Law and Legal
Via LLRX – Education and Academic Resources 2021 – Marcus P. Zillman‘s guide comprises an extensive listing of resources and sites for students, researchers, teachers, infopros and parents, on multiple study areas. Sourced from academic, public, private, association and corporate sectors, the subject matters include: distance learning; MOOCs, lecture guides and study notes, study skill resources, online tutoring and homework help, free e-learning videos, scholarship resources and PhD, Dissertation, thesis, and academic writing resources.
Via LLRX – Sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including at least three from current or former aides, are a reminder of just how commonplace unwanted touching, propositioning and other inappropriate behavior is in the workplace. Professor Joseph A. Seiner, research explores the prevalence of toxic work environments – like the one described in Albany, New York – and just how startlingly common sexual harassment at work is. Seiner’s work affirms the fact that even when women try to find justice by suing their alleged abusers, their cases rarely see a courtroom.
- See also We are STENO. This is why we are still here. The February 2021 Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump was a significant example of the critical work done by America’s stenographers. Ana Fatima Costa broadens our awareness about her profession whose members have been providing immediate transcription of the spoken word via cutting-edge CAT technology known as “realtime” (from shorthand to English) since the 1960s. Costa describes how her colleagues work diligently as guardians of the record in a challenging, stressful job capturing the spoken word in high-profile events, providing verbatim, accurate, official transcripts for Congressional hearings, in deposition rooms, at trials, arbitrations, and for captioning services used by media organizations.
World Economic Forum – Global Gender Gap Report 2021: “…At the current relative pace, gender gaps can potentially be closed in 52.1 years in Western Europe, 61.5 years in North America, and 68.9 years in Latin America and the Caribbean. In all other regions it will take over 100 years to close the gender gap: 121.7 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 134.7 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 165.1 years in East Asia and the Pacific, 142.4 years in Middle East and North Africa, and 195.4 years in South Asia…”
MakeUseOf: “Creating and maintaining a strong password is a modern-day necessity. Like your house keys, a password acts as the main entry point to your online identity. That’s why cybercriminals are always on the prowl, searching for weak spots to crack your password and infiltrate your digital life. If you are worried about your password security, use the top password strength checkers listed below to calm your worried mind. These online tools will help you validate the strength of your passwords and keep digital burglars at bay…”
CNET – The search giant already knows what you’re doing for much of your waking life.” Google wants you to take its latest gadget with you into the bedroom. The marquee feature on the search giant’s new Nest Hub, a smart display released on Tuesday, is a tool called Sleep Sensing that tracks a person’s sleeping patterns by measuring motion and noise at their bedside. It can record when you fall asleep and wake up or how long it takes you to get to sleep. It knows if your slumber is interrupted during the night and how fast you’re breathing while asleep. It’s by no means the first sleep tracker to hit the market. But some privacy experts worry specifically about Google’s push into sleep data because of the company’s shaky track record when it comes to user privacy. The focus on sleep tracking underscores an uncomfortable reality about Google’s size and ubiquity. The tech giant already collects vast amounts of data about people in their waking lives: what they search for online, what videos they watch on YouTube and where they’ve traveled, from location data gathered through an Android phone or Google Maps. Now the company is zeroing in on the other half of people’s lives — what they’re doing when they’re not awake…”
GAO – “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) establishes a legal right for individuals and organizations to request access to government information. In FY 2019, federal agencies reported that they processed nearly 878,000 FOIA requests for government information, an increase of 32% since FY 2012. In honor of Sunshine Week—an annual observation that promotes open government—today’s WatchBlog post looks at our recent reports on agencies’ implementation of laws that seek to improve the public’s access to government information. What does the government disclose as part of open government laws? FOIA requires agencies to publicly post certain information without waiting for specific requests and report on these disclosures annually. These proactive disclosures include final opinions, administrative staff manuals, and records that have been requested 3 or more times. In our March report, we assessed agency policies related to these disclosures. Among other things, we found that the Department of Housing and Urban Development did not report proactively disclosing any records from FY 2017 through 2019. Similarly, we found that the Veterans Health Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration did not report the number of records disclosed for all required categories in FY 2019. We made 8 recommendations to help improve compliance with these requirements. What might the government not disclose under FOIA? FOIA requires agencies to provide the relevant records in response to a request unless an exemption applies to limit the disclosure of that information, such as withholding classified national defense or foreign policy information. The graphic below provides more detail on FOIA’s 9 exemptions…”
Washington Post – March 27, 2021: “The first nationwide look at vaccination across counties reveals vast differences in the rate that people are receiving protection from the coronavirus, with notably lower rates in predominantly Black areas and counties that voted most heavily for President Donald Trump in 2020…The county data exposes the missing information about who is being protected. Many states are not collecting or sharing basic facts about who is being vaccinated so their information was not released. Data from other states is too spotty to include in the Washington Post analysis . You can find the vaccination rate in your county and neighboring counties if you use the search box…”
Via Unite America – a movement of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bridge the growing partisan divide and foster a more representative and functional government. Report – “Despite a record turnout in the 2020 general election, only 10% of eligible Americans nationwide cast ballots in primary elections that effectively decided the winners in a supermajority (83%) of Congressional seats.Partisan primaries are the “Primary Problem” in our politics today.
- Due to geographic self-sorting and partisan gerrymandering, 83% of congressional districts lean so Democratic or so Republican (“safe”) that the only election of consequence is the primary election.
- As a result, in partisan primaries, a small minority of voters decide the vast majority of congressional elections — fueling political polarization and preventing problem-solving.
Partisan primaries disenfranchise voters.
- In 2020, of the 361 “safe” congressional districts, 151 of the districts had no competition in the dominant-party primary, denying any voters a say in the outcome.
- In partisan primaries in the remaining 210 “safe” districts, most voters in the non-dominant party effectively had no voice in choosing their representative.
- And in 10 states, nearly 11 million independent voters were prohibited from participating in either party’s primaries altogether.
- In total, only 23 million of America’s 235 million voters (10%) effectively elected 83% of Congress…”
See also The Atlantic – Party Primaries Must Go – Partisan primaries motivate legislators to keep in lockstep with a narrow and extreme slice of the electorate rather than govern in the public interest.
Visualizing Congressional Votes on the Coronavirus Relief Package – “The Washington Post has created a series of visualizations that show how sharply polarized Congressional votes on the coronavirus relief package were. Even though most Americans support the bill, one visualization shows that there were only three votes in Congress that were not Democrats voting to pass the bill and Republicans voting against it. This is due, in part, to the fact that most members of Congress represent districts where voters have become increasingly split along party lines. In fact, another visualization shows that the 2020 election had one of the lowest rates of split-ticket voting, which is where voters choose different parties for different offices in an election.”
An Open Dataset to Foster Research in Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease “- The European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD), an EU-funded consortium to advance the testing and development of preventative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, has published data to help foster research in new treatments for the disease. The data includes cognitive, clinical, neuroimaging, and biomarker data from a longitudinal study of over 2,000 research participants. To make this data available to researchers, EPAD has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative’s cloud-based platform…”
- ADDI The Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI) aims to move Alzheimer’s disease (AD) innovation further and faster by connecting researchers with the data they need to generate insights to inform development of new, better treatments and diagnostic tools for AD and related dementias.
Ars Technica: “It has been nearly 10 years now since Ars Technica first described Bitcoin to readers as “the world’s first virtual currency… designed by an enigmatic, freedom-loving hacker, and currently used by the geek underground to buy and sell everything from servers to cellphone jammers.” A decade later, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are practically mainstream, and even most non-techies know the blockchain basics powering a decentralized financial revolution (or a persistent bubble, if you prefer). What Bitcoin was to 2011, NFTs are to 2021. So-called “non-fungible tokens” are having a bit of a moment in recent weeks, attracting a surge of venture capital cash and eye-watering speculative values for traceable digital goods. This despite the fact that most of the general public barely understands how this blockchain-based system of digital authentication works, or why it’s behind people paying $69 million for a single GIF…”
The Verge: “Google is announcing a bunch of new features planned for Google Maps, including a new tool to help with indoor navigation and suggestions for eco-friendly driving routes. The features announced today aren’t rolling out all at once, though; many aren’t available just yet, and it’s unclear when some will be available in some parts of the world. One of the biggest announcements is that Google is bringing its Live View augmented reality directions to airports, transit stations, and malls. Live View directions let you hold your phone up, point your camera at the world around you, and see arrows and icons pointing you where you need to go, and previously, they only worked outdoors. Disappointingly, though, these indoor AR directions aren’t being rolled out very widely yet: they’re only available in some malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle right now. Google will launch indoor Live View directions in select transit stations, airports, and malls in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months, however, and more cities are “on the way,” the company says…”
Executive Orders: An Introduction March 29, 2021: “Executive orders are written instruments through which a President can issue directives toshape policy. Although the U.S. Constitution does not address executive orders and no statute grants the President the general power to issue them, authority to issue such orders is accepted as an inherent aspect of presidential power, though their legal effect depends on various considerations. This report discusses the following:
- Issuance of Executive Orders. The typical process for issuing an executive order is set forth in an executive order issued by President John F. Kennedy. That process is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which receives comments and language from impacted and interested agencies. Once OMB and stakeholder agencies have reviewed the draft language, the draft order is sent to the Attorney General and Director of the Office of the Federal Register for review, and then on to the President for signing. After signing, executive orders are generally published in the Federal Register. Not all executive orders go through this process.
- Authority for Executive Orders. Executive orders typically convey presidential directives intended to have the force and effect of law. To have legal effect, those directives must be issued pursuant to one of the President’s sources of power: either Article II of the Constitution or a delegation of power from Congress. One way that Congress can delegate power to the President is by enacting a statute before the order issues. Congress can also ratify an already-issued executive order by enacting a statute, or can in rare circumstances impliedly ratify an executive order through inaction.
- Judicial Review of Executive Orders. Courts sometimes review the legality of executive orders. For example, a court may determine whether the President may act at all. In those circumstances, the court will employ a three-part analysis articulated by Justice Robert Jackson in his concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s decision in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.v. Sawyer. In other cases, a reviewing court may determine the scope of Congress’s delegation of power to the President. To perform that analysis, courts will generally use traditional tools of statutory interpretation. Courts may also be required to determine the scope of the President’s action in the executive order. Courts will begin with the text of the executive order, and may defer to agency interpretations of that order (depending on the circumstances of the particular case). Separately, courts may also review other constitutional issues raised by the executive order (for example, whether the order violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).
- Modification and Revocation of Executive Orders. A President may amend, rescind, or revoke a prior executive order issued by his or an earlier Administration. Although executive orders can be flexible and powerful, they can also be impermanent because a later President can, generally,revoke or modify any previously issued executive order with which he disagrees. Similarly, Congress may nullify the legal effect of an executive order issued pursuant to power that it delegated to the President…”
Billions of records have been hacked already. Make cybersecurity a priority or risk disaster, warns analyst
ZDNet – “A new report warns against relegating cybersecurity to the bottom of the to-do list. More data records have been compromised in 2020 alone than in the past 15 years combined, in what is described as a mounting “data breach crisis” in the latest study from analysis firm Canalys. Over the past 12 months, 31 billion data records have been compromised, found Canalys. This is up 171% from the previous year, and constitutes well over half of the 55 billion data records that have been compromised in total since 2005. Cases of ransomware – a specific type of attack that encrypts servers and data to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid – have been on the rise, with the number of reported incidents up 60% compared to 2019. “Prioritize cybersecurity and invest in broadening protection, detection and response measures or face disaster,” said Canalys chief analyst Matthew Ball. According to Canalys, this unprecedented boom in attacks can be in part attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced organizations across the world to digitize at pace, without putting enough thought into the new security requirements that come with doing business online…”
Congressional Oversight ManualUpdated March 29, 2021: “Today’s lawmakers and congressional aides, as well as commentators and scholars, recognize that Congress’s lawmaking role does not end when it passes legislation. Oversight is considered fundamental to making sure that laws work and are being administered in an effective, efficient, and economical manner. This function is seen as one of Congress’s principal roles as it grapples with the complexities of American government. A fundamental objective of the Congressional Oversight Manual is to assist Members, committees, and legislative staff in carrying out this vital legislative function. It is intended to provide a broad overview of the procedural, legal, and practical issues that are likely to arise as Congress conducts oversight. This includes information on the mechanics of oversight practice based on the House and Senate rules, common investigative techniques, and an inventory of statutes that impact oversight activity. In addition, the Manual discusses important legal principles that have developed around Congress’s oversight practice. It is not intended to address all the legal issues that committees, Members, and staff may encounter when engaged in investigative activities. The Manual is organized both to address specific questions and to support those seeking a general introduction to or broader understanding of oversight practice…”
Google Scholar Blog – [On March 23, 2021 we added] “a Public access section to Scholar profiles to help you track and manage public access mandates for your articles. If your public Scholar profile has papers covered by public access mandates from research funding agencies, you should see a new section that looks like this. Click “VIEW ALL” to see the full list of mandated articles, and then click the title of the article to see its mandates. Articles can be publicly available from several sources including the publisher, an institutional repository, a research area specific repository and others. The Google Scholar indexing system tries to include all publicly accessible versions that follow our inclusion guidelines…”
“Dissemin detects papers behind paywalls and helps their authors to upload them in one click to an open repository. FAQ – “What is dissem.in? Dissemin is a web platform gathering metadata from many sources and analyzing the full text availability of publications of researchers. It has been designed to foster the use of repositories (rather than preprints posted on personal homepages), for numerous reasons. Is dissem.in a repository? Dissemin is not a repository as it does not store any full text. When the full text of a publication is available, a link to the relevant page is provided. The full texts deposited through Dissemin are stored in third-party repositories such as Zenodo or HAL. Who runs dissem.in? Dissemin is brought to you by the CAPSH association. Can I create a profile on dissem.in? Yes, you can do it, by first registering on ORCID if you do not have an ORCID identifier yet. This only takes a few seconds, and you can then use your ORCID identifier to log into Dissemin…”
LinkedIn Blog: “…we’re excited to announce that we have re-imagined how you can bring your professional story to life on LinkedIn and are introducing tools to help you create a more expressive and inclusive Profile. This starts with a video Cover Story, a new tool that lets you personalize your first “hello,” so you can engage your audience and reach recruiters. For inspiration on how to bring yours to life, check out the video below, or see mine here. Once you add your Cover Story, an orange ring will appear around your Profile photo, and a preview of your video will auto-play silently within your photo frame (we like to think of it as the “Harry Potter” effect). And, stay tuned for captioning capabilities coming soon. For job seekers, a Cover Story is a great way to introduce yourself to hiring managers by sharing your career goals, providing a peek at your personality and showcasing your communication skills. According to a recent U.S. survey* almost 80% (76%) of hiring managers believe seeing a pre-recorded video of a job seeker would be useful. Also, if you’re searching for a job, check out the announcement from Ryan, LinkedIn’s CEO, about free LinkedIn Learning courses to sharpen your skills…”
FCW: “Before Covid-19 and social distancing, small talk was a daily workplace ritual for most of us. We exchanged hellos with colleagues on our way in from the parking lot, chatted about our weekends while waiting for meetings to begin, and swapped stories about our families with our cube mates. Though these encounters probably lasted only minutes, they played a crucial role in making us feel emotionally connected at work. “Small talk is important to us in other ways, putting us at ease and helping us transition to more serious topics like negotiations, job interviews, and performance evaluations. The tidbits we learn about our colleagues — for instance, that they play guitar or love dogs — build rapport and deepen trust. Research even suggests that chance encounters and spontaneous conversations with our coworkers can spark collaboration, improving our creativity, innovation, and performance.” So begins an article by Professors Jessica Methot, Allison Gabriel, Patrick Downes, and Emily Rosado-Solomon in the Daily Alert published by Harvard Business Review. Yet small talk also has its critics, who accuse it of spreading gossip, being inauthentic and wasting time. Some make a habit of arriving at meetings at the last moment to avoid small talk. The four professors thus did what professors do, which is to conduct some research. They spoke with 150 fulltime employees three times a day for 15 days about their participation in small talk and the impacts on their sense of well-being, their willingness to help others, and their job focus. They found that those who participated more in small talk increased their sense of well-being and willingness to help others, yet also reduced their job focus…”