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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

FDIC BankFindSuite

3 hours 31 min ago

BankFind Suite is a way for users to search the FDIC’s extensive data records. BankFind Suite allows you to locate current and former FDIC-insured banking institutions by name, FDIC certificate number, website and/or by location. The Suite also allows a user to follow the history and financial trends of an individual institution, group of institutions, or the industry as a whole.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Ocean heatwaves dramatically shift habitats

3 hours 45 min ago

NOAA – “Thermal displacement” reflects how far species must go to follow preferred temperatures. Marine heat waves across the world’s oceans can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10s to thousands of kilometers. They dramatically shift these animals’ preferred temperatures in a fraction of the time that climate change is expected to do the same, new research shows. To measure that temporary dislocation of ocean surface temperatures, which can in turn drive ecological changes, NOAA scientists have now introduced a new metric called “thermal displacement.” A research paper describing the changes and the means of measuring them was published in the journal Nature this week. Research scientist Michael Jacox of NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center called it a powerful new way of looking at marine heatwaves. “When the environment changes, many species move,” Jacox said. “This research helps us understand and measure the degree of change they may be responding to.” Scientists have typically characterized marine heatwaves based on how much they increase sea surface temperatures, and for how long. Such local warming particularly affects stationary organisms such as corals. In contrast, thermal displacement measures how far mobile species must move to track ocean surface temperatures. The extent of thermal displacement caused by marine heatwaves may not necessarily correspond to their intensity. Thermal displacement depends on the sea surface temperature gradient, the rate at which temperature changes across the ocean. If a heatwave warms an area of ocean, fish, turtles, whales, and other species may have to travel great distances if the temperature gradient is weak, but not if the gradient is strong. “It may give us an idea how the ecosystem may change in the future,” said Michael Alexander, research meteorologist at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory and a coauthor of the new research. The changes may have implications for coastal communities if commercial fish species shift. Fishermen would have to travel hundreds of miles farther to reach them, he said…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Attorney General James Files Lawsuit to Dissolve NRA

3 hours 49 min ago

“New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest and most influential pro-gun organization in the nation. Attorney General James charges the organization with illegal conduct because of their diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty. The suit specifically charges the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Wear Your Mask. Please. No, Not on Your Chin.

3 hours 55 min ago

The New York Times – More than 30 states have enacted mask requirements to guard against the coronavirus. But local authorities have had a difficult time enforcing them. “More than 30 states and an even larger number of cities have enacted a hodgepodge of mask ordinances and executive orders, but many municipalities are barely enforcing them…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Elsevier OA CC-BY Corpus

4 hours 29 min ago

Mendeley: “Description of this data – This is a corpus of 40k (40,001) open access (OA) CC-BY articles from across Elsevier’s journals represent the first cross-discipline research of data at this scale to support NLP and ML research. This dataset was released to support the development of ML and NLP models targeting science articles from across all research domains. While the release builds on other datasets designed for specific domains and tasks, it will allow for similar datasets to be derived or for the development of models which can be applied and tested across domains.”

See also Elsevier OA CC-By Corpus Daniel Kershaw, Rob Koeling – “We introduce the Elsevier OA CC-BY corpus. This is the first open corpus of Scientific Research papers which has a representative sample from across scientific disciplines. This corpus not only includes the full text of the article, but also the metadata of the documents, along with the bibliographic information for each reference.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Court says federal judiciary is overcharging for access to public records online

4 hours 47 min ago

Washington Post: “The federal judiciary is overcharging for public access to online court records, an appeals court ruled Thursday in a decision that could result in lower fees to search and download case documents. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said affordable access to public records is critical for oversight and transparency in the nation’s court system. “If large swaths of the public cannot afford the fees required to access court records, it will diminish the public’s ability ‘to participate in and serve as a check upon the judicial process — an essential component in our structure of self-government,’ ” wrote Judge Todd M. Hughes, who was joined by Judges Alan D. Lourie and Raymond C. Clevenger III. The ruling does not eliminate the paywall for the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. But the decision upholds a District Court finding that the current 10 cents per page charge is “higher than necessary to operate” the system. The court limited fees to the amount needed to cover the cost of providing access to docket information online…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Trump’s radical lawsuit against Nevada’s vote-by-mail law, explained

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 23:54

Vox: “On Monday [August 3, 200), Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed legislation intended to ensure that voters in his state can still cast a ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic. Among other things, the new law (known as AB4) provides that registered Nevada voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail, a common practice in Western states. It also requires the state to provide a minimum number of polling places for in-person voters, both on Election Day and for early voting. President Trump’s response to this new law was apoplectic. On Tuesday, one day after AB4 became law, Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party, seeking to block it. Their legal complaint in Donald J. Trump for President v. Cegavske is not a model of careful legal argumentation. It claims, for example, that AB4 changed Nevada law to allow mailed-in ballots without postmarks to be counted so long as they arrive within three days of Election Day. In fact, Nevada law already allowed such ballots to be counted. An entire section of the complaint focuses on the fact that AB4 was enacted “on a weekend vote” — the state House approved the bill on a Friday, but the Senate passed it on a Sunday — without explaining how the day of the bill’s passage was relevant to its legality…”

Categories: Law and Legal

World’s Biggest Landlord Buys World’s Biggest Genealogy Website

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 23:40

Gizmodo: “The Blackstone Group will buy a majority stake in the genealogy website in a deal worth $4.7 billion, according to a press release published Wednesday. Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, is the world’s largest landlord and Ancestry is the world’s largest genealogy website, with over 6 billion records on family history in the U.S. alone. Ancestry also provides DNA testing and has over 18 million DNA test results in its databases. Ancestry officially operates in over 34 countries around the world, though it’s accessible from pretty much anywhere on the planet. The genealogy website was founded in Utah in 1996 and has over three million paying subscribers with revenue of roughly $1 billion a year. The company has expanded into DNA testing in recent years and has partnered with drug companies to share data, raising plenty of eyebrows among privacy activists. The Pentagon has even warned U.S. military personnel against using DNA test kits available from companies like Ancestry and 23andMe. Blackstone is buying a 75% stake in Ancestry, according to the Financial Times, and owns hundreds of thousands of properties around the world. Blackstone owns both commercial and residential real estate in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America, including high-profile hotels like the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the biggest apartment complex in Manhattan. The properties are often owned under countless subsidiary names…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to sign a PDF for free, and 4 other tricks that don’t require Adobe Acrobat

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 23:30

Fast Company: “Whether you’re using Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader or fully functional Acrobat, most of us can agree that while reading PDFs using these tools isn’t so bad, once you start trying to actually work with PDFs, things can get clunky quickly. It doesn’t help that the programs launch slower than a frozen Buick in a Minnesota winter. And while some of what you’ll read below can be replicated inside the official Adobe apps, oftentimes it’s quicker and more convenient to just stay inside your browser and fire up the right tool for the job. In that spirit, here are some cool things you can do with your PDFs without using any special software…”

Categories: Law and Legal

In These Neighborhoods, the Jobless Rate May Top 30 Percent

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 22:26

The New York Times: “The economic damage from the coronavirus is most visible in areas like Midtown Manhattan, where lunch spots have closed, businesses have gone dark and once-crowded sidewalks have emptied. But some of the worst economic pain lies in other neighborhoods, in the places where workers who’ve endured the broadest job losses live. In corners of the Bronx, South Los Angeles or the South Side of Chicago, unemployment is concentrated to a breathtaking degree. And that means that other problems still to come — a wave of evictions, deepening poverty, more childhood hunger — will be geographically concentrated, too. Data estimating neighborhood-level unemployment rates suggests that as many as one in three workers in these areas are jobless, deeply widening economic disparities within cities. In New York City, it’s as if parts of the Bronx were experiencing the Great Depression while the Upper East Side faced only modest drops in employment, according to Yair Ghitza and Mark Steitz, analysts who have estimated unemployment at the census tract level based on national economic statistics over the last six months…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Wireless Charging Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:46

Medium OneZero: “Wireless charging is increasingly common in modern smartphones, and there’s even speculation that Apple might ditch charging via a cable entirely in the near future. But the slight convenience of juicing up your phone by plopping it onto a pad rather than plugging it in comes with a surprisingly robust environmental cost. According to new calculations from OneZero and iFixit, wireless charging is drastically less efficient than charging with a cord, so much so that the widespread adoption of this technology could necessitate the construction of dozens of new power plants around the world. (Unless manufacturers find other ways to make up for the energy drain, of course.) On paper, wireless charging sounds appealing. Just drop a phone down on a charger and it will start charging. There’s no wear and tear on charging ports, and chargers can even be built into furniture. Not all of the energy that comes out of a wall outlet, however, ends up in a phone’s battery. Some of it gets lost in the process as heat. While this is true of all forms of charging to a certain extent, wireless chargers lose a lot of energy compared to cables. They get even less efficient when the coils in the phone aren’t aligned properly with the coils in the charging pad, a surprisingly common problem…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Disinformation campaigns are murky blends of truth, lies and sincere beliefs – lessons from the pandemic

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:31

The Conversation: “The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned an infodemic, a vast and complicated mix of information, misinformation and disinformation. In this environment, false narratives – the virus was “planned,” that it originated as a bioweapon, that COVID-19 symptoms are caused by 5G wireless communications technology – have spread like wildfire across social media and other communication platforms. Some of these bogus narratives play a role in disinformation campaigns. The notion of disinformation often brings to mind easy-to-spot propaganda peddled by totalitarian states, but the reality is much more complex. Though disinformation does serve an agenda, it is often camouflaged in facts and advanced by innocent and often well-meaning individuals…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Public to Private Equity in the United States: A Long-Term Look

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:26

Morgan Stanley: “Over the past quarter century there has been a marked shift in U.S. equities from public markets to private markets controlled by buyout and venture capital firms. This change has had reverberations for asset managers, investors, executives, and policy makers. In this report we seek to answer the following questions:

  • What have been the major drivers behind the shift from public to private equities in the U.S.?
  • Why are there fewer public companies today than there were 25 years ago
  • What are the long-term trends in buyouts?
  • What are the long-term trends in venture capital?
  • Where do we go from here?

Markets have become more sophisticated over time as the result of the growth in institutional money management, financial innovation, and sharply lower technology costs. Large institutional investors, including pension funds and endowments, face the prospect of swelling future liabilities and diminished expected returns for most asset classes. As a result, they have reduced their portfolio allocation to public securities and have increased their allocation to private equity, where returns have historically been higher…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Treasury and Federal Reserve Financial Assistance in Title IV of the CARES Act

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:22

Treasury and Federal Reserve Financial Assistance in Title IV of the CARES Act (P.L.116-136) Updated August 5, 2020: “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act;H.R. 748)was signed into law as P.L. 116-136on March 27, 2020,to assist those affected by the economic impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019(COVID-19). This assistance is targeted to consumers, businesses, and the financial services sector. A key part of this assistance is provided to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities in Division A, Title IV of the CARES Act.Title IV allocates $500 billion to the Department of the Treasury,through the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF),to make loans and guarantees for three specified industries—passenger airlines, cargo airlines, and businesses critical to national security—and to support Federal Reserve lending facilities. Some have characterized this as a “bailout” of private industry;others assert it is necessary to avoid employment losses and maintain economic stability. Of the $500 billion, Treasury can make up to $25 billion available to passenger airlines, up to $4 billion to cargo airlines, and up to $17 billion to businesses critical to maintaining national security. Treasury can make the remainder—up to $454 billion, plus whatever is not used to assist the specified industries—available to the Federal Reserve. Recipients are legally required to repay assistance with interest, although the ultimate subsidy involved will not be known until terms, such as interest rates and fees, have been decided…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Why Markets Don’t Seem to Care If the Economy Stinks

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:21

The Big Picture – Barry Ritholtz: “The economy we each experience – local, personal and (for the most part) not publicly traded – has been awful. To explain why these subjective experiences are not weighing down equity markets, we must look more closely into the intersection between the weakest industry sectors in 2020 and their impact on equity markets. The surprising conclusion: The most visible and economically significant market sectors are also among the smallest weight by market capitalization. Markets are not especially affected by highly visible but relatively tiny sectors. The 30 most economically damaged sub-sectors could be de-listed before tomorrow’s open, and it would hardly shave more than a few percentage points off the S&P 500 index. This despite the worst America economy since the Great Depression (if not ever). It is an “Off the Charts” economy, with data series like Gross Domestic Product, Unemployment Rate, Initial Jobless Claims so bad they must be re-scaled to even fit on charts. There has never been an economic contraction of the depth and speed of 2020’s in American history…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How search data can inform larger online business

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 18:53

SearchEngineLand: “Decision makers in their respective silos are generally unaware of the value in the data Google shares so it’s your job to disperse this knowledge across your organization. Sebastian Compagnucci – “As an SEO I’m constantly utilizing keyword search volume data to help make more informed decisions about clients’ online presence. But the reality is, this data has way more use cases than anyone gives it credit for. The role of a decision maker in any online business requires the ability to gather (or be presented with), understand, and forecast with all types of data. Simple yet effective methods for identifying trends in online searches can ensure you’re getting your product or services in front of the right people at the right time. This is particularly useful if you sell a variety of seasonal products online. But the same process can be leveraged for single-focus businesses, as well. This data can then trickle down to a variety of team members, from SEO and Paid Search Account Managers, to merchandisers and content strategists. How you ask? Let’s look at some use cases…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Senators Push for Continued Telework, Contractor Leave in COVID-19 Relief Talks

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 18:14

Government Executive: “As lawmakers continue negotiations over the next round of coronavirus response legislation, senators are pushing congressional leadership to include additional provisions protecting federal employees and contractors. In a July 31 letter, a bipartisan group of 22 senators, led by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include language in the next COVID-19 relief bill that would provide a “clear mandate” that agencies and federal contractors continue to offer maximum telework to all eligible employees. “All federal employees and contractors who can perform their duties remotely should be doing so,” they wrote. “Agencies should enable telework for as many federal workers and contractor personnel as possible, and should continue to maximize telework throughout the pandemic. Telework protects not only federal employees from the spread of COVID-19, but also their families and the communities across the country in which they work.” The lawmakers also cautioned against ongoing efforts by some agencies to bring employees back to the office. In recent weeks, federal employee groups have decried efforts by the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency in particular to order workers back to federal facilities…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Five high schoolers named National Student Poets

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 17:03

AP: Five high school juniors, residing everywhere from Lake Worth, Florida, to Saratoga, California, have been named National Student Poets. A partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the student poet program was launched in 2011, with winners contributing to community programs and and poetry events and performing their work everywhere from Lincoln Center to the White House. Winning applicants each represent a different region and are chosen based on creativity, dedication and promise. This year’s poets are Isabella Ramirez, from Lake Worth; Ethan Wang, from Katy, Texas; Manasi Garg, from Saratoga; Madelyn Dietz, from St. Paul, Minn.; and Anthony Wiles, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Each receives a $5,000 cash award…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Remote work really does mean longer days and more meetings

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 23:16

Washington Post: ” The massive global shift to remote work since the pandemic began has led to some upsides: More flexibility, no commute, more comfortable pants. But those who sense this grand experiment in working from home also comes with plenty of downsides — longer days, more meetings and more email to answer — are now backed up by data from 3.1 million workers. The average workday lengthened by 48.5 minutes in the weeks following stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, and the number of meetings increased by 13 percent, a working paper published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed. The study, which examined the anonymous email and calendar data of more than three million users from an unnamed tech provider, also found significant increases in internal email and in meeting sizes…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 22:42

Current Affairs: “Paywalls are justified, even though they are annoying. It costs money to produce good writing, to run a website, to license photographs. A lot of money, if you want quality. Asking people for a fee to access content is therefore very reasonable. You don’t expect to get a print subscription  to the newspaper gratis, why would a website be different? I try not to grumble about having to pay for online content, because I run a magazine and I know how difficult it is to pay writers what they deserve.  But let us also notice something: the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New RepublicNew York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. BreitbartFox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free! You want “Portland Protesters Burn Bibles, American Flags In The Streets,” “The Moral Case Against Mask Mandates And Other COVID Restrictions,” or an article suggesting the National Institutes of Health has admitted 5G phones cause coronavirus—they’re yours. You want the detailed Times reports on neo-Nazis infiltrating German institutions, the reasons contact tracing is failing in U.S. states, or the Trump administration’s undercutting of the USPS’s effectiveness—well, if you’ve clicked around the website a bit you’ll run straight into the paywall. This doesn’t mean the paywall shouldn’t be there. But it does mean that it costs time and money to access a lot of true and important information, while a lot of bullshit is completely free…”

Categories: Law and Legal