Law and Legal
Forbes: “Dell Technologies authored a report by 20 tech, business and academic experts projecting 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be invented. Dell issued a statement that “The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn ‘in the moment’ using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself.” Many lawyers might think this does not apply to them, but think again. Deloitte released a 2016 report on the legal industry predicting “profound reforms” over the next decade. Several factors were cited including: automation, the rise of millennials in the workplace, and changing client demands. Deloitte projected a 39% loss of legal sector jobs. That will be offset by new positions in data analytics, legal technology architecting and design, risk mitigation, and other yet-to-be-identified fields. Consider that Deloitte has the world’s largest market share of legal services. The “profound reforms” are already underway…”
MakeUseof (MUD): “Facebook was once the poster child of the social media revolution. Today, it’s a shining example of how not to run a social network. Facebook’s ongoing security and privacy issues mean young people are leaving in their droves. According to Pew Research, 44 percent of users aged 18 to 29 said they deleted the app in the last year. Given they are also the demographic who are most likely to understand Facebook’s confusing privacy settings (64 percent), this is all rather worrying…So, if you’re looking to jump ship and delete your Facebook profile, which social network should you head for next? Which Facebook alternatives won’t steal your data? Here are our top five picks….”
Via Google Trends – “On November 6, 2018, over 1,200 candidates will run for nearly 500 seats in the House of Representatives and US Senate. This is how the US is searching.” Resources include the following?
- Election searches: click on a State to find out more.
- Search data is an indication of curiosity in the subject or candidate. It should not be considered an indication of voter intent
- Search interest in elections tends to spike every two years in November in the United States, and reached an all-time high in November, 2016.
- What are the most commonly searched questions on voting and midterm elections in the United States?
- More data from the Election Databot, and other Trends pages…”
WSJ [paywall] via MarketScreener [no paywall]: “Google Inc. told lawmakers it continues to allow other companies to scan and share data from Gmail accounts, responding to questions raised on Capitol Hill about privacy and potential misuse of the information contained in users’ emails.”
Google handles 90% of the world’s internet searches, and it increasingly is promoting a single answer for many questions. Even subjective or unanswerable queries sometimes get seemingly definitive answers.”
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy organizes scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work.”
Moral Vegetarianism. First published Fri Sep 14, 2018 – “Billions of humans eat meat. To provide it, we raise animals. We control, hurt, and kill hundreds of millions of geese, nearly a billion cattle, billions of pigs and ducks, and tens of billions of chickens each year. To feed these animals, we raise crops. To raise crops, we deforest and use huge quantities of water. To quench these animals, we use still more water. In turn, these animals produce staggering amounts of waste, waste that poisons water sources and soil. They produce staggering amounts of greenhouse gasses. To raise these animals and produce this meat, farmers and slaughterhouse workers labor in conditions from onerous to brutal. If controlling, hurting, or killing animals is wrong or if the production of these environmental effects or effects on people is wrong or if consuming the meat produced is wrong, then a breathtaking level of wrong-doing goes on daily. Many fewer than a billion humans are vegetarian, have diets excluding meat. They are vegetarian for various reasons: because it’s healthy, because their parents make them be vegetarian, because they don’t like meat. Some are vegetarian on moral grounds. Moral vegetarianism is the view that it is morally wrong—henceforth, “wrong”—to eat meat. The topic of this entry is moral vegetarianism and the arguments for it. Strikingly, most contemporary arguments for moral vegetarianism start with premises about the wrongness of producing meat and move to conclusions about the wrongness of consuming it. They do not fasten on some intrinsic feature of meat and insist that consuming things with such a feature is wrong. They do not fasten on some effect of meat-eating on the eater and insist that producing such an effect is wrong. Rather, they assert that the production of meat is wrong and that consumption bears a certain relation to production and that bearing such a relation to wrongdoing is wrong. So this entry gives significant space to food production as well as the tricky business of connecting production to consumption…”
Your online connection to the “Medicare & You” handbook. Several formats are available: PDF, Large Print PDF, eBook, Audio, Braille, Paper handbook. [h/t Pete Weiss]
Oxford University Press Blog: “Last spring, I—along with a substantial portion of my friends and acquaintances—followed some instructions I’d read online and successfully downloaded a copy of my Facebook data. Amongst other things, I was reminded of the fact that I had joined the social network on 21 February 2007 at 06:02 UTC and that my (semi-accurate, but handily alphabetized) list of commercially viable interests includes “Academic journal,” “Adaptation,” “Atlantic Ocean,” “Beast (Canadian band),” “Books,” “Cooperation,” “County Louth,” and “Current Events,” to name just a few. For the record, I’m really no more partial to Louth than County Tipperary, say, or Mayo, and I can’t confirm with absolute certainty that I’ve ever heard a song by Beast. At any rate, scrolling back through a written history of comments and conversations that I thought had long since disappeared, I experienced a disconcerting realization: by cross-referencing this Facebook data report with a trawl through my Gmail account, I could probably reconstruct with reasonable precision what I’d been up to on any given date in the previous decade. After all, when I became a Gmail user on 16 January 2006, I took Google’s claims that they’d “keep giving people more space forever” at face value and essentially stopped deleting my emails, both sent and received. This means I can now tell you, for example, that on the morning of 23 September 2008 I forgot my password for the online bookstore at Wilfrid Laurier University, where I would soon be instructing undergraduate classes on “Arthurian Traditions” and “Shakespeare and Company”; I imagine this came to my attention because I was trying to finalize the reading lists. Later that same day, I RSVP’d for my friend Jon’s upcoming birthday party—I think it was his 29th—and spent time in my Toronto apartment waiting for the delivery of a new Acer Aspire. I presume that I also ended up going to the “book history thingy from 5–7 and then drinks after” that I flagged to my boyfriend (now husband) in my online correspondence. In the age of big data and cloud storage, the old dog-ate-my-homework routine has become even less persuasive, and it can feel like nothing we’ve ever written, no matter how mundane, can be truly lost—not even those things that we might want to forget…”
Smithsonian: “On Saturday, September 22, more than 1,500 museums will open their doors for free as part of Museum Day. Organized by Smithsonian magazine, the annual event includes free admission to museums and cultural institutions in all 50 states. Participating museums range from large, popular institutions like the Zoo Miami to quirky and fascinating specialty museums, like the National Barber Museum in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Visitors are allowed to download one ticket per email address, and each ticket provides free general admission for two people. Not sure which museum to choose? Here are ten can’t-miss museums for consideration…”
Ars Technica: “Judicial records are public documents that are supposed to be freely available to the public. But for two decades, online access has been hobbled by a paywall on the judiciary’s website, called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), which charges as much as 10 cents per page. Now Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation that would require that the courts make PACER documents available for download free of charge. The PACER system has been on the Web since the late 1990s. To avoid using taxpayer funds to develop the system, Congress authorized the courts to charge users for it instead. Given the plunging cost of bandwidth and storage, you might have expected these fees to decline over time. Instead, the judiciary has actually raised fees over time—from 7 cents per page in 1998 to 10 cents per page today. Even search results incur fees. The result has been a massive windfall for the judiciary—$150 million in 2016 alone…[h/t Tom Johnson]
“Habeas corpus filings in federal courts challenging the confinement of noncitizens continue to rise. The latest available data from the federal courts show that during August 2018 the government reported 174 new habeas corpus civil filings by noncitizens. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this number is up 27.9 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 136. When monthly 2018 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up (10.2%). Civil filings for August 2018 are also higher than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type were up 98.6 percent from levels reported in August 2013. During the first eleven months of Fiscal Year 2018 (October 2017-August 2018), a total of 1,567 habeas corpus actions challenging confinement of noncitizens have been filed in federal district courts across the country. Where these types of suits occur is influenced by where particular detention facilities were located. These facilities are used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house noncitizens who the agency seeks to deport. Relative to its population, the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) had the highest number with a rate 11 times the national average, while in sheer numbers the District of New Jersey with 233 new lawsuits had the most habeas corpus actions filed by noncitizens. For further details, see: http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/528/.”
Follow up to previous posting – LC Launches Portal for Public Access to Official CRS Reports – with additional pertinent information for researchers Via Steven Aftergood – Secrecy News/FAS: “The Congressional Research Service launched its new public portal this morning, with an initial installment of 628 reports dating back to January of this year. The back catalog of older reports is supposed to be added over time. The public versions of the reports are lightly redacted to remove the author’s contact information, and to add some boilerplate language about CRS. At this point, CRS is only posting its primary “R series” reports, such as these newly updated documents (emphasis added) – (provided here in their original, unmodified format):
American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, updated September 14, 2018
Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies, updated September 13, 2018
“In keeping with our desire to engage users with the Library and its materials,” wrote Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, “we are happy to see these reports put to the widest use possible.
But other CRS product lines — including CRS In Focus, CRS Insight, and CRS Legal Sidebar — are not currently available through the public portal. So CRS reports like these must still be obtained independently…”
Bob Ambrogi – Law Sites: “A first-of-its-kind technology platform launching today allows legal researchers to examine large collections of historical texts to help determine the meanings of words and phrases in the contexts in which they historically were used. The Law and Corpus Linguistics Technology Platform was developed by BYU Law in Provo, Utah, which is introducing it today to coincide with Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the Constitution. The platform is launching with three primary text collections, or “corpora”:
- Corpus of Founding Era American English, a collection spanning 1760 to 1799 that contains nearly 100,000 documents from the founders, ordinary people and legal sources, and that includes letters, diaries, newspapers, non-fiction and fiction books, sermons, speeches, debates, legal cases and other legal materials.
- Corpus of Supreme Court of the United States, a collection of all Supreme Court opinions in the United States Reports though the 2017 term (with the 2018 soon to be added).
- Corpus of Early Modern English, a collection of texts from 1475 to 1800 that were included in the Evans Bibliography, the Early English Books Online (EBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) corrected by the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) Evans Bibliography (University of Michigan)….”
Fortune: “IBM wants to help companies mitigate the chances that their artificial intelligence technologies unintentionally discriminate against certain groups like women and minorities. The technology giant’s tool, announced on Wednesday, can inspect AI-powered software for unintentional bias when it makes decisions, like when a loan might be denied to a particular person, explained Ruchir Puri, the chief technology officer and chief architect of IBM Watson. The technology industry is increasingly combating the problem of bias in machine learning systems, used to power software that can automatically recognize images in pictures or translate languages. A number of companies have suffered a public relations black eye when their technologies failed to work as well for minority groups as for white users. For instance, researchers discovered that Microsoft and IBM’s facial-recognition technology could more accurately identify the faces of lighter-skin males than darker-skin females. Both companies said they have since improved their technologies and have reduced error rates…”
Insurance Journal: “John Hancock, one of the oldest and largest North American life insurers, will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones, the company said on Wednesday. The move by the 156-year-old insurer, owned by Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp., marks a major shift for the company, which unveiled its first interactive life insurance policy in 2015. It is now applying the model across all of its life coverage…”
National Science Foundation – New research shows that social media can spread information quickly, but its accuracy cannot be assumed
“After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research to investigate the broad impacts of these disasters. A year later, some of the researchers funded by awards from the agency’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate are reporting results produced to date. This is the second article in the series. Jun Zhuang, an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo, used a combination of social networking, content analysis and surveys to understand the role of social media in communicating during disaster preparedness and response. When disasters strike, people increasingly rely on social media to learn about the appropriate response and to inform their decisions. The downside is that rumors can spread rapidly across social media platforms. Some of these rumors can have serious detrimental outcomes for public safety. For example, after both hurricanes Harvey and Irma, false information was spread over social media that immigration status would be checked at evacuation shelters. Rumors like this could affect evacuation decision-making and put both local residents and emergency responders at greater risk.
Our research has shown that the general public is not very good at differentiating truth from rumor related to disasters. The public tends to spread rumors and is unlikely to correct false information, even after it has been debunked. On the bright side, our research also shows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other official governmental accounts have the power to stop rumors, especially when these agencies act quickly….”
We invited some of the best musicians in the world to create songs inspired by each of the 27 amendments
Jad Abumrad – host, Radiolab & More Perfect: I’d venture a guess that most Americans (like us, before we started this project) can’t name more than one or two amendments to the Constitution, let alone remember that there are 27 of them. But these 27 “insertions” to our founding document outline our basic rights as Americans. Not only that, they show a country changing and evolving and re-imagining itself; striving (and not always succeeding) to be better. With that in mind, the team at More Perfect challenged ourselves to come up with a way to give these words the swagger they deserve. So we invited some of the best musicians in the world to create songs inspired by each of the 27 amendments; a kind of “Schoolhouse Rock!” for the 21st Century. These songs are a small way to say that these words matter. We’re calling it “27: The Most Perfect Album,” and I hope it ends up on some playlists, maybe in a classroom or two. Thanks to the National Constitution Center for partnering with us on the essays below. Most of all, we’re deeply indebted to all the musicians below that gave their time, talents, and energies to the project. Enjoy!…”
UX Design: “There’s no logical reason why telephones and calculators use different numeric keypads. So why do we still follow the same convention? Picture the keypad of a telephone and calculator side by side. Can you see the subtle difference between the two without resorting to your smartphone? Don’t worry if you can’t recall the design. Most of us are so used to accepting the common interfaces that we tend to overlook the calculator’s inverted key sequence. A calculator has the 7–8–9 buttons at the top whereas a phone uses the 1–2–3 format…”
The New York Times: “As November’s midterm elections approach, The New York Times is looking for examples of online ads, posts and texts that contain political disinformation or false claims and are being deliberately spread on internet platforms to try to influence local, statewide, and federal elections. Times journalists are hoping to use your tips to advance our reporting. If you see a suspicious post or text, please take a screenshot and upload it with the form located at the bottom of this page..
“The ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives is pleased to announce the release of a first-of-its kind report examining access to justice commissions nationwide, offering an in-depth analysis of their structures, activities, staffing, and funding, as well as best-practice recommendations.”
Download our 2018 report: Access to Justice Commissions: Increasing Effectiveness Through Adequate Staffing and Funding
“Earlier this year we released our Open Libraries wish list, which brought together four datasets to help inform our collection development priorities for Open Libraries. After working with the wish list for a few months and reviewing our approach, we decided to make a few revisions to the ways in which we brought together the data. Our wish list was always intended to be an iterative work-in-progress, and we are pleased to release our latest version here: https://archive.org/details/open_libraries_wish_list Download wish list now
What’s in the wish list? To create the wish list, we brought together four datasets:
- OCLC’s list of one million most widely held books, based on holdings records of libraries worldwide;
- Library Link’s holdings records of North American libraries, leveraging the decisions of thousands of librarians in prioritizing collections for patron use;
- Open Syllabus Project, which has collected syllabi from the Internet to compile the most assigned books in classrooms;
- Data about book and scholarly article citations in Wikipedia, published by the Wikimedia Foundation…”