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gizmodo – “Thanks to the internet and all the apps and services that run on top of it, we can now ping someone on the other side of the world instantly—but that person doesn’t necessarily want to hear from you in the middle of the night. The same goes for social media sharing, because the time when inspiration strikes may not be the best time for sharing. Enter the magic of scheduling: Scheduling emails, instant messages, texts, and social media posts. You’ve now got a choice of native tools and add-ons for this, which means you don’t need to wake up your boss in the middle of the night or distract your friends in the middle of the working day…”
New via LLRX – Elder Resources on the Internet 2019 – The current estimated U.S. population 65 and older has reached a new milestone: 53,710,125 and growing daily. To provide come context to this number, “50 million seniors is more than the population of 25 states combined…” By 2030, the estimated population of those over 65 will be 70 million. This timely guide by Marcus Zillman identifies a range of online resources on aging, assisted living, senior health care and senior legal issues, as well as information on retirement.
A Washington Post video story – This is how Google’s Chrome lets the cookies track you, imagined in real life – “Chrome has become like spyware for the company, allowing more tracker cookies than any other browser. The Post’s Geoffrey A. Fowler imagines how that might feel in real life, and gives advice for more privacy-conscious web browsing…”
Medium – The Best Machine Learning Resources – “A compendium of resources for crafting a curriculum on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer – “You open your browser to look at the Web. Do you know who is looking back at you? Over a recent week of Web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the Web. This was made possible by the Web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software. [emphasis added] Lately I’ve been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really gets up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world’s biggest advertising company make the most popular Web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.
It made me decide to ditch Chrome for a new version of nonprofit Mozilla’s Firefox, which has default privacy protections. Switching involved less inconvenience than you might imagine. My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality. Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages. And that’s not the half of it….” [Note – one more time – Switch to Firefox and DuckDuckGo – and close out of Chrome and Gmail when you are using another browser!]…”
ABAJournal: “Parsing 6.7 million federal and state cases and 12 billion words, a new tool allows the public to explore the use of language over 360 years of caselaw. Released [June 19, 2019], “Historical Trends” was built by the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab and is free to use. “I think it’s a good example of a research tool that we can offer that the commercial providers have never been inclined to explore,” says Adam Ziegler, director of the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab.
The tool allows a user to explore the use of language in caselaw dating back to the colonial period. A user can track the historical utilization of a word like “privacy,” which was fairly dormant during the 19th and early 20th centuries before receiving much more attention in the 1950s and 1960s. Or, a comparison can be made to see which is more commonly referred to in litigation, such as Harvard or Yale. (Turns out, it’s Yale by a mile.) The tool can also visualize the use of a word across various states, as explained in a blog post by Kelly Fitzpatrick, a research associate at the Library Innovation Lab. For example, Nevada is currently leading the country in cases mentioning the Fifth Amendment, while Iowa has seen a recent uptick in Ninth Amendment mentions, for some reason. The tool is plugged into the repository of cases released last fall as the Caselaw Access Project. Outside of the Library of Congress, it is the most comprehensive database of its kind—totaling 200 terabytes of information…”
iFixit: “Rice can transform an economy, save a boring meal, and stop winter drafts. One thing it absolutely, positively cannot do is save a wet cell phone. In fact, submerging your phone in rice makes the problem worse, especially if it’s still powered on. Say it with us: Rice is a food, not a tool. Food rice good, phone rice bad. Okay, you’re still here, good. Let us delve into why submerging your phone rice—or kitty litter, or dessicant packets—right after it gets wet can’t do anything for your soaked phone…”
The New York Times – “The Supreme Court was transformed this term by the departure of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, its longtime swing vote, and the arrival of his more conservative successor, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Here are some of the term’s most important cases, ones that will help chart the future of a court in transition…”
Poynter: “Peter Cunliffe-Jones is the founder of the fact-checking organization Africa Check. He delivered the keynote address at Global Fact 6, the annual meeting of the International Fact-checking Network. Below is an edited version of his remarks. “I first became interested in the harm done by misinformation because of a false rumor about vaccines that emerged, not online – in a WhatsApp group, or a hidden space on the dark web – but which started in a Nigerian mosque or mosques, spread to local newspapers, was picked up by a prominent local politician, reported as fact by national papers, and, when the false claims when unchallenged, saw him create bad policy — a vaccine ban — in his state of Kano in the north of the country. Misinformation is often described as spreading like a virus… How do we end the harm that that sort of misinformation causes? Rumors that spread in on- and off-line communities, and are turned into bad practice, or — if they make it to politicians — into bad policy? What Bill Adair says is true.
Fact-checking does keep growing. But look at our budgets, our staffing, our resources, and you have to ask, how can we tackle this sort of misinformation – effectively – when we are still so small? Can we do it alone? Most academic work on fact-checking has been focused, to date, on the question of whether presenting the public with corrective information – a fact-check – will get them to update a false view. There’s a good reason for that. It’s how most of us work. And despite all the gloomy “post truth” headlines of 2016, there is growing evidence that doing this, in the right format, and repeating it, does work, for a while at least, in helping people to update their views…”
Harvard study reveals that open-plan offices decrease rather than increase face-to-face collaboration
- Six Sigma, where employees wear different colored belts (like in karate) to show they’ve been trained in the methodology.
- Stack Ranking, where employees are encouraged to rat each other out in order to secure their own advancement and budget.
- Consensus Management, where all decisions must pass through multiple committees before being implemented.
It need hardly be said that these fads were and are (at best) a waste of time and (at worst) a set of expensive distractions. But open plan offices are worse. Much worse. Why? Because they decrease rather than increase employee collaboration. As my colleague Jessica Stillman pointed out last week, a new study from Harvard showed that when employees move from a traditional office to an open plan office, it doesn’t cause them to interact more socially or more frequently. Instead, the opposite happens. They start using email and messaging with much greater frequency than before. In other words, even if collaboration were a great idea (it’s a questionable notion), open plan offices are the worst possible way to make it happen. Previous studies of open plan offices have shown that they make people less productive, but most of those studies gave lip service to the notion that open plan offices would increase collaboration, thereby offsetting the damage.
The Harvard study, by contrast, undercuts the entire premise that justifies the fad. And that leaves companies with only one justification for moving to an open plan office: less floor space, and therefore a lower rent. But even that justification is idiotic because the financial cost of the loss in productivity will be much greater than the money saved in rent. Here’s an article where I do the math for you. Even in high-rent districts, the savings have a negative ROI…”
Morning Consult – “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is taking steps toward ending its prohibition on advertising for cannabidiol products through a trial program that allows select companies in the budding hemp sub-industry to purchase ads on its platform, according to one CBD retailer that was asked to participate. Shedrack Anderson, co-founder of the CBD-infused skincare line Chilyo LP, said Thursday that Google approached him to be part of a “trial realm” of companies that could purchase advertising on the site through its Google Ads portal. He declined to say when Google made its overture or how many other CBD retailers are in the program.
Advertising on Google is currently prohibited for companies selling products containing CBD. The tech giant lists cannabidiol under its unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements for its ad platform, so CBD brands have to rely on search engine optimization to appear higher in search engine results…”
“Technological convergence, in general, refers to the trend or phenomenon where two or more independent technologies integrate and form a new outcome. One example is the smartphone. A smartphone integrated several independent technologies—such as telephone, computer, camera, music player, television (TV), and geolocating and navigation tool—into a single device. The smartphone has become its own, identifiable category of technology, establishing a $350 billion industry. Of the three closely associated convergences—technological convergence, media convergence, and network convergence—consumers most often directly engage with technological convergence. Technological convergent devices share three key characteristics. First, converged devices can execute multiple functions to serve blended purpose. Second, converged devices can collect and use data in various formats and employ machine learning techniques to deliver enhanced user experience. Third, converged devices are connected to a network directly and/or are interconnected with other devices to offer ubiquitous access to users…”
Via LLRX – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledge economy; China Summons Tech Giants to Warn Against Cooperating With Trump Ban; New RCE vulnerability impacts nearly half of the internet’s email servers; and NARA Considers Blockchain to Verify Records Amid Rise in Deepfake Videos.
WSJ.com – Google Maps is filled with false business addresses created by firms pretending to be nearby – “Out of habit, Nancy Carter, a retired federal employee, turned to Google for help one August evening. She ended the night wishing she hadn’t. Ms. Carter had pulled into her Falls Church, Va., driveway and saw the garage door was stuck. The 67-year-old searched Google and found the listing of a local repair service she had used before. She phoned in a house call. Google’s ubiquitous internet platform shapes what’s real and what isn’t for more than 2 billion monthly users. Yet Google Maps, triggered by such Google queries as the one Ms. Carter made, is overrun with millions of false business addresses and fake names, according to advertisers, search experts and current and former Google employees…
A man arrived at Ms. Carter’s home in an unmarked van and said he was a company contractor. He wasn’t. After working on the garage door, he asked for $728, almost twice the cost of previous repairs, Ms. Carter said. He demanded cash or a personal check, but she refused. “I’m at my house by myself with this guy,” she said. “He could have knocked me over dead.” The repairman had hijacked the name of a legitimate business on Google Maps and listed his own phone number. He returned to Ms. Carter’s home again and again, hounding her for payment of a repair so shoddy it had to be redone…”
CNET: “…As we stuff and mount the dead in museum hallways, scientists are working to stop the carnage. One of our most powerful tools to fight biological obliteration is CRISPR, a burgeoning gene-editing technology that acts like a molecular blade, slicing DNA apart and allowing us to add and subtract genes at will. It’s now being used to combat invasive species, destroy antibiotic-resistance bacteria and, controversially, edit the genes of human embryos. In fact, it’s so exceptional at editing DNA that “de-extinction,” the process of bringing extinct species back from the dead, is on the table.
Science has already unraveled the DNA code of long-dead species such as the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and Australia’s iconic Tasmanian tiger — and now, pioneering researchers are using CRISPR to remake modern-day descendants in the image of their ancient counterparts. Could we transform an Asian elephant into a woolly mammoth? We are marching toward that reality…”
Quartz: “…The revelations of the Me Too movement prompted a national reckoning about the myriad ways that women are mistreated in the workplace. And though many people agree the movement was an important step in acknowledging the severity and pervasiveness of harassment, it hasn’t yet resulted in concrete ways to mitigate the behavior. It doesn’t matter if more companies adopt sexual harassment training or embrace it more emphatically if the training itself doesn’t do much. There aren’t reliable statistics for how many American workers have taken sexual harassment training. But we do know that corporate inquiries about sexual harassment training have increased over the past few years and five states have laws requiring employers to provide workplace harassment prevention training to employees. In California, for example, a new law says that employers with 5 or more employees must provide one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, including temporary or seasonal workers, and at least two 2 hours of training to supervisors. The trainings are done either in person or online. However, according to Sepler, most sexual harassment training programs and policies just don’t work…
“OCLC has signed agreements with leading publishers from around the world to add metadata for high-quality electronic and print books, journals, databases and learning materials that will make their content discoverable through WorldCat Discovery. OCLC has agreements in place with 350 publishers and content providers to supply metadata to facilitate discovery and access to key resources. OCLC recently signed agreements…” with 10 organizations, including:
- Knowledge Unlatched, located in Berlin, Germany, provides free access to scholarly content and gives libraries worldwide a central place to support Open Access models from leading publishing houses and new OA initiatives. Knowledge Unlatched works with over 110 publishers and has made more than 1,500 monographs and journals freely available.
- PLOS (Public Library of Science), based in San Francisco, California, USA, is a nonprofit Open Access publisher, innovator and advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. The PLOS suite of journals contains rigorously peer-reviewed Open Access research articles from all areas of science and medicine, together with expert commentary and analysis.
- The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, located at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA, is one of the world ‘s leading archives of social science data. The Center ‘s mission is to collect, preserve and disseminate public opinion data; to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and abroad. The Center holds data ranging from the 1930s to the present and includes over 23,000 datasets, adding hundreds more each year.
Metadata from many of these publishers will also be made available to users through other OCLC services, including WorldCat.org, based on individual agreements. Details about how this metadata may be used in library management workflows will be communicated to OCLC users as the data is available…”
“According to a study published on PayScale, legal occupations see some of the highest wage gaps not controlled by education or experience, some as high as 38.6 percent. While this looks and sounds like a catastrophic gap that may never close, there are some noticeable caveats to that statistic. First, while there are more women working in legal professions than men (at 68 percent), men dominate the higher-paying and higher-ranking legal jobs. In addition, this statistic includes legal support workers, such as paralegals and secretaries, which would give the statistics a certain skew, because these lower-status jobs are more likely to be filled by women. The wage gap in the legal industry, however, is a very real thing for women to consider. Here are the highlights concerning the wage gap among lawyers…”
Census.gov: “The nation as a whole continues to grow older with the median age increasing to 38.2 years in 2018, up from 37.2 years in 2010. The pace of this aging is different across race and ethnicity groups, according to new 2018 Population Estimates by demographic characteristics for the nation, states and counties, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. From 2010 to 2018, the U.S. population’s median age increased by 1.0 years. Amongst the different race groups:
- The white alone-or-in-combination population increased by 1.0 years.
- The black or African American alone-or-in-combination population grew by 1.4 years.
- The American Indian and Alaska Native alone-or-in-combination population increased by 2.2 years.
- The Asian alone-or-in-combination population increased by 1.7 years.
- The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone-or-in-combination population increased by 2.6 years.
- The Hispanic (any race) population experienced an increase in median age of 2.2 years.
“The nation is aging — more than 4 out of every 5 counties were older in 2018 than in 2010. This aging is driven in large part by baby boomers crossing over the 65-year-old mark. Now, half of the U.S. population is over the age of 38.2,” said Luke Rogers, the Chief of the Population Estimates Branch at the Census Bureau. “Along with this general aging trend, we also see variation among race and ethnicity groups both in growth patterns and aging.” Rogers also noted that alone-or-in-combination groups overlap and individuals who identify as being two or more races are included in more than one of these race groups…”