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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

Shoot Someone In A Major US City, And Odds Are You’ll Get Away With It

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 18:29

“A yearlong investigation by The Trace and BuzzFeed News, based on data obtained from 22 cities, has found that:

  • In cities from coast to coast, the odds that police will solve a shooting are abysmally low and dropping. Homicides and assaults carried out with guns lead to arrests about half as often as when the same crimes are committed using other weapons or physical force.
  • The odds of an arrest are particularly low when victims survive, in part because those crimes tend to be assigned to detectives whose caseloads are exponentially higher compared to their colleagues in the homicide department, who are often overburdened themselves.
  • The chances are even lower if the victims, like Little, are people of color. When a black or Hispanic person is fatally shot, the likelihood that local detectives will catch the culprit is 35% — 18 percentage points fewer than when the victim is white. For gun assaults, the arrest rate is 21% if the victim is black or Hispanic, versus 37% for white victims.
  • By failing to solve so many shootings, police are “missing a potential opportunity to stop cascades of gun violence,” said Andrew Papachristos, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University…”
Categories: Law and Legal

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2019 to 2029

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 18:11

“CBO regularly publishes reports presenting projections that indicate what federal deficits, debt, revenues, and spending—and the economic path underlying them—would be for the current year and for the next 10 years if existing laws governing taxes and spending generally remained unchanged. This report is the latest in that series.

Deficits. In CBO’s projections, the federal budget deficit is about $900 billion in 2019 and exceeds $1 trillion each year beginning in 2022. Over the coming decade, deficits (after adjustments to exclude shifts in the timing of certain payments) fluctuate between 4.1 percent and 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), well above the average over the past 50 years. CBO’s projection of the deficit for 2019 is now $75 billion less—and its projection of the cumulative deficit over the 2019–2028 period, $1.2 trillion less—than it was in spring 2018. That reduction in projected deficits results primarily from legislative changes—most notably, a decrease in emergency spending…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Effects of the Partial Shutdown Ending in January 2019

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 18:09

“CBO has estimated the effects of the five-week partial shutdown of the government that started on December 22, 2018, and ended on January 25, 2019. This report presents CBO’s findings, which include the following:

  • CBO estimates that the five-week shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal discretionary spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services and suspended some federal services.
  • As a result of reduced economic activity, CBO estimates, real (that is, inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2018 was reduced by $3 billion (in 2019 dollars) in relation to what it would have been otherwise. (Such references are in calendar years or quarters unless this report specifies otherwise.) In the first quarter of 2019, the level of real GDP is estimated to be $8 billion lower than it would have been—an effect reflecting both the five-week partial shutdown and the resumption in economic activity once funding resumed.
  • As a share of quarterly real GDP, the level of real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018 was reduced by 0.1 percent, CBO estimates. And the level of real GDP in the first quarter of 2019 is expected to be reduced by 0.2 percent. (The effect on the annualized quarterly growth rate in those quarters will be larger.)..”
Categories: Law and Legal

What it used to be like to look things up

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 17:59

Flash back 9 years – What it used to be like to look things up – by James Somers, February 12, 2010: “Yesterday a paper I was reading made reference to a “Galtonian composite photograph.” From the context I had a vague idea of what the phrase referred to, but I wanted to learn more. So I:

  1. Googled “Galton” and clicked on the first result, the Wikipedia page for Sir Francis Galton.
  2. Searched the text there for “composite,” which turned up the following:

    Galton also devised a technique called composite photography, described in detail in Inquiries in human faculty and its development

  3. Googled once again for “Inquiries in human faculty and its development” (no quotes), which turned up a complete Google Books entry.
  4. Searched inside that text for “composite,” and found, finally, “Appendix A.—Composite Portraiture,” which contained everything I might want to know on the subject.

The whole process took about two minutes. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, what my search would have looked like forty years ago, long before the Internet and the proliferation of personal computers. How would I have traced a casual allusion to its source?..”

Categories: Law and Legal

Examining junk news posted on Facebook, starting with the 2018 US Midterm Elections

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 21:50

The Junk News Aggregator: Examining junk news posted on Facebook, starting with the 2018 US Midterm ElectionsDimitra (Mimie)Liotsiou, Bence Kollanyi, Philip N. Howard (Submitted on 23 Jan 2019) > arXiv:1901.07920.

“In recent years, the phenomenon of online misinformation and junk news circulating on social media has come to constitute an important and widespread problem affecting public life online across the globe, particularly around important political events such as elections. At the same time, there have been calls for more transparency around misinformation on social media platforms, as many of the most popular social media platforms function as “walled gardens,” where it is impossible for researchers and the public to readily examine the scale and nature of misinformation activity as it is unfolding on the platforms. In order to help address this, this paper, we present the Junk News Aggregator, an interactive web tool made publicly available, which allows the public to examine, in near real-time, all of the public content posted to Facebook by important junk news sources in the US. It allows the public to gain access to and examine the latest articles posted on Facebook (the most popular social media platform in the US and one where content is not readily accessible at scale from the open Web), as well as organise them by time, news publisher, and keywords of interest, and sort them based on all eight engagement metrics available on Facebook. Therefore, the Aggregator allows the public to gain insights on the volume, content, key themes, and types and volumes of engagement received by content posted by junk news publishers, in near real time, hence opening up and offering transparency in these activities, at scale across the top most popular junk news publishers and in near real time. In this way, the Aggregator can help increase transparency around the nature, volume, and engagement with junk news on social media, and serve as a media literacy tool for the public.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Can impeachment appear legitimate in a hyper-partisan universe?

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 19:46

Washington Post: “…Placing this power in Congress rather than the courts makes impeachment as much a political process as a legal one. But calling it political does not denigrate impeachment; it elevates it. Impeachment should be political, reflecting the nature of impeachable offenses and the judgments that should be brought to bear when considering it. The endlessly parsed phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” does not cover policy differences, unpopularity, personal animus or simple “maladministration” on the part of the president, a term the framers considered but dismissed as so vague that it would leave presidents at the mercy of Congress. In fact, an impeachable offense need not involve the commission of a crime. Rather, it must feature misdeeds that “so seriously threaten the order of political society as to make pestilent and dangerous the continuance in power of their perpetrator,” wrote the late legal scholar Charles L. Black Jr. in his classic 1974 study, “Impeachment: A Handbook,” reissued last year. Impeachment ought to follow egregious abuses of power that constitute, in Engel’s description, wrongdoing “against the entire American people.”

In “Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide,” law professor Cass Sunstein acknowledges the political dimensions of impeachment but emphasizes the high standards and judgment that should be brought to bear. “It is in part because the standard is high that political opponents of presidents have so rarely resorted to the impeachment mechanism,” he writes. “Despised presidents, and bad presidents, have hardly ever been impeached, which is a tribute to the Rule of Law.” The problem is not that the process could be political but that it could easily become too partisan, another weapon in a permanent campaign. “When an impeachment is purely partisan, or appears that way, it is presumptively illegitimate,” Tribe and Matz warn…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Be safe on the internet.

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 18:46
An open source checklist of resources designed to improve your online privacy and security. Check things off to keep track as you go. – Take 10 minutes to read this article and consider applying one or more of the suggestions. I did and the applications work really well.

I have been recommending one of the suggestions for years now – Use DuckDuckGo rather than Chrome. See:  Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyway. “2019 may finally be the year for ‘The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track You’ “This, in a nutshell, is DuckDuckGo’s proposition: “The big tech companies are taking advantage of you by selling your data. We won’t.” In effect, it’s an anti-sales sales pitch. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most prominent in a number of small but rapidly growing firms attempting to make it big — or at least sustainable — by putting their customers’ privacy and security first. And unlike the previous generation of privacy products, such as Tor or SecureDrop, these services are easy to use and intuitive, and their user bases aren’t exclusively composed of political activists, security researchers, and paranoiacs. The same day Weinberg and I spoke, DuckDuckGo’s search engine returned results for 33,626,258 queries — a new daily record for the company. Weinberg estimates that since 2014, DuckDuckGo’s traffic has been increasing at a rate of “about 50 percent a year,” a claim backed up by the company’s publicly available traffic data.”


Categories: Law and Legal

Google Cybersecurity Quiz Could Help Keep Your Email From Becoming Phishing Food

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 17:13

Fortune: “Has one of your accounts been hacked lately? Your email? Your Instagram? If so, you may have been the victim—and possibly an unwitting collaborator—in a phishing scam. Phishing is the most common form of cyber attack, and the goal of phishing emails is simple: to obtain your password and take over your account. Often, the only thing you have to do is click on an innocuous looking link or reply to what appears to be an email from a trusted contact. To see how vulnerable you might be, Google has a new phishing quiz you can take to test how well you can recognize malicious emails. Released by Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet Inc., the quiz displays several samples of common phishing techniques, such as using an hyperlink with a domain name that was disguised to look like a real web address, but actually leads to a phony site. The quiz trains test-takers in a number of quick, easy ways to be more cyber-secure, such as to hover a link in an email before clicking on it or check an email address against the name displayed as the supposed sender…”

Categories: Law and Legal

A Fine Way to Encourage Reading

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:46

Know I Know: “Imagine a bookstore that worked on a membership program — instead of buying books, you rented them. And instead of paying a per-book rental fee, they baked that cost into the cost of the membership. There are some limits on the number of books you can rent out at a time, but they’re reasonable if not extraordinarily high — so if you’re going on vacation, no worries, you’ll have plenty to read. And you don’t need to be anyone special to join this club; just about anyone could apply for membership.

Seems like a fancy Internetty startup? Nope. It’s your local library. And it’s hard to compete with — membership is free. There’s one catch, though: if you don’t return your books on time, you have to pay a fine. The fine is typically a pretty low one — often less than 25 cents — and typically serves as little more than a reminder (with a tiny bit of bite) that you really should return that book to your local library. For a grown-up, the fines are probably no big deal. But for a kid, and particularly one from a low-income family? Try explaining to your mom why she has to spend $10 because you lost library books. It’s not going to be a fun conversation. And let’s face it, many kids with fines don’t have to have those conversations with their parents — they can avoid the fine simply by avoiding taking other books the library. (And at that point, the library is going to suspend their borrowing privileges anyway.) The result is a lose-lose situation: the kids read less and the library doesn’t get that $10 anyway.

So, the Los Angeles County library system fixed it. They call it the “Great Read Away

Categories: Law and Legal

Practice Innovations: The Rise of Next Generation CI

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:43

Practice Innovations” is a quarterly, online newsletter that examines best practices and innovations in law firm information and knowledge management with an eye toward better management strategies in the face of a changing legal environment.

The results are in: law firms with highly effective competitive intelligence (CI) functions perform better, over time than their peers, according to a study jointly produced by Acritas and The Tilt Institute. Not only do the firms with top ratings enjoy faster revenue increases, their profitability — by virtually any measure — grew up to 53% more than peers with less effective CI functions. The secret to their success: the most effective CI teams are centralized, possess a keen ability to connect the dots, include well-trained CI analysts and, perhaps most critically, spend more time on strategic activities — those that help to shape the direction and future of the firm — than tactical (e.g., preparation for a client lunch or pitch). Last year, The Tilt Institute teamed up with market research leader Acritas to produce a report, The Evolution of Competitive Intelligence in Law Firms, delineating the role and status of competitive intelligence in the world’s largest law firms. At the time, the statistics were a bit grim. Though more than 80% of law firms had resources dedicated to CI, only 52% had a dedicated, formal function. Law firm leaders rated the effectiveness of their CI functions a 6.4 on a scale of 10 (with 10 being highly effective), and common words to describe the CI capabilities included “Basic” and “Reactive.” The bright spots, however, were evident. Law firm leaders were aware of their nascency and ready to change the status quo. More than three-quarters of firms planned to make changes in 2018 to improve their CI function and 1-in-3 specifically planned to add resources…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:41

The Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession was created to examine and make recommendations regarding the current state of attorney mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on helping legal employers support healthy work environments. The Working Group was formed in September 2017 at the request of Immediate Past-President Hilarie Bass and continues to operate under President Bob Carlson’s leadership.  Watch this Video Message from ABA President Bob Carlson highlighting the ABA’s efforts to improve lawyer well-being.

  • Well-Being Pledge – The Working Group has launched a Campaign to improve the substance use and mental health landscape of the legal profession. For a more detailed description of the Campaign as well as a quote from President Bob Carlson in support of the initiative, see the official ABA Press Release…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Google – Talk to Books

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:26

“In Talk to Books (Beta), when you type in a question or a statement, the model looks at every sentence in over 100,000 books to find the responses that would most likely come next in a conversation. The response sentence is shown in bold, along with some of the text that appeared next to the sentence for context..Mastering Talk to Books may take some experimentation. Although it has a search box, its objectives and underlying technology are fundamentally different than those of a more traditional search experience. It’s simply a demonstration of research that enables an AI to find statements that look like probable responses to your input rather than a finely polished tool that would take into account the wide range of standard quality signals. You may need to play around with it to get the most out of it..

  • Not a traditional search – Use this demo as a creativity tool to explore ideas and discover books by getting quotes that respond to your queries.
  • Use natural language – Speaking to it in sentences will often get better results than keywords. That’s because the AI is trained on human conversations.
  • Play with it – Try our sample queries then try your own. Experiment with different wording to see how it changes the results…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Facebook Graph Codes and Operators

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:18

Facebook Graph Search Operators – Collated by Paul Myers

See also from the same author – How to use Facebook Graph Search – “Experienced researchers know that Facebook’s search box has very limited and unpredictable functionality. However, there are tricks that can be used to squeeze a better search out of the world’s most popular social network.

  • Graph Searching – By formulating a special web address, we can use Facebook’s older “Graph” search and, with patience and imagination, we can use this to perform amazing searches. These special search web addresses all begin with the prefix and are followed by a combination of ID numbers and special “search operator” commands. There are two main styles of Graph searching Facebook; a search with ID numbers and and a search with words (or “strings” in nerd-speak ).  Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Searching with Facebook ID numbers Searching with ID numbers is precise and will directly only on the person or page with a certain ID number.  You can use sites like and to look up the ID associated with a Facebook account or page. For example, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page is…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Ask The Chefs: The Future Form Of Scholarly Communication

Sun, 01/27/2019 - 16:12

“It’s always a good time to think about the future, but somehow the beginning of the year seems an especially appropriate time. With the changes afoot in scholarly communication practices, sentiment, and business models, this couldn’t be a better time to consider what the target might look like. What are we all aiming for? For the moment, let’s put business models aside and think about the form and flow of research and discovery. Is the article (pre- or post-publication), book, journal, etc — our current containers — and the byproducts that surround them the best we can do? This month we asked the Chefs: What form might scholarly communications take in the future?

…So the growing focus on “knowledge mobilization”, coupled with more nuanced and sophisticated approaches to researcher evaluation, may result in much more communication via project reports and associated materials (such as videos and infographics)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Six ways media outlets are tracking presidential candidates for 2020

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 23:46

Storybench: “If you’re still reeling from the round-the-clock coverage of the 2016 presidential election, we have some bad news: It’s starting all over again. With the midterms past us, the stage is now  set for election fever to take over your favorite publications once again. And with the combination of President Trump’s low approval ratings and the Republicans’ loss of the House, a number of Democrats are licking their lips.

As of now, there are seven official Democratic candidates: former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, State Sen. Richard Ojeda, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. John Delaney, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and, announced yesterday, Sen. Kamala Harris. But more than a dozen of other potential candidates have either formed exploratory committees or made serious overtures that they’re considering a run.

So how are outlets around the web helping readers keep track of this mess? Storybench dove into the world of premature election coverage and dug out these six examples…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Navigating the invisible boundary and physical barriers that define the U.S.-Mexico border

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 23:32

Washington Post report – Borderline – Navigating the invisible boundary and physical barriers that define the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The Washington Post‘s digital project explores how we physically and legally define the border between Mexico and the U.S.” Please take time to review this report as it provides a comprehensive, detailed mapping of the entire border including what type of barriers are already in place, along with their location. In addition, the article visualizes the areas of all the border states – users may scroll over the map to read detailed information about each location on the US and Mexico sides of the border, as well as view the the maps. This report provides readers with significant data to better understand the issue of the border wall, and the impact it will have on the land, the people, the environment, and geography of both counties.

Categories: Law and Legal

Oracle v. Google and the future of software development

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 23:13

The Verge: “After years of back-and-forth legal rulings, Google is asking the Supreme Court to make the final call in its infamous dispute with Oracle. Today, the company announced it has filed a petition with the Court, asking the justices to determine the boundaries of copyright law in code. The case dates back to 2010, when Oracle first accused Google of improperly using elements of Oracle’s Java programming language to build Android. Oracle said that Google’s use of Java application programing interfaces was a violation of copyright law. Google has responded that APIs are too fundamental to programming to be copyrighted.

The case has led to two jury trials, and several rulings have doled out wins and losses to both companies over the course of eight years. Last year, a favorable Oracle decision set Google up to potentially lose billions of dollars. Google asked for a Supreme Court hearing on the case in 2014, but the Court rejected the request at the time. The company says new issues are now at play, and is asking the Court to decide whether software interfaces can be copyrighted, and whether using them to build something new constitutes fair use under the law…”

Categories: Law and Legal

2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 22:50

GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures and ranks countries based on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent. Launched for the first time in 2013, the GTCI provides a wealth of data and analysis that helps decision makers develop talent strategies, overcome talent mismatches and become more competitive in the global marketplace.

The GTCI model went through some incremental changes this year. Although the number and type of variables have stayed the same, a few have been redefined to ease their interpretation and better capture their talent-related dimensions. Above all, the innovation dimension of the GTCI has been strengthened. The broad coverage of countries was also further increased, from 119 to 125 countries.

As in the last two editions of the GTCI report, the present one includes a special section on cities, which considers (and attempts to measure) the many ways in which they contribute to reshaping the global talent scene. This year again, coverage continues to increase, and the Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI) now includes 114 cities.” [h/t]

Categories: Law and Legal

Government shutdown delays, disrupts environmental studies

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 19:29

AP: “The rainwater collection system is broken at the environmental research station on a remote, rocky Pacific island off the California coast. So is a crane used to hoist small boats in and out of the water. A two-year supply of diesel fuel for the power generators is almost gone. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel ordinarily would help with such problems. But they haven’t been around since the partial federal government shutdown began a month ago, forcing researchers with the nonprofit Point Blue Conservation Science to rely on volunteers to haul bottled water and 5-gallon (18-liter) jugs of diesel to the Farallon Islands National Refuge, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from San Francisco.

The impasse has delayed, disrupted and now threatens to derail environmental research projects across the nation — and not just those conducted by government agencies. Scientists with universities, nonprofit organizations and private companies say their inability to collaborate with federal partners, gain access to federal lands and laboratories, and secure federal funding is jeopardizing their work on a vast array of subjects, including invasive and endangered species and air and water quality…”

Categories: Law and Legal

News outlet’s email security gap

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 18:15

Axios: “An Axios study shows that very few news organizations — around 6% of a broad sample — successfully use a critical technology that guarantees emails they send are authentic. The big picture: We’ve written before about the Department of Homeland Security’s struggle to get federal agencies and the White House to implement DMARC, a security protocol that prevents someone from successfully sending an email using someone else’s email address. It’s only fair to turn that lens on our own industry.

Why it matters: As the news industry increases its reliance on email alerts and newsletters (represent!), our credibility makes us a target for spammers, scammers and purveyors of disinformation or fraud.

  • Imagine a news alert that appears to come from a business publication claiming a company was going bankrupt.
  • Or consider a newsletter on Election Day claiming a candidate had suddenly changed position on a key issue.

Details: Axios used a tool designed by email security company Valimail to check the DMARC status of 199 different news sites — including overlapping lists of the Alexa top 100 news providers, news outlets serving cities of 100,000 or more, and prominent online news sources.

  • Only 12 use DMARC in a way that would prevent fake email from getting to its target.
  • Of the 98 local news sites, only 1 had fully operational DMARC.
  • The list of sites not protected by DMARC includes influential news sources, from the New York Times and USA Today to Fox and NBC networks to Voice of America and major international outlets. [emphasis added]
Categories: Law and Legal