Ocean Trash, NEH, Dark Web, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, March 24, 2016


A new Web site aggregates many projects underway to clean up trash in the ocean. “ provides a central location to learn more about the 185 marine litter projects that have been planned, are underway, or have been completed by the 64 organisations in 34 countries that have signed the Declaration for Solutions on Marine Litter since its launch in 2011. By signing the declaration, each of these organisations voluntarily committed to adopt additional improvements to reduce the effects of ocean pollution.”

The NEH has announced over $21 million in grants for some very exciting projects – almost 250 of ’em! “These new NEH grants support projects ranging from scholarly research and traveling exhibitions to the production and development of films and creation of new undergraduate courses in the humanities. Grants will also support new digital tools for study of the humanities, efforts to expand access to historic collections, and the study and preservation of languages at risk of extinction.”


Interesting article from Vice: The Booming, and Opaque, Business of Dark Web Monitoring. “Two groups of people make money from the so-called dark web: Criminals who use it to peddle illegal goods, and the companies who offer to track them on behalf of law enforcement and private clients. Both are now established trades, with the latter growing at an accelerating rate. A handful of dark web monitoring companies exist, some being created specifically to tackle the dark web, and others expanding their services to tackle sites on the Tor network.”

Making news story comments more civil – by crowdsourcing moderation duties. “Commenters are shown two random comments from elsewhere on the site, and must rate the comments’ quality and civility and determine whether they include harassment, abuse, or personal attacks. The user is then asked whether his or her own comment is civil before it’s posted.”

A lot of people are using YouTube to consume information on the US elections. “According to a new YouTube report released today, since April 2015, when most candidates began announcing their campaigns, a whopping 110 million hours of candidate- and issue-related content has been watched on YouTube.”

Social media analytics tool ThinkUp is up for sale. I was an early subscriber and subscribed for two years and I like the product, but ResearchBuzz is too rinkydink to justify the cost. Larger concerns would get a lot more use out of it.


Do you manage a WordPress site? read this article on how attackers gain access to exploit WP sites. “On this blog we write a lot about different vulnerabilities that could lead to site compromise. In our Learning Center we go deep on a myriad of important topics related to WordPress security. Our handy checklist, for example, includes 42 items you really should be paying attention to. But surely not all 42 items are equally important, right? In today’s post we dive into some very interesting data we gathered a couple of weeks ago in a survey, letting the facts tell us what matters most.”

The latest company to launch a bug bounty program is Uber. “Uber’s program has several unique components. First of all, it’s trying to be as direct as possible with researchers when it comes to ground rules and payments. [Collin] Greene says one of the issues that researchers/hackers have with these programs is that the payment system can be capricious. Someone finds a bug and a negotiation commences over how valuable it is. He says that this program is going to be crystal clear about what Uber will pay, offering up to $10,000 for a critical bug.”


Microsoft created an AI chatbot for Twitter — and things rapidly went downhill. “Things took a turn for the worse after Tay responded to a question about whether British comedian Ricky Gervais was an atheist. Tay’s response was, ‘ricky gervais learned totalitarianism from adolf hitler, the inventor of atheism.'”


Hey, why not: a live concert inside Minecraft! Good afternoon, Internet…

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