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Pathogen Resistance

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We're not not trapped in here with the coronavirus. The coronavirus is trapped in here with us.
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CallMeWilliam
3 days ago
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alt_text_bot
3 days ago
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We're not not trapped in here with the coronavirus. The coronavirus is trapped in here with us.
danielguo
3 days ago
Well said!

Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online

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One of the casualties of coronavirus-related social distancing measures has been public libraries, which are shut down in many communities around the world. This week, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for running the Internet's Wayback Machine, announced a new initiative to expand access to digital books during the pandemic.

For almost a decade, an Internet Archive program called the Open Library has offered people the ability to "check out" digital scans of physical books held in storage by the Internet Archive. Readers can view a scanned book in a browser or download it to an e-reader. Users can only check out a limited number of books at once and are required to "return" them after a limited period of time.

Until this week, the Open Library only allowed people to "check out" as many copies as the library owned. If you wanted to read a book but all copies were already checked out by other patrons, you had to join a waiting list for that book—just like you would at a physical library.

Of course, such restrictions are artificial when you're distributing digital files. Earlier this week, with libraries closing around the world, the Internet Archive announced a major change: it is temporarily getting rid of these waiting lists.

"The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners," the Internet Archive wrote in a Tuesday post. "This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."

The Tuesday announcement generated significant public interest, with almost 20,000 new users signing up on Tuesday and Wednesday. In recent days, the Open Library has been "lending" 15,000 to 20,000 books per day.

“The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home,” said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. The Internet Archive says the program will ensure students are able to get access to books they need to continue their studies from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

It's an amazing resource—one that will provide a lot of value to people stuck at home due to the coronavirus. But as a copyright nerd, I also couldn't help wondering: is this legal?

“It seems like a stretch”

The copyright implications of book scanning have long been a contentious subject. In 2005, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sued Google over its ambitious book-scanning program. In 2015, an appeals court ruled that the project was legal under copyright's fair use doctrine. A related 2014 ruling held that it was legal for libraries who participated in the program to get back copies of the digital scans for purposes such as digital preservation and increasing access for disabled patrons.

Both rulings relied on the fact that scans were being used for limited purposes. Google built a search index and only showed users brief "snippets" of book pages in its search results. Libraries only offered full-text books to readers with print disabilities. Neither case considered whether it would be legal to distribute scanned books to the general public over the Internet.

Yet the Internet Archive has been doing just that for almost a decade. A 2011 article in Publishers Weekly says that Kahle "told librarians at the recent ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego that after some initial hand-wringing, there has been 'nary a peep' from publishers" about the Internet Archive's digital book lending efforts.

James Grimmelmann, a legal scholar at Cornell University, told Ars that the legal status of this kind of lending is far from clear—even if a library limits its lending to the number of books it has in stock. He wasn't able to name any legal cases involving people "lending" digital copies of books the way the Internet Archive was doing.

One of the closest analogies might be the music industry's lawsuit against ReDigi, an online service that let users "re-sell" digital music tracks they had purchased online. Copyright's first sale doctrine has long allowed people to resell books, CDs, and other copyrighted works on physical media. ReDigi argued that the same principle should apply to digital files. But the courts didn't buy it. In 2018, an appeals court held that transmitting a music file across the Internet creates a new copy of the work rather than merely transferring an existing file to its new owner. That meant the first sale doctrine didn't apply.

So it seems unlikely that the first sale doctrine would apply to book lending. Could digital book lending be allowed under fair use? ReDigi tried to make a fair use argument, but the appeals court rejected it. The court "said we won't use fair use to re-create first sale," Grimmelmann told me in a Thursday phone interview.

In its FAQ for the National Emergency Lending program, the Internet Archive mentions the concept of controlled digital lending (CDL) and links to this site, which has a detailed white paper defending the legality of "lending" books online. The white paper acknowledges that the ReDigi precedent isn't encouraging, but it notes that the courts focused on the commercial nature of ReDigi's service. Perhaps the courts would look more favorably on a fair use argument from a non-profit library.

"We believe that these library uses, of all the varying digital uses, are among the most likely to be justified under a fair use rationale," the white paper says. "Several libraries have already engaged in limited CDL for years without issue. It can be inferred that this fact indicates a tacit acknowledgement of the strength of their legal position."

But Grimmelmann isn't so sure. "I never want to weigh in definitively on fair use questions, but I would say that it seems like a stretch to say that you can scan a book and have it circulate digitally," he said. He added that the fair use argument could be stronger for books that are out of print—especially "orphan works" whose copyright holder can't be found. However, he said, "it's a tough argument for current, in-print titles."

And the Open Library is well stocked with titles like that. The library includes many copyrighted books that are still in print and widely available. You can check out books from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, or novels by popular authors like John Grisham or Janet Evanovich.

No one seems interested in a legal fight

The legal basis for the Open Library's lending program may be even shakier now that the Internet Archive has removed limits on the number of books people can borrow. The benefits of this expanded lending during a pandemic are obvious. But it's not clear if that makes a difference under copyright law. "There is no specific pandemic exception" in copyright law, Grimmelmann told Ars.

Traditionally, fair use analysis is based on four factors, including the purpose of the use and the effect on the potential market. However, these factors are not exclusive. In theory, a judge could rule that the emergency circumstances of a pandemic created a new fair use justification for online book sharing. But Grimmelmann said he couldn't think of prior cases where courts have made that kind of leap.

So should we expect the Internet Archive to face a legal battle over its new lending program? The most obvious plaintiffs for such a lawsuit have been conspicuously silent this week. On Thursday, I sent emails to the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers—the organizations that sued Google 15 years ago—for comment on the Internet Archive's new library program. Neither has responded.

Two years ago, the Authors Guild blasted the Internet Archive's lending program as a "flagrant violation of copyright law." But as far as I can tell, they never went to court over the issue, and they don't seem eager to start a fight now. (Update: I didn't notice it before filing this story but the Authors Guild wrote on Friday that it was "appalled" by the National Emergency Library.)

The Internet Archive doesn't seem that interested in discussing the legal issues here, either. The Open Library has an extensive FAQ on borrowing books, but it doesn't have any questions about the legality of the program. When I emailed the Internet Archive asking about the legal theory behind the program, I got a response that directed me to another FAQ that doesn't directly address the copyright issues raised by the program.

It may be that neither side would benefit from a high-profile legal battle right now. For publishers and authors, the optics of suing a library that's expanding access to books during a pandemic would be terrible. And the Open Library's customer base is still fairly small, so the practical financial impact for publishers and authors is likely to be small, too.

At the same time, the Internet Archive has no reason to goad the industry into a lawsuit that it has a decent chance of losing. As long as copyright holders are willing to look the other way, the Internet Archive can continue providing digital information to as many people as possible—which is why Kahle started the Internet Archive in the first place.

"This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life," Kahle wrote on Tuesday. "The library at everyone’s fingertips."

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CallMeWilliam
4 days ago
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One more bullshit restriction removed; we've GOT to be post-scarcity on fiction.
acdha
5 days ago
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I love easy access to books but it’s hard to see this as legitimate, and it’s hurting authors’ incomes at a critical time
Washington, DC
diannemharris
4 days ago
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Some People

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popular shared this story from kottke.org.

Some people feel helpless & anxious.

Some people are bored.

Some people are self-quarantined alone and are lonely.

Some people are realizing that After will be very different from Before.

Some people are really enjoying this extra time with their kids and will miss it when it’s over.

Some people just got off their 12th double shift in a row at the hospital and can’t hug their family.

Some people visited their favorite restaurant for the last time and didn’t realize it.

Some people have died from COVID-19.

Some people can’t stop reading the news.

Some people cannot afford soap.

Some people are learning how to bake bread.

Some people are working from home while simultaneously trying to homeschool their kids.

Some people are single parents trying to work from home while simultaneously trying to homeschool their kids.

Some people are living paycheck to paycheck and the next one will not arrive.

Some people are unfit to be President.

Some people left the city for their home in the country.

Some people are can’t go to the grocery store because they’re at risk.

Some people lost their jobs.

Some people can’t sleep.

Some people are watching free opera online.

Some people have been quarantined for weeks.

Some people can’t work remotely.

Some people have contracted COVID-19 and don’t know it yet.

Some people can’t concentrate on their work because of anxiety.

Some people can’t afford their rent next month.

Some people are still gathering in large groups.

Some people are keeping the rest of us alive at significant personal risk.

Some people didn’t buy enough hand sanitizer.

Some people bought too much hand sanitizer.

Some people are missing their therapist.

Some people can’t go to work but are still being paid by their employers. For now.

Some people are mainly concerned about what to watch next on Netflix.

Some people are volunteering.

Some people are going to lose their business.

Some people are realizing that teachers are amazing.

Some people are ordering takeout from local restaurants.

Some people would really just like a hug.

Some people can’t convince their elderly parents to take this seriously.

Some people are worried about their 401K.

Some people have never had a 401K.

Some people will face increased abuse at home.

Some people are going to get sick or injured and will have a harder time getting medical care.

Some people can’t buy the food they need because the WIC-eligible stuff is sold out.

Some people won’t stop partying.

Some people lost their childcare.

Some people are doing everything they can to remain calm and hopeful and it’s not working.

Some people are watching Outbreak & Contagion and playing Pandemic.

Some people don’t know what they’re going to do.

Some people are overwhelmed with advice on how to work from home.

Some people are drinking or eating too much.

Some people are thinking about after.

Some people are upset because they can’t travel.

Some people are horny.

Some people are planning for a larger garden this year.

Some people won’t see their families for months.

Some people are logging off to stay grounded.

Some people can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Some people will realize they need to split with their partner.

Some people are singing Imagine.

Some people aren’t on this list.

These are all based on the experiences of real people drawn from news stories, social media, and friends. Take heart: you are not the only person experiencing what you are going through. But be mindful: not everyone is having the same experience you are. Ultimately though, we are all in this together.

Tags: COVID-19
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CallMeWilliam
11 days ago
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you should mourn

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You must socially distance yourself, and I am. It’s our duty in this moment. And it sucks, completely, but no one seems comfortable saying so.

Look, I have always understood the utter necessity of the measures we are taking, and I have followed the precautions recommended by experts from the beginning. I am 100% on board with the program and you should be too. I also am incredibly annoyed that this virus has become yet another excuse for people to engage in the only activity the internet enjoys, which is competitive righteousness. Everyone insists on being the only person who really, truly is down with the program. “I ALONE RECOGNIZE THE TRUE DEPTHS OF THIS PROBLEM! I AM THE LAST RESPONSIBLE MAN!” The sheer pomposity of it all.

And that has led to this atmosphere in which people are afraid to publicly admit their sadness and anger over all that they’re giving up. That’s deeply, deeply unhealthy. The first step in coping with loss is to recognize it, to understand the depths of your own pain.

Think of all that we’re giving up – concerts, museums, parties, festivals, drinks with friends, dates, football games, dinner with loved ones, travel, the presence of others. These things aren’t some trivial luxuries that only the privileged would mourn. They are the stuff of life. In a world that insists on replacing real pleasures with their sad virtual equivalents, these things are more vital than ever. We have been social distancing ourselves for decades – Uber to avoid the subway, Seamless to avoid restaurants, Skype to avoid face to face contact, podcasts and video game streaming to avoid real friendships, virtual reality to avoid real reality. This is the parasocial age, the age of the human facsimile. And now this. We have to acknowledge everything that we are losing, the things that make the human race human. We can’t do that if people treat acknowledging what we’ve lost as some betrayal of the need to look serious. And I’m so afraid that people are never going to come back, that they’ll get used to this new world and our last essential human connections with people we don’t know personally will be severed forever.

A couple weeks ago I lost one of my closest friends. It was a punch to the gut. And mutual friends and I said at the time that what we needed was to come together and mourn together, to memorialize him. Because the only way out is through; the only way to survive the pains of the world is to acknowledge them in their enormity. And now we can’t. We can’t bury our friend, thanks to this. And I’m so mad about it. I’m so mad. And you know what? I get to be mad. I am entitled to it. Just as I get to be mad that I might turn 40 alone in my apartment, that I may not travel again for years, that I won’t get to wander the halls of the Met anymore, that I will have essentially no ability to meet someone I might fall in love with, that I have no idea when I’ll next get to give my nieces a hug. I get to be mad about those things. And high school kids who’ll never go to graduation get to be mad, and the terminally ill who have to spend their last days indoors get to be mad, and so do people who just want to enjoy the spring in their local park. We all get to be mad.

The human cost of the disease and those it will kill is enormous. The cost of our prevention efforts are high as well. You’re losing something. You’re losing so much. So you should mourn. We’ve lost the world. Mourn for it.

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CallMeWilliam
13 days ago
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Further: What we're giving up _is life itself_. This is not a long term solution.
shanel
13 days ago
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This.
New York, New York
acdha
13 days ago
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Washington, DC
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wmorrell
11 days ago
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1) These shelter-in-place orders are not, and never were meant to be, permanent. 2) This: «Everyone insists on being the only person who really, truly is down with the program. “I ALONE RECOGNIZE THE TRUE DEPTHS OF THIS PROBLEM! I AM THE LAST RESPONSIBLE MAN!” The sheer pomposity of it all.», coming from Freddie Effing deBoer is simply *chef's kiss*

UK coronavirus crisis 'to last until spring 2021 and could see 7.9m hospitalised'

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The coronavirus epidemic in the UK will last until next spring and could lead to 7.9 million people being hospitalised, a secret Public Health England (PHE) briefing for senior NHS officials reveals.

The document, seen by the Guardian, is the first time health chiefs tackling the virus have admitted that they expect it to circulate for another 12 months and lead to huge extra strain on an already overstretched NHS.

It also suggests that health chiefs are braced for as many as 80% of Britons becoming infected with the coronavirus over that time.

Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, has previously described that figure as the worst-case scenario and suggested that the real number would turn out to be less than that. However, the briefing makes clear that four in five of the population “are expected” to contract the virus.

The document says that: “As many as 80% of the population are expected to be infected with Covid-19 in the next 12 months, and up to 15% (7.9 million people) may require hospitalisation.”

The briefing sets out the latest official thinking about how severely the infection could affect both the public’s health and that of personnel in critical services such as the NHS, police, the fire brigade and transport.

It has been drawn up in recent days by PHE’s emergency preparedness and response team and approved as accurate by Dr Susan Hopkins, PHE’s lead official dealing with the outbreak. It has been shared with hospital bosses and senior doctors in the NHS in Engand.

“For the public to hear that it could last for 12 months, people are going to be really upset about that and pretty worried about that”, said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.

“A year is entirely plausible. But that figure isn’t well appreciated or understood,” added Hunter, an expert in epidemiology.

“I think it will dip in the summer, towards the end of June, and come back in November, in the way that usual seasonal flu does. I think it will be around forever, but become less severe over time, as immunity builds up,” he added.

The admission that the virus will continue to cause problems for another year appears to undermine hopes that the arrival of warmer weather this summer would kill it.

The document also discloses that an estimated 500,000 of the 5 million people deemed vital because they work “in essential services and critical infrastructure” will be off sick at any one time during a month-long peak of the epidemic. The 5 million include 1m NHS staff and 1.5 million in social care.

However, the briefing raises questions about how Britain would continue to function normally, warning that: “It is estimated that at least 10% of people in the UK will have a cough at any one time during the months of peak Covid-19 activity.” Under revised health advice Boris Johnson unveiled last Thursday, anyone with a cough should self-isolate for at least seven days.

The document also states that:

  • The health service cannot cope with the sheer number of people with symptoms who need to be tested because laboratories are “under significant demand pressures”.

  • From now on only the very seriously ill who are already in hospital and people in care homes and prisons where the coronavirus has been detected will get tested.

  • Testing services are under such strain that even NHS staff will not be swabbed, despite their key role and the risk of them passing the virus on to patients.

A senior NHS figure involved in preparing for the growing “surge” in patients whose lives are being put at risk by Covid-19 said an 80% infection rate could lead to more than half a million people dying.

If the mortality rate turns out to be the 1% many experts are using as their working assumption then that would mean 531,100 deaths. But if Whitty’s insistence that the rate will be closer to 0.6% proves accurate, then that would involve 318,660 people dying.

Experts advising governments worldwide on the way epidemics grow and eventually decline say there will be a rapid rise in cases to a peak – and then a falling off. Whitty, who has seen the modelling done by UK and global scientists, says the case numbers will go up fast over the next 10 to 14 weeks.

That will mean a peak at around the end of May to mid-June, when the NHS will be under great pressure. The strategy of all countries is to delay that peak and stretch it out over a longer period of time, so that health services are better able to cope. There is also the possibility that new treatments will be available by then.

After the peak, case numbers and deaths are expected to drop for 10 weeks or more, until they reach a fairly low level, which may not be zero. In the summer months especially, the case numbers are expected to reduce because people spend more time out of doors and are less likely to be confined at close quarters in small rooms in a house or office with people who are infected.

There is still a worry that the virus could resurge in the autumn or winter months, which means planning for the long term will be necessary. Until a vaccine is developed, perhaps in 18 months, health planners cannot be sure of being able to protect people from the disease.

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CallMeWilliam
17 days ago
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The UK is handling Corona unlike any other country, period. They are practicing Herd Immunity. Which is to say: Give it to everyone healthy, use the recovered population to protect the old and sick.

It's gross and uh... probably not going to work how they hope it will.

In any event, it makes the UK a radically different model from anyone else.
shanel
18 days ago
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This lines up with what my gut has been saying...
New York, New York
acdha
18 days ago
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Washington, DC
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RT @jules_su: [CORONAVIRUS: huge threat to old people, little threat to young people]: We must transform our ENTIRE society and global wo…

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[CORONAVIRUS: huge threat to old people, little threat to young people]:

We must transform our ENTIRE society and global workforce to prevent this.

[CLIMATE CHANGE: huge threat to young people, little threat to old people]:

You want us to do what? Take the bus? Shut up.


Retweeted by JunJunisKing on Monday, March 9th, 2020 6:27pm


8335 likes, 2068 retweets
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CallMeWilliam
18 days ago
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diannemharris
19 days ago
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fxer
24 days ago
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Shut up
Bend, Oregon
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