Benchmark Blog

Crowdsourcing conservation

America has a wealth of natural assets that deserve to be managed carefully using the best available data. In order for agencies to achieve that goal, they need to provide clearer guidance on what regulations apply to crowdsourced projects and embrace partnerships with private groups.
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Digital platforms and government actors

The debate over Free Speech on the Internet is a touchy issue, especially when we start talking about social media platforms and forums for democratic debate. Seemingly, everything boils down to a single question: Do you have a First Amendment right to social media, or not?
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An in-depth look at the broadband infrastructure bills

Acolytes claim that massive broadband expenditures will close the digital divide, but all of the plans are unabashedly focused on infrastructure. In reality, only a small part of the digital divide will actually be solved by making broadband infrastructure available everywhere.
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How local policy matters for immigrants

Immigrants should be able to trust the police. On March 17, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking him to end partnerships between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local police departments.
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Fixing America’s wildfire problem: a tale in two parts

It’s time to start managing for fire, not against it. While a global pandemic may have overshadowed them, wildfires across the U.S. reached record levels in 2020. Nationally, 47,000+ fires burned over eight million acres, creating the third-largest burn area in the last decade.
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A Year Online

Productivity gains came at a premium to personal well-being. In the year since many of us were pushed into remote work arrangements article after article have popped up to declare that remote work and flexible work arrangements are the “future of work.”
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Trump’s deplatforming is the Oversight Board’s most dangerous decision

With the Facebook Oversight Board still in its infancy, the Board’s cases and its decisions could be seen by some as inconsequential. But contrary to this belief, the Board’s move to provide a decision on the Trump deplatforming case poses an existential risk of eliminating the Board’s “independence” and credibility.
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Every state should have a climate resiliency plan

Four million Texans lost power last week as the Lone Star state became as cold as Alaska. The abnormally-low temperatures brought the state to a halt. State authorities advised nearly 13 million Texans to boil their water to ensure it was safe to drink. People huddled in furniture stores and ran cars to stay warm. Texas’s crisis is the […]

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Reinvigorating communities will take more than broadband

There is a bipartisan push to make high-speed broadband a key component of an infrastructure bill. President Biden promised to support cities and towns wanting to build broadband networks during his campaign, saying it “will encourage competition among providers, to increase speeds and decrease prices in urban, suburban, and rural areas.” Ultimately, Biden concludes, “high-speed internet access […]

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How platforms broke antitrust analysis

This post is part one of a series that explores the current Big Tech antitrust cases. The case against Google filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) finds its roots in a common theory about platforms. As the complaint summarizes, Most general search engines do not charge a cash price to consumers. At least one, […]

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30 by 30

The 30 by 30 initiative provides a feasible step toward preserving nature and combating climate change that has the potential to attract bipartisan support.
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Why are we holding immigrants back?

Imagine you are born outside of the United States. You work hard, get an education, and work in a well-paying job. After 10 years of experience, you decide you want to move to the United States. You would like to keep working in the same field you’ve been in for years, but you are not […]

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Debunking the myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines

Last week, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine had shown efficacy in human trials, and this Monday, Moderna did the same. No one was sure this point would ever be reached. Both groups have submitted applications to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval, paving the way for the vaccines to be distributed beginning […]

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What you should know about the Google antitrust case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has now filed its long-awaited case against Google, taking aim at the company for its “anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising.” The primary focus of this case is narrower than expected, alleging that Google “entered into […]

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The biggest no-brainer in all of energy policy

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the shale revolution. Unconventional oil and gas wells have made the United States a net energy exporter for the first time since the 1950s. The revolution has been a rare bright spot in U.S. economic productivity growth, which has stagnated since the 1970s. And indeed, as geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan argues, […]

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The hazards of immigrant detention during a pandemic

For most, COVID-19’s emergence has meant some level of distancing from friends and families. Yet for immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been difficult. Immigrant detention centers across the country have been hotspots for COVID-19. ICE has taken a few actions to mitigate risks, […]

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Workers don’t fit into two neat categories

The battle over how gig economy workers should be classified continues to rage on in California. Last month California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that exempts more workers from the requirements of AB5 — a controversial law that went into effect at the beginning of this year that makes it more difficult for companies to classify […]

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The curious case of Romanian broadband

Photographers often lament taking pictures in Romania. Taking a clear photo of centuries-old homes and city centers is difficult because of the wires. Everywhere they are strung, breaking up the views. Part of the reason for these dense nests of wires comes as a result of Romania’s wired broadband networks, which had their genesis in […]

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Valuing rooftop solar is tricky

How much is rooftop solar worth? This simple question has stimulated a raging debate between electric utilities and solar advocates, both in Utah and around the country.
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Blame and vertical integration

Have you ever experienced a blue screen of death? Nobody likes it when his computer crashes, but the BSoD, the screen that is displayed when Windows crashes, features a particularly frustrating problem: It is difficult to know who is to blame for the crash. An operating system can crash for a number of reasons. The […]

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