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Category Archives: Housing

US Census Bureau purposely fudges location data in census to protect people’s privacy

Via Kottke – The U.S. Census Is Wrong on Purpose: “…Full census data is only made available 72 years after the census takes place, in accordance with the creatively-named “72 year rule.” Until then, it is only available as aggregated data with individual identifiers removed. Still, if the population of a town is small enough, and census data for that town indicates, for example, that there is just one 90 year old woman and she lives alone, someone could conceivably figure out who that individual is. So the census bureau sometimes moves people around to create noise in the data that makes that sort of identification a little bit harder…”

See also the U.S. Census: “Modern computers and today’s data-rich world have rendered the Census Bureau’s traditional confidentiality protection methods obsolete. Those legacy methods are no match for hackers aiming to piece together the identities of the people and businesses behind published data.  ​ A powerful new disclosure avoidance system (DAS) designed to withstand modern re-identification threats will protect 2020 Census data products (other than the apportionment data; those state-level totals remain unaltered by statistical noise). ​ The 2020 DAS is based on a framework for assessing privacy risk known as differential privacy. It is the only solution that can respond to this threat while maximizing the availability and utility of published census data…”

The East Coast Is Sinking

The New York Times interactive [read free] – “New satellite-based research reveals how land along the coast is slumping into the ocean, compounding the danger from global sea level rise. A major culprit: overpumping of groundwater. The most vulnerable areas of Boston have been sinking up to 3.8 centimeters per decade, which adds up to… Continue Reading

These States Are Basically Begging You to Get a Heat Pump

Wired [read free]: “You need a heat pump, ASAP. Now nine states are teaming up to accelerate the adoption of this climate superhero. Nine states have signed a memorandum of understanding that says that heat pumps should make up at least 65 percent of residential heating, air conditioning, and water-heating shipments by 2030. (“Shipments” here… Continue Reading

Good AI Legal Help, Bad AI Legal Help: Establishing quality standards for response to people’s legal problem stories

Hagan, Margaret, Good AI Legal Help, Bad AI Legal Help: Establishing quality standards for response to people’s legal problem stories (November 21, 2023). Available at SSRN: “Much has been made of generative AI models’ ability to perform legal tasks or pass legal exams, but a more important question for public policy is whether AI… Continue Reading

“We Buy Ugly Houses” Company Overhauls Policies in the Wake of ProPublica Investigation

ProPublica: “HomeVestors of America, the self-described largest home buyer in the country, is continuing to reform some of its business practices in the wake of a ProPublica investigation last year that revealed predatory tactics used by the company’s franchises toward homeowners in vulnerable situations. The company’s 1,100 “We Buy Ugly Houses” franchises will now be… Continue Reading

Businessweek Jealousy List 2023

“News flash: We are kind of awesome! In these increasingly weird, anxious, foreboding times, what we make—some of the best journalism around—matters. A lot. And we don’t thank you nearly enough for tuning in to our coverage and for letting us claim your attention. But as awesome as we are, on occasion we’re reminded that… Continue Reading

EU Fundamental Rights Report 2023

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reflects on the developments and shortfalls of human rights protection in the EU in 2022. Its focus section covers the fundamental rights implications of the aggression in Ukraine for the EU and the challenges that arose. For example, the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive provided welcome access to… Continue Reading

The Fifth National Climate Assessment

“The Fifth National Climate Assessment is the US Government’s preeminent report on climate change impacts, risks, and responses. It is a congressionally mandated interagency effort that provides the scientific foundation to support informed decision-making across the United States. The more the planet warms, the greater the impacts. Without rapid and deep reductions in global greenhouse… Continue Reading

Special Flood Hazard Area and Fill Interim Report

Technical Mapping Advisory Council – FEMA: “TMAC 2023 -Special Flood Hazard Area and Fill Interim Report. “There is general agreement that changes in our Nation’s land surface and climate, due to both human and natural causes, are resulting in increased flooding and damage. The best way to combat both the current and future threat of… Continue Reading

AI in Banking and Finance, October 15, 2023

Via LLRX – AI in Banking and Finance, September 15, 2023 – This semi-monthly column by Sabrina I. Pacifici highlights news, government reports, industry white papers, academic papers and speeches on the subject of AI’s fast paced impact on the banking and finance sectors. The chronological links provided are to the primary sources, and as available,… Continue Reading