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Even soldiers who fight wars from a safe distance have found themselves traumatized. Could their injuries be moral ones?
The New York Times – The Wounds of the Drone Warrior – “…It has been almost 16 years since a missile fired from a drone struck a Toyota Land Cruiser in northwest Yemen, killing all six of its passengers and inaugurating a new era in American warfare. Today, targeted killings by drones have become the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism policy. Although the drone program is swathed in secrecy — the C.I.A. and the military share responsibility for it — American drones have been used to carry out airstrikes in at least eight different countries, analysts believe. Over the past decade, they have also provided reconnaissance for foreign military forces in half a dozen other countries. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based organization that has been tracking drone killings since 2010, U.S. drone strikes have killed between 7,584 and 10,918 people, including 751 to 1,555 civilians, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The U.S. government’s figures are far lower. It claims that between 64 and 116 noncombatants outside areas of active hostilities were killed by drones between 2009 and 2016. But as a report published last year by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies noted, the government has failed to release basic information about civilian casualties or to explain in /detail why its data veers so significantly from that of independent monitors and NGOs. In Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, the report found, the government officially acknowledged just 20 percent of more than 700 reported strikes since 2002…”
“An Overview of Recent Findings – The United States continues to be in the grasp of an opioid epidemic. According to research done by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, drug death rates increased in almost every state between 2015 and 2016 — and those numbers continue to rise. The damage from opioid abuse is not limited to individual users, but has ripple effects that impact families, communities, and governments. Policymakers and activists are grappling with how to best address the problem, but are often stymied by budget constraints and a lack of evidence as to what actually works. Recent research, however, has found that legal access to marijuana may be a potential tool for addressing the opioid crisis…”
“Hiking is one of just a few sports that doesn’t require a gym membership or a pile of expensive gear. That being said, one necessity for an exceptional hike is beautiful scenery. Traversing green forests and taking in breathtaking views along the way makes for an unparalleled experience, and each state has at least one town that’s home to a handful of picturesque trails. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed trail database and online guide Hiking Project, which lists close to 150,000 miles of trails across the country. 24/7 Wall St. ranked the town or town equivalent with the most trails running through it as the best place to hike in each state. Not surprisingly, a majority of the towns on this list are located near state parks, nature preserves, or central to iconic hikes that pass through a number of states, such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. For example, the longest trail passing through Stehekin, Washington is section L of the Pacific Crest Trail, specifically the part that runs from Rainy Pass mountain in Washington to Manning Park, British Columbia. This 71-mile hike is the final stretch of the 2,650-mile long trail. Not all states are designed for hiking. Therefore, the best place to hike in one state may not even make the top 50 places in another state. The best place to hike in Nebraska, a state primarily made up of miles of grasslands, is Omaha, where the longest known trail is not even a full mile long. Omaha only has a total of 12 trails running through it, the most of any other place in Nebraska according to the Hiking Project database. At the other end of the spectrum is California, where hiking trails are abundant, and the number of towns is much greater. The census designated place of Yosemite Valley, California, though, ranks highest with an impressive 3,372 trails coursing through it…” Do not forget to seek out trails close to home – there are no doubt terrific sites nearby that are not “famous” but will help you enjoy outdoor walking and hiking without traveling.
Bike Friendly Cities Index 2018: “The Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. The interest in taking the bicycle seriously as transport once again continues unabated around the world. Every city used to be bicycle friendly before planners and engineers started to change the paradigm and plan for cars and relegate bicycle users, pedestrians and public transport users to third class citizens. Now those cities around the world who are taking up the challenge and modernising themselves by implementing bicycle infrastructure, policy, bike share systems, etc. – as well as restricting car use – are the cities we all look to for New Century inspiration. The ranking system was developed in 2011 together with James Schwartz from The Urban Country. Inspiration was gleaned from rankings like Monocle’s Liveable Cities Index and rankings produced by The Economist. In short, cities are given between 0 and 4 points in 14 different categories. In addition, there is a potential for a maximum of 12 bonus points awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results. In the case of a tie, the city with the highest baseline score is ranked higher. The 14 parameters are effective at determining the bicycle friendliness of any given city, showing what’s in place at the time of ranking. The bonus points allow us highlight extra efforts that are difficult to see in the parameters. For example, a city may score down the middle on politics because the mayor and other politicians are promising infrastructure. Bonus points can assist in determining the level of the political will and the scope of the proposed work. Once the infrastructure starts being built, the city will score higher in Infrastructure next time around…” [the team’s graphics rock – terrific report – highlights important innovations in transportation in cities that will surprise you!]
World Health Organization: “The 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion that allows for:
- easy storage, retrieval and analysis of health information for evidenced-based decision-making;
- sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings and countries; and
- data comparisons in the same location across different time periods.
Uses include monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases, observing reimbursements and resource allocation trends, and keeping track of safety and quality guidelines. They also include the counting of deaths as well as diseases, injuries, symptoms, reasons for encounter, factors that influence health status, and external causes of disease…”
“..Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die. What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions. Hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers have been trying for years to better use stockpiles of electronic health records and other patient data. More information shared and highlighted at the right time could save lives — and at the very least help medical workers spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. But current methods of mining health data are costly, cumbersome and time consuming. As much as 80 percent of the time spent on today’s predictive models goes to the “scut work” of making the data presentable, said Nigam Shah, an associate professor at Stanford University, who co-authored Google’s research paper, published in the journal Nature. Google’s approach avoids this. “You can throw in the kitchen sink and not have to worry about it,” Shah said…”
“The politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements In today’s fast-paced and complex information environment, news consumers must make rapid-fire judgments about how to internalize news-related statements – statements that often come in snippets and through pathways that provide little context. A new Pew Research Center survey of 5,035 U.S. adults examines a basic step in that process: whether members of the public can recognize news as factual – something that’s capable of being proved or disproved by objective evidence – or as an opinion that reflects the beliefs and values of whoever expressed it. The findings from the survey, conducted between Feb. 22 and March 8, 2018, reveal that even this basic task presents a challenge. The main portion of the study, which measured the public’s ability to distinguish between five factual statements and five opinion statements, found that a majority of Americans correctly identified at least three of the five statements in each set. But this result is only a little better than random guesses. Far fewer Americans got all five correct, and roughly a quarter got most or all wrong. Even more revealing is that certain Americans do far better at parsing through this content than others. Those with high political awareness, those who are very digitally savvy and those who place high levels of trust in the news media are better able than others to accurately identify news-related statements as factual or opinion…”
Via Bob Ambrogi: “In 2012, something happened that I called a sea change in the legal profession: The American Bar Association formally approved a change to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to make clear that lawyers have a duty to be competent not only in the law and its practice, but also in technology. More specifically, the ABA’s House of Delegates voted to amend Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1, which pertains to competence, to read as follows: Maintaining Competence – To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject. (Emphasis added.) Of course, the Model Rules are just that — a model. They provide guidance to the states in formulating their own rules of professional conduct. Each state is free to adopt, reject, ignore or modify the Model Rules. For the duty of technology competence to apply to the lawyers in any given state, that state’s high court (or rule-setting body) would first have to adopt it. On this page, I track the states that have formally adopted the revised comment to Rule 1.1. The total so far is 31…”
Quartz: “Hang on to your data, dear Facebook friends. Cambridge Analytica—the political consultancy that collapsed into bankruptcy in May after a scandal about its nefarious information-collection methods—is apparently metamorphosing. The company that Marc Zuckerberg admitted targeted 87 million Facebook users’ data, and whose work could well have influenced elections in the US and UK, may be currently disgraced. But it also appears to be putting a new face on its same old data-gathering gig. The Associated Press (AP) on June 15 reported that top staffers from the fallen consultancy are back on the job at a newly-formed company with a name that’s eerily reminiscent of the last place they worked—Data Propria. As the name implies, the new company is similarly preoccupied with gathering information, specifically to target voters and consumers. Basically, it’s the same mission that Cambridge Analytica had. Matt Oczkowski—head of product at the predecessor firm—is leading Data Propria, which also employs Cambridge Analytica’s former chief data scientist, David Wilkinson, and others from the scandal-ridden company…”
“It’s not just Google and Facebook that are spying on you. Your TV, your cellphone provider and even your LinkedIn account have side hustles in your data. But, in many cases, you can opt out — if you know where to look. I dug into a bunch of popular products and services you might not think of as data vacuums or security risks and found their default privacy settings often aren’t very private. So I collected here some common settings you can change to stop giving away so much. The following links will let you skip ahead to clickable instructions for televisions, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo, cellphone carriers and WiFi routers. Two weeks ago, I offered similar suggestions on the worst default settings for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Thousands of you told me about your experiences trying to protect your privacy and asked about how to go further…”
New on LLRX – The Case of the Torn Presidential Record and the Future of Its Library– Brandon Wright Adler addresses the destruction of Presidential documents and records brought to our attention this past week in a rather startling article published by Politico – “The president’s unofficial ‘filing system’ involves tearing up documents into pieces, even when they’re supposed to be preserved.” As law librarians, we clearly understand the duty and responsibility to uphold the and to advocate that all such documents remain available to the public and researchers.
Quartz: “Imagine you’re driving in a foreign country and a police officer stops you on the road. You don’t speak the cop’s language and they don’t speak yours, so a halting exchange ensues using a laptop and Google Translate. You’re not always sure what the officer is asking, and you end up agreeing to something you didn’t quite understand, and are arrested. That’s what happened to Omar Cruz-Zamora, a Mexican native in the US on a legal visa, in Kansas last September. Based on a typed exchange using Google Translate, he agreed to let police search his car—he wasn’t legally required to—and was arrested for possession of 14 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamines. On June 4, a Kansas court (pdf) granted Cruz-Zamora’s motion to suppress the evidence, finding Google Translate isn’t good enough for constitutional search purposes. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits searches and seizures without a warrant. A person who agrees to a warrantless search must provide consent knowingly, freely, and voluntarily. But the Kansas court found the Google Translate’s “literal but nonsensical” interpretations changed the meaning of the officer’s questions, and as a result Cruz-Zamora’s consent to the search couldn’t really have been knowing…”
POGO: “The fight between the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Department of Justice continues to build, but there’s a new twist: A top DOJ official has reportedly promised to request lawyers for the House of Representatives investigate the Committee’s staff for unspecified misconduct. CNN reported Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has promised to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when Rosenstein returns from a foreign trip this week. Can he do that? He can ask, but it’s a pointless exercise, says Mort Rosenberg, one of the leading experts on Congressional procedure and oversight authorities, and a fellow with The Constitution Project at the Project On Government Oversight. “I don’t quite fathom what Rosenstein is suggesting,” Rosenberg wrote in response to an inquiry. “I hardly think the House General Counsel would conduct an investigation” at the request of Rosenstein, Rosenberg said. The House Office of General Counsel has no responsibility to oversee the conduct of House staff or members, Rosenberg explained. It is the chamber’s legal advocate and adviser. It is more likely to defend the House against charges of misconduct than it is to make them. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has pressed Rosenstein for months for information from the Russia investigation, and had issued a subpoena for certain sensitive documents DOJ had declined to produce. The standoff led to remarkable briefings last month, coordinated by the White House, between DOJ officials, senior Congressional Republicans, and top Congressional intelligence oversight members, in which highly classified information from the investigation was to be shared…”
Via EveryCRSReport.com: The June 12 Trump-Kim Jong-un Summit – June 12, 2018
“On June 12, 2018, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program, building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and the future of U.S. relations with North Korea (known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK). During their summit, the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two countries, Trump and Kim issued a brief joint statement in which Trump “committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK,” and Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The Singapore document is shorter on details than with North Korea and acts as a statement of principles in four areas:
- Normalization: The two sides “commit to establish” new bilateral relations.
- Peace: The U.S. and DPRK agree to work to build “a lasting and stable peace regime.”
- Denuclearization: North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” as was also promised in an April 2018 summit between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
- POW/MIA remains: The two sides will work to recover the remains of thousands of U.S. troops unaccounted for during the Korean War.
Speaking at a press conference without Kim after the summit, Trump said:
- U.S.-DPRK denuclearization negotiations would continue and resume at an early date;
- Kim pledged to destroy a “major missile engine testing site;”
- He will invite Kim to the White House;
- He raised human rights issues with Kim, though “relatively briefly compared to denuclearization.” Trump appeared to downplay the state of DPRK human rights by saying that human rights conditions are also “rough in a lot of places”;
- The U.S. would suspend annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which Trump called “war games” and “provocative,” during nuclear negotiations. He said the move, which was not accompanied by any apparent commensurate move by Pyongyang and reportedly surprised South Korea and U.S. military commanders, would save “a tremendous amount of money.” Trump also expressed a hope of eventually withdrawing the approximately 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. Post-summit remarks by the Administration created confusion about whether all exercises or only some types will be suspended.
Notable items not present in the statement or Trump’s remarks include details about a timeframe or verification protocols for denuclearization, and a commitment by Kim to dismantle the DPRK’s ballistic missile program.”
Law Technology Today: “Legal analytics involves mining data contained in case documents and docket entries, and then aggregating that data to provide previously unknowable insights into the behavior of the individuals (judges and lawyers), organizations (parties, courts, law firms), and the subjects of lawsuits (such as patents) that populate the litigation ecosystem. Litigators use legal analytics to reveal trends and patterns in past litigation that inform legal strategy and anticipate outcomes in current cases. While every litigator learns how to conduct legal research in law school, performs legal research on the job (or reviews research conducted by associates or staff), and applies the fruits of legal research to the facts of their cases, many may not yet have encountered legal analytics. Data-driven insights from legal analytics do not replace legal research or reasoning, or lawyers themselves. They are a supplement, both prior to and during litigation…”
Atlas Obscura: “In 1875, Alfred Marks learned he was about to lose an old friend. The Oxford Arms, north of St. Paul’s Cathedral, had spent centuries as a coaching inn, a place for travelers to stay while heading into or out of London. Then it had become a tenement house. It was, as Marks later wrote, “an excellent example of the galleried Inns”—rooming houses with interior balconies, so that visitors could take in stage shows and other entertainment—“now becoming every year more scarce.” Now, it was to be knocked down in order to make room for the expanding grounds of the Old Bailey courts next door. It’s a feeling familiar to contemporary city-dwellers: a beloved building bites the dust. Who hasn’t walked past a nearby edifice, learned that it’s doomed by construction, and mourned their changing environs? The next step is often to snap a photo, for whenever that shiny new condo takes its place. Back in the 1870s, Marks had a similar instinct. He lacked an iPhone, but his era provided its own resources: commercial photographers, long-lasting carbon-based ink, and—most importantly—a city full of potential subjects, structures that might soon suffer the same fate as the Oxford Arms…”
Rampant Pregnancy Discrimination in America’s Top Companies – “Throughout the workplace, pregnancy discrimination remains widespread. It can start as soon as a woman is showing and often lasts through her early years as a mother. The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of court and public records and interviewed dozens of women, their lawyers and government officials. A clear pattern emerged. Many of the country’s largest and most prestigious companies still systematically sideline pregnant women. They pass them over for promotions and raises. They fire them when they complain…”
School Library Journal: “Looking for short-term use of cake tins, camping equipment, or bikes? These libraries lend out all of those items and more. In all of these cases, patrons pay for loss or damage, but librarians say it hasn’t been much of a problem. What unusual items are available for checkout in your library of things?” [Note – be sure to read the Comments section of this article.]
Study finds strongest, most potent predictor of sexual harassment is essentially the culture of the company
HufffPo – “When sexual harassment happens, it’s easy ― and not wrong ― to blame individual perpetrators, i.e., the “bad men.” And over the past couple of years, lots of men have been fired, demoted, arrested and publicly shamed for various acts of sexual misconduct. But a major study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine outlines a more comprehensive way of looking at sexual harassment within organizations and identifies the strongest predictor of such behavior. Surprisingly, it has little to do with individual perpetrators. The study finds that the strongest, most potent predictor of sexual harassment is essentially the culture of the company ― what the researchers call “organizational climate.” If employees believe that their organization takes harassment seriously, then harassment is less likely to happen, according to the 311-page report released Tuesday. That faith in fair treatment acts as a deterrent against bad actors and encourages workers to speak up about harassment ― key to keeping bad behavior at bay…”