Detroit, Whales, Retractions, More: Friday Buzz, November 27th, 2015


The US city of Detroit, in Michigan, is launching a directory of local/neighborhood businesses. “The city says the publication is a celebration of Detroit small businesses and the entrepreneurs who run them. The first edition includes more than 170 businesses and profiles on about 70.”

New-to-Me: Did you know there was a database of whale tails? And it’s getting an upgrade “[Davis] Yeo has focused primarily on marine biology and oceanography while at COA. On top of taking classes in the area, he also works at Allied Whale, the college’s marine mammal laboratory. Last winter, Yeo completed an internship at the Virginia Aquarium where he helped identify and catalog humpback whales wintering off the coast of Virginia Beach. It was here that Davis gained the knowledge and experience needed to continue with field research and analysis. For his senior project, Yeo is combining his passion for science and marine life with his experiences in the field for an extensive endeavor that he hopes will yield positive benefits for Allied Whale.”

In development: a database of retractions. “As our readers know, one of the goals of our work at Retraction Watch is to create a free, comprehensive database of retractions. … Today, we’re excited to announce that our parent organization, The Center For Scientific Integrity (CSI), has partnered with The Center For Open Science (COS) to create that database on the Open Science Framework (OSF).” please note these are retractions for scientific research, not journalism.


From Medium: A plea for improved Twitter notifications. Poor Chad. His mom just wants to be able to read his tweets without jumping through hoops.

The YouTube Kids App is getting more criticism — this time for junk food ads. “The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy say that they’ve found hundreds of commercials and promotional videos of junk food products on the app from the likes of Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Hershey. In a complaint filed today, the groups are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate YouTube Kids.”

Google is saying that the next Penguin update will be big. “As many of you know, we are expecting a Google Penguin update by the end of this year and that update is expected to be the real time version. But when we asked Gary about that at SMX Israel, he said that was the plan but he wouldn’t confirm a 100% if it would be this release.”

More Google: it looks like Google is testing text messaging for holiday deals. “The company is currently trialing its own SMS-based alerting service, this time focused on helping holiday shoppers find the best deals. The service was spotted in the wild earlier today by the unofficial Google-watching blog, Google Operating System, which saw the option to ‘subscribe’ to Black Friday phone deals pop up on their mobile phone after a related search query.”


Oh dear. Are people using The Internet Archive to pirate games? “Fooling around on i noticed they don’t enforce any kind of control whatsoever. So people started uploading games, i found hundreds of them, too many to count.”

Apparently Dell has been selling computers with an unhappy prize inside. “Dell is back-pedaling today after it was revealed that the PC giant has been shipping a number of its laptops with a preinstalled, self-signed root certificate authority called eDellRoot. The impact of this is that users could be left at risk from attackers, potentially enabling information theft.” Lenovo did something very similar, didn’t it?

A hacker has developed a $10 device that can easily spoof American Express credit card numbers. “Brainiac hacker Samy Kamkar has developed a US$10 gadget that can predict and store hundreds of American Express credit cards and use them for wireless transactions, even at non-wireless payment terminals. The mind-blowing feat is the result of Kamkar cracking how the card issuer picks replacement numbers, and in dissecting the functionality of magnetic stripe data.”

Right after introducing two-factor, Amazon made some users reset their passwords. “A number of readers told ZDNet they received an email from Amazon saying the company has reset their account password. The message was also sent to their account message center on, and, confirming the message is genuine.”

I am now officially scared to give my credit card to a hotel. Hilton has finally acknowledged that it was the victim of seventeen weeks of hacking. “Two months after KrebsOnSecurity first reported that multiple banks suspected a credit card breach at Hilton Hotel properties across the country, Hilton has acknowledged an intrusion involving malicious software found on some point-of-sale systems.” Good morning, Internet…

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