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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Texas board rejects many science textbooks over climate change messaging

The Texas Tribune: “A Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education on Friday rejected seven of 12 proposed science textbooks for eighth graders that for the first time will require them to include information on climate change. The 15-member board largely rejected the books either because they included policy solutions for climate change or because they were produced by a company that has an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policy. Some textbooks were also rejected because SBOE reviewers gave the books lower scores on how well they adhered to the state’s curriculum standards. The board voted Friday to allow five textbooks for eighth grade science to be included on the list, published by Savvas Learning Company, McGraw-Hill School Division, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Depository, Accelerate Learning and Summit K-12. San Antonio Democratic board member Marisa Perez-Diaz said she was disappointed by Friday’s decision to reject so many textbooks, some that included Spanish texts. “My fear is that we will render ourselves irrelevant moving forward when it comes to what publishers want to work with us and will help us get proper materials in front of our young people, and for me that’s heartbreaking,” Perez-Diaz said during Friday’s meeting. “I’m very disappointed that so many things were voted down based on assertions or thoughts about how things are written or thematics.” In an almost weeklong meeting that began on Tuesday, the members discussed dozens of textbooks that will be placed on a list of approved materials for districts to select from next fall…”

Virtual Cloud Portals

Dark Clouds: Can Government Agencies Evade Public-Records Laws by Storing Documents in Privately Owned Digital Portals? Frank D. LoMonte, Adjunct Instructor, University of Georgia School of Law. Newsroom Legal Counsel, Cable News Network, Inc. J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 2000. B.A., Georgia State University, 1992. “Laws enabling the public to inspect government records… Continue Reading

Meet ‘New Elites’ Who Control Twitter’s Israel-Hamas News

The ‘new elites’ of X: Identifying the most influential accounts engaged in Hamas/Israel discourse. Oct 20, 2023 RAPID RESEARCH REPORT University of Washington Center for an Informed Public: “Since the first news of the attack on Israel by Hamas, we have seen anecdotal reports from users of X (formerly Twitter) that the platform has become… Continue Reading

What Went Wrong with a Highly Publicized COVID Mask Analysis?

Scientific America [read free]: “The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, but in May officials ended its designation as a public health emergency. So it’s now fair to ask if all our efforts to slow the spread of the disease—from masking, to hand washing, to working from home—were worth it. One group of scientists has seriously muddied… Continue Reading

Public Case Access

“This new Public Case Access site was created as a result of a collaboration between the Harvard Law School Library and Ravel Law. The company supported the library in its work to digitize 40,000 printed volumes of cases, comprised of over forty million pages of court decisions, including original materials from cases that predate the… Continue Reading

Using AI to Comply With Book Bans Makes Those Laws More Dangerous

Brennan Center for Justice: “In August, a public school district in Iowa reportedly used ChatGPT to help it comply with the state’s controversial book ban law. That law—like counterparts passed in Florida, Texas, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina—seeks to limit discussion of gender identity and sexuality in schools by barring school libraries from carrying books that… Continue Reading

Introducing The Foundation Model Transparency Index

A new index rates the transparency of 10 foundation model companies and finds them lacking. Katharine Miller – Companies in the foundation model space are becoming less transparent, says Rishi Bommasani, Society Lead at the Center for Research on Foundation Models (CRFM), within Stanford HAI. For example, OpenAI, which has the word “open” right in… Continue Reading

I find documents officials want to keep hidden. Here’s how.

Washington Post: “As The Post’s FOIA director, I’ve helped expose government waste and wrongdoing, and published stories that led to new laws. This is the first installment of Revealing Records, a periodic column by Nate Jones about his work obtaining public records for The Post. Few things make a journalist happier than receiving a manila… Continue Reading

What’s behind the national surge in book bans?

USAToday: “…It’s impossible to know how many book-ban attempts have been inspired by, which adds new reviews weekly […The site launched in 2022 to showcase a book-rating system that has also been used by right-wing political activist group Moms for Liberty.] But in one researcher’s national database tallying more than 3,000 challenges to library… Continue Reading

Project Gutenberg turned ebooks in its digital library into audiobooks without any need for human voices

Quartz: “The oldest digital library in the world, Project Gutenberg, has transformed thousands of ebooks into audiobooks using AI—bypassing the longer (and more expensive) process of hiring a human reader to do the job. It’s exactly the kind of AI application that actors, who are currently on strike in the US for the first time… Continue Reading