Law and Legal

Here are the top tech trends of 2021, according to 30+ top experts

Fast Company – “During the year ahead, technology will help us emerge from the pandemic in ways big and small, obvious and surprising. As we come to the end of a crazy 2020, many of us are suffering from COVID-19 exhaustion. But as two vaccines begin their rollouts, we’ve also begun to visualize what post-pandemic life might be like. Most would agree that the new normal that begins to take shape in 2021 won’t be the old one. By forcing us from our routines, the pandemic has prompted us to reexamine the ways we live and work, and how we mix life and work together. The changes that grow from that reflection will be reflected in the technologies we use going forward. I asked startup CEOs, executives at big companies, investors, and other experts for their predictions for the year ahead, from collaboration services to medical innovations to fresh ideas in AI, commerce, and even the tools we use to sustain our democracy. Of course, even the smartest forecasts can be disrupted by reality. A year ago, I asked tech experts to tell us what 2020 would be like; the clear and logical picture they painted would soon get bent sideways, refracted through the weird prism of COVID-19. With any luck, 2021–however it pans out—won’t be so full of rude surprises…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The U.S. Internet Is Being Starved of Its Potential

EFF: “Over a year ago, EFF raised the desperate need for the United States to have a universal fiber infrastructure plan in order to ensure that all Americans can obtain access to 21st century communications technology. Since then, we’ve produced technical research showing why fiber is vastly superior to all the alternative last mile broadband options in terms of its future potential, published legal research on how the U.S. regulatory system started getting it wrong (as far back as 2005), and suggested a path forward at the federal and state level (including legislation) for transitioning the U.S. communications infrastructure toward a fiber-for-all future…”

Categories: Law and Legal

COVID-19: Potential Implications for International Security Environment—Overview of Issues and Further Reading for Congress

CRS report via LC. COVID-19: Potential Implications for International Security Environment—Overview of Issues and Further Reading for Congress, Updated December 30, 2020: “Some observers argue the COVID-19 pandemic could be a world-changing event with potentially profound and long-lasting implications for the international security environment and the U.S. role in the world. Other observers are more skeptical that the COVID-19 pandemic will have such effects. Observers who argue the COVID-19 pandemic could be world-changing for the international security environment and the U.S. role in the world have focused on several areas of potential change, including the following, which are listed here separately but overlap in some cases and can interact with one another:

  • world order, international institutions, and global governance;
  • U.S. global leadership and the U.S. role in the world;
  • China’s potential role as a global leader;
  • U.S. relations and great power competition with China and Russia, including the use of the COVID-19 pandemic a s a theme or tool for conducting ideological competition;
  • the relative prevalence of democratic and authoritarian or autocratic forms of government;
  • societal tension, reform, transformation, and governmental stability in various countries;
  • the world economy, globalization, and U.S. trade policy;
  • the characteristics and conduct of conflict;
  • allied defense budgets and U.S. alliances;
  • the cohesion of the European Union;
  • the definition of, and budgeting for, U.S. national security;
  • U.S. defense strategy, defense budgets, and military operations;
  • U.S. foreign assistance programs and international debt relief;
  • activities of non-state actors;
  • the amount of U.S. attention devoted to ongoing international issues other than the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • and the role of Congress in setting and overseeing the execution of U.S. foreign and defense policy….”
Categories: Law and Legal

Americans Remain Distrustful of Mass Media

Gallup Poll: “At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media. Four in 10 U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” (9%) or “a fair amount” (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” while six in 10 have “not very much” trust (27%) or “none at all” (33%).

Categories: Law and Legal

Associate Layoffs, A New Court, And Racial Unrest: 2020 In Review

Above the Law – 2020 In The Legal Industry Was Just As Awful As In The World Writ Large. By Kathryn Rubino – “As part of Above the Law’s 2020 in review each of the editors are throwing together our own list of top stories of 2020. Of course, 2020 was a dumpster fire, so almost all of the stories on my personal list are a reminder of awful. With that depressing note, here it is: my top stories of 2020…”

Categories: Law and Legal

COVID-19 vaccine facts: Hidden costs, when you can get vaccinated, choosing vaccine brands

CNET – “Now that there are two vaccines granted for emergency approval, where’s your place in line? Will you have to pay anything? What can you do after you’re vaccinated? Here’s what you need to know. This month, two COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the US — Moderna and Pfizer. All 50 states have already received millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses, with states already administering the first set of shots, with the first person already receiving their second shot. Government leaders in the nation’s capital have also been receiving their first round of shots — President-elect Joe Biden received his on Dec. 21. As you wait for your turn, there are a lot of questions we can help answer. Is a vaccination completely free or will you have to pay? How long will you personally have to wait to receive it, when will you know when you can get it and where, and is there anyone who shouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine right now? There’s plenty we don’t know yet, but we’re keeping a close eye on the situation and will update this story as we learn more about the vaccine against COVID-19. Note that this story isn’t intended to serve as medical advice…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Masks and mandates: How individual rights and government regulation are both necessary for a free society

Via LLRXMasks and mandates: How individual rights and government regulation are both necessary for a free society – Professor Martha Ackelsberg is political theorist – she studies how communities are organized, how power is exercised and how people relate to one another in and between communities. Through talking to friends, and thinking about the protests against COVID-19-related restrictions that have taken place around the country – she concluded that many people do not understand that individual rights and state power are not really opposites. The laws and policies that governments enact set the framework for the exercise of our rights. So, inaction on the part of government does not necessarily empower citizens. It can, effectively, take away our power, leaving us less able to act to address our needs.

Categories: Law and Legal

Top 5 legal technology stories of 2020

Via LLRX – Top 5 legal technology stories of 2020Nicole L. Black discusses the wide ranging effects on the legal technology space from the pandemic across all corners of the legal technology world. The shift to remote work had a dramatic impact on both the practice of law and the business of law, resulting in the rapid—and singularly remarkable—adoption of technology at rates never before seen. In some cases, the transition was a smooth one, and in others, it was a spectacular disaster. Good or bad, the results of the pandemic’s impact were undoubtedly notable—and newsworthy. In her article Black focuses on a few topics that especially resonated with her tech savvy readers and colleagues.

Categories: Law and Legal

Financial Sources on the Internet 2021

Via LLRXFinancial Sources on the Internet 2021Marcus P. Zillman, new guide comprises a list of actionable financial resources from the U.S. and abroad, organized by four subject areas: Corporate Conference Calls Resources, Financial Sources, Financial Sources Search Engines, and Venture Capital Sources. Content includes: sources for news and updates on business, corporations and marketplaces; sources from the NGO/IGO sectors; data, databases and charts; search applications; resources for investors and money management; and market analysis tools.

Categories: Law and Legal

New At-Home Covid Test Gets Green Light From FDA

The New York Times – “The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued an emergency authorization for the country’s first coronavirus test that can run from start to finish at home without the need for a prescription. People as young as 2 years old are cleared to use the test, which takes just 15 to 20 minutes to deliver a result. Unlike many similar products, which are only supposed to be used by people with symptoms of Covid-19, this test is authorized for people with or without symptoms. The test, developed by the Australian company Ellume, detects bits of coronavirus proteins called antigens. It’s slightly less accurate than gold standard laboratory tests designed to look for coronavirus genetic material with a technique called polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R. But in a clinical study of nearly 200 people, Ellume’s product was able to detect 95 percent of the coronavirus infections found by P.C.R., regardless of whether the infected people felt sick. It also correctly identified 97 percent of the people who received negative laboratory test results. Ellume, which was awarded a $30 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, said it planned to manufacture and deliver about 20 million home coronavirus tests to the United States within the first half of 2021. Each kit, which tests a single swab sample, is expected to cost about $30 or less, said Bella Zabinofsky, a spokeswoman for the company. In a statement, the F.D.A. commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn called Ellume’s authorization “a major milestone in diagnostic testing for Covid-19” in light of the coronavirus’s persistent grip on the nation. The product will be available in drugstores, Dr. Hahn noted, and gives Americans “more testing options from the comfort and safety of their own homes.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

To lock down or not to lock down? An evidence-based approach to anti-covid measures

Science and Philosophy – Massimo Pigliucci: “As you might have noticed, we have been in the middle of a pandemic for about nine months now. There has been much talk, and much controversy, about what does and does not work to counter the spread of the covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) inducing agent, known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Just the other day I was having a conversation about this with a follower on Twitter, who was rather skeptical of government lock-downs. He presented me with some home generated graphs drawn from public databases that seemed to make his point. I was, however, a bit skeptical of his skepticism. At some point I thought, wait a minute, surely by now there are serious peer reviewed studies on this! Let’s take a look. Sure enough, a quick Google Scholar search turned out a number of peer reviewed papers. I picked two in particular, on the basis of three criteria: they are very recent (both published this month), they are fairly comprehensive in terms of datasets and anti-covid interventions, and they were published in the two top scientific journals in the world: Nature and Science. You can download the full articles here (Nature) and here (Science), but of course they are fairly technical, especially in terms of methodology and statistical analyses. So I’ll do my best to summarize the key findings, because they have tremendous consequences for public discourse on covid as well as on the implementation of public policies…”

Categories: Law and Legal

60 Minutes profiles ascendant pianist Igor Levit

“The pandemic not only took his audiences away, its restrictions against gatherings also made millions of people lonely. So German pianist Igor Levit found a way to overcome the pandemic’s effects on him and ease people’s loneliness at the same time by streaming his world-renowned music on Twitter. The Grammy hopeful spoke to Jon Wertheim for a 60 Minutes profile to be broadcast Sunday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS. Typical reviews of the 33-year-old’s performances use words like “fiery,” “magical” and “elegant.” Levit says his music, at least emotionally for him, depends on people hearing it. “I can’t just make music for myself. It’s just not the way I operate. I can’t, emotionally,” he tells Wertheim. “So I had this idea to bring one of the most classic ways of music-making, which is the house concert… into the 21st century. So how do I do it?… I invite the people into my living room…”

Levit turned his Berlin apartment into a mini concert hall using only a cheap camera stand for his iPhone. Then he learned the basics in streaming. This virtuoso was now virtual for worldwide audiences on Twitter. The first concert reached 350,000. He was playing for his largest audience ever and it couldn’t have been more simple and, on some level, more intimate, he says. “It was just me, no hall, no questions about acoustics, no questions about an instrument, no questions about, you know, pre-printed programs, nothing. No boundaries, just myself and the people,” says Levit. He played for 52 consecutive nights. He broadened his repertoire by adding jazz, soul and rock to his performances. “It’s completely transformed me, who I am, how I see the world.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Biased language models can result from internet training data

Search Engine Land – “The controversy around AI researcher Timnit Gebru’s exit from Google, and what biased language models may mean for the search industry. George Nguyen on December 29, 202 – Last year, Google announced BERT, calling it the largest change to its search system in nearly five years, and now, it powers almost every English-based query. However, language models like BERT are trained on large datasets, and there are potential risks associated with developing language models this way. AI researcher Timnit Gebru’s departure from Google is tied to these issues, as well as concerns over how biased language models may affect search for both marketers and users…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Researchers developed an AI system that predicts the likelihood people will spread misinformation based on words they use

Poynter: “University of Sheffield researchers Yida Mu and Dr. Nikos Aletra report they’ve developed an artificial intelligence system to help identify Twitter users who are more likely to share unreliable news sources. In their study published in the journal PeerJ Computer Science, the researchers found strong correlations between specific language patterns and the propensity to share false information. Users who shared dubious information tended to use the words, “media,” “government,” “truth,” “Israel,” “liberal,” “muslim” and “Islam” in their tweets. Users who shared more reliable information sources tended to use more personal words such as “myself,” “feel,” “excited,” “mood,” “mom” and “okay.” Topics related to politics such as political ideology, government and justice are correlated with users that propagate unreliable sources. “We also observe a high correlation of such users with the topic related to impolite personal characterizations. This corroborates results of a recent study that showed political incivility on Twitter is correlated to political polarization,” the study authors wrote. The researchers based their findings on the analysis of over 1 million tweets from approximately 6,200 Twitter users. This data helped the researchers develop a “new natural language processing methods.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States​

CDC COVID Data Tracker / Vaccinations

  • Doses Distributed – 11,445,175
  • People Initiating Vaccination (1st dose received) 2,127,143
  • CDC | Updated: 12/28/2020 As of 9:00am ET
Categories: Law and Legal

Yes you are paying too much for internet service

TechDirt – Joshua Stager: “How much do consumers pay for internet service in the United States? The question might seem relatively simple, but the answer has stymied the federal government for years—because no agency collects this data. Throughout 2020, my organization, New America’s Open Technology Institute, published the Cost of Connectivity series to crack open the black box of internet pricing. The collective takeaway of these studies is clear: the cost of internet service is alarmingly high, and there is substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States. Our research found that U.S. consumers pay some of the highest broadband prices in the world, at an average $68.38 per month. Most of these plans advertise a temporary promotional rate, after which the monthly cost jumps an additional $22.25, on average. Of the 760 plans we surveyed across Europe, Asia, and North America, U.S. plans are the most expensive. Prices are particularly high in rural and Tribal communities. Unfortunately, these higher prices don’t appear to give U.S. consumers faster speeds than consumers abroad. Moreover, we found that internet pricing typically includes a byzantine maze of ancillary fees and hidden costs. The fees for equipment rentals, data overages, and contract terminations can be substantial. For example, modem rental fees can add an additional 75 percent to the total cost of monthly internet service in the United States, compared to just 30 percent abroad. Consumers struggle to navigate this maze and determine their total cost of service…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Recycling electronics: What to do with your old laptops, phones, cameras and batteries

CNET – “Gadgets can pile up over the years — new ones come out, old ones break. You probably have a drawer full of old batteries and cables, and some old phones, laptops and desktops lying around, which may only be growing larger if you’ve replaced any of your electronics over the holidays. Perhaps you keep them for nostalgic reasons (I admit I hung onto my first Nokia block phone to “show my kids one day”), or because you thought you might be able to use them again down the line.  Be brave. Stay focused. Peek into your drawers, the garage or a dark corner of your closet, and you’re sure to find a pile of electronics you really don’t need. Whatever the tech, when it’s finally time to say goodbye, there’s a right way to dispose of your old gadgets — and a lot of wrong ways. I’ll help you out…” [Note – this article has recommendations for disposal of laptops, phones, batteries, chargers and wires, cameras, and TVs. E-waste is a huge global problem. Please recycle as many components as you can. – thank you.]

Categories: Law and Legal

The 4 major unknowns of how vaccines will affect the Covid-19 pandemic

Vox: “Two highly effective Covid-19 vaccines are now being administered across the United States, and more are in the pipeline. Almost 2 million people have already received the first of two doses of these vaccines, and officials are aiming to immunize one-third of the US population by the end of March 2021. It’s a stunning accomplishment for a disease that was barely known to the world a year ago, and it means that an end to the crisis is in sight. Yet the US remains in the worst throes of the pandemic to date, with hospitalizations and deaths continuing to break records. Vaccines are critical in drawing down the pandemic as we know it, but it won’t be a simple return to the world before Covid-19. It will likely be a process that lasts several months, and precautions like social distancing and wearing masks will still be needed until there is widespread immunity to the virus. “It’s a bit of a glide path in my mind toward a new normal, and a new normal that will continue to get better and better,” said Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. “Ultimately, the mental model that I’m going for is ‘When are people going about their day and not thinking about Covid?’” Exactly when and how this will happen hinges on several key variables relating to vaccines that scientists and health officials are still trying to sort out. The vaccines being administered right now — the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — have only received emergency use authorizations, not full approval, from the Food and Drug Administration. Regulators have determined that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for most adults at high risk of exposure, but there are still some unanswered questions, such as how long protection lasts, and how well these vaccines block transmission of the virus between people. And beyond the vaccines themselves, how quickly and how readily people accept them can change the course of the pandemic…”

Categories: Law and Legal

These Stores Will Box Your Amazon Returns for Free

Lifehacker – “Whether you’re lazy or in a panicked state because you need to make an Amazon return and you (or someone in your household) threw away your item’s packaging, fret not: You have plenty of options for returning your Amazon purchases, and you might not even need the original shipping box to send an unwanted item back. Once you’ve started the return process for any eligible item, you’ll eventually click through to a “How will you mail your return?” screen. When there, click on the little option in the bottom-left that says “See more return options.”

See alsoRecommendo – “Amazon has an insanely good return system. You can return most items (under 50 pounds) you bought on Amazon by simply bringing the item alone — without a box, without a label, without a print out — to a local UPS pickup counter, and they handle the rest. All you need is an Amazon supplied QR code on your phone. To get the code, look up the item on your orders page and when you ask for a return; returning it “naked” should be an option.”

Categories: Law and Legal

10 ways to upgrade your working from home setup

ZDNet – Working from home for months has probably exposed a few gaps in your tech portfolio. Here are some pointers on how to fix them. “…Although there are obvious downsides to remote working, including work/life balance and long-term mental health, many of us are likely to continue working from home on a regular basis after the pandemic. That being so, it’s obviously a good idea to have the best equipment for the job: there’s a big difference between spending a couple of hours on your laptop at the kitchen table outside normal working hours and making this arrangement your primary workspace. To get an idea of the kind of setups that knowledge workers should be looking at in 2021 and beyond, it’s worth examining the contents of ZDNet contributors’ home offices, as featured on this site over recent weeks. These are journalists who have been working from home for years, and who are also, by definition, up-to-speed with the latest technology. This means that their gear is mostly at the power-user end of the knowledge worker spectrum, giving a good indication of what may become standard fare in the ‘new normal’…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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