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Facebook Advertising, Google, Tech Training, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, October 4, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

GlobeNewswire: NYU Tandon data scientists launch tool to analyze Facebook political advertising in Canada (PRESS RELEASE). “Computer scientists at New York University Tandon School of Engineering today launched a new website that analyzes all Canadian Facebook political advertising in the leadup to the October 21 elections. The interactive, user-friendly website lets users easily explore the data and break down the advertising spend based on party, target demographic, region, and other factors.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TechCrunch: Google announces Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool for creating mobile shortcuts. “Google today announced Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool that allows you to create shortcuts for common multi-step tasks with the help of the Google Assistant. In that respect, Action Blocks isn’t all that different from Shortcuts on iOS, for example, but Google is specifically looking at this as an accessibility feature for people with cognitive disabilities.”

CNET: Google CEO and Ivanka Trump announce plan to teach workers tech skills. “Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday unveiled an initiative to provide 250,000 training opportunities over the next five years for Americans to learn technology skills. Pichai made the announcement with Ivanka Trump at a round table event in Dallas.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

BuzzFeed News: Political Operatives Are Faking Voter Outrage With Millions Of Made-Up Comments To Benefit The Rich And Powerful. “A BuzzFeed News investigation — based on an analysis of millions of comments, along with court records, business filings, and interviews with dozens of people — offers a window into how a crucial democratic process was skewed by one of the most prolific uses of political impersonation in US history. In a key part of the puzzle, two little-known firms, Media Bridge and LCX Digital, working on behalf of industry group Broadband for America, misappropriated names and personal information as part of a bid to submit more than 1.5 million statements favorable to their cause.”

BBC: Vienna selfie museum aims to make art more enticing. “An Instagram-friendly museum is opening in Vienna, with interactive spaces for young people to create their own art. Filled with brightly-coloured walls and giant objects, it has everything needed for the perfect selfie.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Reuters: London court allows mass claim against Google over iPhone data. “London’s Court of Appeal gave the go-ahead for action against Google over claims it collected data from more than 4 million iPhone users, overturning a ruling in 2018 that in effect blocked any route to legal redress.”

New York Times: Egypt Is Using Apps to Track and Target Its Citizens, Report Says. “A series of sophisticated cyberattacks targeting Egyptian journalists, academics, lawyers, opposition politicians and human rights activists has been traced to Egyptian government offices, a cybersecurity firm has found.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Hollywood Reporter: Geena Davis Unveils Partnership With Disney to “Spellcheck” Scripts for Gender Bias. “Named ‘GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias,’ the new tool leverages patented machine learning technology developed at the University of Southern California to rapidly analyze the text of a script to determine its number of male and female characters and whether they are representative of the real population at large. The technology also can discern the numbers of characters who are people of color, LGBTQI, possess disabilities or belong to other groups typically underrepresented and failed by Hollywood storytelling.”

Phys .org: US government research in ‘crisis,’ warns think tank. “Interference in government research by US President Donald Trump’s administration has reached a ‘crisis point’ with almost weekly violations of previously respected safeguards, a report by a think tank said Thursday, warning that ignoring science has led to ineffective and costly policy.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

NASA: NASA’s InSight ‘Hears’ Peculiar Sounds on Mars. “Put an ear to the ground on Mars and you’ll be rewarded with a symphony of sounds. Granted, you’ll need superhuman hearing, but NASA’s InSight lander comes equipped with a very special ‘ear.’” Good evening, Internet…

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Freshwater Supply, Upper Mississippi River, Transgender Health Care, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 25, 2019

NEW RESOURCES

Google Blog: A new app to map and monitor the world’s freshwater supply. “Today, on World Water Day, we’re proud to showcase a new platform enabling all countries to freely measure and monitor when and where water is changing: UN’s Water-Related Ecosystems, or sdg661.app. Released last week in Nairobi at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), the app provides statistics for every country’s annual surface water (like lakes and rivers). It also shows changes from 1984 through 2018 through interactive maps, graphs and full-data downloads.”

University of Wisconsin La Crosse: River record . “For decades, Upper Mississippi River scientists have conducted stimulating research only to see it placed in a room at a laboratory in Onalaska, Wisconsin. Now with help from librarians at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Murphy Library that work is going viral. UWL Murphy Library staff are still scanning
materials brought to the library in a truckload last August. So far they’ve scanned, cataloged and put online more than 26,000 pages of material and over 400 photographs.”

LGBTQ Nation: This group is developing a badly needed database of trans-friendly medical providers. “For many transgender people, finding supportive medical care can be difficult, requiring one to travel for hours, rely on often-outdated information or even turn to less-than-legal means to get aid. The DC Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS) is trying to change things for the better, putting together an online database where trans people can recommend care providers in their local area.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Stornoway Gazette: First Insta-friendly map is created for the Outer Hebrides. “The limited-edition map of Uist in the Outer Hebrides embodies the ‘hands-on’ character of an old school map with its traditional layout and trusted grid reference points – but with a modern-day twist. A special new Insta-friendly symbol has been created and added to the map to sit alongside the traditional ‘place of worship’ and ‘museum’ symbols from map reading days gone-by.”

BetaNews: Google Street View takes you to Devon Island, which isn’t on Mars. “Ever hear of Devon Island? Yeah, neither have I. Apparently, it is an island in Canada that is referred to as ‘Mars on Earth’ by some, including Google. Why? Because of its similar terrain/environment to the ‘red planet.’ You see, the search giant seems very excited about bringing its popular Google Street view to this location. Truth be told, at first, I thought Google actually had miraculously brought Street View to the actual planet of Mars (silly me), but upon further investigation, my excitement was quickly extinguished when I discovered it was just a place here on Earth. But OK, I guess it’s still kind of cool.”

USEFUL STUFF

Gizmodo: This Clever Hack Will Change the Way You Find Music on Spotify. “My favorite thing about Spotify has always been music discovery. So when the company started building personalized playlists like Discovery Weekly and Release radar, I was hooked. The only problem was listening to all the new music takes forever. But an independent project from a couple of Spotify developers offers an amazing hack for exploring millions and millions of songs. They call it Discover Quickly.”

CNET: First all-female spacewalk: How to watch NASA make history. “It’s been 35 years since cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space when she stepped outside the Salyut 7 space station. On Friday, NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch are scheduled to take a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. If all goes as planned, they will become the first all-female spacewalk team in history.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

KQED: How to Teach Students Historical Inquiry Through Media Literacy And Critical Thinking. “Many students are not good at evaluating the credibility of what they see and read online according to a now-famous Stanford study that was released just after the 2016 election. And while it’s true that 82 percent of middle schoolers couldn’t tell the difference between a native advertisement and a news article, neither could 59 percent of adults in a study conducted by the advertising industry. Sam Wineburg, the Stanford professor who led the middle school study, is worried that everyone is ‘profoundly confused’ right now and that schools aren’t doing enough to teach students the skills they need to be effective citizens and digital consumers.”

KnowTechie: Warner Music signs an algorithm to a multi-album deal. “We’re slowly getting used to AI taking our notes, making our calls, and retouching our photos. Now, according to Warner Music, we’ll have to get used to it creating our music too. The music label has added an AI to its roster, in what the label calls the first algorithm to sign a record deal.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

New York Times: He Spent 36 Years Behind Bars. A Fingerprint Database Cleared Him in Hours.. “All it took was for technicians in a crime lab to run the fingerprints collected at the scene of a rape through a national database. Within hours, the experts had established a match with a serial rapist. But that was last week — almost four decades after the attack on Dec. 9, 1982, when a woman was raped and stabbed in her home in a well-to-do neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La. A different man, Archie Williams, went to prison for the crime, even though it was known at the trial that the fingerprints were not his.” Good afternoon, 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!