Law and Legal

Library of Congress closed

Library of Congress Announces Limited Access to Facilities until April 1, 2020 – “Out of an abundance of caution, all Library of Congress buildings and facilities will be closed to the public starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 12, until Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 8 a.m. to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 coronavirus. Library employees, contractors, authorized visitors and other credentialed Capitol Hill staff will continue to have access to the buildings. During the closure, all Library-sponsored public programs are postponed or cancelled through the end of March. Whenever possible, the Library will reschedule the public programs originally scheduled during the closure period. We will also provide regular public updates on the operating status of Library facilities…”

Categories: Law and Legal

COVID 19 and Business Research

COVID 19 and Business Research – Resources & Strategies for Researching – COVID 19’s Impact on Businesses & the Economy – Note: This is a work in progress and actively evolving. “About – Business librarians provide access to resources and support for researchers investigating a variety of business topics. This guide is an attempt to crowdsource resources and strategies that can be used to study how COVID 19 is affecting business and the economy, both in the US and around the world. Most library’s provide in-house developed research guides and resources using unique links that directly connect that library’s users to online resources provided by the library. Due to the way these links work, it is not currently possible to make links work for users at multiple institutions. This document will serve as a “master guide” to COVID-19 related business research resources that can be used by anyone to help create local guides or conduct research. If you’re a librarian, researcher, or other information professional and want to add content, you can request permission to edit! A special thanks to the dozens of folks on the BUSLIB-L listserv who provided many of the resources at the start of this project. Note: In lieu of a table of contents, use the built-in outline. To display the outline, go to View > Show Document Outline. If you have questions, contact Alice Kalinowski.”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Do’s and Don’ts of Handwashing

WSJ.com [I think this is available outside paywall – it is a video] It’s one of the best ways to avoid infection from the new coronavirus, but most people aren’t very good at it. Here’s expert guidance on how to do it right. “Public-health officials across the globe are urging people to wash their hands, calling it one of the best methods to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus. But decades of research tell a sobering truth: People need to learn a thing or two about personal hygiene. Many don’t know proper handwashing technique. They do it for too little time, or they don’t do it at all. Proper handwashing means scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet just 5% of people spent more than 15 seconds washing their hands after using the restroom, and 10% didn’t wash their hands at all, in a study of 3,749 college students published in the Journal of Environmental Health in 2013… [Use a good natural soap – not hand sanitizers – and spend time on this task – it can save lives]

Categories: Law and Legal

2020 Census soft launch

“Beginning on March 12, 2020, you’ll be invited to respond to the 2020 Census.  You can return to this website (my2020census.gov) to complete your questionnaire. For more information, please visit 2020census.gov.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Archivists Made Directory of 5,000 Coronavirus Studies to Bypass Paywalls – newspapers lift paywalls

Vice: “A group of online archivists have created an open-access directory of over 5,000 scientific studies about coronaviruses that anyone can browse and download without encountering a paywall. The directory is hosted on The-Eye, a massive online archiving project run by a Reddit user named “-Archivist.” Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency amid the spread of the novel coronavirus beyond China, where it originated, into roughly two dozen countries so far. The organizers of the archive see their project as a resource for scientists and non-scientists alike to study the virus. “These articles were always written to be shared with as many people as possible,” Reddit user “shrine,” an organizer of the archive, said in a call. “From every angle that you look at it, [paywalled research] is an immoral situation, and it’s an ongoing tragedy.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Doctors and Patients Turn to Telemedicine in the Coronavirus Outbreak

The New York Times: “The use of virtual visits climbs as a way of safely treating patients and containing spread of the infection at hospitals, clinics and medical offices. While the notion of seeing a doctor via your computer or cellphone is hardly new, telemedicine has yet to take off widely in the United States. Health insurance plans do typically offer people the option of talking to a nurse or doctor online as an alternative to heading to an emergency room or urgent care center, but most people don’t make use of it. Now doctors, hospital networks and clinics are rethinking how the technology can be used, to keep the worried well calm and away from clinical care while steering the most at risk to the proper treatment.

“The use of telemedicine is going to be critical for management of this pandemic,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, an infectious disease specialist and executive with The Permanente Medical Group, the doctors’ group associated with Kaiser Permanente, one of the leaders in the use of virtual visits for its patients…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report

“Today marks the launch of the official report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. It is available here, and we urge you to read it in full. Meanwhile, here at Lawfare we will be posting a series of commentaries on various highlights from the report, starting today after the report is released and continuing into next week.

Categories: Law and Legal

How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells

The New York Times visual explainer – “The virus that causes Covid-19 is currently spreading around the world. At least six other types of coronavirus are known to infect humans, with some causing the common cold and two causing outbreaks: SARS and MERS. The coronavirus is named after the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The virus is enveloped in a bubble of oily lipid molecules, which falls apart on contact with soap…[Note – this article clearly explains what the virus is, how it spreads, and how best to protect yourself – “wash your hands with soap, avoid touching your face, keep your distance from sick people and regularly clean frequently used surfaces.”]

Categories: Law and Legal

Government resources on Coronavirus

Via Kathryn Bayer, Outreach Librarian, Library Services and Content Management, GPO [GovDocs Librarians Rock!!]  “Patrons across the country are in search of information on the Coronavirus. Here are some U.S. Government resources that can help.

Categories: Law and Legal

Trump team weighs teleworking, federal agencies reviewing options, while experts predict huge impact of virus

Politico – The White House is unlike any other office — a decision to have staff telework could ripple across governments and the nation…setting the tone for other officials, state governments and corporations to make their own telework determinations. A less-populated White House complex also risks sending a startling signal to the nation about the severity of the coronavirus. And it presents a logistical nightmare — classified meetings are not easily held via videoconference..Across the government, federal agencies like NASA have taken some initial telework steps, conducting trial runs for employees. OPM has also sent out guidelines asking agencies across the country to review their telework policies…Other federal agencies, including NASA, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, have asked employees to telework for a day to test it out, according to internal memos and emails obtained by POLITICO. NASA ran its telework experiment on Friday, while the OCC, which regulates national banks, will require half of its workforce to telework on Thursday as a dry-run of the agency’s virtual capabilities. The OCC is also suspending all non-essential domestic travel for events like trainings, conferences and speaking engagements…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal judge calls Chief Justice Roberts ‘masterpiece of disingenuousness’ in law review article

ABA Journal: “A federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton is criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority for “undermining American democracy” by weakening the Voting Rights Act, failing to rein in partisan gerrymandering, and increasing the economic and political power of corporations. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of Milwaukee airs his dissatisfaction in an upcoming article for the Harvard Law & Policy Review that is raising eyebrows and eliciting astonishment. The review is published by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, a liberal organization. The Washington Post and Law360 have coverage…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal courts are canceling proceedings and restricting visitors amid coronavirus concerns

ABA Journal: “Some federal courts are changing or suspending some operations as a result of concerns about the coronavirus. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has suspended all civil and criminal matters that require in-court appearances. Courthouses remain open for filings, according to a press release and coverage by Law360 and Law.com. Case-by-case exceptions may be made for nonjury matters. In New York, the U.S. District Courts in Manhattan and Brooklyn have barred people who have traveled to high-risk countries from entering the courthouses, according to Law.com and another Law360 story. People diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have come into contact with someone with the illness also are barred. Press releases are here and here. The Eastern District is also requiring detainees to be screened before court appearances to determine their body temperature, according to a press release. Any detainee with a temperature of at least 100.4 won’t be allowed to enter the courthouse…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Libraries and the practice of freedom in the age of algorithms

Barbara Fister – Libraries and the Practice of Freedom in the Age of Algorithm – “Abstract: How prepared are librarians, and the students they serve, to navigate technologies that are fundamentally changing how we encounter, evaluate, and create information? In the past decade, a handful of platforms have become powerful information intermediaries that help us search and connect but also are tools to foment disinformation, amplify hate, increase polarization, and compile details of our lives as raw material for persuasion and control. We no longer have to seek information; it seeks us. Project Information Literacy has revealed college students’ lived experience through a series of large-scale research studies. To cap a decade of findings, we conducted a qualitative study that asked students, and faculty who teach them, what they know and how they learn about our current information environment. This talk explores what students have taught us, where education falls short, why it matters, and how time-tested library values – privacy, equity, social responsibility, and education for democracy – can provide a blueprint for creating a socio-technical infrastructure that is more just and equitable in the age of algorithms…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The best, and the worst, of the coronavirus dashboards

MIT Technology Review – There are dozens of sites that show you how coronavirus is spreading around the world. Here is our ranking. “If you’ve been on the web to learn more about the latest pandemic, chances are you’ve stumbled upon at least one or two coronavirus dashboards. These are the landing pages for interactive maps and visuals that show where the virus has spread, as well as numbers on the latest in infection rates and deaths, breakdowns of what countries are suffering from new cases and what regions are likely seeing new outbreaks, and much more. Not all dashboards are created equal, nor do all people have access to the same dashboards (for instance, US sanctions prevent Iranians from accessing the one run by Johns Hopkins University). Some present data you won’t find elsewhere. Some are easier to navigate than others. Some are simply much more stunning to look at…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain

The launch of a new open access platform ushers in a new era of accessibility for the Institution – “Culture connoisseurs, rejoice: The Smithsonian Institution is inviting the world to engage with its vast repository of resources like never before. For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts. And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting. “Being a relevant source for people who are learning around the world is key to our mission,” says Effie Kapsalis, who is heading up the effort as the Smithsonian’s senior digital program officer. “We can’t imagine what people are going to do with the collections. We’re prepared to be surprised.” The database’s launch also marks the latest victory for a growing global effort to migrate museum collections into the public domain. Nearly 200 other institutions worldwide—including Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago—have made similar moves to digitize and liberate their masterworks in recent years. But the scale of the Smithsonian’s release is “unprecedented” in both depth and breadth, says Simon Tanner, an expert in digital cultural heritage at King’s College London…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Waters to Wells Fargo CEO: The Bank You Inherited is Essentially a Lawless Organization

News release: “Following the release of a Majority staff report entitled, “The Real Wells Fargo: Board & Management Failures, Consumer Abuses, and Ineffective Regulatory Oversight,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, convened a full Committee hearing with Charles W. Scharf, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Wells Fargo & Company…Among the disturbing findings uncovered in the report is that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is aware of dozens of cases at Wells Fargo where the number of consumers or customer accounts requiring remediation for a consumer abuse exceeds 50,000 or the amount of harm exceeds $10 million. I am very concerned that the bank’s pattern of harming its consumers appears to persist. The Majority’s staff report also uncovered notes from a May 2019 Federal Reserve meeting with Wells Fargo reflecting that a senior Wells Fargo executive stated “if he were CEO, he would not allow the addition of any new customers to the company since the firm is operating in this environment.” Based on the findings of the Majority staff report, I agree with the sentiment that Wells Fargo isn’t ready to be America’s bank again. And this is the challenge before you, Mr. Scharf. You must not only rebuild this institution, you must also rebuild America’s trust in it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

U.S. coronavirus testing threatened by shortage of critical lab materials

Politico: “A looming shortage in lab materials is threatening to delay coronavirus test results and cause officials to undercount the number of Americans with the virus. The slow pace of coronavirus testing has created a major gap in the U.S. public health response. The latest problem involves an inability to prepare samples for testing, creating uncertainties in how long it will take to get results. CDC Director Robert Redfield told POLITICO on Tuesday that he is not confident that U.S. labs have an adequate stock of the supplies used to extract genetic material from any virus in a patient’s sample — a critical step in coronavirus testing. “The availability of those reagents is obviously being looked at,” he said, referring to the chemicals used for preparing samples. “I’m confident of the actual test that we have, but as people begin to operationalize the test, they realize there’s other things they need to do the test.”..,

The growing scarcity of these “RNA extraction” kits is the latest trouble for U.S. labs, which have struggled to implement widespread coronavirus testing in the seven weeks since the country diagnosed its first case. Epidemiologists and public health officials say that the delayed rollout, caused in part by a botched CDC test, has masked the scope of the U.S. outbreak and hobbled efforts to limit it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

DuckDuckGo does not track you – ready to leave Google?

Via www.bitlog.com Jake Voytko’s personal log of bits – DuckDuckGo is good enough for regular use – “…I don’t personally miss most of Google’s result panels. Especially the panels that highlight information snippets. It’s easy to find these. Searching microsoft word justify text provides me a snippet from Microsoft’s Office’s support page explaining what to click or type to justify text. I’ve learned not to trust information in these panels without reading the source they came from. Google seems to cite this information uncritically. I’ve found enough oversimplified knowledge panel answers that I’ve stopped reading most of them. Recently, I was chatting with a Googler who works on these. I asked them if I was wrong to feel this way. And they replied, “I trust them, but I’ve read enough bug reports and user feedback that I don’t blame you.” So my position is wrong, but not very wrong. I’ll take that…[I have been using DuckDuckGo for many years – I do not miss Google – at – all.]

Categories: Law and Legal

Google Scrubs Coronavirus Misinformation on Search, YouTube

Bloomberg – “Since Covid-19 began to spread, Google has aggressively intervened in some of its most popular online services to limit the spread of misinformation. This is a departure for a company that has relied heavily on software and automation to index and rank information throughout its 22-year existence. Google searches related to the virus now trigger an “SOS Alert,” with news from mainstream publications including National Public Radio, followed by information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization displayed prominently. In contrast, a recent search for “flu season” showed the website verywellhealth.com at the top, while another search for “flu” produced tweets, including one from U.S. President Donald Trump comparing coronavirus to the common flu…On YouTube, Google’s video service, the company is trying to quickly remove videos claiming to prevent the virus in place of seeking medical treatment. And some apps related to the virus have been banned from the Google Play app store, prompting complaints from developers who say they just want to help. An Iranian government app built to keep track of infections was also removed from the Play Store, ZDNet reported…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Harvard and MIT tell students not to return from spring break due to coronavirus

MIT Technology Review: “After an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease Covid-19 was found spreading through Boston’s biomedical community, Harvard University said it will move classes online and is telling students not to return from spring break. This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak. You can also sign up to our dedicated newsletter. Online only: The nation’s oldest university said it plans to switch to online classes by March 23 and asked students not to return after spring break week, which begins on March 13.  (Update: later the same day MIT, in an email from its president Rafael Reif, asked its students to do the same, and canceled classes for the week of March 16 to 20. MIT’s spring break is the week after Harvard’s.) Harvard has more than 6,500 undergraduates and more than 20,000 students overall.“These past few weeks have been a powerful reminder of just how connected we are to one another—and how our choices today determine our options tomorrow,” said university president Lawrence Bacow in a statement posted to Harvard’s home page…”

See also the Washington Post – “…Both Maryland’s public university system and American University in the District announced plans to keep students away from campus for a short time after spring break, teaching them online instead of in person, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus in the region. Other colleges and universities in the region and throughout the country are taking similar steps…”

And Stanford, others switch to online classes temporarily amid coronavirus fears

Categories: Law and Legal

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