26 November 2011

Adventures with Space Law

Greetings all:

Space law is something that captured my fancy me since I discovered that it was, in fact, real. In an international law class I took in Vienna in 2006, my professor took us on a tour of the UN Headquarters there. The complex housed, among other agencies, the Office for Outer Space Affairs. Now that I am in law school, I've started a fruitful Space Law Society and brought a Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court team to the Sturm College of Law. I've been extremely fortunate to be able to pursue my interests in law school.

As Law Review member, I have been charged with writing blurbs for the Law Review's Online Supplement. This venue let me explore some of my pet interests; in this case, space law and economic development. Those are not necessarily subjects that receive treatment together. But, in fact, there is room for much work with the developing world through the lens of space exploration. The international legal regime governing outer space actually encourages that.

But, let me not rehash the article here. Why don't you read my posting on the Denver University Law Review Online Supplement?

23 August 2011

Adventures with the Law Review

This summer, I "wrote on" to the Denver University Law Review. The process was long and arduous, but my hard work paid off. This prestigious position, however, does not come without its costs. I'll be spending the semester doing "cite and source" checks on articles submitted to our journal.

It is not all work, though. There is fun involved. In that vein, I shall share with you my letter of interest to be the 2011-2012 "Soda Editor." It is a role most esteemed and coveted (so they tell me). And I was struck with an inspiration and a vision that I will now share with you.

Application for the Law Review Role Most Esteemed, that of Soda Editor

Dear Board:

I write this application sitting in the Law Review office thinking about the awesome task before me - wondering how I will make it through. I gaze about the room, first to the picture of Justice O'Connor, then to President Obama... to the photographs of boards past; the rows of books, binders, and learned treatises... out the window to the students passing by. As I return my gaze to my computer screen, I see a humble brown box by the door, and my heart is warmed. A refrigerator. And not just any refrigerator. On reserved for soda only. No food, the sign commands me, soda only. I open the little brown box, hoping for a liquid treat. The flood of cool air washes over my shins. Peering in, however, I see white shelves and an over-frozen freezer. No cans. No liquids. No food.

Let me tell you the vision I have for this little brown box. I see shelves full of soda. Of pop. Of "Coke." Soda for everyone, no matter your geographic proclivities. Under my tutelage, the fridge will be full of not just the classics (and, of course, the Diet Cherry Pepsis). But I see a resurgence of sodas obscure and varied. Perhaps one day, in an almost-lost nook in the fridge, you will see a Dr. Thunder. Curious, you will pick it up, deposit your $.50, and pop the top to reveal the flavors inside. Maybe you are thirsty, but not in the mood for a sugary soda. You may find a refreshing, crisp fizzy water inside. Who knows? In a sentence, I see a refrigerator stocked with the classics, yet always willing to help you venture outside of the soda box - a welcome friend who keeps you on your toes.

I, therefore, humbly implore you to consider my vision when selecting this year's Soda Editor.

Best regards,

12 March 2011

Thoughts on Branding

As I transition into a Professional, I have to think about what this means. I've worked in a social media environment and have seen enough of those presentations to know that savvy professionals these days "brand" themselves. What does this mean?

Although I am wearing a cowboy hat as I write this, I assume this means I don't need to take a piece of hot metal to my hide. Though, the ideas in principle are the same. Associate and cover yourself with what you are good at, what interests you, and what exactly you do. Get some nice business cards printed up, make the 'networking' circuits, and talk to and learn from as many people as you can. That sounds like exactly what I've been doing. However, branding it is not. Unless I want to brand myself as the ever curious 1L. It's effective now, for sure, but will not serve me much longer.

"Brand management" is another term I hear in those social media circles. The concept makes me laugh because it invokes the idea of a walking advertisement. From what I understand, effective brand management sterilizes one's personality and transforms a person into a walking, talking billboard. Clean up your twitters, de-tag and delete all your facebook pictures, become the business. Doesn't sound like fun. People are individuals for a reason; we're all entitled to have some quirks. I, personally, find that charming.

Let me try this out:

I, Dan St. John, will be the foremost authority on Space Law. Yes, it's partly because I watched too much Star Trek as a child, wanted to be an astronaut but had heart surgery, and looking at the stars still gives me chills. But also it's because the field is relatively untested, poised for growth, and the problems presented are utterly fascinating. I like challenges that have no easy answer - that's why I'm attracted to public international law. Good. And no, you can't find me on facebook.

07 June 2010

Local Beer for a Local Team

In solidarity with my favorite brewery, I contributed to a letter writing campaign to solicit the local baseball team to serve local brews in the stadium.

An open letter to the Reno Aces regarding the inclusion of local beer, namely that of the Buckbean Brewing Company, in the stadium's bars and beer dispensaries: 

I am a proud Northern Nevadan and was overjoyed to hear that we were finally going to get a local baseball team.  The stadium has revitalized a portion of the city that certainly needed the help; the Freight House District The Aces have been great for Reno; the sense of community pride and a rallying point was much needed. The community has been receptive to the team and has lent their support to the Aces.

So, it seems to me that in order to foster this sense of community and to strengthen that support, it would be in everyone's best interest to carry more local products and support local business.  I write now in support of the Buckbean Brewery, a company that has been passionately active in the local community through volunteerism and charity.  I, as would many others in Reno, would love to see this fine local brew on tap.  Beyond this, any way to bring in local companies would be looked upon favorably by Reno residents.

Thank you for your time, and go Aces!
-Dan St. John
  This is the response the Aces have given me:


Thank you for your message, and your interest in our ballclub.

The Reno Aces Baseball Club takes pride in supporting local companies and helping sustain the Northern Nevada economy. In fact, many of the beers offered inside Aces Ballpark are distributed by local companies. These distributors are key elements of our local economy, and we proudly support them.

We recognize Buckbean beer and its place in the Northern Nevada market. Because of this, we proudly serve Buckbean at the brand-new, downtown Freight House District. Not only can you enjoy a Buckbean before, during or after any game at Aces Ballpark, but the Freight House District offers this beverage 365 days a year.

We look forward to seeing you at Aces Ballpark and the Freight House District very soon.

-Reno Aces

Now, all I have to do is go to a game and savor a Black Noddy as my Aces win another game!

07 April 2010

Awakening of a Young Boy

An experiment in 'poetry.'

The little boy is all grown up now.
He looks so handsome in his daddy's old suit,
The perfect picture of a Gentleman, his mother says.
With the jacket draped over his shoulders
Like a blanket thrown over a cat...
He's unhappy,
There's just nothing he can do about it.

Arriving at the dress-up party, he feels out of place.
All the little children ensconced in their finest attire.
Slurping tea from fine china - the facade of formality.
Discussing their IRAs or the latest tech gossip.
Do they really care? wonders the little boy.
Can this be real - are we all grown and mature?
Where is the fun, the excitement, the real connection?
I want to play, to run, and to wonder.
To tear off my great coat and breathe unencumbered.

Why are we here feigning maturity?
Can't I slip out and fade in obscurity?

The girls all dressed up to the nines.
Trying to seem like perfect young wives.
The boys in their suits; who are they fooling?
Thinking some clothes can hide their true nature,
When just yesterday I saw them, hair mussed and drooling.

Why do they do this?  Why do they care?
It's all just like play time, but without all the fun.
We're acting like strangers, and of this I'll have none.
Sit me at home with my friends and a brew,
And I'll be content with my own, special few.

And now it is over - the masquerade is finished.
The buses are here, the clock's just struck done.
To our houses, apartments, and rooms we retire.
To take off our masks and resume our persona.
It was fun while it lasted, but next time remember:
I'd rather be flying, or skiing, or hiking.

Remember, inconsistency is the mark of greatness, laziness, or stream of consciousness.

Dan St. John is an international relator and economist by training, meaning that he, as of yet, has no marketable skills.  His genius is inherent in his muses: angst, his life's experiences, and the empty, blocked out time a job with the US Census offers .  Born from a desire to be a "writer," but without the ambition because many other things interest me much more.  Be gentle.

01 April 2010

Belgium Divides

As it is April Fools' Day, I was looking through the 100 Greatest Hoaxes.  Now, no one can forget the 1957 Swiss Bumper Spaghetti Crop - where Brits were fooled due to the 'exotic' nature of spaghetti in 1950s Britain.  But this one here really gets me, simply for the rival paper's response:

#90: Belgium Divides
The London Times reported in 1992 that formal negotiations were underway to divide Belgium in half. The Dutch-speaking north would join the Netherlands and the French-speaking south would join France. An editorial in the paper then lamented that, "The fun will go from that favorite parlor game: Name five famous Belgians." The report apparently fooled the British foreign office minister Tristan Garel-Jones who almost went on a TV interview prepared to discuss this "important" story. The Belgian embassy also received numerous calls from journalists and expatriate Belgians seeking to confirm the news. A rival paper later criticized the prank, declaring that, "The Times's effort could only be defined as funny if you find the very notion of Belgium hilarious." 

That's right, the London Times finds the 'very notion of Belgium hilarious.'  I know I sure do.

I am also partial to Topeka.com's recent name change.

What's your favorite April Fools' Day prank, story, or memory?

06 March 2010

Thoughts on Signing Day


Let's talk college sports.  Signing Day, specifically.  When an athlete announces the team he'll play for, everyone gets dressed up and we hold a press conference and hand out shirts and hats.  This happens both when high schoolers come to college, and again when they graduate to the pros.  And we love this tradition; the celebration of an individual's talents being added to a larger pool of professionals where it can best be leveraged.  And this brings me to my point:

I want a Signing Day of my own!  Over the last few months I have been preparing myself for the ordeals of law school.  Like an athlete, I have been training and now is the time when I need to decide which school, which team, can best leverage my unique talents and interests in an environment that will best foster my success.  While footballers visit the gym to fine tune their muscles, I spend time in the library reading to hone my mind.  When visiting these schools, I'm trying to find an environment that can best prepare me for professional success.  Basically, I'm looking for the right team.

We professional students have worked just as hard in our academic careers as athletes work in their sports careers.  I'd like a day to tout our talents and successes.  A day to celebrate the journey that brought us to where we are now.  A time to enjoy having made a difficult and vitally important decision.

Or maybe I just don't want to spend $55 on a sweatshirt.