That’s a fantastic idea, and one that solves the problem of what to do with interesting reads that are worth pointing out, but for which I don’t want to write a full blog post.
An updated and expanded study of information growth, conducted by a multi-disciplinary, multi-university team supported by corporate and foundation sponsorship, will complete an update of the 2003 Berkeley report by the end of the year. The 2008 report will be the first in a three-year research program, sponsored by seven companies, AT&T, Cisco, IBM, LSI, Oracle, Seagate and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and spanning three research universities, UC San Diego, MIT and UC Berkeley.
Hat tip to Lockergnome’s Tech News Watch.
Nature.com reports that several researchers have combined astronomical data with events in Homer’s Odyssey to pinpoint the exact date on which a returning Odysseus executed his wife’s suitors.
Marcelo Magnasco and Constantino Baikouzis identified four astronomical events in the epic poem and calculated dates within 100 years of the fall of Troy that would fit in with the events described around Odysseus’s return home and the ensuing slaughter of men propositioning his wife.
According to the researchers, the date was April 16, 1178 BCE. That’s also the day after Tax Day, though I’m pretty sure the IRS didn’t exist back then.
Continuing this week’s Civil Procedure and golf themes, a judge from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a third-party complaint because it was filed by the defendants too late and without court permission. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14 states that a defending party filing a third-party complaint “must, by motion, obtain the court’s leave if it files the third-party complaint more than 10 days after serving its original answer.” Here, the defendants filed their third-party complaint more than five months after they answered, and without first seeking leave of court.
The defendants’ names? Limerick Golf Club, Inc. and Limerick Golf Club Estates, Inc. (collectively, “Limerick”). Concluding that Limerick didn’t justify the late filing, Judge Berle M. Schiller dismissed their third-party complaint. Stating that Limerick’s “sub-par performance occurred in the pleading stage of this case and not on the golf course,” the court closed with a rhyme:
With arguments hard to resist,
The movant correctly insists,
His joinder was tardy,
And so the third party
Complaint is hereby dismissed.
I was awe-struck during the recent U.S. Open Championship, where Tiger Woods won a nerve-wracking 19-hole playoff on the fifth day. The whole time, Woods suffered from a torn ACL and a double-stress fracture in his leg. Not only was he often in visible pain when taking a shot: he also had to walk a 7000+ yard course five times. Yet he remained focused, tuning out everything, including his own considerable pain.
Around the same time, I read Maggie Jackson’s post at Nanci Alboher’s blog about Jackson’s new book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. Citing an expert in the field of “interruption science,” Jackson states that knowledge workers switch tasks on average every three minutes. Once distracted, they take a half-hour to return to their original task. Jackson notes that “[in] meetings where everyone is checking e-mail, opportunities for collective creative energy and critical thinking are lost.”
Substitute “meetings” with “law school” and one sees a pretty accurate image of what can happen in classrooms with laptops. I would imagine that Jackson would agree that banning laptops would enhance the classroom experience. As she states in her posting (albeit not on the topic of laptops):
We are born interrupt-driven -– that’s how humans stay tuned to their environment. But if we jump on every e-mail or ping, we’ll have trouble pursuing our long-term goals. To make inroads on the deep, messy work of life, we need to stay focused, bringing the spotlight of our attention back again and again to the work at hand.