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Facebook, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Sri Lanka Attacks, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 22, 2019


Search Engine Journal: Facebook is Testing Upvotes and Downvotes for Comments . “Facebook has been spotted testing the ability for users to upvote and downvote comments. This test appears to be limited to the Android app, which is common when tests like these are spotted in the wild.”

Reuters: New U.S. consumer watchdog chief to continue review of complaints database, fair lending. “The new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue with reviews, begun by her predecessor, of its public complaints database and how the agency enforces discriminatory lending laws, she told Reuters.”

Washington Post: Sri Lankan government blocks social media and imposes curfew following deadly blasts. “The Sri Lankan government blocked access to social media platforms on Sunday in the wake of explosions that killed more than 200 people on the holiest day of the Christian calendar. The blasts, which targeted churches during Easter Sunday services and luxury hotels, also prompted the government to impose an immediate nationwide curfew.”


TechCrunch: Add Craigslist to the tech platforms Russians used to manipulate the 2016 election. “In one of the weirder revelations to come out of the Mueller report released this morning, it seems that Craigslist was yet another tech platform used in Russia’s election influence campaign. Facebook? Sure. Instagram? Yup, that too. YouTube? Twitter? Oh my, yes. Even Tumblr makes an appearance (LOL. Tumblr). But Craigslist?”

New York Times: After Social Media Bans, Militant Groups Found Ways to Remain. “Hezbollah is among dozens of groups classified by the United States as terrorist entities that have learned how to stay a step ahead of the social media giants. In the past, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have taken down the official pages of these militant groups dozens of times and banned their accounts. But Hamas and Hezbollah, in particular, have evolved by getting their supporters to publish images and videos that deliver their message — but that do not set off the alarm bells of the social media platforms. ”

Ars Technica: Facebook fights to “shield Zuckerberg” from punishment in US privacy probe. “Federal Trade Commission officials are discussing whether to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook’s privacy failures, according to reports by The Washington Post and NBC News. Facebook has been trying to protect Zuckerberg from that possibility in negotiations with the FTC, the Post wrote.”


ZDNet: Source code of Iranian cyber-espionage tools leaked on Telegram. “In an incident reminiscent of the Shadow Brokers leak that exposed the NSA’s hacking tools, someone has now published similar hacking tools belonging to one of Iran’s elite cyber-espionage units, known as APT34, Oilrig, or HelixKitten. The hacking tools are nowhere near as sophisticated as the NSA tools leaked in 2017, but they are dangerous nevertheless.”

BetaNews: Millions of people still have pathetically weak, easily hacked passwords. “Analysis carried out by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that huge numbers of people are still — despite continued advice — using weak, easy-to-guess passwords to secure their accounts. The most commonly used password on breached accounts was found to be 123456, and there were plenty of others that were similarly insecure. The NCSC, in conjunction with Have I Been Pwned’s Troy Hunt, has also published a list of the 100,000 most common passwords globally.”


Slashgear: Facebook Clear History tool: One button, no show. “It’s been 352 days since the Facebook Clear History button was announced, and still we have no such button. What’s the holdup? Why would Facebook announce a button that could wipe out an individual’s files and history on the social network’s servers, then not deliver? The answer is clear: They probably never intended on delivering such a button.”

Techdirt: Don’t Force Web Platforms To Silence Innocent People. “The U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week to discuss the spread of white nationalism, online and offline. The hearing tackled hard questions about how online platforms respond to extremism online and what role, if any, lawmakers should play. The desire for more aggressive moderation policies in the face of horrifying crimes is understandable, particularly in the wake of the recent massacre in New Zealand. But unfortunately, looking to Silicon Valley to be the speech police may do more harm than good.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Facebook, Disco Dingo, Violent Videos, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, April 20, 2019

ResearchBuzz is 21 years old today. Thank you for reading and I love you more than ever.


The Guardian: Facebook teams with rightwing Daily Caller in factchecking program . “Facebook’s controversial factchecking program is partnering with the Daily Caller, a rightwing website that has pushed misinformation and is known for pro-Trump content.”

BetaNews: Ubuntu Linux 19.04 ‘Disco Dingo’ is finally available for download. “Today, Linux users around the world should celebrate, as Ubuntu 19.04 ‘Disco Dingo’ is finally here! Following the Beta release, the stable version is now available for download. Keep in mind, version 19.04 is not LTS (Long Term Support), meaning it is only supported until January 2020.” Eight months or so? I think I’ll stick to the LTS releases.

CNET: More than a month later, Facebook, Instagram host New Zealand shooting videos. “It’s been over a month since a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people and livestreaming the massacre on Facebook. It appears the social network, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram, is still showing videos of the attack, according to a Friday report by Motherboard.”


MakeUseOf: How to Use Your iPhone as a Webcam: 5 Methods That Work. “Did you know it’s possible to use your iPhone as a webcam? It’s never going to quite mimic a webcam in the traditional sense, but there are a few apps that’ll record the phone’s camera and send it to a Mac, a Windows PC, another mobile device, or even to the web.”

ZDNet: 10 best free video streaming services for cord cutters. “When cord-cutting became a thing, it was all about saving money. Today, cord-cutting costs are catching up with cable. Indeed, with Disney Plus coming, with its must-watch package of Marvel Universe, Star Wars, and Disney films, plus internet TV streaming services like AT&T DirecTV Now drastically raising its prices, I can easily see a cord cutter’s total viewing bill crossing the $100-a-month barrier. Fortunately, there are some answers.”


Ars Technica: Facebook’s auto-captions for a recent launch video are hilariously bad. “An Antares rocket built by Northrop Grumman launched on Wednesday afternoon, boosting a Cygnus spacecraft with 3.4 tons of cargo toward the International Space Station. The launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, went flawlessly, and the spacecraft arrived at the station on Friday. However, when NASA’s International Space Station program posted the launch video to its Facebook page on Thursday, there was a problem. Apparently the agency’s caption service hadn’t gotten to this video clip yet, so viewers with captions enabled were treated not just to the glory of a rocket launch, but the glory of Facebook’s automatically generated crazywords.”

Nieman Lab: Is it okay for a journalist to block a critic — not a troll, just a critic — on Twitter?. “Blocking and muting on Twitter are common ways for users to deal with the less pleasant elements of the medium: trolls who attack, Nazis who incite, misinformation peddlers, and garden-variety jerks. And that’s certainly true of journalists, who come under far more abuse than the media Twitter user. But is blocking someone who is a respected member of the commentariat — and a frequent source for your news organization — okay if he’s tweeted something critical of you or your work?”


TechCrunch: Security flaw in French government messaging app exposed confidential conversations. “The French government just launched its own messaging app called Tchap in order to protect conversations from hackers, private companies and foreign entities. But Elliot Alderson, also known as Baptiste Robert, immediately found a security flaw. He was able to create an account even though the service is supposed to be restricted to government officials.”

The Ringer: A Brief History of Facebook’s Party Lines on Privacy. “Recently, it was revealed that the company ‘mistakenly deleted’ years of Zuckerberg’s public posts on the platform. But luckily, we have the Zuckerberg Files, a digital archive of the CEO’s statements. The archive, created by privacy and internet ethics scholar Michael Zimmer, is run by the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It includes everything Zuckerberg has publicly said or posted about a wide range of topics—and here, we are highlighting his comments over the years on the issue of user privacy. It’s quite a journey, beginning with young bluster and ending with cagey lawyer-speak.”

Techdirt: Sixth Circuit Court Dumps Lawsuit Seeking To Hold Twitter Responsible For The Pulse Nightclub Shooting. “Another one of 1-800-LAW-FIRM’s lawsuits has been tossed for a second time. After being shut down at the district level for attempting to hold social media companies responsible for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, the law firm asked the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to take another look at its dubious legal theories.”


Science|Business: Two different phases of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Landscape” discovered thanks to a UniBo team. “One of the best-known drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, the ‘Landscape’, is the result of two different phases, as the artist appears to have added some details at a later stage. The discovery was possible thanks to a new high-resolution digital scan performed by a team of researchers of the Department of Architecture of the University of Bologna.”


Red Ferret: Death Metal AI – this neural network wants to rock. “We’ve seen a lot of interesting AI projects from romance novels to scripts. For your music fans there’s a new bot on the horizon. Relentless Doppelganger is the Death Metal rocker a neural network dreamed up. And it’s streaming 24/7.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Long Live the 28th October, 1940

Eurasian origin of mtDNA L3 and Y-chromosome DE

I’ve argued for a similar scenario for years, so it’s nice to see a preprint on the topic.

bioRxiv doi:

Carriers of mitochondrial DNA macrohaplogroup L3 basic lineages migrated back to Africa from Asia around 70,000 years ago.

Vicente M Cabrera et al.

Background: After three decades of mtDNA studies on human evolution the only incontrovertible main result is the African origin of all extant modern humans. In addition, a southern coastal route has been relentlessly imposed to explain the Eurasian colonization of these African pioneers. Based on the age of macrohaplogroup L3, from which all maternal Eurasian and the majority of African lineages originated, that out-of-Africa event has been dated around 60-70 kya. On the opposite side, we have proposed a northern route through Central Asia across the Levant for that expansion. Consistent with the fossil record, we have dated it around 125 kya. To help bridge differences between the molecular and fossil record ages, in this article we assess the possibility that mtDNA macrohaplogroup L3 matured in Eurasia and returned to Africa as basic L3 lineages around 70 kya. Results: The coalescence ages of all Eurasian (M,N) and African L3 lineages, both around 71 kya, are not significantly different. The oldest M and N Eurasian clades are found in southeastern Asia instead near of Africa as expected by the southern route hypothesis. The split of the Y-chromosome composite DE haplogroup is very similar to the age of mtDNA L3. A Eurasian origin and back migration to Africa has been proposed for the African Y-chromosome haplogroup E. Inside Africa, frequency distributions of maternal L3 and paternal E lineages are positively correlated. This correlation is not fully explained by geographic or ethnic affinities. It seems better to be the result of a joint and global replacement of the old autochthonous male and female African lineages by the new Eurasian incomers. Conclusions: These results are congruent with a model proposing an out-of-Africa of early anatomically modern humans around 125 kya. A return to Africa of Eurasian fully modern humans around 70 kya, and a second Eurasian global expansion by 60 kya. Climatic conditions and the presence of Neanderthals played key roles in these human movements.


Darned Page Order

imageTracy Reinhart is a long-time researcher who remembers way back when accessing the census meant scrolling through microfilm. Long ago she discovered her Braford ancestors’ family in Cannon, Kent, Michigan was one of those split across pages in a census. Online publishers like Ancestry and FamilySearch have to identify these split families and join them back together. That’s a fairly straightforward process unless you run into the situation Tracy ran into recently.

“Part of the 1870 census for Cannon, Kent Co. Mich.  was not filmed in page order,” she told me.  “As a result,  when a family list carries over from one page to the next,  you will find wrong family associations.” She found that for Cannon, Kent, Michigan:

I was interested to see how FamilySearch handled this situation. Researchers with access to both and universally advise using for census research and the 1870 census on is a good illustration of why.

  • If you search for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, you get everyone living in the entire state of Michigan!
  • If you don’t know where your person lived, but you somehow find them, FamilySearch doesn’t indicate where the person was!

The only advantage I see for searching FamilySearch’s 1870 census is that in a search you can specify another family member (in the “Other Person” field). That’s not possible on Ancestry.

But I digress…

As I compared with, I noticed several interesting things.

  • The image order on matches
  • FamilySearch didn’t erroneously combine the Wolaver and Braford families. But they also didn’t correctly join the the two parts of the Brayford/Braford family.
  • While Ancestry has 31 images for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, FamilySearch has 32. Ancestry has left out one of the pages from the microfilm! I’ve seen FamilySearch do the same thing. Neither company discloses the censure. The companies deem the image to have no genealogical value so they delete it. This is a very bad practice! There is no guarantee the decision maker understands advanced methodologies that may require a knowledge of the existence of that page, its contents, or the lack thereof. (A little looking showed this particular page is facing page 31 on folio 139. It has no names on it.)
  • The digital folder number (004271429) and image number (00268) for Emma Bradford on match the image URL on That’s kind of techie, but the takeaway is that Ancestry seems to be using FamilySearch images.
  • FamilySearch misindexed the name Braford on page 30 as Bradford. Ancestry did not. Ancestry doesn’t seem to be using FamilySearch’s index.

I see several lessons we should draw from this:

  • If you don’t find your ancestor on one website, check others.
  • Search several images forward and backward from your ancestor.
  • Your ancestor’s name can be spelled differently by the same person in the same record.
  • Look at and try to understand all the information on a page.
  • When the day comes that we no longer have access to microfilm, there will be errors that we can no longer detect or overcome.
  • Everybody makes mistakes. Ancestry. FamilySearch. Microfilm. Everybody.

”Just a heads up for something that I never expected to find on Ancestry,” Tracy said.


Thank you, Tracy. Image credit:

Holiday Traditions from Around the World

Whether you are opening a gift or meeting someone new at a party, the holiday season can be a time of revelation and surprise. But, as much as the season is about discoveries, it is also a time of reflection and  offers a great opportunity to connect with our family’s past and to enjoy traditions Read More

The post Holiday Traditions from Around the World appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

A Sampling of the 2019 Battle Road Season

The Patriots’ Day season starts this Saturday, 6 April, with three annual events in three towns:

  • Bedford Pole Capping in Bedford, 10:30 A.M.
  • Meriam’s Corner Exercise in Concord, 1:00 P.M.
  • Paul Revere Capture Ceremony in Lincoln, 3:00 P.M.

Two of the events thus commemorated took place on 19 Apr 1775. The pole capping is a more recent community celebration, though Liberty Poles were undoubtedly part of the Revolutionary landscape.

Here’s something I don’t recall seeing before: The town of Lexington has the domain name It redirects to the town website, which includes this page of local events from Saturday, 13 April, to Monday, 15 April—legally Patriots’ Day. These opportunities include tours of the Lexington Historical Society’s museums and reenactments of the fights in Lexington.

Back to the Minute Man National Historical Park website for a listing of events it hosts, and to for related events elsewhere, including:

  • Parker’s Revenge, Saturday, 13 April, 1:00 P.M.
  • Jason Russell House fight, Arlington, Sunday, 14 April, noon. 
  • “Warlike Preparations” at the Barrett Farm, Sunday, 14 April, 1:00-4:00 P.M.
  • Lincoln Fife & Drum Salute, Sunday, 14 April, 2:00-4:00 P.M.
  • Robbins’s Ride in Acton, Sunday, 14 April, 5:00-6:00 P.M.
  • Revere’s arrival at the Lexington parsonage, Sunday, 14 April, 11:30 P.M.
  • Marches from Stow and Westford, Monday, 15 April, arriving at the bridge about 9:00 A.M.
  • North Bridge Fight and Concord Parade, Monday, 15 April, 8:30-10:00 A.M.

There are also events that by tradition take place on the actual anniversaries instead of the legal holiday:

  • Lantern procession and Ceremony at North Bridge, Thursday, 18 April, 7:45-8:45 P.M.
  • Sudbury Militia March, Friday, 19 April, arriving at the bridge about 11:30 A.M. 

And back to Minute Man Park for “The War Has Begun” on Saturday, 20 April, reenacting how Massachusetts communities responded to the strain of the siege of Boston.

This is just a sampling of the historical events taking place around Patriots’ Day, drawn from Middlesex County. Many other communities have their own traditional commemorations.

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 1 April 2019

FamilySearch issued an update a few days ago to their list of records recently added. However, due to my travel schedule, I didn’t see the update until today. The following was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch added new, free, indexed historical records this week from the United States: Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Border Crossings from Canada to the United States, and fromBillion Graves Index.  

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Country Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments


BillionGraves Index



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

United States

Connecticut, World War I, Military Census of Nurses, 1917



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Georgia, World War I, Statement of Service Cards, 1920-1929



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Iowa, Birth Records, 1921-1942



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Iowa, Records of Persons Subject to Military Duty, 1862-1910



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Louisiana, Ascension Parish, Index of Marriages, 1773-1963



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-2006



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Ohio, Summit County, Coroner Inquests, Hospital and Cemetery Records, 1882-1949



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States

Ohio, World War I Statement of Service Cards, 1914-1919



New indexed records collection

United States

United States, Border Crossings from Canada to United States, 1894-1954



Added indexed records to an existing collection
About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Charles Auble Home in San Diego — Post 559 of (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

An Auble cousin gifted me with a photograph album of her family several years ago which included quite a few photos of my grandmother, Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer and her parents, Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble.

Included in the photo album was this intriguing photo:

This house where my great-grandparents, Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble, and my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble, resided in in the 1911 to 1916 time frame was at 767 14th Street in San Diego (known from city directory listings), on the southeast corner of F Street and 14th (east side of 14th).  There are two signs visible:

*  Free-standing on the right side of the house:  “Painting, Decorating.”

*  To the right of the window on the bottom floor:  “Furniture Shop;  ?????? ; Signs”

Charles Auble (1849-1916) was a painter – probably not an artist, but a painter of signs, buildings, furniture, etc.  He was a member of the local Painter’s Union.  Charles died on 23 March 1916 in his home after falling down stairs and rupturing his gall bladder.  

The house is no longer there.  My grandmother, Emily, was a teenager in this house from 1911 to 1916, and attended San Diego High School just six blocks to the north. After her father died, she and her mother moved to apartments nearby and Georgianna went to work to support theirselves.

The Charles Auble family came to San Diego in about 1911.  The photograph was probably taken in the 1915-1916 time period when the Pentecosts visited the Aubles in San Diego. .  


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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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New England Gardens, Mathematics History, Firefox, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 2, 2019


New Hampshire Union Leader: New website lists gardens open for public viewing. “More than 80 outstanding ornamental gardens in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are opening to the public this year, and all of them are described on a new nonprofit website dedicated to gardening and landscape design in northern New England.” The information is a little hard to find. Look for the Calendar link under the Landscape Lyceum menu.

The Conversation: 3 times political conflict reshaped American mathematics. “In February, my University of Richmond students and I launched … a new website on the history of American mathematics. It showcases the people who create, the institutions that support and the cultures that influence mathematics. This rich history shows that mathematics is much more than equations or multiplication facts. It’s a living, breathing discipline shaped, in part, by the political forces around it.”


Ubergizmo: Firefox Could Block Website Notification Requests By Default. “A lot of websites ask for permission to send you notifications and most of you may ignore them. You never seem to run out of websites that show similar notifications and it can be a nuisance. This is something that Mozilla has noticed as well. It’s now experimenting with blocking website notification requests by default in a Firefox Nightly browser build. The notification requests will be blocked automatically until the user takes certain actions on the website.”


The Verge: How to find great books online. “The internet and mobile devices have brought about more ways to read than ever before. While physical books still hold a healthy appeal for some readers, it’s not always a convenient way to consume a story. Now, numerous devices, apps, websites, and online stores offer up novels and other forms of fiction (and nonfiction) to readers, in formats ranging from print books to ebooks, audiobooks, and experimental platforms.” There are a couple more suggestions in the comments.


Digital Trends: YouTube Poop is punk rock for the internet age, and you probably don’t get it. “Now 15 years old, YouTube Poops are as old as their creator when he uploaded the very first one. Their weird brand of humor has become the internet’s de facto sense of humor: the concentrate from which the very dankest memes are derived. Here in 2019, memes are the source of fascination, frustration and, in many cases, derision. They are an artform that could not exist outside of online culture.” I have never considered myself punk but I LOVE YTP. If you want to check something out, Leo Koutakis has a new “Craziness” channel for his stuff – mostly clean, mostly Disney. For more edgy content, check out Nation of Oranges 696. WARNING: If you’re triggered by flashing lights, etc. I recommend against watching any YTP.

Quartzy: In Praise Of Invisibility In The Age Of Ceaseless Self-promotion. “Transcendentalist writers will tell you that a quiet walk through a forest can upend your universe. It happened recently to Akiko Busch, author of How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency, a survival manifesto for the social media age disguised as a collection of personal essays.”

New York Times: How We Hang Out at Work Together Online Now. “TikTok, which encourages users to contribute short videos to hashtags, or to join in on jokes or challenges or to sing along with clips of songs, has, in its manic and frequent demands for content from its users, become an unlikely force for labor visibility.”


All About IP: German Federal Court of Justice Confirms Copyright in Photographs of Public Domain Paintings. “On 20 December 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act (Case No. I ZR 104/17). The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons—an online database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses—as public domain images. All pictures featured art on display at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.”


Ars Technica: Google’s constant product shutdowns are damaging its brand. “We are 91 days into the year, and so far, Google is racking up an unprecedented body count. If we just take the official shutdown dates that have already occurred in 2019, a Google-branded product, feature, or service has died, on average, about every nine days.”

Eyerys: ‘Q’, The First Gender-Neutral Digital Voice Assistant In Challenging Gender Stereotypes. “While some people may find a female voice to be more soothing, but in the world where technology is hardwiring sexism into the future, more and more people are demanding equality between genders. With so much female servitude in smart devices, this is where Q resides. Q, is considered the world’s first gender-neutral voice assistant.” Good evening, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!