Tacos, Climate Change, Facebook, More: Morning Buzz, July 1, 2014

There’s a new tool available for finding climate change related disclosures in SEC filings (PRESS RELEASE). “Available at, the tool allows users to filter and customize company 10-K filing excerpts relating to clean energy, renewables, weather risk and climate-related regulatory risks and opportunities. The tool scans filings, automatically identifies climate-related text, and sorts information into renewable energy, physical impacts and other categories.” It’s free.

Starting tomorrow US residents will be able to get a lot more information on the costs of political ads on television. “Beginning Tuesday, every broadcast television station in the country will have to post online copies of contracts and other information about the political advertisements they are airing. For the first time, voters will have easy access to documents detailing who is buying campaign commercials and how much money they are spending.”

Via TheNextWeb: The Missing Manual for Connecting and Collaborating on Video Google Hangouts.

Continuing with the Amit-y goodness: making GIF screencasts with SnagIt for Chrome.

From Entrepreneur: Would a Tweet Storm Feature Kill Twitter? Here’s the thing, though. Twitter should aspire to be a platform and a firehose. What content you add to the flow and how you process the flow should be up to you. And Twitter should have a wide-open (though monetized if necessary) API to give developers an incentive to create zillions of ways to handle that flow. My two cents anyway.

Cornell has released a statement about the Facebook research that’s got so many people upset. It’s not very long but in case you don’t have time to read it, here it is in one sentence: “It’s not our fault, it’s Facebook’s!”

Meanwhile, BoingBoing opines that the Facebook experiment was probably illegal. “…as legal scholar James Grimmellmann points out, there’s a federal law that prohibits universities from conducting this kind of experiment without explicit, separate consent (none of this burying-consent-in-the-fine-print bullshit). Two of the three researchers who worked on this were working for federally funded universities with institutional review boards, and the project received federal funds.”

China has launched a digital library on the Anti-Japanese War (1937-1945). Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931. But historians are agreed that Japan’s full-scale invasion started on July 7, 1937, when a crucial access point to Beijing, the Lugou Bridge, was attacked by Japanese troops.

Google+ – three years old and still mehtastic.

Speaking of social media experiments that probably didn’t go as planned, Orkut is shutting down September 30th. The only shocking thing about this is that it didn’t shut down years ago. No, wait, there is something more shocking: Google shut down Google Reader before it shut down Orkut. Over a year before. GAH!

Interesting: the Associated Press is now automating its earnings stories.

Happy 20th birthday Robots.txt!

UK cinemas will ban Google Glass over piracy fears.

Google is killing Quickoffice.

Someone on Reddit is tracking celebrity taco eating habits. Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. I’m a social science researcher. I’ve dealt with institutional review boards many times, and I’m very familiar with the federal regulations (See: I was absolutely outraged about the Facebook research. Within a matter of seconds I had ticked off 9 different violations of ethical standards that it violated. Still, the Boing Boing article is not only superficial, it’s dead wrong. First, the project received no federal funding. (Bloomberg Businesweek corrected all the erroneous reporting on that matter.) Second, the Cornell researchers had their participation in the project reviewed by their university’s institutional review board, which concluded that the Cornell researchers were only doing secondary analyses of already collected data, so IRB approval was not necessary. My initial emotional reaction to Cornell’s press release on the matter was the same as yours – that the university was trying to weasel out of any responsibility. But on further, cooler reflection, I realized that Cornell’s IRB had made the correct decision. Secondary analyses of already collected data are done all the time, and the researchers who do such analyses are not responsible for the conduct of the initial research. The researchers who actually conduct the research are. In this case, that’s Facebook. Facebook, which receives no federal funding, is not legally obligated to follow federal regulations on research with human subjects. But they are ethically obligated to do so.

    Bottom line: The Facebook research wasn’t illegal, but it was highly unethical.

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