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March 15, 2009

Only 9 more months till we're out of the 'Noughties'

I happened on the term — which refers to the years 2000 through 2009 — in Paul McAuley's superb biothriller, "The Secret of Life," set in 2026.

First time I'd heard it.

Then I read Dan Gillmor's Boing Boing guest post Friday in which he wondered how we should refer to the years of the coming decade: should we say "two-thousand-twelve" or "twenty-twelve?"

And in the 21st century, he wrote, "... are we in the two-thousands? That sounds off, but the twenty-hundreds sounds totally wrong."

The Noughties – I like it, it has a certain absurd charm.

March 15, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Director's Clock

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Write your name in at the bottom.

That is, if you really believe you're directing anything.

Desk clock with alarm.

$34.60.

[via pulp.co.nz and toxel]

March 15, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Are you addicted to a website? keepmeout.com will help you reclaim your life

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Works for me.

[via Milena]

March 15, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stain Teacup — Improves with age

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Created by British designer Bethan Laura Wood.

When new (above), it's a white teacup with a subtle pattern.

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Over time, though, natural staining reveals more.

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£35 from the designer.

[via Tea Finely Brewed and Milena]

March 15, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sometimes real life is better than a John Grisham novel

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When then-Manhattan assistant district attorney Daniel L. Bibb (above) last year deliberately lost a case his office was prosecuting because he believed the two imprisoned defendants were innocent, he was putting himself and his career on the line.

Here's Benjamin Weiser's compelling March 4, 2009 New York Times story about a case that continues to evoke controversy as to whether Bibb was right or wrong when he followed his conscience instead of the traditional legal code of ethics which held that he owed the office of his boss, District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, his complete allegiance and best effort upholding the prosecution's argument.

•••••••••••••••••••••

Lawyer Who Threw a City Case Is Vindicated, Not Punished

A former Manhattan assistant district attorney knew he was courting controversy last summer when he revealed in a newspaper interview that he had deliberately lost one of his office’s big cases: a rehearing of two men’s murder convictions in the killing of a bouncer outside the Palladium nightclub in 1990.

Sure enough, the admission touched off a wide-ranging debate over whether the former prosecutor, Daniel L. Bibb, had taken a brave stand — helping clear two men he believed were not guilty — or had shirked his duty to his office and his boss, District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. In September, an agency that disciplines lawyers notified Mr. Bibb that it would investigate whether he had acted unethically.

Mr. Bibb defended himself in a written statement. And now, months later, he has received a response: a letter from the agency saying it sees no basis for disciplinary action and has closed the inquiry.

For Mr. Bibb, 54, who has tried with some difficulty to build a new career as a defense lawyer since he quit the district attorney’s office in 2006 after handling the Palladium case, the agency’s decision offers some vindication. “I’m glad it’s over,” he said this week. “I know I did the right thing.”

The decision comes as Mr. Morgenthau prepares to retire after more than three decades as one of the nation’s most powerful district attorneys. His office had no comment on the ethics investigation.

In a letter to The New York Times after it reported Mr. Bibb’s account in June, Mr. Morgenthau strongly defended his office’s actions in the case. “Mr. Bibb was never asked to prosecute someone he believed to be innocent,” he wrote.

The Palladium case was one of the most troubled in recent city history, stirred up every few years by media reports of fresh evidence that pointed to suspects other than the two young men convicted in 1992 and sent to prison, Olmedo Hidalgo and David Lemus [below; Lemus is on the right].

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In 2005, as the hearing into the convictions unfolded, Mr. Morgenthau was running for re-election, and was sharply criticized by an opponent, Leslie Crocker Snyder, who said he had prosecuted the wrong men.

But it was not known publicly that the prosecutor arguing the case — Mr. Bibb, one of Mr. Morgenthau’s senior assistants — had come to a similar conclusion.

Spurred by the doubts about the case, the district attorney’s office had assigned Mr. Bibb to reinvestigate with two police detectives, an inquiry that took nearly two years and led to the hearing into whether the convictions should be overturned. In his interview last summer with The Times, Mr. Bibb said he had tried before the hearing to persuade his superiors that the convictions should be set aside, but was ordered to defend them in court anyway.

Instead, he said, he purposely threw the case. Defense lawyers involved in the hearing have confirmed that he quietly helped them. He tracked down hard-to-find witnesses who cast doubt on the convictions, and held back while cross-examining witnesses with long criminal records.

Mr. Bibb’s account offered a rare glimpse at a prosecutor balancing the demands of conscience against his obligation to his office. “I was angry,” he said then, “that I was being put in a position to defend convictions that I didn’t believe in.”

Mr. Morgenthau, in his letter to The Times, wrote that the hearing was a “fact-finding” process to examine and weigh the new evidence. Only afterward, he said, did the office reach a conclusion — that the conviction of one defendant, Mr. Hidalgo, should be set aside, and that the other defendant, Mr. Lemus, was guilty. Mr. Lemus was later retried, and acquitted.

The agency that investigated Mr. Bibb’s actions, an arm of the judiciary, can recommend penalties as serious as disbarment. Its letter, dated Jan. 30, ending the inquiry does not explain its reasons. Mr. Bibb agreed to discuss the outcome with The Times and share portions of his written defense.

He said the agency had told him it was investigating whether he had violated a number of ethics rules, including one that requires lawyers to represent their clients zealously.

In his defense, he wrote that he had zealously represented his client: the people of New York. “That client would have been ill served had two innocent men remained in jail for a crime they did not commit,” he said.

Other options, like resigning or refusing to participate in the hearing and perhaps being fired, were unacceptable, he wrote; he could not afford to be out of work, and did not want to risk prolonging the men’s imprisonment.

Law professors who debated Mr. Bibb’s actions in blogs and articles last summer remained split when told of the result of the ethics inquiry. Professor Steven Lubet of Northwestern University had criticized Mr. Bibb, saying that while Mr. Bibb saw his client as the people, their elected representative was his boss, Mr. Morgenthau. This week, Professor Lubet said, “Mr. Bibb did something that he felt he needed to do according to his conscience — and it was wrong.”

David Luban of Georgetown University, who had praised Mr. Bibb, called the outcome a good one. He said that prosecutors need not always act as “full-fledged” adversaries.

“Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not victory,” he said.

March 15, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Walk-on-Water Inflatable Ball — Episode 2

Four years ago I featured one of these.

They've been busy out back in the skunk works.

From the website:

•••••••••••••••••••••••

Walk-on-Water Inflatable Ball

This inflatable water ball quite simply allows you to walk and float on water, or do some intense crowd surfing.

To get rolling, you simply hop in and start inflating with the included 400W blower.

Impress the crowd at the beach, lake or pool.

No one will expect this inflatable ball.

Built with high-quality 0.8mm TPU, setting it apart from many of the less-durable PVC balls on the market.


Includes:

• User's manual

• Repair patch

• Repair kit

•••••••••••••••••••••••

$640.

[via Milena]

March 15, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stop me before I Twitter again

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The last time was in 2006, shortly after I signed up once the site went live.

I haven't felt the urge since.

But several things have happened in the meantime.

For one, Twitter's gotten big — real big.

So much so that there are those who believe it could well end up eating Facebook's lunch.

Facebook thinks so: it tried and failed to acquire Twitter and now is rolling out features mimicking Twitter.

Every day now, toward the end of "Pardon The Interruption," Tony Kornheiser notes that the show's powers-that-be have started a PTIShow Twitter account and want interaction with PTI viewers.

And then last month, when I remarked offhandedly I might Twitter, my follower count jumped from the 30s to the 50s — even though I haven't Tweeted since November 26, 2006 at 8:33 p.m. (top).

So here's what I'm gonna do for you, to meet what appears to be a groundswell of enthusiasm for me to get with the Twitter program: as soon as I have 1,000 followers, I'll begin Tweeting daily.

Promise.

If I can post 8 times a day here I should be good for another 140 characters there, what?

March 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ruby Rocking Chair

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Designed by Pouyan Mokhtarani.

"This is an anatomic rocking chair. The main idea is taken from a magnificent superhuman body. This chair is designed in a way that whenever an individual sits on it, he or she will experience the sense of power. This feeling is synonymous to that of a supermetaphysical human who can control all surrounding matter."

Hoiuhi

"There are 8 liquid pillows in the back which resemble the formation of 8 abdominal muscle packs in human anatomy, and two larger liquid pillows in the bottom that resemble the 'hunker' muscles in the human body."

[via Street Anatomy, Behance and Milena]

March 15, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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