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  1. Last 7 days
    1. Instead, the scientific research suggests that you should adopt an ancient rhetorical method favoured by the likes of Julius Caesar and known as ‘illeism’ – or speaking about yourself in the third person (the term was coined in 1809 by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge from the Latin ille meaning ‘he, that’). If I was considering an argument that I’d had with a friend, for instance, I might start by silently thinking to myself: ‘David felt frustrated that…’ The idea is that this small change in perspective can clear your emotional fog, allowing you to see past your biases.
  2. Mar 2020
    1. 3. The “Amicus Whisperer”135The coordination of amici does not stop with recruitment, however. If the “amicus wrangler” finds willing amici, it is the job of the “amicus whisperer” to keep those amici in line. Mindful of the important strate-gic benefits amici can provide and fearful of duplicating efforts, or—worse—missing a chance to make a valuable point to the Justices, many Supreme Court advocates do not just recruit amici participation, but ef-fectively handle the ones that they’ve got.
    2. 2. The “Amicus Wrangler” These familiar faces are doing more than just appearing before the Court at oral argument. Behind the scenes, their handiwork can be felt even more keenly—and particularly so in their role as “friends of the Court.” To borrow Kathleen Sullivan’s terrific phrase, every Supreme Court team needs an “amicus wrangler”—someone who has the job of recruiting the “right” amici.103
    1. Urgent Call for Papers: COVID-19 & ​MisinfodemicsSubmission guidelinesWeinviteconcise,empiricalpapers(peer-reviewed,3000words)oropinionpieces(edited,1500words)fromalldisciplinesandmethodologies,includingcasestudies,experimentalresearch,qualitativeandethnographicresearch,dataandnetworksciences.Weestimatethatempiricalpaperswillbepublishedone month after submission, and commentaries will be published one week after submission.All papers and commentaries will be widely distributed to a variety of stakeholders, including politicians,journalists, and researchers. For more information: ​misinforeview@hks.harvard.eduTopics of particular interest include, but are not limited to, the intersections between misinformation and:●Epidemic and risk communications●Public health surveillance●Community responses to outbreaks●Participatory design in pandemic interventions●Fact-checking and debunking efforts●Politics of information, censorship and surveillance●Open science and open source approaches to misinfodemics●Analyses or comparative analyses of past outbreaks and pandemics●Content analyses related to COVID19, worldwide
    1. While medical and public health personnel are working at full speed to anticipate and deal with clinical cases, the work of researchers in bioinformatics (the interdisciplinary research that collects and analyzes genomic data) is just as critically important in responses to COVID-19. It has been possible to extend those techniques to biological materials gathered from archeological sites dating back at least as far in time as the Black Death, and to construct phylogenetic trees for historical plague and syphilis. As a result, we’ve learned more about those long-ago diseases in the last twenty years from bioinformatics than, probably, we did from the entire preceding study of the historical record. COVID-19 will take longer to understand, but our new tools will make this pandemic easier to decipher.
    2. Right now, in mid-March of 2020, Americans are getting a full taste of communicable disease mitigation—measures aimed at slowing the exponential rise of new infections, once a disease is already established within a population—and are becoming familiar with two related terms. One is “social distancing”: for instance, closing schools and universities, cancelling sports events and religious services, encouraging work from home and self-isolation, to make each person-to-person jump of the pathogen more difficult. The other is “flattening the curve”, in other words preventing new cases from piling up too quickly (preventing the curve of new cases over time from rising too sharply) and thereby swamping the capacity of hospitals and medical personnel to deal with them.
    3. Global connectedness is not a new thing. For one example, the best currently available bioarcheological data indicate that the second plague pandemic—the spread of bubonic and pneumonic plague caused by the bacillus Yersinia pestis, the first phase of which was the “Black Death”—entered Europe via what is now southwestern Russia and the Crimea and spread in seven years (1346-1353) through virtually all of Western Europe, along well-established overland and seaborne trade and communication routes.
    1. Chess is a game that has evolved over centuries to pose a tough but not utterly discouraging challenge to humans, with regard to specifically human strengths and weaknesses. One human capacity it challenges is the ability to concentrate; another is memory; a third is what chess players call sitzfleisch—the ability to resist the fatigue of sitting still for hours. The computer knows nothing of any of these. Finally, chess prowess depends on players’ ability to recognize general situations that are in some sense “like” ones they’ve seen before, either over the board or in books.
  3. Feb 2020
    1. New allegations of doctors using their own sperm keep coming to light — thanks to genetic testing like Ancestry revealing networks of half-siblings — in states like Idaho, Ohio, Colorado, and Arkansas. But those doctors performed artificial inseminations decades ago. Could what happened to Woock's mom happen in a modern fertility clinic? Dr. Bob Colver, a fertility specialist in Carmel, Ind., says it's a question many of his patients have asked. But he says it's unlikely. These days, there are more people involved in the process, and in vitro fertilization happens in a lab, not an exam room. "Unless you're in a small clinic where there's absolutely no checks and balances, I can't even imagine that today," Colver says. It's now illegal in Indiana, Texas and California for a doctor to use his own sperm to impregnate his patients. But there's no national law criminalizing what's called "fertility fraud."
    2. If you live in a place where it snows, you probably know the drill. Forecasters will predict a massive snowstorm. Grocery stores are emptied. And then there's just a light dusting. It happens every winter, in part because we don't really understand how these storms work. But a new study from NASA hopes to change that. The IMPACTS mission wants to improve our understanding of snowstorms and, in particular, of what are known as snow bands. Here to talk about the program is Lynn McMurdie, principal investigator on IMPACTS. Welcome. LYNN MCMURDIE: Thank you. Happy to be here. CHANG: So what exactly are snow bands? I have never heard this phrase before. MCMURDIE: OK. Well, within a snowstorm, which you have heard about, the clouds associated with them span a large area. They can be, you know, as far as Florida up to Maine. But within those clouds, you have narrow regions where the snowfall is far more intense, and they often are organized in kind of a narrow band. And we could just call those snow bands.
    3. Brain organoids are clusters of lab-grown brain cells that assemble themselves into structures that look a lot like human brain tissue. The process by which these cells become specialized and begin to communicate resembles the development of a human brain in the months before birth.
    4. Brain organoids, often called "minibrains," have changed the way scientists study human brain development and disorders like autism. But the cells in these organoids differ from those in an actual brain in some important ways, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature. The finding suggests that scientists need to be cautious about extrapolating results found in organoids to people, says Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.
    1. Most forms of ambient intelligence capture data from patients and health care workers that might encroach on privacy. The concern is easiest to see with video capture.
    2. Ambient intelligence in hospitals is an emerging form of technology characterized by a constant awareness of activity in designated physical spaces and of the use of that awareness to assist health care workers such as physicians and nurses in delivering quality care. Recently, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and, in particular, computer vision, the domain of AI focused on machine interpretation of visual data, have propelled broad classes of ambient intelligence applications based on continuous video capture. One important goal is for computer vision-driven ambient intelligence to serve as a constant and fatigue-free observer at the patient bedside, monitoring for deviations from intended bedside practices, such as reliable hand hygiene and central line insertions.1 While early studies took place in single patient rooms,2 more recent work has demonstrated ambient intelligence systems that can detect patient mobilization activities across 7 rooms in an ICU ward3 and detect hand hygiene activity across 2 wards in 2 hospitals.4 As computer vision–driven ambient intelligence accelerates toward a future when its capabilities will most likely be widely adopted in hospitals, it also raises new ethical and legal questions.
    1. Spelling Bee was the brainchild of crossword god Will Shortz, who then asked Frank Longo—whom Ezersky describes as an “unsung hero of the ‘crossworld’ ”—to create the weekly version that began appearing in the magazine in February 2015.
    1. The concept of biolegality, a term proposed by Lynch and McNally (2009) to refer to the coproduction of biotechnology and legislation within the context of criminal justice, entails two main elements: on the one hand it refers to interactions between law and science, resulting in attempts to make genetics conform to the needs and constraints of the judicial legal system; on the other hand, it broadens the debate on forms of biocitizenship by extending the discussion on new configurations of identity and citizenship to the application of genetics in criminal investigation work – in other words, to suspect identities associated with individuals or groups identified as having a high risk of committing crime, who should be watched and investigated.
    1. A member of the Jurisdynamics Network Friday, January 09, 2009 A Definition Of Biolaw In an attempt to have "Biolaw" officially recognized as a "Section" by the American Association of Law Schools ("AALS"), June Carbone, Chris Holman, and I circulated a petition yesterday at the AALS Annual Meetings, in San Diego, to collect signatures in support of a Biolaw Section. AALS rules for Section-creation require a definition of the Section. Here is what we proposed: Biolaw encompasses both the law of biology and the biology of law. Advances in the biological sciences, such as genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, reproductive biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, neuroscience, and the behavioral sciences, continually challenge both society and the laws that attempt to order, regulate, and protect it. Biolaw combines the use of biological science to describe, analyze, and improve the law with legal analysis of biological science, its institutions, and its implications. Biolaw integrates insights from such biologically-informed research areas as law and genetics, law and neuroscience, reproductive law, behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, law and biotechnology, biotechnology patent law, bioethics, neuroethics, food and drug law, and biodiversity law.
    1. During the Great Inflation of the 1970s, when living expenses became unstable, factory jobs disappeared and C.E.O. pay began its exorbitant rise, home prices also spiked and, for the first time, outpaced stock performance. According to Dougherty, two things happened to homes: They became not just dwellings but strategic investments — ones that represented the bulk of American household wealth. As a result, cities, driven by “homevoters” — essentially single-issue voters who wanted to protect their property values — began passing zoning ordinances to limit growth and “protect neighborhoods.” Because stunting growth leads to higher property taxes, a vast number of suburbs and neighborhoods incorporated in order to control local land use and zone out poor people (whose social services raise property taxes).
    1. One 15-year-old from Albuquerque said she missed her mother, who was intermittently homeless and mentally unstable, when she stayed in short-term foster homes. But she also felt better taken care of in foster care, and believed she would have more success in school and more opportunities in life if she stayed. Generally, being a short-stayer was like “being luggage, kind of—just tossing me around,” she said.
    2. But this analysis shows that thousands of children taken from their homes without court approval are quickly returned to their families after child-services officials review the evidence. The data was analyzed with assistance from the nonprofit organization Fostering Court Improvement, which maintains a database of federal child-welfare records. “Short stays,” as they are called by child-welfare experts, appear to happen most often in high-poverty areas where law enforcement officials are the only group authorized by state law to remove children without a court order. In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, recorded a higher rate of short-term removals than any other major area in the country, followed by counties that include Santa Fe, Akron and New Orleans.
    1. Researchers seeking to develop self-healing hydrogels have long sought to mimic the natural ability of mussels to generate strong, flexible threads underwater that allow the mussels to stick to rocks. The natural process that gives these mussel threads, which are called byssal, the ability to break apart and re-form is a purely chemical process, not a biological one, MIT graduate student Seth Cazzell noted in a presentation to the Materials Research Society fall meeting in Boston on Dec. 5.
    1. Criminologists have increasingly become involved and interested in environmental issues to the extent that the term Green Criminology is now recognised as a distinct subgenre of criminology. Within this unique area of scholarly activity, researchers consider not just harms to the environment, but also the links between green crimes and other forms of crime, including organised crime's movement into the illegal trade in wildlife or the links between domestic animal abuse and spousal abuse and more serious forms of offending such as serial killing. This series will provide a forum for new works and new ideas in green criminology for both academics and practitioners working in the field, with two primary aims: to provide contemporary theoretical and practice-based analysis of green criminology and environmental issues relating to the development of and enforcement of environmental laws, environmental criminality, policy relating to environmental harms and harms committed against non-human animals and situating environmental harms within the context of wider social harms; and to explore and debate new contemporary issues in green criminology including ecological, environmental and species justice concerns and the better integration of a green criminological approach within mainstream criminal justice. The series will reflect the range and depth of high-quality research and scholarship in this burgeoning area, combining contributions from established scholars wishing to explore new topics and recent entrants who are breaking new ground.
    1. Murdering Animals confronts the speciesism underlying the disparate social censures of homicide and “theriocide” (the killing of animals by humans), and as such, is a plea to take animal rights seriously. Its substantive topics include the criminal prosecution and execution of justiciable animals in early modern Europe; images of hunters put on trial by their prey in the upside-down world of the Dutch Golden Age; the artist William Hogarth’s patriotic depictions of animals in 18th Century London; and the playwright J.M. Synge’s representation of parricide in fin de siècle Ireland. Combining insights from intellectual history, the history of the fine and performing arts, and what is known about today’s invisibilised sites of animal killing, Murdering Animals inevitably asks: should theriocide be considered murder? With its strong multi- and interdisciplinary approach, this work of collaboration will appeal to scholars of social and species justice in animal studies, criminology, sociology and law.
    1. The WHO on Sunday warned that the coronavirus is spreading not only disease, but also rumors, myths and misinformation.“The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ — an over-abundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it,” the WHO wrote.
    1. bad enough on their own. Now imagine them combined. That's kind of what a stormquake is, a phenomenon just discovered by a team of researchers led by Wenyuan Fan, a professor and seismologist at Florida State University. The findings were published Monday in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.It's not as scary as it sounds, though. Fan broke it down like this. When hurricanes, (or Nor'easters, or winter storms) are in the atmosphere, they produce really large waves on the surface of the sea, which then swell and form other types of waves further down -- that can reach deeper toward the seafloor. The interaction between these secondary waves and the sea floor produces a specific type of pressure force, which then creates a hammer-like effect on the seafloor. That hammering is what is picked up by seismometers. Though previously dismissed as "seismic noise," Fan and his team discovered that the hammering effect is actually small quakes -- which they call "stormquakes" -- that occur around magnitude 3.5. Read MoreThe motions are minor and humans can't really feel them, Fan said. For us, it's not really that significant."I always like to reemphasize that stormquakes happen because of storms, so when extreme storms happen, I think that's our first concern," he told CNN.
  4. Jan 2020
    1. Remember in 2004 when Amazon accidentally listed the identity of anonymous posters? It turned out that many reviews were generated by people using fake identities to boost or depress the ratings of books, something called “sockpuppeting.”
  5. Dec 2019
    1. All of these people are the latest victims of an internet-age crime called swatting, in which bad actors sic the police on a fellow internet user who has angered, offended, or simply annoyed them.It’s one of the worst “pranks” imaginable, with sometimes deadly consequences. It started as a niche crime, seldom seen or discussed outside of the gaming community.
    1. Sleep talking, formally known as somniloquy, is a sleep disorder defined as talking during sleep without being aware of it. Sleep talking can involve complicated dialogues or monologues, complete gibberish or mumbling.
    1. For people who suffer from it, mouth sounds are common triggers. "Chewing is almost universal. Gum chewing is almost universal. They also don't like the sound of throat clearing. Coughing, sniffing, nose blowing — a number of things," says Jaelline Jaffe, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles who specializes in misophonia and works with Rapp.
    1. The MS-ISAC has recently observed an increase in malware that is most often disseminated through malvertising. Malvertising, or malicious advertising, is the use of online, malicious advertisements to spread malware and compromise systems. Generally this occurs through the injection of unwanted or malicious code into ads. Malicious actors then pay legitimate online advertising networks to display the infected ads on various websites, exposing every user visiting these sites to the potential risk of infection. Generally, the legitimate advertising networks and websites are not aware they are serving malicious content.
    1. Nightlights.Our second measure of real activity following demonetization is the changein nightlight intensity. Nightlight intensity refers to low-light imaging data collected bysatellite and filtered to measure the quantity of artificial (i.e. human-generated) light in anarea. Such data have been used to augment official measures of output and output growthand to generate estimates for areas or periods where official data are unavailable
    1. Having a mutant LHCGR gene leads to what doctors now call familial male-limited precocious puberty, an extremely rare disease that affects only men because you have to have testicles, which is why it’s also called testotoxicosis. The condition tricks the testicles into thinking the body is ready to go through puberty — so wham, the floodgates open and the body is saturated with testosterone. The result is premature everything: bone growth, muscle development, body hair, the full menu of dramatic physical changes that accompany puberty. Only instead of being 13, you’re 2.


    1. Commitment contracts, whereby people deposit money that they receive back only if they succeed, have substantial conceptual appeal as a method of changing health behaviour. Scott Halpern, David Asch, and Kevin Volpp examine the evidence behind them and find many unanswered questions Much illness stems from poor health behaviours. But changing behaviours is difficult, particularly when immediate desires must be sacrificed to achieve future benefits,1 as when people try to quit smoking, eat less, or exercise more. To overcome these challenges, corporate ventures such as www.stickk.com and www.healthywage.com are banking, quite literally, on commitment contracts, offering the millions of people who struggle to lose weight or take their medicines more regularly the opportunity to deposit money that they will receive back only if they succeed. Grounded in behavioural economic theory,2 commitment contracts bring a risk of loss into the present, where the temptations also lie, and augment motivation to succeed. They potentially offer an efficient mechanism of behaviour change because people generally are more motivated to avoid losses than they are to achieve similarly sized gains.3
  6. Nov 2019
    1. Google announced Wednesday it will start offering checking accounts through a partnership with Citigroup. Google is far from the only tech company to move into the financial space. “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Molly Wood of “Marketplace Tech” about Google’s announcement and the future of “neobanking,” all-digital services accessed by mobile devices.
    2. he tech industry is coming for traditional banking. Digital payment apps are changing how we move money around. A wave of so-called neobanks — all-digital services that let people do everything on a smartphone without any branches — is cropping up in the United States.
  7. Sep 2019
  8. Aug 2019
    1. Ordeals are burdens placed on individuals that yield no direct benefits to others. They represent a dead-weight loss. Ordeals – the most common being waiting time – play a prominent role in health care. Their goal is to direct scarce resources to recipients receiving greater value from them, hence presumed to be more willing to bear an ordeal’s burden. Ordeals are intended to prevent wasteful expenditures given that health care is heavily subsidized, yet avoid other forms of rationing, such as quotas or pricing. This analysis diagnoses the economic underpinnings of ordeals. Subsidies to nursing home versus home care illustrate.
    1. In an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse, especially of opioids, while not obstructing clinically appropriate treatments, states are increasingly pursuing legislation known as “pill mill” laws, aimed at restricting the clinical operations of health care clinics that account for disproportionately high volumes of opioid and other controlled substance prescribing.
    1. "weathering" to describe the overt and structural racism that wears down African-American women, creating chronic stress linked to poor health outcomes for pregnant moms and babies at birth.
  9. Jul 2019
    1. That’s because, usually without their knowledge, their partners have installed stalkerware on their devices—apps that let someone spy on your smartphone activity. Sometimes these apps require access to the person’s device, but some of them just require you to send someone an innocuous-seeming download. As soon as your victim has clicked through, you’re in. You now have access to everything.
    1. Astronomers think that exomoons — moons orbiting planets that orbit stars other than the sun  — should be common, but efforts to find them have turned up empty so far
    2. Meet ploonets: planets of moonish origin.In other star systems, some moons could escape their planets and start orbiting their stars instead, new simulations suggest. Scientists have dubbed such liberated worlds “ploonets,” and say that current telescopes may be able to find the wayward objects.
  10. Apr 2019
    1. The measure known as u* (pronounced you-star), also referred to as the natural rate of unemployment or NAIRU (the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment), is the rate of unemployment at which inflation is stable. If unemployment is higher than u*, then there are a lot of people looking for jobs and few job openings, so employers can offer lower wages and wage and price inflation will tend to fall. When unemployment is lower than u*, there are lots of jobs to fill and fewer available workers, so employers raise wages to attract workers, and inflation rises.
  11. Mar 2019
    1. Frontotemporal degeneration is a group of disorders that also have a distinctive appearance, says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which organized the dementia summit. "Those folks can oftentimes be seen as peculiar but not demented," Koroshetz says. "But they can be severely impaired." For example, people with frontotemporal dementia may begin to behave inappropriately or make poor decisions or become insensitive to others.
    2. isophonia is characterized by intense emotion like rage or fear in response to highly specific sounds, particularly ordinary sounds that other people make. The cause is unknown.
  12. Jan 2019
    1. With two minibuses containing seven separate bills under its belt and a third covering two more on deck, the Senate is already poised to do better at passing its version of component appropriations bills before September 30 than it has in recent years.
    2. This week, the Senate passed a four-bill spending package addressing funding for the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development as well as a number of other government agencies. In the coming weeks, the chamber may bring up a combined spending bill for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. These bills follow one passed by the Senate earlier in the summer to fund military construction, energy, and water projects as well as the VA and Congress’s own operations. Dubbed the “minibus” strategy, this choice to combine separate spending bills into a few, larger packages has been at the center of Congress’s efforts to keep the government funded this year.
    1. Recently, toys have become more interactive than ever before. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) makes toys smarter and more communicative: they can now interact with children by "listening" to them and respond accordingly. While there is little doubt that these toys can be highly entertaining for children and even possess social and educational benefits, the Internet of Toys (IoToys) raises many concerns.
    1. As it turns out, ‘wishful recyclers’ like myself can actually cause more harm than good when it comes to recycling. ‘Wishful recycling’, or tossing items in the recycling bin that you hope are recyclable or think should be, could be contaminating inbound streams of recyclable materials and causing tons (literally, tons) of recycled items to be sent to landfills instead of being recycled.
    1. “By definition, deepfake is a cybersecurity threat because what deepfake represents is a spoof or fake publication of a video or audio recording typically associated to a business leader or political leader, statements that the actual individual didn’t make,” explained Fox Rothschild partner Scott Vernick.
    2. Deepfakes use machine learning techniques, feeding a computer real data about images or audio, to create a believable video. In a widely publicized instance,  a video disseminated by the Trump administration of a journalist interacting with the president’s staff was found to be doctored intentionally, according to The Associated Press.