Social Media, Reading Levels, Nature Sounds, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, January 29, 2016


There’s a new resource for verifying that accounts on social media and elsewhere are legitimate US government accounts. “A handful of apps with government terms of service — like Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, GitHub, Tumblr and so on — can currently be validated through the registry, and so far there are nearly 3,000 authenticated accounts from official U.S. government agencies, organizations and programs on the registry.”

New-to-Me: Free Technology For Teachers has a writeup on Choosito, which lets you specify reading level. “When you search on Choosito you can select to refine results to reading levels marked as Early Readers, Emerging Readers, Fluent Readers, or Advanced Readers. In addition to reading level refinement Choosito offers an option to sort results by subject area.”


Montana State University’s Acoustic Atlas has been updated with nature sounds. “There’s nothing quite so eerie and otherworldy as the sound of freezing ice, or the bubbling of mud pots. Now people can navigate online to hear those sounds and many more — including the bellows of bison and a dawn chorus of coyotes — recorded in Yellowstone National Park as well as across the West as part of an addition to the Montana State University Library’s Acoustic Atlas.”

The FTC has upgraded its site. “The new one-stop website is integrated with the FTC’s consumer complaint system, allowing consumers who are victims of identity theft to rapidly file a complaint with the FTC and then get a personalized guide to recovery that helps streamline many of the steps involved.”

Snapchat has added profile URLs. “By swiping down from the Snapchat camera to the profile screen, hitting ‘Add Friends’, and then selecting ‘Share Username’, you can copy your unique URL or instantly share it through other apps like Twitter.”

Facebook is shutting down Parse. “Most observers are scratching their heads over the surprising announcement that Facebook is winding down Parse, the app-hosting service it bought in 2013 as part of a larger effort to woo mobile developers.”

Looks like Yahoo is downsizing in Latin America. “echCrunch has learned and confirmed that Yahoo has closed its offices in Mexico City and Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s not pulling out of Latin America altogether: the company is keeping teams in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Coral Gables, Florida.”


MIT Technology Review: How DARPA took on Twitter bots. “…a way of reliably spotting influence bots on Twitter would be hugely useful. Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) set out to find such a method by running a four-week competition in which teams were asked to spot bots in a stream of posts on the topic of vaccinations. One team emerged as a clear winner, and the results demonstrated some significant new strategies for identifying bots in the real world.”

Wow! Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video every day.


The latest possible credit card breach? Why, it’s Wendy’s! “Bob Bertini, spokesperson for the Dublin, Ohio-based restauranteur, said the company began receiving reports earlier this month from its payment industry contacts about a potential breach and that Wendy’s has hired a security firm to investigate the claims.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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