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Daily Archives: January 30, 2022

Book Ban Efforts Spread Across the U.S.

The New York Times: “…Parents, activists, school board officials and lawmakers around the country are challenging books at a pace not seen in decades. The American Library Association said in a preliminary report that it received an “unprecedented” 330 reports of book challenges, each of which can include multiple books, last fall. “It’s a pretty startling phenomenon here in the United States to see book bans back in style, to see efforts to press criminal charges against school librarians,” said Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive of the free-speech organization PEN America, even if efforts to press charges have so far failed. Such challenges have long been a staple of school board meetings, but it isn’t just their frequency that has changed, according to educators, librarians and free-speech advocates — it is also the tactics behind them and the venues where they play out. Conservative groups in particular, fueled by social media, are now pushing the challenges into statehouses, law enforcement and political races…”

It’s Not Just the IRS—the US Government Wants Your Selfies

Wired: “…More than 20 federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration, use a digital identity system called run by the General Services Administration. It’s built on services from LexisNexis and can use selfies for account verification. The GSA’s director of technology transformation services Dave Zvenyach says facial recognition is being tested for fairness and accessibility and… Continue Reading

Stop the Presses? Newspapers in the Digital Age

CRS Report – Stop the Presses? Newspapers in the Digital Age, January 27, 2022: “During the last 20 years, more than 200 local daily newspapers have either reduced their publication frequency or ceased publishing altogether. Among those that survive, many employ a fraction of the journalists that they did at the turn of the 21stcentury,… Continue Reading

How to (Ethically) Get Rid of Your Unwanted Stuff

Wired: “With so many extensive online selling and donation resources, there’s no need to get bogged down. If we have stuff we neither want nor need, what should we do with it? A lot of people save items for “someday,” but Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, advise against that. The Minimalists… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

CRS Report – Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, Updated January 28, 2022: “The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal… Continue Reading

This is just the beginning’: How high heat of 2021 drove catastrophic weather

NBC News: “…Each January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the European Union Earth observation agency Copernicus publish reports on the previous year’s temperature data. Copernicus ranked 2021 as the fifth-hottest year since 1850, while NOAA and NASA ranked it as the sixth-hottest since 1880. An NBC News analysis of global weather stations… Continue Reading

Massive open index of scholarly papers launches

Nature: “An ambitious free index of more than 200 million scientific documents that catalogues publication sources, author information and research topics, has been launched. The index, called OpenAlex after the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt, also aims to chart connections between these data points to create a comprehensive, interlinked database of the global research… Continue Reading