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Daily Archives: June 23, 2020

Coronavirus Researchers Are Dismantling Science’s Ivory Tower One Study at a Time

Wired – “…We decided to formally launch our effort with a weekend hackathon. Other groups had organized similar events to develop diagnostic tests and help with the shortage of medical equipment, so why not do the same for research? From the beginning, we knew we’d have to shake up the usual way of doing things. In a traditional lab environment, the structure tends to be hierarchical: A principal investigator sets the agenda and divvies up tasks for the group. Our hope was to proceed more democratically. We didn’t want to scare off people who were donating their spare evenings and weekends, an immensely precious commodity at a time when everyone’s lives had been upended. And we suspected that a group as diverse as ours, encompassing a wealth of disciplines, 20 different native languages, and 25 self-identified ethnicities, would work best with minimal limits on its ingenuity. More than 30 volunteers across dozens of different institutions signed up for the event. We started by hosting an all-hands meeting on Zoom, where the oversight committee laid out some of the unanswered questions we’d encountered in our own research: Could we use smartphone mobility data to gauge whether people were adhering to lockdown orders? What might internet search query data reveal about the public’s interest in coronavirus treatment scams?

The participants sorted themselves into groups, settled on eight different projects, and got to work. They kept at it for 54 hours; shockingly, no one quit. Many of their studies will soon be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. One team, made up of epidemiologists and computer programmers, decided to perform a meta-analysis of clinical and epidemiological parameters associated with Covid-19, then develop an interactive online interface to visualize their results. A tool like this can help public health decisionmakers predict where the disease will go next, and it makes the same knowledge accessible to the general public. This kind of cross-institutional, almost cross-cultural, work is very much at odds with academia’s usual way of doing things. Prior to the pandemic, it was rare that any of us ventured outside the bubble of our own universities and hospitals. Over the decades, this siloed approach to research has shaped the way science gets done—and who gets to do it. The system tends to favor the career advancement of those who belong to a select few institutions over all others, irrespective of the depth of their skills or training. A growing body of literature suggests that underrepresented minorities are less likely to attend prestigious universities, even when they are equally qualified to do so. As a result, scientific research suffers from a lack of diversity—despite the fact that deeply diverse teams appear to produce better solutions to problems…”

“No-Knock” Warrants and Other Law Enforcement Identification Considerations

CRS Sidebar via LC – “No-Knock”Warrants and Other Law Enforcement Identification Considerations, June 23, 2020: “In the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody, some Members of Congress have expressed interest in passing legislation that would alter the policing practices of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers. One… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues June 21, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues June 21, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

Legislative Responses for Policing-State Bill Tracking Database

“The National Conference of State Legislatures provides you with up-to-date, real-time information on law enforcement legislation that has been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The database contains policing bills and executive orders introduced as of May 25, 2020, that are in response to recent events. You can search legislation for by… Continue Reading

Meet the Woman Behind the World’s Most Famous Coronavirus Tracker

US News: Her dashboard lets people track the spread in near real-time. She had no idea it would get this big. “The woman behind what may be the world’s most famous coronavirus tracker isn’t a medical professional – she’s a civil engineer. Since launching in late January, Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard – a black… Continue Reading

Conducting Research on Federal Real Property: A Guide to Selected Resources

CRS report via LC – Conducting Research on Federal Real Property: A Guide to Selected Resources, June 22, 2020: “This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected sources published by the General Services Administration (GSA) that may be useful in conducting research on federal real property—land, buildings, and structures owned, operated, or leased… Continue Reading

Center for American Women and Politics Launches Public Database of Women Elected Officials

Rutgers Egaleton Institute of Politics: “The CAWP Women Elected Officials Database represents the most complete collection of information anywhere in the world about women elected officials in the United States [please see the FAQ for all the details]. The database includes full historical listings for women who have held office at the congressional, statewide elected… Continue Reading

Telework Still Reigns As NYC Firms Cleared To Reopen Offices

Law360 – “New York City kicked off the second phase of its reopening plan Monday, freeing many companies to bring employees back into the office, but some law firms say ongoing coronavirus concerns are holding them back. “We’re in no rush to reopen in New York,” said Richard Hans, the head of DLA Piper‘s Manhattan… Continue Reading

Digital Security Advice for Journalists Covering the Protests Against Police Violence

“This guide is an overview of digital security considerations specific to journalists covering protests. For EFF’s comprehensive guide to digital security, including advice for activists and protesters, visit Legal advice in this post is specific to the United States. As the international protests against police killings enter their third week, the public has been… Continue Reading

Second Great Depression. At least 4 major factors are terrifying economists and weighing on the recovery.

The Atlantic: “The American economy is reopening. In Alabama, gyms are back in business. In Georgia, restaurants are seating customers again. In Texas, the bars are packed. And in Vermont, the stay-at-home order has been lifted. People are still frightened. Americans are still dying. But the next, queasy phase of the coronavirus pandemic is upon… Continue Reading