November 7 2007, 13:58
As tuition rates climb to an all time high, it is not unusual to hear of students leaving college with 40, 50, or even 60 thousand dollars of debt. Many law and medical students are graduating from school with a degree in one hand and 100 thousand dollars in student loans in the other. This continuing increase in tuition has many eager students pursuing community colleges over four year universities.  For example, Mott Community College's Michael Kelly states that enrollement has been up 28 percent in the last five years.  Kelly says that for some the choice is simple and "[t]he higher the cost is, the more students we get."  [More]
October 10 2007, 01:29
On September 28, 2007, Judge Winifred Smith of the Superior Court of Alamada County, California, took the extraordinary measure of invalidating an election result – an event that has only happened once before in California’s history. Measure R, originally voted upon in November 2004, was ordered back onto next year’s ballot not because of electoral fraud or force majeure, but because 96% of the results from the election had vanished. There was not any suggestion of dastardly doings; no ballots mysteriously vanished; no warehouses caught fire under unusual circumstances. These ballots had vanished because in a very real way they never existed in the first place. The election deciding Measure R’s fate took place entirely on computerized voting machines.
In the middle of litigation over the fate of the election, the machines were returned to the manufacturers, without the data having been backed up. It is unknown why the county returned the machines, or what happened to the data once the machines were sent back. Computers lose data all the time; crashes are a fact of life in the modern world. It is rare, however, that large, professionally designed computer systems crash quite so catastrophically. While most people are familiar with Windows’ infamous Blue Screen of Death , however, companies spending millions (or more) on tabulating data have little tolerance for errors that destroy the vast majority of the information they are designed to store. Alameda County, according to its own statements, rolled out the machines before it knew how to effectively handle the data they generated. [More]
September 24 2007, 15:45
I. Introduction Why do companies go green? A cleaner, more efficient energy solution certainly sounds progressive and looks great on paper, but aside from generating good public relations with environmental groups, is it an economically sound investment? In the case of the tech industry and its rapidly increasing energy costs and demands, it may be their only option. Put another way, the answer may be a resounding "Yes."To illustrate this problem, take for example the ubiquitous IT data center, or the air-conditioned computer farms found at the heart of almost any large technology firm.  They offer increasingly more complex and useful applications, web pages, internet traffic and processing power, but at significantly increasing costs.  Data centers are massive energy consumers and may require as much as fifty times the power of a comparably sized office space.  Despite some recent notable improvements in hardware power efficiency , the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a report on August 7, 2007 that projected the tech industry’s overall electricity consumption to double between 2006 and 2011. II. The Green FactorsSeveral key factors are driving the accelerated effort to convert to "greener" energy solutions including rising power demands, increasing energy costs, and government mandated energy efficiency policies and economic incentives. A. Increasing Power Consumption and Energy CostsThe consumption of energy in data centers, for example, involves as little as 30 percent of the total electricity consumed to actually run the computers.  The remainder is largely reserved for the industrial air conditioning that cools the densely packed rack-mounted servers down to approximately 40 degrees to ensure that no single server's temperature ever rises above its optimum level for maximum performance.  Power consumption and usage inefficiencies are rampant in an industry that historically turned a blind eye to the environmental footprint until it started affecting their bottom line. The technology sector as a whole is seeing power consumption rise rapidly, with the IT industry consuming roughly 61 billion kilowatt-hours, which amounts to a roughly $4.5 billion cost, as reported by the EPA in 2006.  This amount is expected to double by 2011. B. State and Federal Energy Policies and Economic IncentivesCalifornia has enjoyed an accelerated growth of the clean technology sector in Silicon Valley due to the state’s clean tech backing policies. Because of this, it has quickly become the U.S. leader in state-sponsored energy incentive programs.  For example, California has created incentive programs to increase the use of solar panels on homes in an effort to help achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and requires that public utilities must generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by the year 2010. Though California trailblazes state-run initiatives for the conversion to green power, the federal government has also contributed to the effort. The EPA offers financial incentives, including tax credits and utility rebates, to help expedite the tech industry’s segue into greener power solutions. III. Green SolutionsA. Existing TechnologiesWhile the utility and tech industries seek out new and more efficient technologies, some efficiency reducing solutions already exist and are being implemented. The EPA estimates that the easiest and least expensive changes to data center operations (including tweaks to the software, the server layout and air conditioning), could increase efficiency by as much as 20 percent.  While these changes alone will provide substantial savings, it will not offset the 45 percent reduction necessary to lower overall electricity usage by 2011. A number of data center components are currently being manufactured that are robust enough to withstand sustained ambient temperatures of 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  This could eliminate the need for the massively power-hungry cooling systems, resulting in data centers that are hundreds of times more efficient.  Companies like IBM, Sun, and HP are currently spearheading this clean technology effort to one day offer technological solutions to realizing self-sustained, no-outside-cooling-necessary data centers. B. Alternative SolutionsWhile the technology sector searches for ways to increase power efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint, the utility industry is seeking cleaner and more affordable alternatives to the use of fossil fuels.  A wide array of new and innovative alternative energy sources are coming to the forefront in the push for greener renewable resources. Wind energy, though currently only comprising a half of a percent of total U.S. energy consumption, is the fastest growing source of renewably energy in terms of usage and capacity due to its remarkable cost per kilowatt of producing electricity , green power mandates and federal tax credits.  The Energy Department expects wind generated power to reach 46.2K megawatt hours this year, constituting greater than a 300 percent increase from 2004. Other innovative technologies are emerging as viable renewable energy resources. These include solar, fuel cells, clean coal , extracting liquid natural gas from landfill waste, harvesting wave energy , and smart grid technology (an intersection of information technology and energy distribution).  There are even more exotic solutions like bioengineering yeast cells to consume sugar and excrete biofuels , harnessing lightning, and even creating man made tornadoes to theoretically produce as much energy as a nuclear power plant.  The future of green technology is remarkably rife with innovation and outside-the-box thinking. The Future of Green EnergySilicon Valley is experiencing a boom, commonly referred to as “Boom 2.0”, in the number of green-tech start-ups that are developing environmentally friendly technologies.  Venture capital firms nationwide have invested $2.9 billion into these clean, green technology start-ups in 2006 alone, constituting a 180 percent increase from 2005.  Investments are projected to increase to $8.7 billion by 2009. Most IP attorneys involved in green technology say clean technology is here to stay, regardless of the relative price of oil which has driven its popularity in the past, and are reporting an impressive increase in patents and licensing in the clean tech sector with no end in sight. ConclusionWith the advent of rising energy costs, increasing usage demands, and mounting regulations by state and federal legislatures to force corporations to convert to renewable energy sources to meet progressively tighter environmental regulations, companies are forced to adapt by investing in cleaner energy alternatives. The EPA and the current state-of-the-art of clean technology offer solutions to significantly improve energy efficiency in IT data centers to help achieve lower energy consumption amidst a climate of increased technological usage. Furthermore, with rapidly increasing investment in clean technology research, innovation, patents, and licensing, the energy sector is primed to manage the rigorous energy demands of the future in the most economically feasible and environmentally friendly manner. The “green movement” has had a slow and somewhat turbulent beginning, but from here on out it looks like blue skies. JOE RAPOSO, BEIN’ GREEN (Jonico Music, Inc. 1970).  cnn.com, Tech Companies Are Greener, But Are They Green Enough?, Sept. 12, 2007,http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/biztech/09/08/tech.green.credentials.ap/index.html (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). Id. Id. Id. Xenia P. Kobylarz, How Green Was My Valley, Mar. 2007,http://www.ipww.com/display.php/file=/texts/0307/green (last visited Sept. 22, 2007); Chris Preimesberger, How Green is IT’s Future?, Aug. 8, 2007,http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2168443,00.asp (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). See Kobylarz, supra note 6; See Preimesberger, supra note 6. msnbc.msn.com, Are Tech Companies Really That Green?: U.S. Firms Tout Their Credentials, But Significant Improvements Are Well Off, Aug. 8, 2007, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20180456 (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). See cnn.com, supra note 2.  Wendy Furrer, Companies Going Green With Energy Alternatives: High Cost of Fossil Fuels Sparks Efforts to Identify Savings, New Markets, Mar. 29, 2006,http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12040418/ (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). See Preimesberger, supra note 6.  Id.  See Kobylarz, supra note 6.  Id. See Preimesberger, supra note 6. See cnn.com, supra note 2. Id.  See Preimesberger, supra note 6. Id.  Id.  See Furrer, supra note 10. Id.  Adam Aston, The State of Green: Here's a Look at Some Alternative Energy Sources Such As Wind, Solar, and Ethanol and the Challenges Companies In Those Areas Face, Sept. 10, 2007,http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2007/tc2007096_783345.htm (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). Id. See Kobylarz, supra note 6. Olga Kharif, The Alternatives to Alternative Energy: Entrepreneurs Look Beyond Solar and Wind, to Algae, Giant Kites, Lightning, Sept. 12, 2007, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20729466/ (last visited Sept. 22, 2007). See Kobylarz, supra note 6. Id. See Kharif, supra note 26.  See Kobylarz, supra note 6.  Id. Id.
March 8 2007, 15:20
Greenfields, otherwise known as pristine tracts of land, are becoming scarce as demand for residential property continues to rise, yet environmentalist groups are fighting to preserve these undeveloped areas.  How, then, can we provide more residential areas to meet the increasing demand, while refraining from construction on previously unused land? Brownfields very well may be the answer to this fundamental conflict. Brownfields are “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”  Some authorities report that there are more than 500,000 abandoned brownfields scattered throughout the United States.  While the thought of turning polluted land into a residential area may at first seem unappetizing, brownfield redevelopment is gaining more acceptance as lenders and insurers begin to give financial support for these projects.  As more and more builders are taking on these projects, the question remains as to whether the benefits really outweigh the risks. [More]
February 15 2007, 19:28
To attain the office of the Chief Justice of the United States is to reach the culmination of a prestigious legal career in public service. It is a guaranteed opportunity to go down in the history books, to impact the world - some might even call it attaining "legal immortality." 
But if this is so, why is Judge Judy making more than 100 times Chief Justice Roberts' salary? Her $25 million annual salary  makes Roberts' newly inflated one of $212,000  appear as laughable as some of the more ludicrous plaintiffs that walk into her made-for-TV courtroom. [More]
November 7 2006, 16:19
The story has been told in many different ways, but for the most part it goes something like this: during the height of the Cold War, a newspaper reporter is flying on an Air Force jet interviewing a major general about a new missile designed to keep the Soviets on their side of the Iron Curtain. During the conversation, the general opens a cigar box full of Cubans, takes one out, and lights it up. “General,” the newspaper reporter asks, taken aback, “what are you doing? Isn’t that behavior supporting the illegitimate regime of Cuba?” The general taps his cigar, gives the newspaper man a wink, and replies, “No son, I consider it to be burning the communist’s crops.” 
For half of the twentieth century and the entirety of the twenty-first, Cuba has been ruled by a communist government under the direction of Fidel Castro. Castro took power during a communist revolution in 1959 and has led the country under tight communist control.  United States foreign policy since the end of World War II has been tailored to deny benefit to the nation’s direct enemies and enemies of her allies. One of these policy decisions has been a complete embargo on trade with Cuba since January of 1959, designed to starve the Cuban economy of American currency.  The big questions are whether or not the embargo is still warranted in the post-Cold War world where there are no ties between Cuba and terrorism and what will happen in U.S.-Cuban relations once Castro is no longer in power due to incapacity or death. [More]
September 22 2006, 16:13
A brief examination of the fiduciary, ethical, and professional paradigm shifts experienced by the health-care provider following the September 11th terrorist attacks.
As our nation recently observed the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, one cannot help but reflect on the fundamental changes that have occurred since. Foreign and domestic policies have undergone watershed transitions, the effects of which are still being understood. Health-care in the United States, specifically the role of the health-care provider, is no exception.
Significant shifts have occurred and continue to occur in regard to how the government interacts, influences, and regulates health-care. New issues in medical ethics are now being vociferously debated. Even the day-to-day expectations of physicians and hospitals have seen marked change.
While certainly no one with any experience in health-care will classify the pre-September 11th period as simple, the inordinate complexity of health-care administration seems to be metastasizing at ever growing rates. Long gone are the Doogie days of introspectively typing one’s thoughts on the practice of medicine while basked in the green glow of a word processor. [More]
March 2 2006, 15:57
Because of the high-cost of real estate in the most desirable areas of the United States, especially southern California, many Americans are searching for a cheaper, less crowded alternative both for vacation homes and for primary residences. With thousands of miles of undeveloped coastline, and beachfront property costs at a fraction of those in the United States, Mexico has recently become a hot market for Americans wanting a laid-back atmosphere and an affordable vacation home with warm weather throughout the year. Though Mexico is the perfect place to build an affordable beachfront home, there is one slight problem for foreigners wishing to re-locate there: Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution prohibits ownership of beachfront property by foreigners and foreign corporations. Only persons born in Mexico or corporations established in Mexico can gain title to property within Mexico's "Restricted Zone." 
How do Americans get around this prohibition? The answer is rather complex. [More]