Monthly Archives: February 2004

Groklaw Scribes Eben Moglen

Groklaw has put online a transcription of my friend Eben Moglen's latest public speech. (Eben is a professor at Columbia law and also general counsel for the Free Software Foundation.) A Moglen speech is a performance. It is a provocation. It is darned good fun, and gives you much to think about. And this one is also about SCO, and patents, and freedom — it's always about freedom. Enjoy.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA, Software | Comments Off on Groklaw Scribes Eben Moglen

Posner Poker

I think they must have too much time on their hands at the other UM Law — U. Michigan Law — as in addition to all her blogging, first-year student Heidi Bond has invented a fun-sounding poker variant: Posner Poker, the game with tradable cards (for those of you who are not lawyers, just think of this as “Let's Make a Deal” poker).

Or maybe it's being trapped indoors due to all that cold and snow.

Posted in Etc | 1 Comment

The Fascade Begins to Crack

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the White House could peddle any sort of unrealistic political garbage, and the press mostly ate it up. The National Guard issue, falling poll numbers, and not least pressure from big-time bloggers, has changed all that.

So today the Republicans caved on the insult-to-the-intelligence story that Speaker Hastert was refusing the White House request to extend the life of the 9/11 commission.

The reason for the cave-in is that the mainstream press got the bit between its teeth, and the White House realized that having to brag about an inability to controll the House — which may soon be the truth on spending and maybe even taxation — would not advance its electoral prospects, and if believed would only embolden the would-be House rebels.

(NPR's corrective of its earlier unquestioning acceptance of a falsehood peddled by RNC Chair Racicot is also a sign of the same phenomenon. The ice is melting….)

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | Comments Off on The Fascade Begins to Crack

One Heck of an Easter Egg

The Watley Review reports on what people are finding in the Win 2000 and Win NT source code leaked from Microsoft:

“The profanity which pervades the code was the first thing to leap out at you,” said Paul Mayberry, professor of computer science at the University of Chicago. “But people have been finding all kinds of strange things in that code.”

The code appears to have been used as a storage file of sorts where Microsoft employees parked other documents they were working on, including personal letters, salary records and disciplinary actions, and, most strikingly, a nearly complete romance novel in 13 chapters distributed among the code.

“There are several remarkable features about this text,” said Mayberry. “In the first place, it does not inspire confidence in the integrity and efficiency of Microsoft's coding to know that someone was able to insert a 30,000 word document with no apparent effects.”

The novel, entitled “Forbidden Love in the Evil Empire,” describes a torrid affair between improbably attractive coders working for a megacorporation similar to Microsoft. Several of the characters appear to be adaptations of Star Trek characters, and at least one, inexplicably, is covered in fur.

What a pity that the Whatley Review describes itself as “dedicated to the production of articles completely without journalistic merit or factual basis, as this would entail leaving our chairs or actually working.” Because I would have loved this to be true.

Posted in Completely Different | Comments Off on One Heck of an Easter Egg

Get Paid To Find Typos & Other Errors

Evan Schaeffer offers cash bounties to readers who spot errors in his blog, Notes from the (Legal) Underground

What will you earn? $20 for each typographical error, $10 for each grammatical error, and $5 for each clever demonstration of how I can omit needless words.

Who is eligible? All readers. While before, I welcomed your e-mails and comments informing me of my stupid mistakes, now I'm going to pay you too.

Why am I doing this? Number one, I hate errors. Number two, I love the way good copy editors can make writing sharper and more focused. Number three, by giving myself a financial motive to improve my own editing skills, I hope I'll accomplish these goals myself, without having to pay you very much.

There are a number of conditions and exceptions, so read the rules before you play.

I would no doubt be broke if I tried this, just on the typos alone. But Mr. Shaeffer blogs less frequently, plus he is a practicing lawyer, so he can probably afford it. Plus, looks to me like he's actually quite careful—and even he's out of pocket $195 since starting this open-source proofreading thing about three weeks ago.

Posted in Blogs | 9 Comments

Military Lawyers Condemn Guantanamo Trial Rules As “Fundamentally Unfair”

It's good that the lawyers are being agressive, but odd indeed that they don't get to communicate with their clients…or even know if the clients are aware they have been charged. What kind of a system doesn't tell the defendant the charges against him? Only a very, very, very bad system, that's what.

Lawyers condemn 'unfair' terror trial rules (may require registration): US military officers assigned as defence lawyers to the first prisoners to be charged at Guantanamo Bay say the tribunal rules under which they will be tried are fundamentally unfair and hopelessly antiquated.

“We are concerned with virtually every aspect of the military commission process and the impact it will have on our clients' chances of getting a fair trial,” Navy Lt Cdr Philip Sundel said.

Army Major Mark Bridges said that he and Lt Sundel were planning to raise several motions related to the rules and procedures being followed at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, the first of their kind since the Second World War.

“The bottom line is it's an outdated system that was pulled off the shelf and dusted off. The law has advanced a lot since then, both internally and domestically. The standards that were applied then simply aren't acceptable today,” Major Bridges said.

The two lawyers will defend Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahul, of Yemen, who was charged along with Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoudf al Qosi, of Sudan, with conspiracy to commit war crimes.

Lt Sundel said neither he nor his colleague had been allowed to speak to al Bahul and they did not know whether he had even been told of the charge against him, announced earlier this week.

It's sorta like watching a race. Does the Adminstration exhibit a greater lack of decent respect for Justice, or for the opinions of mankind?

Posted in Guantanamo | 1 Comment