Law and Legal

This Website Will Turn Wikipedia Articles Into “Real” Academic Papers

BuzzFeedNews – “The digital product agency MSCHF released a site called M-Journal on Tuesday that will turn any Wikipedia article into a “real” academic article. You can screenshot it, you can cite it — and you can send a link to your teacher. What MSCHF did was republish the entirety of Wikipedia under its own academic journal. If you go over to the site, you can search any Wikipedia article or paste in a link, and it’ll generate a citation that refers to MSCHF’s M-Journal, not Wikipedia…”

Categories: Law and Legal

BBC experiments with negative news filters on its homepage to help readers with anxieties – As one third of audience switches off from news, the public broadcaster is testing a tool that would allow readers to blur out stories that may impact their mental health – “Would you filter out bad news if you could? This is the question that Alicia Grandjean, software engineer at BBC and Tim Cowlishaw, senior software engineer at BBC R&D, wanted the audience to answer. The developers got this idea when a colleague organised an office mental health day to make the team think about the impact technology has on well-being. “We knew from other research that many young people are turning away from news because it was affecting their mental health,” said Grandjean. So the duo came up with a simple-sounding idea – if specific words, such as ‘knife crime’ or ‘murder’ trigger anxiety in readers, they can use a filter that would blur out sensitive content on the BBC homepage. A trigger warning would then inform the reader that the article contains keywords they marked out as sensitive. The team decided to blur out the headline, text and any pictures rather than removing the article altogether with an experimental algorithm that is not yet available to public…”  [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Immigration Officials Have Used Google Translate to Vet Refugees

ProPublica – “It’s a common internet experience: throw a foreign phrase into Google Translate or any other online translation tool and out comes a farcical approximation of the real thing. That’s why many experts — even Google itself — caution against relying on the popular Google Translate for complex tasks. Google advises users that its machine translation service is not “intended to replace human translators.” Yet the U.S. government has decided that Google Translate and other machine translation tools are appropriate for one task: helping to decide whether refugees should be allowed into the United States. An internal manual produced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency charged with admitting immigrants, instructs officers who sift through non-English social media posts of refugees that “the most efficient approach to translate foreign language contents is to utilize one of the many free online language translation services provided by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.” The manual includes step-by-step instructions for Google Translate…”

Categories: Law and Legal

5 Inexpensive Things to Beef Up Your Digital Security

The New York Times – Here are a few simple things to at least prevent the worst problems and keep most of your private information as safe as possible from hacks or security negligence. “Everything you do online is tracked, logged and studied by someone, either through advertising or more malicious means. Being watched is an unpleasant feeling; it’s gotten to the point where even my “I have nothing to hide” friends are growing uncomfortable with the whole thing. As the privacy and security editor for Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews and recommends products, I’ve tested a variety of fixes over the years, and the following items are what I recommend to anyone who wants to beef up his or her digital security. The only way to be truly safe from the prying eyes of social networks and advertisers is to leave the internet for good, but because most people won’t or can’t go to that extreme, these tools will help prevent the worst problems and keep most of your private information as safe as possible from hacks or security negligence. In collaboration with Wirecutter, here are five cheap(ish) things to help keep your internet presence a little more private…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Congress releases whistleblower complaint alleging Trump abused his office

Politico – “An intelligence community whistleblower claimed White House officials expressed alarm that they had witnessed President Donald Trump “abuse his office for personal gain” during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky in July. According to an unclassified version of the complaint released Thursday morning, the whistleblower said White House officials who listened to the call were “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s requests that Zelensky investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and revisit claims related to the 2016 election. The whistleblower said about a dozen White House officials were on the call and said White House officials later intervened to “lock down” records of the call…”

Press release: “Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the declassified whistleblower complaint. The complaint can be viewed here, and the Intelligence Community Inspector General letter regarding the complaint can be viewed here Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) made the following statement: “The Committee this morning will be releasing the declassified whistleblower complaint that it received late last night from the ODNI. It is a travesty that it was held up this long. “This complaint should never have been withheld from Congress. It exposed serious wrongdoing, and was found both urgent and credible by the Inspector General. “This complaint is a roadmap for our investigation, and provides significant information for the Committee to follow up on with other witnesses and documents. And it is corroborated by the call record released yesterday. “I want to thank the whistleblower for having the courage to come forward, despite the reprisals they have already faced from the president and his acolytes. We will do everything in our power to protect this whistleblower, and every whistleblower, who comes forward. “The public has a right to see the complaint and what it reveals.”
Categories: Law and Legal

One-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks

Pew – “Americans are spreading their book consumption across several formats, and the use of audiobooks is on the rise. Roughly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (72%) say they have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2012, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 65% of adults saying they had read a print book in the year before the survey. And while shares of print and e-book readers are similar to those from a Center survey conducted in 2016, there has been an uptick in the share of Americans who report listening to audiobooks, from 14% to 20%. Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011, when the Center first began conducting the surveys of Americans’ book reading habits. Despite some growth in certain digital formats, it remains the case that relatively few Americans only consume digital books (which include audiobooks and e-books) to the exclusion of print. Some 37% of Americans say they read only print books, while 28% read in these digital formats and also read print books. Just 7% of Americans say they only read books in digital formats and have not read any print books in the past 12 months. (About a quarter of Americans haven’t read a book in any format in the past year.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Fortune Global 500

“The world’s 500 largest companies generated $32.7 trillion in revenues and $2.15 trillion in profits in 2018. Together, this year’s Fortune Global 500 companies employ 69.3 million people worldwide and are represented by 34 countries. Click here to view past years’ lists: 20192018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

InteractiveVisualize the Global 500

“Each year a whole host of factors – the global economy, trade policies, mergers and acquisitions and corporate upheaval among them – push and pull at the Global 500 rankings. To help you quickly see how each country is represented on the list, we put the Global 500 on a world map. Now you can see each company’s location, revenue and profit at a glance. We also invite you to take a look at how each Global 500 company has moved around in the ranks over the past two decades.”
Categories: Law and Legal

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

Press release – “The IPCC approved and accepted Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate at its 51st Session held on 20 – 23 September 2019. The approved Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was presented at a press conference on 25 September 2019. FactsheetRecording of press conference on Youtube and FacebookList of authors.

“Over the last decades, global warming has led to widespread shrinking of the cryosphere, with mass loss from ice sheets and glaciers (very high confidence), reductions in snow cover (high confidence) and Arctic sea ice extent and thickness (very high confidence), and increased permafrost temperature (very high confidence).  It is virtually certain that the global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system(high confidence). Since 1993, the rate of ocean warming has more than doubled (likely). Marine heatwaves have very likely doubled in frequency since 1982 and are increasing in intensity (very high confidence). By absorbing more CO2, the ocean has undergone increasing surface acidification (virtually certain). A loss of oxygen has occurred from the surface to 1000 m (medium confidence). Global mean sea level (GMSL) is rising, with acceleration in recent decades due to increasing rates of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets (very high confidence), as well as continued glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion. Increases in tropical cyclone winds and rainfall, and increases in extreme waves, combined with relative sea level rise, exacerbate extreme sea level events and coastal hazards…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Digital twins — precise, virtual copies of machines or systems — are revolutionizing industry

nature – Virtual models boost smart manufacturing by simulating decisions and optimization, from design to operations, explain Fei Tao and Qinglin Qi.  “Digital twins — precise, virtual copies of machines or systems — are revolutionizing industry. Driven by data collected from sensors in real time, these sophisticated computer models mirror almost every facet of a product, process or service. Many major companies already use digital twins to spot problems and increase efficiency. Half of all corporations might be using them by 2021, one analyst predicts. For instance, NASA uses digital copies to monitor the status of its spacecraft. Energy companies General Electric (GE) and Chevron use them to track the operations of wind turbines. Singapore is developing a digital copy of the entire city to monitor and improve utilities. Machine intelligence and cloud computing will boost such models’ power. There is much to be done to realize the potential of digital twins. Each model is built from scratch: there are no common methods, standards or norms. It can be difficult to aggregate data from thousands of sensors that track vibration, temperature, force, speed and power, for example. And data can be spread among many owners and be held in various formats. For example, the designers of a particular car might hold information on its materials and structure, while the manufacturers keep data on how the vehicle is produced and garages retain information on sales and maintenance….”

Categories: Law and Legal

This AI reads privacy policies so you don’t have to and it’s actually pretty good

thenextweb: “Don’t you absolutely hate how dense and confusing privacy policies are? Considering they’re full of gotchas and intentionally obscure legalese, it’s no surprise that hardly anyone bothers to even read them — we’ve simply accepted we’re giving up our data, and with it, our sense of privacy. But thanks to this new policy-reading AI, things won’t have to be this way for much longer. Guard is a recurrent neural network-based app that reads and analyzes privacy terms, so you don’t have to. While it can’t yet examine policies on request, the AI has rated the privacy terms of a slew of popular services like Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Ad Blocker That Works on Podcasts and Radio

Motherboard – “Ads exploit the weaknesses of many defenseless souls,” the creator of AdBlock Radio says….” Meet AdBlock Radio, an adblocker for live radio streams and podcasts. Its creator, Alexandre Storelli, told Motherboard he hopes to help companies “develop alternative business models for radio and podcast lovers that do not want ads.” “Ads exploit the weaknesses of many defenseless souls,” Storelli told Motherboard. “Ads dishonestly tempt people, steal their time and promise them a higher social status. Blocking them will be a relieving experience for many.” Most audio ads exploit “auditory artifacts” to produce an ad that can’t be ignored or tuned out because it feels louder than it actually is—this has gotten so bad that there has actually been a “sonic arms race” where ads have been made increasingly louder over the years. “Adblock Radio detects audio ads with machine-learning and Shazam-like techniques,” Storelli wrote about the project…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Employers Used Facebook to Keep Women and Older Workers From Seeing Job Ads

Propublica – In a first, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that companies violated civil rights law through their use of Facebook’s targeting advertising. “Two years ago, ProPublica and The New York Times revealed that companies were posting discriminatory job ads on Facebook, using the social network’s targeting tools to keep older workers from seeing employment opportunities. Then we reported companies were using Facebook to exclude women from seeing job ads. Experts told us that it was most likely illegal. And it turns out the federal government now agrees. A group of recent rulings by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found “reasonable cause” to conclude that seven employers violated civil rights protections by excluding women or older workers or both from seeing job ads they posted on Facebook. The agency’s rulings appear to be the first time it has taken on targeted advertising, the core of Facebook’s business. “It answers the question from the EEOC’s perspective,” former agency commissioner Jenny R. Yang said. “If you’re excluding older workers from seeing your ads for jobs it does violate” anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC declined to comment. The decisions stem from complaints filed by the Communications Workers of America, the American Civil Liberties Union and plaintiff’s attorneys after our reporting. The agency made the rulings in July, but they are becoming public now as part of a separate pending class-action suit in federal court accusing companies of age discrimination. The ads are all from 2018 or earlier. Since then, Facebook has agreed in a settlement to make sweeping changes to the way employers, landlords and creditors can target advertising. The changes are scheduled to take effect by the end of the year…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Lawyers have many options when it comes to designing their firm’s websites

ABA Journal – Nicole Black – “I decided to write this column to help lawyers find a website design option that’s a good fit for their firm. In this article, I’ll cover a few options, including one way to do it yourself, a few website design companies founded by lawyers and the option to use the website design services of companies that your firm may already have a working relationship with…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How an Impeachment Process Inquiry Works

The New York Times – The inquiry into President Trump has the potential to reshape his presidency. Here’s how impeachment works. “…The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”Only two presidents have been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — and both were ultimately acquitted and completed their terms in office. Richard M. Nixon, resigned in 1974 to avoid being impeached….”

Categories: Law and Legal

How The Democratic Groundswell For Impeachment Happened

FiveThirtyEight: “On Tuesday afternoon [September 24, 2019], House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her plans to open an official impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Although she and others in House leadership positions have resisted opening formal impeachment proceedings for months, a deluge of new calls from more moderate members of her party may have cemented her decision to move forward. More than two-thirds of the Democratic caucus now favor beginning an impeachment investigation in response to allegations that Trump attempted to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, and may have threatened to withhold foreign aid. This is a huge change from the end of July, when we last checked in on where impeachment stood among House Democrats. At that point, just a few days after special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before two House committees about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, 109 Democrats were in support of impeachment. Granted, more than half of House Democrats have been in favor of impeachment since early August, but that number has now risen to 179, according to the New York Times, which means a solid majority of the Democratic caucus now supports impeachment…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How does a computer ‘see’ gender?

“Machine vision tools like facial recognition are increasingly being used for law enforcement, advertising, and other purposes. Pew Research Center itself recently used a machine vision system to measure the prevalence of men and women in online image search results. This kind of system develops its own rules for identifying men and women after seeing thousands of example images, but these rules can be hard for to humans to discern. To better understand how this works, we showed images of the Center’s staff members to a trained machine vision system similar to the one we used to classify image searches. We then systematically obscured sections of each image to see which parts of the face caused the system to change its decision about the gender of the person pictured. Some of the results seemed intuitive, others baffling. In this interactive challenge, see if you can guess what makes the system change its decision. Here’s how it works…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Like It Or Not, Law May Open Its Doors To Nonlawyers

Law360 – States across the country are considering changes to attorney regulations, or have made changes, that would open up the legal sector to more participation from nonlawyers.

“llinois is poised to launch an official exploration into opening up the legal profession to nonlawyers, in what some say could be a “tipping point” for such efforts to increase access to legal help, despite heated attorney opposition in places like California…Jordan Furlong, a legal market analyst and author of several books on the legal sector, said that if Illinois becomes the next state to look at opening up the profession by loosening regulations on fee-sharing and the unauthorized practice of law, the U.S. will likely have reached a “tipping point.” “I think that’s the point it becomes a trend and a movement that starts to sweep across jurisdictions,” Furlong said. The idea behind the reforms is that more robust competition in the sector could help close the country’s access to justice gap by lowering costs and increasing options for consumers…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Books wont die

The Paris Review – “Increasingly, people of the book are also people of the cloud. At the Codex Hackathon, a convention whose participants spend a frenetic weekend designing electronic reading tools, I watch developers line up onstage to pitch book-related projects to potential collaborators and funders. “Uber for books”: a same-day service that would deliver library volumes to your door. “Fitbit for books”: an app that blocks incoming calls and buzzes your phone with reminders to get back to a book. That literary pedometer meets its real-world counterpart in LitCity: “Imagine walking down a city street and feeling that familiar buzz of a push notification. But instead of it being a notification on Twitter or a restaurant recommendation, it’s a beautiful passage from a work of literature with a tie to that place.” I thought back to the nineteenth-century guidebooks that inserted a snippet of Shelley next to their map of the Alps; the book has always been about bringing worlds together…”

Categories: Law and Legal

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

CRS Report via FAS – U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress, updated September 23, 2019: “The U.S. role in the world refers to the overall character, purpose, or direction of U.S. participation in international affairs and the country’s overall relationship to the rest of the world. The U.S. role in the world can be viewed as establishing the overall context or framework for U.S. policymakers for developing, implementing, and measuring the success of U.S. policies and actions on specific international issues, and for foreign countries or other observers for interpreting and understanding U.S. actions on the world stage. While descriptions of the U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II vary in their specifics, it can be described in general terms as consisting of four key elements: global leadership; defense and promotion of the liberal international order; defense and promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights; and prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia. The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. role in the world is changing, and if so, what implications this might have for the United States and the world. A change in the U.S. role could have significant and even profound effects on U.S. security, freedom, and prosperity. It could significantly affect U.S. policy in areas such as relations with allies and other countries, defense plans and programs, trade and international finance, foreign assistance, and human rights. Some observers, particularly critics of the Trump Administration, argue that under the Trump Administration, the United States is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world. Other observers, particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, while acknowledging that the Trump Administration has changed U.S. foreign policy in a number of areas compared to policies pursued by the Obama Administration, argue that under the Trump Administration, there has been less change and more continuity regarding the U.S. role in the world. Some observers who assess that the United States under the Trump Administration is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world—particularly critics of the Trump Administration, and also some who were critical of the Obama Administration—view the implications of that change as undesirable. They view the change as an unnecessary retreat from U.S. global leadership and a gratuitous discarding of long-held U.S. values, and judge it to be an unforced error of immense proportions—a needless and self-defeating squandering of something of great value to the United States that the United States had worked to build and maintain for 70 years. Other observers who assess that there has been a change in the U.S. role in the world in recent years—particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, but also some observers who were arguing even prior to the Trump Administration in favor of a more restrained U.S. role in the world—view the change in the U.S. role, or at least certain aspects of it, as helpful for responding to changed U.S. and global circumstances and for defending U.S. interests. Congress’s decisions regarding the U.S role in the world could have significant implications for numerous policies, plans, programs, and budgets, and for the role of Congress relative to that of the executive branch in U.S. foreign policymaking…”

Categories: Law and Legal


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