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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 53 min 41 sec ago

Best PDF editors: Reviewed and rated

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 22:46

PCWorld: “Though it’s nearly 25 years old, the PDF may be more useful than ever in our increasingly multi-device, cross-platform world. Much of the time you can get by with a free PDF reader to review and comment on these files. But inevitably, particularly in a business setting, you’ll need to edit a PDF file and that usually requires upgrading to a premium PDF editor. Historically, Adobe Acrobat has been the best option, but it has also been the most expensive, often putting it out of reach of individuals and small businesses. That has given rise to a wealth of alternatives with varying features and costs. We looked at six PDF editors to see what they offer and how they stack up against each other…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The best free movies on YouTube

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:55

Digital Trends: “Google quietly began rolling out the youtube.com/movies section in 2011. Since then, its library of titles for rent, purchase, or streaming has grown considerably, adding up to more movies than you could watch in a lifetime. If you don’t want to pay for a streaming service like Netflix or HBO, you can view some free movies on YouTube, but it’s tough to find stuff that isn’t illegally uploaded or in poor quality. Many of the movies that are available are documentaries, campy horror flicks, and older titles from Hollywood’s “Golden Age,” and it’s not easy to make an educated choice when you’re faced with choosing something you’ve probably never heard of. So, to help save you some time in your search, we’ve sifted through the site to bring you this list of the best full-length — and, of course, free — movies on YouTube….”

  • Note – “Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis, helped pioneer the sci-fi genre as a whole. The dystopian film revolves around a man of wealth (Gustav Fröhlich), who abandons his privileged life to join a band of oppressed workers in a revolt. The film was initially praised for its technical merits (though not so much for its plot or commentary on society as a whole), and as time has gone on, its legacy has grown, as it’s now considered one of the defining films of the entire 20th century.”
Categories: Law and Legal

NASA releases thousands of hours of Apollo 11 mission audio

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:32

The Hill: “NASA and the University of Texas have teamed up to digitize 19,000 hours of recordings from the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first two people on the moon.  The audio was uploaded to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit website that hosts digitized versions of cultural artifacts. “One of the things that comes across is that each of the people working for NASA is proud of what they do. They were always working collaboratively,” John Hansen, a speech researcher at the university and principal investigator for the project, told NBC News. The newly digitized recordings track conversations between astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and mission control in Houston. They include serious discussions, such as one about a program alarm Armstrong and Aldrin hadn’t encountered in training, and more light-hearted exchanges like one about an oatmeal-eating contest.  Digitizing the tapes was an arduous task, NBC reported, as each one contained 30 different audio channels and a unique tape recorder was needed to read one track at a time, requiring each of the 170 tapes to be played 30 times…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google made new search tools to help veterans find better jobs

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:28

Google Blog – Helping veterans make their next move in civilian life: “…Through Grow with Google, our initiative to help create opportunities for all Americans, we hope to use our technology to help veterans understand the full range of opportunities open to them across many different fields. Right now those opportunities are getting lost in translation. There isn’t a common language that helps recruiters match a veteran’s experience with the need for their skills and leadership in civilian jobs. As a result, 1 in 3 veterans—of the roughly 250,000 service members who transition out of the military each year—end up taking jobs well below their skill level. Starting today, service members can search ‘jobs for veterans‘ on Google and then enter their specific military job codes (MOS, AFSC, NEC, etc.) to see relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in their military roles. We’re also making this capability available to any employer or job board to use on their own property through our Cloud Talent Solution. As of today, service members can enter their military job codes on any career site using Talent Solution, including FedEx Careers, Encompass Health Careers, Siemens Careers, CareerBuilder and Getting Hired….” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

How plastic bags came to rule our lives, and why we can’t quit them.

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:07

Via TOPIC: “The story of the plastic bag—the kind that is so ubiquitous in grocery stores, in gutters, in the branches of trees—is a story of persuasion, one that began with a battle between paper and plastic in the hearts of the American people. “People are fond of the old paper bag,” Peter Bunten explained to the New York Times in 1984. “It’s as American as the flag and apple pie and all those other red, white, and blue clichés.” At the time, Bunten worked for American Paper Institute, and the plastic bag, first introduced to grocery stores in 1979, was ready to challenge the paper bag’s supremacy over how people carted home groceries—a $600 million market at the time. To the plastics industry, the grocery bag was “the last stronghold” of the American supermarket, Ronald Schmeider, marketing manager at Mobil Chemical, a subsidiary of what is now ExxonMobil, told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. Plastics already had conquered the meat tray, the egg carton, and the produce and bread bag, jobs previously performed by paper. But the paper grocery bag proved harder to supplant…The general public, however, was sold the sack on the prospects for reuse. “The Plastic Grocery Sack Council says plastic bags can be reused in more than 17 different ways, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1986, “including as a wrap for frozen foods, a jogger’s wind breaker or a beach bag.” By 1988, about 40 percent of US grocery bags were plastic. By 2003, the American Plastics Council estimated plastic’s market share was close to 80 percent. Estimates made over a decade ago suggest somewhere between 500 billion and 1.5 trillion plastic bags are consumed globally each year at a rate of more than a million a minute…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google Search latest target in Trump’s “strategic” push to discredit the news

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:00

Quartz: “The White House is “taking a look” into regulating Google, Donald Trump’s top economic advisor said Tuesday morning, after the US president tweeted in the early morning hours that googling “Trump news” turned up too many negative results. Google search results has it “RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD,” Trump wrote before 5am EDT, in tweets that were erased and then reposted hours later. Google & others “are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see!” he wrote. Asked by a reporter whether that meant there should be some sort of regulation for Google, economic advisor Larry Kudlow said “We’ll let you know. We’re taking a look at it.” Later, Trump told reporters he thought Google is “really taking advantage of a lot of people.” There are “literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in,” he said. Google, Twitter, and Facebook are “really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Government Agency Digital Products Case Study Report Now Available

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 18:58

Federal Depository Library Program (FDPL) – “In the fall of 2016, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Superintendent of Documents entered into an interagency agreement with the Federal Research Division (FRD) of the Library of Congress to develop and test a methodology for identifying agency digital publishing, dissemination, and preservation policies and practices. The final report, “Disseminating and Preserving Digital Public Information Products Created by the U.S. Federal Government: A Case Study Report,” is now available. The results and recommendations found in the report provide Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) a more informed approach to:

  • Foster productive, collaborative relationships with agencies
  • Develop strategies to improve and transform its operations and services to facilitate a more effective and efficient proactive approach to increased discovery and access to Government information
  • Ensure all in-scope content is acquired for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the Cataloging & Indexing Program (C&I), and GPO’s System of Online Access (FDsys/govinfo)…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Harvard Law School Library receives donation of material from American lawyer and radio personality

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 21:59

Et Seq. The Blog of the Harvard Law School Library: “The Harvard Law School Library is excited to announce that it recently received a unique collection of material from the family of Harvard Law School (HLS) alumnus, jurist, and popular radio personality Neil Chayet (HLS ’63). Comprised of more than 10,000 individual transcripts and several thousand corresponding minute-long radio broadcast recordings, the collection represents almost the entirety of Neil Chayet’s “Looking at the Law” radio program which aired on various Boston and national radio stations from 1976-2017. A native of Massachusetts and the son of a district court judge, Neil Chayet received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his J.D. from HLS in 1963. His legal career focused primarily on medical law, and included work on several high-profile cases, including serving on the psychiatric task force for the Boston Strangler murders investigation, and as a lawyer representing inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital in the late 1960s. Chayet went on to become a faculty member of both the Harvard Medical School and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Free application lets users shrink JPG images with no loss in quality

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 19:46

Via the Shrink Me FAQ:

  • “Why should I compress images? Image compression is ideal if you want to make your site / app load faster or to save some storage.
  • Do compressed images suffer from quality loss? No, your images should look identical to the human eye. You almost won’t see any differences, just give it a try.
  • What Compression Ratio is used for JPG images? Shrink Me’s compression ratio for JPG images is 60%.  In the future, you will be able to change this value.
  • What is the maximum file size? Currently there is no maximum file size limit. Beware that big file sizes will take longer to compress.
  • Can I compress multiple files at once? Yes, you can shrink as many as you like at once.
  • Why didn’t my image get any smaller? This may happen to images which already have been optimized.”
Categories: Law and Legal

NOAA – Heat-seeking citizen scientists zero-in on D.C., Baltimore for mapping mission

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 19:32

NOAA: “A corps of volunteers are setting out this week with an important task in front of them: Collect real-time data about the hottest places in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It’s part of a NOAA-funded project to map places where people are most at risk during extreme heat waves. Using specially designed thermal sensors mounted on their own cars, these citizen scientists are driving prescribed routes through each city recording temperatures, time and location second by second. Then, scientists from Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia will transform this data into detailed maps of both cities’ urban heat islands — areas that trap heat and can run 10 to 20 degrees hotter than in other areas of the city. “By measuring temperatures in tens of thousands of locations throughout a city, we can map what areas are hottest, and the reason behind those patterns,” explained Vivek Shandas, a professor at Portland State University and co-leader of the project. “It’s a very simple system that any city can use to describe the urban heat island effect, which can help to inform planning strategies to cool the city, especially in areas where the most vulnerable populations live.” …”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal judge blocks publication of 3-D printed gun blueprints

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:48

Washington Post: “A federal judge ruled in favor of more than a dozen attorneys general on Monday to block the release of blueprints for 3-D printed firearms online. The Seattle court order effectively criminalized publication of the gun design files, banning Texas-based company Defense Distributed from posting them on the Internet. The decision presents a new hurdle in the company’s fight to make weapon-design files publicly available, a case that has sparked a national conversation about the implications of untraceable plastic weapons and constitutional rights. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington cited risks to public safety in granting the injunction. He wrote that the 19 attorneys general and the District of Columbia who filed the lawsuit have “a legitimate fear that adding undetectable and untraceable guns to the arsenal of weaponry already available will likely increase the threat of gun violence they and their people experience.” The proliferation of digital weapon files, Lasnik said, “will hamper law enforcement efforts to prevent and/or investigate crime.” The decision stems from a suit filed July 30 against the State Department, which had agreed to allow Defense Distributed to publish an arsenal of firearms blueprints online in a planned settlement. The states argued that the release of 3-D printable designs threatened national security and abridged their ability to pass and police gun laws…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Tech Industry Pursues a Federal Privacy Law, on Its Own Terms

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:40

The New York Times: “In recent months, apparently, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and others have aggressively lobbied officials in the Trump administration and elsewhere to start outlining a federal privacy law. The law would have a dual purpose, they said: It would overrule the California law and instead put into place a kinder set of rules that would give the companies wide leeway over how personal digital information was handled. The efforts could set up a big fight with consumer and privacy groups. Many of the internet companies depend on the collection and analysis of such data to help them target the online ads that generate the bulk of their revenue. “It’s clear that the strategy here is to neuter California for something much weaker on the federal level,” said Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The companies are afraid of California because it sets the bar for other states.”…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Does Google Actually Make Us Dumber? That Study – And Many Others – Were Just Called Into Question.

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:28

BuzzFeedNews: “Another spate of high-profile and provocative psychology studies have failed to replicate, dealing blows to the theories that fiction makes readers empathetic, for example, or that the internet makes us dumber. At a time when psychology researchers are increasingly concerned about the rigor of their field, five laboratories set out to repeat 21 influential studies. Experiments in just 13 of those papers — or 62% — held up, according to an analysis published Monday. The eight papers that did not fully replicate — seven in the journal Science, one in Nature — have been cited hundreds of times in scientific literature and many were widely covered by the media. Failing to replicate isn’t definitive proof that a finding is false, particularly in cases where other studies support the same general idea. And some scientists told BuzzFeed News they do not agree with how the replications were done. Still, the new findings are part of an overwhelming, and troubling, trend. The so-called reproducibility crisis has hit research in many fields of science, from artificial intelligence to cancer. Shoddy psychology research has received the most attention, with a 2015 report replicating just 36% of 97 studies. It makes sense that scientists want to publish data that is surprising or counterintuitive. “That’s not a bad thing in science, because that’s how science breaks boundaries,” said Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist and executive director of the Center for Open Science, which led the replication project. But too few scientists, he said, recognize the inherent uncertainty of their splashy results. “It’s okay if some of those turn out to be wrong,” he said. [Note/reminder/just saying – Librarians and libraries do not suffer from “so called reproducibility crises”]

Categories: Law and Legal

White Collar Prosecutions Fall to Lowest in 20 Years

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:06

White Collar Prosecutions Fall to Lowest in 20 Years – “The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2018 the government reported 494 new white collar crime prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this number is down 14.4 percent over the previous month. Examining trends over the first seven months of FY 2018, the government reported a total of 3,249 new white collar crime prosecutions. If this level of activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 5,570 for this fiscal year – down from last year. These recent trends continue a long term slide in the level of federal fraud prosecutions. Indeed, current levels represent the lowest number of white collar prosecutions in more than 20 years. Overall, the data show that prosecutions are down 31.3 percent from the level of 8,108 reported in 2008 and down 40.8 percent from the level of 9,412 reported in 1998….”

See also ProPublica and The New York Times co-published report: Why Manafort and Cohen Thought They’d Get Away With It – It takes a special counsel to actually catch white-collar criminals.  “…Resources have been stripped from white-collar enforcement. The FBI shifted agents to work on international terror in the wake of 9/11. White-collar cases made up about one-tenth of the Justice Department’s cases in recent years, compared with one-fifth in the early 1990s. The IRS’ criminal enforcement capabilities have been decimated by years of budget cuts and attrition. The Federal Election Commission is a toothless organization that is widely flouted. No wonder Cohen and Manafort were so brazen. They must have felt they had impunity…”

Categories: Law and Legal

GPO – A Tribute to Senator John McCain

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 17:47

Govinfo: “After being held as a POW for 5 ½ years in North Vietnam, Lieut. Commander McCain was released on May 14, 1973. Nine years later in 1982 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona. In 1986 he was elected to the United States Senate. Throughout his tenure in Congress, he offered intelligent thoughts and proposed actions on various conflicts and wars, among other topics, gaining respect among his colleagues and the public. Here are some highlights from the Congressional Record…”

See also the Washington Post: John McCain knew how to make journalists love him

Categories: Law and Legal

John McCain’s Final Letter to America

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 17:38

The Atlantic – John McCain’s Final Letter to America – this missive addresses our country, and our people, collectively and individually – who we are, what and whom we have lost, sacrificed, and are in danger of destroying, as well as the roots of compassion, grace, strength, courage, hope and commitment we are all called upon each and every day to draw forth from the wellspring of what brings us together and urges us forward to attain – peace, justice, freedom.

On Monday morning in Arizona, Senator John McCain’s former campaign manager Rick Davis, acting as a spokesperson for the McCain family, read aloud the text of the late senator’s final letter to the public. “These are John’s words,” he said. What follows is a transcription of what Davis read: “My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for 60 years, and especially my fellow Arizonians, thank you for the privilege of serving you, and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I’ve tried to serve our country honorably. I’ve made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them. I’ve often observed that I am the luckiest person on Earth. I feel that way even now, as I prepare for the end of my life. I’ve loved my life, all of it. I’ve had experiences, adventures, friendships, enough for 10 satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life in good or bad times for the best day of anybody else’s. I owe this satisfaction to the love of my family. One man has never had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America to be connected to America’s causes: Liberty, equal justice, and respect for the dignity of all people brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth were not circumscribed, but are enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves

Fellow Americans, that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history, and we have acquired great wealth and power in the progress. We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down; when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before, we always do. Ten years ago I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still. Do not despair of our present difficulties. We believe always in the promise and greatness of America because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit, we never surrender, we never hide from history. We make history. Farewell fellow Americans, God bless you, and God bless America.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Donald Trump, Twitter and Presidential Power to Interpret the Law for the Executive Branch

Sun, 08/26/2018 - 19:03

Lawfare – Posting by Jim Baker – Donald Trump, Twitter and Presidential Power to Interpret the Law for the Executive Branch

“The president’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday [August 21, 2018] to several federal criminal violations, including making certain unlawful campaign contributions. The case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. That office is part of the executive branch, and the president is the head of that branch. The president tweeted this the next day [August 22, 2018]: “Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime.” When I read that tweet, I was immediately reminded of the fact that under the Constitution, the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” See Article II, section 3. This is an obligation and a directive to the president, not a choice…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Collaboration and Impact in Legal Academia

Sun, 08/26/2018 - 18:45

Whalen, Ryan, Collaboration and Impact in Legal Academia (July 2, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3206555 – “This paper examines the state of collaborative research posted on LSN subject matter e-journals. It provides quantitative analyses of how collaboration relates to downloads, school-ranking, gender, and geographic distance. Findings include a positive relationship between collaboration and impact, a tendency for men to collaborate more than women, and a tendency for scholars to prefer collaborations with others at similarly-ranked institutions.”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Art and Science of Lawyering: Law 3.0

Sun, 08/26/2018 - 18:42

Law Technology Today: “..Law 3.0 means using technology and business processes effectively in order to run a scalable and efficient law department or firm. Legal organizations have a well-deserved reputation for using technology and implementing business processes ineffectively at scale. Why? It’s not because lawyers are technologically inept or indifferent to the science of their profession. Instead, the inefficiency can be traced to the nature of partner-focused business entities. In a partnership, all partners have a stake in the business decisions their organizations make every day, and individual partners often leverage their partner status to influence those decisions to benefit their personal work style or preferences. This makes the standardization of business rules difficult and therefore inefficient.//”

Categories: Law and Legal

Writing with Friends: Collaborative Legal Writing

Sun, 08/26/2018 - 18:38

Lebovits, Gerald, Writing with Friends: Collaborative Legal Writing (July 2018). Gerald Lebovits, The Legal Writer, Writing With Friends: Collaborative Legal Writing, 90 N.Y. St. B. J. 90 (July/Aug. 2018).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3210776

“This column discusses some best practices in collaborative legal writing.”

Categories: Law and Legal

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