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Daily Archives: August 6, 2018

“Stand Your Ground” Laws Have Failed to Stem Crime or Improve Safety

Rockefeller Institute- Robert J. Spitzer “Many knowledgeable Florida political observers were shocked when the state legislature passed, and Republican Governor Rick Scott signed in March, a modest gun-control measure that included raising the purchase age for firearms from eighteen to twenty-one, banning bump stocks, and giving police greater power to seize weapons from those deemed mentally unfit. Political observers were surprised both because Scott and the legislature have been closely allied with the National Rifle Association (NRA), and because Florida has long been the NRA’s testing ground for gun-friendly measures. Chief among them was Florida’s enactment of a beefed-up stand-your-ground law in 2005. Under the 2005 Florida law and ones like it, a person who has harmed or killed another in a public place can presumptively claim self-defense to avoid prosecution or make conviction far less likely. In so doing, police must accept the claim’s validity. That is, the individual need only assert the belief that the use of force was necessary to prevent serious harm or death. Coupled with that is special legal protection making the person (as the Florida law says) “immune from criminal prosecution and civil action.” Prosecution is still possible, but much more difficult..

A study of Florida murders reported in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2017 found a 75 percent increase in justifiable homicides in the state after enactment of its stand-your-ground law from the period of 2006-2015, as compared with state homicides between 1995 and 2005...

Actions Needed to Improve National Nuclear Security Administration Contract Document Management

Management Report: Actions Needed to Improve National Nuclear Security Administration Contract Document Management. GAO-18-246R: Published: Aug 1, 2018. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2018. “The National Nuclear Security Administration spent over $11 billion in 2016 on management and operating contracts at the federal sites that maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, among other things. We found… Continue Reading

Quicksilver, helping improve Wikipedia’s science coverage & gender bias

Wired: “Miriam Adelson is an accomplished physician who has published around a hundred research papers on the physiology and treatment of addiction. She also runs a high-profile substance-abuse clinic in Las Vegas. Oh, and she’s the publisher of Israel’s largest newspaper and, with her billionaire husband Sheldon, a philanthropist and influential Republican party donor. Yet… Continue Reading

Americans Want to Share Their Medical Data. So Why Can’t They?

Real Clear Health: “Americans are willing to share personal data — even sensitive medical data — to advance the common good. A recent Stanford University study found that 93 percent of medical trial participants in the United States are willing to share their medical data with university scientists and 82 percent are willing to share… Continue Reading

Judicial Studies Graduate Degree Program

Via Mary Whisner – Research Services Librarian- Gallagher Law Library, Univ. of Washington School of Law – “I came across theses from the University of Nevada Reno’s graduate program in judicial studies and thought I’d share. The Judicial Studies Graduate Degree Program has been carefully designed to accommodate the busy schedules and demands facing judicial… Continue Reading

The LeBron James Interview About Bicycles [paywall – try this link via Twitter – please read – it is timely, meaningful and good] – The LeBron James Interview About Bicycles – “LeBron James is arguably the world’s greatest basketball player. He’s also a serious cyclist, and he’s giving every student at his new school a bicycle in part because it… Continue Reading

Do a robot’s social skills and its objection discourage interactants from switching the robot off?

Do a robot’s social skills and its objection discourage interactants from switching the robot off?. Aike C. Horstmann, Nikolai Bock, Eva Linhuber, Jessica M. Szczuka, Carolin Straßmann, Nicole C. Krämer. PLOS .Published: July 31, 2018 “Building on the notion that people respond to media as if they were real, switching off a robot which… Continue Reading

Subjects: AI

Stepped Up Illegal-Entry Prosecutions Reduce Those for Other Crimes

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “The push to prioritize prosecuting illegal border crossers has begun to impact the capacity of federal prosecutors to enforce other federal laws. In March 2018, immigration prosecutions dominated so that in the five federal districts along the southwest border only one in seven prosecutions (14%) were for any non-immigration crimes. But… Continue Reading

The Citeable Opinion: A Quantitative Analysis of the Style and Impact of Judicial Decision

Varsava, Nina, The Citeable Opinion: A Quantitative Analysis of the Style and Impact of Judicial Decisions (July 8, 2018). Available at SSRN: or “Many commentators surmise a relationship between the style of judicial opinions and their legal impact or precedential power. However, little empirical work has been done to explore this relationship quantitatively.… Continue Reading

Alexander Graham Bell’s Tetrahedral Kites

Public Domain Review: “Although best known for developing the practical telephone — for which he became the first, in 1876, to secure a US patent — the Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell is also noted for his work in aerodynamics, a rather more photogenic endeavour perhaps, as evidenced by the wonderful imagery documenting his experiments… Continue Reading