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Daily Archives: April 27, 2021

Why not drinking tap water may do more harm than good

The public health reason to stop worrying and love the city supply. Imagine seeing a news report about lead contamination in drinking water in a community that looks like yours. It might make you think twice about whether to drink your tap water or serve it to your kids – especially if you also have experienced tap water problems in the past. In a new study, my colleagues Anisha Patel, Francesca Weaks, and I estimate that approximately 61.4 million people in the U.S. did not drink their tap water as of 2017-2018. Our research, which was released in preprint format on April 8, 2021, and has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that this number has grown sharply in the past several years. Other research has shown that about 2 million Americans don’t have access to clean water. Taking that into account, our findings suggest that about 59 million people have tap water access from either their municipality or private wells or cisterns, but don’t drink it. While some may have contaminated water, others may be avoiding water that’s actually safe. Water insecurity is an under recognized but growing problem in the U.S. Tap water distrust is part of the problem. And it’s critical to understand what drives it, because people who don’t trust their tap water shift to more expensive and often less healthy options, like bottled water or sugary drinks. I’m a human biologist and have studied water and health for the past decade in places as diverse as Lowland Bolivia and northern Kenya. Now I run the Water, Health, and Nutrition Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. To understand water issues, I talk to people and use large datasets to see whether a problem is unique or widespread, and stable, or growing…”

Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening

Cities. Volume 112, May 2021, 103118. “Domestic (home) gardens provide opportunities for psychological and physical health benefits, yet these environments have received less attention in terms of their therapeutic value compared to other urban green spaces. This is despite their ubiquity and the popularity of gardening as a pastime. This research explored why residents engaged… Continue Reading

TIME 100 Most Influential Companies

TIME: “Which companies are shaping our future? That’s the question at the heart of our first ever TIME 100 Most Influential Companies, a new list—and an expansion of our iconic TIME100 franchise—that highlights businesses making an extraordinary impact around the world. To assemble it, TIME solicited nominations across sectors including health care, entertainment, transportation, technology… Continue Reading

Tax Evasion at the Top of the Income Distribution – Theory and Evidence

NBER Paper – “This paper studies tax evasion at the top of the U.S. income distribution using IRS micro-data from (i) random audits, (ii) targeted enforcement activities, and (iii) operational audits. Drawing on this unique combination of data, we demonstrate empirically that random audits underestimate tax evasion at the top of the income distribution. Specifically,… Continue Reading

Here Are 458 California Law Enforcement Agencies’ Policy Documents All in One Place

EFF: “At this moment in history, law enforcement agencies in the United States face a long-overdue reevaluation of their priorities, practices, and processes for holding police officers accountable for both unconscious biases and overt abuse of power. But any examination of law enforcement requires transparency first: the public’s ability to examine what those priorities, practices,… Continue Reading

The Role of Lawyers and Law Schools in Fostering Civil Public Debate

Amar, Vikram D. and Robbennolt, Jennifer K., The Role of Lawyers and Law Schools in Fostering Civil Public Debate (March 3, 2021). Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2021, University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-06, Available at SSRN: “Partisanship can make policy discussion and civil debate difficult.… Continue Reading

CDC – Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

CDC Guidance For Fully Vaccinated People along with a one page infographic [h/t Pete Weiss] Overview Guiding Principles for Fully Vaccinated People Recommendations for Visiting with Others in Indoor Private Settings Recommendations for Large Gatherings Recommendations for Other Personal or Social Activities Outside the Home Recommendations for Travel Recommendations for Isolation, Quarantine and Testing See… Continue Reading

Would you notice if fake news changed your behavior?

Computers in Human Behavior Volume 116, March 2021, 106633 – An experiment on the unconscious effects of disinformation – “A growing literature is emerging on the believability and spread of disinformation, such as fake news, over social networks. However, little is known about the degree to which malicious actors can use social media to covertly… Continue Reading

Apportionment and Redistricting Following the 2020 Census

CRS Insight – Apportionment and Redistricting Following the 2020 Census, April 27, 2021: “…The Clerk of the House sends each governor a certificate indicating a state’s number of Representatives within 15 calendar days of receiving the President’s apportionment message. Each state receives the number of Representatives noted in the President’s statement, beginning at the start… Continue Reading

USPTO chief information officer most excited about new search algorithms

FedScoop – “New search algorithms for relevant prior art most excite the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s CIO right now. USPTO created the machine-learning algorithms to increase the speed at which patents are examined by importing relevant prior art — all information on its claim of originality — into pending applications sent to art units, said Jamie Holcombe. Filtering… Continue Reading