links for 2007-09-01

Is that a Cluster in Your Pocket?

Microwulf is a personal, portable Beowulf cluster, providing over 26 Gflops of measured performance, for less than $2500. Its dimensions are just 11″ x 12″ x 17″, making it small enough to fit on one’s desktop or in a suitcase.

Microwulf: A Personal, Portable Beowulf Cluster

I so want ot build one of these.  I can think of a couple of things that will need a lot of processing power that would be useful to do.  Like proccessing very large piles of cases.

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Federal Court Audio Available on Internet

The Administrative Office of the Courts announcedin a press release of 8/6/2007 that the U.S. District Court inNebraska and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the EasternDistrict of North Carolina will make some digital audio recordingsof courtroom proceedings available on the Internet. The U.S.District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the U.S.Bankruptcy Court in Maine, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court forthe Northern District of Alabama are also planning to participatein the pilot project.

BarclayBlog: Two Courts Offer Digital Audio Recordings Online

It will be interesting to see how this develops. 

Creative Commons is Looking for Open Education Resources

Open Education Search – The Hewlett Foundation is working with ccLearn to develop a web search portal of open education resources.  And they are looking for material.  I wonder how 4,000 hours of law school class lectures and summaries would work?  I think we’re going to find out.

From the Open Education Search FAQ

What data are you gathering to enable web-scale open education search?

Most important: Site URLs

We are collecting top level URLs for sites hosting OERs. A well-known example would be A web-scale open education search should minimally index all pages under such a site URL.

Resource URLs

We are also collecting individual resource URLs, for example are interested in individual resource URLs even where we have a siteURL for the resource’s host, as the resource URL may be annotated morespecifically.

Keyword annotations (also known as tags, labels, and subjects, among others)

Both types of URLs may be tagged (or whatever verb you prefer) with keywords. This is optional but desired.

How can I ensure that my OERs are included?

We have one mechanism at present: mass import. In the future we willalso support the import of new OERs via feeds and manual addition ofindividual URLs.

Mass Import

If you have lists of OERs or OER sites in any textualformat (that includes XML and XML dialects, such as OAI), we can importfrom these formats. Send the file(s) or URL(s) to Creative Commons CTONathan Yergler: An example would be a URL pointing to an OAI file. It is very likely in this example that we can use dc:subject values as tags.


For purely technical questions, see Nathan Yergler above. For allother questions, contact ccLearn Executive Director Ahrash Bissell:

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Textbending Laws

Recombinant Text – 6.5 Law MakingTextbender is an interesting little project I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while.  The idea is to create a collaborative editing/drafting environment that allows each author/editor access to all of the text used at all points in the process and to assemple, disassemble and reassemble the text in interesting ways.  Now it seems that it has occured to someone that this might be a useful way to draft laws and regulations.  It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this.

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Freeing American Case Law, Part II contains nearly 170,000 decisions dating back to the early 1990s from the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Appellate courts. The site’s creators, Columbia Law School’s Timothy Wu and Stuart Sierra, and University of Colorado Law School’s Paul Ohm, said the site’s database would grow over time.

Columbia News ::: Columbia Law School Launches Free Database of U.S. Court Decisions

Following closely on the heels of this developmnet, comes along with a collection of case law from US Federal Courts going back more than ten years.  The key to this is that it is all in one place.  Most of the cases included in this search engine are avaialble on sites scattered about the web, as shown in Emory Law’s Federal Courts FInder.  The lack of a single free, public, non-commercial interface for searching case law has been a sort of Holy Grail for lots of folks, myself included, since we started putting case law on the web in the early nineties.

There is also a companion site,, that promises to serve as a vehicle for releasding the technology and collections behind  These 2 sites have the potential for becoming a major resource in the area of providing free access to American case law.

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