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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 1 hour 4 min ago

How Did “OK” Become One of the Most Popular Words in the World?

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 17:36 “Where did the word “OK” come from and how did it become so popular? [See this YoutTube video explainer]

Young Boston intellectuals in the early 1800s used a humorous code of abbreviated phrases, like “KC,” or “knuff ced”; “KY,” “know yuse”; and “OW,” “oll wright.” And while most of them eventually fell out of fashion, one abbreviation persisted: “OK,” or “oll korrect.”

OK started off as the LOL of its time. Then Martin Van Buren’s presidential campaign popularized it and its brevity proved useful for sending telegraph messages. You can read more about the history of the word in Allan Metcalf’s book, OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word…”

Categories: Law and Legal

12+ tools and resources useful during hurricanes and other disasters

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 22:32

Poynter, Ren LaForme: “After a quiet summer, hurricane season seems to have awoken with a vengeance. Three hurricanes are churning in the Atlantic, and at least one seems likely to make a destructive landfall on the United States. At the same time, the Pacific is also oddly active. We know this script. On this day last year, I was working remotely from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, after a grueling 19-hour evacuation from Florida. I was one of the millions of Floridians fleeing Hurricane Irma, then poised to strike Florida as a category four or five hurricane. A handful of tools and resources made our preparation, evacuation, coverage and recovery a little bit easier and more complete. I shared some of them in this newsletter last year, but following is an updated list with additional resources and context. If you’re not in the hurricane zones of the world, note that many of these tools are handy for any type of natural or manmade disaster. I hope you never have to use them…”

Categories: Law and Legal

California Climate Tracker – 1895 to present

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 22:29

“The analysis of climate variability and trends is necessary in managing natural resources and monitoring and understanding the role of climate change. California has a diverse climate, driven by its latitudinal extent, proximity to the Pacific Ocean and cold coastal waters, and complex terrain. From the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to the agricultural lands of the Central Valley to the arid Mojave Desert, the distinct climates of California are best monitored at a regional scale, while collective information about the state may be valuable as well. The California Climate Tracker allows users to generate PRISM-based graphics and data for various regions in the state as well as statewide values. Current and archived temperature and precipitation data are available for the period spanning 1895-present..”

Categories: Law and Legal

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2017

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 22:13

“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income increased by 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, while the official poverty rate decreased 0.4 percentage points. At the same time, the number of people without health insurance coverage and the uninsured rate were not statistically different from 2016. Median household income in the United States in 2017 was $61,372, an increase in real terms of 1.8 percent from the 2016 median income of $60,309. This is the third consecutive annual increase in median household income. The nation’s official poverty rate in 2017 was 12.3 percent, with 39.7 million people in poverty. The number of people in poverty in 2017 was not statistically different from the number in poverty in 2016. The 0.4 percentage-point decrease in the poverty rate from 2016 (12.7 percent) to 2017 represents the third consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the poverty rate has fallen 2.5 percentage points, from 14.8 percent to 12.3 percent. The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2017 calendar year was 8.8 percent, or 28.5 million, not statistically different from 2016 (8.8 percent or 28.1 million people). Between 2016 and 2017, the number of people with health insurance coverage increased by 2.3 million, up to 294.6 million.

These findings are contained in two reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2017.

Another Census Bureau report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2017, was also released today. The supplemental poverty rate in 2017 was 13.9 percent, not statistically different from the 2016 supplemental poverty rate of 14.0 percent. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) provides an alternative way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being. The Census Bureau has published poverty estimates using the SPM annually since 2011 with the collaboration of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population; it is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the Annual Social and Economic Supplement is designed to give annual, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates. The most recent Annual Social and Economic Supplement was conducted nationwide (February, March and April 2018) and collected information about income and health insurance coverage during the 2017 calendar year.”

Categories: Law and Legal

AP – EU proposed to give internet firms 1 hour to remove extremist content

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 22:09

Via “European authorities are planning to slap internet companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook with big fines if they don’t take down extremist content within one hour. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech Wednesday that the Commission is proposing the new rules as part of efforts to step up the bloc’s security. He said that removing material within an hour is important because it’s “the critical window in which the greatest damage is done.” The EU’s executive body said “propaganda that prepares, incites or glorifies acts of terrorism” must be taken offline. Content would be flagged up by national authorities, who would issue removal orders to the internet companies hosting it. Those companies would be given one hour to delete it. The proposal, which still needs approval from EU lawmakers and member states, would be a departure for the EU, which until now has allowed online companies to a take a voluntary approach to battling extremist content. The one-hour rule was among a series of recommendations the Commission made in March to fight the spread of extremist content online…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 20:02 – Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote. September 7, 2018

“The procedure for appointing a Justice to the Supreme Court is provided for in the U.S. Constitution in only a few words. The “Appointments Clause” in the Constitution (Article II, Section 2, clause 2) states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.” While the process of appointing Justices has undergone some changes over two centuries, its most essential feature—the sharing of power between the President and the Senate—has remained unchanged: to receive lifetime appointment to the Court, one must first be formally selected (“nominated”) by the President and then approved (“confirmed”) by the Senate.

For the President, the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice can be a notable measure by which history will judge his Presidency. For the Senate, a decision to confirm is a solemn matter as well, for it is the Senate alone, through its “Advice and Consent” function, without any formal involvement of the House of Representatives, which acts as a safeguard on the President’s judgment. This report provides information and analysis related to the final stage of the confirmation process for a nomination to the Supreme Court—the consideration of the nomination by the full Senate, including floor debate and the vote on whether to approve the nomination.

Traditionally, the Senate has tended to be less deferential to the President in his choice of Supreme Court Justices than in his appointment of persons to high executive branch positions. The more exacting standard usually applied to Supreme Court nominations reflects the special importance of the Court, coequal to and independent of the presidency and Congress. Senators are also mindful that Justices—unlike persons elected to legislative office or confirmed to executive branch positions—receive the opportunity to serve a lifetime appointment during good behavior.

The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice might or might not proceed smoothly. From the appointment of the first Justices in 1789 through its consideration of nominee Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the Senate has confirmed 118 Supreme Court nominations out of 162 received. Of the 44 nominations that were not confirmed, 12 were rejected outright in roll-call votes by the Senate, while nearly all of the rest, in the face of substantial committee or Senate opposition to the nominee or the President, were withdrawn by the President, or were postponed, tabled, or never voted on by the Senate. Six of the unconfirmed nominations, however, involved individuals who subsequently were renominated and confirmed.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal Role in U.S. Campaigns and Elections: An Overview

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:57 – Federal Role in U.S. Campaigns and Elections: An Overview R. Sam Garrett, Specialist in American National Government. September 4, 2018.

“Conventional wisdom holds that the federal government plays relatively little role in U.S. campaigns and elections. Although states retain authority for most aspects of election administration, a closer look reveals that the federal government also has steadily increased its presence in campaigns and elections in the past 50 years. Altogether, dozens of congressional committees and federal agencies could be involved in federal elections under current law.

Congress faces a complex mix of traditional oversight areas with developing ones throughout the elections field. Reports of foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle, and concerns about future interference, have raised the profile of campaigns and elections policy in Congress, at federal agencies, and beyond. As Congress considers these and other developing issues, this report provides the House and Senate with a resource for first understanding the current campaigns and elections regulatory structure. The report addresses those areas of law and public policy that most directly and routinely affect American campaigns and elections. This includes six broad categories of law through which Congress has assigned various agencies roles in regulating or supporting campaigns, elections, or both. These are campaign finance; election administration; election security; redistricting; qualifications and contested elections; and voting rights.

No single federal agency is in charge of the federal role in campaigns and elections, just as multiple statutes address various aspects of the field. The Election Assistance Commission and Federal Election Commission are devoted entirely to campaigns and elections. Congress has charged other departments and agencies—such as the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and component organizations comprising the Intelligence Community—primarily with responsibilities for other areas of public policy, but also with supporting or administering campaigns and elections policy in specific cases. Other agencies or statutes may be relevant in specific cases. This report does not track legislation that proposes changes in the policy environment discussed herein. It will be updated occasionally to reflect new information or major policy developments.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:28

The Guardian – “The decentralised web, or DWeb, could be a chance to take control of our data back from the big tech firms. So how does it work and when will it be here?

What is the decentralised web?
It is supposed to be like the web you know but without relying on centralised operators. In the early days of the world wide web, which came into existence in 1989, you connected directly with your friends through desktop computers that talked to each other. But from the early 2000s, with the advent of Web 2.0, we began to communicate with each other and share information through centralised services provided by big companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. It is now on Facebook’s platform, in its so called “walled garden”, that you talk to your friends. “Our laptops have become just screens. They cannot do anything useful without the cloud,” says Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, a platform for building decentralised apps. The DWeb is about re-decentralising things – so we aren’t reliant on these intermediaries to connect us. Instead users keep control of their data and connect and interact and exchange messages directly with others in their network.

Why do we need an alternative?
With the current web, all that user data concentrated in the hands of a few creates risk that our data will be hacked. It also makes it easier for governments to conduct surveillance and impose censorship. And if any of these centralised entities shuts down, your data and connections are lost. Then there are privacy concerns stemming from the business models of many of the companies, which use the private information we provide freely to target us with ads. “The services are kind of creepy in how much they know about you,” says Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive. The DWeb, say proponents, is about giving people a choice: the same services, but decentralised and not creepy. It promises control and privacy, and things can’t all of a sudden disappear because someone decides they should. On the DWeb, it would be harder for the Chinese government to block a site it didn’t like, because the information can come from other places…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Project Fi, a phone plan from Google.

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:09

FAQ: “Through new technology developed with our partners, Project Fi puts you on the best available network between Wi-Fi and three 4G LTE networks. This means you get access to more cell towers and 4G LTE in more places.

  • Project Fi is available on the Pixel, Android One Moto X4, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6. Currently these are the only smartphones to support our network of networks.
  • You must have the North American model of the above devices in order to use it on the Project Fi network. For more information on compatible devices click here….”
  • No, there is no annual service contract required when you sign up.
  • Project Fi has partnered with Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular, three of the leading carriers in the US, to provide our service. You can view our US coverage at…”
Categories: Law and Legal

An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the US

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 19:00

Via The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in 1957 – Minority Voting Rights Access – 2018 Report, September 12, 2018:

“The report examines the current and recent state of voter access and voting discrimination for communities of color, voters with disabilities, and limited-English proficient citizens. It also examines the enforcement record of the United States Department of Justice regarding the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since the Act’s last reauthorization in 2006, and particularly since the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013. The Commission voted unanimously to reach key findings including the following: T he right to vote is the bedrock of American democracy. It is, however, a right that has proven fragile and in need of both Constitutional and robust statutory protections. Racial discrimination in voting has been a particularly pernicious and enduring American problem. Voter access issues, discrimination, and barriers to equal access for voters with disabilities and for voters with limited English proficiency continue today.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Can We Predict The Outcome of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filings?

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 22:30

“Can we predict the success rate of Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings? At LexPredict, we’ve answered similar questions before. Our predictive analysis of Supreme Court decisions is one notable example. Our Supreme Court prediction game, FantasySCOTUS, is a fun way to compete with friends and earn cash prizes, but its principles can also provide tangible benefits to anyone who might be affected by Supreme Court decisions and is looking for insight into the future. One of the ultimate goals of legal analytic research is to increase positive outcomes for both civil and criminal court litigants, and to do so more efficiently. And the newest member of our team, Warren Agin, finds some answers to these kinds of daunting analytics questions in his new paper, “Using Machine Learning to Predict Success or Failure in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases.” (For more data and details, visit the GitHub page as well)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 22:28
  • ISSN: 1528-8870 (Print), 2049-7636 (Online)
  • Editor: Professor Kenneth Armstrong University of Cambridge, UK
  • Editorial board

“The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies (CYELS) offers authors and readers a space for sustained reflection and conversation about the challenges facing Europe and the diverse legal contexts in which those challenges are addressed. It identifies European Legal Studies as a broad field of legal enquiry encompassing not only European Union law but also the law emanating from the Council of Europe; comparative European public and private law; and national law in its interaction with European legal sources. The Yearbook is a publication of the Centre for European Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge.”

Categories: Law and Legal

OCLC RLP Launches Webinars, Interest Group on Research Data Management

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 22:15

“A major focus of the OCLC Research Library Partnership is engaging partner intuitions around issues facing libraries. An emerging area of interest is research data management and the role that libraries are and could play in this area. OCLC researchers have been exploring this topic for some time, and now the RLP is engaging partner institutions via a series of three Works in Progress webinars and an interest group for further exploration.

The first webinar, Understanding Institutional Research Data Management (RDM) Services, on 2 October will introduce the ways in which RDM services are developing at research universities worldwide and offer a model of RDM services to support discussion and decision making. Led by Senior Research Scientist Brian Lavoie, participants will gain an understanding of the major trends shaping the scholarly record of the 21st century, learn about RDM—a key aspect of today’s scholarly record—and explore examples of how universities are meeting the RDM needs of their faculty and students.

In the second webinar on 13 November, Identifying and Acting on Incentives When Planning RDM Services, Senior Program Officer Rebecca Bryant and Senior Research Scientist Ixchel M. Faniel, will continue to explore the factors influencing institutional decision making when developing resources and support for research data management. They will present an incentives model that shapes local needs and will provide a model for institutions to identify and act on locally relevant incentives, which we believe is essential for optimizing decision making for institutions.

Finally, on 2 December, Acquiring RDM Services for Your Institution will highlight key choices in acquiring RDM services, with an emphasis on the internal/external sourcing decisions, and the importance of partnerships with stakeholders both on campus and beyond. Presenters Bryant and Lavoie will examine how institutions are making decisions about infrastructures, services, and personnel to support local RDM services…”

Categories: Law and Legal

ABA Bias Interrupters Project – You Can’t Change What You Can’t See

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 22:11

Bias Interrupters Project – You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Racial and Gender Bias in the Legal Profession – “In partnership with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), the Commission is proud to release a new research report to reduce gender and racial bias in law firms and corporate legal departments.  The survey data were prepared by the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California – Hastings. Some of the findings include:

  • Women lawyers of color were eight times more likely than white men to report that they had been mistaken for janitorial staff, administrative staff, or court personnel.
  • 80% of white men, but only 63% of white women, 59% of men of color, and 53% of women of color reported that they had equal opportunities for high-quality assignments.
  • Around half of all women lawyers (49% of white women, 51% of women of color) reported that credit for their contributions was stolen by somebody else.
  • The Executive Summary of the research is available to the public for free.  Access it here.
  • The full report is available to ABA members.
Categories: Law and Legal

Walking Might Be the Best Exercise There Is

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 19:51

Walking alone, walking with a friend, companion animal(s), parent, child, colleague, grandparent..just walk, and enjoy better health! Via Outside – Here’s the secret to a long life: keep moving

“It’s easy to get excited about the latest and greatest trends, from high-intensity interval training to ultramarathons to triathlons to powerlifting. But at the end of the day, regular brisk walking gets you most, if not all of the way there—“there” meaning a long and healthy life. This is the main conclusion from the June volume of the prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), a special edition dedicated exclusively to walking. “Whether it is a stroll on a sunny day, walking to and from work, or walking down to the local shops, the act of putting one foot in front of the other in a rhythmic manner is as much human nature as breathing, thinking and loving,” write researchers Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, and Marie Murphy in an editorial in the journal. The main study in the BJSM special edition surveyed more than 50,000 walkers in the United Kingdom—a variety of ages, both men and women—and found that regularly walking at an average, brisk, or fast pace was associated with a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 24 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. All the data was self-reported. Participants were asked how frequently they walked and whether they would describe their usual pace as “slow,” “average,” “fairly brisk,” or “fast.” Though self-reported data like this is often viewed as a weakness, in this case it may actually be a strength. This is because “slow” versus “brisk” for a 30-year-old is different than “slow” versus “brisk” for a 70-year-old. In other words, what the researchers were really measuring was rate of perceived exertion, or how hard people felt they were walking. This method is proven to be an effective way to gauge effort and intensity during exercise. “A very simple way to grasp what a ‘brisk’ pace is in terms of exertion is to imagine it as a pace that gets you out of breath when it is sustained for more than a few minutes,” says Stamatakis, lead author on the study and professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney, Australia…”

Categories: Law and Legal

With respect – remembrance – 9/11 – The Falling Man. An unforgettable story.

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 18:44

The Falling Man. An unforgettable story. By . Sep 9, 2016. “Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.”

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity’s divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did—who jumped—appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man’s posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears…”

Categories: Law and Legal

EPA’s Response to the World Trade Center Towers Collapse a Documentary Basis for Litigation

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 18:31

Comments on the EPA Office of Inspector General’s 1/27/03 interim report titled: “EPA’s Response to the World Trade Center Towers Collapse” A DOCUMENTARY BASIS FOR LITIGATION July 4, 2003. Prepared by Cate Jenkins, Ph.D. Environmental Scientist, Waste Identification Branch. Hazardous Waste Identification Division. Mail Code 5304W. Office of Solid Waste. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. US Environmental Protection Agency. 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Washington, DC 20460.

Via Russ Kick – The EPA document referenced above was not released to the public in 2003 or 2004, but rather referenced in the following New York Post article [via the Internet Archive]: 9/11 MEMO REVEALS ASBESTOS ‘COVER-UP’ By Sam Smith. July 16, 2004 — An Environmental Protection Agency memo claims city and federal officials concealed data that showed lower Manhattan air was clouded with asbestos after the World Trade Center collapse. And officials sat on the alarming information even as they told the public it was safe to return downtown, the internal memo says. Testing by the city Department of Environmental Protection showed the air downtown had more than double the level of asbestos considered safe for humans, claimed federal EPA environmental scientist Cate Jenkins, who supplied the memo to The Post. The data, which Jenkins says she culled from state records, appear damning. On the day after the attack, the memo claims, city test results from the corner of Centre and Chambers streets and from the corner of Spruce and Gold streets showed asbestos concentration at about twice the level considered safe by the EPA. The city did not release this information to the public, Jenkins says. The next day, Sept. 13, city tests were “overloaded” with asbestos in the air — so much that the lab could not conclude precise amounts — along Church Street. Again, the information was withheld, the memo claims. When the city published the test results for the weeks following 9/11 on its Web site in February 2002, there were 17 instances where the data was either understated or left blank, Jenkins asserts in her report. “New York City could wiggle out of the [claim of] concealment, because they weren’t making any explicit statements about data at the time,” Jenkins told The Post. “But the EPA can’t wiggle out of this. They said the air was safe at the same time they were coordinating data with the city.”To drive her point home, Jenkins compares statements made by the EPA on the same day test data was showing dangerous levels of asbestos. On Sept. 18, then-EPA administrator Christie Whitman said the public in lower Manhattan was not being exposed to “excessive levels of asbestos.” That same day, city testing data, some of which was later made public, showed asbestos levels 50 percent higher and more above what her agency considers safe, the memo states.” [Note: Also According to Russ Kick, the report made its way to the EPA’s online National Service Center for Environmental Publications.]

Categories: Law and Legal

GAO delivers more bad news for Washington DC Metro

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 18:19

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: Assessing Fiscal Risks and Improving Workforce Management Would Help Achieve Strategic Goals, GAO-18-643: Published: Sep 10, 2018. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2018: “In recent years, Washington, D.C.’s Metro transit system has had serious safety problems and has lost revenue during lengthy maintenance. These conditions put pressure on Metro to effectively manage its most expensive resource—its workforce. We found: Metro’s pension costs are increasing faster than other workforce costs, which could make it hard to continue providing employee benefits without compromising future service. Metro’s workforce management policies and processes don’t help it achieve safety and customer service goals. We recommended fully assessing Metro’s pension risks and improving workforce planning and performance management.”


Categories: Law and Legal

CBO – Federal budget deficit was $895 billion for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 18:16

Monthly Budget Review for August 2018: “The federal budget deficit was $895 billion for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, $222 billion more than the shortfall recorded during the same period last year. Revenues were 1 percent higher than in the same period in fiscal year 2017, but outlays rose by about 7 percent. As was the case last year, this year’s outlays were affected by shifts in the timing of certain payments that otherwise would have been due on a weekend or a holiday. If not for those shifts, the increase in the deficit would have been smaller: The deficit for the 11-month period would have been $154 billion larger than last year’s amount. Excluding the effects of those timing shifts, the increase in outlays was 4.7 percent, and about one-quarter of the increase was for interest on the public debt…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google Launches Environmental Insights Explorer

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 18:14

“The Environmental Insights Explorer analyzes Google Maps data to provide rich insights into the vital signs of our planet. These insights can be used to create carbon baselines and accelerate climate action plans…Climate change’s many environmental, social and economic impacts will continue to escalate if not enough is done to mitigate emissions. Right now, there’s no consistent, reliable data on carbon emissions, meaning we can’t tell where the hot spots are for the problem or what interventions are working. Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer is founded on the idea that data and technologies can help accelerate the actions, industries and investments that enable the world’s transition to a low-carbon future. By analyzing Google data, we’ve made city-specific environmental data accessible and useful for understanding a simple baseline greenhouse gas inventory and recognizing reduction opportunities. These are two important steps for city-level climate action planning and ultimately making project investments for a low-carbon future. Surfacing environmental information in a robust platform, we aim to serve commercial solutions and products and foster new research into the issues and solutions for cities globally. We know more accurate data may exist for some locations and methodologies and assumptions mean that the results can vary significantly. Over time, the calculations can improve. For now, taking action on climate change can’t wait, so we hope to accelerate the move from measurement to action…”

Categories: Law and Legal