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Category Archives: Legal Research

Commentary – Google and Amazon make us worse people

CNET – “Let me show you a magic trick. Make a choice — any choice. You’re already online, so maybe you want to read the news, check your email, surf your newsfeed, buy some food or any other number of things. Now for the trick, I’m going to tell you the companies that facilitated whatever choice you just made. It was almost certainly Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook. OK, not much of a trick. After all, everyone knows these five tech giants control vast swaths of the internet, directly or indirectly — Amazon alone, for instance, facilitates nearly 40% of online commerce in the US and holds a whopping 23 million IP addresses thanks to its subsidiary Amazon Web Services. That online control has material ramifications. Last week, leaders of companies like Sonos and Popsockets took shots at Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook in a House antitrust hearing, arguing that the tech giants exert unfair control over their respective markets — shutting out competitors, squashing startups and exploiting smaller companies to maintain their immense power and profit. Ah, monopoly: It’s a tale as old as, well, the board game, at least. But the problem goes deeper than the economy. These massive companies might actually be making us worse people. They’re narrowing our choices online, intentionally corralling us toward behavior that benefits them. Rather than outright coercing us, though, these companies use a handful of key motivators — convenience chief among them, not to mention the “approval, attention, retweets, shares and likes” of social media — to condition us to behave in certain ways. But that conditioning has an unexpected outcome: As we practice decision-making driven more by impulse and economic self-interest than by any more deeply held values, we erode our conscience over time. In short, we’re becoming worse human beings…”

The green swan – central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change

Bank for International Settlement (BIS) – “Climate change poses new challenges to central banks, regulators and supervisors. This book reviews ways of addressing these new risks within central banks’ financial stability mandate. However, integrating climate-related risk analysis into financial stability monitoring is particularly challenging because of the radical uncertainty associated with a physical, social and economic… Continue Reading

How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google Scientists

Scientific American – Researchers who study how we use search engines share common mistakes, misperceptions and advice – “…We Google researchers know this is what many students do—they enter the first query that pops into their heads and run with the answer. Double checking and going deeper are skills that come only with a great… Continue Reading

Can Publishers Use Metadata to Regain the Public’s Trust in Visual Journalism?

NYT Open – The News Provenance Project has been exploring how news organizations might contribute to the fight against misinformation by adding context…”We launched The News Provenance Project in mid-2019 to address the misinformation crisis through a product and reporting lens. Our goal was to contribute to the work of a growing number of organizations… Continue Reading

The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher.

ProPublica co-published with Fortune – “For years, the company has moved billions in profits to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes. When the IRS pushed it to pay, Microsoft protested that the agency wasn’t being nice. Then it aggressively fought back in court, lobbied Congress and changed the law. Eight years ago, the IRS, tired of… Continue Reading

Broken Rungs on the Career Ladder: A New Analysis of Problems Encountered by Women Lawyers in Private Practice

Cynthia L. Cooper, Broken Rungs on the Career Ladder: A New Analysis of Problems Encountered by Women Lawyers in Private Practice, Perspectives (Jan. 21, 2020) – “The statistics reveal a disheartening picture. In 2018, women comprised only 19.5 percent of equity partners and 30.5 percent of nonequity partners in the nation’s 200 largest firms, according… Continue Reading

Feelthinking Like a Lawyer: The Role of Emotion in Legal Reasoning and Decision-making

Tiscione, Kristen Konrad, Feelthinking Like a Lawyer: The Role of Emotion in Legal Reasoning and Decision-making (December 16, 2019). Wake Forest Law Review, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3508004 “The law has had an uneasy relationship with emotion, and we are trained to think that the best decisions are those made based on reason alone. The… Continue Reading

Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing

Leslie Street and David R. Hansen. Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing, 26 J. Intell. Prop. L. 205 (2019) “Who owns the law? In the United States, most law is published by a handful of companies. Among the largest are Thomson Reuters, a Canadian mass-media information firm, and… Continue Reading

AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open access

AALL: “In order to promote the legal scholarship of our members, both AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open access and no longer require someone to create a free profile first in order to access them. Any resources that are restricted to current AALL members or AALL executive board members will continue to… Continue Reading