Friday, 01 September 2017 00:00

FREEDOM IN THE NET

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The internet doesn't belong to one person there are: service providers, tech companies, content companies, commercial entities, social media groups, not to mention the biggest market of all US, the user; then take all of that and multiply it on a global scale, to make up this massively complex web that we enjoy. However, this beautiful creation of connectivity has its dark side and some are wondering what if anything should be done to temper it. CNN's Jeffery Tobin explains in the video "Where do your first amendment rights end online?" the current situation of where the internet currently intersects with your freedom of speech. This 3 minute video briefly explains your rights and the rights of your service providers using recent events check it out.      
Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

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The history of the internet is complex. Its birthday can go as far back as 1958 with the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) or as early 1995 with advent of internet privatization or several dates in-between, like the creation of the World Wide Web on March 12, 1989- the point is the relationship status of the internet is "it's complicated" and it doesn't look like it will be changing any time soon. While we have all come to know and depend on the internet there is no denying that it is still evolving and its latest evolution is net neutrality and figuring out just what that means. Merriam-Webster defines net neutrality, also known as open internet, as the idea, principle or requirement that internet service providers should or must treat all internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination. The United States Federal Communications Commission established the Open Internet Order to regulate how your internet service providers, companies like Cox and Century Link, must treat you. Internet service providers must be transparent, they can't block lawful content and they can't discriminate. Currently this regulation only applies to internet service providers and does not apply to other organizations in the tech industry but some wonder if there should be more government regulation on the internet especially where constitutional issues are concerned. Freedom of speech is one the most fundamental rights of the U.S. and some wonder if these companies who have the ability to censor speech should they be checked by the Open Internet Order and brought under more regulations. Other's believe as Thomas Jefferson did and who is quoted as saying, "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves;" in other words it should be left up to the people. What do you think?    
Friday, 18 August 2017 00:00

SINE DIE

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What? If you don't know what sine die means don't worry you aren't alone, neither does the majority of the population but these words are very important when they are tied to the Arizona State Legislature. Merriam-Webster defines sine die as "without any future date being designated (as for resumption.) When the Arizona State Legislature adjourns, or ends, sine die it means that this is the end of the legislative session. Once the legislative session ends the laws that have been decided during that legislative session will go into effect 90 days after the session adjourns. Since the legislature adjourned in May, this means all the new laws are now in effect. To learn more about the laws that were passed visit the Arizona State Legislatures website.  
Friday, 04 August 2017 00:00

SNOOZE YOU... WIN?

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August means students will be dusting off their alarm clocks or turning on their forgotten alarm apps and heading back to school. The joy of sleeping in on a weekday will come to an end, or will it? A debate has waged for years about whether school should start after 8:30 a.m. Among those who are for the later start time is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who state that doing so "will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty." AAP also states that on average a teenager needs to receive 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night, so a child whose natural sleep cycle started at 8:30 p.m. would change to a start time of 10:30 p.m. when he hit puberty and if he received the minimum 8.5 hours of required sleep wouldn't wake up until 7 a.m. That doesn't leave much travel time or anything else if school starts at 7:30 a.m. Adequate sleep would also reduce other side effects like depression and car accidents and overall increase the effectiveness of lessons. If you aren't tired then its just easier to pay attention. However, the opposing side states that late start times are unnecessary and that the reduction of artificial light, light from televisions, computers, tablets and phones, would have the same effect on our sleep/wake cycle. Parents who take their kids to school would also be greatly impacted by the later start times especially if they are unable to change their work hours. The California State Legislature may soon be providing us with a long awaited answer to this debate as a bill marches through the legislature. In time we will see what becomes of it and if any other state follows suit. Until then, there is always the snooze button.        
Friday, 28 July 2017 00:00

PURPLE BRINGS AWARENESS

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No, I am not talking about the purple ribbons used to raise awareness for domestic violence and abuse but the WiFi company, Purple, from Manchester, England who decided to see if anyone was paying attention to their contracts. We have all seen the long user agreements and skipped to the bottom where it says "I accept" without reading what exactly we agreeing too. Well, it turns out 22,000 people agreed to pick up animal waste, manually relieve sewer blockages and paint snail shells to brighten their existence as part of the “Community Service Clause” placed in their WiFi contract. The agreement also stated that anyone who read the contract and contacted the company informing them of such, would receive a prize. One resolute person did so. One out of 22,000 that is an unfathomable .000045%! While Purple does not plan to actually enforce the agreement they did successfully prove their point, we aren’t reading our user agreements and you never know what you could actually be signing away. Learn more about contracts here.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:00

MONUMENTAL DESTRUCTION

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National monuments, it is a title that conveys something old and treasured, something that we will strive to preserve. However, four of Arizona's national monuments may be losing that status. Three Arizona congressmen are attempting to return four monuments back to state control and be able to have the state do with them as it sees fit. The congressmen argue that "the monuments have disrupted collaborative fish and wildlife management, prevented multiple-use on State Trust lands and puts national security at risk." The four monuments on the chopping block are the Vermillion Cliffs, Sonoran Desert, Ironwood Forest and the Grand Canyon-Parashant. All four places became national monuments in 2000.          
Thursday, 13 July 2017 00:00

21 TO SMOKE

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Over the decades a lot has changed about smoking it's: prevalent use, impact on health, the tools we use with it, even what we call it.  The once widely popular habit took a nose dive when people realized the harmful effects of smoking. The first lawsuit against cigarette manufactures started in the 1950s and people have been continuing to fight for protections from the tobacco industry ever since. This time the fight is coming from a group of local high school students who call themselves, DCrew more formally known as the Cochise County Youth Health Coalition. This group spread the word about the harmful effects of tobacco and asked for the buying age of tobacco to be raised form 18 to 21 in the Douglas, Arizona. DCrew was able to provide valuable statistics and information in April to the mayor who listened to their proposal and passed their recommendation on July 12th. Douglas is now the second city in Arizona, behind Cottonwood, to pass this new protection but we can bet they will not be last as the trend spreads through the state and across the nation.          
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 00:00

INDEPENDENCE DAY

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Fireworks, flags and a whole lot of red, white and blue are just a few things that you typically see on Independence Day. This year add a little civic fun with this Independence Day Crossword and see if you really know the reason we are celebrating. Check your answers by going here. If you would like to celebrate more traditionally by staying out late and shooting some fireworks check out our My Streets section to see the laws in your city. Happy 4th of July everyone!    
Friday, 30 June 2017 00:00

LAW STUDENTS IN DETENTION CENTERS

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The University of Arizona and Summit Law School have started a series of new classes that reach out to juvenile detention centers to speak with those detained about the law. However, it isn't just the legal process that they are working on, this program lets kids in detention centers know that these smart future lawyers were also children just like them. Many children in detention centers can't imagine themselves going to college, let alone law school but during their time together the kids going through the system get a chance to see they aren't so different from those who want to work in the system. These visits provide new opportunities and a fresh point of view for all individuals involved and now the law schools are hoping to bring this great program to other law schools across the country. To see the promotional video for this program click here.        
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 00:00

TRADEMARKS CAN BE OFFENSIVE!

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Trademarks can be offensive according the United States Supreme Court! Yesterday, the highest court in the nation decided the Matal v. Tam case, which asked whether a band with an offensive name had a right to make their name a trademark. The disparagement clause, a law against insulting or offensive language, in the Patent and Trademark Office had led the office to deny the trademark and the case had worked its way all the way up to the top Court. The Court however ruled that First Amendment allowed for the name to be trademarked. Justice Alito gave this reasoning for the ruling;" The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. Contrary to the Government’s contention, trademarks are private, not government speech...This Court exercises great caution in extending its government-speech precedents, for if private speech could be passed off as government speech by simply affixing a government seal of approval, government could silence or muffle the expression of disfavored viewpoints." Freedom of speech is our best known rights that allows us to express ourselves how we choose but the government isn't granted this right and must watch its language. Now, people who wish to trademark a distinctive sign, design, symbol, or expression for their music group, sports team, company etcetera may do so without the worry of the government dampening their freedom of expression.    
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