Law and Legal

New database showcases collaborative journalism from around the world

Data Driven Journalism: “Over the past year, the Center for Cooperative Media, based at Montclair State University in New Jersey, been collecting information about dozens of collaborative reporting projects involving hundreds of newsrooms around the world. That information was used to identify six distinct models of collaborative journalism, which are based on how long newsroom and information organizations work together, and how they integrate their work and workflows. Early into the process, Stefanie Murray, who directs the Center for Cooperative Media, realized that the information they were collecting about journalism collaborations could benefit other newsrooms. She approached me about turning this information into a database, to easily show how journalism collaborations were funded and how newsrooms work together. The database launched in early January. It contains information about more than 150 journalism collaborations around the world, and features information including when the collaboration started, who was involved, funding sources, the tools that newsrooms used, and whether the collaboration had a formal arrangement in place or someone in charge of the efforts…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Value of Farmers Almanacs prevails despite many weather apps and gadgets

As one who continues to rely on the Old Farmer’s Almanac – founded in 1792 – this article, The Surprising Success of America’s Oldest Living Magazine, in which the publication’s editor, Janice Stillman, states – “Farmer’s almanacs are essentially as old as dirt,” gave me some much needed hope about the resilience, value and constancy that makes this historical work truly relevant today – it focuses on “the natural world, the rhythm and glory of nature, the animal life, the plant life, the astronomical life, the weather …Weather is the most popular subject, it’s the reason [readers] use the almanac.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Report – Less than half of recent law grads had ‘good jobs’ waiting after graduation

ABA Journal: “According to a report released Janaury 16, 2018 that focuses on the long-term outcomes of law degrees and includes a survey of college graduates, more than half of the individuals with JDs surveyed indicated that if they had it to do over, they’d still go to law school. However less than half of that group felt that their law degrees were worth the cost, particularly recent graduates. The report [Examining Value, Measuring Engagement – A National Study of the Long-Term Outcomes of a Law Degree] was done by the AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on improving access to legal education. It commissioned Gallup for the survey. For respondents who graduated from law school during and after the Great Recession—the time period between 2009 and 2017—only 44 percent indicated that they had a “good job” waiting for them when they graduated. Of the post-recession graduates, 26 percent said that it took them more than one year to find a good job. Comparatively, only 10 percent pre-recession law graduates said that it took them more than a year to find a good job. The survey questioned 10,715 adults with bachelor’s degrees or higher, who graduated from college between 1941 and 2017. Out of all respondents, 813 had JDs, and 63 percent practiced law. Also, 182 of the JDs surveyed had additional advanced degrees…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours: a Pre-Photographic Guide for Artists and Naturalists

Via Colassal: “First published in the pre-photographic age, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours was the preeminent guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists, and anthropologists in the 19th-century. Without an image for reference, the book provided immense handwritten detail describing where each specific shade could be found on an animal, plant, or mineral. Prussian Blue for instance could be located in the beauty spot of a mallard’s wing, on the stamina of a bluish-purple anemone, or in a piece of blue copper ore. The system of classification was first devised by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner in the late 18th-century. Shortly after Scottish painter Patrick Syme updated Werner’s guide, matching color swatches and his own list of examples to the provided nomenclature. The book’s poetic names, such as Arterial Blood Red, Berlin Blue, and Verdigris Green, added flourish to the writings of many researchers, allowing vivid descriptions for prose which had previously been limited to a more elementary color palette. Charles Darwin even used the guide during his voyage to the Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde islands on the H.M.S. Beagle…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Urban Bird Feeders Are Changing the Course of Evolution

The Atlantic – Urban Bird Feeders Are Changing the Course of Evolution – More than 50 million Americans are conducting an unwitting experiment on a vast scale. I joined them from my Manhattan high-rise.

“According to experts, feeding birds is probably the most common way in which people interact with wild animals today [this statement alone should get your attention!]. More than 50 million Americans engage in the practice, collectively undertaking an unwitting experiment on a vast scale. Is what we’re doing good or bad for birds? Recently, researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology sought to answer this question, analyzing nearly three decades’ worth of data from a winter-long survey called Project FeederWatch. Preliminary results suggest the species visiting our feeders the most are faring exceptionally well in an age when one-third of the continent’s birds need urgent conservation. Still, what are the consequences of skewing the odds in favor of the small subset of species inclined to eat at feeders…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Searchable Directory of Online, Open & Distance Learning Associations and Consortia Throughout the World

“ was launched in 2010 as a resource for post-secondary educators in Ontario to find the latest information on new technology and new developments in online learning, as well as practical tools and resources to help them integrate technology in their teaching in a way that improves the learning experience for their students. offers faculty and instructors access to:

  • Profiles of 130 pockets of innovation that explore how faculty and staff at Ontario’s public colleges and universities are expanding and improving learning opportunities for students through online and blended learning opportunities;
  • A growing collection of analyses, commentaries, resources, and practical advice that tracks the latest tools and trends in online learning in Ontario, Canada, and around the world;
  • An expanding series of webinars in which expert practitioners address the issues of most concern to faculty and instructors, offering expertise, concrete guidelines and cautions on pedagogy, technology, and online learning.
  • Links to extensive resources for training and development made available by Contact north | Contact Nord and on the websites of colleges and universities throughout Ontario.
  • A regularly updated list of conferences around the world that focus on educational technology and teaching and learning.”
Categories: Law and Legal

Pentagon Nuclear Posture Review

Nuclear Posture Review – US Department of Defense, February 2, 2018. “Executive Summary – Introduction. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The President made clear that his first priority is to protect the United States, allies, and partners. He also emphasized both the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and the requirement that the United States have modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear capabilities that are safe and secure until such a time as nuclear weapons can prudently be eliminated from the world. The United States remains committed to its efforts in support of the ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. It has reduced the nuclear stockpile by over 85 percent since the height of the Cold War and deployed no new nuclear capabilities for over two decades. Nevertheless, global threat conditions have worsened markedly since the most recent 2010 NPR, including increasingly explicit nuclear threats from potential adversaries. The United States now faces a more diverse and advanced nuclear-threat environment than ever before, with considerable dynamism in potential adversaries’ development and deployment programs for nuclear weapons and delivery systems..”

Categories: Law and Legal

Web Integrity Project tracks changes to federal websites

“The Sunlight Foundation launched a new Web Integrity Project to track changes to federal websites. The first focus is on health and healthcare websites, and first findings are to be released next week…”

See also – In its first year, the Trump administration has reduced public information online.

Categories: Law and Legal

Undocumented Gmail Trick – Search Emails by Date and Time

Gmail supports a plethora of search operators to help you instantly find that elusive email message buried in your mailbox [this article provides a very useful taxonomy to assist you in creating your search]. You have size search – like larger_than:5mb – to find the big messages in your account. File search – like has:attachment filename:doc – will locate email messages that contain file attachments of specific types. This graphic illustrates all the known search operators that work both on Gmail and Google Inbox…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Job seekers turning to “Google-Doc activism”

Quartz: Google Docs are the latest weapon in workplace activism. “Traditional sources for job and salary data like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are failing to deliver the information most critical to job seekers..But while Glassdoor contains nearly 38 million online reviews, critiquing more than 740,000 companies, the Google doc method offers other advantages. It grants a sense of anonymity that feels more secure than any social media site, including Twitter, where even the alias of the former head of the FBI can eventually be revealed. Only Google itself could track down the identity or IP address of an unnamed user in a Google doc, and the company would presumably only do that in an exceptional circumstance…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and the Law

The Path to Cryptomania – Bitcoin and Beyond by Daniel Martin Katz. Posted on February 1, 2018. Computational Legal Studies. “These materials will review the factors leading up to Bitcoin and other follow on Crypto offerings. We consider whether the massive increase in crypto related investments could simply be (yet) another asset bubble. However, this might also be a fundamental technological transformation? Only time will tell.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Social Security Retirement Estimator

“How the Retirement Estimator Works – The Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Please keep in mind that these are just estimates. We can’t provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits. And that amount may differ from the estimates provided because:
  • Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future.
  • After you start receiving benefits, they will be adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
  • Your estimated benefits are based on current law. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2034, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 79 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.
  • Your benefit amount may be affected by military service, railroad employment or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax…”
Categories: Law and Legal

SSA – Your Retirement Checklist

“At Social Security, we’re often asked, “What’s the best age to start receiving retirement benefits?” The answer is that there isn’t a “best”age that applies to everyone. It’s a personal decision based on your situation and, ultimately, it’s your choice. To help you make an informed choice, consider the factors below as you think about when to start receiving your Social Security benefits…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment

World Bank – “More than one billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence, says new research from the World Bank. The study, Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment, also found that close to 1.4 billion women lack legal protection against domestic economic violence. Economic abuse entails controlling a woman’s ability to access economic resources (money, education or employment) as a form of intimidation and coercion. In addition, women are often not legally protected against specific types of sexual harassment outside the home, such as at work, school, and in public places. Violence against women takes many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic. Violence leads to negative and, at times, dramatic mental and physical health consequences. It leads to increased absenteeism at work and limits mobility, thereby reducing productivity and earnings. It leads girls to drop out of school because going to school puts them at risk of abuse. It affects women’s decision-making ability within the household, including being able to seek services when needed.”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to tell if you have fake Twitter followers (and how to remove them)

Poynter: “Spotting fake Twitter uses is generally fairly easy, though fakers have gotten better at it over time. Tools like TwitterAudit can automatically scan your followers, revealing the number of fake followers (for free) and allowing you to delete and block them (for $5 a month). Use Luca Hammer’s Account Analysis tool to look at accounts individually. Consistent daily rhythms and constant retweeting of spammy handles or accounts are a good sign the user is a bot. The quickest way to manually spot obvious fakers is to look at their profiles. Many advertise spammy links or use excessive hashtags. To look over many at once, click “followers” below your own profile image. Stop users from following you by clicking the three vertical dots above and to the right of their usernames, then click “block.” Another quick way is to look for offset followers-to-following ratios, particularly if the following count is maxed out around 5,000. Twitter puts a limit on the number of accounts a user can follow until he or she has more followers. A user who has 171 followers and who is following 5,001 people is usually fake…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google provides flight delay information

Mashable: “The only thing worse than missing your flight is arriving on time just to realize the flight’s been delayed for a couple of hours, and there’s nothing you can do besides sip expensive airport coffee and worry about missing a meeting and/or a connecting flight.  Google’s excellent Flights service has a new feature that should help remedy this. The app will not only list confirmed flight delays, but it will also display reasons for the delays and, in some cases, even predict delays…”


Categories: Law and Legal

ProgrammableWeb’s Most Interesting APIs in 2017: Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Education

“We continue our look at some of 2017’s most interesting APIs by looking at those from Education, Music, News Services, Movies, eSports, TV, Games, Science, Food, Travel, and other Entertainment subjects.” Examples include:

  • LBRY is a Blockchain -based API for discovering, distributing, and purchasing data. With the LBRY API, anyone may publish a piece of digital content to be consumed by others. LBRY may also be used to discover and purchase digital content published by others.
  • The New York Times Archive API allows developers to retrieve past articles from The New York Times dating back to 1851. Users can get all articles for a given month as a JSON object by passing the desired year and month.
  • ProPublica is a non-profit news organization that specializes in investigative journalism in the public interest. The ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer API allows applications to interact with a search engine and database that powers Nonprofit Explorer. The API returns data from nonprofit tax returns for more than 750,000 organizations processed by the IRS during the 2012-2015 calendar years. ProPublica also maintains the ProPublica Congress API provides access to legislative data from the Library of Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Information that can be retrieved using the API includes congressional activity such as votes, bills, member statements, and nominations.“
Categories: Law and Legal

Artificial Intelligence for Health and Health Care

Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News: “JASON: Artificial Intelligence for Health Care – The field of artificial intelligence is habitually susceptible to exaggerated claims and expectations. But when it comes to new applications in health care, some of those claims may prove to be valid, says a new report from the JASON scientific advisory panel. “Overall, JASON finds that AI is beginning to play a growing role in transformative changes now underway in both health and health care, in and out of the clinical setting.” “One can imagine a day where people could, for instance, 1) use their cell phone to check their own cancer or heart disease biomarker levels weekly to understand their own personal baseline and trends, or 2) ask a partner to take a cell-phone-based HIV test before a sexual encounter.” Already, automated skin cancer detection programs have demonstrated performance comparable to human dermatologists. The JASON report was requested and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See Artificial Intelligence for Health and Health Care, JSR-17-Task-002, December 2017. Benefits aside, there are new opportunities for deception and scams, the report said. “There is potential for the proliferation of misinformation that could cause harm or impede the adoption of AI applications for health. Websites, apps, and companies have already emerged that appear questionable based on information available.” Fundamentally, the JASONs said, the future of AI in health care depends on access to private health data. “The availability of and access to high quality data is critical in the development and ultimate implementation of AI applications. The existence of some such data has already proven its value in providing opportunities for the development of AI applications in medical imaging.” “A major initiative is just beginning in the U.S. to collect a massive amount of individual health data, including social behavioral information. This is a ten year, $1.5B National Institutes of Health (NIH) Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) project called All of Us Research Program. The goal is to develop a 1,000,000 person-plus cohort of individuals across the country willing to share their biology, lifestyle, and environment data for the purpose of research.” But all such efforts raise knotty questions of data security and personal privacy. “PMI has recognized from the start of this initiative that no amount of de-identification (anonymization) of the data will guarantee the privacy protection of the participants.” Lately, the US Government has barred access by non-US researchers to a National Cancer Institute database concerning Medicare recipients, according to a story in The Lancet Oncology. See “International access to major US cancer database halted” by Bryant Furlow, January 18, 2018 (sub. req’d.).”

Categories: Law and Legal

America’s Most and Least Popular Governors Q4 2017 Rankings

Morning Consult: “Most of the governors running for re-election this year ended 2017 in a strong position, according to Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings. The latest installment of the quarterly rankings — based on surveys with 253,393 registered voters nationwide conducted online from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 — shows 10 of the 19 governors garnered the support of a majority of their constituents. (Full methodology is available here.) Republicans control 33 of the country’s 50 governorships, and 13 of the state leaders running this year to keep their jobs hail from the GOP, including first-term Republicans in reliably blue states: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (69 percent approval), Larry Hogan of Maryland (66 percent) and Phil Scott of Vermont (63 percent)…”

Categories: Law and Legal


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