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Axios: “Nearly 20% of Americans surveyed say they have zero savings in case of emergency, a recent survey by bankrate.com reports.
Why it matters: With the jobs outnumbering the jobless, a lowering unemployment rate and wages trickling upward, Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund. If an economic downturn were to occur, the data shows only a small fraction of Americans would be able to comfortably maintain their lifestyle.
By the numbers: 29% of the U.S. say they have enough emergency savings to last them six months or more — an overwhelming majority of respondents, 62%, are “very or somewhat comfortable with their level of emergency savings.”
- Lower-income households are more likely to have no emergency funds, but 27% of lowest-income households have enough savings to last them at least three months.
- Americans lost $19.4 trillion worth of wealth during the Great Recession, per the Treasury Department.
- Even though 23% of people with zero savings is a seven-year low, people are saving the same amount as they were in 2010…”
World Economic Forum: “The cost of reskilling the 1.4 million US workers likely to lose their jobs as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and other structural changes over the next decade will largely fall on the government, with the private sector only able to profitably absorb reskilling for 25% of at-risk workers. This is the finding of a World Economic Forum report published today. The report, “Towards a Reskilling Revolution: Industry-Led Action for the Future of Work”, finds that it will be possible to transition 95% of at-risk workers into positions that have similar skills and higher wages. The cost of this reskilling operation would be approximately $34 billion. However, the report also finds that, of the 1.4 million workers at risk, the private-sector could only profitably reskill 25%, or about 350, 000 workers. For the rest, at current rates of reskilling time and costs and foregone productivity, it would be more cost-effective for businesses to replace them with workers with the correct skill-set…”
- See also World Economic Forum – Strategies for the New Economy Skills as the Currency of the Labour Market, January 2019, in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson.
Bloomberg: “As companies from IBM to Samsung Electronics Co. to Halliburton Co. scramble to find the next great invention using artificial intelligence, they may hit a roadblock when trying to patent their ideas. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is making it increasingly difficult to obtain legal protections for inventions related to AI, a field that encompasses autonomous cars, virtual assistants and financial analyses, among countless other uses. The agency, seeing an influx of AI applications, is grappling with how to comply with a law that PTO Director Andrei Iancu has called “anything but clear” concerning what can be patented.
“The U.S. right now is a strong leader in artificial intelligence,” said Kate Gaudry, a patent attorney with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Washington who analyzed data from LexisNexis PatentAdvisor on pending applications at the agency. She found that, of applications given a primary classification of AI-related, about 90 percent got initial rejection letters saying they were abstract ideas. “People are going to catch on that they are unlikely to get a patent,” she said…”
“Business Roundtable today released “Innovation Nation: An American Innovation Agenda for 2020,” a set of policy recommendations to secure U.S. leadership in innovation, maintain a robust U.S. economy and increase living standards for all Americans through 2020 and beyond. Innovation Nation—a cross-cutting policy agenda—provides a roadmap for the U.S. to effectively continue to compete for and win the global race for innovation to secure inclusive economic growth and opportunity for Americans. In a rapidly changing world, the U.S. must reaffirm its commitment to innovation and how American workers across all sectors can succeed in a future economy.
“This United States is, without question, the world leader in innovation,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of Business Roundtable. “This agenda offers a bold vision and concrete plan for America to continue on this path—one that invests in people, science and technology and enables and supports entrepreneurship and risk-taking. It’s this mindset that established America as the great innovator—the nation that invented the light bulb, put a man on the moon and changed the world. Business and government must collaborate to maintain this momentum, position its people for success and spur future innovation…”
The Verge: “Most Americans are worried about climate change, and many think the government should fight it, according to the results of two independent polls released this week. The surveys suggest that Americans are finally warming to the scientific consensus about climate change: that it’s real, it’s happening now, and that we are causing it — but the big question is whether that will be enough to spark real political change.
One of the surveys, called Climate Change in the American Mind, comes out of a collaboration between Yale and George Mason University. It probes how a random sample of more than 1,100 people feel about global warming — such as whether they’re worried about it, for example, and whom they think it will harm. The other survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, asked roughly 1,200 people questions like whether they’d be willing to pay to fight climate change. Both surveys aimed to be nationally representative.
The results line up where the two surveys overlap: both report that around 70 percent of Americans agree climate change is real. The Climate Change in the American Mind survey finds that 69 percent of Americans say they’re “somewhat worried” about global warming. That’s the finding that stands out for Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and one of the survey’s co-investigators: it’s seven percentage points higher than when people were asked the same question back in March. “We’ve never seen a shift like that before,” he told The Verge in an interview…”
Quintais, João and Bodó, Balázs and Giannopoulou, Alexandra and Ferrari, Valeria, Blockchain and the Law: A Critical Evaluation (January 17, 2019). Pedro Quintais, B. Bodó, A. Giannopoulou, & A. Ferrari (2019). Blockchain and the Law: A Critical Evaluation. Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy (2)1; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2019-03; Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2019-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3317404
“It is a high-risk, high-reward enterprise to write a scholarly monograph on an emerging technology when its societal use, economic worth, and even its technical design are still in flux. With little empirical material with which to work, one often has to resort to extrapolating the future developments from the myriad seed of possibilities of the present. Yet, there are moments in time when undertaking such an enterprise seems inevitable, because there is a rough consensus that the emerging technology represents more than just an incremental improvement of already existing routines, and promises—or threatens—a disruption of the status quo. Such is the case of blockchain or distributed ledger technologies. In that light, Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright’s Blockchain and the Law is a timely and valuable contribution.”
“This National Intelligence Strategy (NIS) provides the Intelligence Community (IC) with strategic direction from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) for the next four years. It supports the national security priorities outlined in the National Security Strategy as well as other national strategies. In executing the NIS, all IC activities must be responsive to national security priorities and must comply with the Constitution, applicable laws and statutes, and Congressional oversight requirements.”
“…The strategic environment is changing rapidly, and the United States faces an increasingly complex and uncertain world in which threats are becoming ever more diverse and interconnected. While the IC remains focused on confronting a number of conventional challenges to U.S. national security posed by our adversaries, advances in technology are driving evolutionary and revolutionary change across multiple fronts. The IC will have to become more agile, innovative, and resilient to deal effectively with these threats and the ever more volatile world that shapes them. The increasingly complex, interconnected, and transnational nature of these threats also underscores the importance of continuing and advancing IC outreach and cooperation with international partners and allies..”
“The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will host a live international news conference at 10 a.m. EST/1500 GMT on Thursday, January 24, 2019, to announce the 2019 time of the Doomsday Clock. The news conference will take place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Watch the announcement live on clock.thebulletin.org, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter. Speakers for the Doomsday Clock announcement on January 24, 2019 include:
- Jerry Brown, executive chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; former Governor of California
- William J. Perry, chair, Bulletin Board of Sponsors; former Secretary of Defense
- Rachel Bronson, president and CEO; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
- Herb Lin, Bulletin Science and Security Board; Senior Research Scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University
- Robert Rosner, chair, Bulletin Science and Security Board; William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago
- Susan Solomon, Bulletin Science and Security Board; Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Sharon Squassoni, Bulletin Science and Security Board; Research Professor of Practice at the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
EveryCRSReport.com – Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects, December 2018: “When federal agencies and programs lack funding after the expiration of full-year or interim appropriations, the agencies and programs experience a funding gap. If funding does not resume in time to continue government operations, then, under the Antideficiency Act, an agency must cease operations, except in certain situations when law authorizes continued activity. Funding gaps are distinct from shutdowns, and the criteria that flow from the Antideficiency Act for determining which activities are affected by a shutdown are complex. Failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on full-year or interim funding measures occasionally has caused shutdowns of affected federal government activities. The longest such shutdown lasted 21 full days during FY1996, from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996. More recently, a relatively long funding gap commenced on October 1, 2013, the first day of FY2014, after funding for the previous fiscal year expired. Because funding did not resume on October 1, affected agencies began to cease operations and furlough personnel that day. A 16-full-day shutdown ensued, the first to occur in over 17 years. Subsequently, two comparatively brief shutdowns occurred during FY2018, in January and February 2018, respectively.
- Government shutdowns have necessitated furloughs of several hundred thousand federal employees, required cessation or reduction of many government activities, and affected numerous sectors of the economy. This report discusses causes of shutdowns, including the legal framework under which they may occur;processes related to how agencies may plan for the contingency of a shutdown;effects of shutdowns, focusing especially on federal personnel and government operations; and issues related to shutdowns that may be of interest to Congress.
- This CRS report is intended to address questions that arise frequently related to the topic of government shutdowns. However, the report does not closely track developments related to the appropriations process for a given fiscal year. For links to CRS resources related to annual appropriations, see the “CRS Appropriations Status Table.” Additional resources related to funding gaps and shutdowns are identified below…
- For links to agency shutdown plans (also sometimes called “contingency plans”) of varying dates, see the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) website…”
- Federal employees who are not being paid during the shutdown and own their homes make about $249 million in monthly mortgage payments.
- Those who rent pay about $189 million for housing each month, according to a recent HotPads analysis.
- About 3,900 mortgage originations are processed each business day for loans backed directly by federal government agencies such as the FHA and the Rural Housing Service. It isn’t clear what portion of those are delayed – or for how long – but as many as 39,000 mortgages could have been affected by today.
“The U.S. must start from scratch with a new nuclear waste management and disposal strategy – a Stanford-led panel and recommends that the United States “reset” its nuclear waste program by moving responsibility for commercially generated, used nuclear fuel away from the federal government and into the hands of an independent, not-for-profit, utility-owned and funded nuclear waste management organization. The three-year study led by Rod Ewing in the Center for International Security and Cooperation has made a series of recommendations focused on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Their report, Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management Strategy and Policy, is here.”
“If you are a furloughed federal employee, or a family member of a furloughed federal employee, I wanted to share some resources that you may find helpful [banking, utilities, credit unions, telecom, unemployment insurance.) “
BBC: “The interconnectedness of Europe has a long history, as we’re reminded when we explore the roots of the English language – roots that stretch back to the 5th Century. Anglo-Saxon England “was connected to the world beyond its shores through a lively exchange of books, goods, ideas,” argues the Medieval historian Mary Wellesley, describing a new exhibition at the British Library in London – Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War – that charts the genesis of England.
“Something like 80% of all surviving Old English verse survives in four physical books… for the first time in recorded history they are all together [in this exhibition],” she tells BBC Culture. “The period that is represented by Old English is about 600 years, which is like between us and back to Chaucer… imagine if there were only four physical books that survived from that period, what would that say about our literature?”..”
Via LLRX – 10 x 10: 100 Insightful KM Resources – KM expert Stan Garfield shares ten categories of KM resources, each with ten links to useful sources of knowledge about the field. The ten resources in each category are recommended starting points for those who want to learn more about KM. Each category heading is linked to a more extensive list for greater exploration.
Via LLRX – Tax Fraud By The Numbers: The Trump Timeline – Former CPA, writer and teacher Ken Boyd provides readers with an explanation of tax fraud that is clearly presented, instructive and relevant to the ongoing Mueller investigation. Boyd uses the extensive New York Times investigative report of November 2018 that documented a history of tax fraud allegedly committed by Donald Trump, his father and siblings, as the foundation for his lesson on various types of tax fraud. The allegations documented by the Times are under review by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Via LLRX – Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2019 – How big is the Deep Web? It is estimated to comprise 7,500 terabytes – although an exact size is not known, and the figures vary widely on this question. The magnitude, complexity and siloed nature of the Deep Web is a challenge for researchers. You cannot turn to one specific guide or one search engine to effectively access the vast range of information, data, files and communications that comprise it. The ubiquitous search engines index, manage and deliver results from the Surface web. These search results include links, data, information, reports, news, subject matter content and a large volume of advertising that is optimized to increase traffic to specific sites and support marketing and revenue focused objectives. On the other hand, the Deep Web – which is often misconstrued as a repository of dark and disreputable information [Note – it is not the Dark Web], has grown tremendously beyond that characterization to include significant content on a wide range of subject matters covering a broad swath of files and formats, databases, pay-walled content as well as communications and web traffic that is not otherwise accessible through the surface Web. This comprehensive multifaceted guide by Marcus Zillman providers you with an abundance of resources to learn about, search, apply appropriate privacy protections, and maximize your time and efforts to conduct effective and actionable research within the Deep Web.
Washington Post: “…The Trump administration last week ordered at least 30,000 IRS workers back to their offices, where they have been working to process refunds without pay. It was one of the biggest steps the government has taken to mitigate the shutdown’s impact on Americans’ lives. But IRS employees across the country — some in coordinated protest, others out of financial necessity — won’t be clocking in, according to Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, and several local union officials. The work action is widespread and includes employees from a processing center in Ogden, Utah, to the Brookhaven campus on New York’s Long Island. The move is the leading edge of pushback from within the IRS, and it signals the potential for civil servants to take actions that could slow or cripple government functions as the shutdown’s political stalemate continues in Washington. U.S. Department of Agriculture meat inspectors have begun to call in sick, Transportation Security Administration sickouts at airports have been rising, and federal law enforcement agencies say the shutdown is increasing stress among agents and affecting investigations….”
Climate Change: Activities of Selected Agencies to Address Potential Impact on Global Migration GAO-19-166: Published: Jan 17, 2019. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2019.
“Climate change may increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, which could drive people around the world from their homes. We found that, while the State Department, USAID, and DOD haven’t focused on the link between climate change and migration, State identified migration as a risk in one of its climate change risk assessments in early 2017. However, State later changed its approach and no longer provides clear guidance to its staff on how to assess climate change risks. This may prevent it from identifying and addressing climate change as a factor in human migration. We recommended State provide its staff with this guidance. Bangladesh is expected to experience migration due to climate change.”
PCWorld: “Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. Just look at the critiques of notable computer security experts and online pundits to understand the challenge. (Want to know more about VPNs and what they can and can’t do? Skip down to our “What is a VPN?” section below.) Since it takes research to find out if a VPN service has a history of good or bad behavior, we’ve done the legwork to find the best VPN out there. In order to win our seal of approval, the service has to protect online privacy; allow you to keep anonymity; offer a good variety of locations from which to direct your traffic; offer fast, reliable performance; and provide an easy-to-use interface...”
BuzzfeedNews [includes a copy of the Oct. 28 2015 letter of intent, signed by Trump and Russian real estate developer Andrey Rozov]: “…According to a finalized letter of intent signed by Donald Trump on Oct. 28, 2015, the tower would have “approximately 250 first class, luxury residential condominiums.” It would be located in Moscow City, a former industrial complex outside of the city center that has since been converted into an ambitious commercial district clustered with several of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe. Its hotel portion would feature “approximately 15 floors” and contain “not fewer than 150 hotel rooms,” the letter of intent stated. The building would feature a luxury spa and fitness center, a commercial component “consistent with the overall luxury level of the Property,” and an office space “consistent with Class A luxury office properties,” as well as “luxury” parking…The top residence of the Moscow tower, enjoying a view without equal in all the continent, was to be a gleaming penthouse, the most luxurious property in a seriously luxurious building. A show-stopping apartment like that could have been marketed for $50 million. But as BuzzFeed News reported in November, Trump’s fixers planned not to sell it — but to give it away for free, to none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Two US law enforcement officials confirmed that Cohen discussed the idea with an aide to Putin’s press secretary. The hope was that the lavish gift would help grease the wheels, and in the process entice more Russian elites to move in. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units,” Felix Sater told BuzzFeed News in November…”
- [Note – @SethAbramson – “I like @BuzzFeedNews. “I’m glad they have a scoop about *one* of the *two* Trump Tower Moscow deals Trump was working on during the 2016 campaign. But you don’t—not even for the sake of stoking excitement about your scoop—falsely state there was one deal when there were *two*.”