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Category Archives: Recommended Books

A fascinating design history of the filing cabinet

Fast Company Adapted with permission from The Filing Cabinet: A Vertical History of Information by Craig Robertson, published by Minnesota University Press “…The filing cabinet emerged at the same time the skyscraper was becoming a cultural symbol that presented capitalism and modernity as distinctly American projects for the 20th century. As vertical structures, the skyscraper and the filing cabinet stacked discrete horizontal units (floors containing offices; drawers containing folders and papers). This stacking was intended to serve two main purposes: to reduce the structure’s horizontal footprint and to facilitate access to the units. Stacking, as opposed to mere piling, invoked order. In contrast to a pile, which leads to disorganization and congestion, the vertical was intended to provide structure, to organize through constraint. Through coercion, verticality would force activity and objects into designated spaces; the skyscraper as a vertical structure was a space organized to facilitate the flow of people and information. Inside skyscrapers, changes in the design and use of desks in the early 20th century show how the office was rethought of as a site to facilitate the flow of paper. The emergence of a “flat-top” desk and the vertical filing cabinet offered a coordinated rethinking of the relationships between paper and work and between storage and retrieval. The efficiency-based focus on flow and movement made storage a particular kind of problem. Ideas about workflow positioned storage as a sedentary state in which papers would take up long-term residence in a cabinet or desk. As a leading proponent of office efficiency put it, “at best, any type of storage system is a passive agent in business..”

How Does Artificial Intelligence Work? “Less than a decade after breaking the Nazi encryption machine Enigma and helping the Allied Forces win World War II, mathematician Alan Turing changed history a second time with a simple question: “Can machines think?”  Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (1950), and its subsequent Turing Test, established the fundamental goal and vision of… Continue Reading

When Graphs Are a Matter of Life and Death

The New Yorker: “…In A History of Data Visualization and Graphic Communication (Harvard), Michael Friendly and Howard Wainer, a psychologist and a statistician, argue that visual thinking, by revealing what would otherwise remain invisible, has had a profound effect on the way we approach problems. The book begins with what might be the first statistical… Continue Reading

The Law Student’s Guide to Doing Well and Being Well

George, Shailini, The Law Student’s Guide to Doing Well and Being Well (May 2021). Carolina Academic Press, Forthcoming May 2021, Available at SSRN: – “The ABA and most state bar associations have identified a wellness crisis in the legal profession, and called for educating students on how to better cope with the challenges of… Continue Reading

The untold story of how Florence Nightingale used data viz to save lives

Fast Company – “Florence Nightingale is well known as the founder of modern nursing. But after seeing the terrible conditions facing soldiers she treated during the Crimean War, she became a fierce public health advocate. And she harnessed new ways of showing data to do so. Nightingale was a lifelong information designer. As a child,… Continue Reading

Review: Own the Map, by Conrad Samm

Via LLRX – Review: Own the Map, by Conrad Samm – Jerry Lawson highly recommends Conrad Saam’s intriguing new book, Own the Map, which encourages lawyers to think about marketing in new and better ways. The author’s primary thesis is that most lawyers should concentrate appealing to potential clients near the lawyer’s location. Saam develops… Continue Reading

The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law

Abbott, Ryan Benjamin, The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law (Excerpt) (2020). Cambridge University Press, 2020, Available at SSRN: “AI and people do not compete on a level-playing field. Self-driving vehicles may be safer than human drivers, but laws often penalize such technology. People may provide superior customer service, but businesses are automating… Continue Reading

Book Review of Pierre Schlag and Amy J. Griffin, How to do Things with Legal Doctrine

Little, Laura E., A Taxonomy of Taxonomies (Book Review of Pierre Schlag and Amy J. Griffin, How to do Things with Legal Doctrine (2020)). __ Journal of Legal Education __ (2021 Forthcoming), Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-14, Available at SSRN: “This book review celebrates a new book’s adroit categorization of various… Continue Reading

Why You Should Plant Oaks

The New York Times – “These large, long-lived trees support more life-forms than any other trees in North America. And they’re magnificent…Oaks support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus, providing food, protection or both for birds to bears, as well as countless insects and spiders, among the enormous diversity of species….“There is… Continue Reading

Massive Seven-Volume Collection Chronicles the Pioneering Legacy of Abstract Artist Hilma af Klint

Colassal: “Following a wildly successful retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2018, Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) has firmly secured her place as a groundbreaking figure in abstract art. In recent years, her colorful, spiritually-minded body of work has reshaped art historical timelines, supplanting male artists like Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Josef Albers, who have long been… Continue Reading

The importance of technology competence when communicating electronically

Sui Generis – Nicole Black: “I’m sure that by now you’ve already seen the now infamous cat filter court hearing video. If not, Google it and watch it. I’ll wait. Now that you’re back, let’s talk about how you can avoid replicating that unfortunate predicament. The short answer? By maintaining technology competence when using electronic… Continue Reading