Thursday, October 22, 2015

SCOTUS to Combat Link Rot

At the beginning of the October 2015 Term, the Supreme Court announced on its website's "What's New" section that it will host internet material cited in the Court’s opinions from the 2005 Term forward.

Image of "What's New" section on Supreme Court Website

It's a good idea that the Court chose to do this. When we rely on something, we want others to know what we relied on. As the Court explains, “Because some URLs cited in the Court's opinions may change over time or disappear altogether, an attempt is made to capture, as closely as possible, the material cited in an opinion at the time of its release. Capture dates, when they appear on the material, may not match the ‘as visited’ date contained in an opinion's citation to that material.”

Below is a funny example of the potential trouble with citing to a website:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thoughts on Legal Writing (#WhyIWrite)

To celebrate National Day on Writing, we took a look at the legal writing section of The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations. Here's a sampling:
In the third year of law school, they ought to teach English as a Second Language.
Stephen Wermiel, quoted in Tom Goldstein and Jethro K. Lieberman, The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well 80 (1989). Read a later edition of the book as an e-book or in print.
Legal writing is one of those rare creatures, like the rat and the cockroach, that would attract little sympathy even as an endangered species. 
Richard Hyland, A Defense of Legal Writing, 134 U. Pa. L. Rev. 599, 600 (1986).
There are only two cures for the long sentence: (1) Say less; (2) Put a period in the middle. Neither expedient has taken hold in the law.  

National Day on Writing (#WhyIWrite)

How are you marking the National Day on Writing?

The New York Times, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project others encourage people to share their reasons for writing by posting on Twitter with the hash tag #WhyIWrite. Here are a few of the many Tweets:

Because I'm a magician and words are spells. So to spellcast, I use terms and sentences to sentence you to terms of enchantment.

Because I want to read a story with a black space detective. Only 18 hours left.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ― Benjamin Franklin

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Dogs, Cats, and Numbers

Since this is both Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (ASPCA) and World Statistics Day, let's look at some numbers.

In March, the Census Bureau released the Where Are the Animal Companions? infographic below. Seattle is just above average among cities in percentage of households with at least one pet.

infographic ranks metro areas by percent of households with pets

An accompanying press release explained that the American Housing Survey asked about pets for emergency preparedness.

If you've been around Seattle awhile, you might have heard that we have more dogs than kids. Gene Balk, the Seattle Times's "FYI Guy" (and news librarian) checked the stats and discovered In Seattle, it’s cats, dogs and kids — in that order (Feb. 1, 2013). To see other interesting local stats, browse the paper's data page.

Monday, October 19, 2015

World Statistics Day, Oct. 20

The second annual World Statistics Day will be recognized on Oct. 20, 2015.

The U.S. Census Bureau will join with the United Nations Statistics Division and other national statistics agencies to "highlight the role of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems."

Infographic from U.S. Census Bureau. (Update, Oct. 3, 2019: that link is broken, but you can view it in the Internet Archive.)