Friday, February 26, 2010

Netchoice's Top Ten Worst Proposed Internet Laws

Netchoice has released its updated iAWFUL List of Worst Internet Legislation. The top ten list includes the following:
  1. Expanding Rulemaking Powers of the Federal Trade Commission.
  2. Forcing Advertisers to become Tax Collectors (California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, and Virginia).
  3. Hotel Taxes on Online Travel Companies.
  4. Expanding Internet Sales taxation, based on inflated expectations and inadequate simplifications.
  5. Restricting Free Trial Offers (Maine and Oregon).
  6. New Taxes on Digital Downloads (Colorado, Indiana, Wyoming, and Vermont).
  7. New Jersey Social Networking Bill.
  8. Security Breach Notice Bills (Illinois and Mississippi).
  9. Maine Predatory Marketing Law.
  10. Right of Publicity Bills (Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts and New York).


Thompson Reuters unveiled the highly anticipated WestlawNext system this month. WestlawNext represents a dramatic change from the traditional Westlaw interface. The most significant change involves database selection. Database selection, an integral part of proper Westlaw use, is not required with WestlawNext. Users enter their searches into a Google-like search bar. The search will run through everything in the Westlaw databases and will return results, in order of relevance, from specific group categories (cases, statutes, secondary sources, briefs, etc.) After these initial results appear, users are able to refine their results by choosing to see only certain categories of information (only cases, only statutes, etc.) Users can further filter their results by jurisdiction, court, topic, etc. Reviews of WestlawNext so far have been generally favorable (See Ambrogi, Soloman, Elefant, Bergus). There is an expectation that the product will be particularly well received by law students and newer attorneys who will appreciate the sleek, Google-like search functionality.

WestlawNext will be rolled out on a trial basis at law schools this spring, with a full launch, including law students, possibly as early as the fall. Westlaw is not the only company with a revamped product. Both LexisNexis and Bloomberg will be unveiling new legal research platforms before the end of the year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Can Catch More Than Just Germs From Your Friends

Here's an interesting podcast from ScienceNow that discusses whether a lack of sleep (and other things, like obesity and happiness) really can spread through social networks.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Does Your Password Make the Top 10 List of Most "Hack-able"?

If you see your password on the following list, you may want to consider a change. According to one study, these are the most commonly chosen passwords and are easy to hack:
  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123

From Law Librarian Blog

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pregaming the Next High Court Nomination

Who would President Obama nominate to the US Supreme Court if Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsburg both retire? One blogger at the Wall Street Journal writes about some possibilities here.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Magazine Cover Jinx

Many of us have heard of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx - that athletes who appear on the cover of that magazine meet unfortunate events soon after (the most recent incident appears to be skier Lindsey Vonn, who was on the cover of the Winter Olympics Preview issue and who just announced she is battling a deep bruise on her shin).

But what about the Time Magazine cover jinx? Could there be a similar superstition linked to those individuals who are selected as the "Person of the Year"? This article takes a closer look at these questions.

From Concurring Opinions

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Presidential Memorandum establishing a task force on childhood obesity

The White House is on a mission to get us healthy! Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama launched "Let's Move: America's Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids" -- an initiative to combat childhood obesity through healthy eating and exercise.

The President also lent his support to this important effort, establishing a taskforce on childhood obesity. The taskforce is comprised of various officials within the administration and is tasked with developing "a coordinated Federal response while also identifying nongovernmental actions that can be taken to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation."

From beSpacific

Friday, February 05, 2010

The 3 Facebook Settings Every Facebook User Should Check Now

Privacy settings on Facebook have been a major issue for months now, but this article from The New York Times describes three settings in particular that all users should check immediately.

From Law Librarian Blog

Thursday, February 04, 2010

TIME's Best Websites of 2009

We're over a month into 2010, but this list of websites from Time Magazine is pretty good compliation of useful links - covering everything from online shopping, news, travel, and charitable organizations.

From ZiefBrief

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Headlines Around the World

Wondering what's making the front page news in Aberdeen, South Dakota? What about in Daytona Beach, Florida? The Newseum in Washington, D.C. has created a new interactive feature on their website that displays the front pages of over 800 newspapers from 77 countries.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Netflix Trends in Major U.S. Cities

This cool, interactive feature on The New York Times website allows you to "examine Netflix rental patterns, neighborhood by neighborhood" in several major U.S. cities.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Way We Speak

Recently, The New York Times published an interesting article about regional and social dialects in the United States -- especially the strong New York accent portrayed in movies and on TV shows (the article specificly mentions MTV's "Jersey Shore" as exemplifying the use of a particular dialect by Italian-Americans).

If you're interested in learning more about regional speech, check out The Speech Accent Archive, from George Mason University. This website allows you to listen to the same piece of text read by different people all over the world. The archive is meant to allow users to "compare and analyze the accents of different English speakers."