobstering on Yom Kippur

There was an article in yesterday's New York Times, here:
about a Jewish lobsterman and how he fits in with the culture of Deer Isle, Maine.  As you might guess, Deer Isle does not have many Jewish people.  He talks about that, but also talks about how lobstering, in it's own way, fits into the Jewish tradition.

09 September 2010

On Dreams

There was an article in the Science section of the New York Times about how dreams appear two ways.  First, they might appear as the result of a day's emotional events.  Second, though, there is almost a "rerun" effect.  They'll "play," if that's the right word, a week or so later.   Here's a link to the article:

24 August 2010

Technology in the National Parks Leads People into Trouble

There was an article in the Times a few days ago about how people rely on technology too much in National Parks and get themselves into trouble.  Part of it, I think, is that when people use the technology, they discard common sense.
When I hike, even in a park with some mobile phone service (Shenandoah), I don't rely on it to get me out of trouble.  I don't hike alone and I expect that I should be prepared to not be able to get help immediately via cell phone if there is an accident.  Someone who hikes in a park out west and expects to have mobile phone service is asking for trouble.  Someone who decides to record himself as he gets close to a bison is asking for even more trouble. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/science/earth/22parks.html is the link.

21 August 2010

Useful iPod Touch/iPhone App to Find Out When Trains are Coming

I've played around with an iPod Touch/iPhone App which lets you know when the next D.C. Metro train is coming.  It's free at:

15 August 2010

Spinach and Parmesan Cheese Omelette

I've cooked an omelet using this recipe from the Times a couple of times over the past few week and it's come out well.  It's easy to make, and doesn't require ingredients that I don't already have in the kitchen.  I cheat and use frozen spinach.  I'll bet fresh spinach would taste better.

14 August 2010

Dave Matthews Band on NPR

I was surprised this morning to hear Ants Marching on Weekend Edition.  Turns out, DMB recently came out with a new album.  You can see the story and listen to audio from it here:

12 July 2010

Law School Transfer Admissions - Sometimes an Applicant's Current School Holds the Applicant Hostage

This blog post talks about some subtle and not-so-subtle ways that law schools try to prevent students from transferring.  An example of a subtle way: the dean writing the no-disciplinary letter might delay performing the task.  An example of a less-subtle way: the dean tries to dissuade the student from transferring.  An even less-subtle way: students requesting to transfer are asked to waive their right to participate on law review to get information released.  And, if it's true, a pretty outrageous method: a school will not release a student's transcript until the student pays the next semester's tuition bill.  I wonder if the last two methods are even legal under FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which provides a right of access to records.  
There are other techniques in the blog entry which I do not post here.  
I have a tag for Penn State Dickinson which I sometimes use on my blog entries, but I'm not going to here.  I hope they don't engage in any of these practices

10 July 2010

Two Articles on the Census -- One Serious, One Funny

The police in Hawaii arrested a census worker for trespassing on someone's property to give a census form.  Admittedly, when asked to leave, he did not, but I think that he could remain on the property for at least a short while to explain about the Census.  He had the right -- under federal law -- to be there. Now, the Assistant United States Attorney is defending him -- as they should.

The other article is funny, it talks about a reporter who did the follow-up survey with people who did not return their forms for the Census and talked about some of the responses he got.

I liked reading both these articles.  In some ways, both people's experiences were not unlike my time working for the Census (well, except the getting arrested for trespassing part).  But what I like the most about working for the Census last year is that whenever I go running/walking around Silver Spring, practically no matter which direction I leave my apartment, I know that I helped to count the people that live around me.  And that, I think, is pretty cool.

01 July 2010

Summer Reading from the University of Texas at Austin

Here's a list of suggested summer reading from the University of Texas at Austin.

26 June 2010

A Loss for Oyster Bay/East Norwich - Severely Curtailed Summer Community Band Concerts

People who will understand this post the most are people who grew up with me in Oyster Bay/East Norwich, but for those of you who didn't, my school district has a tradition of over fifty years of having a community band. This provided students (including my brother and me) with the opportunity to play music at free summer evening concerts over the summer. It allowed students to play a variety of music, and to perform with other musicians from around Long Island. While the Oyster Bay East Norwich Central School District School Board sponsored the concerts in the past, although they increased the budget this year, this article says they were unable to find the money to sponsor the concerts. This is a disappointment and a true loss to Oyster Bay/East Norwich.

23 June 2010

Artificially Raising Law School Grades

I read this article in the New York Times about how Loyola Law School Los Angeles has decided to add .333 points to each student's GPA to make each student more competitive on the job market.  This will be done retroactively.  While, to some extent, I sympathize with the law school and the students (the legal job market is not good right now), I do not think that this is the right way to go about doing it.  First, a grade is a measure of performance, and if one artificially raises it, that measure of performance is severely damaged if not destroyed.  Second, for Loyola Law School Los Angeles, after this New York Times article, I do not think that anyone will respect their students' transcripts ever again. 
I hope Dickinson doesn't do this.  The grade earned should be the one on the transcript.

21 May 2010

Goodbye to Law & Order

My brother passed me this article, and I thought I'd post it to my blog.  It's nice that Law & Order was such a lifeblood to actors who otherwise might not have been able to make ends meet.  What the article doesn't mention, is that it also gave law students an excuse to watch television.  I used to rationalize watching Law & Order by saying it was "educational." 

04 May 2010

What Baseball Is

Thomas pointed me to this blog entry which quotes a speech given by Ernie Harwell, who died today.
Update:  NPR also did a story on him.

24 April 2010

Hitting Your Client with a Baseball Bat? Probably an Ethical Violation

See this blog entry, in which the author analyzes many of the applicable ethical rules that an attorney who tried to smite his client with a baseball bat violated. I think this may be the first blog entry in which I used the word "smite."

16 April 2010

Miners in West Virginia

There is a good interview on NPR with an attorney about the miners in West Virginia.  There is a StoryCorps recording as well, which was good.

31 March 2010

E-Acceptances for Colleges

There was a piece on NPR on how e-acceptances (or rejections) are now in vogue.  This is good, so long as schools don't mess up and display the wrong decision online (as Cornell did).  They've definitely come a long way from when I was applying to school, when they (gasp) sent out letters.

14 March 2010

Getting the Precise Time

With daylight savings time coming into effect this weekend, I thought I would post two websites about getting the exact time.  This website will give you the precise time in every U.S. time zone.  This website, on the other hand, will give you a more visually attractive clock, but won't show you the time in the U.S.  It will show you Coordinated Universal Time (a/k/a Greenwich Mean Time), which is either five or four hours ahead of Eastern Time in the U.S., depending on whether you are on standard or daylight savings time.
Of course, if your computer is running Windows XP or above, or Mac OS X.4.x (Tiger) (and maybe even an earlier version of OS X, I'm not sure) or above, your computer is synced with a time server as well, so you can use your computer to set the exact time.

13 March 2010

Washington Monument and Why the Color Changes

At this link, there is a detailed explanation of why the Washington Monument's color changes.  The story doesn't start out talking about that, but if you search on obelisk, you'll see where it starts talking about the Washington Monument.

23 February 2010

17 February 2010

Abbey Road Studio is Up For Sale

According to this article, the Abbey Road studio is up for sale, but people are trying to save it.  Maybe they can turn it into a museum? 
I do sympathize with drivers who complain about it, though.  Tourists posing in the crosswalk must be annoying.

14 February 2010

On What Constitutes Fair Use

In keeping with the intellectual property theme, I heard this discussion of fair use on NPR yesterday.

13 February 2010

Olympics and Trademarks

Yesterday (but not today), Google had the Olympic rings on its home page.  Unfortunately for Google, the Olympic rings are protected by law.  The law provides that no one but the United States Olympic Committee has the right to use the Olympic rings for "for the purpose of trade [or] to induce the sale of any goods or services..."  Even if Google is not selling anything, I think that they are definitely using it for the purpose of trade.  If you put aside the commercialization of the Olympics, keep in mind that corporations like Visa probably pay lots of money to use the Olympic rings in their logos.  It's not right for Google to use the Olympic rings on its page without paying.
As an aside, I like the logos that Google is using, because of all the blue and the nice artistic syling.  It's different from what they did for Beijing and Torino.

11 February 2010

Snowed In? You can watch National Parks: America's Best Idea

If you're snowed in, PBS' The National Parks: America's Best Idea are posted online. Some have full episodes available.

10 February 2010

Blizzard in Washington, D.C.

Today I went out in the blizzard in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I could see, by going outside, how pioneers on the prairies could get lost in the blizzard and not be able to find the town.  Without roads and buildings to frame my reference, I could have gotten disoriented, because I could not see more than a block (and a short block at that).  I had a warm building to retreat to, and didn't have to try to pitch a tent in this weather, or try to start a campfire (which would have probably been impossible).
National Public Radio apparently had the same idea I did.  NPR read some quotes from literature, including one by Laura Ingalls Wilder (best known for Little House on the Prairie/Little House in the Big Woods) from her book The Long Winter.
In searching NPR, I also came across this article which talks about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life after the events portrayed in the Little House books.  If you read her books, it is an interesting read.

30 January 2010

Helmets at Ski Resorts

Saw this article in the Times about how helmets are becoming more widespread at ski resorts.  When I was starting to ski in the boy scouts in the mid 1990s, no one even thought to wear a helmet.  Even when I went skiing a few years ago, I don't remember seeing that many people wearing helmets.  Now, I wonder how people think about helmets with skiing, and whether they are going to become more widespread.
At the same time, though, as one person in the article points out, if you're speeding down a ski slope and crash into a tree, the helmet is not going to do much good.