Life on Venus, Dull and Boring

By | 12th June 2012

You could be forgiven for thinking that the camera man had a dirty lens, if you saw any of the pictures of Venus “transiting” the sun last week. We are becoming more attuned to astronomical phenomena these days with attention being drawn to eclipses, sunspots and craters on moons orbiting Jupiter more regularly than in the past. Personally I think this is all to the good and that we would all benefit from a greater awareness of what is going on around us even if it is many millions of miles away.

I did not see the actual “transit” partly because frankly I forgot to look (it was very early in the morning) but more realistically because of this month’s seemingly interminable grey skies. However, there are lots of pictures out there which enabled me to observe the spot as it crossed the huge surface of the sun. Actually, I thought the best comment was made by one Van Webster, described as a member of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society who said: “If you can see the mole on Cindy Crawford’s face, you can see Venus.”

Life is certainly not dull.

I defy anyone, even the most sour faced republican, not to have been impressed by the events of last week and I am not just talking about Venus aka the lovely Cindy Crawford. The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations were fantastic, despite the weather, and it was clear that literally millions of people in this country and around the world were thrilled at what they saw and heard. For myself I was not in London but still managed three Jubilee parties, a service in Norwich Cathedral and to light an official beacon.

Hardly boring!

It always used to be said that it was dangerous to go away on holiday because you ran the risk that when you came back, your desk would be in the corridor or even in the street. Fortunately, this did not happen to me but Millnet is expanding so rapidly that we are becoming very short of space and I think I was lucky to find my desk where I had left it when I got back to work after the Jubilee celebrations.

What I did find were three new starters sitting near me and because I think it is important that readers know about who is at Millnet I am going to start mentioning new arrivals as they occur:

  • David Smithson has joined Millnet’s Product Management team and is currently studying for a BSc in Environmental Science. He is also a keen cyclist.
  • Isabel Szulc has joined as a Technical Client Services Administrator. Having qualified as a lawyer in the US, Isabel joins Millnet from a London-based legal services provider. She reads Spanish and speaks fluent Polish.
  • Stuart Clarke is an IT forensics specialist and will be heading up a new business area. Stuart received a first class honours degree from the University of Northumbria and is also a keen cyclist.

It is all happening at present!

My recent travels have taken me to West Africa, California and south west France, but I have noticed that there are a number of developments in the world of e-discovery/disclosure emanating from the other side of the world namely New Zealand. Three are worthy of mention:

Firstly, there is the decision of a New Zealand court to grant an order for disclosure in favour of a group of people seeking to challenge an extradition request from the US. [Kim Dotcom Gets Access To FBI’s Megaupload Documents, Information Week, 30th May, 2012]

Chris Dale who was, I believe,  in Hong Kong whilst all this was going on, has found the time to write about this decision and I can do no better than refer you to his piece on the subject and the issues facing Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom – New Zealand judge gives Megaupload founder the right to disclosure before extradition hearing. [e-Disclosure Information Project, 2nd June, 2012]

There is much to ponder in the blog post and the links it contains but, if nothing else, I concur with the views he expresses about the deplorable effects of the current law relating to extradition between the US and this country as provided by the Extradition Act 2003. It is a disturbing state of affairs which is outside my current remit and it is good news to learn that New Zealand takes a more robust view of the right of individuals to know the case against them than our current law permits those who face similar action in the UK. Amazing what topics involve e-disclosure!

Secondly, there is an excellent article in the April/May 2012 edition of Computers & Law written by His Honour Judge David Harvey, a New Zealand District Court Judge and Daniel B. Garrie of Law and Forensics LLC: New Zealand’s New Discovery Rules and Electronic Discovery [IT Law Community, 17th April, 2012].

The article concerns New Zealand’s New Rules and Electronic Discovery and what attracted me particularly about this article was the conclusion that:

“One thing is clear and it is that lawyers and judges are going to have to become intimately aware of the technologies that are available and of the technological processes that can underlay the discovery process if the advantages of cost reduction and proportionality that underlie the rules are to be achieved.”

That could have been written by Lord Justice Jackson and I suspect it is a sentiment he would endorse heartily.

Thirdly, again published by Computers &Law, there is a good article explaining predictive coding by Mike Taylor. If you have got lost in the flurry of articles on this subject over the past few months, spare a moment to read the article for a concise and intelligible summary of what this is all about –  E-disclosure: TAR is Not a Plaything [IT Law Community, 31st May, 2012].

It has certainly not been dull and boring recently!

As a postscript and in case you missed it amongst the wall to wall coverage in the newspapers of events to celebrate the Queen’s incredible 60 years on the throne, Dull is a little village in Perthshire which is seeking to be become a ‘sister community’ with the much larger town of Boring in Oregon on America’s west coast. You could not make it up if you tried!

Honestly, I did not…. [see  Dull and Boring become sister communities, The Telegraph, 6th June,2012]