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Arkansas' Yessica Jones stepping down

Arkansas CTO Yessica Jones announced Thursday that she’s stepping down after five years with the state Department of Information Systems, including the last three-and-a-half years as the agency’s director. In an email to colleagues, Jones said  she's accepting a private-sector offer with a “mix of sadness and gratitude." During her time with the state government Jones oversaw the development of new data governance, a data center consolidation, migrations to cloud-based software and the development of cybersecurity training programs for state workers. Benjamin Freed reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

L.A.'s inequities, mapped

A series of maps published last week by Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin scores how inequitable the distribution of wealth, education and clean air are across the city’s neighborhoods. The maps make up the city’s first “Equity Index," a data-driven project score all of the city's census tracts on their socioeconomic gaps, with the goal of informing policy after the city emerges from the pandemic. “I believe the results will be useful for policymakers and residents for many months to come,” Galperin told StateScoop via email. Ryan Johnston has details.

Tracking climate change with VR

Student and faculty geographers at Pennsylvania State University created a virtual reality forest simulating what the ecosystem may look like far into the future in an attempt to help people visualize the effect that climate change will have, Betsy Foresman reports for EdScoop.  Working with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Penn State geographers created a simulated forest environment in virtual reality that allows a user to “walk” through a forest in a future defined by the effects of climate change. Read more on EdScoop.

Millions of Texans affected in data breach

A software vendor that supplies the auto insurance industry last week acknowledged a data breach that exposed the personal information of about 27.7 million people with Texas driver’s licenses. The company, Vertafore, discovered the breach in mid-August after three data files containing the drivers' records had been in an unsecured storage service that was accessed by an unauthorized user. Vertafore said it has referred the incident to Texas state authorities. Ben has more.

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