Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Author Archives: Sabrina I. Pacifici

Air Now – Air Quality Index

AirNow is your one-stop source for air quality data. Our recently redesigned site highlights air quality in your local area first, while still providing air quality information at state, national, and world views. A new interactive map even lets you zoom out to get the big picture or drill down to see data for a single air quality monitor. AirNow reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you. When you know the AQI in your area, you can take steps to protect your health. AirNow is a partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies. Agencies all over the country send their monitoring data to AirNow for display. The Department of State provides data from U.S. Embassies and Consulates to inform personnel and citizens overseas, and the U.S. Forest Service and NOAA provide fire and smoke data. AirNow’s centralized data system provides quality control, national reporting consistency, and the ability to distribute data to the public, researchers, businesses, educators, and to other data systems. In AirNow, you’ll find:

  • Current and forecast air quality maps and data for more than 500 cities across the U.S.
  • Current and historical data for U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world
  • Current fire conditions including fire locations, smoke plumes, and air quality data from permanent and temporary air quality monitors
  • Air quality data for Canada and Mexico
  • Enviroflash emails, apps, widgets, and an API…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

PayPal is building an ad network based on your Venmo data

The Verge: “PayPal is launching an advertising platform built on a trove of customer transaction data. The company’s new advertising business will encompass purchase information and customer spending habits from PayPal and its sister app Venmo, according to The Wall Street Journal. PayPal has brought on Mark Grether, the former vice president and general manager… Continue Reading

Google Researchers Say AI Now Leading Disinformation Vector

404 Media – and Are Severely Undercounting the Problem – “As an endless stream of entirely wrong and sometimes dangerous AI-generated answers from Google are going viral on social media, new research from Google researchers and several fact checking organizations have found that most image-based disinformation is now AI-generated, but the way researchers collected their… Continue Reading

Google won’t comment on a potentially massive leak of its search algorithm documentation

The Verge: “Google’s search algorithm is perhaps the most consequential system on the internet, dictating what sites live and die and what content on the web looks like. But how exactly Google ranks websites has long been a mystery, pieced together by journalists, researchers, and people working in search engine optimization. Now, an explosive leak… Continue Reading

Ditch brightly coloured plastic, anti-waste researchers tell firms

The Guardian:  “Retailers are being urged to stop making everyday products such as drinks bottles, outdoor furniture and toys out of brightly coloured plastic after researchers found it degrades into microplastics faster than plainer colours. Red, blue and green plastic became “very brittle and fragmented”, while black, white and silver samples were “largely unaffected” over… Continue Reading

RAG and Hallucination-Free Legal Research Tools

Github Blog: “What is retrieval-augmented generation, and what does it do for generative AI? Here’s how retrieval-augmented generation, or RAG, uses a variety of data sources to keep AI models fresh with up-to-date information and organizational knowledge.” Via LinkedIn – An Honest conversation about RAG and Hallucination-Free Legal Research Tools – “…We are smack-dab in… Continue Reading

Dozens of House Democrats urge Alito to recuse himself from Jan. 6 cases

The Hill via MSN: “A group of House Democrats on Tuesday called on Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from all future cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol or the 2020 presidential election. In a letter addressed to the conservative justice, 45 Democrats pointed to recent New York Times… Continue Reading

Google scrambles to manually remove weird AI answers in search

The Verge: “…Google continues to say that its AI Overview product largely outputs “high quality information” to users. “Many of the examples we’ve seen have been uncommon queries, and we’ve also seen examples that were doctored or that we couldn’t reproduce,” Google spokesperson Meghann Farnsworth said in an email to The Verge. Farnsworth also confirmed… Continue Reading