beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
UX Design: “There’s no logical reason why telephones and calculators use different numeric keypads. So why do we still follow the same convention? Picture the keypad of a telephone and calculator side by side. Can you see the subtle difference between the two without resorting to your smartphone? Don’t worry if you can’t recall the design. Most of us are so used to accepting the common interfaces that we tend to overlook the calculator’s inverted key sequence. A calculator has the 7–8–9 buttons at the top whereas a phone uses the 1–2–3 format…”
The New York Times: “As November’s midterm elections approach, The New York Times is looking for examples of online ads, posts and texts that contain political disinformation or false claims and are being deliberately spread on internet platforms to try to influence local, statewide, and federal elections. Times journalists are hoping to use your tips to advance our reporting. If you see a suspicious post or text, please take a screenshot and upload it with the form located at the bottom of this page..
“The ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives is pleased to announce the release of a first-of-its kind report examining access to justice commissions nationwide, offering an in-depth analysis of their structures, activities, staffing, and funding, as well as best-practice recommendations.”
Download our 2018 report: Access to Justice Commissions: Increasing Effectiveness Through Adequate Staffing and Funding
“Earlier this year we released our Open Libraries wish list, which brought together four datasets to help inform our collection development priorities for Open Libraries. After working with the wish list for a few months and reviewing our approach, we decided to make a few revisions to the ways in which we brought together the data. Our wish list was always intended to be an iterative work-in-progress, and we are pleased to release our latest version here: https://archive.org/details/open_libraries_wish_list Download wish list now
What’s in the wish list? To create the wish list, we brought together four datasets:
- OCLC’s list of one million most widely held books, based on holdings records of libraries worldwide;
- Library Link’s holdings records of North American libraries, leveraging the decisions of thousands of librarians in prioritizing collections for patron use;
- Open Syllabus Project, which has collected syllabi from the Internet to compile the most assigned books in classrooms;
- Data about book and scholarly article citations in Wikipedia, published by the Wikimedia Foundation…”
The Rise and Demise of RSS: “There are two stories here. The first is a story about a vision of the web’s future that never quite came to fruition. The second is a story about how a collaborative effort to improve a popular standard devolved into one of the most contentious forks in the history of open-source software development…The future once looked so bright for RSS. What happened? Was its downfall inevitable, or was it precipitated by the bitter infighting that thwarted the development of a single RSS standard?…”
Carla Haydn – Librarian of Congress – Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available Online – “…Moving forward, all new or updated reports will be added to the website as they are made available to Congress. The Library is also working to make available the back catalog of previously published reports as expeditiously as possible. More details about this process can be found on the site’s Frequently Asked Questions page…”
“This collection provides the public with access to research products produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the United States Congress. By law, CRS works exclusively for Congress, providing timely, objective, and authoritative research and analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of political party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.
The products in this collection were created for the sole purpose of supporting Congress in its legislative, oversight, and representational duties. New products are regularly produced to anticipate and respond to issues of interest to Congress on a timely basis. As these issues develop, so do our products, which may be updated to reflect new information, developments, and emergent needs of Congress. The products are not designed to provide comprehensive coverage of the academic literature or address issues that are outside the scope of congressional deliberations. They are marked as “new,” “updated,” or “archived” to indicate their status.
In 2018, Congress passed a law directing the creation of this site and ending the legal requirement prohibiting CRS from providing its products to the public. In response, the Library immediately started work to ensure all products required under this new law would be available at launch, as well as add as many additional products as possible (see the FAQ for details and a timeline on the distribution of additional products)….”
“The International Data Base (IDB) was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to provide access to accurate and timely demographic measures for populations around the world. The database includes a comprehensive set of indicators, as produced by the U.S. Census Bureau since the 1960s. Through sponsorship from various U.S. Government agencies, the IDB is updated on a regular basis to provide information needed for research, program planning, and policy-making decisions, in the U.S. and globally.
Data included in the IDB consist of indicators developed from censuses, surveys, administrative records, and special measures of HIV/AIDS-related mortality. Through evaluation and adjustment of data from these sources, measures of population, mortality, fertility, and net migration are estimated for current and past years and then used as the basis for projections to 2050.
The IDB provides estimates and projections for 228 countries and areas which have populations of 5,000 or more and as recognized by the U.S. Department of State. Population size (by single year of age and sex) and components of change (fertility, mortality, and migration) are provided from an initial or base year through 2050, for each calendar year. This level of detail provides an important foundation for tracking the demographic impacts of HIV/AIDS and related conditions, as well as events of concern that are affecting populations around the globe…”
Washington Post Opinion: “In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” the character Ron — channeling his friend Hermione — says to Harry Potter: “When in doubt, go to the library.” In the United States today, there is plenty to doubt. Complex arguments are being whittled down to 280 characters. And of course, the president has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements in about 600 days. Just last week, he falsely claimed that 3,000 Puerto Ricans “did not die in the two hurricanes.” Lies have become too commonplace in the United States, so the American people need a place where they can go to get the truth. Ron is right. Go to your public library. Public libraries provide information in an era of misinformation. They offer facts and nuance. They offer the opportunity for enlightenment. They offer every visitor the resources they need to find answers. The American Library Association reports that many public libraries are, for instance, “developing programs to help community members spot ‘fake news’ and evaluate information online.”…
The Intercept: “Google built a prototype of a censored search engine for China that links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers,thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries, The Intercept can reveal. The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. Previously undisclosed details about the plan, obtained by The Intercept on Friday, show that Google compiled a censorship blacklist that included terms such as “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin. Leading human rights groups have criticized Dragonfly, saying that it could result in the company “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.” A central concern expressed by the groups is that, beyond the censorship, user data stored by Google on the Chinese mainland could be accessible to Chinese authorities, who routinely target political activists and journalists…”
Joh, Elizabeth E., Artificial Intelligence and Policing: Hints in the Carpenter Decision (August 24, 2018). __ Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law __, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238212
“In the 2018 Carpenter case, Chief Justice Roberts focuses on the quality of the information sought by the police as a means of deciding the case in Carpenter’s favor. Less obviously, however, the majority opinion also stresses the nature of the policing involved in Carpenter’s case: new technologies that do not just enhance human abilities. The majority makes no explicit clams about this focus. But the Carpenter decision reveals the Supreme Court’s first set of views on how it might evaluate police use of artificial intelligence. That contention, and the questions it raises, form the subject of this essay.”
WSJ (paywall) – For starters, find out what happens to the sample you submit – “Less costly genetic testing has let millions of people unlock the information in their DNA. Yet there’s a lot about these tests they don’t know—but should…”
World Economic Forum: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is interacting with other socio-economic and demographic factors to create a perfect storm of business model change in all industries, resulting in major disruptions to labour markets. New categories of jobs will emerge, partly or wholly displacing others. The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will change in most industries and transform how and where people work. It may also affect female and male workers differently and transform the dynamics of the industry gender gap. The Future of Jobs Report aims to unpack and provide specific information on the relative magnitude of these trends by industry and geography, and on the expected time horizon for their impact to be felt on job functions, employment levels and skills.”
Machines and algorithms will do more current tasks than humans by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, which covers 20 economies and 12 industries. But this same robot revolution will still create 58 million net new jobs in the next five years, the same research has found. Based on the operational realities of those at the frontlines of deciding on how to develop technological and human capital at the largest global companies in the world, the report aims to provide a nuanced, realistic view of the near future of work. Unlike long-term predictions and scenarios, a focus on the near term forces us to consider what we must do today to create the future we want.”
naked security – sophos: “The BBC says it looks like a kids’ digital game: a mass of blue and green rubber balls bounce around the screen like they’re on elastic bands in a galaxy of paddle balls. It’s no game, however. It is a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that connects, and then visualizes, the parties and their interactions in a complex fraud inquiry. The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently gave the BBC a look at the system, called OpenText Axcelerate, which staff have been training on Enron: a massive corporate fraud case from 2001 that’s no longer actively being investigated. The lines between the colored balls represent links between two people involved in the fraud inquiry, including the emails they sent and received, the people they carbon-copied, and the more discrete messages in which nobody was cc’ed. SFO investigator Edgar Pacevicius told the BBC that a major advantage of the AI is that it can spot connections between individuals far more quickly than humans can. It’s designed to help investigators keep track of all the parties involved in a given, wide-scale fraud, with all their communications, along with individuals’ interactions with each other. The tool also groups documents with similar content, and it can pick out phrases and word forms that might be significant to an investigation…”
Global Investigative Journalism Network: “Investigations, the saying goes, are just regular stories with a lot more labor put in. Investigative reporters spend inordinate amounts of time sifting through documents, verifying sources and analyzing data — and that’s if they can even get the data. As an investigative reporter with way too many stories I want to do, these are the tools I use to keep up with sources, stories and leads at a rapid rate. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best new tools for unearthing, accelerating, and keeping track of investigations…”
The text and data mining exception in the proposal for a directive on copyright: why the European Union needs to go further than the laws of member states
Nicolas Jondet, ‘The text and data mining exception in the proposal for a directive on copyright: why the European Union needs to go further than the laws of member states’, Propriétés Intellectuelles , no. 67 (April 2018): 25– 35.
“The European Union is currently debating the adoption of a copyright exception for text and data mining (TDM). Some member states have jumped the gun by adopting their own TDM exception. From the various possible options, the European Union should adopt the broadest possible TDM exception, to boost the international competitiveness of its knowledge economy – notably against countries with copyright laws more favourable to research and innovation such as the US or even a post-Brexit Britain.”
Harvard Business Review: “U.S. companies are expected to spend more than $37 billion dollars on social media promotion annually each year by 2020, representing 24% of the economy’s total digital advertising spend. It’s an astounding number, given that the vast majority of social media managers charged with getting customers to click on posts and through to their websites operate with little strategy beyond what we call “spray and pray,” an approach that litters social media with firm generated content in the hopes that one or more of those posts draw in customers. There is a better way. Our research on circadian rhythms suggests that content platforms like CNN, ESPN, National Geographic, and others can enhance their profit payoffs by at least 8% simply by posting content following the biological responses of their audience’s sleep-wake cycles and targeting content types to when the audience is most naturally receptive to it. On the surface such an approach doesn’t sound difficult. But social media managers face innumerable possibilities for posting content. For example, a social media manager tasked with posting 10 stories in a day and with a budget to promote four of those stories can schedule the sequence of social media posts in over 7 trillion ways. By replacing rules-of-thumb and gut feeling with precise science rooted in biology, we believe social media scheduling can not only be more cost-efficient, but also be a strong part of content platforms’ profitability…” [Its all about being an earlier rise!]
Cision Newswire: “First Orion, a leading provider of phone call and data transparency solutions, today announced their inaugural 2018 Scam Call Trends and Projections Report, detailing the need for new, adaptive technologies to combat the exponential increase in scam calls. First Orion powers call protection solutions to tens of millions of mobile subscribers in the U.S. market and has carefully analyzed over 50 billion calls made to these customers over the past 18 months. By combining specific call patterns and behaviors with other phone number attributes, First Orion now predicts that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019 unless the industry adopts and implements more effective call protection solutions. To combat this rapidly growing epidemic, First Orion will fully deploy its groundbreaking, in-network technology known as CallPrinting—which quickly and accurately identifies new scam techniques and thwarts fraudulent calls—into a Tier-One U.S. carrier’s network this fall where the company projects it will significantly mitigate the volume of scam traffic beginning in the 4th quarter of 2018. Over the past year, First Orion’s data shows a drastic increase in mobile scam calls—from 3.7% of total calls in 2017 to 29.2% in 2018—and that number is projected to reach 44.6% by early 2019…”
U.S. Constitution Annotated – “This edition of the Congressional Research Service’s U.S. Constitution Annotated is a hypertext interpretation of the CRS text, updated to the currently published version. It links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as enhancing navigation through search, breadcrumbs, linked footnotes and tables of contents…The content of the U.S. Constitution Annotated was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress, and published electronically in plaintext and PDF by the Government Printing Office. Dating back to 1911, the initial online annotations were published in 1992. This edition is a hypertext interpretation of the CRS text, updated to the currently published version. It links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as enhancing navigation through linked footnotes and tables of contents. LII is grateful to Professor William Arms and the CS 5150 “Save the Constitution” team: Anusha Chowdhury, Garima Kapila, Tairy Davey, Brendan Rappazzo, and Max Anderson for their work on the project. Special thanks go to Josh Tauberer of GovTrack and Daniel Schuman of Demand Progress for their help with the data.”
Wired: “On a clear, warm night earlier this year, several dozen University of California, Berkeley students folded themselves into gray chairs for a three-hour class on how to think like blockchain entrepreneurs. The evening’s challenge, presented by Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, was to brainstorm how blockchain technology might be used to alleviate the city’s growing homeless problem. “We have at least 1,400 homeless people in our city, and that includes many right here at UC Berkeley,” Bartlett told the class. “So how can we use blockchain to fund a new prosperity? That’s a challenge I’d like you to take on.” The course, taught by visiting professor and former venture capitalist Po Chi Wu, is among a growing number of classes and research initiatives on blockchain technology emerging at universities. Blockchain—a method for creating and maintaining a global ledger of transactions that doesn’t require a third-party middleman such as a bank, government or corporation—is best known for its role in powering the virtual currency bitcoin. Applications for the technology are springing up in sectors including retail, humanitarian aid, real estate and finance. Although some analysts believe blockchain won’t gain widespread adoption for another five or 10 years, companies like IBM, Facebook and Google are investing heavily in the technology—and universities are taking note…”
ProPublica – Insurance companies retreated from some communities amid stronger storms, leaving a “last-resort” plan to fill the growing gap: “For years, North Carolina has bet against a storm like Hurricane Florence. Even as nationally known insurance companies pulled out of the state’s coastal communities, development boomed along the shore, despite the threat from a megastorm like Harvey or Maria. In the face of warnings that climate change was making such storms more common, the state-created “insurer of last resort” has written policies for thousands of coastal properties worth tens of billions of dollars. With Hurricane Florence headed straight for North Carolina, the state faces not only a natural disaster but a financial reckoning. According to the most recent totals available, from 2017, the state-created insurance plan had access to about $3 billion in reserves, reinsurance, and contributions from insurance companies to repair and rebuild damaged homes and properties. It could need a lot more than that if it were to be hit by a storm comparable to Harvey, which devastated Houston last year. Insurers estimate that the total payout from claims related to Harvey will reach $19.4 billion, according to the Texas Department of Insurance…”
See also Axos: The ties between Hurricane Florence and climate change