Law and Legal

Map identifies companies around the world most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions

The Decolonial Atlas – Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet – “Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth. Their business model relies on the destruction of the only home humanity has ever known. Meanwhile, we misdirect our outrage at our neighbors, friends, and family for using plastic straws or not recycling. If there is anyone who deserves the outrage of all 7.5 billion of us, it’s these 100 people right here. Combined, they control the majority of the world’s mineral rights – the “right” to exploit the remaining unextracted oil, gas, and coal. They need to know that we won’t leave them alone until they agree to Keep It In The Ground. Not just their companies, but them. Now it’s personal.

Houston tops this list as home to 7 of the 100 top ecocidal planet killers, followed by Jakarta, Calgary, Moscow, and Beijing. The richest person on the list is Russian oil magnate Vagit Alekperov, who is currently worth $20.7 billion.

The map is in the form of a cartogram which represents the size of countries by their cumulative carbon dioxide emissions since industrialization. This map is a response to the pervasive myth that we can stop climate change if we just modify our personal behavior and buy more green products. Whether or not we separate our recycling, these corporations will go on trashing the planet unless we stop them. The key decision-makers at these companies have the privilege of relative anonymity, and with this map, we’re trying to pull back that veil and call them out. These guys should feel the same personal responsibility for saving the planet that we all feel…”

Categories: Law and Legal

‘Climate denial’ just made it into the dictionary. Wait, what?

Grist: “The world is on fire, and so is our vocabulary. Merriam-Webster added 640 new words to its online dictionary last week. The additions include swole (“extremely muscular”), new meanings for snowflake (someone who is “treated as unique or special” or “overly sensitive”) and, you guessed it, a whole batch of neologisms tied to the environment. “The work of revising a dictionary is constant, and it mirrors the culture’s need to make sense of the world with words,” the dictionary’s announcement reads.

Many of the new arrivals reflect the creative ways big corporations have found to trash the place. Our plastic pollution problem has brought us microplastic, “a piece of plastic that is five millimeters or smaller in size.” The natural gas industry (the folks who gave us “fracking”) introduced flowblack, “liquid used in fracking that returns to the surface after being injected into shale.” Then there’s omnicide, “the destruction of all life or all human life (as by nuclear war).” Great, you say, any other downers? Of course! Bioaccumulation for the gradual buildup of contaminants, like pesticides and heavy metals, in an organism over time. And chronic wasting disease is an illness that afflicts deer, leading to weight loss, drooling, and listlessness. For a more cheerful phrase, take bluebird day, “a day marked by cloudless blue skies.” Sounds lovely until you learn about the potential cloudpocalypse (not an official dictionary entry, I just made that up) in which a lack of climate-regulating cloud cover brings about a scary global-warming feedback loop. Another nice one: petrichor, the name for that pleasant, earthy smell that fills the air after a rain. Contributing to that odor is geosmin — an organic compound created by soil- and water-dwelling bacteria. The ever-expanding agricultural lexicon brought us a few new selections, such as the verb hydroseed, for the spraying of a liquid seed-mulch-fertilizer mix, along with the easy-to-pronounce insecticide called imidacloprid….”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Voluntariness of Voluntary Consent: Consent Searches and the Psychology of Compliance

Sommers, Roseanna and Bohns, Vanessa K., The Voluntariness of Voluntary Consent: Consent Searches and the Psychology of Compliance (April 10, 2019). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 128, No. 7, 2019. Available at SSRN

“Consent-based searches are by far the most ubiquitous form of search undertaken by police. A key legal inquiry in these cases is whether consent was granted voluntarily. This Essay suggests that fact finders’ assessments of voluntariness are likely to be impaired by a systematic bias in social perception. Fact finders are likely to underappreciate the degree to which suspects feel pressure to comply with police officers’ requests to perform searches.

In two preregistered laboratory studies, we approached a total of 209 participants (“Experiencers”) with a highly intrusive request: to unlock their password-protected smartphones and hand them over to an experimenter to search through while they waited in another room. A sepa- rate 194 participants (“Forecasters”) were brought into the lab and asked whether a reasonable person would agree to the same request if hypothetically approached by the same researcher. Both groups then reported how free they felt, or would feel, to refuse the request.Study 1 found that whereas most Forecasters believed a reasonable person would refuse the experimenter’s request, most Experiencers—100 out of 103 people—promptly unlocked their phones and handed them over. Moreover, Experiencers reported feeling significantly less free to refuse than did Forecasters contemplating the same situation hypothetically.Study 2 tested an intervention modeled after a commonly proposed reform of consent searches, in which the experimenter explicitly advises participants that they have the right to with- hold consent. We found that this advisory did not significantly reduce compliance rates or make Experiencers feel more free to say no. At the same time, the gap between Experiencers and Forecasters remained significant. These findings suggest that decision makers judging the voluntariness of consent consistently underestimate the pressure to comply with intrusive requests. This is problematic because it indicates that a key justification for suspicionless consent searches—that they are voluntary—relies on an assessment that is subject to bias. The results thus provide support to critics who would like to see consent searches banned or curtailed, as they have been in several states…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google Express – an alternative to Amazon?

Google Express – “Get your shopping done fast Hundreds of stores,  one fast checkout. Shop Target, Best Buy, Petsmart, and more—all in one place. Enter your info once, whether you’re checking out from one store or five. Need it again? A few quick taps is all it takes to reorder things you buy regularly. [h/t Pete Weiss]

  • Free delivery, no membership.
  • Order the store minimum for free delivery—$25 to $35 in most cases. No memberships here
  • A shopping list you’ll never forget.
  • Start a shopping list on Google Express and add to it or check things off from the website or app, wherever you are. Add items for later, share it with others, and shop from it with just a click. Check out these step-by-step instructions.
  • Shop by voice, and app, and web.
  • When you think of something you need, you can shop for it on the app, the website, or with your Google Home device just by saying “OK Google, buy olive oil,” and get help here…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing

LawAr Xiv – Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing, 26 J. Intell. Prop. L. 205 (2019). Authors – Leslie Street and David Hansen. Created on April 29, 2019. Last edited. April 30, 2019. Supplemental Materials

“Each state has its own method for officially publishing the law. This article looks at the history of legal publishing for the fifty states before looking at how legal publishing even in moving to electronic publishing may not ensure public access to the law. The article addresses barriers to free access to the law in electronic publishing including copyright, contract law, and potentially, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The article concludes with prescriptions for how different actors, including state governments, publishers, libraries, and others can ensure robust public access to the law moving forward.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Using punctuation to pace and communicate effectively

Oxford University Blog – “…Punctuation-wise, most of us fall between these two extremes. We are neither staccato nor breathless. Instead, we use punctuation to establish a comfortable pace for readers by grouping and emphasizing certain chunks of information. And as we edit our own work, from first to final draft, we see how small differences in punctuation come together to create larger effects. Here are two versions of a paragraph from the opening chapter of my book Sorry About That. The section describes the encounter between Oprah Winfrey and writer James Frey after the deceptions in Frey’s A Million Little Pieces had come to light. Oprah had defended Frye at first, felt betrayed as the facts of the deception came to light, and angrily led him through his lies on her program. She later felt bad and invited him back for an on-air apology. The paragraph begins with the assertion that we share some traits with Oprah and James Frey…”

Categories: Law and Legal

History of commercial audiobook is one small window on evolution of ethic of efficiency

The Baffler: “…Audible is an arm of this effort. Audiobooks are the fastest growing part of publishing, “a tiny bright spot” for the industry, according to Bloomberg : revenue from downloads has roughly tripled in the last five years and reached $2.5 billion in 2017. But Amazon dominates the audiobook market, mostly through Audible. As other publishers wake up to the importance of audio, Audible continues “aggressively courting authors to create exclusive works for them,” as the New York Times reported in June. (Most buzzily, it tempted the writer Michael Lewis to leave his post as a feature writer at Vanity Fair and turn his reporting into “Audible Originals” instead.) As Amazon hogs this new source of sunlight, the publishers struggling in its shade cut costs, including propping themselves up on “full-time freelance” labor, to borrow a misnomer from a recent debate concerning Vanity Fair’s parent company, Condé Nast. Keeping company with my Audible app over lunch, I’ve come to see it as the buddy our tech overlords have granted me in the isolation that they help to impose…”

Categories: Law and Legal


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