beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
engadget: “Google wants to help the approximately 48 million American adults who live with anxiety-related disorders find support. Starting today, the company’s search engine will allow users in the US to complete a Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) questionnaire from home. When you look for information about anxiety, you’ll see the seven-question survey appear inside the knowledge panel, the part of the platform’s interface that highlights some of the more pertinent facts related to your search query. The clinically-validated survey includes some of the same questions a health professional might ask a patient in person. It is designed to provide perspective to those who feel anxious about how their symptoms compare to ones experienced by other people…”
“As Millennials reach a new stage of life – the oldest among them will turn 39 this year – a clearer picture of how members of this generation are establishing their own families is coming into view. Previous research highlights not only the sheer size of the Millennial generation, which now surpasses Baby Boomers as the largest, but also its racial and ethnic diversity and high rates of educational attainment. This research also notes that Millennials have been slower than previous generations to establish their own households. A new analysis of government data by Pew Research Center shows that Millennials are taking a different path in forming – or not forming – families. Millennials trail previous generations at the same age across three typical measures of family life: living in a family unit, marriage rates and birth rates.
Living with a family is defined here as living with a spouse, one’s own child (or children) or both a spouse and child. Using this definition, Millennials are much less likely to be living with a family of their own than previous generations when they were the same age. In 2019, 55% of Millennials lived in this type of family unit. This compares with 66% of Gen Xers in 2003, 69% of Boomers in 1987 and 85% of members of the Silent Generation in 1968.
Millennials lag furthest behind in the share living with a spouse and child. Only three-in-ten Millennials fell into this category in 2019, compared with 40% of Gen Xers, 46% of Boomers and 70% of Silents when they were the age Millennials are now. At the same time, the share of Millennials who live with a spouse and no child is comparable to previous generations (13%), while the share living with a child but no spouse (12%) is the same as Gen X but higher than Boomers and Silents…”
Sizable majority favors option of voting by mail – “Over the past two months, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has had a devastating impact on nearly all aspects of life in the United States. And now, most Americans expect it will disrupt the presidential election in November. With just over six months until Election Day, two-thirds of Americans (67%) – including 80% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and half of Republicans and Republican leaners – say it is very or somewhat likely that the coronavirus outbreak will significantly disrupt people’s ability to vote in the presidential election. The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted April 7 to 12 among 4,917 U.S. adults on the Center’s American Trends Panel, finds broad public support for giving voters the option of voting by mail – and less widespread but growing support for conducting all elections by mail. Overall, 70% favor allowing any voter to vote by mail if they want to, including 44% who strongly support this policy. About half of the public (52%) favors conducting all elections by mail. The share supporting this proposal has increased 18 percentage points since 2018…”
POGO – “As the coronavirus pandemic continues, our country faces numerous challenges that will require not only extraordinary responses, but extraordinary vigilance to prevent the abuse of power during this crisis. And as unprecedented as many of these challenges are, the fear the virus provokes is not entirely novel. Accordingly, responses to past crises—most notably, several national security crises—offer a set of cautionary tales that policymakers today would be wise to heed. It is critical that we learn from our nation’s reactions to those situations to protect democratic society during this pandemic, and in the years to come. History shows that times of crisis are when civil rights and civil liberties are at the greatest risk. Constitutional rights are often not convenient. In fact, the framers of the Constitution designed many of those rights to inconvenience government. But it is essential that the government not treat national security and constitutional rights as an either-or, even and especially during a crisis, when the challenges at hand may also hamper good policymaking. The Constitution prohibits the government from infringing upon our personal liberty because the threats posed by breaches of our rights can be far worse than the problems the government may seek to solve. Infringements upon individual rights can have a corrosive effect on democracy that makes them hard to reverse…”
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – “The novel coronavirus (COVID) pandemic and resulting economic crisis has been met with an unprecedented policy response. Through legislative, administrative, and Federal Reserve actions, policymakers are currently working to pour trillions of dollars into the economy. COVID Money Tracker is a new initiative of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget focused on identifying these dollars and tracking their disbursement. The project will ultimately feature a state-of-the-art interactive database similar to Stimulus.org, where we tracked stimulus, financial rescue, and extraordinary Federal Reserve measures enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. COVID Money Tracker will ultimately track every major action taken by Congress, the Federal Reserve, the executive branch, and various federal agencies, following how much is disbursed over time, where the funds go, and how much is recovered through loan repayments, dividends, or equity repurchases…”
The New York Times – Temperature checks, desk shields and no public transit: The guidelines would remake office life. Some may decide it’s easier to keep employees at home. “Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check. Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that isn’t possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around desks. Seating should be barred in common areas. And face coverings should be worn at all times. These are among sweeping new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the safest way for American employers reopening their offices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. If followed, the guidelines would lead to a far-reaching remaking of the corporate work experience. They even upend years of advice on commuting, urging people to drive to work by themselves, instead of taking mass transportation or car-pooling, to avoid potential exposure to the virus.
The C.D.C. recommended that the isolation for employees should begin before they get to work — on their commute. In a stark change from public policy guidelines in the recent past, the agency said individuals should drive to work — alone…”
Washington Post – “President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that could open the door for the U.S. government to assume oversight of political speech on the Internet, a broadside against Silicon Valley that a wide array of critics derided as a threat to free speech. The new directive seeks to change a federal law that has spared tech companies from being sued or held liable for most posts, photos and videos shared by users on their sites. Tech giants herald these protections, known as Section 230, as the bedrock of the Internet. But Trump repeatedly has argued they allow Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor conservatives with impunity — charges these companies deny….The order signed Thursday encourages the Federal Communications Commission to rethink the scope of Section 230 and when its liability protections apply. The order also seeks to channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency that the White House has asked to probe whether tech companies’ content-moderation policies are in keeping with their pledges of neutrality. The order additionally created a council in cooperation with state attorneys general to probe allegations of censorship based on political views. And it tasked federal agencies with reviewing their spending on social media advertising. While Trump has threatened to penalize tech companies for years, his signing of the order Thursday came in response to a decision by Twitter earlier in the week to mark two of his erroneous tweets with fact-checking labels. The small move set off a firestorm of tweets by the president threatening social media companies with regulations and other punishments…”
Book Riot: “These days, everyone is sitting at home whenever possible. And if you’re a bookish person like I am, you have perhaps been sifting through your books, deciding which to keep and which you can release back into the world for someone else to find and love. While we may not be able to create the secret passage bookshelf of our dreams at the moment, there’s a more attainable secret project sitting in that pile of books waiting for the local donation store to open up. So grab a hardback from the pile, a few things from around the house, and let’s learn how to hollow out a book together!…”
AP: “President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies Thursday, signing an executive order challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet. Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets. Trump said the fact checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms. Trump, who personally relies heavily on Twitter to verbally flog his foes, has long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives by fact-checking them or removing their posts. “We’re fed up with it,” Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.
It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress. Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content…”
HelpMeFind.com: “A website devoted to roses, clematis and peonies and all that is gardening related, including selecting, buying, breeding, caring for and exhibiting. We have cataloged over 54,000 plants and have more than 170,000 photos along with thousands of Plant nurseries, public and private gardens, Plant societies, authors, breeders, hybridizers and publications from all over the world. Explore, enjoy, and help us grow by contributing your experiences, expertise and photos to the site. Rose, clematis, peony and gardening related companies, organizations and individuals are welcome to join HelpMeFind – use the “New Listing” option found on the appropriate listing tab. Non-commercial and simple commercial listing are FREE but we do ask that you keep them current…”
- One facet of the search strategies included: Search for Plants by name, alphabetical list, class or advanced search including name, class, color, breeder, year bred, bloom cycle, bloom form, fragrance or zone. [searching by fragrance is simply a wonderful activity]
Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education: “As some institutes of higher education (IHE) open in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following considerations for ways in which IHEs can help protect students and employees (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) and slow the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). IHEs vary considerably in geographic location, size, and structure. As such, IHE officials can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the IHE and local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. Health facilities managed by the IHE may refer to CDC’s Guidance for U.S. Healthcare Facilities and may find it helpful to reference the Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively During the COVID-19 Pandemic. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which IHEs must comply…”
strategy + business – Powerful modes of reflection are crucial for leaders and their teams, especially when dealing with a crisis: “Reflection for seasoned leaders has always been a personal process. Step back. Regroup. Look in the mirror. Push the pause button. There is often an intuitive belief that reflection carries restorative powers and can even be transformational. In theory, it goes like this: On top of a mountain, a leader retreats to ask him or herself a set of questions about life, stress, and sacrifice, capturing the answers in a beautifully bound notebook. The questions don’t vary much. Where are you going? How are you living your values? What gives you meaning, purpose, or fulfillment? Are all the components of your life managed as you need them to be managed: career, family, friends, finances, health, and spiritual growth? The power of this reflection comes from digging deep and being in touch with your core. It is very much an affair of the heart. With the insights from this exercise, you come back to your role renewed, focused on what matters to you and clearer about how you will lead this year. Although this kind of deep reflection (on an imagined mountaintop) is a useful process, it may not be enough to tackle the range of problems a business encounters in the course of a year because it focuses solely on the leader. In our experience working together and independently coaching leaders, we find that they and their teams benefit from four ways of more targeted reflection that help refocus and reframe challenges (see “The four kinds of reflection”). This is particularly true when the world as we knew it has so dramatically changed and the challenges we face will be of a new kind.
In our experience, the leadership health check should be done twice a year. Its purpose is to refine how you lead in order to elicit better performance, engagement, or commitment from those around you. Rather than a look at yourself in a mirror, you distill the views of others concerning your words and actions. Informally or formally, you gather the answers to the following questions from people you trust, such as a coach, colleagues, and mentors. And you collect the perspectives of key critics…”
The New York Times – “The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That’s the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected. Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But in new studies that test the population more broadly, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent. Even in some of the hardest-hit cities in the world, the studies suggest, the vast majority of people still remain vulnerable to the virus…”
Interview with James K. Galbraith via New York Magazine: “…Why do you think a mass debt forgiveness is going to be necessary to facilitate recovery after the pandemic? There’s a certain presumption that what can be shut down can be reopened—that the natural course of events is a rapid economic recovery. And that’s what I’m taking issue with. Every business and household has assets and liabilities. And what’s happened is that their assets have been diminished but their liabilities have not. Unless the liabilities are somehow taken care of, they’re going to be burdened by their debts for a long time to come. At best, that debt burden will slow recovery, even assuming the best conditions. But I’m inclined to think things will be considerably worse than that. This is similar to what happened after 1929. There’s very little economic activity. And the reason for that is that once certain kinds of activity go down, investment in the durable goods necessary for those activities falls to zero. Take aircraft. Why would anyone buy a new one? Half of all the existing airplanes are sitting on the ground someplace. Who needs a new aircraft? Now you can think of ways you could destroy the existing ones in order to keep the aircraft producers going, but that’s probably not going to happen…”
“New criminal prosecutions dropped by 80 percent between February and April — from 13,843 during February 2020, before federal shutdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 began, to just 2,824 in April 2020. This means that only one-fifth the usual prosecutions took place. Two major factors contributed to this precipitous decline. First, referrals to federal prosecutors from all the major investigative agencies fell sharply. In February 2020 federal prosecutors recorded receiving roughly 17,600 criminal referrals. These dropped to just under 8,000 during April. But this alone does not explain the extent of the collapse. Prosecutors also filed suit on relatively few of the referrals they did receive. Convictions fell less precipitously. Federal attorneys handling prosecutions already underway were able to strike many plea agreements and thus procured 6,638 new convictions. That was more than twice the number of new prosecutions (2,824) recorded in April. Regardless of the kinds of cases involved, there was a marked decline in prosecutions during April compared with the average of the first five months of FY 2020 (October 2019 through February 2020). Declines were higher than average among cases involving civil rights (down 92%) and immigration (down 86%), while terrorism cases – always few in number – declined the least (29%). The Federal Bureau of Investigation was least successful in having its criminal referrals result in federal attorneys deciding to prosecute.”
Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a law that has long protected Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google from being responsible for the material posted by their users, according to a draft executive order and a source familiar with the situation. News of the order comes after Trump threatened to shut down websites he accused of stifling conservative voices following a dispute with Twitter after the company decided to tag Trump’s tweets about unsubstantiated claims [note – this link references news on this incident posted by beSpacific] of fraud in mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts. The order, a draft copy of which was seen by Reuters, could change before it is finalized. On Wednesday, officials said Trump will sign an executive order on social media companies on Thursday.
The executive order would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to propose and clarify regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law largely exempting online platforms from legal liability for the material their users post. Such changes could expose tech companies to more lawsuits. The order asks the FCC to examine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should potentially lead to the platform forfeiting its protections under section 230…The draft order also states that the White House Office of Digital Strategy will re-establish a tool to help citizens report cases of online censorship. Called the White House Tech Bias Reporting Tool, it will collect complaints of online censorship and submit them to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)…”
Via LLRX – How Law Firms Are Responding to COVID-19 [Survey Results] – On an individual level, lawyers and legal professionals are experiencing a mix of productivity challenges in a new and potentially permanently changed legal landscape. Martin Cogburn discusses the top productivity challenges individuals are facing, the tools they’re adopting, and their thoughts on the long term effects of COVID-19 on the legal industry.
Via LLRX – Biological Informatics 2020 – We can and do depend upon Marcus P. Zillman’s ability to consistently provide LLRX readers with timely, informative and actionable subject matter resource guides. This month he provides an extensive bibliography on bioinformatics – “an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data, in particular when the data sets are large and complex.” This subject matter is especially important important for researchers as the COVID-19 pandemic remains an active threat throughout America and around the world.
Via LLRX – How not to fall for coronavirus BS: avoid the 7 deadly sins of thought – Luke Zaphir, Researcher for the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, posits that amid the panicked flurry of the pandemic, employing concepts from the field of critical thinking called vice epistemology can be demonstrably useful. This theory argues our thinking habits and intellectual character traits cause poor reasoning. Zaphr targets for discussion 7 “intellectual sins” of which we should be mindful in these challenging times.
Lifehacker: “Your web browser is full of secrets. I typically spend my time poring over new features I can unlock via pages like chrome://flags and about:config, but it’s also nice to take a little break and play the hidden games that come packed into the most popular browsers. Yes, your desktop browser is filled with hidden games. Don’t crack your knuckles and expect to hunker down for a Civilization VI-like session—they’re not that great. They are fun little time-wasters, though. If nothing else, they’re great to send to your friends if you’re looking to impress them with your technical know-how…”