Legal Fact-Checking, US Crime Statistics, PACER, More: Friday Buzz, August 18, 2017


Bloomberg Law: ABA Creates Fact Checker Website For Legal Issues in the News. “The American Bar Association is launching a new website in the hopes of becoming the authoritative source on legal facts in the news. The site… aims to be a source for journalists and the general public whenever misrepresentations about existing laws are made in the public discourse.”

FedScoop: The FBI teamed up with 18F to build an open crime data resource. “The FBI wants to make national crime data more accessible, and the recently released Crime Data Explorer, built in partnership with 18F, is the agency’s latest attempt at this goal. The interest isn’t new — decades ago it led to the creation of the Uniform Crime Reporting Project, which the bureau was tasked with collecting data for in 1930. But modern technology enables better reporting and more transparency than UCR’s standard yearly reports. And so, in the fall of 2016, the FBI began building the Crime Data Explorer.”


Free Law Project: We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on “At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the years, but it’s with distinct pride that we announce that we have now completed our biggest crawl ever. After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER. To accomplish this we used PACER’s ‘Written Opinion Report,’ which provides many opinions for free.”

Google Blog: All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search. “When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you’ll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.”

The Next Web: Skype’s controversial redesign is coming to desktops – here’s how to try it. “It was only a matter of time. After Skype brought its sleek-but-much-maligned new design to Android and iOS, it’s now doing the same for desktop. The company is today opening up a Preview for the new look and features, so it won’t replace the standard Skype – for now.”


Bravo: Want an Easy—and Delicious—Way to Safely View the Solar Eclipse? Use a Pizza Box!. “Everybody’s finding a way to jump on the total eclipse bandwagon—from national parks setting up viewing points to distilleries rolling out special vodka bottles to cruise lines offering themed voyages (where, unbelievably, you’ll find Joe Jonas on board crooning “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). With the first total solar eclipse to hit the continental U.S. since 1979 coming up on August 21, the latest entity to come up a total eclipse marketing tactic is none other than Pizza Hut.”


Anthropology News: Disasters Digitized. “Although much has been said about the triple disaster—earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns—in Japan in March 2011 (hereafter, 3.11), the upsurge of digital records and efforts to archive them in and outside of Japan after these events have been less discussed. These archives are populated not only with born-digital artifacts (e.g., photographs, audio files, video footage, websites and blogs) but also digitalized artifacts (e.g., bureaucratic documents, pamphlets circulated in temporary shelters, 3D renditions of tsunami-damaged buildings). As of June 2017, more than six years after 3.11, there are over 60 digital archive projects, hosted by the local and national governments, private and non-profit sectors, and academic institutions, all with the goal to preserve and transmit digital(ized) traces of the past.”

Wired: How My Instagram Hacker Changed My Life. “I met Mohamad four months ago when I discovered that my Instagram account had been hacked. I was early to Instagram, a feat that allowed me to nab the handle for my popular first name: @negar. I’d become attached to my account. But in mid April I’d opened up the app and noticed that my username had changed. I wasn’t @negar anymore: I was @negar76795, with all my personal information and 6,300 followers. At first I assumed it must be some routine maintenance. But I noticed that no one else had a modified handle.” ….wow.

CBC News: UNB herbarium plants its collection into online database to aid research. “The province’s largest collection of vascular plants is moving to the World Wide Web. Robyn Shortt of the Connell Memorial Herbarium said 58,000 specimens are being entered into a digital database to aid scientific research.”

Gadgets 360: Google Search Lite App Being Tested for Regions With Spotty Internet Connections . “In a bid to get the ‘next billion’ on to the Internet, tech giants are trying various methods to lure the audience that still do not have access to proper Internet connections and gadgets like smartphones. One such effort is now seen by Google with the new Search Lite app that is reportedly being tested in Indonesia.”

Vice: Twitter just suspended accounts linked to the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. “The Daily Stormer is running out of places to post on the Internet — Twitter kicked several accounts associated with the prominent neo-Nazi website off its platform Wednesday.”


MIT Technology Review: AI Programs Are Learning to Exclude Some African-American Voices. “All too often people make snap judgments based on how you speak. Some AI systems are also learning to be prejudiced against some dialects. And as language-based AI systems become ever more common, some minorities may automatically be discriminated against by machines, warn researchers studying the issue.” Good morning, Internet…

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