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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

Google releases data set of search trends for COVID-19 symptoms

Mon, 09/07/2020 - 17:57

“This aggregated, anonymized dataset shows trends in search patterns for symptoms and is intended to help researchers to better understand the impact of COVID-19. Public health experts indicated that trends in search patterns might be helpful in broadly understanding how COVID-19 impacts communities and even in detecting outbreaks earlier. You shouldn’t assume that the data is a recording of real-world clinical events, or use this data for medical diagnostic, prognostic, or treatment purposes. This data reflects the volume of Google searches for a broad set of symptoms, signs and health conditions. To keep things simple in this documentation, we will refer to all of these collectively as symptoms. The data covers hundreds of symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing, and stress—based on the following:

  • a symptom’s prevalence in Google’s searches
  • data quality and privacy considerations

For each day, we count the searches mapped to each of these symptoms and organize the data by geographic region. The resulting dataset is a daily or weekly time series for each region showing the relative frequency of searches for each symptom…”

Categories: Law and Legal

93 percent of protests this summer were peaceful, report says

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 23:47

Washington Post – “About 93 percent of the racial-justice protests that swept the United States this summer remained peaceful and nondestructive, according to a report released Thursday, with the violence and property damage that has dominated political discourse constituting only a minute portion of the thousands of demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd in May. The report, produced by the nonprofit Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, also concluded that an escalation in the government response to protests and a sharp uptick in extremist activity means the United States faces a growing risk of “political violence and instability” ahead of the 2020 election…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Nearly a Third of American Employees Worked Remotely in 2019

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:53

“This summer, NTIA reported initial results from our latest NTIA Internet Use Survey, which showed that Americans were increasingly using a larger and more varied range of devices. But with dozens of topics covered in the survey, there is a lot more we can learn from this data collection, including questions about online activities such as checking email, watching videos and participating in the sharing economy. Two online activities of particular importance right now are remote work and taking online classes. Our data show that approximately 51 million Americans reported using the Internet to work remotely in 2019, nearly a third of the estimated 160 million Americans who were employed in November. A smaller number, about 43 million Americans, said they used the Internet to take classes or complete job training last year. That represents about 20 percent of Internet users ages 15 or older. Although our survey was conducted in November 2019, a few months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the results can be helpful to understanding the extent to which Americans were prepared to work and learn online…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Governor partisanship explains the adoption of statewide mandates to wear face coverings

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:51

Governor partisanship explains the adoption of statewide mandates to wear face coverings. Christopher Adolph, Kenya Amano, Bree Bang-Jensen,Nancy Fullman, Beatrice Magistro, Grace Reinke, and John Wilkerson: “Public mask use has emerged as a key tool in response to COVID-19. We develop and document a classification of statewide mask mandates that reveals variation in their scope and timing. Some U.S. states quickly mandated the wearing of face coverings in most public spaces, whereas others issued narrow mandates or no mandate at all. We consider how differences in COVID-19 epidemiological indicators, state capacity, and partisan politics affect when states adopted broad mask mandates. The most important predictor is whether a state is led by a Republican governor. These states were much slower to adopt mandates, if they did so at all. COVID-19 indicators such as confirmed cases or deaths per million are much less important predictors of statewide mask mandates. This finding highlights a key challenge to public efforts to increase mask-wearing, widely believed to be one of the most effective tools for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 while restoring economic activity.”

Categories: Law and Legal

It’s not just cars that make pollution. It’s the roads they drive on, too

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 21:43

Science: “…The researchers estimated the annual emissions from new paving and roofing in parts of Southern California. They calculate that molecules released from asphalt could lead to between 1000 and 2500 tons of particulate air pollution—compared with just 900 to 1400 tons from gasoline and diesel vehicles. (Both sources pale in comparison to volatile chemical products, such as pesticides, coatings, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products, which together contribute 4500 to 9500 tons of particulate pollution per year.) It’s not necessarily the case that asphalt roads cause more total air pollution than cars, however. Gentner notes that vehicles also release harmful particles from combustion and exhaust gases that form ozone. “This is really one of the first papers that makes a quantitative connection between these gases from asphalt and aerosol formation in urban air,” says Joost de Gouw, an environmental chemist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who was not involved with the work…”

Source documentAsphalt-related emissions are a major missing nontraditional source of secondary organic aerosol precursors – Science Advances 02 Sep 2020: Vol. 6, no. 36, eabb9785 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb9785

Categories: Law and Legal

Beyond Zoom Etiquette: 21 Rules for Using Tech Now

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 20:50 / paywall – [alternative site/no paywall] – As technology evolves, so too do the rules that govern us. Here’s how to ensure you don’t become a pariah. Plus: A refresher course in Zoom decorum….Whether you wanted to fit in or stand out in high school—be the influenced or the influencer—adhering to social norms was key to navigating and surviving the experience. The same applies to new technology today, where a failure to understand the shifting landscape (which recent studies suggest is still dictated by teen girls, somehow) can quickly make you a pariah. Fear not, we have you covered. Even as the tech world continues to churn out exciting devices amid the chaos and crisis of 2020, these etiquette guidelines will keep you on the cutting edge of your class, helping you improve and update your behavior—or else…”

Categories: Law and Legal

America at Hunger’s Edge

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 17:22

“Beginning in May, Brenda Ann Kenneally set out across the country, from New York to California, to capture the routines of Americans who struggle to feed their families, piecing together various forms of food assistance, community support and ingenuity to make it from one month to the next…Food insecurity is as much about the threat of deprivation as it is about deprivation itself: A food-insecure life means a life lived in fear of hunger, and the psychological toll that takes. Like many hardships, this burden falls disproportionately on Black and Hispanic families, who are almost twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white families…”

Categories: Law and Legal

2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 17:03

Via Bluefin: “IBM and the Ponemon Institute’s long-awaited 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report has finally arrived — and with it comes critical insight into the current landscape of cyber security. For the fifteenth consecutive year, IBM and the Ponemon Institute have partnered to analyze the latest breaches at over 500 organizations to uncover trends in cyberattacks and provide insight on data security practices…”

Categories: Law and Legal

International Underground Railroad Month

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 16:52

What is International Underground Railroad Month? “International Underground Railroad Month acknowledges the significance of the Underground Railroad, and all those involved, for its contribution to the eradication of slavery in the United States and as a cornerstone for a more comprehensive civil rights movement that followed. It honors the inspiring efforts of people from around the world who have committed themselves to document, interpret, and share with the public the history of the Underground Railroad…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Election Integrity and Technology: Vulnerabilities and Solutions

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 16:46

Election Integrity and Technology: Vulnerabilities and Solutions, Matt Blaze, 4 Geo. L. Tech. Rev. 505 (2020) “…In this Paper, I will give an overview of the technical security risks facing elections in the United States today, with an emphasis on vulnerabilities inherent in electronic voting machines as well as the exposure of our election infrastructure to disruption by domestic as well as national security adversaries. It is, by necessity, incomplete and narrow. But I do hope that this Paper highlights some of the ways that technology has enabled the election process while raising awareness about that technology’s vulnerabilities. An especially valuable resource, with comprehensive discussion and recommendations is the recent National Academies Securing the Vote consensus study report.”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Libraries Can Save the 2020 Election

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 23:52

The New York Times Opinion – Eric Klinenberg: “As states rush to adapt their election systems amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials estimate that 80 million Americans plan to vote by mail this fall, twice as many as in 2016. Because of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s decision to remove or cripple key components of America’s mail system just weeks before Election Day and President Trump’s open efforts to discredit mail-in voting, millions are worried their ballots won’t be counted in time, or even counted at all. Last week, congressional Democrats and several governors from both parties called for Mr. DeJoy to reinstall the high-speed sorting machines and mailboxes that he removed in an inexplicable hurry. He flatly refused. The House passed a $25 billion bill to revive the Postal Service before the election. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider it. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, called the Postal Service system overhaul “nothing more than a voter suppression tactic.” But a speedy judicial resolution is unlikely. Fortunately, there is a largely overlooked part of the civic infrastructure that is ready and able to help Americans exercise the franchise, even under these troubling circumstances: libraries. Libraries already serve as polling places on Election Day throughout the country and, crucially, they provide secure, monitored ballot boxes where absentee voters can drop off their ballots before Nov. 3 and know that it will count. Secure boxes for absentee ballots are already available at some libraries in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Utah and Washington. Other states should follow suit…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Dig Up Family History Online

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 22:48

The New York Times – “Digitized newspaper archives and hyperlocal historical sources can help you understand how your ancestors lived. Long before the internet made it easy to share the nuances of daily life, local newspapers and other regional publications reported the business, society and civic news of the people in the community. For budding genealogists, finding an ancestor in an old microfilmed newspaper and reading contemporaneous accounts of her turn in the school play or his all-city bowling championship provide a glimpse into the past that’s more textured than a chart of names and dates. Taking a more narrative approach to the family story can be a time-consuming detective project with no guaranteed results. But once you have a name and know when and where the person lived, you can start your quest to find out how they lived. Here’s how to get started…”

Categories: Law and Legal

You Should (Probably) Delete Your Google Data – Here’s How

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 22:39

Lifehacker: “…First let’s go over the data that can be automatically deleted, which the company organises into three different categories:

  • Web and app history. This includes voice and audio data from Google assistant and other apps; data collected from apps synced to your Google account; all Chrome browsing history.
  • YouTube search and watch histories
  • Google Maps history and GPS location data

All of this data can be accessed from your Google Account’s activity dashboard, but before we get into how you set up auto-deletion, let’s talk about why you would want to. One reason is because of the heightened personal privacy it provides, especially when it comes to your location and Google maps data. That said, your YouTube history is very different than sensitive material like, say, your name or bank info—all of which Google handles differently, and there are separate tools for managing such data. A more tangible reason is that deleting your data is helpful for up-to-date content (and ad) curation. People change, our tastes evolve, and periodically deleting your outdated content history is like giving your YouTube, Google Play, or even Google Podcast recommendations a refresh based on your current interests…”

Categories: Law and Legal

CBP does not make it clear Americans can opt out of airport face scanning

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 22:02

Tech Crunch: “A government watchdog has criticized U.S. border authorities for failing to properly disclose the agency’s use of facial recognition at airports, which included instructions on how Americans can opt out. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), tasked with protecting the border and screening immigrants, has deployed its face-scanning technology in 27 U.S. airports as part of its biometric entry-exit program. The program was set up to catch visitors who overstay their visas. Foreign nationals must complete a facial recognition check before they are allowed to enter and leave the United States, but U.S. citizens are allowed to opt out. But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report out Wednesday that CBP did “not consistently” provide notices that informed Americans that they would be scanned as they depart the United States…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The New Rules for Landing a Job in the Covid Era

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 21:52 [paywall and alternate source no paywall] – “It takes luck, creativity and a fresh look at your network of contacts to find a job in the worst labor market in more than a decade. Since the pandemic hit the U.S. hard in March, the economy has lost 13 million jobs, job seekers have seen offers yanked away, and many recent college graduates remain sidelined. But there is reason to be optimistic, albeit cautiously: Many employers are still hiring. More than half of small and midsize companies plan to hire full-time employees this year, according to an August survey of 600 human-resources and finance chiefs by Paycor, an HR software company. And while the percentage of LinkedIn members hired into new jobs fell 7.4% in July compared with the year before, it jumped 57.5% from June, according to LinkedIn’s August Workforce Report. But today’s jobs landscape is wildly different from the red-hot labor market of early 2020. An open position can yield hundreds of applications. Many job interviews are still happening over laptop screens, and companies’ hiring needs are changing as fast as the economic outlook…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Sounds of the Forest

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 21:42

“We are collecting the sounds of woodlands and forests from all around the world, creating a growing soundmap bringing together aural tones and textures from the world’s woodlands. The sounds form an open source library, to be used by anyone to listen to and create from. Selected artists will be responding to the sounds that are gathered, creating music, audio, artwork or something else incredible, to be presented at Timber Festival 2021. This second part of the project is gratefully supported by PRS for Music Foundation.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google Maps now shows traffic lights at intersections

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 23:03

Ars Technica – Zoom all the way in and you’ll see a tiny little traffic light icon in an intersection.”…Google Maps traffic light support is just a small, static marker in the middle of an intersection indicating that there is a traffic light there. You have to zoom in really close to see the traffic lights, but if we zoom in far enough, we’re seeing them on Android, iOS, and the Web. As always the map features are going to depend on Google’s data set, and right now we’re only seeing those in the US. They show up when browsing the map or navigating…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Rare ‘singing’ dog, thought to be extinct in wild for 50 years, still thrives

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 20:37

CNN – “This dog can sing … or at least it can yodel. The New Guinea singing dog, an extremely rare breed, is best known for its unique barks and howls — it’s able to make harmonic sounds that have been compared to the calls of a humpback whale. Only around 200 captive singing dogs live in conservation centers or zoos, the descendants of a few wild dogs captured in the 1970s. The animals are severely inbred due to a lack of new genes. None had been seen in their natural habitat for half a century until 2016, when an expedition located and studied 15 wild dogs in the remote highlands of the western side of New Guinea, known as Papua, in Indonesia. A new expedition returned to the study site in 2018 to collect detailed biological samples to confirm whether these highland wild dogs truly are the predecessors of the singing dogs. A comparison of DNA extracted from blood collected from three of the dogs suggested they have very similar genome sequences and are much more closely linked to each other than any other canine, according to research published on Monday in the journal PNAS….”

Categories: Law and Legal

FDA’s Role in the Medical Product Supply Chain and Considerations During COVID-19

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 18:53

CRS report via LC – FDA’s Role in the Medical Product Supply Chain and Considerations During COVID-19, September 1, 2020: “The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the medical product supply chain globally and domestically. Although concerns about the U.S. medical product supply chain predate the emergence of COVID-19, the ongoing pandemic has underscored the importance of understanding the supply chain—in particular, U.S. reliance on foreign sources of medical products and the federal government’s ability to oversee the supply chain and mitigate future disruptions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medical products—drugs and medical devices—marketed in the United States. The FDA therefore plays a critical role in overseeing aspects of the U.S. medical product supply chain. Drug and medical device (“device”) manufacturers are subject to FDA-mandated reporting requirements related to the supply chain. For example, establishments that manufacture drugs and devices are required to register with FDA and must report various manufacturing-related information to the agency. These requirements apply to both domestic and foreign establishments that import drugs and devices into the United States. However, concerns have been raised that certain manufacturers, such as those producing medical products or components that are not imported directly into the United States, may not be registered with FDA. This potential blind spot may limit the agency’s ability to oversee the medical product supply chain and monitor the entities manufacturing such products for the U.S. market..”

Categories: Law and Legal

Protect Your Privacy and the Environment While Upgrading Your Gear

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 18:14

The New York Times – “Taking better care of your tech gear can help make it last longer, but sometimes you just need to upgrade. Even if your phone, tablet or computer hasn’t suffered a fatal flop, you may find it doesn’t fit your work-from-home needs, or you plan to pass it down to a family member who needs it for remote learning. Or, be honest: You really want the fall season’s latest, greatest phone. Whatever the reason for the new purchase, simply tossing your old hardware in the junk drawer or trash can be bad from a privacy standpoint and for the environment. When upgrade time comes, here are some security and eco-friendly tips for when your old equipment goes on without you…”

Categories: Law and Legal