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betanews: “A study by analysts Vanson Bourne for self service automation specialist SnapLogic looks at the data priorities and investment plans of IT decision makers, along with what’s holding them back from maximizing value. Among the findings are that 80 percent of those surveyed report that outdated technology holds their organization back from taking advantage of new data-driven opportunities. Also that trust and quality issues slow progress, with only 29 percent of respondents having complete trust in the quality of their organization’s data. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) say they face unprecedented volumes of data but struggle to generate useful insights from it, estimating that they use only about half (51 percent) of the data they collect or generate. What’s more, respondents estimate that less than half (48 percent) of all business decisions are based on data. Those surveyed report spending nearly one-fifth (19.5 percent) of their time simply working on data and getting it ready for use. This includes low-level tasks such as manually integrating datasets, apps and systems, as well as building and maintaining custom APIs…”
A cessation to the use animal testing is long overdue. Via Nature – Machine learning on mountain of safety data improves automated assessments. “Machine-learning software trained on masses of chemical-safety data is so good at predicting some kinds of toxicity that it now rivals — and sometimes outperforms — expensive animal studies, researchers report. Computer models could replace some standard safety studies conducted on millions of animals each year, such as dropping compounds into rabbits’ eyes to check if they are irritants, or feeding chemicals to rats to work out lethal doses, says Thomas Hartung, a toxicologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “The power of big data means we can produce a tool more predictive than many animal tests.” In a paper published in Toxicological Sciences on 11 July, Hartung’s team reports that its algorithm can accurately predict toxicity for tens of thousands of chemicals — a range much broader than other published models achieve — across nine kinds of test, from inhalation damage to harm to aquatic ecosystems…”
BGR: “For the past several months, Google has been releasing updates for its Chrome browser in preparation for a massive redesign. We’ve seen bits and pieces of the next Material Design overhaul already, but this week, Google rolled out a substantial UI refresh to the Chrome Canary browser (for developers and early adopters), giving Chrome users their clearest look yet at the future of the most popular internet browser on the planet. Spotted by Thurrott on Tuesday, the new version of Canary features a wide range of changes. A Google evangelist on Google+ announced that the latest Canary update would include the following changes: “tab shape, single tab mode, omnibox suggestion icons, tab strip coloring, pinned tabs, and alert indicators…While Google has adjusted the UI for Chrome in the past, the new look in Canary might be the most significant design overhaul since Chrome launched in 2008. As you can likely tell from the sliver of an image below, virtually every major element of the Chrome UI, from tabs to buttons, has been updated..”
Union of Concerned Scientists – “Hundreds of thousands of homes are at risk of chronic flooding due to sea level rise over the coming decades. The implications for coastal residents, communities, and the economy are profound…Sea levels are rising. Tides are inching higher. High-tide floods are becoming more frequent and reaching farther inland. And hundreds of US coastal communities will soon face chronic, disruptive flooding that directly affects people’s homes, lives, and properties. Yet property values in most coastal real estate markets do not currently reflect this risk. And most homeowners, communities, and investors are not aware of the financial losses they may soon face. This analysis looks at what’s at risk for US coastal real estate from sea level rise—and the challenges and choices we face now and in the decades to come…”
Rappaport, Aaron J., The Institutional Design of Punishment (June 14, 2018). Arizona Law Review, Forthcoming; UC Hastings Research Paper No. 295. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3196537
“For the past 40 years, policymakers have engaged in a debate over which institution should wield the principal power over punishment. Should courts and parole boards have the dominant role at sentencing, or should that power be left to legislatures and sentencing commissions? These debates are typically couched in policy terms, yet they also raise deeply philosophical questions, most notably: What is the morally justified sentencing system? Perhaps surprisingly, criminal theorists have almost uniformly ignored this normative question, and that neglect has degraded the quality of the on-going institutional debates. This paper seeks to address that shortcoming by exploring the moral ramifications of design choices in the sentencing field. In particular, the paper identifies the institutional structure best suited for promoting utilitarianism, a widely-accepted moral theory of punishment. Drawing insights from cognitive science and institutional analysis, the paper concludes that a properly structured sentencing commission is the institution best able to satisfy the moral theory’s demands. Beyond this policy prescription, the paper has a broader goal:To start a conversation about the link between moral theory and institutional design, and to encourage policymakers to explore more fully the premises of their own institutional choices in the criminal justice field.”
The Illustrated Aviary Reimagining John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” – “For every issue of Audubon magazine, we ask a new artist to reinterpret one of Audubon’s original watercolors using their own unique style. You can peruse all of the works completed so far in this gallery.”
The New York Times: “Long before President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court on Monday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh had already made a name for himself as an influential conservative critic of sweeping environmental regulations. During his 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often regarded as the nation’s second-most powerful court, Judge Kavanaugh voted in a number of high-profile cases to limit Environmental Protection Agency rules involving issues like climate change and air pollution. In two key instances, his arguments were later embraced by the Supreme Court. His legal philosophy was clear: In the absence of explicit instructions from Congress, any far-reaching effort by the E.P.A. to tackle environmental problems should be met with deep skepticism by the courts. That philosophy often put him sharply at odds with the Obama administration, which sought to harness older environmental laws to deal with newer challenges like global warming…”
Via The Atlantic: “The winners of the the ninth annual Audubon Photography Awards competition have just been announced. Photographers entered images in three categories: professional, amateur, and youth. More than 8,000 images depicting birdlife from all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces were judged. This year’s competition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the many bird species protected by this conservation law. The National Audubon Society was kind enough to share some of this year’s winners and runners-up with us below. To view even more great bird photography, you can also see all of the top 100 entries at the Audubon website.”
USTR news release: “The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today announced a process to obtain product exclusions from the additional tariffs in effect on certain products imported from China under the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property. Today, additional tariffs of 25 percent come into effect for Chinese products imported under 818 tariff lines, covering a trade value of approximately $34 billion in 2018. These tariff lines contain products identified as benefiting from China’s industrial policies, including the “Made in China 2025” program. The list of products subject to tariffs was determined by a 90-day process that included public hearings and a notice and comment period. USTR is providing an opportunity for the public to request exclusion of a particular product from the additional duties to address situations that warrant excluding a particular product within a subheading, but not the tariff subheading as a whole. A Federal Register notice outlining the criteria and process for a product exclusion request will be published, and public requests, responses, and replies will be received via Regulations.gov. In making its determination on each request, USTR may consider whether a product is available from a source outside of China, whether the additional duties would cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other U.S. interests, and whether the particular product is strategically important or related to Chinese industrial programs including “Made in China 2025”…”
“China has twice as many internet users as the total population of the United States — and it’s growing fast. This unique collaboration between Abacus, 500 Startups, the South China Morning Post, will break down everything you need to know about China’s thriving tech industry, the big players in each field, and lay out the four overarching trends that have emerged.”
“Cancer is a devastating disease. It is estimated that 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and approximately 610,000 will die of it. Cancer does not discriminate. It affects humans of all ages, races, and ethnicities. Although virtually everyone is at risk for developing and dying from cancer, the burden of this disease is not equal. Substantial disparities have been present for years. Bridging these disparities defines a central challenge for our nation’s cancer control efforts. Despite a 25‐year decline in the cancer mortality rate, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and will surpass cardiovascular disease to become the leading cause of death in the next decade. Review of the progress to date indicates that, although much good has been done, much more good can be done. Since 1991, there has been a 26% decline in the cancer death rate age adjusted to the year 2000 standard population. There are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. Given the challenge that still exists, it is appropriate to assess where the fields of cancer control and oncology have come from and where they are going, what issues must be dealt with, and what interventions must be implemented if we are to most efficiently control cancer. Over the past 5 decades, there has been an extraordinary investment in cancer research that has led to a greater understanding of the disease. Indeed, cancer is being redefined. We are literally moving from the mid‐19th century definition based on histopathology to a 21st century definition of cancer that also includes genomic information. Past investments in basic research are yielding better diagnostic and screening technologies and leading to new approaches to treatment. Molecular biology provides the foundation for new treatments in precision medicine. Decades of immunology research are showing us ways to effectively harness the patient’s immune system and encourage it to attack their cancer. At the same time, a better understanding of carcinogenesis is allowing for improved cancer prevention. doi: 10.3322/caac.21461. Available online at cacancerjournal.com
In the next several issues of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the American Cancer Society will publish a series of articles assessing trends in cancer mortality [Free Access] and issues and opportunities in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. These articles summarize where we have come from, the current state of cancer in the United States, and how more consistent and equitable application of currently available interventions can further reduce the cancer incidence and death rates. When there are sufficient data to make a projection, estimates of the potential effect of cancer control interventions are included. Of course, we must continue to support scientific research and innovation, as the future promises even greater benefit…”
Center for Data Innovation: “GPS service provider Telanav has released a dataset of over 50,000 street-level images of common road signs to foster the development of machine learning algorithms for map-making. The images are manually annotated and include more than 55,000 signs from over twenty types of signs, including traffic, turn restriction, and speed limit signs. Machine learning algorithms that could detect the features of a sign, such as the name of a street and turning requirements, could quickly update inaccurate maps.”
“This site is brought to you by Jay Pinho and Victoria Kwan, the co-creators of SCOTUS Map. What is this? SCOTUS Watch tracks the public statements made by United States senators about how they plan to vote on the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and tallies them into a likely vote count. This tally is based solely on their statements: we do not make estimates or guesses based on a senator’s party affiliation or ideology. Note that this only includes statements made by senators after the identity of the nominee was announced. (So, for example, Senator Doug Jones’ statement to CNN on Sunday, July 8th would not count, as Brett Kavanaugh had not yet been announced.)”
- See also D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Brooding Spirits, Judge Kavanaugh Edition – via Notice & Comment, a blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, is managed by the Yale Journal on Regulation.
- Buzzfeed: Here’s Where Brett Kavanaugh Stands On Abortion, Executive Power, And Guns
- Vox: Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, explained.
- Washington Post: Brett Kavanaugh has sided with broad views of presidential powers.
Andrew Hamm on Jul 9, 2018 at 7:45 pm – “We live-blogged with First Mondays as President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. The transcript is available below and at this link.”
EU Parliament News: “3D printing is transforming how products are made, but many legal issues such civil liability and intellectual property rights still need to be clarified. Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is changing how products are designed, developed, manufactured, and distributed. By 2021, the 3D printing market could be worth €9.6 billion, according to a report by the European Commission. Although it is creating opportunities for companies, it is also raising challenges, especially concerning civil liability and intellectual property rights. French EFDD member Joëlle Bergeron has written an own-initiative report with legislative and regulatory recommendations in the field of 3D printing. Her report was adopted by MEPs on 3 July and will now be forwarded to the European Commission for consideration. We talked to Bergeron following the vote by Parliament’s legal affairs committee on 20 June about why legislation on this is needed…”
Rockefeller Institute of Government – Nancy Zimpher: “Working together, good people are changing the world. In his new book Reclaiming the American Dream: Proven Solutions for Creating Economic Opportunity for All, Ben Hecht spotlights efforts that are successfully addressing some of the country’s most pressing issues: meaningful employment, economic empowerment, impactful civic involvement, education that works. But this book is so much more than a public policy study. It’s a recipe for hope. Organizations that come together, focus on a common agenda for social change, and use shared measurement-of-progress tools are achieving remarkable and sustained success. The power of collective impact is on display in each example in Hecht’s book, showcasing how dedication to the use of best practices and a strategy of continuous improvement is growing efforts that are making lives better. I like to believe that Hecht put the chapter on education reform — my passion — first because it is the most important. Creating good jobs that are available to more people, stimulating homeownership to increase wealth, making sure everyone has access to information, and opening pathways to greater civic participation of course are vitally important in today’s society. An excellent education, however, most certainly is key to all of that…”
Each of the education reform examples in Hecht’s book emphasizes how groups and organizations that typically work separately can better achieve the change they long for by tearing down their silos, joining their talents, and tackling challenges together.
govfresh: “According to analytics.usa.gov, government forms such as the U.S. Transportation Security Administration TSA Pre✓® application and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services case status are two of the most accessed federal government web pages. The ‘Select One’ chapter in Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s book, “Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech,” emphasizes the importance in being mindful of the fields included on forms, as many are either unnecessary or not inclusive, providing only binary options in a non-binary world. Fields like race, ethnicity, salutation and gender are potential points of alienation for those who may not have an option that suits their identity. If we are to include these fields on government forms, they should either be optional or fully inclusive, accounting for identities anyone can associate with…”
“Completing college on time is a significant achievement that can set the stage of a young person’s entire life. The application process itself is a major undertaking, as applicants grapple with finances, paperwork, and scheduling campus visits — on top of what are likely already busy high school schedules. And acceptance is no guarantee. The College Board recommends applying to between five to eight colleges, from “safety” schools, to highly selective “reach” schools. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed education data across thousands of four-year, degree-granting institutions to determine each state’s most selective college. We indexed acceptance rates, as well as SAT and ACT scores of admitted students, to measure the difficulty of being accepted to those universities and colleges. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Richard Reeves, administrative data division chief at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), noted that selecting a college is an extremely personal decision. “[The choice] has to do with where the student will be successful, and success is defined by learning a lot, finishing on time, and being able to be gainfully employed to pay off any debt that may have been incurred,” he said. Future success depends primarily on the individual, and it is possible to receive an excellent education at the vast majority of higher education institutions — and to proceed to high-earning careers. Still, there is an association between students’ alma maters and their future earnings, which means stakes are high for college applicants…”
- The prevalence of drug overdose deaths and opioid prescriptions has risen unevenly across the county, with rural areas more heavily impacted. Specific geographic areas, such as Appalachia, parts of the West and the Midwest, and New England, have seen higher prevalence than other areas.
- Poverty, unemployment rates and the employment-population ratio are highly correlated with the prevalence of prescription opioids and substance use measures. Communities with worse economic prospects in general have much higher rates of opioid prescriptions, opioid-related hospitalizations, and drug overdose deaths.
- Some high poverty regions of the country were relatively isolated from the opioid epidemic, as measured by our substance use measures, as of 2016.”
POGO: “Forty years ago, the U.S. Congress enacted the Inspector General Act of 1978. This landmark law established a greater stature for government oversight by our federal watchdogs. Congress granted the government agency inspectors general (IGs) new authorities. The new law promised more powerful, independent, and effective oversight than under previous law. Federal IGs have played an important role over the past four decades, investigating agency mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse, and providing recommendations to improve federal programs and the work of federal agencies. What we spend on IGs results in substantial financial savings, with a reported return-on-investment of almost seventeen dollars for every dollar spent on IG activities. On this anniversary of the passage of the original Act, now is the time policymakers should ask this simple but important question: Is the work of the IG community fulfilling the promises of four decades ago? The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) established a review group that included former federal inspectors general and POGO staff in order to determine what is working well, what needs improvement, and which provisions of the Inspector General Act need revisiting. The review group explored key issues IGs are facing and developed ideas for improvements. The examination resulted in a set of recommendations for strengthening current inspector general policies, practices, tools, procedures, authorities, and requirements. POGO’s recommendations address the need for strong and consistent leadership, a higher prioritization of major issues affecting the nation, such as harm to the public’s health, safety, and constitutional rights, and how to best work with and support whistleblowers. The IGs face many challenges, and our recommendations require action by several players. For some, Congress will have to make changes to current law and set appropriate funding levels. Other recommendations could be implemented by the IGs themselves under existing authority. Still others require the White House to take action. One of the most glaring problems that needs to be addressed is IG vacancies. Some IG positions remain vacant for years. Our recommendations emphasize the importance of the President and Congress making it a priority to fill these positions. Both must be committed to nominating and vetting qualified candidates who are willing and able to address the nation’s major issues. Too often, the IGs suffer from inadequate or inconsistent budgets. Resource constraints can directly affect the ability of IGs to conduct effective and consistent oversight. This is most apparent when an agency receives a large surge in funding that must be spent quickly, such as “emergency” funding for the Department of Defense during wartime or for disaster agencies during a hurricane. However, the agency’s IG does not usually see a similar increase. Congress needs to recognize the importance of proportionally funding IG oversight. There are some recommendations that require relatively small actions, yet would yield large returns very quickly. For example, IGs have recently improved Congressional and public access to their reports by establishing Oversight.gov, a website containing recently released IG reports. However, more can and should be done to ensure even greater access to the important work of the IGs. Other challenges facing the IG community will need further collaboration to solve. For example, we have presented specific steps for improving whistleblower protection and the use of whistleblower disclosures. However, we recognize that the complex issues raised by whistleblower laws and procedures, often involving governmental entities other than inspectors general, will require additional considerations in order to develop recommendations…”