Media Ethics, GMail, Star Wars, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, November 23rd, 2015


Now available: a database of over 400 media ethics codes. “On Monday, the site Accountable Journalism launched, with more than 400 searchable codes of ethics from media outlets around the world.”

Google has open-sourced two tools to import mail into GMail. “The two tools, mail-importer and import-mailbox-to-gmail, are available on GitHub for free. Since the tools are in early development there aren’t any GUIs for them yet; they’re all command-line-based. ”


Google is helping celebrate the new Star Wars movie by letting you pick a light side or a dark side. Is there an “it depends” side? Because that’s where I want to be. “Google has launched a new tool to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, letting users choose to join the light side or the dark side of the force, and customizing the appearance of their Google apps accordingly.”

Google Photos Can now help you save space on your phone by deleting pictures. “After an update to Google Photos on Android today, a new button will appear in its settings tab offering to help ‘Free Up Space.’ Tapping it will delete all local photos that have already been backed up by the app. A similar option has appeared in the past for people who back up photos at full resolution, but Google is now building it into the settings menu for everyone to use.”


The citizens of Jakarta (in the country of Indonesia) are using Twitter to map flooding problems. “PetaJakarta ‘listens in’ to Tweets from Jakarta residents. When it hears words like flood (or banjir in Indonesia), it automatically sends back a Tweet inviting users to participate in mapping flooding. It asks if people are experiencing flooding, and if so, can they send back a photo, some information, and turn on their GPS?”

Interested in crowdsourcing? Interested in fighting cancer? Here ya go. “The Challenge tackles three key questions about the sub-clonality of cancer: how many subclones are within any given tumour, how did these subclones grow and evolve, and which genetic mutations are present in each subclones? Using a method to simulate DNA sequencing data that closely mimics data from real human tumours, which was initially developed as part of a previous DREAM challenge, the team has created a set of 50 tumours with distinctive life-histories and evolutions. Contestants will create tools in the cloud using Google Compute Engine that will be run in Galaxy, a widely-used open-source platform for performing biomedical research. Contestants will also use Docker images to setup the environment for their tool to run in, allowing the tools to easily be ported to other systems. Further, the use of Docker images and the tools’ compatibility with Galaxy ensures that all submissions are immediately usable after the Challenge, creating a new library of algorithms that researchers can use in future studies and allowing the results of these studies to be compared in an objective way.”

Google has a robo-dog named Spot. And now the Marines are training it. “The corps tested Spot’s ability to traverse terrains rougher than concrete floors, such as hills, woodlands and cities, controlling it from 500 meters away with a laptop and a video game controller. It was apparently so easy to pilot the quadruped, even a four-year-old could do it.”


Looks like Chrome for Android has a serious zero-day security problem. “Speaking at the PacSec conference held in Tokyo, Japan this month, Qihoo 360 researcher Guang Gong demonstrated how the zero-day flaw could be exploited to take over a fully updated Android device. As reported by Security Affairs, the Chinese security expert leveraged a JavaScript v8 flaw through the Chrome browser to hijack a Google Project Fi Nexus 6 device running the latest OS, Android 6.0 Marshmallow.”

Court: Yes, you can complain about your employer on Facebook. “On October 21, 2015, in Triple Play v. National Labor Relations Board, the Second Circuit affirmed a 2014 National Labor Relations Board ruling that Triple Play Sports Bar violated the National Labor Relations Act when it discharged two employees for liking and commenting on a critical Facebook status.” It’s important to note that the status apparently was about the employer not doing tax forms correctly, and causing problems for employees. Regular crap-talking is probably not going to afford the same protection.


You know about Angry Birds. How about archivist birds? “Archaeologists restoring a cathedral in Zvenigorod, an old town 40 miles west of Moscow, recently stumbled upon stacks of centuries-old documents hoarded by an unexpected breed of collectors: birds. Over time, the creatures had scavenged scraps of letters, newspaper clippings, candy wrappers, banknotes, and other bits of printed matter to form insulated nests in the building’s attic, and while most of these papers are crumpled or torn by beaks, the contents of many are still decipherable, revealing source dates that extend as far back as the early 19th-century.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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!

Categories: afternoonbuzz

Leave a Reply