Via LLRX – How Law Firms Are Responding to COVID-19 [Survey Results] – On an individual level, lawyers and legal professionals are experiencing a mix of productivity challenges in a new and potentially permanently changed legal landscape. Martin Cogburn discusses the top productivity challenges individuals are facing, the tools they’re adopting, and their thoughts on the long term effects of COVID-19 on the legal industry.
Via LLRX – Biological Informatics 2020 – We can and do depend upon Marcus P. Zillman’s ability to consistently provide LLRX readers with timely, informative and actionable subject matter resource guides. This month he provides an extensive bibliography on bioinformatics – “an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data, in particular when the data sets are large and complex.” This subject matter is especially important important for researchers as the COVID-19 pandemic remains an active threat throughout America and around the world.
Via LLRX – How not to fall for coronavirus BS: avoid the 7 deadly sins of thought – Luke Zaphir, Researcher for the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, posits that amid the panicked flurry of the pandemic, employing concepts from the field of critical thinking called vice epistemology can be demonstrably useful. This theory argues our thinking habits and intellectual character traits cause poor reasoning. Zaphr targets for discussion 7 “intellectual sins” of which we should be mindful in these challenging times.
Lifehacker: “Your web browser is full of secrets. I typically spend my time poring over new features I can unlock via pages like chrome://flags and about:config, but it’s also nice to take a little break and play the hidden games that come packed into the most popular browsers. Yes, your desktop browser is filled with hidden games. Don’t crack your knuckles and expect to hunker down for a Civilization VI-like session—they’re not that great. They are fun little time-wasters, though. If nothing else, they’re great to send to your friends if you’re looking to impress them with your technical know-how…”
TechCrunch: “Google is introducing a new “quick settings” menu in Gmail aimed at helping users browse, discover and use different themes and settings to customize their Gmail experience. These options include the ability to change the density of text, select from different inbox types and add reading panes and options to theme your inbox. They are not new features, but before had been buried in Gmail’s settings. Many users may have not even known the options existed, unless they went digging. From the new Quick Settings menu, Gmail will pop up these various options on the right side of the inbox for easier access. And as you make a selection, you can see your inbox update with the change immediately, allowing you to try out new settings and themes before making a commitment…”
TechCrunch: “The same day Donald Trump took to Twitter to threaten to regulate or shut down social media sites, the U.S. appeals court in Washington, D.C. dismissed a lawsuit accusing top tech companies of silencing conservative voices. Filed in 2018 by nonprofit Freedom Watch and right-wing gadfly Laura Loomer, the suit accused Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google of stifling First Amendment rights. The suit alleged that four of tech’s biggest names “have engaged in a conspiracy to intentionally and willfully suppress politically conservative content.” It specifically cited Loomer’s ban from Twitter and Facebook, following a tweet about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Also noted is her inability to grow an audience base and revenue on Google’s YouTube, suggesting that after Trump’s election “growth on these platforms has come to a complete halt, and its audience base and revenue generated has either plateaued or diminished.” Apple’s alleged role is less clear. In the ruling, District Judge Trevor McFadden notes that Freedom Watch and Loomer failed to back up a claim that the companies were “state actors,” involved with the regulation of free speech.
“The Plaintiffs do not show how the Platforms’ alleged conduct may fairly be treated as actions taken by the government itself,” the judge writes. “Facebook and Twitter, for example, are private businesses that do not become ‘state actors’ based solely on the provision of their social media networks to the public.” In other words, the companies cannot violate the first amendment, because banning users doesn’t constitute government abridgment of free speech. Per the decision, “Freedom Watch fails to point to additional facts indicating that these Platforms are engaged in state action and thus fails to state a viable First Amendment claim.”…
POGO – Where Are All the Watchdogs? “Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) serve as independent watchdogs within federal agencies and are essential to a well-functioning federal government. They conduct audits and investigations that identify wasteful government practices, fraud by individuals and government contractors, and other sorts of government misconduct, even including torture. Congress and the public rely on OIG reports to hold agencies and individuals accountable for wrongdoing, identify a need for legislation, and evaluate the effectiveness of government programs and policies. Unfortunately, many OIGs across the government do not have permanent leadership. POGO’s vacancy tracker monitors how long Inspector General positions across the government have been left vacant…”
On this broadcast of The National Conversation, we'll answer your questions about religious practices, health insurance and the future of work.
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The city attorney accuses Wellness Matrix Group of "shocking deceptive conduct" over its sales of purported "at-home" coronavirus tests and virus-killing disinfectant.
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MIT Technology Review – Our Covid Tracing Tracker project will document them. “…When we began comparing apps around the world, we realized there was no central repository of information; just incomplete, constantly changing data spread across a wide range of sources. Nor was there a single, standard approach being taken by developers and policymakers: citizens of different countries were seeing radically different levels of surveillance and transparency. So to help monitor this fast-evolving situation, we’re gathering the information into a single place for the first time with our Covid Tracing Tracker—a database to capture details of every significant automated contact tracing effort around the world. We’ve been working with a range of experts to understand what we need to look at, pulling sources including government documents, announcements, and media reports, as well as talking directly to those who are making these apps to understand the technologies and policies involved…So far we have documented 25 individual, significant automated contact tracing efforts globally, including details on what they are, how they work, and what policies and processes have been put in place around them…The most accessible version of the database exists on the page you are reading right now, and on Flourish, a data visualization service. A public version of the underlying data is kept in this read-only spreadsheet, which we update once a day at 6 p.m. US Eastern Time…”
UNDARK: Researchers behind habitat restoration and wildlife protection groups are struggling to continue work amid the pandemic. “..Across North America, Africa, and elsewhere, conservation efforts that keep delicate ecosystems in check are struggling as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps many people confined to their homes. There are no tourists, who help fund a range of projects. Volunteers and employees aren’t able to plant trees or remove invasive species, while wildlife rehabilitation centers struggle to keep their doors open. Some programs require large crews that can’t practice social distancing on the job, while many others, like the Platte River restoration, rely on the money brought in from tourism or activity fees to function. Conservation efforts have long had to contend with occasional booms and busts in the industry, but unlike any other event before it, the pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of the economic cogs that support certain ecosystems. “We’ve kind of got a perfect storm,” said Catherine Semcer, a research fellow for both the U.S.-based Property and Environmental Research Center and the African Wildlife Economy Institute. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Semcer has followed the ways that the global shut down has affected conservation, particularly in Africa.
For many conservation efforts, the sudden loss in income will be a major setback for the coming year. Other groups say that the pandemic could cause permanent damage. As for Rowe Sanctuary, Taddicken still isn’t sure what the pandemic’s final impact will be. The sanctuary may have to cut back on some of their river clearing work this year, but his big worry is losing the incremental progress built into the habitat over decades. It would only take a few years without habitat management for the carefully managed river channels and meadows to revert to a state unsuitable for cranes. “You definitely don’t want to go backwards in maintaining the river,” he said. “And if it gets too bad and we don’t get the work we need to get done, we could go backwards.”
Census Bureau officials say they can no longer meet the current legal deadlines for delivering the 2020 census results. Some House Democrats have introduced a new bill to grant four-month extensions.
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The lethal march of COVID-19 passes 100,000 deaths in the U.S. despite some predictions it would not. The grim milestone presents a moment to consider who has died and how many others might follow.
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Reproductive rights advocates want patients to be allowed to pick up mifepristone at a hospital or clinic. The drug, which was approved 20 years ago, also helps to manage miscarriages for some women.
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A survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 25% of black respondents plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, compared to 56% of whites.
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Washington Post – “There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away. Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population. Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox. It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response. The long-term nature of covid-19, they say, should serve as a call to arms for the public, a road map for the trillions of dollars Congress is spending and a fixed navigational point for the nation’s current, chaotic state-by-state patchwork strategy…”
NPR – That Could Mean A Nightmare For Democracy: “America’s new socially distant reality has warped the landscape of the 2020 election. Candidates aren’t out knocking on doors, and U.S. election officials are bracing for a record surge in mail ballots. But another subtler shift is also occurring — inside people’s brains. Four years after Russia’s expansive influence operation, which touched the feeds of more than 100 million users on Facebook alone, Americans’ usage of social media has only increased — and drastically so, as a result of the pandemic. More people are more online right now than at any point in human history, and experts say the Internet has gotten only more flooded since 2016 with bad information. “It’s far, far worse in terms of quantity,” says Steven Brill, a former journalist and now the CEO of NewsGuard, a browser extension that helps users discern the quality of what they’re reading online….A study out last week from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that nearly half of the Twitter accounts spreading messages about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots — automated accounts designed to make it appear that more humans are acting a certain way than truly are…”
The highly regulated medication for opioid addiction has to be taken every day, otherwise patients risk a painful withdrawal. Normally, doses have to be picked up from a treatment center.
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All players, officials and staff members will be tested two days before arrival in Utah and subject to consistent coronavirus testing and symptom review through the tournament.
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