Category Archives: Miscellaneous hacked last night

Dear friends,

Last night the unthinkable happened: someone hacked my blog, vandalizing my database. Needless to say, this has been very upsetting. I feel sad, and yes, really, really pissed off that someone would target my blog this way, particularly when my work — conflict resolution — is involved in trying to make the world a nicer place to be.

I had thought I had taken the appropriate precautions, but it turns out that the newest version of WordPress I upgraded to over the weekend may have a vulnerability that someone was able to exploit. Please take care, fellow bloggers.

In the meantime, please bear with me as I try to recover the site and all my hard work over three years.

Help and moral support would be gratefully accepted.

Thanks, friends,


Online Guide to Mediation takes an August holiday and leaves readers with some links to explore

Online Guide to Mediation takes a vacationI’m taking some much-needed time off with my family and won’t resume my regular posting schedule until August 15. In the meantime, here are some mediation-related links that you may enjoy while I’m away:

Bill Warters, who always has the coolest links at Campus ADR Tech Blog, has posted an article about Standpoint and Standpedia, two web sites which provide visual mapping tools to better understand conflict and controversy.

For some of the funniest and most honest writing on the ADR web, visit Geoff Sharp’s Mediator Blah…Blah… I particularly liked Geoff’s recent meditation (that’s meditation, not mediation) on trust.

If you haven’t visited Negotiating Tip of the Week lately, tune in to Josh Weiss’s podcast describing tactics for dealing with a negotiator who wants to compete, not collaborate.

Those of you who support efforts to keep the courthouse doors open to all who seek justice will want to read this article from’s Inside Opinions on “Blacklisting Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs“, which discusses the implications of a web site that publicizes the names of plaintiffs involved in med-mal litigation.

One of my favorite new blogs is the Law & Society Blog, offering “notes from the intersection of law, society, technology, economics, and culture”. You’ll find intelligently written articles like “He Who Cast the First Stone Probably Didn’t” about human behavior and the escalation of conflict, and “Virtual Property and Voluntarism“, which explores the blurring of lines between real and virtual worlds. If you are interested in other blogs that cover similar ground–the crossroads of law, society, and technology–visit Slaw, a cooperative Canadian law blog, and Human Law, a law blog published by English solicitor Justin Patten, who is also a committed supporter of alternative dispute resolution.

For mediators interested in the serious games movement–games created to promote social change and awareness, including the advancement of conflict resolution and peace–Collision Detection has an article on “Saving the World, One Video Game at a Time“.

You should also take time to check out the new look of one of Tammy Lenski’s blogs, I Can’t Say That! – How to talk things out in the relationships that matter. Formerly known as “Strategic Conversations”, this blog has an inviting, warm, and user-friendly feel. (For smart marketing advice for mediators, visit Tammy’s other blog, Mediator Tech.)

Finally, one destination that I always recommend is the ADR-friendly Blawg Review, the weekly review of the best in law blogging, hosted each week at a different law blog. There are plenty of reasons why busy mediators and mediating attorneys should make it a regular stop on their Internet travels–you can discover why in “Too busy to read law blogs? Why attorneys and mediators should read Blawg Review“.

In the meantime, until I get back, feel free to explore Online Guide to Mediation‘s archives (over in the sidebar on the right). Or, visit my ongoing project, the World Directory of Alternative Dispute Resolution Blogs, for your passport to a whole world of ADR blogging.

Thanks as always for stopping by. I look forward to continuing our conversation when I return on August 15.

Mediation Quote of the Week | July 24, 2006

Only connect!
Howard’s End, E.M. Forster

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International Trademark Association announces online ADR competition for EU law students

The International Trademark Association (INTA) has announced that it is sponsoring an Alternative Dispute Resolution Online Competition to be held in April 2007. Registration is open to law students in the European Union.

According to INTA’s web site:

This online competition is designed to increase the student’s use and understanding of ADR. Law students representing schools throughout the EU will exercise their negotiation, mediation and advocacy skills to resolve hypothetical trademark law disputes. Prizes will be awarded to the most effective advocate teams and the most effective mediator, based on evaluations by distinguished professionals from INTA’s ADR Committee.

The deadline for registering is October 1, 2006, and the competition gets underway in April 2007. Details may be found on INTA’s web site.

(Via the IPKat blog, reporting on intellectual property law developments.)

Blawg Review #65 salutes international lawyers and the World Cup

World Cup a model of international cooperationThe World Cup, which, alas, comes only once every four years, is a glorious example of international cooperation. During that time football-loving countries around the world put aside their differences and focus their energy and attention on what is described everywhere (except for the U.S., which in large part remains bafflingly hostile to soccer) as “the beautiful game“.

The World Cup, simultaneously a celebration of national pride and a model for international diplomacy, shows us what is possible when we come together in a common cause.

Dan Hull, host of this week’s edition of Blawg Review, the weekly review of the best in legal blogging, celebrates international relations and the law in what the anonymous editor of Blawg Review has called “The World Cup Blawg Review“.

No passport is necessary for this world tour of the legal blogosphere (which incidentally includes a stop in New Zealand to my friend Geoff Sharp and his blog, Mediator Blah…Blah…).

World Cup soccer fans and mediators alike will also appreciate the link to Why the FIFA World Cup Is and Should Be a Big Deal, an article published at the Harvard International Review, which celebrates the World Cup as a “great social, economic and political leveler”.

New study shows that mice have capacity for empathy

New study shows mice capable of empathyA newly published study by researchers at the McGill University Pain Genetics Lab show that mice are capable of empathy. This study provides evidence that the capacity for empathy is not limited to humans and higher mammals and that empathy in fact may be hardwired into all mammals as a mechanism to ensure that species survive.

Emotional contagion“, the name given by scientists to describe the mouse’s automatic empathetic response to witnessing a fellow mouse in pain, also explains why yawning is contagious.

Settle It Now, a new negotiation blog, launches

New negotiation blog is launchedVictoria Pynchon, an attorney-mediator whose impressive credentials include 25 years of experience in commercial litigation coupled with an LL.M. in dispute resolution from the Straus Institute, Pepperdine Law School, has just launched a negotiation blog, Settle It Now Blog Spot.

Vickie describes her blog this way:

My blog is a negotiation blog, covering distributive and integrative negotiation techniques, interspersed with short articles about the social psychology of conflict, transformational mediation and mindfulness in commercial mediation and litigation…I find that most litigators and trial attorneys HATE to negotiate because they have never been educated or trained to do so. The blog is meant to convey the nuts and bolts essentials of mediation and to do so in a lively and entertaining manner. I hope attorneys will be able to skim my entries in the 5 minutes they have every other day to take a breath and relax.

Vickie also publishes Settle It Now, a web-based dispute resolution journal.

Bad company: relations between Britain and U.S. at all-time low

Bush administration policies damage British public's opinion of AmericansBad news arrives from England today–bad news most certainly for Americans like myself who are committed to the principles of international diplomacy.

Justin Patten at Human Law reports on the results of a survey of Britons published in the Daily Telegraph which shows that Britain, formerly one of America’s closest allies, now has a deeply negative view of the U.S. as a direct result of the Bush administration’s strong-arm approach to foreign policy.

From the Telegraph‘s report:

A majority of Britons think American culture and the actions of the present American administration are making the world a worse place to live in, and almost no one believes America is now, if it ever was, a beacon to the world. Well over half of those interviewed regard the US as an imperial power bent on dominating the world by one means or another.

Americans can read all the grim details here. (And if you need some cheering up, here’s a clock counting down to Bush’s last day in office.) web site promotes dialogue in a divided America

Web site seeks to repair division in America through public conversationsAnyone who follows American politics knows that the quality of public discourse has deteriorated rapidly here in recent years. Facts no longer matter. Irrationality triumphs over common sense. Personal attacks on character and patriotism are the rule. Informed, intelligent debate by political leaders and other public figures no longer seems possible.

In an effort to stem the rapidly flowing tide of partisan vitriol here in the U.S., four Wesleyan University graduates teamed up to create, a web site designed to foster a different kind of discourse:

The Beyond Partisan process begins with an issue-article, a brief and accessible piece focusing on a single policy area. Fact-based and reasoned issue-articles push the bounds of previous efforts and expand the borders of consideration. Simple, short and open dialogue through web-posting creates a conversation to which each American is invited—a conversation which no American should ignore. Your contribution must not stop at short responses. Your full-length opinion pieces will act as your personal message to your fellow citizens: this is the editorial page for every American. We must as citizens reflect upon our discussion and find the shared values which move us toward consensus. This is not the partisan tirade of lone-gunmen bloggers; this is a return to the egalitarian foundation of America’s birth through the means of modern technology.

For further information, read the mission statement.

Back to the future: South American indigenous Aymara people have mirror-image understanding of time

Andes inhabitants perceive time in reverseOne of the benefits mediation affords to participants is the opportunity to shift their perspective–to perceive other viewpoints or to see things in new ways.

For those of you who enjoy altering your perception to gain new understanding of the world around you, consider this:

According to this news release from the University of California, San Diego, the Aymara, an indigenous people residing in the Andes highlands, have a reverse understanding of time:

Contrary to what had been thought a cognitive universal among humans – a spatial metaphor for chronology, based partly on our bodies’ orientation and locomotion, that places the future ahead of oneself and the past behind – the Amerindian group locates this imaginary abstraction the other way around: with the past ahead and the future behind.

Appearing in the current issue of the journal Cognitive Science, the study is coauthored, with Berkeley linguistics professor Eve Sweetser, by Rafael Nunez, associate professor of cognitive science and director of the Embodied Cognition Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego.

“Until now, all the studied cultures and languages of the world – from European and Polynesian to Chinese, Japanese, Bantu and so on – have not only characterized time with properties of space, but also have all mapped the future as if it were in front of ego and the past in back. The Aymara case is the first documented to depart from the standard model,” said Nunez…

“These findings suggest that cognition of such everyday abstractions as time is at least partly a cultural phenomenon,” Nunez said. “That we construe time on a front-back axis, treating future and past as though they were locations ahead and behind, is strongly influenced by the way we move, by our dorsoventral morphology, by our frontal binocular vision, etc. Ultimately, had we been blob-ish amoeba-like creatures, we wouldn’t have had the means to create and bring forth these concepts.

“But the Aymara counter-example makes plain that there is room for cultural variation. With the same bodies – the same neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters and all – here we have a basic concept that is utterly different,” he said.

Why, however, is not entirely certain. One possibility, Nunez and Sweetser argue, is that the Aymara place a great deal of significance on whether an event or action has been seen or not seen by the speaker.

A “simple” unqualified statement like “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” is not possible in Aymara – the sentence would necessarily also have to specify whether the speaker had personally witnessed this or was reporting hearsay.

In a culture that privileges a distinction between seen/unseen – and known/unknown – to such an extent as to weave “evidential” requirements inextricably into its language, it makes sense to metaphorically place the known past in front of you, in your field of view, and the unknown and unknowable future behind your back.

Intrigued? To read more about this study, click here.

(Via Boing Boing.)