Law and Legal

Evaluating the fake news problem at the scale of the information ecosystem

Science Advances  03 Apr 2020: Vol. 6, no. 14, eaay3539. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay3539 – Evaluating the fake news problem at the scale of the information ecosystem [full-text]  – “Fake news,” broadly defined as false or misleading information masquerading as legitimate news, is frequently asserted to be pervasive online with serious consequences for democracy. Using a unique multimode dataset that comprises a nationally representative sample of mobile, desktop, and television consumption, we refute this conventional wisdom on three levels. First, news consumption of any sort is heavily outweighed by other forms of media consumption, comprising at most 14.2% of Americans’ daily media diets. Second, to the extent that Americans do consume news, it is overwhelmingly from television, which accounts for roughly five times as much as news consumption as online. Third, fake news comprises only 0.15% of Americans’ daily media diet. Our results suggest that the origins of public misinformedness and polarization are more likely to lie in the content of ordinary news or the avoidance of news altogether as they are in overt fakery.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Treat Your Wrists to the Best Ergonomic Keyboards, According to Enthusiasts

The Inventory – “It’s not something many of us think about often, but RSI is no joke. Left unchecked, you can find yourself with lasting neck, shoulder, back, and wrist pain that could lead to permanent nerve damage. That sounds scary, and it can be! But the good news is it’s totally preventable with the right gear and good posture. Between monitor arms, ergonomic mice and trackballs, seat cushions, and various other accessories, it can be a lot to take in. Since you probably spend a lot of time typing on your keyboard, that’s a good place to start. Easier said than done though, right? There’s lots of options to choose from, many are some variation of pricey and ugly, and you might not know it’ll really help your wrists—or keep them safe if you’re just being precautionary. A good ergonomic keyboard will feature a split key design to keep you from cramping up your wrists and shoulders, with keys that don’t require too much pressure for a successful keystroke. You may want a wireless keyboard, or maybe you’re prioritizing mechanical keys. Either way, you’ve got some good options to choose from, and we’ve rounded up the best options according to Amazon reviewers and mechanical keyboard-obsessed Redditors…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Email template: How to tell your boss and HR you have coronavirus

Business Insider

  • “If you think you’ve contracted the coronavirus, you’ll need to notify your boss to get time off to recover.
  • Do not go into work, especially if you’re working in person at an essential business or attending meetings.
  • If your work hasn’t released a formal COVID-19 plan, refer to the federal and state governments’ regulations.
  • Outline a plan on your recovery time, consider transferring responsibilities, and remember that you don’t need a note proving you tested positive.” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Categories: Law and Legal

Identify Any Song With Spotify’s New Lyrics Search Feature

Lifehacker: “Spotify rolled out its new “lyrics search” feature into all of its apps without fanfare, so you’re excused if you had no idea it even exists. (How many of us spend time typing out I would choke on the rinds, but the lack thereof would leave me empty inside into the search fields of our favorite music apps?) But now if you do so within Spotify’s iOS, Android, or desktop apps, you’re search results will deliver the exact song those lyrics come from. (In this case, Eve 6’s ‘90s jam, “Inside Out.”) On your mobile apps, Spotify will even let you know that it performed a lyric search when listing out the matches it finds…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Even Mild Covid-19 Infections Can Make People Sick for Months

Bloomberg via MSN: “Covid-19 patients who experience even the mildest illness risk suffering symptoms for months, researchers in France found. Two-thirds of patients who had a mild-to-moderate case of Covid-19 reported symptoms 60 days after falling ill, when more than a third still felt sick or in a worse condition than when their coronavirus infection began. Prolonged symptoms were more likely among patients aged 40 to 60 years and those who required hospitalization, according to staff at Tours University Hospital, who followed 150 non-critical patients from March to June. Their study [full-text no paywall], published Monday in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection, adds to evidence that a proportion of the 35 million people known to have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide will suffer lingering effects weeks to months later. Post–Covid clinics are opening in the pandemic’s wake to cater for an expanding population of so-called long-haulers — survivors left with scarred lungs, chronic heart damage, post-viral fatigue and other persistent, debilitating conditions. “We were able to assess the evolution of the disease and demonstrate that even the mildest presentation was associated with medium-term symptoms requiring follow up,” Claudia Carvalho-Schneider and colleagues wrote. “Thus, the Covid-19 pandemic will involve a care burden long after its end.”

Categories: Law and Legal

COVID-19 at the White House – Contact Tracking

In the absence of any accountability, transparency or concern for public health, Peter James Walker – a concerned American – has posted this White House contact tracking data, by event, viz using the open source version of Tableau. “If you have information on contacts to add or adjust please use our Google form.”

  • He has include the following views: Overview Dash / Test Grid / See Dates / See Events / See Map / See Network
Categories: Law and Legal

Genetic tracing could show how coronavirus spread through White House

Washington Post – “There’s a way for the White House to prove exactly how the outbreak traveled among its ranks: through gene-based contact tracing. But it doesn’t appear interested in doing so — even as the circle of President Trump’s associates infected with the virus expands by the hour. The Trump administration could, if it chose, search samples taken from dozens of White House staff members and visitors for tiny genetic variants. Because the virus undergoes slight changes as it moves from person to person, it’s possible to map where it has moved by looking for similarities in mutations. White House spokesman Judd Deere said tracing has been done for people who had contact with Trump. But it’s the kind recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which involves merely tracking people who were nearby those known to be infected…”


Categories: Law and Legal

Fake video threatens to rewrite history. Here’s how to protect it

Fast Company: “Since deepfakes burst onto the scene a few years ago, many have worried that they represent a grave threat to our social fabric. Creators of deepfakes use artificial intelligence-based neural network algorithms to craft increasingly convincing forgeries of video, audio, and photography almost as if by magic. But this new technology doesn’t just threaten our present discourse. Soon, AI-generated synthetic media may reach into the past and sow doubt into the authenticity of historical events, potentially destroying the credibility of records left behind in our present digital era. In an age of very little institutional trust, without a firm historical context that future historians and the public can rely on to authenticate digital media events of the past, we may be looking at the dawn of a new era of civilization: post-history. We need to act now to ensure the continuity of history without stifling the creative potential of these new AI tools…But in a world where information flows through social media faster than fact-checkers can process it, this disinformation sows enough doubt among those who don’t understand how the technology works (and apathy among those who do) to destroy the shared cultural underpinnings of society—and trust in history itself. Even skeptics allow false information to slip through the cracks when it conveniently reinforces their worldview. This is the age of post-history: a new epoch of civilization where the historical record is so full of fabrication and noise that it becomes effectively meaningless. It’s as if a cultural singularity ripped a hole so deeply in history that no truth can emerge unscathed on the other side…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Judge Amy Coney Barrett: HerJurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court

CRS report via LC – Judge Amy Coney Barrett: Her Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court, October 6, 2020: “On September 26, 2020, President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to the Supreme Court of the United States to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020. Judge Barrett has been a judge on the Seventh Circuit since November 2017, having been nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate earlier that year. The nominee earned her law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1997,and clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. From 2002 until her appointment to the Seventh Circuit in 2017, Judge Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, and she remains part of the law school faculty. Her scholarship has focused on topics such as theories of constitutional interpretation, stare decisis, and statutory interpretation. If confirmed, Judge Barrett would be the fifth woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice…

This report provides an overview of Judge Barrett’s jurisprudence and scholarship and discusses how the Supreme Court might be affected by her confirmation.It first explores the nominee’s views on three cross-cutting issues—the role of the judiciary, constitutional construction, and statutory interpretation. The report then addresses the nominee’s jurisprudence in six areas of law where the Supreme Court has been closely divided or where the nominee has issued significant opinions, particularly in cases where she disagreed with other jurists. These areas of the law were identified primarily by reviewing Judge Barrett’s written judicial opinions and academic scholarship. The report concludes with a number of tables that catalog and briefly describe each of the roughly 90 majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions authored by Judge Barrett during her 35-month tenure on the federal bench…”

See also from CRSJudge Amy Coney Barrett: Selected Primary Material September 28, 2020 and President Trump Nominates Judge Amy Coney Barrett: Initial Observations, September 28, 2020.

Categories: Law and Legal

The 7 Best Browser Tools to Translate Web Pages

Make Use Of: “According to the latest figures from W3Techs, 59.9 percent of all content on the internet is written in English. That’s light years ahead of the rest of the top five (8.7 percent Russian, 4.0 percent Spanish, 3.3 percent Turkish, and 2.8 percent Persian)—but it still means that almost half of the web is inaccessible unless you’re fluent in multiple languages. So what are the best browser tools for translating web pages? Keep reading to find out…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Ervin Staub: A Holocaust survivor’s mission to train ‘heroic bystanders’

BBC – “A training programme designed to discourage police misconduct is being adopted across the US after months of protests over the use of excessive force. The Holocaust survivor behind the training believes that, after initial success in one city, it can change police culture nationwide. As World War Two reached its crescendo, the actions of two people left an indelible mark on Dr Ervin Staub’s life. Born in Hungary to a Jewish family, he was a six-year-old child when Nazi German forces occupied Hungary in 1944. At the behest of the Nazis, hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were rounded up and deported to extermination camps. Two decisive interventions ensured Dr Staub and his family did not meet the same fate. A woman named Maria Gogan hid him and his one-year-old sister with a Christian family. “She looked after us kids,” Dr Staub told the BBC. “I was walking with her and my sister in Budapest when the German tanks rolled in.” For a while, Dr Staub and his sister posed as Ms Gogan’s relatives from the countryside. Then, when Dr Staub’s mother obtained protective identity papers for his family from Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, they moved into a safe house nearby…

Dr Staub has long stepped back from teaching at the University of Massachusetts, where he founded a PhD course on the psychology of violence. He was thinking about retiring for good this year, but demand for this training has thrust him back into the fray of the police-reform movement in the middle of a pandemic. With a youthful inquisitiveness that belies his age, Dr Staub has acquainted himself with the trappings of 2020, from video conferences on Zoom to the demands of Black Lives Matter protests. Times have changed yet for Dr Staub, the principles of ethical policing training finally appear to be coming of age. “Some people want to defund police departments,” Dr Staub said. “We do need police, but we also need a transformation in police departments. The training, called Ethical Policing Is Courageous (EPIC), encourages officers to intervene if they see misconduct within their ranks. It was first introduced by the police force in the Louisiana city of New Orleans in 2014.

Categories: Law and Legal

KFF Issue Brief – Comparing Trump and Biden on COVID-19

KFF – “The first cases of a novel coronavirus were reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early January. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the worst health crisis facing the global community in more than a century. It has also taken a particular toll on the United States. Although the U.S. only represents 4% of the global population, as of early September, it accounts for 23% of all COVID-19 cases and 21% of all deaths, and ranks number one among high-income countries as measured by cases per capita.  In addition, most states in the U.S. are considered “hotspots”, with ongoing, widespread community transmission; shortages of testing and other needed supplies also continue. COVID-19 has significantly affected daily life in America, including the economy and school closures, and has emerged as an important factor in the 2020 Presidential election.  Polling data indicate that a majority of voters disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the outbreak and prefer Democratic candidate Joe Biden when it comes to tackling the pandemic. To gain a better understanding of how the candidates differ on their approach to addressing COVID-19, this document compares Trump’s record with Biden’s proposals. It starts with a broad overview of each candidate’s approach, followed by a detailed, side-by-side comparison…”

Categories: Law and Legal

US Elections Disinformation Tabletop Exercise Package

Ly, Oumou, and Jorhena Thomas. US Elections Disinformation Tabletop Exercise Package. Assembly: Disinformation Program, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, 2020. “Online foreign interference, coordinated influence operations, and disinformation have become the new normal for elections and other democratic processes. These problems overlay a difficult, dynamic, and ever changing political environment rife with contentious issues for threat actors to exploit as they aim to degrade democracy. This problem, which we can expect to persist into the future and impact elections around the world for years to come, requires an unprecedented response by a range of stakeholders, as we work to uphold a key democratic foundation: elections. The upcoming November 2020 election includes many different potential vectors of attack. Normal electoral processes could extend out several weeks, as a record number of voters plan to vote by mail. This leaves time for threat actors to sow confusion about the legitimacy of the eventual election outcome. Longstanding security vulnerabilities in voting systems persist, as do foreign actors aiming to coordinate activities to influence public opinion. The publication features four exercises tailored to four key election stakeholder groups: the U.S. intelligence community, media organizations, state and local election officials, and technology platforms. Each exercise consists of a hypothetical scenario followed by discussion questions for all four stakeholder groups, and additional resources.

This publication aims to encourage key election stakeholders to convene and test their responses to the same defined incident, with the goal of mitigating the impact of disinformation. The exercises touch on a number of cross-cutting themes, and call upon stakeholders to think through different challenges that affect the critical parts of an election: electoral systems, processes, infrastructure, public perceptions of the electoral system as a whole, and the peaceful transition of power. The exercises also prompt stakeholders to consider how to deal with an information emergency in real time, the timing and opportunity costs of particular interventions against disinformation, gaps in current response protocols, and how to foster close cross-sectoral collaboration and public resilience against disinformation…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Publisher’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19: Report Download

“What’s New in Publishing is proud to present The Publisher’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19, a special insight report sponsored by Sovrn and written by regular WNiP contributor and University of Oregon ProfessorDamian Radcliffe. The report has also been made possible with the help of additional financial support for the author provided during summer 2020 by the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. We’ve been following the pandemic’s impact on publishing closely over the past few months. While it has been sad to read of the inevitable closures of titles as margins are squeezed, there have also been some really encouraging successes. This free-to-download report brings together the best examples we’ve seen of how organisations have risen to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Damian Radcliffe looks at a range of tips and tactics to help all kinds of publishers, from subscriptions to eCommerce, the state of ad tech, and tools for building loyalty…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Investigation Reveals Digital Economy Highly Concentrated, Impacted By Monopoly Power

House Committee on the Judiciary – Chair Jerrold Nadler: “The House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee today released the findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices. The report, entitled Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations, totals more than 400 pages, marking the culmination of an investigation that included seven congressional hearings, the production of nearly 1.3 million internal documents and communications, submissions from 38 antitrust experts, and interviews with more than 240 market participants, former employees of the investigated platforms, and other individuals.

As they exist today, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy. In recent years, each company has expanded and exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) in a joint statement. “Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation, and safeguards our democracy. This Report outlines a roadmap for achieving that goal.”..

Categories: Law and Legal

NYPL’s 2020 Election Reading List: Read. Think. Vote.

NYPL – “As New Yorkers prepare for Election Day on November 3, The New York Public Library is proud to present its 2020 Election Reading List. The books on this list illuminate voting issues including healthcare, education, climate change, and foreign policy, and explore subjects including political polarization, the media, and movements toward greater justice and socioeconomic equity. Make an informed decision. Read as if your vote depends on it”.

Categories: Law and Legal

Companies with happier employees outperform their peers

Fortune via Yahoo – “Corporate America is changing. Look no further than the Business Roundtable’s redefined statement of purpose for corporations. Instead of putting shareholders’ interest alone first, its members have agreed to prioritize the interest of various stakeholders, such as employees. So how does doubling down on employees affect the bottom line? Pretty well, according to our research. Fortune teamed up with Thrive Global, SAP SuccessFactors, and Qualtrics to build the Thrive XM Index*, a ranking of companies with the best employee well being. To create the index, we surveyed a sample of more than 20,000 full-time U.S. employees from over 900 companies. We asked them about everything: work-life balance, career advancement, mental health, company policies. From this massive survey, Thrive Global researchers used a scoring algorithm to generate the score for companies. Then they looked at the highest-ranked companies on the index to see if their better employee experiences translated into better financial results.  The top-ranked Thrive XM Index companies—even when factoring in industry—saw their stock gains outperform those of their peers. What’s more, the top 10% of Thrive XM Index companies saw their return on equity climb 27.2% in the second quarter of 2020…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Best Live Animal Feeds From Around the World

The New York Times – “Research shows that watching footage of them can make you happier, so here’s a list of round-the-clock camera footage that will bring koalas, penguins and puppies straight to your screen.” [Agreed]

Categories: Law and Legal

Everything you should and shouldn’t do to stay healthy on a plane

Washington Post: “After the historic drop in air travel this spring, Americans are steadily flying again — some with mixed reviews. After flying for work a few times and once to see family in California, Kyle Potter, editor of the Thrifty Traveler, says he’s not eager to get back on a plane anytime soon. With every airline carrying out coronavirus precautions differently, “you just don’t know what you’re going to find,” Potter says. Potter’s main takeaway from his recent flying experience has been for travelers to do their homework ahead of a flight, checking to see what rules an airline has in place for blocking middle seats and mask enforcement. Additionally, Potter says that “people should listen to public health experts.” Before booking your flight, know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still says travel increases your chance of getting and spreading covid-19, and that nearly 11,000 people have been exposed to the coronavirus on flights. But according to an October 1 article in JAMA, “the risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during air travel is lower than from an office building, classroom, supermarket, or commuter train.”…

Categories: Law and Legal


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