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Daily Archives: February 13, 2022

Drought in the United States: Science, Policy, and Selected Federal Authorities

CRS Report – Drought in the United States: Science, Policy, and Selected Federal Authorities, Updated February 8, 2022: “Drought―a deficiency of moisture that results in adverse effects―occurs to some extent almost every year in areas of the United States. Droughts can simultaneously reduce available water supplies and increase demands for water. Drought has the potential to affect economic and environmental conditions on local, regional, and national scales, as well as to cause disruptions in water supplies for households and communities. Droughts are a component of climate variability and may be seasonal, multiyear, or multi-decadal in duration. According to an August 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the physical science of climate change, variable precipitation and rising temperatures are intensifying droughts in some U.S. regions. According to the report, certain types of droughts, such as those causing agricultural impacts,are expected to be more likely in the western and central regions of the United States in the future. The federal government generally defers to state primacy in surface and groundwater allocation, and states and local entities typically lead efforts to prepare for drought. Multiple federal agencies contribute to these efforts to predict, plan for, and respond to drought. The federal government, and in particular the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, plays a key role in researching and monitoring drought through the National Integrated Drought Information System and the U.S. Drought Monitor. Other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Geological Survey, also research and monitor drought factors and conditions. USDA provides the primary federal financial aid to lessen the impacts of drought and compensate for agricultural production loss after drought onset. Congress has authorized federal assistance for other aspects of drought, but these programs generally are limited in scope. In localities or watersheds with major projects managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation,which operates exclusively in the 17 arid western states)and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, which operates nationwide), the federal role in water management is more direct and can be especially controversial during times of drought, when multiple users compete for water. Congress has directed both Reclamation and USACE to plan for future droughts at federally authorized projects. Other federal programs, such as those supporting non federal efforts to develop water conservation, water reuse and recycling, rural water supplies,or other municipal and industrial water supplies, may prioritize projects that lessen the impacts of drought even when these programs do not focus exclusively on drought. Severe drought in California from 2012to 2016, as well as widespread drought in the western United States in 2021 and other recent events, has raised the profile of drought and led to increasing congressional and administrative proposals to prepare for and respond to its impacts. The 117th Congress enacted funding for drought activities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58). Congressional interest in drought may include new and amended authorities for drought planning and response; emergency appropriations to alleviate drought impacts and enhance related activities; and oversight of ongoing federal drought science, preparedness, and management efforts.”

Poorest people bear growing burden of heat waves as temperatures rise

American Geophysical Union: “People with lower incomes are exposed to heat waves for longer periods of time compared to their higher income counterparts due to a combination of location and access to heat adaptations like air conditioning. This inequality is expected to rise as temperatures increase, according to new research. Lower income populations currently face… Continue Reading

There Is Nothing Normal about One Million People Dead from COVID

Scientific American: “Sometime in the next few weeks, the official death toll for the two-year COVID pandemic in the U.S. will reach one million. Despite being the wealthiest nation on the planet, the U.S. has continued to have the most COVID infections and deaths per country, by far, and it has the highest per capita… Continue Reading

Democracy Index 2021: the China challenge

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – “Democratisation suffered more reversals in 2021, with the percentage of people living in a democracy falling to well below 50% and authoritarian regimes gaining ground. This year’s report finds that democracy experienced its biggest annual decline since 2010, when the global financial crash led to major setbacks. The index score… Continue Reading

Deepfakes on Trial: a Call to Expand the Trial Judge’S Gatekeeping Role to Protect Legal Proceedings from Technological Fakery

Delfino, Rebecca, Deepfakes on Trial: a Call to Expand the Trial Judge’S Gatekeeping Role to Protect Legal Proceedings from Technological Fakery (February 10, 2022). Available at SSRN: or “Picture this: You are arrested and accused of a serious crime, like carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, or child abuse. The only evidence against… Continue Reading

The Changing Room Illusion

“The Changing Room Illusion is an example of “graduate change blindness,” a phenomenon in which observers are unable to notice changes to the world around them when those changes occur gradually. In virtually all prior cases, gradual change blindness is studied by changing individual objects (e.g., a chimney disappearing or a facial expression shifting). While… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, February 12, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, February 12, 2022 – Privacy and cybersecurity 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

State of US Public Libraries – More popular and digital than ever

WordsRated: “This is a comprehensive analysis on the current state of public libraries in the US and the mapping of trends from 1992-2019. This report analyzes more than 12.5 million data points, from all 50 states, and the nearly 17,500 libraries across the country… Libraries are more popular than ever thanks to the strong shift… Continue Reading

European Publishers Council files EU Complaint against Google for Anti-Competitive Ad Tech practices

“The European Publishers Council has today filed an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Commission in a bid to break the ad tech stranglehold Google currently has over press publishers, and all other businesses in the ad tech ecosystem. Specifically, the EPC calls on the European Commission to hold Google accountable for its anticompetitive… Continue Reading