From Monday through Wednesay I attended the annual Macworld Conference in San Francisco. As an Apple computer fanatic, I have been making regular yearly pilgrimages to this event. This was the first year that Apple CEO Steve Jobs did not present the Keynote address announcing new products to the Apple faithful. Phil Schiller, VP of Worldwide Product Marketing presented the Keynote due to Steve Jobs’ health problems. He announced updates of Apple’s iLife and iWork programs that include the Keynote presentation program I use regularly in class and the iWeb program I use for my www.globalenvironmentallaw.com website. Al Gore, a member of Apple’s Board of Directors, sat in the front row at the Keynote, which for once did not require waiting in line for hours in order to be able to get a seat. I attended sessions of Apple’s Users Conference where educators discussed the latest technology for the classroom and the growing use of web blogs and podcasting by professors. I bought some cool new accessories for my iPod and iPhone. Surprisingly, both Spring and Verizon had booths at Macworld even though the iPhone is only available through AT&T. The New York Times also had a booth promoting their cool iPhone application that I regularly use to read the Times when on the road.
Apple announced that this will be the last year that the company participates in Macworld, which will greatly reduce its popularity. To counteract this, the company that runs the conference already has announced the admission to the exhibit halls will be free next year. I discovered a great new winetasting venue in San Francisco just a block from the Moscone Center where Macworld is held. It’s called “The Press Club” and it features wines from eight of California’s finest wineries. I also had a great dinner with a Maryland alum at Quince, a restaurant in Pacific Heights.
On Wednesday night I flew to San Diego for the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) conference. I arrived just in time to attend Aspen Publishers annual authors’ reception, which was held at the San Diego Maritime Museum. It was great to get a chance to catch up with the Aspen executives who have been so invaluable to the success of my environmental law casebook, which they confirmed is still the best-seller in the field. At the AALS Conference I attended a great session of the Torts section on “Torts (Beyond Europe)”. Eri Osaka of the Surugadai University Faculty of Law made a great presentation on how the Japanese tort system has evolved over time in response to environmental tragedies, such as mercury poisoning in Minamata. The Environmental section presented a program on environmental justice at the U.S./Mexican border. This summer I will be teaching a short course on Comparative Environmental Justice at the University of British Columbia.
Last week the Obama administration announced that Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein will be nominated to the be the new director of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). After Cass’s nomination was announced, Harvard recruited me to visit there this spring to teach the Environmental Law course that Cass had been scheduled to teach. Tomorrow I teach my first Constitutional Law class of the spring at Maryland and on Tuesday I have the first session of my Global Environmental Law seminar. Fortunately Harvard’s semester does not start until February 2 after which I will start my weekly commute to Harvard on Wednesdays.