Päivän yökuva

Hevonen shakkilaudalla puistossa. Tähän kuvaan käytin omaa kameraani, Nikon D700 ja Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 AFS objektiivia. Kuvasin miltei maan tasosta etsimeen katsomatta. Valotus aukolla f/1.4, 1/60 s. ja ISO 3200.


Tähän aikaan vuodesta on aika pistäytyä Geneven autonäyttelyssä, jonne ovet tiedotusvälineille avautuvat huomenna iltapäivällä. Aion tehdä oman osuuteni näyttelyssä tiistaina, mutta ennen sitä ehdin kuvata turistikuvia. Yleensä vierailuni Genevessä on niin lyhyt, että en ehdi turismia harrastella, mutta tänä vuonna tilanne on toinen.
Tässä pari turistikuvaa Genevestä ja matkalta tänne. Laitan autokuviakin tänne blogiin, mutta kunnollinen annos kuviani tulee ilmestymään Autotoday / MSN Auto nettisivustolla lähipäivien aikana.
Kuvasin nämä kuvat Olympus E-P2 kameralla ja Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 objektiivilla. Tämä yhdistelmä on oikein kätevä matkalla. Panan pannukakku on loistava objektiivi.

Guest Blogger: Cecilia Marcela Bailliet

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure today to welcome Dr. Cecilia Marcela Bailliet (left) as today's guest blogger.
Cecilia is a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo in Norway, where she's Professor, Deputy Director of the Department of Public and International Law, and Director of the Masters Program in Public International Law. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she earned her doctorate at Oslo, based on her thesis entitled "Between Conflict and Consensus: Conciliating Land Disputes in Guatemala, A Study in Preventing and Resolving Internal Displacement." Cecilia also holds a combined J.D./M.A. degree, with honors, from the School of Law and the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Her fields of research and teaching include International Public Law -- her guest post below considers that subject in relation to the global phenomenon of kidnapping -- Human Rights, Women's Rights, Refugee Law, Counter-Terrorism, and Democracy and Constitutionalism, and Refugee Law. Among her many publications is Security: A Multidisciplinary Normative Approach (Brill 2009), an essay collection that Cecilia edited, authors of which include IntLawGrrls' own Naomi Cahn.
Cecilia dedicates her guest post to a woman about whom we've posted before, the French feminist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (below right). Cecilia writes of Beauvoir:

Her novels and autobiographies provide profound reflection on the life experiences of women, highlighting the importance of intellectually intimate connections between individuals (irrespective of gender), and the urgency of engagement in times of political and societal upheaval. The books that I hold most dear: All Men are Mortal, The Mandarins, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, The Prime of Life, and The Second Sex.
In the last book mentioned, Beauvoir characterizes the dilemmas facing women as such: "Thus woman may fail to lay claim to the status of subject because she lacks definite resources, because she feels the necessary bond that ties her to man regardless of reciprocity, and because she is often very well pleased with her role as the Other."

Heartfelt welcome!

Towards holistic transnational protection against kidnapping: public law approaches

(Thank you to IntLawGrrls for the invitation to provide a guest post based on a forthcoming article of mine)

My most recent area of research is the global criminal phenomenon of kidnapping as it relates to an increased presentation of asylum claims in the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
This most striking aspect of this problem is that the private market is both part of its origin and part of its solution.
Inequitable enjoyment of socio-economic resources and the exclusion from participation in formal markets prompt marginalized individuals to pursue the criminal market of kidnapping, in which the human body becomes the ultimate commodity. In turn, corrupt and ineffective judicial bodies and police leave family members little choice but to employ private security and insurance companies. This creates a growth industry based on safe return of victims.
At the international level, there has been increased attention, not only from the UN Economic and Social Council, but also from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (above right), who declared in 2009:

Kidnapping is an inhumane and unjustifiable crime, as well as a gross violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Among the related human rights at stake, one may cite:
► guarantees of liberty, physical integrity and security, and the prohibition of arbitrary detention, as detailed in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
► the right to life, as in Article 6 of the ICCPR;
► the prohibition against torture, in Article 7;
the ban on interference with family, Article 17; and
► protection against sexual violence, established in, for example, the November 16, 2009, judgment (available in Spanish) by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Gonzalez et. al. v. Mexico.
Indeed, the most relevant case law has emerged at the regional level, where the focus is on state responsibility for investigating and punishing kidnappers.
The Inter-American Court thus issued 2 notable provisional orders, in:
In the Matter of the Communities of Jiguamiandó and Curbaradó, a case involving the kidnapping and murder of a manm allegedly via complicity by police and paramilitary; the order called for State investigation, identification of perpetrators, and punishment; and
In the Matter of the United States of Mexico Digna Ochoa y Plácido et. al., in which the order called upon the State to protect the lives of human rights activists who had been subject to kidnapping.
Similarly, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly condemned kidnapping by nonstate actors in countries including Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Brazil.
In like manner are decisions of the European Court of Human Rights:
► In the case of Avsar v. Turkey, the Court held Turkey to be in violation of Articles 2 (right to life) and 13 (effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights, for failing to carry out adequate and effective investigation in a case involving the kidnapping and killing of a man by village guards with complicity by the state.
► The Court held Russia liable for violation of the same articles in Elmurzayev and others v. Russia and Khadzhialiyev and others v. Russia, cases involving kidnappings by “unidentified armed men” and subsequent delays by the state in investigation and proceedings respecting those crimes.
In large part, the international community’s response to the global threat of kidnapping is reflected in the innovative institutional trend towards horizontal and vertical cooperation across the public-private divide. Initiatives to combat the spread of kidnapping include assistance in border control, intelligence-sharing, police training, and management (seeking transparency, accountability, and professionalization), telecommunication interception, assistance in legislative amendments, extradition, and overview of financial transactions.
Furthermore, there are increased calls for strengthening citizen and community participation in the implementation of security plans. The European Council issued Recommendation 2007/562/EC of 12 June 2007, which requires states to share information in all terrorist kidnappings. Similarly, the need for international cooperation to address crime (including kidnapping) has been promoted by the Organization of American States Permanent Council’s Special Committee on Transnational Organized Crime and the Ministers Responsible for Public Security.
It is important to note issues of continuing concern:
► We still await the establishment of implementation mechanisms for the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime; and
► None of these initiatives highlights the importance of asylum, for victims and their families, as an element of holistic protection.

On February 28

On this day in ...
... 1986, in New York, Laura Z. Hobson (right) died from cancer. She'd been born in the same city 85 years earlier, daughter of Jewish socialists who'd emigrated from Russia and were active in the labor movement. (photo credit) After studying at Hunter College and Cornell, she became a writer, producing "nine novels, an autobiography, hundreds of short stories and magazine articles, and news features and advertising copy in a career that spanned six decades." Hobson's works included The Trespassers (1943), about World War II refugees turned away from the United States; Gentleman's Agreement (1947), the best-selling story of a writer's inquiry into anti-Semitism in New York and Connecticut that soon became a movie starring Gregory Peck; and Consenting Adult (1975), a semi-autobiographical novel about the relationship of a mother and her gay son.

(Prior February 28 posts are here, here, and here)

Haiti Quake: Next Steps in a Sustainable Response

IntLawGrrls continue to follow developments in Haiti. Posts discussing the 12 January 2010 Haitian earthquake, humanitarian assistance, immigration status for Haitians located in the U.S. and France, human rights and disaster response, and participatory and sustainable recovery and development policies appear here.
Recent or Upcoming Developments
Montreal Meeting. An international donors meeting on Haiti was held in Montreal, Canada in late January. Haiti was represented by its Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive. The European Union and 14 other countries participated.
CARICOM Response. CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) pledged its continued support to the Haitian recovery, initially in the area of health, to be followed by support for long-term sustainable development.
UN New York International Donors’ Conference. The Montreal meeting will be followed by another international donors’ conference at UN headquarters in New York on 31 March 2010.
Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN). U.S.- and Haiti-based lawyers organized a network focused on human rights and other legal issues (sponsored by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti).
ASIL Panel. The program committee has just added a late-breaking panel on Haiti at the American Society of International Law 104th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. (I will chair the panel; also see post on “Women at ASIL” here). The panel is scheduled for Thursday, March 25, at 10:45 (web program will be updated shortly).
Current Priorities
All that Diane Marie Amann, Marjorie Florestal, Naomi Norberg, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, and I have said in earlier posts remains true. Emergency responses must continue as coordinated by the Haitian government and people and the international community under the mandate of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The many NGOs on the ground themselves coordinate through umbrella organizations such as InterAction and use resource sites such as ReliefWeb.
Housing and Sanitation
More than 1 million people in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti are living in tent cities or other make-shift shelters as the rainy season and hurricane season approach.
Although tents are an emergency quick fix for those with no other choice, they cannot be a long-term solution. The overcrowded tent cities do not have proper sanitation and potable water distribution facilities. This situation leads to the rapid spread of infectious disease (especially among those who’ve already been injured). Immediate attention must be given to the acquisition and distribution of more sturdy structures, along with the necessary temporary infrastructure for sanitation and water. Because so many things are interrelated, the overcrowding and lack of adequate shelter cannot be addressed without attention to rubble-removal and voluntary decentralization of the population.
The challenges are difficult and of unprecedented scale, but there are international guidelines and strategies for disaster response and recovery. Those guidelines should be implemented and supported by the Haitian government and by the international community.
As noted in a recent New York Times news story, crush injuries were common after the earthquake. Many amputations resulted from immediate trauma, while others became necessary because of the lack of proper medical facilities and antibiotics in the days and weeks following the quake. Other survivors were blinded, lost hearing, or suffered brain or spinal injuries. Even (especially) in the midst of disaster, the rights of persons with disabilities must be respected, protected, and fulfilled. (See Disability Rights series.)
Local disability resources were devastated by the quake. Haitians now need adaptive equipment (canes, crutches, walkers, rough-terrain wheelchairs, etc.) and trained physical therapists. These resources can help the newly-disabled recover and participate in the rebuilding of the nation. Unless you are a trained physical therapist or health professional, or a non-profit willing to donate appropriate equipment, the best way to help is through existing disability NGOs that already work closely with the people of Haiti.
The following governmental and private organizations provide links to a range of disability NGOs working in Haiti:
United States International Council on Disability (USICD) (US government site coordinating NGO work).
Mobility International USA (webpage on Haiti resources).
PBS Newshour report on the non-profit Whirlwind Wheelchair International ( discusses the group's work to build rough-terrain wheelchairs). As was the case where a large number of amputees resulted from the use of landmines in armed conflicts, responses that are participatory, generate local jobs, training, and owenership, and focus on the empowerment of people with disabilities are to be applauded. Haitian people with disabilities can help build and fit prosthetic devices and wheelchairs, as well as train others in their use.
Those involved in large-scale rebuilding projects for housing, government buildings, or private sector buildings should ensure both accessibility under international standards and durability to withstand the risks of natural disasters.
Note: As this post was being written, news was coming in that an 8.8 earthquake has hit Chile. Our thoughts and solidarity are with all those affected.

Plustek 7600i AI skanneri kokeilussa

Skanneri oli monelle valokuvaajalle tärkeä väline 1990-luvulla ja vielä tämän vuosituhannen alussakin, kun digitaaliakamerat eivät vielä olleet hinta - laatusuhteeltaan järkeviä jokapäiväiseen käyttöön. Minäkin skannasin kuvani, jotta saatoin tehdä niihin säätöjä Photoshopilla ennen kuin toimitin kuvat asiakkaalle.

Muistan hyvin, kun ostin uuden tasoskannerin, joka maksoi 17000 markkaa, eli yli 3000 euroa. Skannerissa oli diakansi, joten pystyin skannaamaan paperivedoksia sekä dioja, mutta vain kinoa isompia, koska pieni kinodia oli liikaa, vai pitäisikö sanoa liian vähän skannerille. Kuvasin pääasiassa 6 x 7 cm kokoa, joten ongelma ei ollut paha.

Nykyään skannerit ovat edullisia ja parempia kuin 10 vuotta sitten, mutta toisaalta skannerin tarvekin on vähentynyt. Näinä päivinä kuvaaja haluaa skannerin yleensä siksi, että vanhojen valokuvien muodon muuttaminen analogisesta digitaaliseksi kiinnostaa.

Kokeilin Plustek OptikFilm 7600 i AI skanneria, joka on paperilla varsin houkuttelevan näköinen laite. Hintaa on noin 460 euroa, mutta ominaisuuksia sitäkin enemmän. Plustekillä on 330 euron hintainen 7600 SE malli, jossa on sama rauta, mutta skannausohjelmisto on yksinkertaisempi kuin kalliimmassa mallissa. Samaa sarjaa on vielä 235 euron 7400 malli, josta puuttuu kahden mainitun kalliimman mallin rautapohjainen naarmujen poisto, mutta muuten ominaisuudet ovat samat.

Skannerin mukana tuleva Silver Fast 6.6 Ai Studio skannausohjelma on erittäin monipuolinen, mutta samalla myös hieman vaikeakäyttöinen. Lukuisat ominaisuudet tekevät softan oppimiskynnyksen korkeaksi, mutta opettelu palkitaan korkealuokkaisella skannausjäljellä.

Kokeilin myös VueScan ohjelmaa, jolla skanneri toimii hyvin. Naarmujen poisto ei VueScanilla onnistu, mutta skannaminen on helpompaa kuin Silver Fastilla.

Rautapohjainen infrapunavalolla toimiva naarmujen ja pölyn poisto toimii hyvin, mutta hidastaa skannausta. Kunnollinen skannattavan originaalin puhdistus ennen skannausta on tärkeää. Yllä olevassa kuvassa mallin otsassa oleva törky lähti skannerilla hyvin pois. Kuvaparin hieman erilainen sävyala johtuu siitä, että toinen on skannattu VueScanilla. Roskien poisto ei vaikuta sävyihin.

Plustek tarjoaa tarkkuutta aina 7200 ppi asti, mutta käytännössä puolet tuosta riittää tavalliselle filmille kuvattuihin kuviin. 7200 tarkkuudella kuvan pitkä sivu on yli 10000 pikseliä, eikä informaation määrä juuri kasva verrattuna 3600 ppi tarkkuuteen, joka tekee vajaan 17 megapikselin kuvan. Esimerkkikuvassa on lievä magenta virhe, joka johtuu skannerikuskin ammattitaidottomuudesta.

Saattaa olla, että erittäin hitaille filmeille kuvatuissa kuvissa on niin paljon infoa, että 7200 tarkkuudesta on oikeasti hyötyä. Tarkoitan lähinnä joitakin superhienorakeisia mustavalkofilmejä.

Paras skannaustulos syntyy negoista, mutta oikein valotetut diatkin lukeutuvat hyvin. Alivalotetut tai tummasävyiset diat sen sijaan ovat hiukan hankalia Plustekille. Diafilmi on tummista kohdistaan niin tiheää, että se on perinteisesti ollut vaikea lukemisen aihe edullisille skannereille. Kokonaisuutena skannerin suorituskyky on erittäin hyvä ja parempi kuin osasin etukäteen odottaa.

Skannerin kanssa tulee pitimet kehystetyille dioille ja negaliuskoille. Pidintä pitää siirtää käsin ja toisinaan haluttu ruutu ei osu aivan kohdalleen ja kuvan toisesta reunasta saattaa jäädä suikale pois. Käsikäyttöinen siirtomekanismi yksinkertaistaa laitetta verrattuna moottoroituun siirtoon, joka on hyvä asia. On yksi hajoava kohta vähemmän.

Skannaminen on hidasta ja työlästä, mutta oikotietä ei juuri ole, ellei sitten teetä työtä jollain toisella. Vanhojen kuvien digitoiminen, ja miksei uusienkin filmikuvien, on kuitenkin kiinnostavaa. Minulla ei ole diaprojektoria, joten diojen katselu jää vähäiseksi, eikä negoja huvita juuri tiirailla. Skannerilla niin diat kuin negatkin saavat tavallaan uuden elämän.

 Plustek 7600 skanneri on hintaansa nähden hyvä laite, mutta kannattaa miettiä mikä ohjelmisto olisi sopiva itse kullekin, sillä ohjelmisto vaikuttaa hintaan huomattavasti.

Kaikki tässä olevat esimerkit mustavalkoista lukuunottamatta on skannattu dioista.

Asia on our mind

"The Asian Century?"
So asked participants at yesterday's same-named conference (prior post) organized by our colleague Anupam Chander and sponsored by the Law Review at my home institution, the University of California, Davis, School of Law (Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall).
The answers were myriad, and themselves provoked questions. Indeed, participants on the panel that I had the privilege to moderate questioned the title's very premise:

'Where is Asia? When is Asia?'

Teemu Ruskola queried. To this Keith Aoki added, in effect,

'What is Asia?'

The last "American Century" and the "British Century" that preceded it were different from this notion of an "Asian Century," Keith said. Those others concerned a nation-state; this concerns a continent.
I wonder.
It is persons in the West who put forward this notional Asian Century. Who treat "Asia" as a single entity rather than a mass of entities, as an it rather than a them. Who, at times, see its rising economic power, its rising population, its politics, as potential threats.
Is it possible that those earlier centuries, named as they were with state-centric particularity, were constructs of their subject namesakes? Possible that the objects of those other centuries aggregated threats much like some of us now do "Asia"?
From the perspective of those object persons, might the 1800s and 1900s have been, simply, back-to-back Western Centuries?
Even when pondering with particularity, did the object persons of the 20th view it not as the American, but perhaps as the Russo-American, Century?
Was the British Century a construct of Britain? Might objects of that 19th Century -- persons, say, colonized in Portugal-controlled Africa -- have seen it instead as the European Century? Or perhaps as the Colonial Century, as a time defined less by geographic map and more by method of governance?
Perhaps this 21st Century aggregation says less about "Asia" than it does about our mindset -- about how some in the West seem already resigned to an object status.
That resignation may prove premature.
The final panelist, Tom Ginsburg, reminded that other such prognostications have fallen flat; for instance, past predictions that Japan, Egypt, even Sri Lanka or Burma, would win dominance. Tom's own prediction: Asia will not aggregate into a supranational entity. Some of the many countries in that part of the world indeed may attain power. But they will wield it, Tom ventured, in ways that reinforce the old, the 17th Century, model of independent, noninterference-prizing nation-states.
In store in the 2000s may be not so much an Asian Century as -- to borrow Tom's coinage -- an Eastphalian Era.

(Cross-posted at California-Davis Faculty blog)

On February 27

On this day in ...
... 1888, Lotte Lehmann (right) was born in Perleberg, a German city near Berlin. In her early 20s she made her opera début, as a page in a Hamburg production of Lohengrin. She would go on to perform as a soprano in many stage productions throughout Europe and in hundreds of recordings, winning renown for her work in Germany opera. (credit for photo from 1930s opera, courtesy of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation) She's credited with discovering, in 1936 in Salzburg, the Trapp Family Singers, who'd become world-famous via The Sound of Music. Two years later, just before Nazi Germany annexed Austria, Lehmann immigrated to the United States, where she continued her career, 1st as an opera singer and eventually an opera teacher. Honored here as an Immigrant of the Day, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen. In 1976 she died at age 88 in Santa Barbara, California, where a concert hall is named in her honor.

(Prior February 27 posts are here, here, and here)


Olen nähnyt näitä joidenkin kuvaajien blogeissa ja pitihän se itsekin kokeilla. Nikonilla voi tehdä päällekkäisvalotuksia, ja mikä parasta lopputulos tallentuu raakakuvana. Yleensä kameroiden erikoistehosteet ovat käytössä vain jpg-kuville, mutta Nikonin päällekkäisvalotus toimii raakakuvillekin.

Kuvasin suomalaista talvista metsää päällekkäisvalotuksella. Asetin kameran kuvaamaan 10 kuvaa päällekkäin ja tilttasin alhaalta ylös sarjatulella 5 kuvaa sekunnissa. Tätä tekniikkaa pitäisi harjoitella erilaisten kohteiden kanssa, jotta lopputulos olisi oikein komea. Melko graafista ja maalauksellista jälkeä näin syntyy.

Lähden sunnuntaina työmatkalle, mutta yritän saada Plustek 7600 Ai skannerijuttuni ulos ennen lähtöäni. Aina ja joka kerta, kun olen lähdössä jonnekin muutamaksi päiväksi, niin tuntuu, että ennen lähtöä pitää hoitaa loputon määrä asioita järjestykseen.

Painting with fire

"Flame" is an experimental painting program that let's you experiment with colors and brush settings. 

Hat-tip to Corey Lucier@Facebook for the find.

Deference to Error?

How many serious errors must an agency make before the deferential standard of review accorded its decisions is revisited? That's the question that came to mind reading yesterday's excellent asylum decision by the Second Circuit. In Kone v. Holder, the court found that the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision (adopting and affirming the immigration judge's opinion) doubly erred, making mistakes both in its application of the law and its findings of fact. Ms. Kone, a national of Cote d'Ivoire, suffered female genital mutilation in her home country and feared that her two U.S. citizen daughters would be subject to the same treatment if she were to be sent back. She was also persecuted for her race, religion, and political opinion.
Even applying the highly deferential standards of review applicable in the immigration field (substantial deference to the agency's interpretation of its own regulation and substantial evidence for the agency's findings of fact), the Second Circuit found that the agency made serious mistakes in Ms. Kone's case. First, the immigration judge failed to shift the burden of proof to the government, as its own regulations require when an asylum applicant proves that they suffered persecution in the past. Notably, the court cites its own precedent for the point that where a woman has already undergone female genital mutilation, this does not lead automatically to the conclusion that no possibility of future persecution exists. Apart from the reality that a woman might be subject to further mutilation, there is no requirement in asylum law that threats must take the same form or be the same act as past persecution. The concept is simple -- if an asylum applicant's arm had been chopped off by government agents who opposed his political opinion, nobody would argue that he'd already lost his arm so wouldn't risk being persecuted again upon his return -- yet somehow judges find it difficult to grasp that a woman who has suffered female genital mutilation might face other forms of persecution, such as rape, based on her gender and ethnicity.
After describing the second error made by the immigration judge (a fundamental factual mistake), the court suggests that Kone might be eligible for asylum on two additional grounds. First, the mutilation she suffered might rise to the level of severe past persecution, which can on its own be grounds for asylum regardless of the risk of future persecution. Second, even if Kone's experience of FGM does not meet this higher standard, it might be sufficient to show past harm in the form of mutilation combined with the "mental anguish of a mother who was herself a victim of genital mutilation who faces the choice of seeing her daughter suffer the same fate, or avoiding that outcome by separation from her child." With stakes this high, and errors this grave, how is it that such great deference is still accorded to these administrative adjudicators?

On February 26

On this day in ...
... 1869, Nadezhda Krupskaya (right) was born in St. Petersburg, then the capital of the Russian Empire, to educated, working parents. Sometime after her studies at a gymnazium, she met the Marxist Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov. Political soulmates, the two were jailed, then married, and then lived in exile before her husband Lenin, as he then was known, spearheaded the Bolshevik Revolution against the czars and became the 1st leader of the Soviet Union. She herself remained active in politics and pressed many causes, among them library reform centered on purging libraries of nonsocialist materials. Krupskaya died in 1939, more than a dozen years after her husband.

(Prior February 26 posts are here, here, and here)

Päivän jenkki

Tämä viikko on mennyt töissä, nimittäin lumitöissä. Päivät olen kuvannut ja illat nauttinut lumitöiden muodossa siitä, että kerrankin meillä on kunnon talvi.

Tässä kuitenkin yksi kuva todisteeksi siitä, että blogi on edelleen toiminnassa. Kuvasin tämän Olympus E-P2 kameralla ja Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 objektiivilla.

Joren kameravertailu on tulossa, mutta vertailun tekijällä on ollut hieman muita asioita, jotka ovat menneet vertailun edelle. Pahoittelemme Joren kanssa pitkää toimitusaikaa, mutta aina asiat eivät mene niin kuin haluaisi. Nyt en siis puhu vertailun tuloksista, vaan ihan muista asioista.

News---Noted Civil War Historian Addresses Online Research Issues During Webcast

Discovering the Civil War Online - Live Webcast: Best Practices And Tips From The Experts For Researching Original Civil War Documents Online, Steven Woodworth and Tom Daccord, American Public University, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Have you ever handled a document over 150 years old? The American Civil War left behind a vast paper trail of soldiers’ letters and diaries, as well as newspapers and periodicals; all of these documents provide accounts of crucial events of the era, enabling historians to piece together the events that shaped America’s past during this defining time.

Today, these documents are widely and easily accessible online, thanks to historic preservation, the advent of online research portals such as Best of History Web Sites, and educational institutions such as American Public University. APU educates people on the importance of preserving these documents by providing quality higher education including History and Military History degrees. In many cases, these online documents are the next best thing to handling the originals.

Dr. Steven E. Woodworth, Professor of History at American Public University, and Tom Daccord, Educational Technology Specialist at Best of History Web Sites, will discuss researching and handling original Civil War documents through the Internet and how they apply it to their own projects.

Woodworth and Daccord will discuss the utilization of soldiers' diaries and letters available online, as well as the Lincoln papers, to research Civil War topics. Also they will advise consulting period newspapers and periodicals via online databases to research the decade that led up to the outbreak of the Civil War. The effective navigation of the Best of History Web Sites portal to maximize history research. Woodworth and Daccord answer live question during the webcast.

Steven E. Woodworth, Professor, American Public University, School of Arts and Humanities. Dr. Woodworth (Ph.D., Rice University, 1987) is professor of history at American Public University and author, co-author, or editor of twenty-seven books. Some of the courses he teaches include: Historical Research Methods, The Civil War: Seminal Event in American History, and Civil War Command & Leadership.

Steven is a two-time winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award of the New York Civil War Round Table (for Jefferson Davis and His Generals and Davis and Lee at War). He is also two-time finalist for the Peter Seaborg Award of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War for While God Is Marching On and Nothing but Victory, and a winner of the Grady McWhiney Award of the Dallas Civil War Round Table for lifetime contribution to the study of Civil War history.

Tom Daccord, Educational Technology Specialist for Best of History Web Sites was created in 2001 by Tom Daccord, 15-year history teacher and co-director of EdTechTeacher, Inc. Tom is an educational technology specialist and author of Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide for Teachers by Teachers and The Best of History Web Sites. A veteran “laptop teacher” who instructed in a wireless laptop environment for seven years, Tom has been featured in the Boston Globe (Making Tech Connect, December 29, 2003) for his contributions to teaching and technology.

Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1,000 history Web sites as well as links to hundreds of quality K-12 history lesson plans, history teacher guides, history activities, history games, history quizzes, and more. It has been recommended by The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, The British Library Net, The New York Public Library, the BBC, Princeton University, and many others.

American Public University is part of American Public University System (APUS) which also includes American Military University, together educating more than 50,000 adult learners worldwide. APUS’s relevant curriculum, affordability and flexibility helps working adults pursue degrees in subjects ranging from homeland security to management and liberal arts, including history and military history degrees. A university book grant supplies textbooks at no cost for eligible undergraduate students.

Register for the event at American Public University.

Contact information for the the American Military University/American Public University: American Public University, 111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414, Telephone: 877-777-9081

Designer Workstations


Here's a fun blog post, looking the workstations of designers and bloggers. The picture above is my desk here at Clearspring, where we work on AddThis.

What does your workstation look like?

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

[W]omen now outnumber men applying to and graduating from college -- so much so that it appears some colleges are giving male applicants an admissions boost. As a result, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is examining whether colleges are engaging in widespread discrimination against women in an effort to balance their male and female populations.
-- Los Angeles Times editorial on "Colleges' gender gap," which includes details on developments at institutions of higher education throughout the United States. Theories on the "why" behind the male deficit abound; the editorial concludes:
There may be no one reason -- or solution. But figuring out ways to help boys achieve in school is a better response to the gender gap than making it easier for them to get into college later.

On February 25

On this day in ...
... 1870 (180 years ago today), the U.S. Senate gained its 1st African American member when Hiram R. Revels (left) was sworn in nearly 5 years after the end of the Civil War. Of the inauguration of the new Mississippi Republican, a barber, minister, and Union chaplain -- who had just overcome a bitter and protracted floor challenge to his credentials -- The New York Times wrote:

The ceremony was short. Mr. Revels showed no embarrassment whatever, and his demeanor was as dignified as could be expected under the circumstances. The abuse which had been poured upon him and on his race during the last two days might well have shaken the nerves of any one.

(Prior February 25 posts are here, here, and here)

News---Fort Wayne Indiana's Lincoln Museum Returns to the Public in Indianapolis

Lincoln Brought to Life, Ryan Cole, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2010.

Often, an object is worth more than a thousand words.

In 1905, Arthur Hall, president of the fledgling Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., wrote Robert Todd Lincoln, the lone surviving son of Abraham Lincoln, requesting permission to use the late president's image on advertising and stationery. Lincoln complied and graciously sent Hall an original photo of his father.

As decades passed, this gift, supplemented by the company's acquisition of thousands of additional pictures, prints and personal effects, grew into one of the world's great Lincoln collections: the Lincoln Museum, located in Fort Wayne, Indinana.

But in 1999 the business, reconstituted as Lincoln Financial Group, changed ownership and left Fort Wayne for Philadelphia. In 2008 LFG officially ended its financial support of the Lincoln Museum, which closed its doors shortly thereafter. LFG then decided to donate the museum's $20 million in artifacts to another institution and launched a search for a suitable recipient. The company did not have far to look. Despite competition from the Smithsonian Institution and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, ultimately a Hoosier alliance of Fort Wayne's Allen County Public Library and the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis crafted a winning pitch and was awarded the collection in December, 2008.

"With Charity for All," now showing at the Indiana State Museum, unveils highlights of the newly acquired prize and closes out the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. The exhibition, open until July 25, shares space with "With Malice Toward None," a traveling exhibit from the Library of Congress. The items from the traveling exhibit—original drafts of the First Inaugural and Gettysburg Addresses, the contents of Lincoln's pocket on the night of his assassination—are more famous. But the lesser-known treasures of Indiana's collection are equally impressive. And unlike so much pontification about the 16th president, "With Charity for All" actually connects viewers to Lincoln the living, breathing man.

These are objects he actually wore, signed or handled. Here, our link to him is not through words, but through an immediate and intimate tactile connection. Contrast this to a gigantic television screen in a hallway between the two shows playing an endless loop of politicians and public personalities gushing about the man, no doubt seeing some glimmer of Lincoln in their own reflections.

These voices fade into white noise as viewers move into the exhibition space where they come face to face with objects—relics, really—that better narrate Lincoln's story. Ancient ledgers and land records bearing the name of Lincoln's father, Thomas, document the family's arrival in Kentucky in the first years of the 1800s. A beautifully crafted corner cupboard, carved by Thomas with the help of his son, evokes the Lincolns' life in the wilderness of southern Indiana.

Elsewhere, prints, lithographs and newspaper clippings recount his rise from circuit-riding prairie lawyer to national statesman. And campaign paraphernalia—original ribbons, songbooks, pins and banners—chart his successful dark-horse bid for the presidency in 1860. Lesser-known items provide unique insights into Lincoln's life and work in the White House. Here is a note imploring Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to "Let master Tad have a Navy sword"—a diversion for his young son, left alone and restless after the death of his brother and playmate Willie in 1862. Also displayed is a faded brown-and-white houndstooth shawl that once covered the president's shoulders in the cold and drafty Executive Mansion.

Glimpses of Lincoln the master political tactician are seen in his letter to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman requesting a furlough for Indiana troops in September 1864. With the electoral fate of Republicans uncertain in the coming fall balloting, the president made sure that every single vote at his disposal was cast. A few steps away is a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of 48 reproductions created to raise funds for wartime medical supplies. This document itself is just inches from Lincoln's ink well. And of course his assassination is documented here as well. Fragments of blood-soaked garments and towels are macabre reminders of the tragic April evening at Ford's Theater. Upon Lincoln's death, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton is reputed to have said, "Now he belongs to the ages." Today, it often seems that "Now he is lost to the ages" would be more appropriate.

True, our leaders constantly invoke him and he hovers over our history, his image emblazoned on our money and carved into countless monuments. But the real man, shrouded in a fog of top hats, impersonators, and log cabins or buried under an avalanche of scholarship, is often frustratingly elusive. Yet, thanks to a Lincoln collection that began over a century ago and a wonderful new exhibit, this most interesting and, arguably, most important of American lives is still within our reach.

Mr. Cole served in the administration of George W. Bush and on the staff of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Text and Top Image Source: Wall Street Journal
Second Image: Lincoln Bicentennial
Third Image: Indiana State Museum

Is there more to social networking than Facebook and MySpace?

(Data as of Feb 24, 2010)

Looking at the list of top social networks on AddThis (overall sharing, last 30 days) it's quickly apparent that while Facebook and MySpace dominate, at least half of the other top 12 services are destinations that are popular outside the United States. Orkut, Viadeo, Sonico, meinVZ, studiVZ and Hyves are all social networks that are very popular in other countries, and the others have heavy international usage as well.

A Closer Look at Orkut

Orkut is a great example; Wikipedia notes that although it started with a heavy US user base in 2004, by 2010 Orkut's users heavily skewed towards Brazil (47%) and India (38%) because of, among other factors, the dominance of Portuguese as the primary language of its users.

These numbers are mirrored by the sharing stats for Orkut via AddThis, where it's usage is heavily dominated by users in Brazil, India and Portugal.

If you compare the United States to Brazil, in the latter country Facebook is only #5 and Orkut enjoys over three times as much sharing:

Top 10 Services

GlobalWebIndex.net offers another interesting insight: while 43% of US internet users manage a social network profile, almost 60% of users in Brazil do, and these numbers persist across several other measures of online social activity. That's a heavily engaged and active social audience.

United States

 (Screen grabs from GlobalWebIndex.net)

These kinds of data are what makes working in social media so much fun. There's a whole world of people sharing across hundreds of different destinations – much more varied and interesting than just a few popular social networks.

Find out more:

Write On! ASIL/Egypt conference

(Write On! is an occasional item about notable calls for papers.) Papers are being sought that address the question "Are There Regional Approaches to International Law and Institutions?" -- title of a joint meeting, to be held June 20 & 21 at the Four Seasons Resort in Alexandria, Egypt, by the Egyptian Society of International Law and the American Society of International Law. The aim of the meeting, according to organizers, is "to build a dialogue at the broadest level and also with respect to pressing current issues and controversies, probing the normative commitments and structural features of contemporary international law."
Questions to be explored:
► What methodologies and frameworks are most useful in analyzing contemporary international governance?
► How might our assessments vary as a result of social or geographical location?
► What emerging terrains are created by current international dispute settlement processes – criminal tribunals, commercial arbitration, multilateral trade panels, domestic causes of action seeking remedies for international legal harms?
► What patterns or contrasts, harmonizations or fragmentations, exist across tribunals and regimes?
Exploration will occur in sessions on General International Law, International Law and Human Right, International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice, and International Economic Law. (credit for photo of pink granite sphinx in Alexandria)
Deadline is March 15, 2010 to send proposals of no more than 250 words to our colleague Chantal Thomas, Chair of ASIL's Africa Interest Group, at ct343@cornell.edu. Complete call for papers is here.

On February 24

On this day in ...
... 1908, in Muller v. Oregon, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held constitutional a state law limiting to 10 hours the workday of women in laundries and factories. The decision turned in part on Louis D. Brandeis' "famous brief" that "detailed expert reports on the harmful physical, economic and social effects of long working hours on women," and further on the Court's espousal of "the accepted wisdom of the day: that women were unequal and inferior to men." (photo credit) Brandeis, as we've posted, would himself become a Justice.

(Prior February 24 posts are here, here, and here)

Tasty tasty web!

Here's a nice collection of patterns, examples and inspiration from the folks over at Pattern Tap:

The Interlaken Declaration and the European Court of Human Rights

Last week saw the much anticipated Interlaken Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights (conference website), intended to secure workable solutions for the future of the Court. The Court, which started as a part-time court working with a commission, is now full-time and has developed under the recently ratified Protocol No. 14 (which comes into force on 1 June 2010) in order to try to meet the very real challenges of resources and workloads. Those challenges, however, are not entirely resolved by Protocol No. 14 and further work is needed in order to try to ensure the stability and continuing operation of the Strasbourg Court as an important part of Europe’s human rights infrastructure. This raises questions as to what the role of the Court is: is it an adjudicative court that ought to focus mostly on resolving disputes and providing redress, or is it a constitutionalist court? Ought it to be both and, if so, is that a feasible objective? In this post I intend to outline some of the challenges faced by the Court, consider the extent to which this question as to role and function remains unresolved by Protocol No. 14, and consider how this debate might be relevant in the Interlaken process.
The European Court of Human Rights has four main formalised functions to hear inter-state complaints where they arise; to hear individual complaints where they arise and are deemed admissible; to provide Advisory Opinions when requested (Art.47, ECHR); to clarify interpretation of judgments and assess whether judgments are being abided by where requested by a super-majority of the Committee of Ministers (Art.46, ECHR). These are the formal functions of the court, however, and a mere recitation of them or even a detailed analysis of them does not answer the more fundamental question of what role the Court is intended to play.
It is commonly assumed that there is some tension between the Court’s roles as an adjudcative court in individual cases (albeit in a subsidiary manner as complainants must exhaust all domestic remedies first) and its role as a constitutionalist court for the Council of Europe. If the Court is primarily intended to carry out the former role then rules relating to admissibility, remedies, supervision of judgments etc… have an importance that must be jealously guarded. If, however, the Court also, or even primarily, has a constitutionalist role then what is important is not that every individual complainant would have her case heard and adjudicated upon, but rather that judgments of the court would outline and formalise (or ‘harden up’) the constitutionalist principles of the Convention. This kind of role does not require the Court to have particularly open admissibility rules or for every individual complainant to have satisfaction of some kind; rather it requires a more strategic kind of role in terms of case selection (not, one would think, entirely dissimilar to the certiorari decisions of the US Supreme Court)
While most superior courts in domestic jurisdictions carry out both of these kinds of roles without a great deal of difficulty, the European Court of Human Rights faces very particular challenges in doing so. First of all the Court was, until relatively recently, only part-time. Secondly, recent years have seen the expansion of the Council of Europe to more than 40 states from which complaints can flow. Thirdly, the Court was (and continues to be) under-resourced. Fourthly, the Court must deal with an enormous diversity of legal systems within its jurisdiction and to the extent possible master the relevant elements of domestic legal systems in order to effectively analyse the position of a complaint vis-à-vis the Convention. Fifthly, the Court has witnessed an enormous increase in complaints all of which have to be given at least an initial admissibility consideration even if the vast majority of them are never considered on their merits (for failure to be deemed admissible) leading to an essentially unmanageable workload. These five points (which might be boiled down to resources, scope and scale) are perhaps the main areas where the Court’s future—as either an adjudicative court or a constitutionalist court or both—looks vulnerable.
Protocol No. 14 represents an important, although on its own insufficient, attempt to tackle these difficulties. Protocol 14 introduces some important changes into the way in which the Court works especially in relation to admissibility decisions which can now be made by single-judge chambers with the assistance of a rapporteur. In addition, Protocol No. 14 provides that if a single-judge chamber finds that an application is ‘not inadmissible’, forward it to a committee of three judges. The committee of three judges may also make decisions as to admissibility. In addition, these three-judge committees may deliver a judgment in the case if it determines that it is one where the underlying question that arises is “already the subject of well-established case-law of the court” (Art.28, ECHR). The concept of ‘well-established case-law of the court’ is problematic, especially as the ECHR does not operate a system of stare decisis that we are used to in the common law world and may well result in less cases progressing ‘up’ to the seven-judge chambers or, indeed, the Grand Chamber where arguably the most constitutionalist decision making takes place. In addition, Protocol No. 14 introduced the principle that the Court can reject an application where “the applicant has not suffered a significant disadvantage” (Art. 35(3) ECHR).
In some important ways, then, Protocol No 14 attempts to deal with one of the most serious challenges facing the Court from a practical perspective, namely the sheer volume of complaints and the need for effective case management as between the different compositions of the Court. However, these mechanisms as introduced seem also to be focused on trying to maintain the dual functionality of the Court as adjudicative and constitutionalist. This is notwithstanding the concerns expressed by some commentators that the new admissibility requirement and the ‘well-established case-law of the court’ principle might undermine the capacity of the Court to carry out either or both of these functions well. In a new book coming out this summer entitled The European Convention on Human Rights Act: Operation, Impact and Analysis (Round Hall/Thomson Reuters, 2010, forthcoming) which I co-authored with Dr. Cliona Kelly of NUI Galway, we deal very briefly with these concerns (brief merely because the book’s focus is primarily domestic). We argue that in fact the changes introduced by Protocol No. 14 will allow for the continuing performance of both kinds of functions and, inasmuch as Protocol No. 14 increases the role of the Court in supervising judgments, it may “accelerate the hardening of norms within the Convention system and, combined with the now facilitated accession of the European Union to the Convention, greatly advance the process of regional constitutionalisation” (Chap.6).
However, there is genuine concern that the reform of the Court in order to secure its future will result in the sacrificing of one or another of those functions. This is well demonstrated by the following extract from a statement submitted from 156 different NGOs:

The European Court of Human Rights must be a strong Court, accessible to individuals claiming violations of their Convention rights when they have had no effective redress domestically. It should be a Court which will give a reasoned decision on whether a case is admissible, or a reasoned judgment on the merits of a case, without undue delay. The Court should be given the resources by states to function properly, and not at the expense of other Council of Europe human rights mechanisms.

This is no lean demand, and it is one that in my view clearly expresses a desire for the Court to continue to carry out both adjudicative and constitutionalist functions. It asks for the Court to be accessible to individuals who have no domestic redress and to give reasoned decisions without undue delay: an adjudicative and a constitutionalist demand. The submission goes on to call for the strengthening of national enforcement of the Convention. This would enhance the Convention’s constitutionalist character and relocate adjudicative functions under Convention principles to the domestic sphere in a manner that is entirely in-keeping with the subsidiary nature of the regional human rights regime and indeed with the idea of the Convention as a constitutionalising—or if one would prefer, harmonising or synergetic—document. The group of NGOs then goes on to make the following exact proposals:

Any reforms to the European Court of Human Rights should ensure that:
• the fundamental right of individual petition is preserved and not further curtailed;
• there is an efficient, fair, consistent, transparent and effective screening of applications received, to weed out the very high proportion (around 90 per cent) of applications that are inadmissible under the current criteria;
• judgments are given within a reasonable time, particularly in cases where time is of the essence, or that raise repetitive issues where the Court’s case law is clear and those that arise from systemic problems;
• the Court is given adequate financial and human resources, without adversely impacting the budgets of other Council of Europe human rights mechanisms and bodies;
• solutions to the problems faced by the Court, including the varied reasons for inadmissible applications, are devised on the basis of informed analysis, transparent evaluation of both the root of the problems and recent and future reforms.

Again, these more exact and specific requests display a desire for the Court to be both adjudicative and constitutionalist. The reality is that continuing with that duality of function is resource-heavy and it is right to argue that the Court must be fully resourced including by the continuing development of research units, rapporteurs, clerks etc… and the continuing cultivation of a body of expertise in Strasbourg both for the benefit of the Court and for the benefit of the legal systems to which people working in Strasbourg might subsequently return. However, no amount of resourcing will bring about the concrete enforcement of the Convention at domestic level and that is necessary for the Court and Convention to work. This is something that Interlaken can not secure; it must be brought about through domestic politico-legal action in every one of the member states (and some, inevitably, will need to do more than others). What is certain, however, is that Interlaken and the process that follows it must confront this question of role and function and, if the duality is to be maintained, must frame its proposals for the future of the Court with the demands of such duality fully in mind.
On Friday the Interlaken Declaration was issued. Although it contains a lot of material of interest (much of which is really about nuts-and-bolts resourcing of the Court), for the purposes of this post it is worth noting that individual petition is reaffirmed as a “cornerstone” of the Court and Convention. That notwithstanding, there is also a call for further ‘filtering’ to be introduced which suggests that the focus within the Court itself—and certainly within the larger compositions and the Grand Chamber—will be on cases that present opportunities for constitutionalist decision-making; a development that may not please those who believe in the importance of the Court’s adjudicative role if it results in the watering-down of the principle that all applications will be considered to at some degree.

(Cross-posted at Human Rights in Ireland)

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