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Daily Archives: July 14, 2020

Trump Administration Strips CDC of Control of Coronavirus Data

The New York Times – “The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington beginning on Wednesday. The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public. The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic. Officials say the change will streamline data gathering and assist the White House coronavirus task force in allocating scarce supplies like personal protective gear and remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the virus. But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions…”

Socio-economic, environmental impacts of coronavirus quantified

University of Syndey: “How is COVID-19 impacting people and the planet and what are the implications for a post-pandemic world? This world-first study led by the University of Sydney quantifies the socio-economic losses and environmental gains. The first comprehensive study of the pandemic shows consumption losses amount to more than US$3.8 trillion, triggering full-time equivalent… Continue Reading

Presidential Succession: Perspectives and Contemporary Issues for Congress

CRS report via LC – Presidential Succession: Perspectives and Contemporary Issues for Congress, July 14, 2020: “Succession to the office of President of the United States is provided for by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title 3, Section 19 of the U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §19). The Twenty-Fifth Amendment states in Section… Continue Reading

Masks offer much more protection against coronavirus than many think

LA Times via Yahoo News: “There’s a common refrain that masks don’t protect you; they protect other people from your own germs, which is especially important to keep unknowingly infected people from spreading the coronavirus. But now, there’s mounting evidence that masks also protect you. If you’re unlucky enough to encounter an infectious person, wearing… Continue Reading

The CDC has always been an apolitical island

Statnews – That’s left it defenseless against Trump: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top public health agency, is being kicked around by the White House. And it doesn’t have much power to kick back. As President Trump spars with nearly all of the federal agencies that have a hand in his… Continue Reading

Enigma code-breaking machine rebuilt at Cambridge

TechXplore: “Cambridge Engineering alumnus Hal Evans has built a fully-functioning replica of a 1930s Polish cyclometer—an electromechanical cryptologic device that was designed to assist in the decryption of German Enigma ciphertext. The replica currently resides in King’s College, Cambridge. Work on the hardware-based replica began in 2018, as part of Hal’s fourth year Master’s project… Continue Reading

Hundreds of hyperpartisan sites are masquerading as local news

NiemanLab – This map shows if there’s one near you. “The growth of partisan media masquerading as state and local reporting is a troubling trend we’ve seen emerge amid the financial declines of local news organizations. But what do these outlets mean for journalism in American communities? Using previous research and news reports as a… Continue Reading

Can’t find Lysol disinfectant spray? Here’s what to buy instead

USAToday: “As people are trying to stay safe and disinfect their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, families are searching for ways to buy hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other household essentials to help them stay safe and healthy in quarantine. Even though we’ve reached a “new normal” in the availability of hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and spray are still in… Continue Reading

Ethical and societal implications of algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence: a roadmap for research

Whittlestone, J. Nyrup, R. Alexandrova, A. Dihal, K. Cave, S. (2019) Ethical and societal implications of algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence: a roadmap for research. London: Nuffield Foundation. “The aim of this report is to offer a broad roadmap for work on the ethical and societal implications of algorithms, data, and AI (ADA) in the… Continue Reading