Saturday, September 29, 2012

No Lawyer, No Problem: Supreme Court Grants Pro Se Petitions

It may be unusual, even unheard of, for the Supreme Court to grant two pro se petitions in one day, but two of the six petitions granted certiorari by the Supreme Court last Tuesday were submitted by petitioners without lawyers.  Millbrook v. United States came from a Pennsylvania federal prison inmate who wrote in pencil on the form available from the Supreme Court website and has no email or phone privileges. Levin v. United States was filed by a man in Guam who listed no phone number as well as no attorney.  Apparently, the Court was convinced that their claims raised important issues that needed deciding and deserved a place on the docket--issues such as when sovereign immunity does and doesn't apply to tortious acts of federal prison guards and military doctors. An Associated Press report uncovered interesting background on the petitioners and their claims.  JURIST has additional coverage of the issues with links to the statutes involved and the lower court opinions.      

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, September 28, 2012

First Monday in October

Starting Monday, the Supreme Court will be in session.  What better time than a Friday, to think about Supreme Court humor (and no, that is not an oxymoron).  Check out Supreme Court Humor - a site that tracks laughter promoting remarks by Justice in Supreme Court oral arguments.

Hat-tip to - Legal Blog Watch.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ACLU Files Suit Regarding License Plate Readers

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Massachusetts recently filed suit to obtain records and information regarding the use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) by federal law enforcement and other agencies. ALPRs are cameras mounted near roads and highways that automatically photograph and record license plate numbers for later review by law enforcement. Read more here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Disappearing Ink Used by Publisher

Argentina publishing house Eterna Cadencia published an anthology of new Latin American authors, titled El Libro Que No Puede Esperar (English translation, “The Book That Can’t Wait“).  Apparently, they mean that literally.  The ink used to print the books is designed to react to both sunlight and air to vanish in 60 days, only blank pages are left behind.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TV on Twitter

The first TV episode to appear on a Twitter page debuted this week.  Raising Hope showed a commercial free episode on their Twitter page for those who followed their tweets or visited the page.  Is this going to become a new way to watch TV or is this a special case of marketing the show through social media?

Most networks make their TV shows available online after a day or so, making a Twitter based show just another electronic media channel.  However, Raising Hope is from Fox Network.  Fox only makes its shows available online to certain cable subscribers.  Those who are not part of that viewer base have to wait 8 - 30 days for current seasons shows to stream electronically.  This makes a Twitter episode on Fox much more valuable and makes the show available to all viewers earlier.

It might be worth it to follow your favorite shows on Twitter, just in case.

Read more here on Mashable:

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, September 24, 2012

Google Scholar Blog

As you know Google is constantly modifying and improving their search services.  Whether it’s a product or feature launch or a cool new initiative, chances are that you cam read about most news from Google on one of their blogs.

Google has an entire network of company blogs that are available to all of us. Check the Blog Directory - News from Google for a list.

Google Scholar and Google Scholar Blog are highly recommended.  Google Scholar as a starting point for research and the blog for updates and best practices.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dictionary of Crutch Words

The Atlantic Wire recently published an article entitled "Actually, Literally, What Your Crutch Word Says About You."  This interesting article defines crutch words as "those expressions we pepper throughout our language as verbal pauses, and sometimes as written ones, to give us time to think, to accentuate our meaning (even when we do so mistakenly), or just because these are the words that have somehow lodged in our brains and come out on our tongues the most, for whatever reason."  Of course lawyers are guilty of using crutch words just like everyone else and they not only use them when talking to clients but also in court arguments.  Some examples of crutch words are "basically," "um," "honestly," "like," "it is what it is," and "seriously."  Read the article here for the entire dictionary of crutch words and what they say about you!
(credit to Law Librarian Blog)
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat