Blog Rolls

Trump, Citing Death Of Colts Player, Says Democrats Must 'Get Tough' On Immigration

In a tweet, the president called the death of Indianapolis Colt linebacker Edwin Jackson by a suspected drunk driver who is in the U.S. illegally a "preventable" tragedy.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Just News

Will Age Become An Issue In Dianne Feinstein's Re-Election Campaign?

Critics say Feinstein — the oldest member of the U.S. Senate at 84 — should not run for another six-year term. But an expert says chronological age doesn't tell you much about ability.

(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Trump Reportedly Wants Pentagon To Stage Military Parade Down Pennsylvania Ave.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirms that the president has directed the Pentagon to look into such an event, possibly to take place on Veterans Day.

(Image credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Categories: Just News

Steve Wynn Resigns As Head Of Wynn Resorts Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The accusations against the 76-year-old billionaire who owns casinos in Las Vegas and the Chinese territory of Macau were first published last month by The Wall Street Journal.

(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Federal Report Blames A Type Of Sleep Apnea For Train Crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board said two recent commuter rail accidents that killed one person and injured more than 200 others were caused by engineers falling asleep at the controls.

(Image credit: Chris O'Neil/AP)

Categories: Just News

Tarantino Says Uma Thurman's Car Stunt Was 'One Of The Biggest Regrets Of My Life.'

The famed director responded to a New York Times account in which Thurman alleged that she was pressured by him to drive an unsafe car on a sandy road.

(Image credit: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art, January 22, 2018: “In the wake of Trump’s election and the resurgence of political art inspired by movements like the Women’s March, the Cyberlaw Clinic was approached by artists seeking clarification of their rights and responsibilities as creators and activists online. In response, a team of Berkman Klein staff, Clinic students, and allied creative folks created this Guide. It’s in plain language, meant to be accessible and helpful for folks across the political spectrum who are using art to engage in civic dialogue, to minimize their risks and maximize their impact. We took on this project because art plays a significant role in American democracy. Across the political spectrum, protest art — posters, songs, poems, memes, and more —inspires us, gives us a sense of community, and provides insight into how others think and feel about important and often controversial issues. While protest art has been part of our culture for a very long time, the Internet and social media have changed the available media and the visibility of protest artists. Digital technologies make it easy to find existing works and incorporate them into your own, and art that goes viral online spreads faster than was ever possible in the analog world. Many artists find the law that governs all of this unclear in the physical world, and even murkier online. The authors have seen how the law can undermine artists, writers, and musicians when they’re caught unaware, and distract them from the work they want to do. But we’ve also observed how savvy creators use the law to enhance their work and broaden their audiences. This guide is intended to ensure that you, the reader, can be one of the savvy ones.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends

CRS Report – Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends. January 23, 2004 – February 2, 2018
This report describes recent trends in the characteristics of annuitants and current employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) as well as the financial status of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF). In FY2016, 94% of current civilian federal employees were enrolled in FERS, which covers employees hired since 1984. Six percent were enrolled in CSRS, which covers only employees hired before 1984. In FY2016, more than 2.6 million people received civil service annuity payments, including 2,077,804 employee annuitants and 533,884 survivor annuitants. Of these individuals, 72% received annuities earned under CSRS. About one-third of all federal employee annuitants and survivor annuitants reside in five states: California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, and Virginia. The average civilian federal employee who retired in FY2016 was 61.3 years old and had completed 25.6 years of federal service. The average monthly annuity payment to workers who retired under CSRS in FY2016 was $4,755. Workers who retired under FERS received an average monthly annuity of $1,714. Employees retiring under FERS had a shorter average length of service than those under CSRS. FERS annuities are supplemented by Social Security benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). At the end of FY2016, the balance of the CSRDF was $879.8 billion, an amount equal to more than 10 times the amount of outlays from the fund that year. The trust fund balance is expected to reach $909 billion by the end of FY2018. From FY1970 to FY1985, the number of people receiving federal civil service annuities rose from fewer than 1 million to nearly 2 million, an increase of 105%. Between FY1985 and FY2016, the number of civil service annuitants rose by 680,000, an increase of about 35%. In FY2013, the number of civilian federal employees, including Postal Service employees, totaled 3.3 million workers. This was 254,000 less than the number of employees in FY2000, and 480,000 fewer than the number of employees in FY1994. In FY2016, all CSRS employees were aged 45 or older, compared with 61% of FERS employees who were aged 45 or older (38.6% of FERS employees were younger than 45). Fifty five percent of CSRS employees were aged 60 or older, whereas 13% of FERS employees were in this age range.”

Categories: Law and Legal

CRS – What Causes a Recession?

What Causes a Recession? February 2, 2018 IN10853

“At 104 months, the current economic expansion is already the third longest on record, and it will equal the second longest if it persists until April. This expansion, like all previous ones, will eventually end and be followed by a recession. Few economists are forecasting a recession in 2018, but recessions are notoriously hard to predict even a few months beforehand. For background, see CRS In Focus IF10411, Introduction to U.S. Economy: The Business Cycle and Growth, by [author name scrubbed]…What will bring this economic expansion to an end? In the words of Janet Yellen, “it’s a myth that expansions die of old age.” Instead, a look at the historical record points to a few culprits that have killed off expansions since the end of World War II—an overheating economy that results in accelerating price inflation, a financial bubble, or an external “shock” to the economy, such as an oil price spike. The longer an expansion lasts, the more likely it will fall victim to one of these killers. What preceded this expansion—the “Great Recession“—could potentially make this business cycle unique, however…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Big Question in *Waymo v. Uber*: What on Earth Is a Trade Secret, Anyway?

Wired Top Stories - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 21:46
Plus, a well-hydrated former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes the stand.
Categories: Just News

Judge Rules That 'El Chapo' Jury Will Remain Anonymous

The identity of the jurors will be shielded from the alleged cartel leader, Joaquin Guzman, his legal team, prosecutors and the press. The jury will get additional protections inside the courthouse.

(Image credit: AP)

Categories: Just News

Falcon Heavy now holds title for the world’s most powerful rocket

The Verge: “SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, this afternoon and soared to space, carrying its payload — CEO Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster — into orbit. The Falcon Heavy’s flight still isn’t quite over yet, but the rocket has shown its prowess and is likely ready to begin missions for customers. Adding to the launch’s success, two of the Falcon Heavy’s rocket cores successfully touched down back on Earth after takeoff. The two outer boosters broke away mid-flight and returned to the Cape, touching down around 1,000 feet from one another on SpaceX’s concrete landing pads — Landing Zone 1 and Landing Zone 2. The center core then broke away from the vehicle’s upper stage, but did not land as intended on one of SpaceX’s autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. That means SpaceX has now landed a total of 23 rockets upright…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment

Curbed: “Why isn’t homelessness seen as a national crisis? Cities call on the federal government to confront the growing numbers of homeless residents…The group, called Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, intends to work with HUD to make sure cities don’t lose federal dollars, and come up with new and innovative ways to fund affordable housing. “Current programs and federal funding are not meeting the demand,” reads the website. “One in four families that rent in our country are a paycheck away from homelessness, and families can no longer afford safe places to live.”

Categories: Law and Legal

NPR Investigative Reporter Daniel Zwerdling Retires Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims

The Peabody-winning correspondent spent nearly three decades with the network. NPR's announcement came on the same day as reports of alleged sexual harassment, which he says are "not true."

Categories: Just News

Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

“What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook’s public pages.” Vidya Narayanan, Vlad Barash, John Kelly, Bence Kollanyi, Lisa-Maria Neudert, and Philip N. Howard. “Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US.” Data Memo 2018.1. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk

“The Computational Propaganda Research Project (COMPROP) investigates the interaction of algorithms, automation and politics. This work includes analysis of how tools like social media bots are used to manipulate public opinion by amplifying or repressing political content, disinformation, hate speech, and junk news. We use perspectives from organizational sociology, human computer interaction, communication, information science, and political science to interpret and analyze the evidence we are gathering. Our project is based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Study – Permafrost Stores a Globally Significant Amount of Mercury

Researchers estimate the amount of natural mercury stored in perennially frozen soils (permafrost) in the Northern Hemisphere. Permafrost regions contain twice as much mercury as the rest of all soils, the atmosphere, and ocean combined.” [full text link to the study]

Washington Post: “We already knew that thawing Arctic permafrost would release powerful greenhouse gases. On Monday, scientists revealed it could also release massive amounts of mercury — a potent neurotoxin and serious threat to human health. Permafrost, the Arctic’s frozen soil, acts as a massive ice trap that keeps carbon stuck in the ground and out of the atmosphere — where, if released as carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas would drive global warming. But as humans warm the climate, they risk thawing that permafrost and releasing that carbon, with microbial organisms becoming more active and breaking down the ancient plant life that had previously been preserved in the frozen earth. That would further worsen global warming, further thawing the Arctic — and so on. That cycle would be scary enough, but U.S. government scientists on Monday revealed that the permafrost also contains large volumes of mercury, a toxic element humans have already been pumping into the air by burning coal…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Tom Tryniski digitized nearly 50 million pages of newspapers in his living room

Columbia Journalism Review: “Tom Tryniski began digitizing newspapers from all over Upstate New York in 1999. Since then, he’s scanned and uploaded nearly 50 million newspaper pages from publications across the US and Canada dating back to the 1800s…By October of last year, [his] site hosted nearly 50 million pages of American and Canadian newspapers—a collection much larger than that of Chronicling America, the joint newspaper digitization efforts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment of the Arts. The first newspaper he digitized was the Fulton Patriot; at the time, he didn’t own his own equipment. Twice a week, he borrowed microfilm rolls of the newspaper from the Fulton library and drove north to Potsdam, New York, nearly three hours away, to use an old foot pedal-powered microscanner at the offices of the Northern New York Library Network. He scanned 36,000 pages in this way and, exhausted from the commute, decided that if he was serious about his project, he was going to have to buy his own scanner..” [h/t Pete Weiss]

  • This is Tryniski’s site – it is by current standards, obsolete, but for those of us who started working way back when and are not deterred by the challenges of looking through folders of scanned information organized by location, year and name of the newspapers, and have some patience, the rewards speak for themselves. This is a truly unique and perhaps invaluable resource that will not be duplicated. The papers that are archived here are testament to the history and impact of local journalism on the lives of millions of Americans. The scanned pages include a remarkable amount of advertising [which provides a long lens perspective on the way our country has sold products and services over more than 50 years], obituaries, marriage announcements, “how to do” factoids, local sports scores, well, everything one used to find in local print newspapers. They were informative in a way that is no longer familiar to those are tethered 24/7 to “smartphones.”  And for researchers who are willing to devote the time, this site is a significant and expansive source of information that may just prove, “the truth is out there.”
Categories: Law and Legal

Survey says – digital technology may not always improve worker productivity – surprise!

Impact of technology on productivity depends on company culture: “Economists have been puzzled in recent years by the so-called “productivity paradox,” the fact that the digital revolution of the past four decades hasn’t resulted in big gains in output per worker as happened with earlier technological upheaval. Many developed economies have actually seen productivity stagnate or decline. A survey from Microsoft Corp. is bolstering one theory about this disconnect. In a poll of 20,000 European workers released Monday, Microsoft, which became one of the world’s most profitable companies by marketing office productivity software, acknowledges new digital technology can, in some circumstances, sometimes not lead to any increase in productivity and actually result in less employee engagement with their work.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Big Food Versus Big Chicken: Lawsuits Allege Processors Conspired To Fix Bird Prices

Wholesalers, retailers and food distribution giants allege that America's biggest poultry processors colluded to raise the price of broiler chickens over a decade.

(Image credit: Burke/Triolo Productions/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

The Power of Pets – Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions

NIH News in Health – “Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills. An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. But who benefits from an animal? And which type of pet brings health benefits? Over the past 10 years, NIH has partnered with the Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to answer questions like these by funding research studies. Scientists are looking at what the potential physical and mental health benefits are for different animals—from fish to guinea pigs to dogs and cats…Research on human-animal interactions is still relatively new [why?]..Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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