Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Daily Archives: January 22, 2014

Report – New Virus Associated with Massive Bee Die Offs

YaleEnvironment360: “A rapidly mutating virus may be partially responsible for the massive bee die-offs known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), which has wiped out a third of commercial bee colonies annually for the past seven years, a group of U.S. and Chinese researchers reports. Most scientists, including the study’s authors, believe CCD is triggered when colonies are weakened by a combination of factors, such as viruses, parasites, and perhaps pesticides. The study, published in the journal mBio, found in bees a variant of the tobacco ringspot virus, an RNA virus that likely jumped from tobacco plants, to soy plants, to bees. Weak bee colonies began succumbing to massive die-offs in autumn, and the researchers found those bees were heavily infected with tobacco ringspot — which is believed to affect honeybees’ nervous systems — and other viruses. Strong colonies that made it through the winter showed no evidence of infection by tobacco ringspot. The researchers believe the virus jumped from plants to bees through “bee bread,” a concoction of pollen, nectar, and saliva they feed their larvae. Bee infection by tobacco ringspot is the first known instance of a virus from pollen jumping to bees.”

MIT Technology Review – Data and Decision Making

“In this business report, MIT Technology Review explores a big question: how are data and the analytical tools to manipulate it changing decision making today? On Nasdaq, trading bots exchange a billion shares a day. Online, advertisers bid on hundreds of thousands of keywords a minute, in deals greased by heuristic solutions and optimization models rather than two-martini… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Army Corps of Engineers, Flood Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS – Cost Increases in Flood Control Projects and Improving Communication with Nonfederal Sponsors, GAO-14-35, Dec 20, 2013 FLOOD INSURANCE – Strategies for Increasing Private Sector Involvement, GAO-14-127, Jan 22, 2014 MEDICAID PRESCRIPTION DRUGS – CMS Should Implement Revised Federal Upper Limits and Monitor Their Relationship to Retail Pharmacy Acquisition Costs, GAO-14-68, Dec 19, 2013 MEDICARE ADVANTAGE – 2011… Continue Reading

A Reporter’s Guide to the Millennium Development Goals

Editor’s Note/Global Investigative Journalism Network: “For the next two weeks, GIJN is running a series drawn from the newly released Reporter’s Guide to the Millennium Development Goals: Covering Development Commitments for 2015 and Beyond, published by the International Press Institute. Agreed to in 2000, the UN Millennium Goals comprise an ambitious agenda to improve quality of life around the world,… Continue Reading

TRAC – Surprising Variability in Immigration Detainer Trends by Gender, Nationality

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “Very recent government data reveal that while the number of detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials has dropped by nearly a quarter (23 percent) since fiscal year 2012, there are striking differences in the trends when viewed by the gender and nationality of the individuals involved. Also, there are… Continue Reading

Staying Safer in Cyberspace: Cloud Security on the Horizon

Staying Safer in Cyberspace: Cloud Security on the Horizon, January 2014. Karen S. Evans, Julie M. Anderson, Brian D. Shevenaug. “Cloud computing brings with it both risks and rewards. In recent years, senior Federal officials from the Secretary of Defense to the Director of National Intelligence and even the President have stressed that securing our information systems and computer networks is a… Continue Reading

New Report on Liberal Arts Majors and Employment

“The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) released today a new report on earnings and long-term career paths for college graduates with different undergraduate majors.  In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment, authors Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly analyze data from the 2010-11 US Census Bureau’s American… Continue Reading

CDT – Verizon Transparency Report Sets Industry Standard

“Today Verizon released its first transparency report, which detailed the number of government demands it received in 2013 for disclosure of customer data. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) welcomes Verizon’s report and believes it should set a precedent for greater transparency in the industry. CDT released the following statement in response to the report:… Continue Reading

EPIC Files Appeal, Challenging Secrecy of Presidential Directives

“EPIC has filed a Statement of the Issue Presented with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. EPIC is appealing a lower court decision that NSPD 54 — a Presidential Directive setting out the scope of the NSA’s authority over computer networks in the United States — is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. EPIC sought… Continue Reading

NYT – How Inactivity Changes the Brain

Grethen Reynolds: “A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report. The study, [see below] which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people… Continue Reading