beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Subscribe to beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002 feed
Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

10 Million Patents – United States Patent and Trademark Office

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:42

10 Million Patents – United States Patent and Trademark Office – “Patents through history. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 10 million on June 19, 2018. This milestone of human ingenuity perhaps exceeds even the Founding Fathers’ expectations when they called for a patent system in the Constitution to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Cambridge University to hold lectures online until summer 2021 term

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:38

May 19 (UPI) – Cambridge University announced Tuesday that it will not hold face-to-face lectures during the next academic year. “The university said that since social distancing procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will likely continue into next year, most lectures will be held virtually…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

More than half of U.S. counties don’t have a single coronavirus testing site

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:00

Castlight Report – Location, location, location – Where retail clinics like CVS and Walmart choose to set up testing facilities will make all the difference in our ability to safely get back to work.

“Castlight performed an analysis of our comprehensive COVID-19 test site finder to examine states’ capacity to collect enough COVID-19 tests to safely re-open the U.S. economy.Safely re-opening the U.S. economy will require a substantial increase in COVID-19 testing. There is broad agreement the United States needs additional COVID-19 testing capacity to begin to reopen the economy and return to work safely. According to experts, at a minimum we need the ability to test roughly 1 percent of the U.S. population (3 million people) every seven days to get there. Current testing levels are just over half that pace. On the surface, most states would appear to have adequate collection capacity. 46 of the 48 contiguous states have enough testing sites to test 1 percent of their population every seven days. Each testing site can collect a range of between 32 and 480 tests per day depending on the type of testing site (retail clinic, standalone, hospital, or pop-up testing site). Only Kentucky and Colorado do not have enough sites overall to test one percent of their population every seven days. But testing sites are distributed unevenly within states, leaving wide swaths of citizens vulnerable. An analysis of county-level data shows that 38% of metro counties (those with populations at or greater than 50,000) and 68% of rural counties (with populations under 10,000) have no testing sites at all. Retail clinics could be the answer to closing this gap in test coverage. A number of retailers have announced plans or begun to open testing sites across the country. Many of these retailers have a wide geographic footprint, many operating stores in locations that currently do not have any or adequate testing sites. Each retail testing location can collect an average of 200 tests per day, potentially helping many counties reach the 1 percent threshold…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Thinking of buying a bike? Get ready for a very long wait.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 23:44

The New York Times – The United States is facing a shortage of bikes as anxiety over public transportation and a desire to exercise has sent the demand surging: “Some bicycle shops in Brooklyn are selling twice as many bikes as usual and drawing blocklong lines of customers. A chain of shops in Phoenix is selling three times the number of bikes it typically does. A retailer in Washington, D.C., sold all its entry-level bikes by the end of April and has fielded more preorders than ever in its 50-year history. As the coronavirus pandemic shrinks life in major American cities — limiting pastimes and discouraging use of buses and subways — hundreds of thousands of Americans are flocking to one of the most basic forms of mobility: the bicycle. In March, nationwide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, according to the N.P.D. Group, a market research company. Sales of commuter and fitness bikes in the same month increased 66 percent, leisure bikes jumped 121 percent, children’s bikes went up 59 percent and electric bikes rose 85 percent. By the end of April, many stores and distributors had sold out of low-end consumer bikes. Now, the United States is facing a severe bicycle shortage as global supply chains, disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, scramble to meet the surge in demand…

Categories: Law and Legal

All 50 States Move to Ease Restrictions, but Rules Vary Widely

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 23:34

The New York Times – “By Wednesday [May 20, 2020], all 50 states will have begun to reopen in at least some way, more than two months after the coronavirus thrust the country into lockdown. But there remain vast discrepancies in how states are deciding to open up, with some forging far ahead of others. Connecticut will become among the last states to take a plunge back to business on Wednesday, when its stay-at-home order lifts and stores, museums and offices are allowed to reopen. But not far away in New Jersey, the reopening has been more limited, with only curbside pickup at retail stores and allowances for certain industries. The contrast illustrates a dynamic playing out across the country, as governors grapple with how to handle a pandemic that comes with no political playbook. States in the Northeast and on the West Coast, as well as Democratic-led states in the Midwest, have moved the slowest toward reopening, with several governors taking a county-by-county approach. (In Washington, D.C., a stay-at-home order remains in effect until June.) By contrast, a number of states in the South opened earlier and more fully. Though social distancing requirements were put in place, restaurants, salons, gyms and other businesses have been open in Georgia for several weeks…”

Categories: Law and Legal

CDC guidance on reopening America from coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 23:21

Washington Post – “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week laid out its detailed, delayed road map for reopening schools, child-care facilities, restaurants and mass transit, weeks after covid-weary states began opening on their own terms. The CDC cautioned that some institutions should stay closed for now and said reopening should be guided by coronavirus transmission rates. For schools, the CDC recommended a raft of social distancing policies: desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff and daily temperature screenings for everyone. It advised that buses leave every other row empty, bars add sneeze guards and child-care centers limit sharing of art supplies.

  • The 60-page guidance document was posted on the CDC website over the weekend without fanfare after weeks of delay and an internal debate over whether the guidelines were too restrictive…”
Categories: Law and Legal

This Photographer Is Working To Document Species Before They Go Extinct

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 23:10

BuzzFeedNews – “Each species that we photograph is precious, irreplaceable, and in my mind, has a basic right to exist.” “Joel Sartore, a photographer based in Lincoln, Nebraska, has worked with National Geographic for over 30 years, and has led the Photo Ark for the past 15. The mission of the Photo Ark is to document the 15,000 species that are in captivity, many of which are on the edge of extinction. Sartore recently photographed his 10,000th species, a small cat known as a güiña that is native to Chile. We spoke with Sartore about this project, and the state of conservation, in an interview that is edited and condensed for clarity…”

Categories: Law and Legal

German intelligence can no longer freely spy on the world’s Internet traffic, top court rules

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 22:34

Fortune – “In the world of online spying, great power lies with those who can get their hands on the data flowing through the world’s Internet infrastructure. So the fact that Germany is home to one of the world’s biggest Internet exchange points—where data crosses between the networks that make up the Internet—has given a lot of power to the country’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. The Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, gets to freely sift through all the foreign traffic passing through that exchange junction in search of nuggets that can be shared with overseas partners such as the NSA. But now that power is in jeopardy, thanks to a Tuesday ruling from Germany’s constitutional court. The case was brought about by journalists who report on human rights in conflict zones. They don’t want German spies potentially identifying their sources there and sharing that information with other countries. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that foreigners also benefit from privacy protections under Germany’s constitution, so the surveillance conducted on them by Germany’s spy agency needs to respect their rights…”

Categories: Law and Legal

iFixit Launches Massive Repair Database For Ventilators and Other Medical Devices

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 22:31

The Verge – To help hospitals maintain and fix crucial equipment during COVID-19 and beyond – “Teardown and repair website iFixit has just posted what its CEO Kyle Wiens says is “the most comprehensive online resource for medical repair professionals.” The new database contains dedicated sections for clinical, laboratory, and medical support equipment, in addition to numerous other categories of devices. It also provides more than 13,000 manuals from hundreds of medical device manufacturers. Wiens says the effort began with a crowdsourcing campaign to collect repair information for hospital equipment, with a focus on “ventilator documentation, anesthesia systems, and respiratory analyzers — devices widely used to support COVID-19 patients.” But the effort grew from there, spanning more than two months as iFixit added dozens more staff members to the project; began talking to more biomedical technicians, doctors, and nurses about their day-to-day needs; and started collecting and cataloging information from libraries and other sources…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How We Reopen Safely Tracking states as they make progress towards gating criteria

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 22:18

COVID Exit Strategy – “We are a group of public health and crisis experts. With former experience working at the White House, Department of Health and Human Services, and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. We are a non-partisan group, having worked across multiple administrations. We built this site to track each state’s progress towards the critical interventions needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our focus is the data available on the ground and how we can surface it in meaningful ways for state and local leaders to act on. This is a collaborative effort between individuals from a few organizations. We are always looking for feedback on how we can make this resource more useful. If you have suggestions, please send them our way…

Gating criteria are the data-driven conditions each region or state should satisfy before proceeding to a phased opening. For this site, we are using the gating criteria provided by the White House. In their Reopening America Again guidelines. The document does not specifically identify data sources or measures, so we had to translate what those meant. We’ve tracked each state’s progress towards its reduction in symptoms and cases, health system readiness, and increased test capacity. For each of the criteria we’ve sourced publicly available data that best represents where a state is at. Some sources are more “real-time” like case data, but others can lag a week like influenza-like illness (ILI) data. Using this data, we assign a “Red”, “Yellow”, “Green” score to each measure….” [Green is proving extraordinarily illusive]
Categories: Law and Legal

Don’t Leave Workers Out of the Library Narrative

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 16:56

Library Journal Opinion by Callan Bignoli: “There’s been a trend in articles coming out in major publications about how excited people are to get back to their libraries and how resilient libraries are—something EveryLibrary’s Patrick Sweeney called “happy-go-lucky library stories” at the recent #LIBREV conference. While they pay important attention to the needs libraries are still striving to meet in their communities, these narratives do nothing to expose the miserable realities that library workers are experiencing, or incite any kind of action to be taken in their defense. Let’s start with American Libraries. On May 1, amidst thousands of layoffs and furloughs of library workers happening all around the country, the magazine published a piece by American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown congratulating the resilience and stick-to-it-iveness of “librarians and library workers.” There was no mention of lost jobs, uncertain budgets, unsafe working conditions, managers censoring and punishing employees for speaking up for themselves, or threats of placement in riskier positions—in other words, none of what has defined this crisis for many of our colleagues…I’m only scratching the surface of what’s going on, based on the stories people are sharing with me and on social media—mostly with fear of retaliation or anxiety about how helpless they feel—and things I’m coming across locally…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal Circuit Ends In-Person Oral Arguments Indefinitely

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:38

Law360 (May 18, 2020) – “The Federal Circuit on Monday suspended in-person arguments “until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, abandoning its month-by-month approach to extending remote oral arguments. Chief Circuit Judge Sharon Prost’s new administrative order removes the expiration date from a March order limiting access to the courthouse and calling for hearings to be held over the phone. She said the move was made “in the interest of providing greater predictability” to attorneys, given complications rising from the court’s national jurisdiction. “Counsel appearing in cases before this court are currently subject to various approaches to, and timeframes for, community recovery and reopening, which may impact their ability to travel for argument,” Judge Prost wrote. The Federal Circuit had been deciding each month whether oral arguments could be held in person. Arguments were held over the phone in April for the first time ever and they were virtual again in May. The court had announced last week that June arguments would be virtual as well. Attorneys who argued during the first set of phone hearings had said the process was technically smooth, even if it couldn’t fully replicate the experience of being in a courtroom with the judges deciding their clients’ fates…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Why COVID-19 Could Shrink Your Lavish BigLaw Office

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:34

Law360 (May 18, 2020) – “Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP’s offices soar over Manhattan’s Central Park like a 600,000-square-foot palace within a skyscraper, replete with marble floors, mahogany-paneled walls, paintings and other such stately furnishings. The storied law firm pays $54 million a year for the space. Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York office spans over 500,000 square feet in a Midtown building, though it is dwarfed by the firm’s 675,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters that fills more than half of an entire office tower. Latham & Watkins LLP leases 407,000 square feet spread over 10 floors of a Rockefeller Center skyscraper. Right now, these offices are missing just one crucial thing: people. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced BigLaw firms to abandon their most opulent offices and transform their lawyers into remote workers, revealing to many firm leaders that their enormous real estate costs might not be as justifiable as they had been in decades past. Experts say the pandemic is sure to accelerate a trend among law firms to cut back on the kind of real estate typified by Cravath’s current offices. Real estate, after all, is usually firms’ highest expense after salaries. Firms have already been experimenting with ideas like shared offices and remote work, and the austerity that may be required to make it through the oncoming downturn is likely to budge even the most change-averse firms…”

Categories: Law and Legal

I Will Not Be Attending Your Exhausting Zoom Gathering

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:15

Slate – We should take comfort in hating this. “…My internal alien has identified the lack of normal eye contact as one central pitfall of the video-chat experience. Talk to someone over FaceTime or Zoom, and they’ll never quite meet your eyes. They’ll spend the call looking at their screen, a few inches below or to the side of their camera, giving you the perpetual feeling of trying to get the attention of someone who’s ever so slightly preoccupied. Once, on a Skype call many years ago, a friend looked directly into her camera to say something heartfelt to me with the approximation of true eye contact. The effect was jarring: I didn’t fully realize that we hadn’t been making eye contact until she was suddenly staring straight into my soul from inside my screen. She was gazing at her computer’s eye, not mine, and could actually see less of my face than when she was looking at her screen, yet I felt strangely, uncomfortably exposed. When I recently tried it on a video call with my niece and nephew in an attempt to make them laugh, it gave me the unsettling impression of carrying on a conversation with HAL 9000, who’d been watching me watch the kids throughout our call. (FaceTime, perhaps even more eerily, has a new feature that attempts “eye contact correction” to make it appear you’re looking directly at each other, even when you’re not.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Special coronavirus e-journal highlights guardianship, digital legal planning, older inmates

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:36

“The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging has released its May-June 2020 issue of BIFOCAL, a “Special Coronavirus Edition,” which features articles and resources to support the elder law community in these unprecedented times. Articles include information about legal delivery tools, pandemic rules guardians should know, legal documents that lag in a digital world and the fight for older prison inmates. The May-June issue is a collection of articles written by some of the country’s foremost law and aging experts who are available for interviews to media outlets seeking sources. Some experts and their articles include:

  • 5 Tips to Help Elder Law Practitioners in the Age of COVID-19, by Rajiv Nagaich, an elder law attorney in the Seattle area and a fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Working Remotely? Legal Delivery Tools You Need Now, by Hilary Dalin, director of the Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services at the Administration for Community Living in Washington, D.C.; Sarah Galvan, senior staff attorney at Justice in Aging and who  works on the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER); and Liz Keith, program director at Pro Bono Net
  • Ready, Set, Pause: The Digital World Waits for Legal Planning Docs to Catch Up, by Charles Sabatino, director of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging
  • New Pandemic Rules Guardians Need to Know Now, by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, The National Guardianship Association, and the National Center for State Courts
  • Notarizing Docs Amid Stay-in-Place Orders: The Evolving Status of State Laws, by Rebecca Salido, intern, ABA Commission on Law and Aging
  • Inside Vermont’s Prison System: Fighting for Older Inmates as Outbreaks Spread, by Annie Manhardt, staff attorney at the Prisoners’ Rights Office in Montpelier, Vt.
  • Seniors Facing Foreclosure Get Temporary Reprieve, by Odette Williamson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center who focuses on housing sustainability, issues impacting older adults, and directs the Racial Justice and Equal Economic Opportunity initiative
  • Consequences Can be Enormous for Seniors Without Internet, by Jeremiah Underhill, legal director at Disability Rights of West Virginia, and a co-coordinator for Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) in West Virginia
  • Remembering Lori Stiegel: An Unwavering Elder Justice Advocate (1957-2020), by Erica Wood, former assistant director at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Overview Updated

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:30

LC CRS Reports – Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Overview Updated May 18, 2020:  “The COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly shifted the congressional agenda in recent weeks, while altering the daily lives of millions of American residents. Alongside the many medical, economic, social, and public policy questions raised by the pandemic are a range of legal issues. These include both short-term legal questions related to the unfolding outbreak as well as longer-term legal issues that are anticipated to persist in the wake of the crisis. Among the most immediate questions are those related to the scope of state and federal authorities concerning quarantine measures, travel and entry restrictions, the movement of medical goods, health care coverage, and the like. Of more ongoing concern may be legal issues ranging from those related to the development of vaccines, testing, treatments, and other medical countermeasures, to postponing national elections, to civil liability for COVID-19 exposure, to criminal actions related to hoarding and price gouging, to providing economic assistance to individuals and businesses,to foreclosure, eviction, and debt collection moratoria. This Legal Sidebar provides a list of legal resources discussing these and other legal topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated intermittently as additional legal issues emerge.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Libraries Do Not Need Permission To Lend Books

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:16

Medium – Fair Use, First Sale, and the Fallacy of Licensing Culture: “Licensing culture is out of control. This has never been clearer than during this time when hundreds of millions of books and media that were purchased by libraries, archives, and other cultural intuitions have become inaccessible due to COVID-19 closures or, worse, are closed off further by restrictive licensing. And, many of us have watched as librarians, educators, parents, and students have questioned (and battled) over to right to read books aloud online to schoolchildren or to stream movies or music for our new online “classroom” environment. We have also heard about resistance to emergency or temporary digital libraries to increase access to the materials needed for education and research during this pandemic. The answer to these questions coming from vendors, publishers, and now, the U.S. Copyright Office, appears to be singular: more licensing. This answer threatens the purpose, values, and mission of libraries and archives in the United States. It undermines the ability of the public (taxpayers!) to access the materials purchased with their money for their use in public libraries and state institutions, and further, it is short sighted, and not in the best interest of library patrons or the public at large…”

Categories: Law and Legal

U.S. House approves remote voting, though the tech is unclear

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:12

TechCrunch: “Congress will allow remote voting for the first time in its history, after the U.S. House approved Resolution 965 late Friday in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The measure — sponsored by Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern — authorizes proxy voting by members for renewable periods of 45 days and allows for remote participation in committee hearings. H.R. 965 could also permanently alter the way Congress operates through a provision that establishes a bi-partisan process to explore digital voting away from Capitol Hill. Per the directive, “The chair of the Committee on House Administration, in consultation with the ranking minority member, shall study the feasibility of using technology to conduct remote voting in the House, and shall provide certification…that operable and secure technology exists.” Previous House rules required in person voting only. The Senate still makes decisions by recording verbal “Yeas” and “Nays” on a tally sheet…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google censored search results after bogus copyright claims

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:10

Reclaim the Net – “We recently did a deep-dive for members about how the DMCA and copyright claims are one of the greatest growing threats to free speech online. Now, an investigation has revealed that Google has fallen victim to fake copyright notices and is taking down several legitimate news articles and similar search results. Google, much like any other search engine, is mandated to comply with the DMCA guidelines, according to which copyrighted content cannot be returned in search results. Leveraging this loophole, several unscrupulous individuals or organizations, have filed anywhere near four billion fake copyright complaints to take down links to news pieces that showed a particular political figure or an individual in a negative light. In the recent past, for instance, Google returned the result of an article that covered the movements of two coronavirus-infected Brits who were in Vietnam and thereby warned others to take precautions when coming in contact with tourists who have been to international destinations. But now, the article does not appear in search results anymore. What could be the reason? A copyright claim….”

Categories: Law and Legal

31 Terrific Books Recommended By 31 Terrific Writers

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 23:09

BuzzFeedNews: A quarantine reading list courtesy of Glennon Doyle, Veronica Roth, Julia Alvarez, and more. ” Powell’s Books recently asked some of its favorite authors to share which books they’re reading and recommending during quarantine. Here’s what they had to say…”

Categories: Law and Legal