Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Environmental Working Group Safety Guide to Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
"Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn't require companies to test their own products for safety."
Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database contains information and online safety assessments for: 29,086 products - 7,281 ingredients - 1,762 brands - 1,106 companies

Orphan Works Act of 2008 Introduced in House and Senate
The Orphan Works Act of 2008 (HR 5889 and S 2913) "attempts to create a system where new creators can use old works without fear of massive lawsuits, provided that a good faith effort has been made to find out if the work in question is copyrighted." [Link]

Oil Industry Profit Review 2007Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Increases in the price of crude oil that began in 2004 pushed the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a key oil in determining market prices, to nearly $100 per barrel in the third quarter of 2007. Tight market conditions persisted through the remainder of 2007, with demand growth in China, India, and other parts of the developing world continuing. Uncertain supply related to political unrest in Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, and other places continued to threaten the market and contribute to a psychology that pushed up prices. The decline of the value of the U.S. dollar on world currency markets, as well as the investment strategies of financial firms on the oil futures markets, has also been identified by some as factors in the high price of oil.
The profits of the five major integrated oil companies remained high in 2007, as they generally accounted for approximately 75% of both revenues and net incomes. For this group of firms, oil production led the way as the most profitable segment of the market, even though oil and gas production growth was not strong. + Full Report (PDF; 96 KB) Permalink

About 70% of the time you use a verb, it is an irregular one.

List of English irregular verbs

One of the hardest verbs to understand: be

was, were
Present Participle
Past Participle
He, She, It

argus (AHR-guhs) noun
An alert and observant person; a watchful guardian.
[After Argus, a giant in Greek mythology who had 100 eyes and was sent to watch over Zeus's lover Io. He was killed by Hermes and after his death his eyes transformed into spots on the peacock's tail. Greek argos (bright).]

Aftermath of a donation
We gave money to a well-known charity in November, but continued getting requests once a week. Shortly, mailings asking for money increased to twice a week. Then, mailings increased to three times a week. We still get sporadic mailings—and yesterday, received a phone call asking for money. It is a nightmare. Responding with a donation to a telephone solicitation triggers more calls, just as responding with a donation to a mailing triggers more mailings.

The problems of Ave Maria School of Law just won’t go away. The school — which has been sued by some of its professors, undergone student defections, and was compelled to change deans this month after U.S. News ranked it in the lowest tier — has now found itself unable to sell the naming rights to its planned new building in Ave Maria, Florida. Instead, Ave Maria law school will move to an older building in nearby Naples — the former Ave Maria University temporary campus. Here’s the report from the NLJ.
WSJ Law Blog April 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

On April 25, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstituted a class-action against a group of banks that require their credit card customers to settle their disputes in arbitration rather than litigation. (Here’s the Reuters report.) The cardholders “alleged that the banks illegally colluded to force the cardholders to accept mandatory arbitration clauses in their cardholder agreements,” according to the ruling, violating antitrust laws. Opinion here:

E-mail management a mighty struggle for U.S. agencies
A report issued on April 23 the Government Accountability Office said that while of the four agencies it reviewed e-mail policies generally contained required elements, but about half of the senior officials were not following these policies and were instead maintaining their e-mail messages within their e-mail accounts, where records cannot be efficiently searched, are not accessible to others who might need the information in the records, and are at increased risk of loss. Instead, e-mail messages, including records, were generally being retained in e-mail systems that lacked recordkeeping capabilities, which is contrary to regulation.

Corporate Foundation Giving Reaches an Estimated $4.4 BillionSource: Foundation Center
Giving by corporate foundations increased 6.6 percent in 2007 to an estimated $4.4 billion, according to Key Facts on Corporate Foundations, a new summary report released by the Foundation Center. Looking ahead, slightly more than half of corporate foundations surveyed (54 percent) expect their giving to increase in 2008.
+ Full Report (PDF; 781 KB)

According to Will Hopkins, a former partner in the Washington office of Ross, Dixon & Bell, tens of thousands of songwriters submitted their original songs in March to American Idol, twenty finalists were selected in early April, and on April 23, the voting for the songwriting contest closed. Hopkins said: “I got wrapped up in writing songs in law school, but I had always written and composed full-scale works of music in my head. I could hear the full orchestration, chord changes and bass notes, and I could make up the melody. But I had no training in music and didn’t play an instrument, or come from a family of musicians. But, all the time Id walk down the street and I’d be singing a tune out loud. So with my first paycheck from Ross Dixon I bought a synthesizer and started taking piano lessons from a friend of mine in DC.”
WSJ Law Blog April 23, 2008

Tune in May 20 and 21 to find out the winner and hear it performed.

Use Google as a dictionary (define ________)
When reading a book, I note words I am unfamiliar with and then look them up. When I typed define axon last weekend, I found definitions plus interesting Web sites, such as medicinenet, mercksource, and more than one link to NIH (National Institutes of Health).

Rome’s greatest libraries If ‘your library is your portrait’, as Victorian journalist Holbrook Jackson once wrote, then Rome’s three great libraries – the Angelica Library, the Casanatense Library, the Collegio Romano’s Crociera – certainly offer an impressive likeness to their setting.

In December, 2005, The Mount, Edith Wharton's Landmark Estate, Purchased the Author's Prized Library from Rare Book Dealer in England
See description of the 2,600 volume library at above link. Also, see “Restoration Drama,” in the April 28, 2008 issue of The New Yorker.
Edith Wharton's library at The Mount
Berkshire Bank has extended until May 31 a $3 million fundraising deadline for Edith Wharton Restoration Inc., and The Mount will open May 9 for the season while the nonprofit seeks to restructure its debt with key creditors, according to an announcement on April 23.

April 28 is the birthday of (Nelle) Harper Lee, (books by this author) the author of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), born in Monroeville, Alabama (1926), the daughter of a local newspaper editor and lawyer. She was a friend from childhood of Truman Capote, and she later traveled to Kansas with him to help with the research of his work for In Cold Blood (1966). In college, she worked on the humor magazine Ramma-Jamma. She attended law school at the University of Alabama, but dropped out before earning a degree, moving to New York to pursue a writing career. She later said that her years in law school were "good training for a writer."
Lee wrote very slowly, extensively revising for two and a half years on the manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird (which she had called at different times "Go Set a Watchman" and "Atticus"). She called herself "more a rewriter than writer," and on a winter night in 1958, she was so frustrated with the progress of her novel and its many drafts that she threw the manuscripts out the window of her New York apartment into the deep snow below. She called her editor to tell him, and he convinced her to go outside and collect the papers.
The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, April 25, 2008

The good life is largely an exchange of information and ideas. We can use this muse as a vehicle to roll out our thoughts. Feel free to continue sending me quotes, poems, Web sites and subjects of interest that you would like to share. (No forwarded mass messages please, as they may pick up viruses along the way.)

No Child Left Behind reauthorization

Australia has acquired exploration and drilling rights to an additional 2.5 million square kilometers of ocean shelf after a UN commission ruled that Australia's continental shelf extends farther than previously defined, the Australian government said Monday. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) [official website] is the body charged with administering the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [UN materials], under which countries have 10 years after their ratifications of that treaty to make extended continental shelf claims; Australia made its submission [materials] in 2004.

NOAA Reports Carbon Dioxide, Methane Rise Sharply in 2007
News release: "Last year alone global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, increased by 0.6 percent, or 19 billion tons. Additionally methane rose by 27 million tons after nearly a decade with little or no increase. NOAA scientists released these and other preliminary findings today as part of an annual update to the agency’s greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world."
The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), released April 23, 2008

Subprime mortgage and related litigation, first quarter 2008
In the first three months of this year, 170 subprime-related lawsuits were filed in federal court (nearly half of them in New York and California), almost totaling the number filed in the second half of 2007.
WSJ Law Blog April 24, 2008

Sonnenschein Adopts Environmental Sustainability Policy
A task force of 100 people at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP has spent several months developing a formal firm-wide policy and implementation plan. Along the way, we discovered that we’re already well along the path in some regards. For example, we’re about to move into new offices in Dallas, and our folks down there made sure the new office was LEED certified. It was the same thing with new offices under construction in Charlotte. We also found that our marketing department had already moved to soy-based ink and nearly 100% recycled paper. In our Chicago offices, with all the catering-related items we use, we’ve gone from disposables to reusables. Most of the offices have motion-detection switches, so that in our offices and common spaces, lights don’t stay on all night.
Interview excerpt from WSJ Law Blog April 24, 2008

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Metropolis in the middle
Of all American cities, Kansas City in a way is the closest to the country's heart. The geographic center of the lower 48 states lies just a little to the west, in Kansas, and the country's population center a bit to the east, in Missouri. The Kansas City metropolitan area, with some 2 million people, covers parts of both states.
Lying in a pleasant setting, amid a gently rolling wooded landscape along the Missouri River, the town has plenty of attractive parks, parkways, and boulevards. As long ago as 1947, a Kansas City residential district enraptured visiting French author André Maurois, who praised it as "a masterpiece of city planning." He wondered, "Who in Europe, or in America, for that matter, knows that Kansas City is one of the loveliest cities on earth?"

Quote: Bread is the staff of life, and water is its elixir.

April 25 birthdays
It's the birthday of fiction writer Howard Garis, (books by this author) born in Binghamton, New York (1873). He's the creator of the pink-nosed elderly rabbit named Uncle Wiggily. He published an Uncle Wiggily story in the Newark News six days a week for thirty-seven years.
It's the birthday of the "First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald, born in Newport News, Virginia in 1918. When she was sixteen she entered a contest at the Apollo Theater, at that time no more than a hip local club in Harlem. She had a dance routine worked out and walked on stage wearing ragged clothes and men's boots, but she froze up. Later she said, "I got out there and I saw all the people and I just lost my nerve. And the man said, 'Well, you're out here, do something!' So I tried to sing." She sang a popular song called "Judy" and got such an ovation that she went on to sing "The Object of My Affection."
The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day musings from a faithful reader
remember historic preservation is the ultimate recycling
the greenest house is the one that already exists

Gas mileage tips, compare cars

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes substantial increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has proclaimed April 2008 as National Landscape Architecture Month. Landscape architecture is the fastest growing of the design professions, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the next six years, demand for the profession is projected to expand by 18 to 26 percent and landscape architecture programs need to increase by an average of six percent a year in order to match the growth.

Most One-Stop Career Centers Are Taking Multiple Actions to Link Employers and Older Workers
GAO-08-548, April 21, 2008
 "The share of older persons in the U.S. population age 55 and older is projected to increase to 30 percent by 2025 and continue to grow through 2050. At the same time, more older persons are expected to continue working than in the past and, in doing so, may need employment and training services as they make transitions to different jobs and work arrangements. Several factors will contribute to this phenomenon. The number of older Americans and their proportion of the total population are increasing and are expected to continue to increase. Fewer of these older Americans are expected to have the traditional retirements of previous generations and many will continue working for financial or other reasons. At the same time, labor force growth is expected to slow and employers will be faced with a relatively smaller and younger available workforce. As a result, some businesses will need to retain existing older workers or attract additional older workers to meet their workforce needs."

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the EnergyGuide label can help you compare the energy use of different models as you shop for an appliance. Using less energy is good for the environment; it can reduce air pollution and help conserve natural resources.
See above link for energy guidance and learn about the ENERGYSTAR program.

Before Penny Vincenzi wrote her own first novel, she was a librarian--at Harrods.
"There were far more private lending libraries then," she explains. "Boots had one. At Harrods, you got a book straight away; you just rang up and ordered it and it was deliverd that afternoon, sometimes by horse-drawn van."

Lilly’s Oncology on Canvas International Art Exhibit at The University of Toledo Medical Center
The exhibit is open to the public in the Raymon H. Mulford Library, 4th floor from Monday, May 5, at 9:00 a.m. until noon on Thursday, May 8, 2008. The Lilly exhibit is an international exhibit of art submitted by people who have been diagnosed with cancer, their oncologists, nurses, family members and caregivers.
See 2008 world tour schedule to locate an exhibit near you:

indurate (IN-doo-rayt, -dyoo-)
verb tr.
1. To make hardy, inured, accustomed
2. To make callous or unfeeling
verb intr.
1. To make hard
2. To become established
adjective (IN-doo-rit, -dyoo-)
Hardened; callous; obstinate
[From Latin indurare (to harden), from durare (to last), from durus (hard).
Ultimately from the Indo-European root deru-/dreu- (to be firm) that's the source of such other words as truth, trust, betroth, tree, endure, and druid.]

On April 24, 1916, the Easter Rebellion began on the streets of Dublin. The British police extinguished the rebellion a few days later. Called "the poet's rebellion," it was led by six patriotic poets and men of letters including Patrick Pearse and James Connolly. They barged inside and read their "Proclamation of Independence" to a baffled crowd. The rebellion seemed hopelessly unsuccessful until the British government valorized many of the rebels by executing them a few weeks later. The executions set in motion a movement for Irish nationalism, and in 1921 Ireland finally achieved independence from Great Britain—except for the six northernmost counties of the island that comprise Northern Ireland.
The Writer’s Almanac

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22 is Earth Day In Toledo, the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
Think of ways you can recycle or save energy today and every day.

A BBC book about Doctor Who's legendary foes, the Daleks, has been cleared of infringing copyright in London.
The case was brought by publishers JHP, who printed four books with stories by Dalek creator Terry Nation in the 60s. Managing director Paul Fishman said the BBC's Dalek Survival Guide, published in 2002, used material from those books and violated JHP's copyright. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7350858.stm

A TANK AWAY FROM COLUMBUS OR TOLEDO: Blue Chip City, City of Seven Hills, Porkopolis, Cincy, Nati, Queen of the West, Queen City, and called “most beautiful of the inland cities” by Winston Churchill in 1933
A faithful reader and friend, who was raised in Cincinnati, was our tour guide in the city and showed us various neighborhoods and sights, including the first Frisch’s drive-in restaurant. http://www.frischs.com/history4.asp
We had a spectacular meal (with added dishes courtesy of the staff) at Boca Restaurant http://www.boca-restaurant.com/main.html in the Oakley neighborhood.
We stayed overnight in the Mariemont Historic District, consisting of 3190 acres and 180 buildings, and designed as part of the “garden city movement.” .http://www.oll.state.oh.us/your_state/remarkable_ohio/marker_details.cfm?marker_id=196&file_id=2980
The next morning we went to Krohn Conservatory with more than 3,500 plant species from all over the world. http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityparks/pages/-3452-/
Our final stop was the art museum http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/ with two special exhibits, Quilts from the Shelburne Museum showing through June 1 and Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master showing through May 21. Rembrandt created over 50 self-portraits in paint or print, and the exhibit shows five prints and six paintings.

Google News Adds New Quotes Feature
Google News Blog: "As part of Google's mission to organize the world's information, we've been hard at work making quotations in news articles easy to search and browse. You can now more easily keep track of what your favorite politician, actor or sports star is saying. You can even search within their quotes for specific topics. To access these new features, first search for a person's name on Google News. If we have a recent quote, we'll show it above the search results."
April 25 is National Arbor Day
Arbor Day history http://www.arborday.org/arborday/history.cfm
Tree planting events http://www.arborday.org/takeaction/homedepot2008/nominate.cfm
Arbor Day dates by state—date may vary due to best times for tree-planting—find your state—learn your state tree and much more http://www.arborday.org/arborday/arbordaydates.cfm
State Arbor Days
Florida third Friday in January
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York last Friday in April
North Carolina first Friday following March 15
Ohio last Friday in April

Calculate nutritional information of a recipe. Create a “recipe box” of your own.

Easy way to clean silver
Take a large bowl, and line it with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Put a large amount of baking soda in the middle of it, and place silver on the baking soda. Fill the bowl with boiling water and wait for results.

Easier way to clean silver
Pour baking soda on dampened rag and rub silver until shiny and clean. Rinse and dry.

What is baking soda?
It is sodium bicarbonate, a white crystalline weakly alkaline salt NaHCO3 used especially in baking powders and fire extinguishers and in medicine as an antacid —called also baking soda, bicarbonate of soda www.m-w.com
From Green Valley, Arizona, you can see a mountain where baking soda is mined.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake shook southern Illinois at 12:38 local time on Monday, April 21.
The quake--the 18th since a magnitude 5.2 hit the area Friday morning--was centered about six miles below ground and about 37 miles north-northwest of Evansville, Indiana, or about 131 miles east of St. Louis. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/04/21/illinois.quake/

Medical Ghostwriting Revelations Touch Off Ethics Debate
The latest insult piled onto all the injury inflicted by the Vioxx debacle is disclosed in an article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association last week: Much of the research backing up manufacturer Merck's claims about the drug was ghostwritten by writers in Merck's employ and then rubber-stamped by medical professionals who had little or not involvement in the studies but were willing to attach their names as authors nonetheless.

Darwin's Private Papers Online
The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online: "For decades available only to scholars at Cambridge University Library, the private papers of Charles Darwin, one of the most influential scientists in history, can now be seen by anyone online and free of charge. This is the largest ever publication of Darwin papers and manuscripts, totalling about 20,000 items in nearly 90,000 electronic images. This vast and varied collection of papers includes the first draft of his theory of evolution, notes from the voyage of the Beagle and Emma Darwin's recipe book." Readers may also browse the papers here.

Violation of new European noise-at-work limits--symphony told to keep it down

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007—ethics law with loopholes

geoponic (jee-uh-PON-ik) adjective
Of or relating to agriculture.
[From Greek geoponikos, from geo- (earth) + ponein (to toil).]
Sometimes the term geoponics is used to refer to growing of plants in earth, as contrasted with hydroponics (growing in water) or aeroponics (in air).

April 21 birthdays
It's the birthday of humorist Josh Billings, born Henry Wheeler Shaw in Lanesboro, Massachusetts (1818). Billings said, "Don't take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail; then you can let go when you want to."
It's the birthday of writer and naturalist John Muir, (books by this author) born in Dunbar, Scotland (1838). He walked for a thousand miles, from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico, and then he sailed to Cuba, Panama, and finally California, which would become his home for the rest of his life.
It's the birthday of John Clifford Mortimer, (books by this author) born in London (1923). He's best known as the author of the novels featuring the lawyer Rumpole of the Bailey. He wrote his first novel when he was in law school, and he's continued to practice law his entire life, writing plays, novels, and screenplays in his spare time.
The Writer’s Almanac

Coming to Shumaker charity sale in Toledo
Web of Evil by J.A. Jance hardbound 357 pages
suspense novel, second in Alison Reynolds series

The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp paperbound 574 pages—goes fast because there’s lots of white space
Lomax & Biggs mystery
If you don’t show up Sunday at the rabbit factory, don’t show up Monday.
Author and friend James Patterson gave Karp advice on his first novel. Then Patterson said: “I don’t know why I still talk to you. You’re the competition now.”

The Oath by John Lescroart hardbound 408 pages
Medical malpractice or murder? 7th in the Dismas Hardy series

Hurricane by Karen Harper hardbound 389 pages
Crime and a hurricane descend on southwest Florida

Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson hardbound 323 pages
Quote: Why is it we’re so willing to lean back, instead of press forward?
The first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in detective fiction at Oxford, he also writes as Joyce Reardon and Wendell McCall.

The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham hardbound 342 pages
Top-notch British thriller
Poverty is a relative state in a rich country where the wealthiest are the first to cry poor.
One of the strange things about friendship is that time together isn’t canceled out by time apart.
Desperation is the mother of bad ideas.

Paradise County by Karen Robards hardbound 369 pages
Human predator prowls the Kentucky countryside


Friday, April 18, 2008

Midwest hit by earthquake on April 18
The 5.4 earthquake took place at 4:36 a.m. local time, and was centered 5 miles north-northeast of Bellmont, Illinois. The quake was felt in Champaign, Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and St. Louis.

On April 18 in history
In 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco. The earthquake began near dawn, at 5:12 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, and lasted for a little over a minute. Scientists later determined that the San Andreas Fault had moved about 23 feet. The quake measured 8.3 on the Richter scale, and it was felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and as far east as central Nevada. The epicenter was near San Francisco.
Lawyer and writer Clarence (Seward) Darrow, (books by this author) was born in Kinsman, Ohio (1857). Darrow became famous for defending some of the most unpopular people of his time. In the 1925 Monkey Trial, he defended high school teacher John Scopes for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee school. In "The Crime of the Century," in 1924, he successfully defended two confessed teenage
He once said: "I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure."

Is the Harry Potter Lexicon — a proposed hardbound compendium to all-things Harry — a “fair use” of copyrighted Harry Potter material? During the three-day trial, the plaintiffs, Rowling and Warners, argued no: that the lexicon, in the words of lawyer Dale Cendali, “takes too much and does too little” to warrant fair-use protection. On the other side, the putative publisher, RDR books, argued yes: that the lexicon offers more to Harry Potter fans than a mere regurgitation of Rowling’s novels. The trial wrapped up on April 16 and is now in the hands of Judge Robert Patterson
WSJ Law Blog April 17, 2008

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment (PDF; 237 KB)Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others.
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes “advocacy of the use of force or of law violation … where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
The Court has also decided that the First Amendment provides less than full protection to commercial speech, defamation (libel and slander), speech that may be harmful to children, speech broadcast on radio and television, and public employees’ speech. Even speech that enjoys the most extensive First Amendment protection may be subject to “regulations of the time, place, and manner of expression which are content-neutral, are narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and leave open ample alternative channels of communication.” And, even speech that enjoys the most extensive First Amendment protection may be restricted on the basis of its content if the restriction passes “strict scrutiny,” i.e., if the government shows that the restriction serves “to promote a compelling interest” and is “the least restrictive means to further the articulated interest.”

Rising food prices: Policy options and World Bank response (Word; 175 KB)Source: World Bank
The rising trend in international food prices continued, and even accelerated, in 2008. U.S. wheat export prices rose from $375/ton in January to $440/ton in March, and Thai rice export prices increased from $365/ton to $562/ton. This came on top of a 181 percent increase in global wheat prices over the 36 months leading up to February 2008, and a 83 percent increase in overall global food prices over the same period.
Increased bio-fuel production has contributed to the rise in food prices. Concerns over oil prices, energy security and climate change have prompted governments to take a more proactive stance towards encouraging production and use of bio-fuels. This has led to increased demand for bio-fuel raw materials, such as wheat, soy, maize and palm oil, and increased competition for cropland. Almost all of the increase in global maize production from 2004 to 2007 (the period when grain prices rose sharply) went for bio-fuels production in the U.S., while existing stocks were depleted by an increase in global consumption for other uses. Other developments, such as droughts in Australia and poor crops in the E.U. and Ukraine in 2006 and 2007, were largely offset by good crops and increased exports in other countries and would not, on their own, have had a significant impact on prices. Only a relatively small share of the increase in food production prices (around 15%) is due directly to higher energy and fertilizer costs.
The observed increase in food prices is not a temporary phenomenon, but likely to persist in the medium term. Food crop prices are expected to remain high in 2008 and 2009 and then begin to decline as supply and demand respond to high prices; however, they are likely to remain well above the 2004 levels through 2015 for most food crops. Forecasts of other major organizations (FAO, OECD, and USDA) that regularly monitor and project commodity prices are broadly consistent with these projections. Predictions of high food price in the medium run are further strengthened when we factor in the impact of policies aimed at achieving energy security and reduced carbon dioxide emissions, which may present strong trade-offs with food security objectives.

Federal Reserve Board Beige Book, April 2008
"Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and based on information collected on or before April 7, 2008. This document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials. Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic conditions have weakened since the last report. Nine Districts noted slowing in the pace of economic activity, while the remaining three--Boston, Cleveland, and Richmond--described activity as mixed or steady."
Links to reports on Federal Reserve Districts
Federal Reserve Board Beige Book, Full Report, April 16, 2008

Earth Day is April 22
Find where activities are being held at the above link

The First Earth Day We only have one earth, so we need to take care of her. That's what Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin believed. He was disturbed that an issue as important as our environment was not addressed in politics or by the media, so he created the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended festivities that day.
On the first Earth Day, a co-worker and I plus our children marched in a parade. Then I decided to do something in a small way, and gave up paper napkins for cloth. I had been buying 200 paper napkins a month at that point, and it was a simple thing to do.

Who is Ned Ludd? What is a Luddite?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Report: Overview of the Federal Tax System and Its Effect in 2008
Report: Overview of the Federal Tax System and Its Effect in 2008, Scheduled for a Public Hearing Before the Senate Committee on Finance on April 15, 2008. Prepared by the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, April 14, 2008, JCX-32-08.

Regional travels Asheville, North Carolina
There's something about Asheville that makes its blend of remote Appalachian charm and cosmopolitan sophistication seem perfectly natural. The city abounds in cultural attractions and events, many stemming from the literary greats who have lived here. Thomas Wolfe, Carl Sandburg and O. Henry all once called Asheville home. The area's spectacular beauty led millionaire George W. Vanderbilt to locate Biltmore, his castle-like mansion, in Asheville, and the city has historically been a resort.
Sandburg home in Flat Rock: http://www.nps.gov/carl/
Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Biltmore estate: http://www.biltmore.com/
Thomas Wolfe Memorial http://www.wolfememorial.com/
Be sure and eat at Vincenzo’s in Asheville. (Daniel Day-Lewis did while filming Last of the Mohicans at the Biltmore estate.) http://www.vincenzos.com/

ve·hi·cle Pronunciation: \ˈvē-ə-kəl also ˈvē-ˌhi-kəl\ noun
French véhicule, from Latin vehiculum carriage, conveyance, from vehere to carry
Date: 1612

more kinds of vehicles: surrey, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), chariot, tank, cart, rickshaw, motorcycle, tractor, truck, van, amphibious vehicle (DUK-W/DUCK, Seep/Sea Jeep, Seagoing Jeep) http://www.jeep-history.com/AmphibiousJeeps.asp, scooter, personal transporter (Segway) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segway, unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, quadricycle http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1896/photos.html
Thanks to Toledo downtown law librarians for help with the list

Dr. Anne Adams was a Canadian scientist who died of a rare brain disease -- frontotemporal dementia -- which caused her to give up her lab and engage in an ecstasy of creative effort (and an agony of frustration as her mathematical ability slipped away), mostly centered on Ravel's Bolero, a composition he wrote in the throes of the same disease. In 1994, Dr. Adams became fascinated with the music of the composer Maurice Ravel, her husband recalled. At age 53, she painted “Unravelling Bolero” a work that translated the famous musical score into visual form.
story and location of the picture: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13599-bol%E9ro-beautiful-symptom-of-a-terrible-disease.html

endogamy (en-DOG-uh-mee) noun
The practice of marriage within a specific social group
[From endo- (within), from Greek endon (within) + -gamy (marriage), from Greek gamos (marriage).]

Where, oh where is Andorra, a country just 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC.

The earth is humming below the limits of human hearing


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

J.K. Rowling on the Stand: 'There's a Measure of Principle at Stake'
Law Blogger Dan Slater filed this dispatch on April 14 from outside the courtroom, just after Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had finished giving her direct testimony. For background on the case, click here.
NEW YORK — In the case of Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling v. RDR Books, the attorneys began the morning by introducing themselves, their trial teams, and their clients to the court, presided over by Southern District Judge Robert Patterson.
WSJ Law Blog April 14, 2008

ABA Launches SafeBorrowing.com Site
SafeBorrowing.com: "Consumer credit can be complicated. From the unusual legal terms to the complex mathematical formulas, understanding how credit works can be a big task. The Committee on Consumer Financial Services of the Section on Business Law of the American Bar Association has created this website to provide you with the tools to help you on your way to financial success. This website covers the four basic types of consumer credit: financing your home, financing your car, financing your education, and credit cards. At some point in your life you will be faced with decisions about most, if not all, of these types of credit. By reading through this website and others that we point you to, you will be able to get a grasp on understanding these types of credit and how to use them safely and wisely."
 "Other resources include a radio news release and various podcasts: safeborrowing.com (overview), mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards."

On April 11, we drove to Dayton
http://www.daytoncvb.com/guide/pdf/08-attractions.pdf and visited The Citizens Motorcar Company http://www.americaspackardmuseum.org/patrons.html, a
museum filled with old Packards. The first one I saw had drawers under the seats and small fold-down jump seats. Later, I would see the hearse used in the 1972 film The Godfather. There are two large buildings, once used for a Packard dealership. Surprises:
a Chickering piano, a Packard piano, a library with three oriental rugs and built-in bookcases.
After dinner at Jay’s http://www.jays.com/ we toured the beautiful campus of The University of Dayton (UD). On July 1, 1850, St. Mary's School for Boys, a frame building that not long before had housed farm hands, opened its doors to 14 primary students from Dayton. Known at various times as St. Mary's School, St. Mary's Institute and St. Mary's College, the school assumed its present identity in 1920.

UD has a sand mandala created by Tibetan monks on campus. The Dalai Lama, has granted UD permission to keep it on display, departing from the traditional practice of destroying the mandala shortly after its creation. The mandala can be found on the second floor of Roesch Library.
The next morning we visited The Dayton Art Institute. Shimmering Madness was a memorable installation by Sandy Skoglund of jelly bean people

Discover Ohio
Discover Ohio: Ohio government and law

A faithful reader has shared a travel site after reading about southwest Florida’s Everglades.
In search box, type post office under attraction and fl for state as an example.

April 15 is the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, born in the Republic of Florence (1452). Though he lived for 67 years, only 17 of his paintings are known to exist, and only a few of those were finished to his satisfaction, including The Last Supper and Mona Lisa.
The most extensive works that Leonardo left behind were his notebooks, more than 3,500 pages of sketches and writings. Scholars aren't sure why, but most of what Leonardo wrote in his notebooks was written backward, so that it could only be legible when held up to a mirror.
The Writer’s Almanac

Monday, April 14, 2008

PLoL, The Public Library of Law offers free cases, statutes, regulations, rules, constitutions and forms. http://www.plol.org/Pages/Search.aspx
PLoL has been created by the legal research system Fastcase.

Why do they call them station wagons? They were wagons to carry passengers and cargo from railroad stations. http://www.stationwagon.com/history.html
Other kinds of wheeled vehicles: limousine, phaeton, roadster, coupe, runabout, sedan, cabriolet, brougham, landau, speedster, convertible

Voyager: The Golden Record (last updated February 15, 2004)
The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft each carry with them a golden record bearing images, sounds, and music which an alien civilization may use someday to get a better understanding of humanity.
What is on this record?
118 pictures, depicting such things as the solar system, the structure of DNA, human anatomy and development, Boston, the Taj Mahal, the United Nations, a page from the Isaac Newton's System of the World, a sunset, and the score of quarter and violin for the Cavatina from Beethoven's String Quarter No. 13;
Sounds of the Earth, such as human footsteps and laughter, volcanoes, crickets, an infant's cries, and a message in Morse Code, "Ad astra per aspera" ("To the stars by hard ways," which is Kansas's state motto); and
27 pieces of music from around the world listed at link below.
2008 Golden Record information from NASA

omission of one or more sounds making it easier to pronounce
tempature rather than temperature
vegtable rather than vegetable
addition of a sound, usually between two other sounds, creating a rhythm
ath-a-lete rather than athlete
sherbert rather than sherbet

On this day: April 14
In 1828 Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language.
In 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was shot in the back of the head while watching a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.
In 1894 Thomas Edison's first kinetoscope appeared in a New York City arcade.
In 1935 a windstorm “like a black tidal wave” hit a part of the Great Plains known as the Dust Bowl. It would be known as Black Sunday.
In 1939 John Steinbeck published his novel about the farmers displaced by the Dust Bowl drought: The Grapes of Wrath.
The Writer’s Almanac

History of Edison Motion Pictures: Origins of Motion Pictures--the Kinetoscope

Regional travels: southwest Florida
The Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands is a rare and beautiful place. It is one of North America's unsung wild places--a beautiful, rugged, subtropical landscape experienced by a relatively few adventurous souls each year.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook
Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook April 2008 (04/08/2008): "Quarterly short-term energy projections for supply, demand, and price for the major fuels through 2009 for the U.S. This report provides an emphasis on motor gasoline. International oil forecasts are included."
Short-Term Energy Outlook Supplement: Motor Gasoline Consumption 2008 (04/08/2008): "This report reviews how gasoline markets relate to population, income, prices, and the growing role of ethanol. It also analyzes the structural shift in motor gasoline markets that took place in the late 1990s

SEC Takes Action to Halt Online Account Intrusion and Identity Theft Scheme
News release: "The Securities and Exchange Commission...took action to stop a sophisticated Internet scheme that stole the identities of unsuspecting individuals and netted more than $66,000 in illicit profits in just seven weeks. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the SEC alleged that one or more unknown traders conducted their entire online account intrusion scheme over the Internet and concealed their identities by, among other things, fraudulently opening brokerage accounts in the names of individuals who responded to a job advertisement on the Web site Craig’s List."

Chairman Waxman Issues Subpoena for EPA Documents
"Chairman Henry A. Waxman has issued a subpoena to compel EPA to provide unredacted copies of documents involving the White House that have been improperly withheld from the Committee regarding EPA’s decision to reject California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The subpoena compels production of approximately 100 EPA documents involving the White House. Chairman Waxman released the following statement:
“The Committee has found evidence that EPA officials met with the White House regarding California’s motor vehicle regulations. Subsequently, EPA blocked California from moving forward with its landmark program to address climate change. Unfortunately, EPA has refused to disclose the substance and extent of its communications with the White House. The Committee must have these documents in order to understand how the agency’s decision was made.”

Chairman Waxman Criticizes EPA Proposal That Would Allow Contaminated Drinking Water
"In a letter to EPA Administrator Johnson, Chairman Waxman expressed his concerns that an EPA proposal could expose significant populations in the United States to contamination levels in drinking water up to three times what the law now allows."

The at sign (@) first appeared in e-mail back in the early 70s, when a programmer named Ray Tomlinson devised a system using it as a method of separating the user of a computer from the machine he or she was using. Until then, e-mail could only be sent to users of the same computer.
M-W Word for the Wise

Pronunciation challenge: aberrant

Who is Bartleby and why did he say “I would prefer not to” in Bartleby, the Scriviner: A Story of Wall Street.
This is a short novel by Herman Melville. The story first appeared, anonymously, in Putnam's Magazine in two parts in November and December 1853. It was reprinted in Melville's The Piazza Tales in 1856 with minor textual alterations.
Read the book and you will find out who Bartleby is, but I doubt if you’ll find out why he “preferred not to.”

In February, Duke University lacrosse players sued Duke, Durham and several school and police officials in federal court in North Carolina for fraud, abuse and breach of duty for supporting the prosecution of the case against their three falsely-accused teammates. (Click here for the complaint, in which they seek damages for invasion of privacy, emotional distress and other injuries.) At the time, Duke’s GC, Pamela Bernard, said: “Their legal strategy attacking Duke is misdirected and without merit.”
Now that strategy, which includes a Web site, dukelawsuit.com, has itself become the subject of a dispute between the players and the University, the city of Durham and the Duke University Health System, which have objected in federal court to the site — a blog that tracks the suit and includes links to all the filings.
WSJ Law Blog April 10, 2008


Thursday, April 10, 2008

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. This year’s celebration will be April 13-19. Visit the library of your choice, actually or electronically. How about visiting the Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/z3950/ or the hundreds of libraries listed at their Web site, such as North Carolina State University (DRA) or Ohio State University (INNOPAC) or University of Tampa -- Tampa, Florida (Endeavor).

One thing about books . . . they are always waiting and willing to come to life,
and educate you any time you pick one up.
A Piece of My Mind, a New Collection of Essays from JAMA, the Journal of the
American Medical Association 2000

It happens in the mind of the writer and the mind of the reader.
That’s what a novel is, the exchange of dreams.
The Novel James A. Michener (1907-1997) American author

You know, a book is a little like the loaves and fishes—it can feed the multitude.
A Creed for the Third Millennium Colleen McCullough (b. 1937) Australian neurophysiologist, author

When in doubt, go the library.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J. K. Rowling 1999

Julie Andrews on libraries

The Perfect Library

Under a 16-month-old federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, or FACTA, consumers can sue companies for putting too much credit card information on Internet and store receipts, thus increasing the likelihood of identity theft.
WSJ Law Blog April 8, 2008

The Path of Time
by Donna Dean

Wandering down the path of time,
Savoring memories I’ve kept as mine.
Watching the years roll quickly by.
Seems such a shame how fast they fly.

Remembering youth though it disappeared,
Wasn’t it yesterday those years were here?
Now I’m wandering down the path of time,
Recalling days that once were mine.

When yesterday it all seemed so real,
Now it’s just like a movie reel.
To be played over again in my mind,
While I’m wandering down the path of time.

April 10 in history
It was on this day in 1912 that the R.M.S. Titanic departed Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. It was supposed to arrive in New York City on April 15th.
It was the biggest passenger ship ever built at the time at 882 feet long and 92 feet wide. The Titanic is generally remembered as a luxury liner, but only 325 of the 2,224 people on board were traveling in first class
On the fifth night of the ship's voyage, the weather was clear and windless. There was no moon. It had been an especially warm winter and many icebergs had broken off from glaciers farther north, so the lookout men had been told to keep an eye out for them. At about 11:40, one of the lookouts, Frederick Fleet, saw a huge dark object floating in the water in front of the ship. He yelled, "Iceberg right ahead," and rang an alarm bell. Many of the passengers awake that night later said that they felt a slight bump.
More than 500 songs were written about the disaster, most famously "It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down" by Pop Stoneman, with the lines, "Oh they threw the lifeboats out o'er the dark and stormy sea / The band struck up with 'Nearer My God to Thee' / Children wept and cried as the water rushed through the side / It was sad when that great ship went down." The disaster has also been the subject of more than a hundred books and at least a dozen movies.

It was on this day in 1925 that F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby was published. (books by this author) Fitzgerald was 28 years old at the time. He'd just produced a play called The Vegetable (1923), which was a big flop. So he sailed with his wife, Zelda, to France in May of 1924. He found that he could see America better from a distance, and he began to write his novel about a wealthy bootlegger named Jay Gatsby.
The Writer’s Almanac


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

August: Osage County Wins Pulitzer
see list of prizes at above link

Study Group Issues Report Recommending Changes in Copyright Law to Reflect Digital Technologies
"After nearly three years of intensive work, the independent Section 108 Study Group has issued its report and recommendations on exceptions to copyright law to address how libraries, archives and museums deal with copyrighted materials in fulfilling their missions in the digital environment . . . Section 108 is the section of the Copyright Act that provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives so that they may make copies to replace copyrighted works in their collections when necessary, preserve them for the long term and make them available to users."
The Section 108 Study Group Report, An Independent Report sponsored by the United States Copyright Office and the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress, March 2008
Executive Summary

Here’s a tale of Form-1040 intrigue that comes courtesy of the 11th Circuit, which on April 7 dealt a blow to Internal Revenue Service’s nearly 20-year quest to claim taxes allegedly owed by a now-deceased lawyer. The lawyer, Burton W. Kanter, who died in 2001 was accused by the IRS of evading taxes in the 1970s and 80s and of leading a scheme in which the Pritzker family of Chicago, which owns the Hyatt hotel chain, paid Kanter and two others millions of dollars in alleged kickbacks for helping them get a management contract for a San Francisco hotel built in 1973. The three conspirators then allegedly didn’t pay taxes on the money.
WSJ Law Blog April 7, 2008
Case is here: http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/WSJ_ballard040708.pdf

Chicago Tribune contains an article from Tennessee property rights professor Gregory Stein.
Poking fun at recent law school rankings in U.S. News & World Report, Stein, in a purported attempt to ensure the school was prepared for the release of the rankings, drafted two letters from the “Dean” — one to send out to students, alumni and faculty if the school moved up in the rankings, and another letter to send if it got bumped down.
Here’s an excerpt from the “winning” letter:
We are very happy to announce that we have moved up one place in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s “Ultimate Guide to Law Schools.” While we all understand that rankings such as these are based on a somewhat arbitrary formula, the rankings nonetheless recognize that the foundation of this law school, its faculty, its alumni, its staff, its physical plant, and, above all, its fine students keeps getting stronger. . . .The number of our graduates employed nine months after graduation increased by 0.4 percent, and we owe thanks to our fine office of career services.
And from the “losing” letter:
I know you understand that the U.S. News formula, though it focuses on many of the important attributes of a fine law school, combines and weighs them in a manner that most lawyers and law deans find to be arbitrary. For example, did you know that the number of our law graduates employed nine months after their graduation this year was only two less than the similar number employed at the same time last year, a phenomenal accomplishment for our career services office during the beginnings of an economic slump?
WSJ Law Blog April 7, 2008
(See letters as printed in Chicago Tribune): http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0406rankingsapr06,0,3372512.story

ebullient (i-BUL-yuhnt, -BOOL-) adjective
Bubbling with enthusiasm or excitement.
[From Latin ebullire (to boil up), from bulla (bubble).]

Not in my lifetime
When I saw the Danube River, all brown and straightened by engineers, I asked our Vienna tour guide, if the Danube had ever been blue. He said: “Not in my lifetime.”

by Martha Esbin

The moles are munching, marching, munching
They come, grabbing grubs and slugs, polishing them off, aerating the soil.
Trails of raised tunnels track their progress.
The mounds slip down gradually.
The moles are munching, marching, munching.
They go, to continue their good work.

Moles are from a group of mammals called Insectivores (Order Insectivora). As the name implies, moles eat insects and their larvae, including grubs and slugs, and they are a beneficial source of insect control for lawns and gardens. Moles are one of the most subterranean of mammals; they are rarely seen, spending much of their life underground. Distinctive mounds of soft earth, most common during wet weather, are pushed up as the moles make their tunnels. These mounds usually indicate the presence of moles, which in turn, usually indicates the presence of subterranean insects.

April 8 birthdays
It's the birthday of lyricist (Edgar) Yip Harburg, born in New York City (1896). He's best known as the man who wrote the lyrics and much of the script for The Wizard of Oz (1939). He also wrote songs such as "April in Paris" and "It's Only a Paper Moon."
It's the birthday of novelist Barbara Kingsolver, (books by this author) born in Annapolis, Maryland (1955). She grew up in rural Kentucky, where she spent her childhood exploring the alfalfa fields and wooded hills surrounding her home. She started keeping a journal when she was eight years old and has continued to do so her entire life.
The Writer’s Almanac


Monday, April 7, 2008

California first lady Maria Shriver is among 32 celebrities and high-profile patients that had their confidential records breached at UCLA Medical Center. That worker was fired in May 2007 after UCLA learned of the widespread breaches. The secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, Kim Belshe, said Sunday that her agency is "very concerned about what appears to be a pattern of repeated violations." The state will be taking action against UCLA, she said.

Johns Hopkins officials restores full access to a reproductive health Web site after learning that searches containing the word "abortion" were being intentionally restricted and that thousands of studies were being hidden from easy view. A California research librarian prompted Johns Hopkins officials to change the site dealing with population issues and funded by the U.S. government, so that the word "abortion" was restored as an option in the site's search engine.

On April 4, we heard the Toledo Symphony start its concert with Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematic Scene. The conductor then turned to the audience and said: “You only love what you know—and by your applause, you don’t know that—so we’ll play it again.”
Hear music at above link.

The NBC chimes comprise a broken major chord (SO going up to MI going down to DO). In some public places, a broken chord is used to get the attention of the people using DO up to MI up to SO.
Examples of broken major chords in familiar tunes:
SO down to MI down to DO “Oh say” (can you see). By the way, the original Star Spangled Banner began SO down to DO, and now has an extra note between.
DO up to MI up to SO “Morning has” (broken like the first morning).
Every note in the song is part of one major broken chord in Taps.

Book or scroll? IT professional helps a user

The Archival Research Catalog (ARC) is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC, area, regional archives, and presidential libraries.
ARC contains many descriptions of records of interest to genealogists and family historians, including:
applications for enrollment in Native American tribes
court records
fugitive slave cases
land records
military personnel records
naturalization records

Because of a ruling in Tafas v. Dudas, patent attorneys are now free to file long, complicated patent applications. A court shot down a PTO rule that attempted to streamline applications by limiting the number of claims to 25.
WSJ Law Blog April 4, 2008

On April 7, 1927 an audience in New York City saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television. At the time, there were several competing versions of television, and this version was a mechanical process that used a metal disc, punched with holes in a spiral pattern, which transformed light into electrical impulses. It had been invented in Europe, and it was called "Radio Vision." "Radio Vision" never really caught on. Instead, the TV as we know today was an entirely different technology, invented by a high school student in rural Utah named Philo Farnsworth.
The Writer’s Almanac

blimey (BLY-mee) interjection
An expression of surprise, dismay, etc.
[Contraction of "blind me" or "blame me", from "God blind/blame me"; sometimes heard in the form gorblimey or corblimey.]

Friday, April 4, 2008

Congressional Pig Book 2008: Annual Compilation of Pork-Barrel Projects in Federal Budget.
News release: "Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released the 2008 Congressional Pig Book, the latest installment in an 18-year exposé of pork-barrel spending...In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007. Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million). CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991."

New CRS Reports
April 01, 2008 - Medicaid and Outpatient Hospital Services
April 01, 2008 - The REAL ID Act of 2005: Legal, Regulatory, and Implementation Issues
March 28, 2008 - Financial Turmoil: Federal Reserve Policy Responses

What’s a signature in book publishing?
A printed sheet of paper, folded to size and ready for sewing (i.e.: large paper folded in half, fourths, eighths, sixteenths, or thirty-seconds).
glossary of book terms at above link

willy-nilly (WIL-ee NIL-ee) adverb, adjective
1. Whether willing or not.
2. Haphazardly.
[From contraction of "will ye/he/I nill ye/he/I", from will (to be willing) and nill (to be unwilling).]

May Day corresponds to the French pronunciation for "m'aider", which means "help me."
The call is given three times in a row.

Music is an art form that involves organized sounds and silence.

John Cage's most famous musical composition is called 4'33".
It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. (He uses a stopwatch to time this.) In other words, the entire piece consists of silences -- silences of different lengths, they say.

On April 1, 89.9 FM held a “Cage Match.” They played two versions of 4’33’’ and asked radio listeners to vote for the one they preferred.

Love means biscuits, and empathy is a casserole.

To your health In-A-Minute Breakfast
Scant 1/3 cup rolled oats, farina or corn meal
1 cup (more, if needed) water or milk
Cook on stovetop while stirring to desired consistency, about a minute.
Possible toppings: salt, honey, molasses, syrup, butter


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Are the Editors at U.S. News Becoming De Facto Law School Deans?
An op-ed in April 2, 2008 Hartford Courant suggests that the answer to the above question is yes. The piece goes on to lament what it views as law school deans’ double-talk about the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of their schools, which were released on March 28. The piece was written by Michael Seringhaus, a One-L at Yale, which U.S. News ranked first for 2008.

WSJ Law Blog April 2, 2008

TNT's Librarian franchise of movies has proven successful for the network. The first installment, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, ranked as ad-supported cable's number-one movie of 2004. The second installment, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines, ranks as ad-supported cable's number-one original movie sequel of all time and placed among the top five movie telecasts of 2006.
Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin return. Check April 2008 listings for viewing of the third installment in your area.

Rex Libris, another librarian feared by evil opponents, appears in comic books
Other characters—some good and some bad—are Simonides, Thoth, Circe and Hypatia.

FTC: The Truth About Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission today reiterated that despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future, and that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry

E-ZPass electronic toll collection technology was first introduced in the Northeastern United States in 1993.
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
West Virginia http://www.ezpassde.com/where_use_ezpass.shtml
Ohio is expected to have E-ZPass by August 2009, but in the meantime we are traveling to some of the above-listed states. So, we have ordered an I-PASS from Illinois.

You may use a form for an advanced search on Google here:

Dirt, only the best dirt, used for library walls
See picture at above link

The everyday word "goodbye" was earlier "god be with you". By association with greetings such as "good day", god morphed into good and the whole phrase became goodbye. Another such term is the informal greeting "Howdy" which in its former life was known as "How do ye?" or "How do you do?"

Because our house is being both reconstructed and renovated, we have been inspired to re-organize (sort, toss or give away items) and clean. Yesterday the ducts were cleaned and, in addition to a bit of grit, we found a large mummified chipmunk.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today is April Fools' Day, a holiday celebrating practical jokes of all kinds. Some people say that April Fools' Day began in France in 1582 when the Gregorian replaced the Julian calendar, making New Year's Day fall on January 1st instead of April 1st. At the time, news of such things traveled slowly, and it took many years for everyone to get up to speed. People who continued to celebrate New Year's on April 1st came to be known as April Fools.
The Writer’s Almanac

Should Internet addiction be included in the next version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)?
March 29, 2008 issue of New Scientist may be in a nearby library for the whole article.

“When Australian Boyd Rayward travelled to Brussels in 1968 there was only one sight he wanted to see: a disused university anatomy theatre. Rayward was a graduate student in library science, and the cobwebby old theatre with leaking skylights housed something he had to see before it vanished forever. Inside the gloomy theatre, Rayward found piles of papers and archives that had remained untouched since 1944. These were the last remnants of the Mundaneum, a vast and visionary attempt at an immense proto-internet made from the most unlikely of materials: 3-by-5-inch index cards."
See March 22, 2008 issue of New Scientist

WIPO: Cybersquatting Dispute Cases Continue to Rise
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) news release: "Against the background of an unprecedented number of cybersquatting cases in 2007, the evolving nature of the domain name registration system (DNS) is causing growing concern for trademark owners around the world. Last year, a record 2,156 complaints alleging cybersquatting - or the abusive registration of trademarks on the Internet - were filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center (Center), representing an 18% increase over 2006 and a 48% increase over 2005 in the number of generic and country code Top Level Domain (gTLDs and ccTLDs) disputes (see Table 1)."

Wikipedia Hits Milestone of Ten Million Articles Across 250 Languages
News release: "...the Wikimedia Foundation reached a significant new milestone: on Thursday, March 27, at 00:07 UTC the official article count for all Wikipedias combined reached 10 million. The ten millionth article, a short biography of 16th century English goldsmith and painter Nicholas Hilliard, was created in the Hungarian Wikipedia by user Pataki Márta. Wikipedia now boasts articles in more than 250 languages, with the English Wikipedia having the largest number, followed in descending order by the German, French, Polish, Japanese, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish Wikipedias. The project is also experiencing rapid growth in many young Wikipedias, including Marathi, Tagalog, and Cantonese."

Last week, I read about Poetry Olympics in Sherman’s Lagoon comic strip and thought it was a clever joke. However, there has been a Poetry Olympics since 1998. http://poetry.about.com/library/weekly/aa112498.htm

Food of the week: leeks http://www.whfoods.org/
Recipe of the week is 15-minute salmon with leeks at The World’s Healthiest Foods Web site. View at 3-minute home cooking class. You may sign up for a weekly bulletin sent on Monday and daily tips sent Tuesday through Sunday.

Coming to Shumaker charity sale in Toledo
One Shot by Lee Child hardbound 376 pages
Mystery featuring action hero and “nowhere man” Jack Reacher
Much appreciated quotes:
Librarians are nice people. They tell you things, if you ask them.
The law was a game, and like any game it had a psychological component.

Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard hardbound 327 pages
Romantic suspense www.lindahoward.com

No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross softbound 383 pages
Romantic suspense set in the “City That Care Forgot”

Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann hardbound 372 pages
Romantic suspense

Dead Ringer by Lisa Scottoline, University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate and teacher of Justice and Fiction softbound 397 pages
Philadelphia lawyers meet mayhem.
The law should be pure, like art. It evolves like a painting, created step by step, until the whole can be seen.
This is the first day of the rest of your litigation . . .

Another moral to the Japanese stonecutter’s tale of wishing for wealth and power
Thou shall not covet.

It’s interesting to see what morals you pick out of stories. If you read an Aesop’s Fable, you may think of other morals to add to the stated one. Another fun thing is to say what you see in a painting. I vividly remember a thirty-minute session at The Toledo Museum of Art where we were invited to look at a painting of acrobats and describe it.