TV News Record: Recognizing Trump’s voice on TV, NYT & Axios coverage, + Ryan fact-check

A round up on what’s happening at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman.

This week we explore cutting edge work by Joostware that moves us closer to solving the challenge of searching vast archives of video by speaker, note the use of TV News Archive data by The New York Times and Axios, and share a fact-checked interview by exiting House Speaker Paul Ryan about his legacy.

Joostware trained model to recognize Trump’s voice

What if you wanted to search the TV News Archive to find every instance where President Donald Trump is talking?

That’s the research question that the San Francisco-based firm Joostware concentrated on for its Who Said What project, which won a $50,000 prototype grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Last week Joostware’s founder, Delip Rao, presented the project’s progress at a gathering in Austin, Texas. (The Internet Archive’s own Dan Schultz, in his Bad Idea Factory incarnation, also presented on Contextubot, which we recently profiled here.)

Audio and video today is viewed as an opaque object and it’s meant for linear consumption,” Rao said in his presentation. “But truly any audio and video especially in the context of news has a lot of structure to it. There are speakers of interest, and these speakers take turns, and then within each turn something was communicated. So our goal is to identify these speakers who are of interest and also the content that was spoken in that turn and indexing that.

Anyone can search the TV News Archive already via closed captions at the Internet Archive or via Television Explorer. Our experiments with facial detection and chyron extraction are another way to find and analyze news clips. But searching a video archive by “speaker id” – finding all the video where a person is actually talking – is a tough technical challenge. Our Trump Archive and congressional, executive branch, and administration archives are all manually curated video collections designed to demonstrate what it would be like to have automated speaker id search.

Joostware researchers have made progress toward this goal. They took material from the Trump Archive, and used it to train a model that recognizes the president’s voice, by using properties of the voice signal. They created a prototype search software that is more than 95% accurate on a human annotated dataset in returning video clips where Trump is actually speaking.

What’s next? With more resources, Joostware hopes to give this technology back to the Internet Archive to improve search within the TV News Archive. And Rao and others continue to work within the larger community of researchers working to crack the code of video to help fact-checkers and journalists hold power accountable.

No one is talking about tax law on cable TV news

Jim Tankersley and Karl Russell, reporters for The New York Times, used TV News Archive captions via GDELT’s Television Explorer to demonstrate how little coverage there is on cable TV news for the newly minted $2.5 trillion tax overhaul:

“Consider one of Mr. Trump’s preferred yardsticks: cable news coverage. Throughout the fall, as Republicans rushed their tax bill through Congress in two breakneck months, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC routinely devoted 10 percent of their daily coverage to tax issues, according to data from the Gdelt Project. Interest spiked as Mr. Trump signed the bill in late December, and then it fell precipitously.”

“Stormy Daniels wins TV war: overshadows taxes, health care”

For Axios, Caitlin Owens used TV New Archive data with GDELT’s Television Explorer to shed light on whether the TV networks are paying attention the priorities of the political parties: “Tax cuts and the Affordable Care Act are supposed to be big issues in the midterm elections, but both have faded from the attention of the cable news networks now that they’re no longer front and center in Congress.” Owens thinks it matters because “Democrats are campaigning hard on the GOP’s unpopular attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, and Republicans are pushing the financial benefits of their tax law.”


Fact-Check: Corporate tax revenues are rising (misleading)

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R., Wisc., announced last week he would not be seeking reelection, prompting television interviews that reflected on his legacy. In a “Meet the Press” interview Sunday on NBC, host Chuck Todd asked Ryan to respond to a statement by Sen. Bob Corker, R., Tenn.:

“’This Congress and this administration likely will go down as one of the most fiscally irresponsible administrations and Congresses that we ever had.’ And he’s referring to the fact that this tax bill spiked the deficit. It’s higher than even what was projected.” Ryan responded “That was going to happen. The baby boomers’ retiring was going to do that. These deficit trillion-dollar projections have been out there for a long, long time. Why? Because of mandatory spending, which we call entitlements. Discretionary spending under the CBO baseline is going up about $300 billion over the next 10 years. Tax revenues are still rising. Income tax revenues are still rising. Corporate income tax revenues. Corporate rate got dropped 40 percent, still rising.”

Eugene Kiely reported for FactCheck.org that “Ryan is right that $1 trillion deficit projections ‘have been out there for a long, long time…But corporate tax revenues are down for the first six months of the fiscal year, and they are projected to be less over the next 10 years than they otherwise would have been because of the law.”

Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly reported for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “The baby-boom generation is retiring, and Congress at best has taken only modest steps to rein in spending on old-age programs, largely because any serious effort is met with hostility and often-misleading attack ads…But the revenue side of the picture cannot be ignored.” “Congress has not been able to grapple with the spending — and  keeps taking steps to undermine the revenue flow as well.”

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Software Help Requested to Segment Tracks on LP’s

Machine Learning + Music Lovers: the Internet Archive is seeking technical volunteers or interns or low-cost contractors with a passion for music to make an opensource software library capable of identifying which songs are on LPs (given a wave form or audio track of the sides). We have a training set of ~5k manually labeled LPs and thousands more which are in need of your help.

Challenges:

  • detecting start and stop of songs
  • get track titles from OCR’ed covers or labels
  • engaging UI for QA or uncertain automated output

The Internet Archive is interested in digitizing “Lost Vinyl”: those recordings that did not make it to CD or Spotify. We have been getting donations of physical LP’s (but we can always use more, please think of us…)  And at the end of the year we would like to start to digitize them. We are not sure how available we can make the resulting audio files, but let’s make sure these fabulous recordings are at least preserved.

We are looking for help in separating the tracks on an LP.  Sounds easy, but we have not been able to do it automatically yet.

For instance, this is an awesome Bruce record:

We want to detect timings and track titles:

<info>

  <title>Dancing in the Dark</title>

  <artist>Bruce Springsteen</artist>

  <trackinfo unit="mm:ss">

   <track target="01_Dancing_in_the_Dark__Blaster_mix" 
    title="Dancing in the Dark (Blaster mix)" 
    start="0:09" duration="6:11" end="6:20"/>

   <track target="02_Dancing_in_the_Dark__Radio" 
    title="Dancing in the Dark (Radio)" 
    start="6:42" duration="4:43" end="11:25"/>

   <track target="03_Dancing_in_the_Dark__Dub" 
    title="Dancing in the Dark (Dub)" 
    start="11:25" duration="5:33" end="16:58"/>

  </trackinfo>
</info>

https://archive.org/download/dancingindarksou00spri/dancingindarksou00spri_segments.xml

We have 5,000 of these that have been done by hand that can be used as a training set, and we want to do the next many thousand using a computer and human QA. Sometimes we know how many tracks there are on a side, which can help, but ideally we would not have to know.

We have derivative waveforms, fingerprints, already computed and full audio if needed.

What we would like is a piece of code, ideally python and open source, that would take an mp3, flac, or png, and create a set of timings for the tracks on it. If the code needed the number of tracks, we could supply that as well.

Then we would like to take label images such as:

 

To create the track titles for the metadata above.  (we OCR the labels, but it will be a bit lossy).

In other words, we would like to take photographs and digitization of the 2 sides of the album, and then get the titles with start and stop times.

We have done this for 5,000 LP’s already, and we would like help in automating this process so we can do it for all LP’s that did not make it to CD.

Up for helping? We can give access to existing 5,000 and what we would love is robust code that we could run on newly digitized LP’s so we could at least preserve, and maybe even bring access to the Lost Vinyl of the 20th century.

This is not as easy as it looks, but please do not be discouraged, we could use the help.

Existing open source projects could get us a long way there:

https://github.com/yu-tseng-chou/CS696-AMN-Project
https://github.com/bonnici/scrobble-along-scrobbler
https://github.com/NavJ/slicer/blob/master/slicer.py
https://github.com/tyiannak/pyAudioAnalysis

If you are interested, please write to info@archive.org.

Posted in Announcements, News | 2 Comments

Audio / Video player updated – to jwplayer v8.2

We updated our audio/video (and TV) 3rd party JS-based player from v6.8 to v8.2 today.

This was updated with some code to have the same feature set as before, as well as new:

  • much nicer cosmetic/look updates
  • nice “rewind 10 seconds” button
  • controls are now in an updated control bar
  • (video) ‘Related Items’ now uses the same (better) recommendations from the bottom of an archive.org /details/ page
  • Airplay (Safari) and Chromecast basic casting controls in player
  • playback speed rate control now easier to use / set
  • playback keyboard control with SPACE and left , right and up, down keys
  • (video) Web VTT (captions) has much better user interface and display
  • flash is now only used to play audio/video if html5 doesnt work (flash does not do layout or controls now)

Here’s some before / after screenshots:

Posted in 78rpm, Audio Archive, Live Music Archive, Movie Archive, Technical, Television Archive, Video Archive | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

TV News Record: Caption analyses, plus fact-checks on wall & immigrants

A round up on what’s happening at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman.

This week we bring you analyses of cable TV news coverage and fact-checks of recent statements by President Donald Trump on immigration and his proposed wall on the border with Mexico.

Vox & Post turn TV news captions into media analysis

Vox’s Alvin Chang and The Washington Post’s Philip Bump continue to turn TV News Archive caption data, via Television Explorer, into analyses of current news. Chang analyzes cable TV network coverage of the March for Our Lives, an anti-gun violence demonstration, reporting that on Fox News, “There was a massive spike in mentions of the “Second Amendment” or “Constitution” during the peak of the march, and most of those mentions came from pundits and guests on the network.”

Source: Vox

Bump’s piece examines mentions of Hillary Clinton on cable TV news networks compared to those of Stormy Daniels, the adult entertainer involved in a legal dispute with the president. He finds that Fox News mentions Clinton the most, while CNN features more coverage of Daniels.

Source: The Washington Post

Fact-Check: We’ve started building the wall (Mostly False/Three Pinocchios)

During a press conference with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, President Donald Trump talked about his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico: “We have to have strong borders. We need the wall. We’ve started building the wall, as you know, we have a $1.6 billion toward building the wall and fixing existing wall that’s falling down, it was never appropriate in the first place.”

The funding the president references comes from a spending bill recently passed by Congress. The omnibus “bill included $1.6 billion for some projects at the border, but none of that can be used toward the border wall promised during the presidential campaign.” For PolitiFact, Miriam Valverde rates the president’s claim “Mostly False.”

At The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker, Glenn Kessler gives the same claim “three Pinocchios”:

The White House failed miserably to achieve its objectives on funding for a border wall, receiving relative peanuts. It sought $25 billion, but ended up with just 5 percent of that. Moreover, the money came with strings attached so that it could only be used for fencing, not the “great” and “beautiful wall” promised by Trump.

In Orwellian fashion, fences have now become walls. Even then, the president has only secured enough money to pay for one-tenth of the new fence/wall he has sought.


Fact-Check: Caravans of people are coming to cross the U.S.-Mexico border (Half True)

Just after Fox News aired a segment on a caravan of people from Central America making its way through Mexico toward the United States, the president wrote on Twitter:

“Half True,” writes W. Gardner Shelby for PolitiFact: “President Trump tweeted that caravans of immigrants are coming to the Mexico-U.S. border… We confirmed that a caravan of 1,200 to 1,500 people from Central America–not caravans–was in southern Mexico, about 900 miles from the Rio Grande, when Trump tweeted. Also, accounts vary on whether all participants are bound to enter the U.S. An organizer estimated that most of the people intend to remain in Mexico.”

Reporting for FactCheck.org, Robert FarleyEugene Kiely and Lori Robertson write “Trump’s messages included muddled and inaccurate claims.” They summarize with the following bullet points:

  • Contrary to Trump’s assertion, there is no “liberal (Democrat)” law requiring the “Catch & Release” of people caught illegally crossing the border. There are court cases and laws that require some unaccompanied children, families and asylum-seekers to be released in the U.S., pending an immigration hearing. But it’s a stretch to blame those entirely on Democrats.

  • Trump said “big flows of people” are illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico “to take advantage of DACA.” In fact, current border-crossers are not eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

  • Trump said that “caravans” of people were coming to the Southwest border and that Mexico “must stop them.” The caravan, a yearly demonstration, was organized by the activist group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which says the people walking in the caravan have “a lot of intentions,” with some wanting to stay in Mexico. The caravan is now in southern Mexico, more than 800 miles from the U.S. border.

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Artificial General Intelligences & Corporations — April 8, 2018

Check out the Live Stream Here

Even if we don’t know yet how to align Artificial General Intelligences with our goals, we do have experience in aligning organizations with our goals. Some argue corporations are in fact Artificial Intelligences – legally at least we treat them as persons already.

The Foresight Institute, along with the Internet Archive, invite you to spend an afternoon examining AI alignment, especially whether our interactions with different types of organizations, e.g. our treatment of corporations as persons, allow insights into how to align AI goals with human goals.

While this meeting focuses on AI safety, it merges AI safety, philosophy, computer security, and law and should be highly relevant for anyone working in or interested in those areas.

Buy Tickets Here

Discussions on the day include:

Overview of AI Safety & definitions by Allison Duettmann, AI Safety Researcher at Foresight Institute, Advisor to EthicsNet

Corporations as Artificial General Intelligences (based on this literature review for a grant given by Paul Christiano on the legal aspects of AGI as corporations) by Peter Scheyer, Foresight Institute Fellow in Cybersecurity & Corporate AGI, Cybersecurity Veteran

Overview of the traditional field of AI alignment, with focus on CHAI’s approach to AI alignment, by Mark Nitzberg, Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Human Compatible AI

Aligning long-term projects with incentives in governmental institutions, by Tom Kalil, former Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, Senior Advisor at the Eric & Wendy Schmidt Group

Building a 501c3 organization and similarities to AI alignment, by Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive, Digital Librarian, and Philanthropist

Civilizations as relevant superintelligence (based on this paper co-authored with Christine Peterson, and Allison Duettmann for the First UCLA Risk Colloquium), by Mark Miller, Senior Fellow of the Foresight Institute, pioneer of agoric computing, designer of several object-capability programming languages

This seminar will be highly interactive – we welcome your engagement throughout the session. If you have something valuable to add to the discussion contact Allison at a@foresight.org.

Posted in Event, Past Event | 2 Comments

Meet the Team Building Open Libraries

Open Libraries is a multi-year project to build the online equivalent of a great, modern public library, lending millions of digital books to billions of people who currently have little access. Working with US libraries and organizations serving people with print disabilities, the Internet Archive is curating, digitizing and preserving diverse collections of books held by libraries. In time, US libraries that own a hard copy will be able to offer patrons temporary digital access, just like loaning a book.

To build this new online collection, we are pleased to introduce you to a group of new leaders who will be propelling us forward in different arenas:  partnership and collection building, digitization at scale, fundraising and managing the physical preservation of our millions of books.   Please welcome the Internet Archive’s newest leaders:

Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries

Chris Freeland is the Director of Open Libraries, working with partners in the library world to select, source, digitize and lend a the most useful books for scholars, students, library patrons and people with disabilities around the world. Before joining the Internet Archive, Chris was an Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, managing Washington University Libraries’ digital initiatives and related services. He has an M.S. in Biological Sciences from Eastern Illinois University and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Library and Information Science at University of Missouri-Columbia. Chris loves to explore the intersections of science and technology in a cultural heritage context, having published and presented on a variety of topics relating to the use of new media and emerging technologies in libraries and museums.

While working previously at Missouri Botanical Garden, Chris founded and led the Center for Biodiversity Informatics and served as the founding Technical Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an international consortium of the world’s leading natural history libraries that are working together to digitize their historic collections for free and open access. He has been a project director for several large informatics and academic computing projects, including the development of the Tropicos botanical information system, online at www.tropicos.org, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library, online at www.biodiversitylibrary.org.

In addition to his busy academic life, he enjoys making and selling soap for South Compton Soap Company, the small business he runs with his husband, who is also named Chris.

Henry Chen, Director of Super Center Digitization

Henry joins the Internet Archive as the Director of Super Center Digitization, where he is responsible for improving and expanding the scale, speed, and quality of our book digitization around the world. Henry has over twenty years of industry experience at companies such as Apple and Ariba. While most of his experience has been in software engineering, he has also run operations and manufacturing teams. Henry worked on the Amazon Kindle, first running the software quality team and later working on initiatives to improve the quality of content and the digital reading experience.

Henry has long been fascinated by the intersection of books and technology. At the University of California at Berkeley, he helped to create an introductory computer science class designed for liberal arts students. His first project at Apple targeted the education market, and he worked for a short-lived start-up that facilitated the buying and selling of book and movie rights. With a PhD in English from Berkeley, Henry marries his love of literature (he was a scholar of James Joyce) with technical acumen.

The nicest rooms in his house are the kitchen and study, which is a good indication of what he likes to do in his spare time.

David Fox, Director of Development

David has been a “Friend of the Archive” since 2000, advising the organization in the areas of music and entrepreneurship. Now he joins the team as Director of Development to build a major giving program with the Internet Archive’s most committed donors. David knows the rewards of being a major donor from the inside out, having helped to fund two non-profit organizations, putting to good use the proceeds from his digital commerce venture.

David has been a technology industry entrepreneur for over three decades. He was co-founder of KnowledgeWeb, an e-commerce and online publishing pioneer that offered personalized digital products to a global audience in 1996 and developed one of the early online affiliate programs soon after. The company was acquired by a public company in 1999 and David continued to build the company’s technology, audience, and revenue for four more years.  Earlier in his career David was co-founder of technology distributor InfoMagic Australia which represented desktop publishing pioneers like Adobe, Aldus and Radius throughout the continent.

As a philanthropist, David was the seed funder of two non-profit organizations. The first, classical music recording label Musica Omnia founded in 1999, draws on centuries-long work of archivists to bring historically informed performances of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music to modern day audiences. The second, the Biomimicry Institute founded in 2005, offers an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. In addition to serving on the boards of these two organizations, David was a board member of WiserEarth, the global NGO database founded by environmental leader Paul Hawken.

David still surfs a short board at Ocean Beach and is father to a teenage daughter.

CR Saikley, Acting Manager of the Physical Archive

CR Saikley tackled his first engineering problem for the Internet Archive professionally in 2003, when he designed the first generation of PetaBox hardware that stores the trillions of bytes of data in our collections. He has since designed a second generation of PetaBox hardware, and launched multiple digitization projects for the Internet Archive, improving our scanning processes for books and CDs.  CR turns his prodigious problem-solving skills now to our Physical Archive, where he is creating processes to inventory, track and securely preserve millions of physical items, from books to 78 rpm records.

Since his days at MIT, CR has over 30 years of experience in technology development and management in many diverse areas including medical equipment, large-scale data storage, computer vision, data communications, grid-scale power, and semiconductor test equipment.

Outside the office, CR can sometimes be spotted playing guitar in various venues around the San Francisco Bay, or sailing on its glorious waters.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

The Music Modernization Act is Bad for the Preservation of Sound Recordings

There’s a bill working its way through Congress called the Music Modernization Act (the current bill is a mix of several bills, the portion we are concerned with was formerly called the CLASSICS Act) that has us very concerned about the fate of historical sound recordings. As currently drafted, this bill would vastly expand the rights of performers of pre-1972 sound recordings, without any provision for a public domain for these works or meaningful fair use and library exceptions. After a visit to Washington DC meeting with various Congressional staffers working on this issue, we do not believe that the CLASSICS portion of the bill will be fixed. We therefore oppose the CLASSICS portion of the Music Modernization Act.

We agree with EFF on this, and they have written on the subject as well.

By way of background, sound recordings made before 1972 are not currently protected by federal copyright law, and have state law protection until 2067. To fix some real unfairness for a small group of still-living performance artists mostly from the 1960’s, this bill would give federal “pseudo-copyright” protection for digital performances for works going back to 1923. The bill would leave the rest under state law creating an even more complex and confusing legal landscape for libraries wishing to preserve these historical recordings for future generations.

Copyright law is meant to be a careful balance between creators and the public. This bill is a give away to a small group of commercial interests that leaves libraries and the public they serve behind. We hope Congress will reject this portion of the MMA.

Posted in Announcements, News | 6 Comments

John Perry Barlow Symposium — Saturday, April 7

Watch The Video Here

Please join us for a celebration of the life and leadership of the recently departed founder of EFF, John Perry Barlow. His friends and compatriots in the fight for civil liberties, a fair and open internet, and voices for open culture will discuss what his ideas mean to them, and how we can follow his example as we continue our fight.

Speakers Lineup:

Edward Snowden, noted whistleblower and President of Freedom of the Press Foundation
Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Cory Doctorow, celebrated scifi author and Editor in Chief of Boing Boing
Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
John Gilmore, EFF Co-founder, Board Member, entrepreneur and technologist
Trevor Timm, Executive Director of Freedom of the Press
Shari Steele, Executive Director of the Tor Foundation and former EFF Executive Director
Mitch Kapor, Co-founder of EFF and Co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact
Pam Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley
Steven Levy, Wired Senior Writer, and author of Hackers, In the Plex, and other books
Amelia Barlow, daughter of John Perry Barlow

 

We suggest a $20 donation for admission to the Symposium, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. All ticket proceeds will benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

John Perry Barlow Symposium
Saturday, April 7, 2018
2 PM to 6 PM

Internet Archive
300 Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

RSVP Here

Posted in Event, Past Event | 10 Comments

TV News Record: How cable TV news reports news, fact-checks on banking, trade, and public lands

A round up on what’s happening at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman.

This week, we present a Washington Post analysis of coverage of an alleged affair by the president; a Vox piece examining coverage of Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director; and The Toronto Star’s use of a salient clip to illustrate a point about a presidential appointment. We also show fact-checks from FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker on claims related to banking, public lands, and trade policy.

Chicken-egg question on cable news coverage of alleged affair

CNN and MSNBC hosts and guests are talking a lot more about the alleged past affair between President Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels than Fox News is, according to Philip Bump’s latest analysis for The Washington Post using TV News Archive data via Television Explorer. 

Bump used the analysis as context to dig into a poll released by Suffolk University earlier this month: “One-fifth of Americans said that Fox News was the news or commentary source they trusted the most, a group that was primarily made up of Republicans… There’s a chicken-egg question here. Does Fox give the Stormy Daniels story a light touch because its audience is largely supportive of Trump or is Fox’s audience largely supportive of Trump because of the coverage they see on Fox? Or is it both?”

Did Fox News reporting contribute to perception of fired FBI official?

Vox’s Alvin Chang argues a connection between the firing of Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director, to a narrative built up over the course of months by Fox News. Using TV News Archive data via Television Explorer, Chang reports that “long before he was fired, Fox News… constantly referred to McCabe as the quintessential example of the FBI’s corruption and anti-Trump bias. They hinted that he was plotting several schemes against Trump during the election, leaking information to the press, and was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and Democrats.” This, he writes, allowed FOX News viewers to think it made “perfect sense for Attorney General Jeff Sessions (perhaps directed by Trump) to fire McCabe.” Chang goes on to warn, “This alternate reality is being fed into the president’s mind.”


What new presidential economic pick had to say about Canadian PM

The Toronto Star embedded a TV news clip in a piece on Trump’s pick to replace his economic advisor. Larry Kudlow, who is taking over from Gary Cohn as economic advisor, had said of U.S. trade policy:  “NAFTA is the key. And unfortunately we’re going after a major NAFTA ally, and perhaps America’s greatest ally, namely Canada. Even with this left-wing crazy guy Trudeau, they’re still our pals. They’re still our pals. Why are we going after them?” The clip has been viewed more than 112,000 times and counting.


Fact-Check: Senate banking bill a big win for Wall Street (Yes and No)

In a floor speech, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D., Mass., said of the latest proposal to make changes to Dodd-Frank, “This bill is about goosing the bottom line and executive bonuses at the banks that make up the top one half of 1 percent of banks in this country by size. The very tippy-top.”

Manuela Tobias reported for PolitiFact: “The bill raises the bar of what is considered a big bank five-fold, which effectively relaxes the standards for large regional banks. Experts warn this also could open a door for bigger Wall Street bank giveaways.

The bill also has a few provisions affecting banks above $250 billion in assets. However, the effects would largely depend on the Federal Reserve’s interpretation of the law. The biggest banks might be able to get relaxed regulations, but then again, they might not.”


Fact-Check: Public lands proposal largest in history (False)

In a Senate hearing on the budget for the Dept. of the Interior, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the president’s proposal “is the largest investment in our public lands infrastructure in our nation’s history. Let me repeat that, this is the largest investment in our public lands infrastructure in the history of this country.”

PolitiFact rates the claim false. Louis Jacobson reported: “It’s far from assured that the maximum figure of $18 billion in the proposal will ever be reached if enacted. Beyond that, though, Roosevelt’s $3 billion investment in the Civilian Conservation Corps would amount to $53 billion today, and it accounted for vastly more than the Trump proposal as a percentage of federal spending at the time.”

Fact-Check: U.S. has trade deficit with Canada (Four Pinocchios)

After a private meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump defended his view about U.S.-Canada trade, tweeting, “We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do … they almost all do … and that’s how I know!”

Glenn Kessler reports for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker that the president is not including services in his analysis of the trade relationship with Canada. He adds: “The president frequently suggests the United States is losing money with these deficits, but countries do not ‘lose’ money on trade deficits. A trade deficit simply means that people in one country are buying more goods from another country than people in the second country are buying from the first.” Kessler gives the claim four Pinocchios.

Eugene Kiely reports for FactCheck.org that the president’s claim that figures giving the U.S. a trade surplus with Canada are not including timber and energy is “not accurate. The Census Bureau, which is within the U.S. Department of Commerce, said its trade figures do include timber and energy and referred us to two publications that show that the agency does include timber and energy for imports and exports.”

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Digital opportunity for the academic scholarly record

[MIT Libraries is holding a workshop on Grand Challenges for the scholarly record.  They asked participants for a problem/solution statement.  This is mine. -brewster kahle]

The problem of academic scholarly record now:

University library budgets are spent on closed rather than open: We invest dollars in closed/subscription services (Elsevier, JSTOR, Hathi) rather than ones open to all users (PLOS, Arxiv, Internet Archive, eBird)– and for a reason.  There is only so much money and our community demands access to closed services, and the open ones are there whether we pay for them or not.

We want open access AND digital curation and preservation– but have no means to spend cooperatively.

University libraries funded the building of Elsevier / JSTOR / HathiTrust: closed, subscription services.

We need to invest most University Library acquisition dollars in open: PLOS, Arxiv, Wikipedia, Internet Archive, eBird.

We have solved it when:

Anyone anywhere can get ALL information available to an MIT student, for free.

Everyone everywhere has the opportunity to contribute to the scholarly record as if they were MIT faculty, for free.

What should we do now?

Analog -> Digital conversion of all published scholarly must be completed soon.   And completely open, available in bulk.

Curation and Digital Preservation of born-digital research products: papers/websites/research data.

“Multi-homing” digital research product (papers, websites, research data) via peer-to-peer backends.

Who can best implement?

Vision and tech ability: Internet Archive, PLOS, Wikipedia, arxiv.

Funding now is coming from researchers, individuals, rich people.

Funding should come from University Library acquisition budgets.

Why might MIT lead?

OpenCourseware was bold.  MIT might invest in opening the scholarly record.

How might MIT do this?

Be bold.

Spend differently.

Lead.

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