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ProPublica: “The CDC has quietly published a controversial review of perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that indicates more people are at risk of drinking contaminated water than previously thought. A major environmental health study that had been suppressed by the Trump administration because of the “public relations nightmare” it might cause the Pentagon and other polluters has been quietly released online. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the controversial 852-page review of health dangers from a family of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – man made chemicals used in everything from carpets and frying pan coatings to military firefighting foams – on its website [June 20, 2018], and will publish a notice in the Federal Register June 21, 2018. The study upends federally accepted notions for how much of these chemicals are safe for people – recommending an exposure limit for one of the compounds that is 10 times lower than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has maintained is the safe threshold, and seven times lower for another compound. The stricter exposure thresholds are similar to those established by state health agencies in New Jersey and Michigan. All told, the report offers the most comprehensive gathering of information on the effects of these chemicals today, and suggests they’re far more dangerous than previously thought.”..
Open Content on JSTOR – “Explore academic content on JSTOR that is open to everyone, everywhere. Search thousands of free journal articles and open access book chapters…We have partnered with leading presses on a project to add open access ebooks to JSTOR. More than 2,000 titles are now available from publishers such as University of California Press, Cornell University Press, NYU Press, and University of Michigan Press, and we will continue to add new titles. These open access books are freely available for anyone in the world to use.”
“Your Google Account gives you quick access to settings and tools that let you safeguard your data, protect your privacy, and decide how your information can make Google services work better for you.”
“To learn more about how public libraries communicate, OCLC conducted a survey among US public libraries that asked general questions about active engagement efforts. Questions covered marketing concerns and barriers, communication channels, how they use email marketing, and much more. This report provides an overview of how US public libraries communicate to their users and the broader community. Results confirm that libraries do a lot with limited resources, there’s a focus on social media, and that efforts successfully increase community awareness about the library.
FINDINGS INCLUDE – As part of communications efforts:
- 96% use social media
- 84% post photos, videos, or library information on social media
- 70% send email messages
40% have a communications strategy, but only 17% say it’s current
71% say they don’t have the necessary staff resources
25% have marketing professionals on staff…”
“The Microsoft Research Outreach team has worked extensively with the external research community to enable adoption of cloud-based research infrastructure over the past few years. Through this process, we experienced the ubiquity of Jim Gray’s fourth paradigm of discovery based on data-intensive science – that is, almost all research projects have a data component to them. This data deluge also demonstrated a clear need for curated and meaningful datasets in the research community, not only in computer science but also in interdisciplinary and domain sciences.
Today we are excited to launch Microsoft Research Open Data – a new data repository in the cloud dedicated to facilitating collaboration across the global research community. Microsoft Research Open Data, in a single, convenient, cloud-hosted location, offers datasets representing many years of data curation and research efforts by Microsoft that were used in published research studies.The goal is to provide a simple platform to Microsoft researchers and collaborators to share datasets and related research technologies and tools. Microsoft Research Open Data is designed to simplify access to these datasets, facilitate collaboration between researchers using cloud-based resources and enable reproducibility of research. We will continue to shape and grow this repository and add features based on feedback from the community. We recognize that there are dozens of data repositories already in use by researchers and expect that the capabilities of this repository will augment existing efforts…”
Ars Technica: “Verizon and AT&T have promised to stop selling their mobile customers’ location information to third-party data brokers following a security problem that leaked the real-time location of US cell phone users. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently urged all four major carriers to stop the practice, and today he published responses he received from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint. Wyden’s statement praised Verizon for “taking quick action to protect its customers’ privacy and security,” but he criticized the other carriers for not making the same promise. “After my investigation and follow-up reports revealed that middlemen are selling Americans’ location to the highest bidder without their consent or making it available on insecure Web portals, Verizon did the responsible thing and promptly announced it was cutting these companies off,” Wyden said. “In contrast, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint seem content to continuing to sell their customers’ private information to these shady middle men, Americans’ privacy be damned.” [Question – how can Verizon be considered praiseworthy when they were selling user data and have just “agreed” to cease doing so – where is the accountability and transparency as it pertains to all the carriers as it pertain to the privacy of customers?]
Krebs on Security: “…Craig Young, a researcher with security firm Tripwire, said he discovered an authentication weakness that leaks incredibly accurate location information about users of both the smart speaker and home assistant Google Home, and Chromecast, a small electronic device that makes it simple to stream TV shows, movies and games to a digital television or monitor. Young said the attack works by asking the Google device for a list of nearby wireless networks and then sending that list to Google’s geolocation lookup services…Earlier this year, KrebsOnSecurity posted some basic rules for securing your various “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices. That primer lacked one piece of advice that is a bit more technical but which can help mitigate security or privacy issues that come with using IoT systems: Creating your own “Intranet of Things,” by segregating IoT devices from the rest of your local network so that they reside on a completely different network from the devices you use to browse the Internet and store files…For more on setting up a multi-router solution to mitigating threats from IoT devices, check out this in-depth post on the subject from security researcher and blogger Steve Gibson…”
Everycrsreport.com – Financial Aid for Students: Online Resources, June 12, 2018 R43108 – “Congressional offices are frequently contacted by constituents who are researching how to pay for postsecondary education. This report identifies various online sources targeted to students and parents that provide information on planning and acquiring funds for postsecondary education. Some resources also contain information on repaying, forgiving, or discharging educational debt. Students are often in the best position to determine which aid programs they may qualify for and which best meet their needs. Many of the websites listed in this report enable a student to conduct and save scholarship, grant, and loan searches. This list includes both general sources and those targeted toward specific types of aid and circumstances (e.g., non-need-based scholarships; women and minority students; students studying abroad; or veterans, military personnel, and their dependents). This report is not a comprehensive catalog of resources related to financial aid for students. The selection of a resource for inclusion in this report is based on several criteria, including long-standing history in publishing print guides on financial aid and other college information guides (e.g., College Board, Peterson’s, Princeton Review, Reference Service Press), key features or capabilities of the website, or focus on specific topics (e.g., educational disciplines or student characteristics). The resources in this report are provided as examples and the inclusion of resources in this report does not imply endorsement by CRS. Similar guides are available in a variety of formats through libraries, high school guidance offices, college financial aid offices, and on the web.”
Your Medicare Coverage – Is my test, item, or service covered?: “Find out if your test, item or service is covered. Medicare coverage for many tests, items, and services depends on where you live. This list includes tests, items, and services (covered and non-covered) if coverage is the same no matter where you live.”
Axios: “President Trump unveiled his administration’s plan to reorganize the federal government during a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, including plans to merge the Departments of Education and Labor into a single agency and rename the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Health and Public Welfare. Be smart: This massive proposed shakeup, titled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations,” will face significant opposition in Congress, as the reshuffling will make it easier to cut and revise several domestic agencies. Similar efforts in the past have failed due to pushback…”
“..Facebook’s new screening policies to deter manipulation of political ads are creating their own problems. The company’s human reviewers and software algorithms are catching paid posts from legitimate news organizations that mention issues or candidates, while overlooking straightforwardly political posts from candidates and advocacy groups. Participants in ProPublica’s Facebook Political Ad Collector project have submitted 40 ads that should have carried disclaimers under the social network’s policy, but didn’t. Facebook may have underestimated the difficulty of distinguishing between political messages and political news coverage — and the consternation that failing to do so would stir among news organizations…”
National Geographic – The new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is one of many significant sites across the country. “The new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., shines light not just on one group of Americans but a quintessential American experience. “The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American,” writes founding director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Never before has the opportunity to tell that story on a grand, national scale been so available. Despite initial funds provided in 1915 by black Civil War veterans and a signed Public Resolution from President Calvin Coolidge in 1929 establishing a commission to plan its construction, it wasn’t until legislation signed by then President George W. Bush in 2003 that the museum had the authorization it needed to be created on the National Mall. No matter how long it took to get here, the outpouring of response to the museum’s opening this month is proof positive that the demand for it remains strong. Now, for the first time, visitors will be able to explore more than 400 years of artifacts and historical information detailing the African American experience. It couldn’t have happened at a more interesting time. Racial tensions are high in the country. Black Lives Matter demonstrators clash against police brutality, athletes protest the national anthem, actors use awards ceremonies to raise awareness on stage, and parents—a generation removed from the civil rights marches of the sixties—wonder if the era is about to be relived. There is no question that this story is worth telling and little doubt that the NMAAHC is worthy of a visit, but travelers hoping to get in right away may be out of luck. Advanced timed passes for October, November, and December are no longer available, and only a limited number of same-day passes are distributed daily. Long before construction of NMAAHC, the story of the African American experience was told through smaller museums and monuments across the country. These 10 diverse destinations will help travelers connect with some themes to expect in NMAAHC exhibits until their trip to Washington, D.C…”
“The National Security Archive’s Cyber Vault Project is announcing the launch of the CyberWar Map. This resource is both a visualization of state-sponsored cyberattacks and an index of Cyber Vault documents related to each topic (represented as nodes on the map). Clicking on each node will reveal hyperlinks and document descriptions. In some cases where key analysis was done under copyright, the link will direct readers to sources external to the National Security Archive. In a few other cases nodes do not yet have documents to display. The CyberWar Map is a living research aid: documents and nodes will be added on a regular basis. This is a particularly useful way of presenting information related to cyber actors, tools and incidents. The complexity of the field makes it increasingly challenging to conceptualize a “bird’s eye view” of the cyber-battlefield; therefore, the topic lends itself especially well to a dynamic graphic representation.”
PCWorld takes a look at the performance and features of the big four internet browsers to see which one will serve you best. “The web browser is by far the most important piece of software on your PC—at least for most users. Unless you’re at a workstation crunching numbers or editing the next Star Wars you probably spend the majority of your computer time staring at a web app or a website. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’ve always got the best tool for the job, and in 2018 that does not include Internet Explorer. If you still want the built-in option for Windows, that would be Edge—but it’s hard to stick strictly with Edge when you’ve got other choices including Google’s Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. Let’s take a look at the four major (and modern) browsers to see how they stack up in mid-2018…”
Steven Aftergood – Secrecy News Blog: “Military planners should not anticipate that the United States will ever dominate cyberspace, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a new doctrinal publication. The kind of supremacy that might be achievable in other domains is not a realistic option in cyber operations. “Permanent global cyberspace superiority is not possible due to the complexity of cyberspace,” the DoD publication said. In fact, “Even local superiority may be impractical due to the way IT [information technology] is implemented; the fact US and other national governments do not directly control large, privately owned portions of cyberspace; the broad array of state and non-state actors; the low cost of entry; and the rapid and unpredictable proliferation of technology.” Nevertheless, the military has to make do under all circumstances. “Commanders should be prepared to conduct operations under degraded conditions in cyberspace.” This sober assessment appeared in a new edition of Joint Publication 3-12, Cyberspace Operations, dated June 8, 2018. (The 100-page document updates and replaces a 70-page version from 2013.)…”
Attempting to Define the Human Right to Water with an Annotated Bibliography & Recommendations for Practitioners
Jootaek Lee and Maraya Best – 10 Georgetown Environmental Law Review Vol 1., Fall 2017.
“This Article investigates research issues related to the right to water, attempts to define and narrow the scope of the human right to water, and suggests research methodologies. Specifically, this Article provides a definition of the human right to water and identifies the difficulties of researching the human right to water. Next, it delineates international principles and other mechanisms that can be useful in protecting individuals and people affected by water issues, including quantity, quality, and access. Then, it selectively reviews current literature and domestic laws that provides some useful starting points for contemporary legal research on the human right to water. This Article concludes by offering recommendations for researchers and practitioners.”
Science Node: “February 7, 1958 was the day Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy signed Department of Defense Directive 5105.15. His signature launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), now known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The creation of the agency is an important moment in science history because it led to the creation of the internet we recognize today…” [h/t Marcus Zillman]
“The Oxford English Dictionary is asking the public to help it mine the regional differences of English around the world to expand its record of the language, with early submissions ranging from New Zealand’s “munted” to Hawaii’s “hammajang”. Last year, a collaboration between the OED, the BBC and the Forward Arts Foundation to find and define local English words resulted in more than 100 new regional words and phrases being added to the dictionary, from Yorkshire’s “ee bah gum” to the north east’s “cuddy wifter”, a left-handed person. Now, the OED is widening its search to English speakers around the world, with associate editor Eleanor Maier calling the early response “phenomenal”, as editors begin to draft a range of suggestions for inclusion in the dictionary. These range from Hawaii’s “hammajang”, meaning “in a disorderly or shambolic state”, to the Scottish word for a swimming costume, “dookers” or “duckers”, and New Zealand’s “munted”, meaning “broken or wrecked”. The OED is also looking to include the word “chopsy”, a Welsh term for an overly talkative person; “frog-drowner”, which Americans might use to describe a torrential downpour of rain; “brick”, which means “very cold” to residents of New Jersey and New York City; and “round the Wrekin”, meaning “in a lengthy or roundabout manner” in the Midlands. The dictionary has already found that, depending on location, a picture hanging askew might be described as “agley”, “catawampous”, “antigodlin” or “ahoo” by an English speaker, while a loved one could be called a “doy”, “pet”, “dou-dou”, “bubele”, “alanna” or“babber”…”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance – New Energy Outlook 2018: “…The clean energy analysis firm estimates that in a mere 33 years, the world will generate almost 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and coal will make up just 11 percent of the total electricity mix. Add in hydroelectric power and nuclear energy, and greenhouse-gas-free electricity sources climb to 71 percent of the world’s total electricity generation. The report doesn’t offer a terribly bright future for nuclear, however, and after a period of contraction, the nuclear industry’s contribution to electricity generation is expected to level off. Instead, falling photovoltaic (PV), wind, and battery costs will cause the dramatic shift in investment, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) notes. “PV and wind are already cheaper than building new large-scale coal or gas plants,” the 2018 report says. In addition, BNEF expects that more than $500 billion will be invested in batteries by 2050, with two-thirds of that investment going to installations on the grid and one-third of that investment happening at a residential level…”
Max Robinson – Columbia Journalism Review: ” Three weeks ago a devastating flood swept through sleepy Ellicott City, Maryland, shaking up the lives of residents and business owners and pouring them out for the world to see. Trapped in the flood, my instinctive response—as a part-time journalist and full-time millennial scum—was to document the scene. I took video of the waist-deep water magically held at bay by a thin apartment building door, and photographed the cars unlucky enough to be caught in the pull of the world’s largest draining bathtub. I was holed up in a stranger’s empty apartment, looking at the river that used to be my street, when I was contacted by a production associate at “Good Morning America” via Twitter. With the determination of a fixer trying to get me on the last helicopter out of Saigon, he wrote that a woman named Christina would call me on Skype for a video interview. I’d agreed to talk, but as the lights flickered and then died in the apartment, I replied that I needed to conserve my prehistoric iPhone’s battery. The producer reassured me that two minutes is all they would need—a sort of apologetic, conversational sherpa-ing that I’ve done before, to lead a reluctant subject to an interview…In the days that followed the flood, I answered phone calls or Facebook messages from reporters and media-types, asking me to recount what happened and politely requesting that I distill fuzzy memories and unsure feelings down to a handy quote. I tried to answer as many as possible. At a certain point, however, you hit a wall. The background radiation that stays with you after a traumatic event sticks around for hours, days, weeks. It’s a struggle to answer questions like “What were you thinking at that time?” and “How high would you say the water got?”—to say nothing of offering whatever deep thoughts on the economic and political fate of your town…”