Why the Public Library Beats Amazon — for Now
A growing stack of companies would like you to pay a monthly fee to read e-books, just like you subscribe to NetflixNFLX +0.77% to binge on movies and TV shows. Don’t bother. Go sign up for a public library card instead. Really, the public library? Amazon.comAMZN +0.23% recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a $10-per-month service offering loans of 600,000 e-books. Startups called Oyster and Scribd offer something similar. It isn’t very often that a musty old institution can hold its own against tech disrupters. But it turns out librarians haven’t just been sitting around shushing people while the Internet drove them into irrelevance. More than 90% of American public libraries have amassed e-book collections you can read on your iPad, and often even on a Kindle. You don’t have to walk into a branch or risk an overdue fine. And they’re totally free.
We can get addicted to many things. We all know about alcohol, drug and tobacco addiction, which is chemically based, but people get seriously addicted to gambling, overeating, exercise – and sex. Perhaps the most interesting of the non-chemical, electronic addictions are computer-game, amusement-arcade machine and one-arm-bandit addiction. But we have recently discovered another addiction – Internet addiction. For some people the net is the Prozac, for others the Viagra, of communication.
How We Think: John Dewey on the Art of Reflection and Fruitful Curiosity in an Age of Instant Opinions and Information Overload
Decades before Carl Sagan published his now-legendary Baloney Detection Kit for critical thinking, the great philosopher, psychologist, and education reformer John Dewey penned the definitive treatise on the subject — a subject all the more urgently relevant today, in our age of snap judgments and instant opinions. In his 1910 masterwork How We Think (free download; public library), Dewey examines what separates thinking, a basic human faculty we take for granted, from thinking well, what it takes to train ourselves into mastering the art of thinking, and how we can channel our natural curiosity in a productive way when confronted with an overflow of information.
The Future of Solo and Small-Firm Practice
Last week, at Minnesota’s Strategic Solutions for Solo and Small Firms Conference, I shared a panel with Lawyerist’s Sam Glover and an innovational speaker, Matt Homann. The panel focused on the future of solo and small-firm practice over the next ten years. Although we all agreed that the solos and smalls — and, indeed, lawyers in general — will face challenges over the next decade, I still believe that opportunities remain for solos who understand these challenges and figure out ways to overcome them.
Every Law Student is on Law Review
Law students writing on blogs and other social media are contributing valuable legal writing. “Turn on your computer, write a blog post – and you’re an author,” says Andrea Lunsford, Stanford University’s Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Emerita. The co-author of the digital-age writing guide Everyone’s an Author, told Angela Beccerra Viderergar (@abecegar) of the Stanford News that students are “writing more today than they ever have in the history of the world, and it’s because of social media.” Students themselves “may think it’s not writing, but it is writing, and it’s important writing.”
Bloggers Defeat Brett Kimberlin’s Vexatious Defamation Case in Maryland
Last year I talked about how the notorious and thoroughly evil Brett Kimberlin had sued several bloggers in Maryland state court for being mean to him. This is not to be confused with the ludicrous racketeering case that Kimberlin filed in Maryland federal court against a laundry list of detractors. Today Kimberlin lost his state case at trial. He didn’t just lose — he lost conclusively. After the close of Kimberlin’s day of “evidence,” the judge granted a motion for a directed verdict against him.
Our “Must-Cite” Bankruptcy Cases
We at the Weil Bankruptcy Blog have compiled our favorite “must-cite” cases—the sort of cases that no brief or motion on a particular issue should go without citing. The criteria were simple: If your emergency memo fails to cite to one particular case, will it come back with a note saying, “You missed something. TRY AGAIN!”? If so, then you’ve got a “must-cite” case. (By the way, it also sounds like you’ve got a jerk for a boss, with all this last-minute memo writing and mean post-it notes.)
AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs
The vast majority of respondents to the 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing anticipate that robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as health care, transport and logistics, customer service, and home maintenance. But even as they are largely consistent in their predictions for the evolution of technology itself, they are deeply divided on how advances in AI and robotics will impact the economic and employment picture over the next decade.
Charlotte Uptown Boosters Announce In-Depth Study to Revitalize North Tryon
An effort to revitalize North Tryon Street, backed by some of the city’s most powerful institutions, moved forward Monday with the hiring of a California-based urban planning firm to lead a $415,000 study of the corridor. Charlotte Center City Partners and the Foundation for the Carolinas said MIG Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based firm with an office in Raleigh, will craft what the organizations are calling a “vision plan” for North Tryon.
Ideas for Charities That Missed Out on the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’
The bizarreness of the ‘ice bucket challenge’ is well-summarized by the skeptical child in this photoshop asking why people are wasting clean water to avoid giving money to charity, and also by Arielle Pardes at Vice. “It’s like a game of Would-You-Rather involving the entire internet where, appallingly, most Americans would rather dump ice water on their head than donate to charity,” writes Pardes. “There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most annoying is that it’s basically narcissism masked as altruism.” All true, but the thing is that it worked.
Start a NonProfit Law Firm
A few months back at my beat at Above the Law, I posed this question: Why Do Low Bono Work When You Can Start Your Own Non-Profit?. After all, if new lawyers are going to be offering discount rates, they might as well run the show and gain the advantage of being the boss, plus the opportunity to take advantage of loan forgiveness programs available to lawyers who work for non-profits. Curious about how this business model might work in practice? Look no further than Open Legal Services (OLS), an innovative Utah-based non-profit law firm started by relatively new lawyers and recently profiled in The Atlantic.