I’ve kept many notebooks in my life, but I’ve never collected them all in one place–I’ve generally scribbled whatever I was thinking about on whatever piece of paper was handy (yes, the backs of many envelopes have been so abused). However, I’ve recently started implementing a solution to make all the things I’d written on paper available in a digital format.
I have established a personal Wiki, which I think is the modern equivalent of the commonplace book. I now have a place to put all the things I think about when I’m not thinking about other things, which seems like a rather stupid thing to say once I’ve written it, but it made sense when I thought it. I suppose that would be better put in my personal Wiki . . .
In any event, I keep it using TiddlyWiki, which has the advantage of being contained in a single HTML file and having a very simple installation procedure:
- Download the HTML file.
- Open it.
- There is no step 3.
- Nor 4.
- Nope! You’re done!
December 5th, 2008
November 21st, 2008
And now, a public-health message from the Tellumo.net World Service.
So, the good people of Wikipedia have informed me that today is Global Handwashing Day! The audience of this blog is almost by definition an affluent and educated one, by global standards, but I’m struck by how much washing of hands, with soap and water, has improved public health for the better. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’s remarkably effective. Indeed, one study holds it can reduce the incidence of disease causing diarrhea by nearly half–a large number in anyone’s math, and even larger in tropical nations with limited health-care resources. The Global Handwashing Day site I linked to earlier has further information on the subject.
In the unlikely event that soap is unavailable in your locality, I have written a little monograph on the subject, which begins here. If you require information on manufacturing lye, check this out; if on the manufacture of oil, talk with someone who’s been to a farm of nearly any description.
Anyway: hand washing with soap. It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’s probably the greatest public-health advancement of the 20th century (although penicillin is right up there, even if it isn’t as cheap). So scrub up, ok?
October 15th, 2008
I’ve just published my first Instructable! It’s called How To Make Limoncello. Hope you like it. There’s a Flash version of it after the jump.
September 30th, 2008
Here’s a mnemonic I came up with after a couple of cocktails at Bourbon & Branch: The
- Plaintiff is the party with the burden of
- Proof, including, in a criminal case, the
- People (or other sovereign); they begin their case first (that is, in the
- Primary position), and they sit in closer
- Proximity to the jury box.
In addition, some of you 1Ls will be coming across cases involving the phrases “plaintiff in error” and “defendant in error,” for which you may substitute “appellant” and “appellee.” The plaintiff in error/appellant is the person complaining that the lower court made an error and thus filing the appeal, and the defendant in error/appellee is the one defending the lower court’s decision and against whom the other party filed the appeal.
September 12th, 2008
I recently had occasion to take the Muni Metro K-Ingleside and T-Third Street lines through the point where the one turns into the other. I’ll make a post about that later, but for now you may relax in the knowledge that I call that point the K-T Boundary.
September 8th, 2008
I’ve talked with a few friends recently about law-school supplements, and I decided it’d be a good idea to write down my ideas and impressions about where the different supplements are most useful. So here we go! (Well, after the jump, anyway.)
August 22nd, 2008
And now I am going to e-mail this to all of you and then summon the flight attendant and demand the array of alcoholic beverages I so richly deserve.
–Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
Well, maybe not an array of alcoholic beverages, but I figure I’ve earned a beer after eighteen hours of tests and moving to a new place immediately afterwards. A scalar alcoholic beverage, if you will.
I think it went pretty well, but it’ll be a full sixteen weeks before they tell me whether I passed or not. However, now that I’ve actually taken the bar exam, I have some advice for those who will:
- Before you take the bar exam, traverse the route you will take to get there. I don’t mean that you should look at it on a map or transit schedule or anything like that. I mean that you should start from the place you will wake up on the morning of the bar exam at the time you will leave that morning, and take the exact route you will take that day, all the way to the end–again, not to the train station where you’ll get off, and not to the point where you’ll drive by the place where you’ll take the exam–I mean that you need to walk to wherever you will take the examination, to the very seat if you possibly can. I did exactly this, although the security guards didn’t let me into the hall where I would take it (and the seats weren’t set up, nor did I know where I would sit). Actually, I did it twice. Two times. You might consider this to be slightly paranoid, but taking a professional licensure examination tends to have that effect on people, especially law students. Surprises are great, surprises are lovely, surprises are for amateurs. You are a professional, and professionals plan all the way to the end.
- Actually, if you keep that principle in mind, you will prepare pretty well for the bar exam. Prepare your clothes and everything you’ll bring to the exam the morning before, set at least two alarms to ensure that you wake up at the appropriate time (I used four, but I am a) a very sound sleeper (one time in college, a storm broke a six-inch-thick branch outside a window, but I had no idea until my friends told me the next day) and b) a bit paranoid as mentioned supra), and bring at least twice as much of any consumable supply as you think you’ll need for the examination.
- At my test center (the Oakland Convention Center), at least, they let us leave our bags in the hallway–you’re not allowed to take anything into the exam except for what’s on the approved list. This means that you don’t need to clean out your bag completely, because they’ll make you leave it in the hallway anyway. I didn’t really worry about things getting stolen, as there was a uniformed security guard and at least two proctors in the hallway at all times–your $529 does get you a fair amount of security. (And yes, it really does cost $529, and that’s just for the bar exam. Here‘s (4k PDF) a list of all the fees the State Bar charges you. By my calculations, I’ll have paid the State Bar $1,176 before I’m admitted–of course, as compared to law school, these costs are epsilon.)
- A corollary: if you need anything that’s not on the approved list for medical or other reasons, apply to the State Bar for accommodations. There is no charge, but you need to do it ahead of time. Bring the letter specifying the accommodations you were granted with you, and be prepared to show it to every proctor or other test official you meet for all three days.
- Do whatever helps to keep yourself relaxed during the examination. I paused to take a few deep breaths every once in a while and took a few walks around the exam room, other people probably had different rituals. I observed more than a few folks doing a few quick yoga asanas in the hallway.
- It overlaps a little with a prior statement, but keep yourself in good health. Eat decent meals, get some fresh air during the lunch breaks, and try to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t depend too much on chemical assistance for that last one, though–one of the Bar/Bri lecturers shared an anecdote about a person who took half a sleeping pill (her usual dose) one night, then the other half, then a second whole pill, and finally a third, six times the amount she usually took, before she fell asleep. She was extremely groggy the next day.
That’s all I can think up for now. Back to unpacking . . .
August 6th, 2008
Today is the first day of the California Bar Exam! I’m sorry I haven’t had time to post more, but preparing for the bar exam has left me so busy that I haven’t had much time to blog about it. However, I did want to share with you this sign that somebody posted in the elevator here:
There are worse send-offs than that, I suppose. Here we go!
July 29th, 2008
So I’ve been seeing a little of Carl Icahn in the news recently with this whole Yahoo! business recently, and I’ve been in a bit of a weird mood due to the bar exam, and it led to me coming up with this:
powered by icanhascheezburger
I don’t know whether cheezburgers constitute a significant portion of Mr. Icahn’s portfolio, but I suppose if they don’t I could plead comedic necessity.
There, that counts as studying corporations, right?
July 21st, 2008