The Supreme Court Has a Longevity Problem, but Term Limits on Justices Won’t Solve It


With the announced nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump has the privilege of nominating a second Supreme Court justice in his first term. But it’s an opportunity that could become rare moving forward given that justices, like the rest of the population, are living longer.

The fact that people who make it to their senior years can expect to live beyond the age of 80 means the average Supreme Court justice’s tenure also will be longer. As a result, significantly fewer Supreme Court justices will be appointed over the next century than were appointed in the last. Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed at the relatively tender age of 49, could conceivably remain on the court through nine more presidential terms, given that he can expect to live another 36 years, our actuarial analysis shows.


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An Ebola Outbreak Has Just Been Stopped. Here’s What It Tells Us About Containing Epidemics.

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After a month with no new cases, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) appears to be under control and weeks away from officially ending. Less than three months since it was declared, and after only about 50 cases, this outbreak’s efficient containment is a remarkable achievement that stands in stark contrast to the West African epidemic that spiraled into a two-year global crisis with over 28,000 cases.

This time around, several factors have made it possible to rapidly control the spread of the disease. While the West African epidemic took place in areas with mobile populations and capital cities where Ebola was not expected, the current outbreak is happening in a relatively remote region of the DRC, the country where the virus was first discovered and where eight previous outbreaks have occurred. Global agencies, on high alert after the West African epidemic, leveraged

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Dystopian Technocapitalist Hellscape

Mona List Overdrive has come true. And Pattern Recognition is on the horizon.

I knew that Dominos was paving America’s roads, but I didn’t realize they were branding them.

Farhad Manjoo has a good article in the NYT titled How Tech Companies Conquered America’s Cities. A key trope in sci-fi is that corporations will take over, well, everything. And, now that corporations are considered people (at least partially), why shouldn’t they take over?

Would it be weird if I sold sponsorship rights to my first name? “Dominos Feld” anyone? Or maybe “Amazon Feld.”

As usual, Neal Stephenson and Wiliam Gibson were (and continue to be) prescient about our future. I’m considering taking all the labels off of everything I own. And, if you are interested in sponsoring my first name, I’m open to offers and suggestions.

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I’m Honored That I Get To Work With Ayah Bdeir At littleBits

I’ve been consistently public, for almost a decade, about my belief that we should significantly change our approach to immigration in the US, especially for entrepreneurs. As one of the original advocates of the Startup Visa, I continue to be bummed out that our government can’t seem to figure out why this is important or doing anything productive around it.

But, I’ve been appalled the past few days, as Amy and I spend time in Germany, to watch the Trump immigration enforcement that separates children from their parents and detain the children in separate locations. While we had a joyful anniversary yesterday, I felt a bitter emotional undercurrent that upset me.

I’m lucky that I was born an American citizen. Over the years, I’ve invested in many immigrant entrepreneurs. Amy and I have supported a number of organizations that help immigrants and refugees. But when I saw Ayah

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Are Countries Prepared for the Increasing Threat of Engineered Bioweapons?

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Amid current outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nipah virus in India, an even scarier threat looms. Last year, researchers recreated an extinct smallpox-like virus with DNA bought online for just $100,000 and published how they did it. Their feat heightens concerns that rogue regimes and terrorists could similarly modify or engineer pathogens and use them as weapons. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter warned that such biological artillery might come to rival the destructive power of nuclear arms. If a highly contagious agent were released in a major city, it could spread far and wide and kill thousands before it is even clear what is happening. Responding effectively to such threats will require a paradigm shift towards approaches that are faster and more agile and decentralized than what exists now.

The low cost and do-it-yourself accessibility of genomic

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What Hurricane Maria’s Death Toll Reveals About Health Care in Puerto Rico

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An estimated 1,833 lives were lost in 2005 in Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history. The federal government’s lack of preparedness and inadequate response to Katrina met with widespread criticism, and the need for a more robust system to respond to natural catastrophes emerged as one of the key lessons from the 2005 storm. The impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico in 2017 indicates that these lessons have not been learned: The storm, which hit the island last September, rendered tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans homeless, left over a million people without electricity for several weeks, and caused an estimated $90 billion in damages (making it the third-costliest tropical cyclone in the United States since 1900).

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on May 29 estimates that the Puerto Rico death toll associated with

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How GDPR Will Transform Digital Marketing

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This month will see the enforcement of a sweeping new set of regulations that could change the face of digital marketing: the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. To protect consumers’ privacy and give them greater control over how their data is collected and used, GDPR requires marketers to secure explicit permission for data-use activities within the EU. With new and substantial constraints on what had been largely unregulated data-collection practices, marketers will have to find ways to target digital ads, depending less (or not at all) on hoovering up quantities of behavioral data.

Consumers have already seen a range of developments resulting from the forthcoming enforcement of GDPR. Among these are the dozens of messages from web-based companies from TaskRabbit to Twitter about privacy policy updates, as well as the recent reports about how major internet companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are moving the personal data

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Remaining Objective Is Hard, But the Best Leaders Figure Out How to Do It

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There is no single leadership trait that guarantees success in any profession, but there is, based on my experience, one that many of the best leaders share: a fierce commitment to objectivity. And yet I realize it’s often not easy for leaders to remain objective.

In my nearly three-decade career in the intelligence community, I have worked for and with 11 Directors of CIA and all five Directors of National Intelligence. Each has brought their own personality and skill set to the job, and each in their time has faced their own set of challenges, from deeply contentious relationships with the White House and Congress to unforeseen terrorist attacks on the homeland and U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas. I think each would agree that leading in the intelligence community is a daily exercise in crisis management, whether at the helm of CIA with its global analytic and operational

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How Health Care Changes When Algorithms Start Making Diagnoses

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Imagine that the next time you see your doctor, she says you have a life-threatening disease. The catch? A computer has performed your diagnosis, which is too complex for humans to understand entirely. What your doctor can explain, however, is that the computer is almost always right.

If this sounds like science fiction, it’s not. It’s what health care might seem like to doctors, patients, and regulators around the world as new methods in machine learning offer more insights from ever-growing amounts of data.

Complex algorithms will soon help clinicians make incredibly accurate determinations about our health from large amounts of information, premised on largely unexplainable correlations in that data.

This future is alarming, no doubt, due to the power that doctors and patients will start handing off to machines. But it’s also a future that we must prepare for — and embrace — because of the impact these

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Will Arizona Be America’s Next Cybersecurity Cluster? – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITY


If you ever waited for dial-up to connect you to the vast wonderland we called the World Wide Web, you probably also had an alarm clock on your nightstand, next to your land line, which might have had a cord connecting the handset to the receiver. If you were really progressive, you may have even used a cellular phone.  The connection was better if the antenna was fully extended, and you paid by the minute.

Fast-forward a mere twenty years or so.  We now text and email and take calls on our watches.  Siri directs us if we’re in an unfamiliar city.  Our phones can send photos of deposits right to our banks and pay for our groceries at the self-checkout.  Or, maybe we don’t even go to the store.  Alexa can order for us and have our items delivered in hours—likely soon, by

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The U.S. Needs a New Paradigm for Data Governance

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The U.S. Senate and House hearings last week on Facebook’s use of data and foreign interference in the U.S. election raised important challenges concerning data privacy, security, ethics, transparency, and responsibility. They also illuminated what could become a vast chasm between traditional privacy and security laws and regulations and rapidly evolving internet-related business models and activities. To help close this gap, technologists need to seriously reevaluate their relationship with government. Here are four ways to start.

Help to increase tech literacy in Washington. Lawmakers expressed surprise and confusion about Facebook’s business model, including how the company generates revenue and uses data for targeted advertising. They also seemed to misunderstand how Facebook functions as a platform for third-party applications and how users’ data is flowing between the user, Facebook, and third parties. This lack of knowledge — despite the millions of dollars that the tech

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How to Testify Before Congress

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It’s a predictable part of nearly every big business scandal: the moment when the CEO is summoned to Capitol Hill to testify before a congressional committee. For Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, this rite of passage happens this week, when he will testify about data breaches and how foreign states allegedly used social media to try to influence the 2016 presidential election. Observers are already speculating about how Zuckerberg will perform and whether he might join the list of CEOs (like Equifax’s Richard Smith) whose appearance made the company’s predicament even worse. To get a sense of how a CEO should approach this task, I spoke with William LaForge, a former Washington lawyer and lobbyist and author of Testifying Before Congress. (Since 2013 LaForge has served as president of Delta State University, in Mississippi.) The following is an edited, condensed version of our conversation:

HBR: How difficult is

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Why Staff Turnover in the White House Is Such a Bad Thing — Especially For President Trump

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The Trump Administration has a historically unprecedented rate of turnover of the senior staff, and it shows no sign of abating. This level of disruption would be difficult for any organization to handle. But these difficulties are compounded in the unique environment of the White House — and, for reasons I’ll elaborate on, may be especially difficult for this administration.

While there’s been a lot of coverage on the fact of the record-setting personnel turnover at the Trump White House, there hasn’t been much analysis of its likely costs. To put it bluntly: we know there’s a lot of turnover at the Trump White House, but does it matter? Is it a bad thing?

The short answer, according to decades of organizational research, is: yes and yes. High levels of senior executive turnover are difficult for any organization to absorb. Every senior leader has his or her

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The Laws Don’t – and Can’t – Keep Up With Technology

A law with good intentions, but horrible side effects, passed yesterday. You probably haven’t heard about it because of the brouhaha over 97,513 other things. It’s called SESTA/FOSTA and the EFF has a good summary of how Lawmakers Failed to Separate Their Good Intentions from Bad Law. Craigslist responded immediately (and rationally) by taking Craigslist Personals offline.

Oh, and as a bonus, the CLOUD Act was buried in the Omnibus spending bill. EFF has an article from six weeks ago that explains why it is A Dangerous Expansion of Police Snooping on Cross-Border Data. The CLOUD Act is an aggressive undermining of existing privacy laws, but no one really cares about online privacy or your data, right?

If you want a glimpse as to the data Facebook has on you, take a look at the analysis Dylan McKay just posted. And then, it a magic trick of epic proportions, it turns out

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Apple’s Pact with 13 Health Care Systems Might Actually Disrupt the Industry

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An announcement on January 24 didn’t get the large amount of attention it deserved: Apple and 13 prominent health systems, including prestigious centers like Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania, disclosed an agreement that would allow Apple to download onto its various devices the electronic health data of those systems’ patients — with patients’ permission, of course.

It could herald truly disruptive change in the U.S. health care system. The reason: It could liberate health care data for game-changing new uses, including empowering patients as never before.

Since electronic health records (EHRs) became widespread over the last decade, there has been growing frustration over the inability to make electronic data liquid — to have it follow the patient throughout the health system and to be available for more sophisticated analysis in support of improved patient care and research. Most efforts to liberate and exchange health data have

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What Denver Should Do When Amazon Doesn’t Choose It For HQ2

Ian Hathaway, my co-author for my next book – Startup Communities 2: The Next Generation – has a great blog post up titled The Amazon Bounce Back.

Colorado, specifically Denver, is in the final 20 cities bidding on Amazon’s HQ2. This open bid process is an absolutely brilliant move by Amazon for a variety of reasons.

  • Enormous branding: Everyone, everywhere, is talking about Amazon. Amazon Amazon Amazon. We love Amazon.
  • Absurd market information: The amount of data about each city that Amazon is getting out of this is incredible.
  • Visibility into what cities are willing to offer: Amazon knows where its future leverage points are when negotiating with individual cities.

While I’m glad Denver approached it the way they did, focusing on strength and resources of the community rather than by throwing dollars at Amazon, our state government still provided plenty of financial incentives.

Amazon HQ2 could qualify

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How AI Could Help the Public Sector

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Last Thanksgiving, I watched my father-in-law evaluate over one hundred exams for the high school class he teaches on the U.S. government. They were mostly short answer questions: matching different provisions of the U.S. Constitution, and explaining the contents of the Bill of Rights. The grading was tedious and time consuming, and took him hour after hour during what should have been a holiday. I started to wonder whether there could be a faster way.

Automatic computer grading could do exactly that, learning from previous answers and getting better as it goes — and it is already being used in some universities and for large online courses (MOOCs). It could grade bundles of student papers quickly, perhaps flagging those with unusual elements that need a bit of human oversight. Teachers would get time back to plan new lessons, give extra tutorials to students who are struggling, do

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Whopper Neutrality – The Burger Based Version of Net Neutrality

If you are still having trouble understanding why Net Neutrality is important, Burger King has made an awesomely funny – and extremely informative – video using the Whopper as an example. It’s just brilliant.

In more serious news, the New York governor signs executive order to keep net neutrality rules after the FCC’s repeal. This follows on the heels of the Montana governor signs executive order to keep net neutrality in the state. Last year I wrote about the coming battle of states rights vs. federal rights, and this is a great example of the complexity of it.

At the same time, AT&T CEO’s net neutrality plan calls for regulation of websites. AT&T supports bans on blocking and throttling, but not paid prioritization or data cap exemptions. I think he needs to watch the Whopper video.

Apparently the GOP is working on a net neutrality bill would allow paid fast

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Optimism In The Face Of Current Reality

Let’s start with an awesome dog taking himself sledding.

Now, let’s move on to Bill Gates opening essay in this week’s Time Magazine (he’s their first ever guest editor) titled Some good news, for once. It’s short and powerful.

He starts out with context.

“Reading the news today does not exactly leave you feeling optimistic. Hurricanes in the Americas. Horrific mass shootings. Global tensions over nuclear arms, crisis in Myanmar, bloody civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Your heart breaks for every person who is touched by these tragedies. Even for those of us lucky enough not to be directly affected, it may feel like the world is falling apart.”

And then perspective.

“But these events—as awful as they are—have happened in the context of a bigger, positive trend. On the whole, the world is getting better. This is not some naively optimistic view; it’s backed by data. Look

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