Law and Legal

Ocean heatwaves dramatically shift habitats

NOAA – “Thermal displacement” reflects how far species must go to follow preferred temperatures. Marine heat waves across the world’s oceans can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10s to thousands of kilometers. They dramatically shift these animals’ preferred temperatures in a fraction of the time that climate change is expected to do the same, new research shows. To measure that temporary dislocation of ocean surface temperatures, which can in turn drive ecological changes, NOAA scientists have now introduced a new metric called “thermal displacement.” A research paper describing the changes and the means of measuring them was published in the journal Nature this week. Research scientist Michael Jacox of NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center called it a powerful new way of looking at marine heatwaves. “When the environment changes, many species move,” Jacox said. “This research helps us understand and measure the degree of change they may be responding to.” Scientists have typically characterized marine heatwaves based on how much they increase sea surface temperatures, and for how long. Such local warming particularly affects stationary organisms such as corals. In contrast, thermal displacement measures how far mobile species must move to track ocean surface temperatures. The extent of thermal displacement caused by marine heatwaves may not necessarily correspond to their intensity. Thermal displacement depends on the sea surface temperature gradient, the rate at which temperature changes across the ocean. If a heatwave warms an area of ocean, fish, turtles, whales, and other species may have to travel great distances if the temperature gradient is weak, but not if the gradient is strong. “It may give us an idea how the ecosystem may change in the future,” said Michael Alexander, research meteorologist at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory and a coauthor of the new research. The changes may have implications for coastal communities if commercial fish species shift. Fishermen would have to travel hundreds of miles farther to reach them, he said…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Attorney General James Files Lawsuit to Dissolve NRA

“New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest and most influential pro-gun organization in the nation. Attorney General James charges the organization with illegal conduct because of their diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty. The suit specifically charges the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Wear Your Mask. Please. No, Not on Your Chin.

The New York Times – More than 30 states have enacted mask requirements to guard against the coronavirus. But local authorities have had a difficult time enforcing them. “More than 30 states and an even larger number of cities have enacted a hodgepodge of mask ordinances and executive orders, but many municipalities are barely enforcing them…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Elsevier OA CC-BY Corpus

Mendeley: “Description of this data – This is a corpus of 40k (40,001) open access (OA) CC-BY articles from across Elsevier’s journals represent the first cross-discipline research of data at this scale to support NLP and ML research. This dataset was released to support the development of ML and NLP models targeting science articles from across all research domains. While the release builds on other datasets designed for specific domains and tasks, it will allow for similar datasets to be derived or for the development of models which can be applied and tested across domains.”

See also Elsevier OA CC-By Corpus Daniel Kershaw, Rob Koeling – “We introduce the Elsevier OA CC-BY corpus. This is the first open corpus of Scientific Research papers which has a representative sample from across scientific disciplines. This corpus not only includes the full text of the article, but also the metadata of the documents, along with the bibliographic information for each reference.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Court says federal judiciary is overcharging for access to public records online

Washington Post: “The federal judiciary is overcharging for public access to online court records, an appeals court ruled Thursday in a decision that could result in lower fees to search and download case documents. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said affordable access to public records is critical for oversight and transparency in the nation’s court system. “If large swaths of the public cannot afford the fees required to access court records, it will diminish the public’s ability ‘to participate in and serve as a check upon the judicial process — an essential component in our structure of self-government,’ ” wrote Judge Todd M. Hughes, who was joined by Judges Alan D. Lourie and Raymond C. Clevenger III. The ruling does not eliminate the paywall for the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. But the decision upholds a District Court finding that the current 10 cents per page charge is “higher than necessary to operate” the system. The court limited fees to the amount needed to cover the cost of providing access to docket information online…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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